Friday, September 10, 2010

Global Agenda, my new addiction!

I have been following Global Agenda in the STEAM Store for some time now but never could pull the trigger and make the purchase. Early in it's life, the MMO was subscription based, but I never let the potential monthly fees of a game stop me from at least trying it out. I certainly have played allot of subscription based games in the past, and none other than Planetside ever earned any of my money on a monthly basis. For a while I felt that if I got into Global Agenda, I would find myself once again paying a few bucks a month to maintain my character and keep the door open for some regular play.

But I didn't buy Global Agenda still. Maybe it was the amount of games I had recently acquired through Maybe it was a few titles that launched recently that I considered "must buys" that kept me away from taking Global Agenda seriously. It wasn't the subscription fee. It wasn't that the premise didn't seem attractive on paper, or that the game didn't look interesting, or that it wouldn't suit my taste. Hell, I bought AION for fuck sake, a subscription based Asian grind MMO, because it looked like something worth checking into. I don't know why I avoided Global Agenda for so long, I really can't think of any reason, especially now after about thirty hours of play with the title, that I would have paused in my decision making.

None the less, here I am months after first reading about Global Agenda and making it well known to a couple gaming buddies that this was a game that I wanted to try out. About a week and a half ago, I saw Global Agenda on the STEAM Store front page and noticed that one of the highlights in the ad was that there was no longer a subscription fee to play the game. Nice. At least now I knew if I did fall in love with it I would be able to spend extra money on content such as DLC or expansions rather than a fee.

I also realized that the game had a substantial trial period that basically allowed you full run of the game up to level 12. Now, not all the options available in the trial are at your disposal in the trial period, but shit like the in game mail system isn't where you are going to spend your minutes anyway. Other things you miss out on are things that even if you made the purchase would require you to level your character up before being allowed use, such as various weapons and armor. This only makes sense. What the trial does do is it allows you to create a character and get a really nice feel for the game and it's mechanics. You can start the Sandstorm expansion open world quest line, or you can play in the VR Arena, or you can start the PvE Spec Ops missions which are 4 man coop jobs broken up into several difficulties based on player level. In all, you should be able to tell by the time you reach level 12 whether the game is right for you or not. If not, delete the thing and move on. If you are happy like I was, fork over $29.99 at either the STEAM Store or the Global Agenda Store and keep your character going forward! It's that simple. There really is no reason to not give Global Agenda a shot. You have nothing to lose.

Personally, I knew I was hooked long before reaching the end of the trial period. There was so much to do early on that without being overwhelmed with content I felt I could grasp the games ideas and learn my role without frustration. One stop at the central hub in Dome City had me checking out the missions available, where I saw that not only would I be experiencing PvE Spec Ops missions, but once I reached the necessary level, I could participate in the Mercenary game mode which is a PvP based multi player mode that within holds familiar conquest and payload game types. There's a list of game types inside the menus with an introductory video to view for those that want to know exactly what the objectives are before going in.

After leveling up in PvP a bit, and this is where I am currently in the spectrum of things, opens up the Raid game mode. Raid becomes apparent as soon as you step into the world and read the chat box as it seems one out of five messages are requesting when the next raid begins, or advertising that specific players are looking for a group to join in the raid with. Raid becomes available to the player at level 30, ensuring that you have a decent amount of knowledge about your characters intended use so that you can best manipulate the battlefield. I have yet to experience my first raid, but within the next day or so I will have reached the required level and hope to become an asset.

Leveling up opens new areas of the game for the player. This kind of progression is what keeps it interesting for me. And once I have unlocked a new game mode, I can always return to others to break up any monotony if it persists. You are never forced to play by one rule set. You have free roam of the Sandstorm open world quest line, or you can run coop 4 man teams against the Spec Ops PvE missions, or queue up for the PvP experience in Mercenary mode, and become part of a larger force during raids. In the near future a grayed out selection, Warzone, will be available for players opening more gaming opportunities.

If you are worried that the level 50 cap is too low, realize that there are four distinctly unique classes to chose from, each with it's own play style that offers allot of variation from one to another. I currently play as the Assault class, but there is also your Medic class for healing, a Recon class for sniping, and a Robotics class for constructing various bots to help your efforts in the fight. The four classes also allow you to build a subclass of each by adding skill points to the skills tree in any of three proficiencies, a nice way to specialize your characters further. As I said, if the Assault class wears thin on me, I can always create another character (up to 8) and try one of the other classes for a totally new experience.

Under the basic shooter structure and RPG like quest line in the open world area, there's an entire trade system in place for buying and selling merchandise like your loots drop items you can't use or armor and weapon mods you create. Yes, create, as there is also a pretty deep crafting aspect to the game as well. Crafting is done by combining parts found throughout the game in the PvE modes or the open world area of the Sonoran Desert. It's a pretty neat setup that allows for creation of mods that strengthen your weapons and armor, or allow you to create one time use (consumables) items like damage modifiers or health packs.

Global Agenda is a solid shooter at it's core, with tight controls and decent visuals. It's an ambitious title that gives you an RPG element and the feel of an MMO without the grind. It's various game modes and level progression will offer you many hours of fun, and the developers seem to be anxious to release content to keep you interested in months to come. The lack of a subscription fee keeps money in your pockets, and the nice trial period ensures no risk in purchase. To support the developers and to help you gain level faster, you can opt for a Boost available on the Global Agenda site that doubles your experience points and tokens earned during any PvE or PvP game mode. Tossing these guys a few bucks now and then could never hurt so as long as they keep this game floating with new and interesting content.

To check out the game, read the forums, or download the trial, click the link below.

Official Global Agenda Website

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