The RPG aspect of most modern MMORPGs really overpowers the rest of the game. In far too many cases, the power of your character is tied directly with its current level, and the current gear they have. Often times, these aspects are serve as limiters for each other (you can’t equip this until your this level). By and large, this gives players with additional time on their hands an advantage. Their dedication allows them to progress their character further, far outranking those below them in every facet: hit points, damage, etc. But there’s one thing that playing more doesn’t guarantee — skill.
I don’t mean skill as in the innate ability to “pwn newbs.” Skill, as defined by me, is the ability to know the game and its intangibles. In WoW, it’s knowing your class’ hit cap, the best spec, and encyclopedic knowledge of encounters. It’s a clear understanding of your chosen avatar’s calling, and how to best utilize all its inherent abilities at the appropriate moments. Skill is the comprehensive knowledge of tactics and strategy you can offer, not time spent farming shinies or grinding friends.
Hit the jump to see why the design philosophy of Global Agenda is so intriguing to many PvP-minded MMOG players.
Not to pick on WoW, but in Azeroth skill isn’t in a good balance with gear or level. I can be a very good player, but if I am a few levels lower than a dirty Horde, he’ll crush me in the blink of an eye. Heck, if you’re the same level but I’ve only played 5 days on my level 80 and you’ve played 20 days, you’ll have a large advantage over me. This isn’t the case in Global Agenda. In Global Agenda, skill is the end all, be all, and that’s what has kept me hooked.
Currently, my medic isn’t even close to approaching the level cap of level 50. Despite being some twenty levels lower than other healers, I can often out-heal them. In some instances, I can even do it while out-DPSing and acquiring more objective points. I’m not gloating, there are plenty of players out there that have managed to pull the same feat on me when I was the one with the added “experience.” Sometimes it’s situational, other times people are just that much better with their character.
The specs are limited and very cookie cutter in Global Agenda, which rules the strategic mechanic out as an important aspect of skill. Choosing a handy weapon payload that suits the spec and playstyle is far more important. Yet that pales in comparison to having a sharp, tactical mind. For instance, I’m a healer, so I need to be around someone to heal. Secondary to having a target is managing to keep myself alive. This is why most healers select the feedback gun that heals themselves, along with their target. A skillful choice that offers synergy between tactics and strategy and even the spec. Getting the utmost out of each choice you make is the key to topping the brackets.
Like any freshly-launched MMOG, there are plenty things to QQ about in Global Agenda. The one thing the design team has done right is make time spent in-game a secondary measurement. Yes, you get better loot, but the stats are only incremental increases. You also score yourself additional XP, which unlocks further payload options. Rather than being more powerful choices, the guns, grenades and other doodads that are unlocked offer a character more versatility. Being a skilled player can easily override the first, and potentially nullify the second. I can only hope that the rest of the PvP-loving MMOG community latches onto a game that promotes tactics, strategy and knowledge over /played.
Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that you have to aim. Aiming takes skill.