Dark or Light

Agencies Interview

Garrett Fuller Posted:
Interviews 0


The game play is very fast paced, what advice would you give to players stepping into the world for the first time?

Todd Harris:

Time to dust off those FPS skills! Actually, because we offer an extended tutorial, and co-op PvE at multiple difficulty levels, there are many opportunities for players of all skill levels to learn the controls and combat at whatever pace they are comfortable with.

There is also a Virtual Reality practice arena so players can get a taste of PvP but without the consequences of XP and credit rewards that come with real PvP matches, or the potential loss of territory and resources that comes with AvA.

We've actually had the pleasure of taking Global Agenda on tour to a few game conferences and playing alongside many, many first time players. For those coming from a traditional MMO background, my first piece of advice would be: "Don't Stand Still!" Global Agenda combat plays like an action game and not like a traditional MMO. So, like any other action game you really need to attack and evade at the SAME time.


Stealth can be king in these games, tell us about the Recon class and some of the tactics it can use.

Todd Harris:

Recon is an incredibly versatile class. Stealth is definitely fundamental to the Recon class but beyond that we have some Recon players that specialize in Beacon hunting, others that use bombs take out fortified areas like turret farms, others that lay mines all over key areas to prevent enemy progress, others that snipe key targets - like medics, others that actually hunt opposing Recons, and others that play like a Scout with holographic decoys, strong melee, and bionics to enhance their speed.

Given their stealth and speed advantage, combined with precision weapons and traps, a patient Recon has the luxury of choosing when and where to engage the enemy, often waiting until their target is alone or already injured. By the time someone actually sees a Recon agent, it's often far too late.


Overall how well do the classes balance out together? What is the hardest part in creating that balance?

Todd Harris:

The classes are very well balanced thanks to the balance obsession of Erez, our Chief Designer, and the entire design team. We did make two decisions early on that helped us with the balance challenge:

  1. 1. We decided to concentrate on PvP balance first and foremost rather than trying to do PvP and PvE at the same time. Once we balanced the classes for PvP it was much easier to tweak the PvE mission types and NPC enemies around the devices and abilities that worked well in PvP.
  2. We balanced classes toward team win condition, rather than trying to achieve balance between every class in a 1-on-1 arena death match situation. Much of our combat is very situational and all our mission types are team objective based rather than kill-based. By balancing toward team win we were able to keep each class' role and devices very distinct vs. more watered down classes.

The hardest part of balancing was less specific to classes and more around general survivability and time to kill. Given that we are a blend of FPS/action mechanics and RPG mechanics it was a challenge to combine the best of both genres. As one example - How do you make sniping balanced at both ends of the rifle? In other words, satisfying for the sniper but also satisfying for the Medic trying to heal the guy getting sniped? We think we've found a very satisfying balance in terms of overall character survivability but it certainly required a lot of playtesting and iteration to arrive there.


Is there a style of game play or tactics that appeals most to you as designers?

Todd Harris:

I would say the topic we were just discussing - nailing the combat balance between FPS and RPG that was so challenging to get right - is also one of the most appealing and unique aspects of Global Agenda gameplay. The way my character moves and jetpacks very fluidly and I have to aim my reticule to hit my target vs. tab-targeting; and that I have to actively evade an end Boss' missile projectiles and use physical cover vs. a die-roll based hit system; BUT that I also have a very distinctive class role and character progression and must cooperate with complimentary classes and can re-spec my build and devices toward an entirely different playstyle - this hybrid supports team-oriented gameplay that is quite different from either pure Action games or pure RPG games.

There have certainly been previous MMOs attempting to deliver combat that is a hybrid of action&rpg. And many of these have been unsuccessful for one reason or another. But on the other hand one can look at the recent Borderlands as a game that successfully blended the combat styles into a satisfying quest-driven solo and co-op experience. In our case we're also attempting to blend game types, but with the additional challenge of supporting team-oriented PvP gameplay as fundamental. Also, rather than a quest-driven experience like Borderlands, we are going for a much more emergent, PLAYER-driven experience where you decide who is friend and who is foe and your group accomplishments are reflected on the persistent world map; basically taking some inspiration from games like EvE Online in this area.

Ultimately it is really this that motivates and excites our entire design and development team - the potential for players to affect the persistent world in a meaningful way, through action-based team combat that also happens to be a hell of a lot of fun.

  • Pages: 
  • 1
  • 2


Garrett Fuller

Garrett Fuller / Garrett Fuller has been playing MMOs since 1997 and writing about them since 2005. He joined MMORPG.com has a volunteer writer and now handles Industry Relations for the website. He has been gaming since 1979 when his cousin showed him a copy of Dungeons and Dragons. When not spending time with his family, Garrett also Larps and plays Airsoft in his spare time.