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The mid-April Free Agent update for Hi-Rez Studios' online multiplayer shooter Global Agenda will drop the game's purchase requirement, making it free-to-play for anyone that has the urge.
Original planned as a subscription-based MMO, in June of last year Hi-Rez dropped plans to implement monthly fees, only requiring that players initially purchase a retail or digital version of the game. The Free Agent update will remove that requirement, allowing anyone to download and play the game for as long as they desire.
What's the money catch? Free players will not have access to the game's auction house, in-game mail system, will have lower login priority, and won't be able to create agencies, the game's equivalent of guilds.
A one-time purchase of $19.99 will give players Elite Agent status, granting them access to restricted features as well as double the experience points and other rewards for completing missions. Both ranks will also be able to purchase booster packs in the Global Agenda web store that will also double experience points, credits, and tokens earned, along with 2,000 bonus tokens a day and an extra loot drop in missions.
Players that have already purchased the game will receive a free upgrade to Elite Agent status.
Taking advantage of the closure of Realtime Worlds' All-Points Bulletin, Hi-Rez Studios is giving APB refugees 30 percent off the purchase of its massively multiplayer online shooter Global Agenda.
In case you missed the news last week, APB is dead. Some other company might snatch it up and give it a go, but as far as the troubled Realtime Worlds is concerned, the ambition Grand Theft Auto flavored MMO is no longer a going concern. This is bad news for APB players, but potentially good news for Hi-Rez Studios and Global Agenda.
In a letter addressed to shooter/MMO fans, Global Agenda executive producer Todd Harris expressed delivered his condolences for the loss of APB.
"Today, we mourn our latest fallen colleague, APB. In making APB, Realtime Worlds had a bold vision to make an MMO devoid of traditional tab-targeting, cast bars, and die-roll combat. We honor their effort and innovation, and greatly mourn the game's closing."
What touching, heartfelt sentiment! I feel tears coming on. Oh wait.
"So between today and Friday, September 24, 2010, we are offering refugees from APB and other Shooter/MMOs an opportunity to join Global Agenda's growing community more easily and affordably than ever. We figure you deserve it. And you'll fit right in since you already know how to aim."
Anyone who purchases Global Agenda from the game's official website can enter the code "LongLiveShooterMMOs" to receive a 30 percent discount on the game. That's $20.99, £13.12, or €15.75 depending on where you live.
On one hand I appreciate the savvy of Hi-Rez and their crack marketing team. This is an excellent opportunity to drum up some new business.
On the other hand, it feels a little bit like going to a man's funeral to hit on his widow. Granted the players and the game were only married for three months, but still, they loved each other very much.
So what's your verdict? Classy or tacky?
This dynamic new login screen will greet Global Agenda players this afternoon, heralding the completion of the Sandstorm update, bringing sweeping changes to the game's Agency-Vs.-Agency PVP. Want to see the login screen that didn't make the cut?
Today developer Hi-Rez Studios finally completes the Sandstorm game update for Global Agenda that started rolling out in June, transforming the face of the now free-to-play MMO.
While today's update brings many smaller changes to the game's systems, from removing consumables in PvP to cleaning up maps and tweaking weapon stats, the main focus is the game's persistent Agency-Vs.-Agency battles. Season lengths have been changed to two weeks, zone open times have been modified, and Agencies will no longer be able to dictate when their facilities are open for attack, with rotating hours of production taking the place of player choice.
With such a strong focus on fighting against other agencies, perhaps this unapproved login screen concept we acquired would have better represented the direction Global Agenda is going in.
On second thought, that might be sending the wrong message.
The Global Agenda servers should be up around 3PM Eastern time today. In the meantime, check out the patch notes for a list of changes to expect when the game comes back online.
Dungeons & Dragons Online did it. Lord of the Rings Online is doing it. More and more massively multiplayer online games are switching to a free-to-play model, but none quite as fast as Hi-Rez Studios' online shooter Global Agenda.
Launched in February of this year, Global Agenda was to have two different pricing tiers. Players could purchase the game and play forever, subscription free, with certain content restricted to those who chose to shell out $12.99 a month.
At launch, Hi-Rez opted to hold off on charging subscription fees, giving all players a free taste of the game's premium features. As of last month, the plan was to institute subscription fees after the second stage of the game's Sandstorm update came out.
The ETA for subscription fees is now never.
The company has decided to keep the game subscription free, with major content updates delivered via optional paid expansion packs.
"Hi-Rez Studios is committed to delivering the best value in PC gaming", said Todd Harris, Global Agenda Executive Producer. "In addition to all of the game's initial launch content, we are bundling nearly 6 months' worth of post-release content and features and including that within the single-purchase game. One purchase of Global Agenda lets you experience this content forever with no subscription."
To celebrate the announcement, the game is now available through Steam at 33% off, or $26.79.
So there's a game that switched to free-to-play before it collected one penny in subscription fees.
Atlanta-based Hi-Rez Studios launches phase one of the massive Sandstorm patch to Global Agenda today, bringing many much-needed additions to the massively multiplayer online shooter, including revamped Agency-vs-Agency combat, epic weapons, and single player content.
Global Agenda is a nifty little online multiplayer shooter that received a relatively warm reception when it launched back in early February. The fighting is simple yet satisfying, and it's perfect for players who want to hop online for a few quick bouts of co-operative or competitive multiplayer.
Still, it was lacking a certain depth, and Hi-Rez acknowledges that with today's release of the first part of the game's Sandstorm update.
Weapons are receiving the biggest changes with this phase of the update. Players will now be able to acquire new weapons via tokens or drops during missions, rather than simply having them unlocked as they gain levels. The update brings 32 new weapons for characters over level 30, as well as class-defining epic melee weapons that will be nearly impossible to acquire.
Epic weapons include in rocket-powered hammer and shield combo for Robotics class players; a life-syphoning sword for Medics; a giant, corridor-clearing two-handed hammer for the Assault class; and a pair of serrated blades for the rogue-like Recon class.
Weapons and armor will now have quality levels, ranging from common all the way up to epic, giving players more diversity in their equipment with new statistic combinations.
The Special Ops PvE (player versus environment) missions are also getting a big upgrade, finally allowing players to run through missions in teams less than four, with solo missions available for the anti-social. For those seeking a bigger challenge, there's even new Ultra-Max Security level missions.
PvP players aren't being ignored, either, with new maps, a 10-on-10 team-based arena, and a revamp to the worldwide Agency-vs-Agency combat, now condensed into one giant map.
Oh, and the combat jetpack will finally allow players to fly and shoot simultaneously. It's about damn time.
Global Agenda was supposed to launch with both free-to-play and subscription options, but Hi-Rez has held off on the subscription side of things, giving all players free access to the more MMO-flavored elements of the game at no charge. That freedom will continue until Sandstorm phase II launches later this year.
For more information on the Sandstorm update or to sign up for a free trial of Global Agenda, visit the game's official website.