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Global Agenda Impressions

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.

Pros

  • Fundamentals are there.
  • Combat works and feels fun.
  • Teamwork and Strategy puts you leagues above the rest.
  • There is always action going on and something to do.


Cons

  • Lobby Style Multiplayer – Seems to serve no purpose other than to provide an illusion.
  • Massively Instanced – Everything you do, everywhere you go, it’s all instanced.  Nothing is connected – NOTHING.
  • Small “battleground” like maps comprise the majority of PvP.
  • Repetitive and uninspired PvE – Killing bots on maps that all look the same.  Harder just means the bots do more damage.
  • Lack of depth to personal achievement and progression – If they want it to be about persistence with RPG elements, this needs to be fixed.
  • Crafting has no depth to the point that it should just be removed.
  • Conflict zones are restricted until its time to instance into them for your 10v10 fights – This persistent struggle is nothing more than a picture you look at when you hit the Y key.  There’s no attachment to the conflict.  It’s get in, skirmish, get out and you’re done.


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.

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Telke - January 14, 2010

“This does not appear to be their goal though and the only reason they’ve given is that “it’s not fun for everyone”.”

Also as I understand it the Unreal 3 engine is…interesting… to scale up into big battlefields like that – it’s designed for these smaller arenas, big fights cause the engine problems that can require some creative solutions.

Terroni - January 14, 2010

@telke: I hope not APB is using the same engine on a much larger and grander scale.

Game designers seem to think people want FPS with more depth (APB, CrimeCraft, Global Agenda, Huxley, etc.) In reality, I at least, want MMO with more action. Small difference, but all the difference in the world.

iLkRehp - January 14, 2010

2 years ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago, we would’ve been drooling at 2 “MMOs” being released 1 day after another. I’m an MMO addict, I mean Betty Ford, 12 hours a day addicted. . .not even a small itch to buy either one.

If I was addicted to porn it’d be like the porn industry releasing new DVDs that pixilated only the places that showed. . .skin.

If I was addicted to alcohol it’d be like Jack Daniels releasing a new flavor called ‘brick’ where the bottle had dried cement in it.

If I was addicted to gambling I could hit Vegas and play Blackjack the new patched version where players need exactly 21 and hafta draw 9 cards.

If things ‘evolved’ like the MMO industry we wouldn’t be addicted to anything. . .

Telke - January 14, 2010

another thing, I’ve been following this since alpha and as far as I can recall, they never SAID they were trying to make Planetside. they never said this would be open-world. they never said this would have 100v100v100. so expecting that from them is your own hype, not them.

Honestly though, it is tribes-like, and I’m enjoying it.

-Pagan- - January 14, 2010

I’m going to disagree with you on a few points. First PvE. I’m not a PvE fan and I GAs PvE. Medium Security and up can be very challenging. It’s a blast with a good team. Also a good way to earn some cash for upgrades.

I hate instancing but in a game like this it does not ruin my experience. If you don’t think of this as an MMO (or RPG), and just a team based strategy shooter maybe it won’t bug you so much.

I love GA because it’s not a timesink. I can jump in and out for short game sessions if need be. The match system works very well and I’ve never waited more than 2 minutes to get into a game.

GA is a great PvP game. The classes are varied and fun. The maps are excellent. I love the customization through new armor and equipment.

I’m not sure the game garners a sub, but if you get in on a bundle price license, the core game is well worth it in my opinion.

Lasdem - January 15, 2010

That sounds terrible -.-
I was hoping for an successor of Neocron 2.
But after reading your Impressions, I know now this game isn’t for me.

By the way, I think a Borderlands MMO would be really fun too.

We Fly Spitfires - January 15, 2010

I’ve very disappointed to hear that about Globabl Agenda. It was a game I was very much looking forward to because I wanted to see a MMOFPS ‘done right’… y’know, as a persistent world with good content. It sounds like it’s just a version of Unreal Tournament or Quake Live.

McJigg - January 15, 2010

I part of the problem people are facing is in translation.

MMO= Massively Multiplayer Online. And it is that.

Persistant World = World that persists. Generally player actions effect it in the process.

Heavily instanced or not, it is both these things. There are more players then just those you invite or lan with and in AVA what you do will matter.

Frankly, from the time I heard of the game I thought “Team Fortress 2”, and playing it I havn’t changed my mind.

It is a spy-fi Team Fortress 2 with leveling up and territory control like that in the Soul Caliber II arcade machines.

I’ve been enjoying it though, it’s fun, frantic yet tactical and balanced. I noticed both an overabundance and a lack of each class and it’s affected the match.

I’ll personally be buying it.

Ben - January 15, 2010

Think of this more as “Sci-Fi”, “Shooty” version of Guild Wars and you’ll have a better idea of what this game is.

PLUS AvA action, which is not as simplistic as you make it out to be. Is it open-world? No… but the AvA maps allows you to get resources to build mechs, vehicles, etc. — even NUKES (nukes are the only way to take out base hexes that protect surrounding hexes).

For a better description of AvA – beyond “It’s not Planetside, Wahh!” — try this: http://www.massively.com/2010/01/14/faq-that-all-about-global-agendas-conquest-mode-pt-2/

Not trying to slam you Keen — I read your blog a lot but your impressions here sound … off. You even keep referring to “12v12” fights … maybe that was alpha, but in the beta I’ve been in, it’s always been 10v10.

Again… some factual errors and misconceptions of what this game is all about. If you love action, and want some good tactical gameplay with a fun AvA map to play FOR, this is a great game for you.

mikesaysno - January 15, 2010

Going in expecting Planetside and Tribes, when it was never billed as that, is foolish. The devs have been extremely blunt all along at what this game is and wants to be. They don’t want people to buy the game expecting Planetside since they will, obviously, be extremely disappointed.

The core gameplay is extremely fun and well done. I agree that where it goes from here is up to HiRez. They are an indie dev, so if they keep the content flowing like they are promising the game will be fine. AvA is fun as hell and worth the sub if you are in a good agency.

Keen
Keen - January 15, 2010

@McJigg: There is nothing massive about lobbies and 12v12 (or 10v10).

@Ben: Heh, my bad. 10v10 instead of 12v12. I erred on the side of caution. 10v10 is worse. Yeah, definitely check out that article if you want to learn the details about conquest. However, you’ll learn it is exactly what I described above. I gave people the simple outline. Bid – Instance in – Attack/defend – Expand – Instance in – Attack/Defend – Repeat.

@mikesaysno: Since I’ve been in since Alpha there wasn’t a huge let down. I’ve been playing since the times when there were maybe 30 people at most testing and the devs would play to fill up the little skirmishes.

My expectations were low. However, they’ve marketed the game as a MMO. They’ve marketed a persistent battle. Saying these things the way they have implied something more than Arathi Basin with lasers and jet packs.

Ask people if they knew it was going to be a game of nothing more than battlegrounds with lobbies and they’ll be surprised. Everyone I’ve introduced to the game has had the same reaction: “Not what I expected”.

Ben - January 15, 2010

Here’s the thing… it *is* persistent in the sense that the AvA map is territory that you control. You own it. You defend it. You build resources in your hexes. You use those resources to build weapons and stuff. Is it an open-world like Planetside? No… but it is still persistent, as are your characters experience, armor, etc.

It’s as “massive” as Guild Wars. The style won’t appeal to a lot of people, but that’s what it is. I’d LOVE a real, open-world, objective based FPS … like Tribes + DAOC … but it ain’t happening anytime soon.

As to how it’s marketed and people’s expectations… this is right from GA’s website:
Not Your Average MMO

* Conquer persistent territory – Player formed agencies compete for scarce territory, resources, and technology on a persistent world map. Create and upgrade facilities, attack and defend territories, and engage in Base Raids, production, politics and deception on your way toward world domination.

Can’t fault them for not building something that they never claimed they were building in the first place, can you? 🙂

Keen
Keen - January 15, 2010

@Ben: The picture of the map is persistent. The representation of what is going on is persistent. The player’s involvement with it is not, and that is the key to it all.

They added clarification to the website when it became clear that people were getting the wrong idea. It was originally being pushed based entirely on their hyperbole and exaggeration. Just read what you quoted there. Doesn’t that create more than a picture of hexagons and a window of vulnerability leading to a 15 minute instanced battleground in your head?

They had to add the “This is what is NOT in Global Agenda” section that follows right after that so that people didn’t get the wrong idea.

Gankatron - January 15, 2010

Perhaps Keen is wanting this game to be something greater than even its devs meant it to be, but I’ll wager that he is right about it having a short half life. Reading all of your comments there seems to be a few major problems with this game, involving the need for a sub, potential lack of immersion for a RVR type system, and the need for leveling. Much of those problems can fall into how the devs want to define their game, i.e. a shooter or a MMORPG.
I like instanced shooter games as much as anyone, but I treat them much like an online console game, meaning I’ll pay a onetime box fee and that’s it, unless the “sub” was for a general gaming service like XBOX Live that hosts multiple titles. I got into online HALO regularly for a month or so and then I started to get bored with the repetition; at that point would I keep paying a HALO specific sub, no way. I have played more massive games with frenzied PvP that also had fleshed out PvE and storylines (WoW, Warhammer) which made the sub worthwhile, and yet over time even those BG’s got old; I have no problem with instanced BG’s, but in today’s marketplace I would expect more from a sub than a bunch of interconnected Arathi Basins. I thought the Warhammer RvR model was very conceptually exciting reading about prior to its release, but after a while it just didn’t seem to matter to people and many BG’s weren’t filling up. I think games today need to capture people’s imaginations if they expect RvR models to work, which often means a PvE storyline and open field PvP. I think putting together a bunch of BG’s where battles are meant to have global significance without an actual massive interactive non-instanced world is expecting too much from players as I think they won’t feel connected to it. So is this a once and while shooter title or a more immersive game? It sounds more like the former by reading what you guys have said, in which case if I log in once and a while for an evening of PvP, why would I really care that last week there were more or less blinking hexes than today? Maybe the inclusion of a leveling system will make people want to come back, but I don’t see the real benefit of leveling in a shooter game that I play now and again. If people are given a gaming framework with a flimsy storyline and are expected to create their own immersion I think a RvR model will fail once people get over the initial novelty.

Erez Goren - January 15, 2010

I’m just curious if you got to play AvA matches with a real alliance. The feedback that we are getting on how it ‘feels’ from those plays is very far from your observations so far.

Gali - January 15, 2010

In the AvA game, is it a free for all when a hex opens up? Like all neighboring Alliances can all jump in and fight a big multiple sided battle, or is it merely one alliance vs another alliance?

Keen
Keen - January 15, 2010

@Erez: What is a “real” alliance? Is that an attempt at asking if I was in one of the “pro” or “zerg” alliances?

@Gali: It’s a bidding system. Your guild puts down money on the hex. The winning bid gets it. Once you control a hex it must be taken by force. You then fight for control by getting challenged. You can only challenge hexes on the outskirts of territory. My understanding is that any alliance/guild can put in a challenge. Ours was deciding last night which hex we wanted to challenge for and we were weighing out which hexes were part of big alliance and which would be more vulnerable. Choosing a hex to challenge that offers different facilities is also something to consider.

Russell Gusto - January 15, 2010

@Keen: Are you guys going to be forming an Agency for GA? I may buy this game…still on the fence

Ben - January 15, 2010

I’m normally not a big blog commenter but this thread has me going 🙂

Here’s an example of where it’s gets “massive”. Last night, the alliance I’m in (Monoloth — Mongbat, Dust ’till Dawn, KOV) decided to do some AvA. We put together a strike team (10 people) and picked a hex to bid for. The defending alliance (can’t remember their name) put up a good defense, but we won. We got the hex and queue’d up for another one of their hexes.

We lost — but in that time, guess what happened? That alliance had a bunch of other hexes attacked, and lost 7 of them because they couldn’t defend every onem. Our initial attack sparked off a HUGE wave of attacks against them and they lost a big chunk of dirt — all because other clans looked at the map and saw these guys under attack. It was like blood in the water.

See what’s happening? The 10v10 isn’t massive. But that metagame is, and it’s FUN. IMO, I think it will create a lot of SOCIAL diplomacy — you’re going to need friends in AvA, unless you’re in a zerg alliance — and to me, that’s massive. It also creates BALANCE, which so many other games have failed to do lately (WAR, AION).

Just my $.02 again. Funny that you posted this today — Massively just followed up @ http://www.massively.com/2010/01/15/anti-aliased-one-massive-agenda/).

But I totally respect and agree with your opinions. I’d actually love a truly wide-open, world-based MMOFPS with a Tribes feel to it. My time in Tribes (I played competitively) was one of the best gaming experiences I ever had. And I can’t say that GA has this “open”, epic feel to it. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun — even if not your cuppa’ tea — or “massive” 🙂

Erez Goren - January 15, 2010

Any alliance would be fine as long as they have enough resources to capture/defend a hex so you get a feel for it.

At the moment you can bid on attacking any hex on the map that is not shielded, later we may introduce more limitations like distance and ship capability.

With regard to feel, here is an interesting post from the forums and why I think that once you own territory things begin to feel different:

“Ahhh, political intrigue. This is the part I think most have underestimated. There are deals being made in the back allies of Dome City, secrets being shared in whispers, talks in private vent channels and wheels being greased in smoke filled brothels. Whether you like it or not, there are many more reasons not to attack another Alliance that goes up and beyond the coloured pixels on your screen. It’s the extra dimension to this game, and it is brilliant.”

Either way, it’s been fun to watch the beta evolve significantly with the release of AvA (for those that play it)

Keen
Keen - January 15, 2010

@Ruseel Gusto: I won’t be getting GA unless they expand the game to be more than it is right now. There needs to be more to it. Honestly, it needs to be bigger and better.

@Ben: That sounds really dynamic, even fun (yes, I enjoy AvA competition and team play), but not massive. The metagame might be massive but the gameplay is not.

@Erez: That sounds great for the metagame and I do agree that it exists and will be a big factor in the campaigns that run for months at a time. However, it boils down to the gameplay for me. What do -I- get to experience?

Keeping the game 12v12 could work. Modern Warfare 2 captures a solid feel in 8v8 games. The problem here is the intension. What you want GA to be and what it really is are seemingly two different things. The word “persistent” just doesn’t seem to apply to the gameplay.

Russell Gusto - January 15, 2010

Ok thanks Keen, I’m going to pass. Keen is usually spot on. Also from what I hear the immersion factor is not there…..back to Dragon Age 🙂

Epiny - January 15, 2010

10v10… no matter how you cut it isn’t massive. The teams on MW2 are bigger and people complained that THOSE were two small.

WAR has feature battles with over 200 people, though poorly executed, it was massive. DAoC has done the same. Darkfall had done over a 1000 people and EVE has done more than that.

These are Massive. Even WoW’s AV feels massive compared to GA.

Ben - January 15, 2010

So, by that definition… Guild Wars isn’t massive either? It’s one of the most popular MMOs out there… but isn’t massive by any of these definitions.

GA is no different. At all.

Russell Gusto - January 15, 2010

Nahhh GW is not the type of game that Epiny is talking about. What many of us are looking for are areas where we can ALL be around and do whatever.

GW’s is a great game, I personally like it, but it’s not massive in the scale that most folks are talking about here.

Telke - January 15, 2010

@Russel – UH, how is it different? Have you played GW? the cities are instanced. There’s usually several “districts”, copies of the city. I’m not seeing the difference here.

Russell Gusto - January 15, 2010

@Telke: What are you talking about man?

Gankatron - January 15, 2010

I think that people are stuck on the word “massive” because it is a hybrid game. I can buy that it is strategically massive, but certainly it is not so tactically. The more important question for me is, does it pack enough fun factor to spend my time and money on; by looking at the videos I would answer yes to the former, but no to the latter given that it has a monthly sub for the AvA gameplay features.

Keen
Keen - January 15, 2010

It’s not a bad game. Let me clarify that right now. Like I said in my pros list, the combat is fun and fundamentally it’s solid.

Let’s assume they don’t care to make the game any better than it is now. Is it fun? Yes. Can it hold your attention long? I do not believe so. I believe it’s a fairly forgettable game right now. Like I said in my predictions, I think people will play it until they have something better to do. It will be a tide-me-over game for many.

The MMOFPS - Doomed To Fail? - We Fly Spitfires - MMORPG Blog - January 16, 2010

[…] GA doesn’t seem to be getting glowing recommendations from reliable beta-testers like Keen and Graev and br3ntbr0 over at I’m Talkin’ Games. Apparently it’s “meh” at […]

Mcface - January 17, 2010

Sounds a lot like crimecraft.

Vassago - January 19, 2010

I’ve read a lot of your reviews Keen and so far I’ve agreed with most of your thoughts.

Unfortunately this “Global Agenda impressions” seams like it was written by a totally diferent person, one that knows little about games and most importantly one that lacks the spirit of a good reviewer…
This felt so awkward coming from you that it forced me to do what I never did before: post in blog.

Well, just look at you your “Pros” list:

* Fundamentals are there.
* Combat works and feels fun.
* Teamwork and Strategy puts you leagues above the rest.
* There is always action going on and something to do.

Aren’t those the features someone should look for when buying an online shooter game?

Now your “Cons” list:

# Lobby Style Multiplayer – Seems to serve no purpose other than to provide an illusion.
# Massively Instanced – Everything you do, everywhere you go, it’s all instanced. Nothing is connected – NOTHING.
# Small “battleground” like maps comprise the majority of PvP.
# Repetitive and uninspired PvE – Killing bots on maps that all look the same. Harder just means the bots do more damage.
# Lack of depth to personal achievement and progression – If they want it to be about persistence with RPG elements, this needs to be fixed.
# Crafting has no depth to the point that it should just be removed.

Do you honestly know many online shooters that include those features?
(I removed last entry on the list on purpose because it wasn’t accurate at all, but that’s another issue that I won’t get into because it has already been discussed on the reply thread)

You seamed to go to Global Agenda looking for an mmorpg replacement of some sort, and I fully understand you, but the truth is: Global Agenda is not such thing and it has never been advertised as such. As a good reviewer you should have been aware of that and review this game accordingly.

This is even more obvious on sentences like “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.”
Well Global Agenda is in fact supposed to be much more like UT 2003 than WoW, so what’s wrong about that?

It’s true Hi-Rez Studios mention the words MMO, but not in a different manner from the way it’s done on games like Combat Arms of Crossfire, and if those could ever be allowed to wear the “MMO” tag then Global Agenda definitely deserves it even more!

And finally, I’m also a long time mmorpg player but I don’t restrict myself to playing mmorpgs.
I like multiplayer environments, I like having customizable avatars, but most important than the pigenhole GA fits into is the fact it is a videogame, it is amazingly fun to play and certainly very addictive.
GA won’t replace the mmorpg disk space on my computer, instead it will simply share my free time with the current mmorpg installed. You should try the same 😉

Keep up with the nice reviews and guides 🙂

Keen
Keen - January 19, 2010

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m giving Global Agenda a hard time for pushing itself as a MMO but that’s not the biggest problem.

It’s repetitive and lacks depth. Like I said, it falls between two worlds. Is it a shooter or a MMO? Right now it’s neither by design and lacks qualities that would make it great — if it stuck with one side.

So while harping on it for being a MMO might not matter to everyone, if you ignore the bigger issues then you’re kidding yourself.

Starsiege Tribes is a franchise almost 12 years old, Planetside came out somewhere around 7 years ago, and both have superior gameplay. There’s something to be said for that and questions to be asked. What has Global Agenda done new? What have they improved upon in any existing model? For me the answer to both of those questions is nothing. On top of that, I find the game’s combat (the part where I’m shooting guns at people) moderately fun in bursts of 30 minutes but ultimately forgettable.

Vassago - January 19, 2010

But Global Agenda is not an MMO in the way you are hoping it to become.
It is no more of an MMO than Combat Arms, Crossfire or all those other so called “MMOFPS” games, instead it is aimed at a similar market while offering an higher quality product, with several premium features usually only available in mmorpgs.
If you really must compare it to some other game then pick an “mmofps” (being 3rd person view doesn’t make much of a diference), and you will quickly realize that Global Agenda is so much more than those that it shines way above it’s closest competitors 😉

Vassago - January 19, 2010

You updated the mentions to Tribes and Planetside while I was writing the above answer.

I never tried Tribes, but I did play Planetside and honestly don’t consider it any better, simply because while it does offer more MMO feeling it lacks to GA in terms of teamwork (especially when it comes to the paper-rock-scissors mechanics on GA classes), which in my opinion is far more important in an online shooter type game than the MMO grandeur.

Max - January 20, 2010

Ohh well. Was hoping for better planetside. I dont need another multiplayer FPS – there are many of those around I dont have to pay monthly fee for. And 10 vs 10??? Really? Seems market is going backwards. Battlefield 2 had
128 players servers (dont know about 1942).

I recently explored a few “MMO”FPS such as combat arms -they turned to be just your run of the mill fps , with worse production values and option to pay RL $ for guns. Face of Mankind was kinda an interesting exception but very dated and combat sucked there.

Honestly I dont need monthly fee versions of TF2, CoD4 or CSS.

Wonderwyrm - January 21, 2010

Its free unless you want to do alliance vs alliance…..

Keen
Keen - January 21, 2010

No, it’s the cost of the box. 😉

Jusk - January 21, 2010

Keen, I have to say that you may have been in it a long while, but you havent participated in it much. That much I can see.

12v12? There should be no need to err, its a base mechanic that the entire game is based around.

AvA DEFINATELY keeps the individual player involved, though AvA hasnt been open that long. But you have to be involved in it.

I completely disagree at planetside having better gameplay. I found it more repetetive than Global Agenda.

10v10 means small agencies can compete, at least on 1 hex. It means zerging isnt a valid tactic. 10v10 is excellent imo. Bigger is not always better. I prefer not lagging, and i prefer not being zerged. It keeps the playing field even in those regards. Not to mention, the more options you have for each character, the harder it is to include more charaters in an area. WoW, for example, is well made, but put 200 people in a small area and it falls apart(Wintergrasp).

I will agree with you on a few things though. They need more maps, and those are coming in a hurry. Its also not an MMO beyond a few similarities. Subbing brings alot more of a persistent feel to it, but as I said, if you dont participate in the AvA, that AvA has no affect on you.

WIthout a sub, it is very much a futuristic sci-fi TF2 with character progression. With a sub, its much better than planetside imo.

I also found it repetetive until I got involved in AvA. Without alot more maps, I dont find the non-AvA portion to be worthwhile. TF2 is better at it unless you really have a need for character progression. And you are right, the non-AvA portion does lack depth and variety at the moment. Variety is being fixed and soon, but depth wont change in that arena for a while. All the depth is in the AvA, which has it in spades.

Keen
Keen - January 21, 2010

Debunk what I’m saying because I thought it was 12v12 if you need. That’s a displacement tactic though and I think we all know it.

AvA is friendly to small agencies in that small agencies can participate. Beyond that, have you looked at the map? Small agencies better be apart of huge powerhouse alliances. That’s why it’s “ALLIANCE vs. ALLIANCE” and not “Agency vs. Agency”. The map is controlled by a handful of huge alliances, not agencies.

But that’s not what this is about. The big strong alliances should dominate in a system designed this way. Nothing wrong with that. I don’t think it does anyone any good to downplay it though.

If you agree with the rest, then you agree with 95% of what I’m saying. AvA has its flaws but it draws those from the rest of the game.

Gluebag - January 22, 2010

I think Keen is applying his own narrow definition of MMO to this game, and it’s disingenuous because he hasn’t given a clear explanation of what that means to him (and I think if he did, I would disagree with it). That said, if you read the blog enough, it is clear what Keen wants in a game and not surprising that he’s not a big fan of GA. That’s fine; I’ve tried Allods and I have a good frame of reference as to how much our taste in these games aligns (very little), so the review isn’t totally useless to me.

Personally, I don’t think the persistent world you can walk around in (a la WoW) from end to end is a necessary ingredient, and more to the point, I think focusing too much on that is often a detriment (as we saw in the failure of WAR as they tried to stress the wretched, unfun fortress battles when the scenarios were much more fun and the open world otherwise vacant; or in WoW, where the devs have made a clear effort to steer people away from an open world that they clearly can’t keep enough people interested in to make it sustainably fun).

I would love to see an MMO that can pull off a populated world that changes dynamically with player actions and is fun enough to stay populated, but I don’t think any contemporary MMO has been able to do it. So, it seems like a wise move for GA to be structured the way it is; the world is persistent and there is territory at stake, motivating the players to battle. At the same time, the developers reign it into digestible chunks that they can manage.

I haven’t played this recently, but I did get to try a demo back in May, and even back then I was really impressed. The gameplay was extremely polished, I loved the classes, and the pacing was good. One thing that stood out is the use of vertical space and the way the design of the world plays into it… definitely a pleasant surprise when the only real use of that space I’ve experienced (occulus and malygos in WoW) has been clunky to say the least.

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