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Global Agenda: Free Agent

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Global Agenda free-to-play gets five times the players, revenues “higher than they ever have been”">Global Agenda - distant targets



Global Agenda has experimented with a number of different business models since it was released. It started as a typical retail game, then offered an unlimited trial period, and just recently it went completely free to play. We recently spoke with Hi-Res Studio COO Todd Harris about the move to the new pricing model. He told us that Global Agenda is enjoying five times the number of players since the shift to free to play, and revenues "are higher than they ever have been before."



"We recently shifted it in the past quarter to free to play and we've only seen great things out of that decision," said Harris. "We have many many more people creating accounts every day, many more people playing concurrently, our revenues are higher than they ever have been before which means we can develop content and put it into the game faster than ever before."



"Philosophically, I probably wouldn't have said this two years ago because I maybe had more a negative bias about free to play," he added. "The way we look at it it lets us succeed based on the strength of the gameplay more than marketing and that probably to me is the biggest advertisement for it."







Harris told us that even compared to the level capped trial, the free to play approach has enticed many more players. "We now have five times as many interested players every day going through that same experience knowing that it's free to play and it's not a demo," he said.



Give the success of free to play for Global Agenda, and other games like Lord of the Rings Online and Team Fortress 2, will there be more free to play games to come? "I think more and more will," says Harris, "you never say never. For some blockbuster, very well-known brands, there's still a $60 single price entry fee even if there's microtransactions after that, because they just can command it, because they do have that market awareness, but I do think it's clearly the direction of gaming."



Global Agenda recently received a patch adding new maps and a jetpack shop. Hi-Rez studios are currently working on future updates for Global Agenda, and are developing Tribes: Ascend.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Global Agenda patch 1.44 to add new maps and “cosmetic flair”">Global Agenda



A new Global Agenda update is set to arrive later today, adding new maps and a couple of new stores, one selling jetpacks, and another selling "cosmetic flair." The Global Agenda servers will be down for a few hours while the patch is applied, between 11:00 and 17:00 US Eastern time / 16:00 to 22:00 GMT.



The two new maps, Magmarock and Haulin' Acid have been promoted from beta status to be played in PvP mode. Magmarock is a control map that will be added to the Mercenaries PvP queue, while Haulin' Acid provides another payload arena.



The new jetpack store can be found in Dome City. Ironically, you have to use a Dome City jetpack to reach the jetpack store on the upper levels of the hub. The store will also sell custom jetpack trails. The new fashion store, Burning Fashions, will replace Carter's Seasonal Accessories, and provide more buy-able cyborg bling to pimp out your warrior. You'll find the full patch notes below.



Dome City Changes:



Carter’s Seasonal Accessories has closed up shop.

Burning Fashion has arrived in Dome City and will be selling cosmetic flair where Carter’s used to be.

The long awaited Skyward Jetpacks has finally landed at the upper deck of Dome City and is open for business. In addition to selling jetpacks available elsewhere in the game, Skyward also sells high-end jetpack trail effects. You must be a boosted customer with a jetpack in Dome City in order to reach the upper deck of Dome City where Skyward resides.

Adjusted the position of the guard at the South gate to the Sonoran Desert to be less confusing to players attempting to exit the dome.



 

Open Zone Changes:



Uncommon quality Repair Kits can now be purchased from Yuma Imports at New Yuma Station

Fixed some issues with materials that appeared to flicker when using Direct X 10 on some clients



 

Gameplay Changes:



Frenzy wave should now properly award buff points for hitting allies



 

Bugs Fixed in Version 1.44



Finalized netcode update (initially deployed on 6/23). Significant changes to net code that improve communication between the Atlanta data center and the games` other data centers. This should reduce occurrences of the "stuck on floor” issue for EU and NA West users, as well as provide some other benefits while entering and leaving matches.



 

Map Changes



New PvP Control map “Magmarock” has been promoted from Beta and added permanently to the Mercenary PvP Queue.

New PvP Payload map “Haulin’ Acid” has been added to the Beta Maps Queue.



 
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Steam starts supporting free-to-play games">Steam Free to Play



It is frustrating that Valve insist on telling the world very important news just as everyone in the office turns off their PCs to go home. That leaves it to me to tell you that Valve have added microtransaction support for free-to-play games to Steam, with five available immediately: Champions Online: Free for All, Global Agenda: Free Agent, Spiral Knights, Forsaken Worlds, and Alliance of Valliant Arms.



Starting tomorrow, each of the five games will offer exclusive in-game content to those players who try out the "free-to-play game of the day." That likely means Champions Online will soon be inundated with new players wearing Pyro masks or wielding Gordon's crowbar, which can only be a good thing for all involved.



Read on for a few more thoughts.



You can find all five games in the new free-to-play section of the Steam store.



The news here is that Steamworks' micropayment functionality is being used across all the games. The tech was originally rolled out for Team Fortress 2's Mannconomy update, and it has been generating wads of money for Valve and prompting occasional ire from gamers ever since. Given that these games were already free-to-play with micropayments though, it seems like little cause for further consternation.



Instead, it seems like a good thing. Free-to-play games vary in quality wildly, and there's so many of them from so many developers that it's difficult to work out which are worth your time. Having a bunch of them in a central place like Steam, where you can see what your friends are playing, should make it easier to work out what's worth your time. It'll also stop these games being so marginalised and take away a little of the stigma of playing them. If that results in the good free-to-play games getting the attention they deserve, then that's great.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to April’s best free PC games">



You know what? It's been a hell of a month for free games. Normally, when planning this column, I've to scour the internet high and low to locate some hidden gems. This month, they've been coming out of the walls, man! Special mentions should go to Picaroon, Space Engine and Pragmatica, all of which are worth a look, but read below the jump to find out which titles I've ended up loving the most.



Technobabylon - Part III: In Nuntius Veritas

Technocrat. Grab it from GameJolt.







I really need to go back to the start of Technobabylon at some point. Its first episode was an unassuming little room escape title with some interesting narrative touches to keep things fresh. Since then it's expanded into an enormous adventure series set in an unsettling future where your character is under constant oppression or threat.



Part III is the most stylish so far, and perhaps the most well-written, although all three episodes are marvelous from a storytelling perspective. For my money, the actual game itself isn't quite as strong, with a couple of stinkers in the puzzle and mini-game department. But now that the several interlocking strands of the story are coming together, there's never been a better time to give the series a go.

Soul Brother

. Play it on the website.







This is a neat idea. From the always-agreeably-barmy comes a new platformer, which is essentially a game about very carefully timed suicide. Yeah. Exactly.



The idea is this. Soul Brother features a string of different characters, each with its own special abilities. When one character dies, its spirit enters the next one, and you play on from there. The trick is to time your deaths so that the next character is in the most favourable position to plod along with the adventure.



The game itself is a pretty straightforward, unremarkable platformer, but the art style is nice, and the idea behind it is lovely. So is the name, come to think of it.

Ace of Spades

Ben Askoy. Download it from the official website.







Hey, look, it's Minecraft: World War I edition with a multiplayer twist! Ace of Spades so shamelessly nicks both the core mechanics and visual design of Mojang's pre-release classic that my initial response was to laugh at it, and ignore it. But it turns out there's a bit more going on here than you might expect.



Firstly, its rudimentary physics system opens up a whole boatload of new creative avenues. And secondly, the combat is a huge improvement on Minecraft's, with some absolutely fantastic range and satisfying insta-kill headshots.



The first beta build was as bug-ridden as you can imagine, but an updated version - which I've not touched yet - is now available. And, of course, this is entirely free, so a lot of that stuff can be quite reasonably forgiven when set against all the fun you're having.

Global Agenda: Free Agent

Hi-Rez Studios. Get it from the game's website.







I thought Global Agenda was pretty rubbish, if I'm honest. I played it for a while with PC Gamer contributor Phill Cameron, and the most fun either of us had was getting into an utterly ludicrous argument with one player about who was allowed to dance in which bits of the game's Dome City hub.



But it's a different matter when no coins are involved. Global Agenda: Free Agent is the free-to-play version of Hi-Rez's team-based shooter/MMO hybrid, and while it retains all the original's flaws, they're a lot more forgivable when your bank balance remains intact.



Combat still feels flimsy, there's still very little variety to the game, and the MMO side is still simultaneously undeveloped and unintuitive. But weighed up against other free-to-play shooters, Free Agent actually fairs rather well. Perhaps High-Rez would have done well to realise that from the start.

Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story

Christine Love. Download it from Christine's website.







Do you remember Digital: A Love Story? If you don't, it's presumably because you never played it, because such a fiercely creative little indie game would certainly have stuck with you in the 18 months since its release. The brilliantly named Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story is a spiritual successor of sorts - although this time, writer/developer Christine Love's efforts are marginally less striking.



It ostensibly takes the form of a visual novel, but the more you play, the more you realise there are more interactive elements than you might think. Set 15 years into the future, Don't Take It Personally lobs you into the shoes of a divorced high school teacher, and the plot unfolds as you decide the extent to which you feel comfortable becoming involved with (or intruding on?) your pupils' lives.



This is hardly a traditional game, and the visual style is a little jarring, not least because this futuristic school is apparently still using big boxy televisions and blackboards. But it also made me ask more questions of myself than a game has managed since the original Dragon Age. At around two hours long, it's best completed in one sitting - and while the ending is disappointingly unsubtle, I came away from it with a positive impression overall.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to April’s best free PC games">Personally-thumb



You know what? It's been a hell of a month for free games. Normally, when planning this column, I've to scour the internet high and low to locate some hidden gems. This month, they've been coming out of the walls, man! Special mentions should go to Picaroon, Space Engine and Pragmatica, all of which are worth a look, but read below the jump to find out which titles I've ended up loving the most.



Technobabylon - Part III: In Nuntius Veritas

Technocrat. Grab it from GameJolt.







I really need to go back to the start of Technobabylon at some point. Its first episode was an unassuming little room escape title with some interesting narrative touches to keep things fresh. Since then it's expanded into an enormous adventure series set in an unsettling future where your character is under constant oppression or threat.



Part III is the most stylish so far, and perhaps the most well-written, although all three episodes are marvelous from a storytelling perspective. For my money, the actual game itself isn't quite as strong, with a couple of stinkers in the puzzle and mini-game department. But now that the several interlocking strands of the story are coming together, there's never been a better time to give the series a go.

Soul Brother

. Play it on the website.







This is a neat idea. From the always-agreeably-barmy comes a new platformer, which is essentially a game about very carefully timed suicide. Yeah. Exactly.



The idea is this. Soul Brother features a string of different characters, each with its own special abilities. When one character dies, its spirit enters the next one, and you play on from there. The trick is to time your deaths so that the next character is in the most favourable position to plod along with the adventure.



The game itself is a pretty straightforward, unremarkable platformer, but the art style is nice, and the idea behind it is lovely. So is the name, come to think of it.

Ace of Spades

Ben Askoy. Download it from the official website.







Hey, look, it's Minecraft: World War I edition with a multiplayer twist! Ace of Spades so shamelessly nicks both the core mechanics and visual design of Mojang's pre-release classic that my initial response was to laugh at it, and ignore it. But it turns out there's a bit more going on here than you might expect.



Firstly, its rudimentary physics system opens up a whole boatload of new creative avenues. And secondly, the combat is a huge improvement on Minecraft's, with some absolutely fantastic range and satisfying insta-kill headshots.



The first beta build was as bug-ridden as you can imagine, but an updated version - which I've not touched yet - is now available. And, of course, this is entirely free, so a lot of that stuff can be quite reasonably forgiven when set against all the fun you're having.

Global Agenda: Free Agent

Hi-Rez Studios. Get it from the game's website.







I thought Global Agenda was pretty rubbish, if I'm honest. I played it for a while with PC Gamer contributor Phill Cameron, and the most fun either of us had was getting into an utterly ludicrous argument with one player about who was allowed to dance in which bits of the game's Dome City hub.



But it's a different matter when no coins are involved. Global Agenda: Free Agent is the free-to-play version of Hi-Rez's team-based shooter/MMO hybrid, and while it retains all the original's flaws, they're a lot more forgivable when your bank balance remains intact.



Combat still feels flimsy, there's still very little variety to the game, and the MMO side is still simultaneously undeveloped and unintuitive. But weighed up against other free-to-play shooters, Free Agent actually fairs rather well. Perhaps High-Rez would have done well to realise that from the start.

Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story

Christine Love. Download it from Christine's website.







Do you remember Digital: A Love Story? If you don't, it's presumably because you never played it, because such a fiercely creative little indie game would certainly have stuck with you in the 18 months since its release. The brilliantly named Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story is a spiritual successor of sorts - although this time, writer/developer Christine Love's efforts are marginally less striking.



It ostensibly takes the form of a visual novel, but the more you play, the more you realise there are more interactive elements than you might think. Set 15 years into the future, Don't Take It Personally lobs you into the shoes of a divorced high school teacher, and the plot unfolds as you decide the extent to which you feel comfortable becoming involved with (or intruding on?) your pupils' lives.



This is hardly a traditional game, and the visual style is a little jarring, not least because this futuristic school is apparently still using big boxy televisions and blackboards. But it also made me ask more questions of myself than a game has managed since the original Dragon Age. At around two hours long, it's best completed in one sitting - and while the ending is disappointingly unsubtle, I came away from it with a positive impression overall.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The makers of Global Agenda announce their MOBA contender: SMITE">SMITE-thumb



Either the MOBA bubble is nearing its bursting point, or a new era of competitive strategy is dawning—whatever the case, it's obvious that more and more developers want a piece of that sweet DotA-legacy pie. Hi-Rez Studios, the developers behind the now-free-to-play Global Agenda and upcoming Tribes game, are taking a crack at their own DotA-inspired game with their upcoming SMITE. But what could possibly set them apart from the rest of the well-established crowd? How about a third-person camera perspective and graphics powered by the Unreal 3 Engine.







Developers and gamers have long dreamed of cracking the conundrum of making third-person, action-oriented combat work in an RTS game. It's been done before, in games like Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War, or the StarCraft 2 mod Blizzard demoed starring Nova from SC: Ghost. But unless you're satisfied with Dynasty Warriors' endless hack-'n'-slash gameplay, there's never been a game to give you a truly fulfilling experience of leading your army on the ground as a powerful general leading the charge into tower defenses and cannon fodder troops. Hi-Rez aims to change that with SMITE—only, instead of controlling a general, you'll be controlling a god.



SMITE's theme and lore are rooted in global ancient mythology, as you can see from the Anubis and Zeus hero reveals. Personally, I think that mythology is another concept that needs more love in gaming (God of War non-withstanding); there's a multitude of awesome deities and cultures to harvest hero ideas from. Imagine: the Hindu elephant god Ganesha, battling toe-to-toe with the Norse god Thor, while the love goddess Aphrodite heals Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind. HECK TO THE YEAH! The lore is already out there, just waiting to take form as a badass MOBA, and Hi-Rez looks like its ready to answer the call.







Hi-Rez are no strangers to the free-to-play model, and how best to appease players with store items that are appealing destroying game balance. We're eagerly awaiting in-game screens of what god-vs-god combat looks like in the gorgeous Unreal 3 engine, but until then, check the Global Agenda blog for updates on the game's progress.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The makers of Global Agenda announce their MOBA contender: SMITE">



Either the MOBA bubble is nearing its bursting point, or a new era of competitive strategy is dawning—whatever the case, it's obvious that more and more developers want a piece of that sweet DotA-legacy pie. Hi-Rez Studios, the developers behind the now-free-to-play Global Agenda and upcoming Tribes game, are taking a crack at their own DotA-inspired game with their upcoming SMITE. But what could possibly set them apart from the rest of the well-established crowd? How about a third-person camera perspective and graphics powered by the Unreal 3 Engine.







Developers and gamers have long dreamed of cracking the conundrum of making third-person, action-oriented combat work in an RTS game. It's been done before, in games like Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War, or the StarCraft 2 mod Blizzard demoed starring Nova from SC: Ghost. But unless you're satisfied with Dynasty Warriors' endless hack-'n'-slash gameplay, there's never been a game to give you a truly fulfilling experience of leading your army on the ground as a powerful general leading the charge into tower defenses and cannon fodder troops. Hi-Rez aims to change that with SMITE—only, instead of controlling a general, you'll be controlling a god.



SMITE's theme and lore are rooted in global ancient mythology, as you can see from the Anubis and Zeus hero reveals. Personally, I think that mythology is another concept that needs more love in gaming (God of War non-withstanding); there's a multitude of awesome deities and cultures to harvest hero ideas from. Imagine: the Hindu elephant god Ganesha, battling toe-to-toe with the Norse god Thor, while the love goddess Aphrodite heals Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind. HECK TO THE YEAH! The lore is already out there, just waiting to take form as a badass MOBA, and Hi-Rez looks like its ready to answer the call.







Hi-Rez are no strangers to the free-to-play model, and how best to appease players with store items that are appealing destroying game balance. We're eagerly awaiting in-game screens of what god-vs-god combat looks like in the gorgeous Unreal 3 engine, but until then, check the Global Agenda blog for updates on the game's progress.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Global Agenda to go free-to-play this month">"Are you buying that new Global Agenda game?" "Nah, I'm not into modern war sims."



The mid April update to the massively online shooter Global Agenda will make the game free-to-play for all, according to a recent blog post from developers Hi Rez Studios. The update will let anyone download and play the game all the way up to the level 50 cap. You can pay a one off $19.99 / £13.99 / €15.99 fee to gain permanent Elite Agent status, which will increase your levelling speed and give you access to features like login priority, auction house and in-game mail. If you've already bought Global Agenda, you'll automatically gain Elite Agent status for no extra cost.



For more on the shooter's move to free-to-play, head over to the Global Agenda site.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Tribes Universe looking for alpha testers">



On Monday, of Hi-Rez Studios, the creators of Global Agenda, announced that they're working on a new Tribes game. Now they're putting out a call for alpha testers. Read on for details on how to sign up.



Head to the Tribes Universe site for your chance to get in on the testing. To apply you'll need to answer several questions concerning your previous experience with Tribes and MMOs in general. Hi-Rez have said that they'll be giving priority to high level Global Agenda players, so if you have a top level Global Agenda character, it might be a good idea to mention it.



For more information about the game check out our post on the Tribes Universe announcement.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The best events in MMOs this Halloween">



Halloween is fast approaching, the spirits are getting restless and trick or treaters are preparing to walk the earth in search of sweets. It doesn't matter how good their costumes are, they're not going to be able to compete with some of the Halloween events happening in the gaming world. Guild Wars, Aion, City of Heroes and Global Agenda are all running special Halloween events. Read on for an overview of the horrors that lie in store.



Guild Wars - The Return of the Mad King of Thorns





The Mad King is preparing to visit the kingdom of Tyria, and his spirits are already at large. Head to Lion's Arch or Kamadan and search for the Mad King's steward, he'll be the one dressed in candy. You'll hear news that the Mad King's Lunatic Court are hatching a plan to release the seals that keep their pumpkin headed leader confined for most of the year, turning the world into an everlasting Halloween party. It might sound like a good idea, but with special Halloween items on offer for completing these special quests, you'll probably want to put a stop to their mischief for the loot.



Come October 31st the Mad King of Thorns will make several appearances at the Lion's Arch and Kamadan, launching a series of ridiculous and deadly games. If you win, you get a special Halloween hat, if you lose, you suffer instant death (until you respawn, of course). If you're especially eager to get into the halloween spirit, a couple of ghoulish new Halloween costumes will be on sale at a reduced price until November 21st. For the full run down of Guild Wars Halloween events, check out the Guild Wars Halloween page.

Aion - The Harvest Revel





It's Halloween and someone has stolen all of the sugary treats. Even the winged immortals of Aion need sugary treats, so it's time to get them back, by beating the sugary crap out of some nearby wildlife. The Shulacks who were entrusted with watching the sweets instead ran off with them, and started gifting them to local animals. As a sugar obsessed member of the immortal race of Daeva, it's up to you to get them back. Retrieve enough goodies and you'll be rewarded with Revel Chocolate and the Pumpkin King's blessing, both of which grant powerful buffs to your character. You'll also get mystery boxes which could contain anything from potions from scrolls to enchantment stones. The event will kick off on October 27th. For more information on where to find the Halloween quests, check out the Aion Harvest Revel wiki.

City of Heroes - Monster Invasion





Zombies are invading all cities and dimensions in City of Heroes, spewing onto the streets, milling around, eating passers by and generally stinking up the place. Smite them with lasers, riddle them bullets or immobilise them with firm and repeated facepunches for special Halloween rewards. Look out for the circles of power that are appearing all over the place, these will summon much larger monsters into the world. You'll need a team of superheroes to take them down.



You'll also be able to do a bit of your own trick or treating, going door to door in Paragon city. If you're lucky the occupants of the home you pester might just give you a rare costume set. If you're really lucky you might get your very own slightly rubbish inanimate rock, which can then be thrown at enemies for very little damage. If you get a trick, you could find yourself fighting a horde of enemies, defeat enough of these and you'll be able to combine Halloween salvage to gain an additional costume slot for your character.



If you get your hands on one of the classic costumes, go door knocking while wearing it, and you might get a tip off for a special new quest, a mission to find the mysterious Malleus Mundi artefact. There are a ton of badges and awards to be earned in the event, which will last until October 31st. Check out the full list of rewards on the City of Heroes Halloween 2010 event page.

Global Agenda - Oasis Checkpoint of Doom





A crate load of new masks are up for grabs in Global Agenda's Halloween event. If you're over level 30, you'll be able to boot up the game between October 27th and October 31st play a new Defence map in the Raid list called the Oasis Checkpoint of Doom. This map will pit you and nine others against waves and waves of incoming enemies. Defeat them and you could win yourself one of thirteen new masks. If you defend well enough and take down the final boss, you'll get a guaranteed mask and along with a slew of other rewards.



For more information on the Oasis Checkpoint of Doom check out the Global Agenda site. If you fancy getting involved you can join the PC Gamer US editors for some epic base defence action in the Play With PC Gamer event later today.
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