| Engaging Conquest Mode
Excellent Matchmaking System
Finely Tuned FPS Mechanics
| Conquest can be Daunting for the Inexperienced
Lacluster Auction House System
Check back to our earlier beta preview of the PvE missions for more info on just how they play out, but the basics are that you and your team fight your way through one of several randomly selected maps through waves of baddies, and ultimately culminate the encounter with a boss. That's what you'll have access to from the start, until your character levels up and gains access to more of the missions. For instance, the top-level PvE mission is one called "Double Agent," which randomly assigns two players to fight for the Commonwealth alongside the NPCs, while the other two players fight on the more righteous side. PvE might not be the main crux of Global Agenda, but Hi-Rez was wise to include some form of non-competitive gameplay. The missions serve as a nice break from the tense PvP matches and Conquest mode and I've spent entire sessions running one mission over and over and having a good time at that.
So while I wish there was more PvE mission content to be had, as a launch product these missions are meant simply to supplement the PvP and Conquest modes. In our Launch Day Interview, Executive Producer Todd Harris informed us that more PvE missions will come down the line, even if you have to be a paying subscriber to access them. It's a good thing that those few PvE offerings on hand at launch are entertaining enough to be a capable diversion from the PvP while still progressing the development of your character.
Global Agenda is at its core a competitive shooter with MMO and RPG trappings. The bulk of the gameplay rests in its well designed matchmaking system, PvP matches, and Conquest Mode for those who choose to subscribe. There is plenty of game there for players who can't or don't wish to commit to a monthly fee. Aside from the PvE missions, the free to play portion of the game comes with several PvP match types. For more in-depth impressions of the game's PvP matches, check out or beta preview of just that.
Essentially these matches are similar to what you'll find in most competitive shooters. Hi-Rez does a good job of allowing players to get their feet wet in PvP by making the first available match type a straightforward capture and defend affair. Like in the PvE missions, as your character levels more match types become available and each one becomes a little more involved than the last.
The only advice I can offer when logging into Global Agenda and expecting to have a good time is to find a decent Agency if you don't already have one. Almost all of the game's content is better served by having friends to play with rather than strangers, and for you solo-artists out there there's nothing here to see except running around Hub City to satiate your need to adventure alone. And in PvP the reason to join a decent Agency of players becomes quite clear... the organized teams fare better. And while I've won my fair share of matches while being a loner, I can count on one hand the number of times those wins have been in a match where no pre-made team was present.
Back at the end of beta, I wrote an in-depth look at the mechanics of the big ticket item: Conquest Mode. While some things have changed since then in the patching process, the basics are the same. Player-controlled Agencies and Alliances compete over different plots of land which are available for conquest at specific times of day. The entire system is really about bragging rights and assembling the most powerful coalition of players possible. Luckily the matches to determine who retains ownership of each piece of land are limited on each side in terms of how many players can compete, so the numbers will be well-matched even if the skill levels of each player are not.
It's an extremely well thought out, if confusing at first, system that will have competitive players quarrelling and taunting on forums for the foreseeable future, and I don't think Hi-Rez Studios would have it any other way. They set out to make a game that would result in subterfuge, sabotage, teamwork, cooperation, and even betrayal, and even at an early stage that much is apparent. The only thing that's not apparent about Conquest is just how many players will be keen to pay the required fees to experience it month after month. Hi-Rez's goal is to introduce oodles of new content every three months as the Conquest season ends, and I'm sure they're hoping this will be more than enough to keep subscribers interested.
There are some issues I have with Global Agenda, but none of them keep me from enjoying my time spent playing. The Auction House needs a lot of work in terms of its interface. I would love more ways to customize the look of my character beyond the extensive facial customization during character creation. And I would love it if my Medic would have an invincibility shield lasting 300 seconds and having an instant recharge. Okay, that last one might be asking a bit much.
As it stands, Global Agenda is a solid and very unique offering to the MMO genre. It's not what we're used to, and it's not what some might expect. But the gameplay is well-tuned and addictive, and ultimately once I log in I find it a bit difficult to stop playing. And yet it's perfectly suited to players with limited amounts of quality time to spend gaming. It may have its rough edges, but I believe that Hi-Rez Studios has done just what it set out to do: make a fun persistent online shooter with RPG and strategy elements thrown in for good measure. If you don't buy into the game thinking you're getting WoW with guns, you just might be pleasantly surprised by how much fun you have. I know I was.