Global Agenda, “Sandstorm” Phase II, Hits Today

After an extended mid-day downtime, the second phase of Global Agenda‘s first expansion should be available for play on July 22nd. Now, I know there’s a bit of confusion as to how this update represents Phase II. A lot of people expected the bulk of new features to be introduced in Phase III, and complicating matters, the developer’s CEO mentioned that the changes to AvA were actually Phase II (a fact that he apparently didn’t share with the community). Well, if official sources are to be believed (and if they aren’t, who can be?) then this is definitively Phase II. That means there may still be some stuff in the works (the 64-player Warzones, hopefully), but who cares? We’re getting a mass of awesome stuff right now. Sandstorm is absolutely cream-worthy.

Here’s what you can look forward to in the new patch:

  • The Sonoran Desert Open Zone — For the first time, you can actively adventure outside the confines of Dome City. The Sonoran Desert features a more traditional, quest-driven style of MMO gameplay with all sorts of rewards and arcs fleshing out the world’s story. It’s designed for newer players from Level 5-15, but the way levels are structured in the game means that just about anyone will find it a lucrative venture.
  • Defensive Raids — These are 10-player skirmishes with waves of AI opponents attacking Dome City. Reportedly quite difficult, these raids should give experienced players another great way to test their skills.
  • Consumables/Salvage — In playing the game, you come across a number of duplicate weapons and items that would probably better be scrapped than sold. Now you can actually do something with them, breaking them into component parts through Salvage and using those bits to construct new, one-time Consumables which can be used to buff yourself in battle:
    • Insta-Heal: instantly provides a full heal when activated.
    • SuperShell: Pops a shell similar to the Perfect Target device.
    • Mini-Force Wall: Pops a small force-field (similar to the Robotics Force Field)
    • Excessive Damage: Provides a damage boost for a given time period.
  • Spec Ops Expanded — There will be new Spec Ops (4-player PvE) missions available with improved enemy A.I. to complement.
  • Token Changes — The token system is being revamped again to accommodate the elimination of the subscription fee and further streamline gear upgrades.
  • Rainbow Dye — According to Hi-Rez President/CEO Erez Goren, it’s out there, but it won’t be easy to get. Obtaining it will make you even more special than seeing a full double rainbow in the sky.
  • “Much More” — What does this mean? Who knows? But we’ll find out soon enough, won’t we?

Although future expansions will be different, remember that Sandstorm is completely free to anyone who simply purchases the game. You can check out the full patch notes, though they seem to be the same as the ones introduced during Phase II’s testing. No word on if they’ve changed further since then or not.