Conquest, or AvA play in Global
Agenda will have Agencies vieing for power around the world. But
how exactly does the system work? Who can contribute? When are players
safe from attack? Find out the answers to all these questions and more
as we speak with Todd Harris, Executive Producer of Global Agenda.
Todd's got all the answers and tells all in this exclusive style="font-style: italic;">Global Agenda interview.
Ten Ton Hammer: For those who are new
to the AvA game, would you give a top-down overview of how it works?
Todd Harris, Executive Producer: AvA,
which we also call Conquest, is our ongoing meta-game between
player-created agencies that gives deeper context and meaning to
strike-team battles. As a player I can bring up an in-game
Conquest map at any time and see the multiple Zones within the Global
Agenda world. It looks like a strategy board game where there are
multiple zones - each zone consisting of hundreds of territories
represented by hexes on the map. Each hex is a specific instanced
territory that supports combat. My Agency then competes with
other Agencies to control specific territories. Once I win and
hold territory I can construct a facility on that territory and start
production on items that can be used in future Conquest battles. So, we
are going for all the player-driven strategy, alliance building,
politics, and conflict of a game like EVE
Online but with the battles coming down to action shooter combat
between strike teams of 10 players on each side.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can players of all
levels make a contribution in the Conquest?
Todd: Currently there is no
game-enforced level minimum for Conquest play. Some agencies ask
that their members make credit and crafting contributions at the early
levels but wait on joining actual Strike Force battles until they are
of a certain character level. But it is entirely agency
Ten Ton Hammer: If my agency only has
a few players online, can an enemy agency steamroll our territory? Does
the game make any attempt at auto-balancing in Conquest?
Todd: There is no
auto-balancing in Conquest. On the contrary it is a very
player-driven experience. Each zone has specific open hours
during which that zone is eligible for attack so agencies do know ahead
of time when they need members online to defend. And Agencies can ally
with other Agencies to help defend each other's territory. But
ultimately it is up to each player Agency to acquire only as much
territory as they can actually hold, which varies depending on Agencies
and politics. We've actually seen, in Beta, some Agencies bribe others
to not attack them, and to hire Mercenaries to launch attacks on their
enemies instead! There have been non-aggression packs made and broken,
and some pretty sneaky backstabbing. Overall though, if you do not have
enough players to defend your territory an attacking agency will have
an easy time of it.
Ten Ton Hammer: How does the AvA map
break down? Does a sector have multiple facilities, each of which must
be conquered before an agency lays claim to the sector and can begin
Todd: Every hex on the Conquest
map represents a territory, and each territory can hold a single
Facility. Combat in that territory is based on what type of
facility the owning Agency has constructed. Currently the
player-built facility types include Mines, Labs, Factories, and Missile
facilities. In most cases territories can be conquered one at a time so
if I take your Factory that territory is immediately mine and, as long
as I hold it from counter-attack, I can start production there. There
are some territories, such as Bases, that require more involved and
coordinated strikes to capture. Capturing or losing a base is a major
event that generally will involve up to a hundred players fighting
across different instanced territories.
Going forward we will continue to introduce new facility types, new
game types within those facilities, and new intra-hex interactions so
the activity in one hex affects other hexes in real-time. This approach
allows us to support coordinated operations from very large groups even
though all individual battles are strikes teams of 10 versus 10; plus
the AvA items they bring along with them.
Ten Ton Hammer: How do consumable
items figure into AvA battles? Will agencies lose what they bring but
don't use, or will it not be available to other missions during the
battle and perhaps afterward?
Todd: Conquest items include
things like forward spawn beacons, turret platforms, controllable
mechs, vehicles, and powerful explosives. All of these items are
produced from facilities on the Conquest map. They must be retrieved
from Agency inventory prior to battle and added as cargo to your
dropships, therefore the items are not available to other Strike Teams
until they are returned to Agency inventory. All of these items
are persistent in the world; if they are destroyed in battle they will
be lost. If they survive the battle, or in the case of explosives you
don't use them, they are returned to your inventory for later use.
However, in the specific case of an Attacker who loses the battle there
is a chance they will lose their drop-ship along with any cargo they
brought on it.
Ten Ton Hammer: How do blueprints and
crafting tie into agencies? Will advanced agencies have more crafting
Todd: Lab facilities research
blueprints. Mine facilities gather the raw resources used for
construction. Factory resources can start to produce items given
a blueprint and the correct resources. There are more advanced
versions of all of these facilities. For example; if your Agency has a
Tech II Lab, they can research projects not available to Agencies that
only have Tech I labs.
Ten Ton Hammer: After level cap and
aside from bragging rights, what are the personal benefits that come of
helping your agency achieve its goals?
Todd: The winning agency will
receive a large pile of loot! This includes being the first to
get new gameplay items and also prestige, visual items.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can small agencies and
alliances remain competitive, or do you foresee that the major action
in the AvA game will eventually boil down to a handful of
Todd: We very much intend for
small agencies and alliances to remain competitive in Conquest.
In fact we've implemented a few game-board rule changes based upon the
dynamics of large alliances in our beta testing. One example is
introducing an upkeep cost on all controlled territory. This upkeep is
escalating, so it's fairly painless if you own a few territories, and
increasingly more expensive if you own a hoard of territories.
Thus, the choice about what territories to own and maintain becomes
more strategic vs. based simply on having the largest number of players
in your alliance.
Ten Ton Hammer: Joining an agency in style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Global Agenda style="font-weight: bold;"> seems like a pretty serious commitment,
judging by how seriously a number of agencies are taking their
application process. Have any tips for players looking to join an
agency when Global Agenda goes
live next week?
Todd: Even if you are not in an
Agency, GA's matchmaking system makes it easy to group with people for
mercenary PvP and co-op PvE. So, after getting oriented to the
game, one big consideration in joining an Agency is looking at the days
and times they like to play to make sure that works for you.
Beyond that, it is all about compatible playstyle - some of the
Agencies are very serious and will settle for nothing less than world
domination. Quite a few others play more socially and casually
and there will be a place for those groups within Conquest as well.
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