For the uninitiated — and I fear there are many of you out there — AvA is short for “Agency vs. Agency” combat, or alternatively “Alliance vs. Alliance” combat. Think of Agencies as Guilds and Alliances as groups of those formed in order to hold the most collective territory on a giant, hex-based map. Needless to say, you wouldn’t want to take a shot at someone else’s land without the power of a whole Alliance behind you, but therein lies the problem: what if one grew so big, that no other stood a chance at winning?
That’s the issue currently facing Global Agenda’s marquee gameplay system, and it has been further compounded by the decision to move from multiple, small maps to one very, very large one in the first phase of semi-expansion Sandstorm. The Alliance called “JL” currently controls at least half of the map, their only challenger being “FUBAR,” who controls the other half by means of swallowing up most of the weaker Agencies and incorporate those hexes into their total land holdings.
In some ways, this is an inevitable result of having one Alliance too large for the board — another of equal size will ultimately come to challenge it, which means ultimately less fun for everyone involved. An Agency’s territory is either opened manually to collect resources or forced open after a period of about three days, during which it is available to attack. With two Alliances dominating the map, that means any good action only happens every few days, and smaller Alliances/Agencies don’t get to participate at all.
Hi-Rez is attempting to circumvent this snafu in their latest patch by making a rather significant change to the way AvA works. Read on for the analysis.
Basically, any hex you own that isn’t close to your Headquarters or hasn’t recently closed is subject to random opening even during non-production hours. Also, when an Agency opens their land for production, they must now stay open for 2 hours instead of 1, which widens the amount of time big landholders are vulnerable to attack. Along with changes to the core system come nerfs to several recently-implemented Epic Boosts (read: buffs) which have “broken” the game according to many players by making points stupidly easy to capture: the Assault’s Super Smash Boost and the Medic’s Oathbreaker.
If this sounds like a giant game of Risk to you (or, perhaps more appropriately, Diplomacy), then you’d be about right. But it can still be hard to wrap your head around the rules, and even if you’re a regular player, the tweaks offered in this latest hotfix can be, too. Maybe it’s best if you take a look at the changelog yourself?
- Oathbreaker Boost: Healing reduction on enemies changed from 100 to 50. Damage to targets moved from 150 to 75. Amount healed moved from 150 to 75.
- Super Smash Boost: The boost now increases assault damage resistance by 25% (previously 500%). No changes to knockback.
- The minimum time that an agency can be open for production has been changed from 1 hour to 2 hours.
- Any territory you own that is ***EITHER*** not contiguous to your Headquarters ****OR**** more than 2 hexes away from your HQ, is subject to the hex being automatically opened for 1 hour at random intervals outside of your normal production open time.
- The more total territory your agency owns, the more likely individual hexes are to be auto-opened.
- No hexes will be automatically opened within the first 12 hours after closing production, allowing for a safe period. The more time that has passed since you last opened for production, the more likely your hexes are to be opened.
- Any territory that is both close to your HQ and contiguous to your HQ is “safe” from these open events, so agencies are encouraged to put their highest value facilities within this safe ring and to work diligently to maintain continuity between hexes.