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Interview

IGTV: Global Agenda Developer Interview Pt. 2

IncGamers’ Bill Vaughan caught up with executive producer Todd Harris, and vice president of game operations Stewart Chisam to talk about the upcoming Global Agenda, its setting and how it is different to any other MMO out there.  In this, the second of our two part interview (you can read and watch the first one here), we find out more about the subscription models.  We start by asking how subscribers will benefit more and what perks they get…TH: The first and most important is access to a set of persistent territories that non-subscribers do not have access to. It was very important to us not to create any imbalances of gameplay between single purchasers and subscribers, so any device that’s usable in co-op PvE matches or standard player vs player multiplayer matches, both communities have access to. So if I get new stealth, or Stew gets better healing, whether he’s a non-subscriber or I’m a subscriber, we’ll have equal access to that. But there’s an entire additional set of territories – new maps – that are only available to subscribers and those are actually persistent, so when we win or lose a match in one of these territories, the state of that territory is actually going to stay the same.If we have a territory and it’s a factory, and we’ve said “Hey, we want to use that to actually produce some of those cool robots that we can use to attack the opponents,” like we were talking about, we can do that. We can decide we want to put a factory there, and we want it to produce robots, and we’re actually going to take those robots and attack your base next week with them. That is a set of gameplay that’s only available to subscribers. We call that the Conquest gameplay, because it’s all about conquering and holding territory that’s persistent. That is really the first and foremost feature. There are a number of other supporting features that are a little more associated with an MMO, if you want to hit on those, Stew.SC: Yeah, it’s kinda supporting this ongoing campaign around territory control. There are some features where you can, as a player, support your Agency through crafting, as an example. There’s an auction house that’s available for subscribers but not available for non-subscribers that kinda supports the economy around fortifying your territories and getting ready for what we called the AvA combat – AvA is Alliance vs Alliance. So a stronger economy, the ability to participate in this ongoing pursuit for territory control, the ability to actually create an Agency – Agencies are our version of guilds or clans inside of the game, and you can only create an Agency if you’re a subscriber, but you can be in an Agency as a non-subscriber.There are a few other features; some enhanced voice chat capabilities and a couple of other things, but most of it centres around the competitive on-going quest for territory control. That’s really what you’re getting for subscription content. As a non-subscriber, you’re still getting a great class-based multiplayer shooter that has a full levelling system, player vs player content, player vs environment content, and you’re not gimped in the content that you have access to in any other way if you happen to meet a subscriber in those areas. You just have access to this very cool additional gameplay mode around the campaign.{PAGE TITLE=Global Agenda Developer Interview page 2}TH: As currently envisioned, non-subscribers will not have that additional access to things like upgrades. The upgrades that crafter are building, they can put on the auction house, and that does give the subscribers an additional way to get upgrades, but the upgrades are not envisioned to be any more powerful. So Stew as a non-subscriber has a number of ways that he can get upgrades that are as good as mine, as a subscriber. He can run PvE missions and get them as loot drops, he can also earn – in the current build – tokens for PvE or PvP, and cash those in for upgrades, and get them that way. I, as a subscriber, can craft upgrades and put those out on the auction house. So that is an additional way for subscribers to get upgrades, but fundamentally, they’re not powerful upgrades – it’s just another channel of access there.SC: Yeah, we can get to the same place, but we may get there different ways. I think the other thing that’s important to understand about those upgrades is they definitely impact your stats, but they’re not a substitute for skill. I think in general, we’ve tried to design the game where, as you acquire a lot of these things, it does make you a more diverse player, able to do a lot of other things. Equally-skilled players, one without and one with – the one with is going to do slightly better, but skill is still a very critical aspect of the gameplay and personally, if I’m staffing my team, I would easily take a lower-level player without all of the upgrades and other aspects who was very high skill, versus a mediocre player who had all of that. So I think the non-subscribers are going to find the content they have access to very competitive. They’re going to be able to do very well. They’ll have to work slightly differently for how they get there, but they can get all the same things to help their character around that gameplay, and we’ve worked very hard to make sure people that only buy the box don’t feel like they’re getting a gimped game or something that feels like it’s not worth it unless you subscribe.I would stand very much by the box-only game as a great game if we didn’t have the subscription option to it – we just really thought the subscription option was extremely compelling, worth a subscription to add on to it, and by having a subscription it allows us to run the servers to make it extra compelling, and secure, and all one world. It also helps us continually add content, and grow and evolve the world over time, that wouldn’t be possible through other models.TH: Really, the evolution of the non-subscription model was kind of inspired from the community itself. As I was mentioning, we haven’t introduced AvA to the beta community yet, so for the most part people have been playing the subset of the game, and we got a lot of feedback that said “I’m really interested in seeing the AvA stuff, but also, I would pay fifty dollars for what you’ve already shown me and I think it compares favourably to other games in the category.” So we said, “Okay! If people want to sample the game that way, or buy the game that way, then let’s make that an option for them.”At this point IncGamers’ Bill Vaughan asked what the studio had against elves…[Both laugh.]
TH: Should I hold this up?
[Harris holds aloft an object showing two stuffed elf toys tied together.]TH: A fan sent us this, which is a couple of bound and gagged elves. We take no responsibility for our fans. [Laughs] We did launch thiscampaign called “No Elves” and we want to be on the record that we have no hate against elves. We’re big fans of fantasy, we play fantasy MMOs and read a lot of fantasy books, so it’s nothing against elves. It’s just that elves have already been done very, very well in quite a few games, and we wanted to do something different in Global Agenda, rather than trying to make another elf game better. So nothing against elves, but Global Agenda’s very different. It’s not tab-targeting, it’s not adventuring through the wilderness, it’s not click-and-wait mechanics. It’s instant-action, it’s science-fiction weapons, it’s in-your-face explosive, multiplayer combat, and it’s no elves.Read the first part of our interview here.  You can also check the video interview if you’d prefer right here.

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