A level 50 veteran next to my avatar, first entering Dome City at a fledging level 5. There's lots of gradually earned customization in this game that isn't apparent from the character customization screen before entering the game.
I am just about 8 hours into Global Agenda and I find it to be a surprisingly good F2P MMO. I’m enjoying pretty much every minute of it, and would consider it one of the best MMOs that I’ve played in the last two months.* I just picked it up from Steam under the Free to Play section, having known of the game as a title even back in its Pay-to-Play days. The controls and gameplay mechanics are highly responsive, enabling me to move and weave towards my enemies however I chose. The control makes me feel like a superhero in a way that City of Heroes fail to do so, because there is a mixture of skill and specialization involved. You can fly around in jet packs and there is a reticule for actually aiming to shoot down enemies.
I’m playing here as the Robotics class, which gives me a cool extra arm to set up personal turrets, forcefields, medical stations, and drones. It’s a pretty sweet mixture of defensive and offensive strategizing using fast-paced, real-time action.
From what I can see through teaming up with others in the game world, the classes are well-balanced and can support each other wonderfully. However, the game supports both solo play style as well as grouping, even at the early levels. The community is fairly quiet, though not sparse in numbers. When asking to partake in a group, players have always demonstrated themselves to be friendly and helpful, even putting up with silly newbie confusions and bad strategizing of personal turrets. There’s also VoIP support and what appears to be thriving co-operative missions and massive regional PvP battles, none of which I have yet to try out.
One of the first areas outside of the starting city hub that you will find yourself in is Junk Town and the stretch of outposts, ruins, robot-owned bases, all reminiscent of those National Geographic images of the Arizona desert. The red desolation is beautiful to gawk at, and tease at me to the reasonable expectation that a story will reveal itself as to why there is such debris and the lack of flora and fauna on this futuristic Earth. Indeed, I am actually not told as to what continent I am on. And yes, I have read all of the quest dialogue windows! To add to the immersion, I can’t remember when I’ve ever hit a loading screen, which is fantastic for wandering through the vast stretches of the desert. If there could be slight variation of weather dynamics, that would be even better.
GLOBAL AGENDA: The HUD is simple, with a clear reticule and quick keys for each specific slot. The UI is less modifiable than MMOs like Eve Online and Warhammer Online, but serviceable. There's a high level of variability for graphics settings, including bloom, textures, and rendering engine (Direct X 9 or Direct X 11). I was playing with almost no lag with everything set on high.
Find me as the moniker “Avepekra” aboard Global Agenda!
I’m sure that I’ll be playing in the game for some time to come.
* MMOs played for the first time in the last 2 months are described in this post.
Haven’t updated here in a long time. I’ve kept with some basic EVE news but not gone game-side for about a year. So I heard all about the controversies on EVE’s new mini-mart for vanity items that would cost a pretty $60 USD, and the internal developer discussions that could not have been leaked at a worse time, entitled “Greed is Good?” The lack of improvements on the User Interface, together with the controversy, have made me not too quick to re-sub my fast-flying alter-ego, Marceline Nantakarn.
GUILD WARS: The slain beast of burden as part of an in-depth series of quests in the starter city and its premises.
So, for better or for worse, here are a short summary of MMOs that I have dabbled in in the past two months:
- City of Heroes: Never got past two days in trial mode; Frankly, the world looks ugly and suffers from poor and repetitive level design. The gameplay mechanics are unresponsive, which makes me feel like a mutant victimized citizen, not a superhero.
- Warhammer Online: Black and white good vs. evil characters (which frankly bores me), but decent if rather conventional gameplay. Great lorebook system that gives incentive to exploration and quests. On the other hand, for something that has paid subscription, it sure has lots of repetitive dungeon design even from several hours of play. The “limitless trial” is also fairly limiting. I’d rather pay for EVE Online or Guild Wars.
- Imperion: I’m just not a browser strategy MMORPG kind of person. Couldn’t tell if the game was well-balanced or not, but I just didn’t find it to be fun. Furthermore, the game doesn’t have nearly enough buildable structures and units for a online strategy MMO. Would rather play old-school Starcraft.
- Guild Wars, Prophecies: Lots of pros for things that are important to me: Amazing skills variety and dual-classing, varied classes, good mission design, good storyline. However, outdated textures that don’t look great at 1080p, the map is annoying in that doesn’t show where I need to find certain non-quest-related NPCs, and the game itself is not so fun without groups at the same level. Starter area is rather drawn out without getting into the fun of choosing proper skills and strategies to take into missions and battles.
- Forsaken World: No love for auto-routing to quest (I like exploring on my own), over-the-top costumes that are at points deliriously hilarious and absolutely irritating (why is my avatar flashing her thong with a Catholic cross on her back?), boring skills customization compared to Guild Wars, poor storytelling in some parts that lead to a break of immersion and motivation. Okay, despite the campy costumes, the world is gorgeous, and the level designs are suitably spaced (especially with all graphics settings on High), which makes it all the more annoying that there’s auto-routing instead of being given incentives to explore.
- Global Agenda: The most fast paced and fun game of the bunch from my experience so far. Storytelling is tight, action and a balance of using twitch-based offence and defence is tighter. Not so much skills specialization as Guild Wars, but trees do exist. Appears to have some PvP options which I haven’t tried yet. Had a good experience with teams, and the game appears to encourage it through channels and VoIP support. Look forward to more posts on Global Agenda!
FORSAKEN WORLD: I'm sorry, you expect me to do battle in this? And they call Lady Gaga a scandal against the Catholic Church! P.S., my character's class is a vampire. The irony alone kills.