Hi-Rez Studios has revealed the innovative pricing model for their upcoming persistent-world online shooter Global Agenda, which allows players to choose which type of game they want to play - online shooter, or MMO.
Global Agenda is an online shooter that, on the surface, plays a great deal like many other online shooters. You gain experience, level up, gain new equipment, and fight side-by-side with your teammates through a variety of maps and game types. It's also a massively-multiplayer persistent world game, in which rival agencies and alliances fight for territory, establish bases, craft, socialize, and participate in raids. It has the potential to appeal to two completely different audiences, so Hi-Rez has decided to cater to both.
When Global Agenda launches, a onetime purchase via retail or downloadable distribution will net you the full online multiplayer shooter, with no subscription fees ever required to play the core game. You still get to create and level a character, participate in co-operative missions against enemies and bosses, level your character, and join alliances. It functions much like a Call of Duty or Team Fortress does, only with inventory and enhanced social features.
Players craving something a bit more deeper, however, can opt to pay $12.99 a month ($11.99 for 3 months, $9.99 for 6) for the Global Agenda: Conquest subscription. Players who opt for Conquest again access to the more persistent part of the persistent-world game, Alliance versus Alliance World Domination gameplay. It's a massive-scale war for territory, with rival agencies capturing land, forming alliances with other agencies, gathering resources, and basically maintaining a constant vigil on their things, lest a rival group take them away.
Subscribing also allows players to form their own Alliances and Agencies, send mail, use the auction house, and participate in some of the higher-end raid content. Subscribing customers will also enjoy frequent updates to the ongoing content, which those playing the core game won't have access to.
We spoke with the game's Executive Producer Todd Harris, who explained the core difference between the two ways to pay and play. "The main difference is for folks that want to play the game as a multiplayer online game with a little bit of persistence, that's what the main package brings you. We looked at the feature set of other online games and made sure we had all of that and more. We're putting all of that into a box an letting people get it for a one-time price."
According to Todd, throughout the development of Global Agenda, testers were commenting on how enjoyable the combat system in the game is, saying they would gladly pay for it without any of the MMO features. Now they'll have their chance.
While there are many differences between the two different payment types, Todd assured me that the portions of the game that overlap - the match made PVP battles - will never be unbalanced between those subscribed to the game and those that choose not to. Any items introduced to subscribers that can be used in regular PVP combat will be available to non-subscribers as well. There will be unique items for those who opt to pay a monthly fee, but those will only be useable in subscriber-only gameplay.
As an added bonus, everyone who purchases the full version of the game gets a free 30-day subscription, so if you aren't sure what you want, it won't cost anything to see how the other half lives.
It certainly sounds like Hi-Rez has all of its bases covered on this one. The shooter gameplay in Global Agenda is extremely solid, more than enough to carry off a standalone title. We'll see how things work out for the game when it is released sometime in Q1 of 2010.