From pay-to-play to free-to-play. Global Agenda is another MMO that makes the free MMO games market one bit richer. We spoke to Todd Harris, Hi-Rez Studios COO, about the step into F2P and the future of Global Agenda.
First of all, can you describe Global Agenda and what makes it special in your opinion?
Global Agenda is a science-fiction shooter MMO with jetpacks! One thing that makes it special is that our combat plays like a well-balanced, third-person class based shooter and therefore success depends a lot more on player skill than die rolls. And, now that we are free to play we think the AAA production values and graphics compare very favorably to other games in the free to play category.
It’s impossible to forget the “No Elves” campaign. However, even with positive reviews, are players still more interested in the usual fantasy MMO games than in shooters with jetpacks?
Fantasy makes for a great setting but there are already so many well-done fantasy MMOs. Looking at announcements and rumors from other developers it appears that others are starting to see the opportunity in both science-fiction settings and shooter-oriented gameplay.
What led you to the decision of re-launching Global Agenda with a free-to-play model? Was this crucial at this exact moment or were you considering this move for quite some time already?
Since launch we’ve been working hard to improve the Global Agenda experience for players – sometimes thru new features, sometimes thru new content, and sometimes thru pricing changes. There are always plenty of desirable things we can do to improve the overall experience and value that players get out of the game, but they all require development work and so try to prioritize the most important things. Last summer we felt we needed more traditional MMO elements like an OpenZone, item quality levels, and more extensive crafting, and so we released the major Sandstorm update. We have been carefully evaluating free to play since that time and concluded that moving to f2p would indeed be a great way to improve the game as part of the version 1.4 update. So, free-to-play was a good idea whose time had come.
Global Agenda launched as pay-to-play with a subscription, then dropped the subscription, and is now free-to-play. Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
If we were freshly launching Global Agenda today we would do it as free-to-play from the beginning. But even as recently as one year ago there was a bit of a negative stigma around free-to-play, at least within North America. Since then there have been some quality free to play MMOs released and so that perception has changed.
Can a player explore the entire game content and all experience levels in the free-to-play model, without spending any money?
Yes. All the current playable game content can be experienced by the free player without spending any money – the introductory OpenZone, PvE Special Ops missions, PvP Mercenary missions, 10-person PvE Defense Raids, PvP Arena, and Agency vs. Agency territory conflict.
Are you noticing an increase in the playerbase, and how is the Elite Agent package performing?
Most definitely. We have seen a sizeable increase in both accounts created and active users per day. And we’re pleased that people continue to see value in the Elite Agent package and a very high percentage of players are purchasing that package.
What does the future hold for Global Agenda? Will we see regular new updates and expansion packs?
Yes. We continue to have a passionate, dedicated development team around Global Agenda. This team is currently working on new content including a new OpenZone, PvE instances and PvP maps. In the recent 1.4 Free Agent update the Recursive Colony faction has started to recognize the player agents within Dome City as a threat. In the next update this conflict intensifies!
Thank you for your time.
Thanks for the continued interest in Global Agenda! We’re excited that many players are now discovering the game for the first time.