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Global Agenda Developers Blog

Just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, exquisitely talented developers have been working to create a unique and immersive MMO experience. Global Agenda is a 'Spy-Fi' Action MMO set in a dynamic world of advanced technology and player-driven conflict

Author: HiRezStudios

Global Agenda's very first beta testers just leveled up

Posted by HiRezStudios Thursday July 23 2009 at 5:47PM
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Global Agenda's very first beta testers just leveled up.

Inside the Studio, Thursdays are typically New Tester Day (OK, internally we call it 'N00b' day), when we invite new people in to the studio to test Global Agenda.

Today, our NooBs got a special treat. While Global Agenda’s Closed Beta does not officially begin until tomorrow (July 24), we allowed the tester's to login early and be the first on our Beta Servers. So, if you are one of our Closed Beta testers and you login right at the start tomorrow and see a few players already tooling around 10 levels ahead of you – you know they were probably among the group that was at Hi-Rez today.

Over the past two years, Hi-Rez hosted hundreds of internal testing sessions for Global Agenda, drawing in players from the nearby community.

Our developers, especially QA & Level Designers, receive valuable feedback from these first-time users by watching how they navigate through maps, the intuitiveness of device usage and capabilities and, above all, how much fun the testers have while they play the game.

As part of our fast-paced scrum-based development, Hi-Rez deploys and plays a new version (or build) of the game every single work day inside the study. Developers pull the latest content at the beginning of each day, create/tweak/build new content and check it in once they are ready. Around midnight each night all the new content wrangles together and by the time we're back in the studio to start the next day, a new version of Global Agenda is ready for us to test.
Usually :)

Daily developer playtests are brutal! Take it from a Medic who equips with more poisons than healing devices; those sneaky Recons and their decoys are enough to get even the most mild-tempered agents close to rage-quitting a post-lunch testing session...especially when they stealth, then stun bomb and then sneak up with a melee attack. Also when they two-shot you from across the map but, I digress.

In the spring of last year, the Studio connected with a local high school's Interactive Media Club -- a group of students who got together once a week and played games in a supervised classroom with consoles they brought from home -- and created a program for consecutive testing of Global Agenda. Basically, we offered a new, perhaps cooler venue than their chemistry classroom for their club to meet, and a chance to actually be part of a game's development.

The consecutive weekly testing slowly evolved to a twice-a-week rhythm of testing at the Studio, and the group expanded to include game design students from local universities who previously play tested at Hi-Rez as part of their course curriculum; and eventually, expanded further to external folks who learned of the in-studio testing via word of mouth or community forums. These testing sessions are a regular part of Studio life and judging by the noise level that comes out of the gaming lab on a given afternoon, I'd say they have a lot of fun!

"Noob Day" is usually quite different. The groups are generally quieter (at least for the first hour) and more attentive to the details of game mechanics because they're looking at them with a set of fresh eyes.

New testers came to the studio when Hi-Rez first announced its Tour & Play Program, an initiative geared toward Georgia-based schools, universities, technical colleges, and clubs, with the aim of exposing budding video game creators and enthusiasts to the development process to help cultivate Georgia's gaming industry. Last week we hosted a group of kids from a computer camp based at Emory University; prior to that we had folks from the State of Georgia's Economic Development office - even the Commissioner himself.

Today's 'noob group comprises individuals who live nearby and register through the Global Agenda website for today's testing session. I'm not sure when they signed up they knew they'd be the first to get onto Global Agenda's Beta, and I guess I should stop calling them 'noobs' because right now they are the highest ranks players on our beta server!


Pursuing a Global Agenda, captured elves delivered to Studio

Posted by HiRezStudios Wednesday July 8 2009 at 4:41PM
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Hi-Rez Studios' Todd Harris, Executive Producer of Global Agenda, the action MMO with no elves, received a package today complete with two elves, bound and gagged. The offering, from a like-minded Agency MONGBAT, follows a campaign highlighting Elven inferiority in a technology driven, future world. 

The box was delivered along with a note from the agency:

Attn: Hi-Rez Studios
Subject: Offering
Timestamp: 2009.7.5.1135

The Mongbat Agency has become aware of your campaign against the Elven People. Please accept this sacrificial offering as a token of our intention for a long and trusted relationship between our Agency and your new world order. Our only request would be to make the prancers suffer before enacting your final divine judgment.

We trust your new order shall be the stuff of legends, and hereby stake our own claim as part of it - just remember while we toil and labor nightly to live in your world, we are entrusting you to deliver a world that exceeds all others, a world where those with proper ambition can flourish, a world...without elves.


Hi-Rez Studios has accepted the sacrifice and MONGBAT members were among the first players invited to participate in the Global Agenda Closed Beta which begins July 24. 



Preparing for Global Agenda Closed Beta

Posted by HiRezStudios Wednesday July 1 2009 at 5:03PM
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Back from E3

In our last post we talked about our path toward E3 - our purpose at the show being purely to let people walk-up and actually PLAY Global Agenda. No booth babes, no scripted demos, no velvet rope waiting lines. Our booth was mainly a bunch of PCs so anyone at the show could come by and play! …OK, for the sake of full disclosure I’ll admit that we also put out a bowl of candy on day #2. (Michal’s idea). Maybe next year we’ll have a celebrity appearance but this year we had byte-sized Snickers.

And the whole hands-on thing worked out quite well for us. Our dev team certainly feels the game is fun because we’ve been playing it every day for the past 3 years. But it was still incredibly satisfying to see E3 attendees instantly enjoying Global Agenda and sharing their positive reviews. Our favorite form of marketing - friends escorting other friends to the booth to try out the game for themselves!

A BIG thank you to the folks at MMORPG.COM, who awarded us “Game of The Show” after their own E3 hands-on experience with Global Agenda! We're both thrilled and humbled by this honor, especially given the other highly anticipated games that were considered. We're doing all we can to live up to growing expectations.

OK, so Global Agenda is fun, I’ll grant you that … but is it an MMO?

We hear this question a lot.  

And it is perhaps understandable since so far we have ONLY exposed our mission-based combat. From the beginning our first priority has been to ensure that our combat – based upon shooter mechanics but also incorporating very distinct roles for each class, a large number of specialty devices, close-ranged melee, and jetpacks – all comes together to yield game play that rivals any team-based shooter.

So all our Alpha testing to date, culminating in the public showing at E3, has been primarily focused on combat mechanics. We have not yet exposed the many systems relating to character progression or end-game. But that is about to change…

Onward to Closed Beta

We plan to have two major phases of Closed Beta Testing (CBT1 and CBT2). And with each phase we will introduce significant features that MMO players have been anticipating:

During CBT1 we will introduce Character Progression. So, you will interact with vendors, mission-givers and other players within Dome City, level your character thru missions against the Commonwealth (PvE) &/or other players (PvP), earn and allocate skill-points into talent trees, acquire new high-tech gear, customize your appearance with new suits and dyes, enhance your character thru technology implants that are player-crafted and available thru the auction house, and earn personal achievements.

During CBT2 we will introduce Alliance vs. Alliance Campaigns. With this feature set, players within a major geographic region, for example ALL North American players, compete in a single integrated end-game. Unlike the typical MMO convention where you need to pick a server, for Global Agenda we do not want a server-choice to get in the way of player-driven politics and strategy on a massive scale. It is truly a massive, persistent world within which players create their own agencies, form alliances, and compete to acquire resources and capture territory.

Our Goal:

Fun, mission-based Combat + meaningful Character progression + massive Campaign for territory control

We are now working hard to launch CBT1 in July!
More on that in our next blog post…

- todd