Over the course of the weekend, I was able to put in a few more hours in to the revamped Global Agenda. As previously discussed, Phase 1 of Sandstorm has begun a massive reboot to the third-person shooter. Hi-Rez Studios searched high and low for mechanics to address in an attempt to make Global Agenda feel more RPGish. This scavenger hunt was precipitated by demands from the playerbase — a playerbase that’s been split since the decisions were handed down.
The first point of contention was brought up in our first impression of patch v1.3 from last week. Spambuster wrote: “The over abundance of ‘epic’ items is also a downer. You no longer feel the deserved ability to say ‘I have full epic gear.’ ” He concluded by stating, “I don’t believe having them as easily obtainable as they currently are is such a great idea.”
The complaint is a simple one, and one that all MMOG players know. It’s the idea of welfare epics. Hi-Rez Studios took a badge of dedication – hours of grinding for materials to be used in crafting, or hours of farming credits for epics – and made it easily obtainable. Players can now acquire purpalz from random drops and/or a badge system, in addition to crafting or the auction house. I’ve personally received two (or three, can’t remember specifically) new epics since the patch went live on Thursday. I had one previously.
Hit the jump to read more QQing, and some other changes from Sandstorm.
The next major talking point extends from the first – the new gear system. The system flares up a nasty case of gear vs. skill QQ. Previously, gear had very little stats, making the game heavily skill based. In the world before Sandstorm, players were given gear based on their level. There was no need to farm, just level and select your weapons of choice.
Phase 1 has flipped this on its head. Today’s players must farm gear, from weapons to armor, through play. These new pieces also contain their own bonuses – +X ranged damage, +Y melee damage, apply a Z% debuff to target – that make them far more unique than the previous incarnations. Naturally, a common (green) and epic (purple) piece of equipment can have a drastically different impact on a player’s ability. This increases dependency on gear, and lessens the skill factor.
There’s one thing we need to remember during the debates: the decisions were made to make Global Agenda a better game. The company has added meta game, given the casual players and small guilds a more even shot at enjoyment and made itemization far more interesting. I’ll concede the “too many epics” scandal (exactly how hard is it going to be to get the epic epic weapons, anyways?), but I don’t believe the game has become too gear dependent, or will in the near future. The added gear tiers are more for show then impact (see gallery). After all, the attributes are particular (a buff for a single aspect of offense or defense), not far reaching (one, maybe two attributes modified) and non-epic in nature (the damage of weapons doesn’t change).
The debate is out in the air. While you’re formulating your response, please glance over these other points of interest I encountered during my recent marathon:
- Conquest and Mercenary tokens are given to you for free as part of a subscription. I know it is meant as a perk, but it seems like a cheat to gain tokens whether I play or not.
- New spell effects are very cool looking and more in your face. It makes them far easier to recognize.
- Debuff/Buff UI overall did not go far enough. I still can’t recognize what everything at the top of my screen means. Since I can’t mouse over, I can’t easily learn the details either.
- DirectX 10 hit me like a Mack truck when I first logged in. I’ve noticed subtle touches — ever-so-tiny dirtdevils and sand swirls, wisps of smoke fogging the air, debris kicked up by factory machines — since then. Again, very nice.
- Economy has gone crazy. It’s an obvious cause of the patch, but I wonder how long it will take to settle. And what that settling point will be.
- My legs continue to be on the verge of snapping off at any moment. Such a rigid animation.
- Achievements seem to be busted. I cannot even get to the page anymore…
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a ton of gear and badges to farm.