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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

A Minute To Learn, A Lifetime To Master

Posted by HiRezStudios Tuesday May 12 2009 at 11:05AM
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A Minute To Learn, A Lifetime To Master
Todd Harris, Executive Producer

In early 2005, when we first opened the doors of Hi-Rez Studios, we were asked to describe our team's philosophy in making games. Our answer was "a minute to learn, a lifetime to master".

Erez (our company founder & Lead Designer) and I grew up in the coin-op arcade era, where if the game did not grab your attention and give you a taste of victory within the first 5 minutes it wouldn't earn another quarter from you. Yet the best games also managed to engage & challenge the best players for hours, and sometimes on that same quarter!

Easy to learn, hard to master seems like a great, common-sense approach, yet it is not uncommon for titles to take a seemingly opposite approach - overly complicated/confusing/difficult from the start; or not remaining fun/interesting/meaningful over time. With Global Agenda our intent is to offer multiple 'tiers' of game-play such that players can engage and master each of those at their own pace. Particular players may progress at different speeds based on their prior gaming experience and player skill but the game should remain challenging and engaging for a very long time.

Specifically, the major tiers of gameplay within GA include:

1. Action/Shooter mechanics and reflexes
2. RPG/Build
3. Team Tactics and Cooperation - Per Mission Instance
4. Domination Strategy & Coordination - Per Alliance vs. Alliance Campaign

Each of these could actually be subdivided in more detail but the general point is that each tier builds upon the one before it.

1. Action/Shooter
When first starting out, a player has a limited number of devices so he/she can become familiar with the basic WASD+mouse, jumping, crouching, grappling & jetpacking involved with player control in Global Agenda. Players that come from FPS/action backgrounds will master this tier quickly; and those players that have high situational awareness and learn the specific map layouts will likely progress even faster. But for those players coming from more traditional fantasy MMOs that do not play FPS games there will be some new player skills to learn and master.

2. RPG/Build
As players accumulate new skills and devices for their character, they make a different set of decisions quite independent from their twitch skills or map-knowledge. Some of these decisions are made at skill-point allocation time, some are made at mission equip time, while others are within the middle of fast-paced combat. We have the concept of different attack types (melee, aoe, range) and different damage types (physical, fire, poison, & energy) per device. And we have various passive and active protections against those different attack types and damage types. So, this layer adds the 'stats' element to the core action element. My devices matter; but it also matters what devices my enemy has and which he is wielding at that moment. And, this is the layer of gameplay that is more familiar to traditional MMORPG players ("I designed the leet build... take a look"); but may be less familiar to some action/FPS players.

3. Team Tactics & Coordination - Per Mission Instance
Our intent is for team-work to make a huge difference within mission, and with more variety and role options than just the traditional Tank+DPS+Healer combo. Indeed, the value of teamwork is consistently demonstrated within our playtest sessions where we see coordinated teams beating a collection of high-scoring individuals. The distinct roles of our classes, map layouts, and gameplay mechanics such as the HERMES teleport beacon, are designed to reward teams that are coordinated.

4. Strategy - Per Alliance vs. Alliance Campaign
Finally, with Alliance v. Alliance conflict, we provide a territory-oriented Campaign that is winnable in the way a sports season is winnable. A more strategic set of decisions are introduced at this tier in terms of which other organizations to ally with, which to target, how to allocate resources, and how to best construct and defend your own facilities toward dominating a region or accomplishing other agency goals.

So, how are we doing with these goals?

- Well, our dev team has been playing the game every single day for three years and things haven't gotten stale yet! It is always bittersweet when we have to stop playing Global Agenda in order to keep developing Global Agenda and that is a good sign.
- Also, for months we have playing alongside our 1000ish Alpha users. We have not yet exposed the Campaign to Alpha but the community has been very enthusiastic about tiers #1, #2, and #3 based on their experience to date. Thanks to this active, passionate Alpha community we feel very good about these elements.
- For us, the next step is rolling out the Campaign and group vs. group territory control elements with a larger test community. That will happen sometime within our Closed Beta phase which we are fast approaching. We're very excited about the potential and invite interested others to join us!




Caab writes:

 I really like the approach you have in putting together GA.  It's a breath of fresh air to see a game take a new approach into a stagnant market.  I can't wait to get my hands on this game.  I've always found that no matter how long I play a good online fps game it never gets boring.  It's about time sometime is taking what makes a good fps game and making into a great mmo.  Best of luck in the final stages development.

Tue May 12 2009 5:54PM Report
Pado writes:

I soo every intro and every movie there is on the web and also read everything I can about it knowing its still much to be exposed. im very very eager to see how this game will turn out at the end. I hope it will be as you say grabbing the attention... I cant wait to put my hands on this game and give it a try. Finnaly some real fps mmofps game.

Wed May 13 2009 4:05AM Report
DarkPony writes:

1000 alpha users? 0_0

Wed May 13 2009 4:21AM Report
Eveeldour writes:

This game is excellent ;)

Wed May 13 2009 9:17AM Report
BelegStrongbow writes:

 I pray they use a sandbox skill based progression. Like Fallen earth,  Fallen earth looks horrible and It has so many things i dont like.  


This team shows so much potential into creating an awesome game.  This sounds like Huxley but even better,

Wed May 13 2009 1:19PM Report
Teala writes:

Sounds like it is going to play a lot like CoH's.  I have t oask though.  Is the ranged combat full on FPS or some weird psuedo version ala SWG/NGE?  Because if it is not a true FPS...then you shouldn't advertise it as one.

Wed May 13 2009 1:44PM Report
Sp00sh writes:

Brilliant!  This game is going to start something new.  Yay for the Neo MMO FPS!

Wed May 13 2009 1:54PM Report
xxvicexx writes:

Sounds like Tabula Rasa.

Wed May 13 2009 1:57PM Report
Tikuto writes:

This is a Red or Blue Pill moment.
You take the Red Pill there is not turning back. Global Agenda WILL be totally awesome.
You take the Blue Pill forever denying yourself of paramount game experience and durability that, unfortunately, has a recurring fee.

COMPREHEND THIS TEXT: When you play this game and accept it you will always play this game. I suggest you take that Red Pill, everyone, or at least half of the Red Pill.



I have not played the game but I favor MMOs and Shooters, especially the science-fictional genres. My lifetime with games, it's a hobby. Games keep me happy and I know this game can keep alot of avid computer-mongers happy.

Wed May 13 2009 2:28PM Report
Eveeldour writes:

Dont get it twisted this game is going to blow you away. Its no planetside (yet) but it does have the WOW(not the game) effect.

Wed May 13 2009 3:27PM Report
LoboMau writes:

It seems that is growing to be a great game!

Wed May 13 2009 5:57PM Report
logangregor writes:

Its nothing like City of Zeros.


Go watch some videos at their site and youll get a idea of what this game is about.

Wed May 13 2009 5:58PM Report
Jerknife writes:

the downfall of Global Agenda is going to be diversity.  more classes and more races really extends the life for a player .

Wed May 13 2009 7:46PM Report
Plotken writes:

I was wondering a couple things after reading this. Are you going to support your focus on coordinated team-work by having an in-game voice system? Does Alliance vs Alliance mean RVR or guild vs. guild? (See, I'd like something that emphasizes and rewards group strategy but allows you to avoid guild politics and drama.) Global Agenda does look like something I'll try though....

Wed May 13 2009 8:13PM Report
dma1dma1 writes:

this game going be the same as other game's out thier.

all you do is grind and grind,  pvp alot and get bored.


but best of luck tho.

Wed May 13 2009 9:47PM Report
Slashed316 writes:

 GA is amazing, i cant wait i can play it again!

Wed May 13 2009 10:44PM Report
lindenmeyer writes:

Waiting for to play ;D

Nice FPS + Rpg stuff = GA

Hope we get a beta soon ;D

Wed May 13 2009 11:38PM Report
Rikimaru_X writes:

Sounds like a breath of fresh air that is waiting to be inhaled. Cant wait get some more infomation about this game.

Thu May 14 2009 3:03AM Report
mbr28 writes:

hmmm " a minute to learn a lifetime to master",,,,,,, can you say  OTHELLO

Thu May 14 2009 7:41AM Report
knight1138 writes:

it seems pretty so far. I watched the video and I must say it brings me back to the old days of planetside which i really enjoyed so much.

Thu May 14 2009 9:44AM Report
reanor writes:

 This looks like a mix of Mass Effect + Tabula Rasa + City of Heroes.

Thu May 14 2009 10:18AM Report
Fadedbomb writes:

Did ALL of you miss the part where they said the game is a massive, INSTANCED, SPORTS LIKE GAME?

It's ANOTHER korean FPS shooter with a 3d lobby, ALA: Huxley. This is NOTHING like Planetside. They've already showed, and said, it's essentially Quake gameplay (individual game instances, and NOT an MMO).


Why is this rubbish even on

Thu May 14 2009 11:05AM Report
Fadedbomb writes:

Did ALL of you miss the part where they said the game is a massive, INSTANCED, SPORTS LIKE GAME?

It's ANOTHER korean FPS shooter with a 3d lobby, ALA: Huxley. This is NOTHING like Planetside. They've already showed, and said, it's essentially Quake gameplay (individual game instances, and NOT an MMO).


Why is this rubbish even on

Thu May 14 2009 11:15AM Report
Fadedbomb writes:

Oops, my bad....lag double post :(

Thu May 14 2009 11:15AM Report
Anodyne writes:

looks neato.

Thu May 14 2009 8:18PM Report
Tikuto writes:

Global Agenda will be fantastic. People do not see its potential but I do, and I see it will be awesome and would like to see it through.


  • People says it will be grind. It's not as bad as it sounds.
  • It will be an MMO. There are many instanced locations, but what the hell does that matter as long as these instances are huge enough and quantative.
  • It's not any other MMO. It's consequential that it may be like other games, and by saying it's 'another of this game' and 'just like that game' is just ignorance. Global Agenda is Global Agenda and nothing else, and GA will smite your ignorance.

You especially, Fadedbomb. Instances does not mean it is not an MMO. It requires an internet connection to play (all MMOs), there is progression of your character (like more MMOs), continually online, serviced and so-on requiring funding to maintain the service (most MMOs), and you know the rest; to also finance their independant company that is Hi-Rez Studios.



As for its competators like Huxley, which I have recently revisited, that's another story. Both Global Agenda and Huxley are equally amazing games, and MMOs themselves are a great experience. I know that I will prefer Global Agenda over Huxley undoubtably.
And whats common between the two? They both use UNREAL ENGINE 3.

*Tikuto takes the Red Pill*

Sat May 16 2009 9:57AM Report
Inktomi writes:

 Question: Is this game going to be instance based or open-world sandbox type?

Sat May 16 2009 3:52PM Report
mars2000 writes:

quite interesting and quite completely

Sun May 17 2009 4:18AM Report
lame writes:

As interested as I am in this game, I still can't quite figure out why it's going to be P2P. I mean, the cost isn't a big problem and it's less (maybe for a reason) if I remember correctly but...I mean what are we paying for? It looks a lot more like an FPS than an RPG...might as well play a FPS that is F2P.

Mon May 18 2009 6:19AM Report
Caab writes:

Well first off someone has to support the servers.  Even in your F2P FPS games someone is paying for those servers.  Often you will see servers asking for donations or giving people the opportunity to pay for admin privelliges.  So right off the bat we need some form of payment of servers and a P2P model seems the easiest way to achieve this.

Second you can expect a much higher quality of player support.  Expect a significantly lower percentage of cheaters in GA as opposed to other FPS games.  To me this alone attracts me to GA.

Third you have the 45 days cycle seasons.  An organized and regulated 'league' that is constantly in progress and every once in a while resets.  Give new Agencies a better chance of grabbing a piece of the pie while also keeping things competitve and interesting for teams that have been playing GA for a long time.

Expect a fast paced exciting FPS that adds a new level of continuous competitive play.  Expect a higher level of server quality and stability not always available in other FPS games.  Expect a tighter control over cheating and exploiting. And expect to have a massive amount of fun in Global Agenda.

And please stop trying to compare GA to Tabula Rasa.

Mon May 18 2009 11:04AM Report
thed3vildog writes:

it seems like mass effect in mmo form to me

and very reminiscent of tabula rasa (a game i love dearly)

Mon May 18 2009 11:32AM Report
thed3vildog writes:

im not comparing im just stating tht when i see it (same for any sci fi mmo or rpg) i think of tabula rasa

Mon May 18 2009 11:34AM Report
Deathliche writes:

So Far, I'm in.  I will get GA and play it for the first month.  That will be the test for me.  If everything is a good as I hope it is, then I will keep paying the monthly subscription.  If not, then I will put this game beside the others, "Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, Lord of the Rings Online, Auto Assault, Tabula Rasa, Dungeons and Dragons Online..."  This goes on. 

I do hope it does live up to its hype because I am a FPS player by nature playing Quake 2 and Unreal Tournament back in its day.  I was thinking about playing Planetside until I read about Global Agenda.  So I am waiting and hoping this will be the FPS of MMORPGs for me.  If it is, then you will have a loyal player and subscriber.

Mon May 18 2009 12:45PM Report
1v3l writes:



Tue May 19 2009 9:34AM Report
Munki writes:

a good insight into global agenda and the philosphy behind it.

I truly beleive that tabula rasa struck a bad balance of exactly what is discussed in this blog post. It offered so much, but the carrots were small and far between.
In the end there was little to no content for a player in the endgame.

Competition between players has time and time again proven to be an effective way to keep the attention of players if implemented in a positive and effective way.

I've got high hopes for the timing and the ability of the devs to target this audience as well as understanding what the players actually are interested in, in terms of playing a mmorpg that is both different than the current, but similar enough to have depth and content to keep us busy.

I look forward to trying this game and will continue to follow this blog. I wasn't aware of it untill now and as somebody trying to start out in the industry it has some solid inspiration, sprinkled with the experience I so desire.

Sun May 24 2009 6:40PM Report
crueltyinc writes:

Wow, I really want to see the end product of this game. A MMO/FPS set in a persistent environment sounds like one hell of a concept. I wish you guys the best!

Tue May 26 2009 3:09PM Report
godpker writes:

how i download it ?

Mon Jun 01 2009 5:50AM Report
confuzn writes:

Let the bug squashing COMMENCE!!!!  Can't wait!

Fri Jul 03 2009 1:23AM Report
PeterPorker writes:

everything i hear from this company is how greate everything is, but nothing about it.. but i do hear alot of Elf talk.. I just dont get it.. this moron went thru all this and thinks no elves is gonna put his game on the map instead of promoting the game? Not working here.. its doing the opposite.. i would of bought this just for curiously.. now its on my boycott list

Fri Jul 24 2009 3:17AM Report
PeterPorker writes:

Another worthless article from the marketing morons at GA.

"Global Agenda is something that’s best experienced rather than merely explained" Summed up by the master moron himself.

In other words, we can't really explain it cuz its garbage, but come buy it and fall victum to another piece of vaporware.. We as all crap games will fool you on the learning curcve with some quick action, but as soon as you figure it out, its like WHY BOTHER.

I am getting sick of every article is written by these people, their articles always say absolutely nothing about their game and does nothing but gloat themselves with phrases such as the Equisitly talented team at GA is hard at work bringing this incredible piece of vaporware blah blah blah

Who friggan caers, this is a sugar coated piece of garabage that i look forward to trashing at the ultimate level, This team is so phoney, and so tiring with their BS hype of only crap they think we want to hear.. It's not even a MMO.. They make it like an MMO, so they can say NO ELVES to further try and fool anyone they can to look at this garbage.

They can fool a 9 year old... noone over 18 will even boot a demo.. Fail!

Mon Aug 03 2009 1:39PM Report writes:
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