Using deployables and droids, Global Agenda's Robotics class alone has the ability to hold sway over vast portions of the battlefield. But before you think that these turret-constructing tacticians spend all their time ratcheting a holohgraphic wrench, you haven't read about the sheer variety of devices, droids, and weapons available to the Robotics class. Enjoy reading about Global Agenda's Robotics class, and as a special bonus, learn a little bit about what role "mechs" - or one-player robot suits a la Sigourney Weaver in that climactic Aliens scene- will play in the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: Besides their third robotic arm, the most recognizable trait of the Robotics class players is their ability to deploy turrets and other goodies to protect vital parts of the map. Please tell us about some of the deployables associated with the robotics class?
Todd Harris, Exec. Producer, Global Agenda: Robotics players have an unrivalled set of cool devices. In terms of the stationary turrets, the current beta build includes an auto-cannon (a machine gun style turret), a plasma turret, and also one that shoots rockets and does tremendous damage. Each of those has a different arc of fire, range, and obviously damage dealing capacity. As far as other deployables, they have things like healing crates, force fields, and of course the droids as well. They also have the sensor, which shows enemies (stealthed or not) on the minimap. Thats another handy tool for robotics seeking to protect their fortifications.
Ten Ton Hammer: But the scanner doesnt de-stealth enemy players, correct?
Todd Harris: Right, it shows them on the minimap, so thats a visual warning, and it also offers an audio warning as well. Different rank sensors have a different range and range of abilities. Its definitely very handy to locate the robotics nemesis, the Recon.
Ten Ton Hammer: Deployables are one side of the Robotics class, the other side being Droids. What types of droids are available to the Robotics class, and how are they best used?
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Turrets (left) and forcefields (right) are just two of the Robotics classes varied combat abilities.
Todd Harris: Droids are all fairly specialized in use, so the best droid depends on your overall play style. But in general there are some that are more anti-personnel better against players. That includes some flying drones and some ground-based drones with different sorts of treads. Some have secondary effects for example, one will slow an enemy opponent as its firing on it. Theres also a few drones that are designed to be anti-turret, so thats kind of interesting - a Robotics player can actually have a build thats pretty effective against enemy Robotics players.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do players have a lot of control over their droids? Are they fire and forget, or does a Robotics player have to manage droids very closely?
Todd Harris: All of the droids are AI controlled and basically self-sufficient. In some of the early builds, we did have some that were player controlled. These had some elements of fun, but players often felt too removed from their main character. All of these are basically fire-and-forget once launched, but they also have fairly limited durations on them before they exhaust power and are no longer in play. So the Robotics player is making a lot of decisions around when and where to deploy them and managing their cooldowns.
Out of combat, through the skill system and talent trees, they can amplify many of those droid attributes, including things like health, range and damage (on combat droids), duration, and also the cooldown period. So you can tweak all of those.
Ten Ton Hammer: So a droid isnt like a pet thats constantly at your side? In MMO parlance, theyre more like a damage over time spell?
Robotics class players can rain damage vast amounts of the battlefield while supporting teammates.
Todd Harris: Thats right, its not one named droid as much as a type of droid. Out of the library you are choosing the type that youre going to use in that mission in the same way that you use other equipment. Its basically out for a while and out of operation during the cooldown phase.
Ten Ton Hammer: Does a build favoring droids best for Player vs. Environment (PvE) builds? Im guessing there are droid builds that work for PvP (Player vs. Player) too.
Todd Harris: Theyre definitely viable in both PvE and PvP. In PvP, we tend to see players choosing turrets more often when theyre defending the position - obviously because these require more setup time - and droids when theyre advancing the team position. But thats not always the case. In PvE, theres kind of a similar pattern where a Robotics player will use turrets to have a secure fallback position for the team and either pull powerful enemies toward that position or just use that when the team gets in trouble. Theyll tend to use the pet droids more often on the front lines.
Ten Ton Hammer: We know that the best Robotics players in PvP tend to be the best tacticians they can read the map, figure out the choke points and objectives, and set up their fortifications advantageously. What other tips can you offer to play this class well?
Todd Harris: You nailed it its definitely map knowledge. Theres a bunch of different Global Agenda match styles, but they generally come down to winning or losing based on controlling key areas within the map, and Robotics players are very well suited to control a small area. So map knowledge definitely helps.
In a lot of cases, theres the primary objective point or sometimes multiple primary points, but theres often also secondary objective that can be used to establish a foothold. Thats the most obvious position when it comes to turret placement. On our team, Nikolai, one of our environment artists, definitely knows the maps, and he also knows all the turret ranges, so he plays all the angles like a pro. So I know that if hes on the other team, its going to feel like the entire space is locked down. He does that from knowing the maps, sometimes working with other Robotics so that theres turrets covering other turrets, or sometimes just staying mobile and moving turrets from obvious spots to less obvious spots.
Playing the angles with turrets, as far as knowing the maps and knowing the range, is the number one opportunity to succeed as Robotics. Number two would be beacon placement and protection a good Robotics player often knows the right spot to set up their teams respawn beacon and devices, be that turrets or sensors, to protect that beacon and help their team advance to the objective.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do players ever depart from the more traditional way of playing a Robotics class? Are they successful?
Todd Harris: The traditional way is placing turrets and forcefields and crates and sensors so that youre not only holding a defensive position but also bolstering teammates. A lot of those sensors and med crates have secondary effects like buffing damage, so knowing how to set those up so its not only protecting your stuff but creating a solid position that your teammates can fire from is a good general way to play. On attack, its basically finding a way for your team to advance by fortifying a staging location and dropping a teleport beacon there maybe a nearby room or high ground thats not quite the objective but is a good defensible position.
But then theres also Robotics players that have a very run-and-gun style. If you take the shotgun, which is one of their ranged options, and you really buff damage and take droids that are combat-oriented players will surprise the enemy by popping a droid over their head or behind them and then using a weapon like the shotgun to hit them from several angles at once.
Ten Ton Hammer: So you said that popping a droid behind an enemy is an effective tactic but also mentioned earlier that droids are AI controlled. Do players have some choice as to where the droid appears?
Todd Harris: Yea. Turrets you place very precisely; you get a preview of where the turret is going to go, which way its going to face, and its cone of fire. With a droid, its much more of a very quick deployment in most cases. Theres no preview mesh, but its basically going to spawn near your player location. Many times players will jetpack over or around an opponent and even though you cant fire while using the jetpack, you can use your offhand devices, and droids are offhand devices.
Ten Ton Hammer: Weve talked a lot about class pairings, both cooperative and competitive pairings, in this class interview series. Are there any classes that the Robotics class matches well against or with in particular?
Todd Harris: Youll often see Robotics supporting each other with turret placement and their repair gun (their version of the heal gun that works on mechs and devices). In order to keep a turret farm or another establishment operational, youll often see Robotics players repairing one anothers devices or bringing complimentary devices so that, between the two of them, theyll have multiple turrets, a med crate, a force field, and a sensor. Thats too much for a single Robotics to bring along, but they can really lock down an area together.
In terms of a competition, their nemesis is the Recon class. Robotics draw a lot of attention from enemy players because when theyre effective, youll hear a lot of curse words before their name. Most often its the Recon that tries to sneak in and take out their fortifications.
So the sensor is one counter, but another really useful one is the instant forcefield. Recons will appear and throw bombs onto the turrets or other deployables, disappear into stealth, wait until the bomb goes off, then when everythings stunned, theyll come in with their melee weapons and start hacking up the deployables. But the force field can block incoming fire of multiple types, including bombs. A lot of Robotics will use it to shield their themselves, but some will save it so when the Recon bomb drops, theyll place the shield between the bomb and the turret to protect the turret and the player from the stun and explosion damage. Then when the Recon appears, the Robotics can have the last laugh.
Ten Ton Hammer: You mentioned mechs. What are mechs? Movable turrets?
Will Global Agenda mechs look as good as Ripley in a power loader? We can only hope.
Todd Harris: Theyre basically robotic suits that players can inhabit. As I mentioned, all of the equipable devices for Robotics are completely AI controlled. But there are some places in the game where theres robots that are more vehicle like. They have a set of unique ways to fight, either guns or melee, and the player steps in them as a sort of single person vehicle. In the matchmade PvP arena, theres one type of match called Capture the Robot. Its like Capture the Flag, but in that game type, each side is trying to escort a Mech to the other side. In that game type, the Mech can be repaired by a Robotics (with a repair gun) and the Medic (with a heal gun). Each are partially effective.
Also, in Agency vs. Agency Conquest play, theres actually a whole other set of devices that players are manufacturing and using to take over one anothers territory. Those include some other mechs or vehicle like devices that Robotics can keep healed. Thats a pretty cool set of devices that well have to get into in the AvA interview.
Ten Ton Hammer: Very cool. We talked about the shotgun and the repair gun, but what other ranged and melee weapons options does the Robotics class offer?
Todd Harris: We mentioned the shotgun, for close fire, and an energy rifle, for longer-ranged fire. And they actually have another device called the Rumble Blaster, which is an area-of-effect weapon thats very good at keeping opponents away from their fortifications. Then we mentioned their repair device, which is definitely used in almost all Robotics builds because its used to construct and repair deployables and repair things like mechs. For melee, they have an energy mace a heavy capacitor on the end of a steel rod. It looks pretty cool, glows, does good damage, and If you hit your opponent from behind, drains power too.
Ten Ton Hammer: I heard you have a favorite Robotics tactic that you'd like to tell us about...
Todd Harris: We have, and Ill let our Art Director Chuck Vinson tell you about it.
Chuck Vinson, Global Agenda Art Director: My favorite robotics tactic is anti-robotics! Good robotics players get used to being attacked while protecting their turrets, so confronting them directly is sometimes futile. I often bring the flying beholder drone, which deploys and attacks instantly, and a high level repair gun that puts turrets up extremely quick. With this build, I'll fly up behind the enemy robotics guy, who is usually staring at his turret's health bar, and I'll deploy a turret right behind him and his turret. He generally doesn't notice me at all until my turret has deployed and begun firing, and if he does, I fly up 20 feet and drop the beholder drone in the air above his head.
If he actually escapes the high DPS from the turret, the beholder will be wailing him from up above, and I'll be wailing on him with my Energy Mace while he's confused. Even if he flies off, my turret and drone will make short work of his turret. Its a quick way to clear out those annoying auto-cannons (machine gun style turrets) that are suppressing my team trying to get on the point. I also then conveniently end up with a turret in the advantageous spot he was already using... killing two birds with one stone.
Thanks to Todd, Chuck, and the Global Agenda team for a great run of Global Agenda class interviews. Be sure to check out the Recon, Assault, and Medic class Q&As if you haven't already done so, and tune in soon for another round of AvA and game Q&As as Global Agenda moves toward a Q1 2010 launch.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Global Agenda Game Page.