At what point can we consider this a concrete industry trend. It seems if a title isn’t holding a healthy amount of subscribers, a number which depends on the title, the game will make its way to the free-to-play model (Could Fallen Earth be next?). Dungeons & Dragons did it, Champions Online followed and EverQuest II has special servers to accommodate that part of its fanbase. Heck, Lord of the Rings Online, a title that was doing fine by all accounts, transformed because Turbine made gobs of money from DDO: EU’s transition. That company struck gold twice.
Hi-Rez Studios announced today that its third-person sci-fi shooter Global Agenda will be joining the freemium ranks when the Free Agent content patch releases in mid-April. To date, the company hasn’t charged a single subscription fee, modifying from a subscription model to the Guild Wars style ‘pay for expansions’ model when Sandstorm, the previous large content patch, was released in June. Hi-Rez Studios refused to charged subscription fees until it felt the game was of adequate polish.
I did mention that Patch v1.4 is a content patch, right? The aptly titled Free Agent will include new high level content in the form of a Dome Defense mission, a Capture The Flag-style Mercenary map with pilotable robots and revamps to all specialization trees (FINALLY!). Additional content and tweaks weren’t detailed, but are promised.
Obviously, F2P titles make their money off of cash shops, and Hi-Rez is already promoting a premiere item, Elite Agent status. The one-time purchase ($19.99) gives players all sorts of perks including increased XP, credits and Elite loot, selectable Mercenary maps and more. Standard boosters will continue to be made available for all players.
Gamers that currently own Global Agenda will be upgraded to Elite Agent status upon relaunch for free.
F2P customers really do get full access to the game. Hit the jump to see all the perks to Elite Agents and the guarantees to F2P gamers.
- No Level Restriction
- Ability to earn all of the game’s current items without spending real money.
- Access to all of the game’s current playable content, including:
- Sonoran Desert Open Zone
- Special Ops PvE (1- to 4-person Co-Op)
- 10v10 Mercenary PvP
- 4v4 Arena PvP
- Double Agent PvPE
- 10-person Defense Raids (including the new Dome Defense Mission coming in version 1.4).
- Agency vs Agency Gameplay (AvA)
Elite Agent – One-time purchase of $19.99 (£13.99 GBP, €15.99 EUR)
- Earn End-of-Mission XP at twice the rate of a Free-to-Play user
- Earn End-of-Mission Credits and Tokens at twice the rate of a Free-Play user
- Earn End-of-Mission Elite Loot upon winning an instanced PvE or PvP match
- Choose which PvP game types you would like to play when queuing for Mercenary PvP.
- Access the Auction House
- Access In-Game Mail
- Less restrictive chat capabilities
- No ads for in-game voice
- Ability to create Agencies
- Higher Login priority