Are You a Spy or a Merc?

SOE Gamer Day: The Agency

By Garrett Fuller

You can call me Fuller. Garrett Fuller. I like my drinks
shaken, not stirred. Thankfully, I don’t have a license to

The modern day spy MMO has finally arrived via the fine folks
at Sony Online Entertainment. From all that Ten Ton Hammer saw at
SOE’s Gamer Day in New York, style="font-style: italic;">The Agency has the
makings of a fast-paced spy thriller that can carry you into fights,
espionage, and missions around the world. This game was the real
show-stopper at SOE Gamer Day back in May, and we can finally talk
about it this month. If you are looking for a change of pace in your
normal fantasy MMO, then log in, grab your gun, and put on your sun
glasses so you can start working for The Agency.

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The Agency Logo

As classy and stylish as the game sounds from our intro, we
still need to explore the real features of this game that could make or
break SOE’s first step into modern day MMO game play. style="font-style: italic;">The Agency
storyline is as complex as a spy thriller plot should be. The two
separate factions in the game have heaps of missions to choose from,
all of which drive the gameplay forward. UNITE and ParaGON are the two
agencies that you can choose from, and there are some major differences
between the two. Let’s look at it this way, James Bond would
work for UNITE; Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando would work for
ParaGON. The guys and gals in UNITE are the super spies, the tuxedo
wearing, cool gadget wielding, poker players. ParaGON, on the other
hand are big guns that work in a much more destructive,
give-me-the-rocket-launcher kind of way. Depending on your play style,
these are the two options are on the roulette table.

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Members of the Unite faction

You’ve selected your faction, gone through the
tutorial, and done a few missions. Now it’s time to start
building up your own spy agency. NPC crews can be created by the player
and asked to work on different projects. Whether it is gathering
intelligence or building your super cool spy car. You heard right, you
can have your NPCs build you a spy car while you’re offline.

Here’s a scenario for you: you’re sitting
at work, having a boring day, and a text message comes in from your
operatives in-game to your real-life cell phone. Yes. your Razer,
iPhone, Blackberry, or whatever piece of equipment you carry with you
would receive that message. “Agent Fuller, your car is
ready!” the agents state. Now the work day gets a whole lot
better, because tonight when you go home to play, you’ll have
a new car online ready to blast that bridge you’ve been
researching for the last week. Sounds crazy right? These are the types
of features and interactive game play that the producer, Matt Wilson,
and lead designer, Hal Milton, are planning for the game.  

In The Agency,
you can play as a mercenary or spy. Either way you can work on doing
missions by stealth or via complete destruction. There’s more
than one way to accomplish missions in the game, and each of these two
classescan gain influence and power in different areas.

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A Paragon Roll Call

As a spy you may be able to influence the owners of a high-end
casino in Prague. As a merc, you may be dealing with a much lower class
of people, who, if used correctly, could have a huge influence over the
underworld. Either way there are paths to be taken in the game that
lead the players through the dark, shades-of-gray world of espionage.

It’s obvious that you have lots of areas to advance
your character alone, but what about getting along with other players?
In the game, you can team up to create stronger agencies with other
players by boosting the overall quality of your NPC operatives. As a
player you can trade operatives with others, getting the best
mechanics, inventors, information gatherers that money can buy.
Let’s say you have a top engineering operative in your
organization that a friend wants so he can build a car. Trade him out
for a spy who can get you that satellite scan you needed of the enemy
hideout. Operatives play a huge part in the game since they operate as
a player’s “living loot.”

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She's going to get sniped!

Also players can interact via the many mini-games in style="font-style: italic;">The Agency. What
would a spy game be without a casino? Stop in and challenge other
players to a game of poker or Bacharach. You can also challenge players
at the shooting range or in head-to-head combat. That being said, there
wan’t much mentioned in the presentation about PvP in the
game. Let’s hope that the developers add some serious
spy-level PvP for players to engage in. What’s better than
fighting it out with other spies?

Overall, The
definitely brings something new to the MMO
marketplace. The game will be available for the PC and PS3, but there
has been no confirmed release date or beta test date. The team is
heavily in development right now. The good thing is the trailer is
actual game play and shows a lot of what is involved. We will certainly
be following up with SOE on the development of style="font-style: italic;">The Agency as we
get more information down the road. For now, practice that Sean Connery
accent and get the virtual tux ready. style="font-style: italic;">The Agency’s

Ten Ton Hammer is your
unofficial source for The Agency href="">news and features!

Make sure you check out all
of our The Agency screenshots!

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016