Global Agenda: Wot I Think

I gave the free demo of Global Agenda a spin this weekend.

I’ve been interested in a FPS and MMO hybrid ever since Tabula Rasa came out. Unfortunately, Tabula Rasa wouldn’t play over my university’s network – something about ports not being open – and the game went defunct before I graduated and got my own internet connection.

My unrequited love inspired an interest in Global Agenda, but it wasn’t sufficient to immediately inspire me to get the game. I mean, Tabula Rasa actually had a plot, and missions, and stuff. Global Agenda, from what I had heard, was basically TF2 but with leveling. A free unlimited (but capped demo) – that was what was needed to get me to try the game.

First Appearances

The game operates through Steam, which is fine – except that I’m always concerned that Steam is eating up system resources and bandwith in the background of my machine. I’ve also had problems updating MMOs through Steam, particularly EVE. I experienced no issues, though.

The game itself is pretty and plays well, but I couldn’t turn on antialiasing. I found this to be a disappointment.

The game was generally responsive and bug-free. The only thing I noticed was something akin to a problem GeeCee has had in Age of Conan – on death, my character’s hair would sometimes turn blonde!


Sometime in the future, the world is screwed up. The Commonwealth, a totalitarian regime, has established a modicum of order, but it is opposed by a disparate collection on non-aligned states. Your character was originally being indoctrinated as a new Commonwealth recruit, but terrorists broke you out. Now you fight against the Commonwealth for whomever will hire you.

That’s it. That’s all the story there is. Most of this is told in the skippable, forgettable tutorial. That the world is screwed up is evidenced by the main menu – the world’s oceans have risen.

Game Play

You’re immediately dropped out of the tutorial and into the game. No further help is forth coming. There are little machines set-up all over that instruct you on where to go by drawing arrows on the ground. It’s a cool innovation, but it doesn’t help that much.

The game was… fun? There are currently three main “types” of play – PvE of increasing difficulties, which is run in PUGs of four players; “Mercenary” PvP, PUGS of sixteen on sixteen; and “Conquest”, which involves guilds (or whatever their called in this game) fighting other guilds for territory. The demo only lets you play PvE in the first two or three tiers of difficulty, and in the Mercenary PvP.

Maybe it was because I wasn’t able to play Conquest mode, but the game really game across as Team Fortress 2. You play with a bunch of strangers of varied classes. You shoot the enemy. You die and respawn. There are objectives on the map to take and hold, or move.

There are four classes – Medic, Recon (Spy + Sniper), Assault (Heavy), and Robotics (Engineer). I played all but the Engineer, and they’re all fun and distinct. Medic was the most easy to do well. I’m not certain how much levels affect game play, but as a Medic you’re always able to heal a good deal. At least I wasn’t cannon fodder.

The leveling aspect was interesting – you get access to new weapons and items as you gain level, and you can respec your proficiency in each on the fly, in the respawn areas of the map. This lets you more appropriately tool your character to the opposition you’re fighting, and was an interesting element to the game.

There is also crafting, but that is only available to subscribers. It looks like you can make bits of gear that make your character stronger, but aren’t that game altering. Armor and weapons aren’t crafted – they’re either vanity pieces with no influence on the game (armor), or you unlock them leveling (weapons).

Will I Be Playing It?

Probably not. I can see how Conquest, a guild, and voice chat would make this game much more fun – it’d be a persistent FPS, where your fighting had meaning. But Conquest and crafting require effort and a $15 per month price tag. The $40 purchase of the game only lets me level up my character past level 15 – if I didn’t subscribe, I’d basically be playing Mercenary matches all the time, always.

That’s fun, but not fun enough. I’ve got alot of other things on my plate.

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