Hot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that the planned subscription fee for Global Agenda would be scrapped comes a comprehensive FAQ explaining just how this decision is going to affect the future of the game.
It all shakes out about as you’d expect, but a couple of the more interesting bits include the fact that — despite being introduced less than a month ago — the token system is already being reworked, and that the next major patch is going to arrive sometime in July. Also, though there won’t be a cash shop, you will be able to purchase items that will increase the rate at which you earn XP and tokens (though, for you worry warts out there, you still won’t be able to surpass the daily cap).
In the interest of conserving space, I’m posting the beginning of the Q&A below, with the rest following the break:
Why did you decide to make this change?
After receiving feedback from many existing and potential players, we believe that we will have the most thriving community by offering a non-subscription purchase model.
If I purchased the game, will I be charged for anything I’m currently playing?
No, there are no additional charges for the current content, including the Agency-vs-Agency gameplay and all currently available PvE modes. In the future, players may elect to purchase new expansions with additional content.
How much will expansion cost in the future?
We expect new expansions will be priced competitively when compared to expansions of other non-subscription games.
How often are expansions going to be released?
Expansions are expected to be released once or twice per year.
When is the next expansion expected to be released?
We currently anticipate that the next expansion will be released about 6 months from now (end 2010). The content within the Sandstorm expansion this Summer will be included in the initial game purchase price.
What will expansions include?
Expansions will include new content, usually centered around a new world region, with new maps, new weapons/devices, new PvE encounters, new achievements, new social areas, new open zones and new crafting.
What happens if an expansion raises the level cap?
All players will be able to continue to level their characters to the maximum level cap regardless of purchasing an expansion.
Is there a cost for patches between expansions?
There is no cost for updates between expansions.
Can I skip expansions or do I have to buy each of them in order?
You can skip expansions, although you will not be able to gain access to the content that the particular expansion provided until it’s purchased.
Will my game still work if I don’t buy expansions?
Yes, you will still be able to play with other players and have access to all the content in the original purchase.
Are free trials going to change with this plan?
There are no changes to free trial at this time.
What happens to pre-subscribers?
Pre-subscribers will not be charged any subscription fees, but will keep all the extra bonuses received for the pre-subscription. Pre-subscribers can leave their payment information for future purchases. (Note: The daily token awards for pre-subscribers will end on June 25).
Is this plan for all countries/regions?
This new pricing plan is the same for all regions.
Are there other games using this kind of purchase model?
Guild Wars would be considered to have a very similar purchase model.
Are all of the current planned features for 1.3 (Sandstorm expansion) included in the current purchase?
All existing 1.3 features that are currently in the game are included. The first Open Zone will also be included (once released later this summer), in addition to Defense missions and Tournaments. 64-player War Zones are planned for a future expansion.
Is there going to be a cost to playing Agency-vs-Agency (AvA)?
No, all current AvA game-play is included in the single-purchase price. Once an expansion is available, it may be required to continue playing AvA to ensure that everyone is playing on the same maps.
What is the future of AvA in this model?
AvA will continue to be one of the game play modes available to all players.
Is there going to be an additional cost for playing the current high level Solo or Team Special-Ops missions?
No, all current content at all difficulty levels is included as part of the one-time game purchase.
If I don’t have an expansion, does that mean I can’t play with my friends?
You can still play with your friends on any content that each of you have purchased.
Will players with expansions be more powerful than I am?
Expansions will offer some new weapons/devices to give the player additional play styles for more variety. These will be designed to be different and not strictly ‘better’. However due to balancing, some may end up being a bit weaker or stronger.
Is the token system being changed?
Yes, there will only be a single “Global” token type and a very high daily limit on the number of tokens a player can earn (most likely about 200/day). There is also an account limit on the number of tokens a player can hold.
Is the number of tokens given per mission changing?
Yes, with the next major patch (in July), players will be able to earn more tokens per mission. Each normal mission will give from 1 to 6 tokens based on the difficulty and success. There may be longer missions or other game modes in the future that award a larger number of tokens. (Tournaments, AvA, Longer PvE missions, etc.).
What happens to the tokens I currently own?
There will be a conversion of Conquest Tokens and Mercenary Tokens once this change goes into effect (with next major patch in July).
Can tokens or in-game items be available as a cash purchase?
No. All items must be earned in-game.
Can anything besides expansions be purchased for cash?
Yes. Global Agenda will offer some account-related purchases such as Name change in addition to a couple of convenience items.
What kind of convenience items are available for purchase?
For players with more limited play time we will offer two boosts. One boost to allow for faster XP gains and the other boost for faster token gains.
Can a player who buys a XP boost get to higher level?
No, every player will reach the same level (50 currently). The XP boost will allow a player to reach it faster.
Can a player who buys a token boost get more tokens?
No, every player will have the same daily token cap. The token boost will allow a player to reach it faster.
Why are you allowing for XP and token boost purchases?
XP and Tokens boosts allow players to save time. This was something that was asked for by a large number of players who want to play the game more casually or want to level multiple alts more easily.
How much will XP and token boosts cost and what will they give?
Currently we expect each boost to cost about 25 cents for an hour and give 2x gains while it’s on. Boosts will most likely be sold in packs, for example a $5 package for 10 boosts of two-hours each.
How do I purchase and activate a boost?
Once available, boosts will be purchasable from the Global Agenda website.
Boosts will be delivered in the mail and will be bound items that can be activated at the time of your choice.
What happens when I reach the max and a boost is on?
The boost will not give additional bonus once you reach the max daily limit (for tokens) or max character level (for XP)
When will XP and Token boosts be available?
This is expected in July, 2010.
Will I be able to buy consumables or gear that affect combat directly and which someone else cannot obtain without paying?
No, everyone can earn the same tokens by doing missions and buy the same items.
Can I do an auto purchase at the first of the monthly cycle?
This is not a feature that is available at this point. We may re-examine it if there is enough demand.