50 MMOs in 50 Days #22: Global Agenda

Last played: 2011
Experience: Minimal

If a typical MMO has open-world PvE and instanced PvP, I’ll usually spend about 95% of my time doing the PvE and just dabble in the PvP. Global Agenda was just about the opposite for me.

The open-world gameplay was typical MMO questing, made worse by the fact that I jumped in over a year after launch and there was virtually no one around. The PvP, on the other hand – looking back now, it probably wasn’t anything special, though there did seem to be a pretty good bit of variety, and it just somehow clicked with me. Yes, there was flying, which I complained about in Firefall, but it seemed a little less twitchy and there were indoor areas in most maps, often negating the advantage of vertical movement.

GlobalAgendaThe other way that Global Agenda was different for me than most MMOs was that I was actually concerned about my rate of advancement, especially as a free player. I know that “You earned N XP, but you could have had 1.5xN if you were a member” is standard, but for some reason it irked me more in Global Agenda than it usually does. Maybe because it was so prominent at the end-of-mission screen, or because progression seemed more vertical than it is in a game like, say, PlanetSide 2. And yes, I know Hi-Rez Studios needed to make money off the game somehow. I’m usually OK with advancing more slowly, but for some reason it just bugged me here.

We covered Global Agenda a fair bit in Massive Online Gamer, as it launched just about when I was starting. As I had a freelancer already writing about the game, I didn’t look in on it until it went free-to-play a year later. It struck me as an “OK” kind of game; as I said, the gameplay was fine but nothing great, the graphics were kinda dated but not horrible, the story was… well, it was there. It wasn’t a crapfest or an indie game, but it wasn’t quite what I would call a AAA title either. Maybe it was a AA game?

If you’re going to make an MMO, you have to go big or you have to… well, not go home. “Go efficient and cheap” might be more correct. Small, niche MMOs can carve out a following, and the big huge ones with $50+ million in their budget generally do OK too, even if they have a rough start. Global Agenda seemed to be caught in the middle of those two extremes and Hi-Rez Studios paid for it, literally – the CEO said the company lost $30 million on it and Tribes: Ascend.

That would have killed most companies, but Hi-Rez is still alive and kicking (thanks in large part to SMITE), and I think there was enough good in Global Agenda that I’m semi-eagerly waiting to see how Global Agenda 2 works out. It’ll be interesting to see how much Hi-Rez has learned.

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