Global Agenda’s recent relaunch as Global Agenda: Free Agent had a lot going for it. Obviously, free-to-play is a much loved alternative to paying. Hi-Rez Studios went all in with the relaunch, as so many companies do, developing new content while redesigning the old to coalesce with the new vision. Droves of players have joined and returned to Dome City, expectations high and wallets neglected. Ronix has been having a good time. I on the other hand, was sorely disappointed with the turnout of my most anticipated update.
I have been waiting for Hi-Rez Studios to redesign the specialization trees for the four classes since the game was launched. In fact, I knocked the game’s initial level of “polish” in the review I had written because “the specialization trees are uninspired.” That was just over a year ago. Since then, two major content patches have been produced, and little has changed.
I had high hopes after reading the Free Agent patch notes, but they were soon dashed on the ground like an unfortunate player after a jet pack malfunction. The specialization trees remain largely the same, slight balance tweaks being the only changes. Players are still stuck with an anaemic amount of cookie cutter builds and uninspired talent names. We remain restricted in our options, shackled by a baker’s dozen worth of talent points. Yes, I’m aware that adding new talents would upset balance, but that kind of content would have gone a long, long, way towards making the game fresh for current and returning players, while polishing it for the newcomers.
Relaunching is a major ordeal. It’s done when a game is either struggling to make it as a subscription title or the suits believe that F2P is the way to go (and the modifications to the new format aren’t cost preventative). Every recent relaunch of a former subscription title has been met with a parade of players returning or being introduced to the game. This is when the title needs to impress. A short window with a rush of players is all it gets. Many companies spend weeks, if not months preparing. A handful go as far as to beta test the reroll of the game.
Hi-Rez Studios seemingly flipped a switch, changing the game from an expansion-based model to a free-to-play model in a week’s time. The dungeon content was ready, but the little things got missed.
The little things, like being able to diversify yourself from every other medic, add to longevity and keep the players coming back.