Global Agenda is not a MMO despite the enormous marketing push to make out out to be one. There are some RPG elements within the game, but anyone who tells you that this is a MMO is either confused or lying to you outright. I have been playing since Alpha and would like to share my thoughts on the game.
There simply isn’t enough to the game as it stands right now. The scope of the game is severely damaged by the abundance of instancing creating a sense of playing WoW battlegrounds that feel like little games of Unreal Tournament 2003. Without any exaggeration, this is the extent of gameplay: Log in, walk to a console, choose which type of game you want to play, enter the queue, go in an play a round, repeat.
Alliance vs. Alliance (AVA) is the game’s only saving grace. This is a persistent conflict taking place in the “world”. You’re supposed to perceive that all of this is going on around you, but the only way you even know about it is by hitting the Y key and seeing little hexagons blinking. The mechanics of AvA are not difficult to grasp. Your guild places a bid, you win the bid, you get the hex. This becomes your little place in the world. When it’s time to defend you form a group and wait to be whisked away to the instance to defend. The same goes for attacking. That’s really all there is to it, but at least it creates some sense of depth via competition between guilds and collections of guilds (alliances).
The game lacks that epic feeling. Nothing about the game is epic in any way. It’s sitting in between two really good ideas. I find myself wondering what its trying to be. Is it trying to be a MMO with persistent action or a Shooter game? Is the goal to be about little quick instanced 12v12 skirmishes or something more? If all that HiRez aspires to is the shooter game with different modes to play then they have accomplished that; simply replace a server select screen with a virtual lobby and you have Global Agenda. However, I think there can be more and should be more based on how they’ve been advertising the game.
I was expecting Tribes meets Planetside with enormous zones representing a persistent conflict, or at least an attempt and creating this feeling. However, they’ve intentionally gone the opposite direction. I’m okay with some of the game being instanced. The instancing isn’t necessarily the part that bothers me as much as the way they implemented them. Little arenas that are dressed up with warehouses and boxes are still arenas. The instances could have been the size of Tribes maps with bases and air/ground vehicles. There could have been big battlefields with objectives and all of this could have been connected via quick-travel shuttles to disguise the instancing. This does not appear to be their goal though and the only reason they’ve given is that “it’s not fun for everyone”.
Go in expecting a deep game with epic battles, dynamic gameplay, achievement, and a successor to the gameplay of Planetside meets Tribes and you’ll be very, very disappointed. Go in expecting a decent get in and get out action shooter game of Capture the point that you can play with your buddies against others in some steep competition and you’ll be satisfied. Where the game goes from there is entirely up to HiRez and the mark they want to leave on the industry. At this point the game they’re making seems fairly forgettable.