Global Agenda Class Q&A: The Medic
So far Global AgendaÂs Recon and Assault classes have defied our expectations, but is the Medic class more than a healbotting ball-and-chain for the shock troops? As it turns out, the highly versatile Medic has a tools of both regeneration and destruction at hand and can be a formidable opponent, even solo. Join Todd Harris and Ten Ton Hammer for a candid review of the MedicÂs capabilities.
Ten Ton Hammer: Obviously medics are all about keeping allies in the pink, but we learned in the assault class interview about how they can buff damage output and work some poison damage of their own.Â What are the various support roles in combat that the medic fills?
Todd Harris, Global Agenda Executive Producer: They definitely have a variety of support options. They can do concentrated healing on a single target, they have a different optionÂ of a channel heal that can heal multiple allies at the same time, thereÂs also a different option of lesser healing with a damage buff, and thereÂs also a variety of in-hand devices that can buff team damage temporarily or even increase team damage temporarily. So quite a few support options are available to the medic.
Ten Ton Hammer: And all of this supports the team while itÂs in motion. The medic doesnÂt deploy first aid kits or anything like that, correct?
Todd: ThatÂs right. Robotics is the other class that has a healing device, thatÂs a deployable medic crate, but with the medic, all of the healing is emanating around the character.
Ten Ton Hammer: The assault / medic combination is a fairly classic duo from the Team Fortress series.Â Are there other combos that work well Â maybe medicÂ / robotics?
Todd: Assault and medic is definitely the most popular, and maybe people have been trained on that combination from Team Fortress 2.Â But we see all the combinations and they each require different play styles. When the medic is healing an assault, that requires the most constantÂ attentionÂ because the assault is usually under the most direct fire.
Recon agents usually come and call for you because you have to heal them in a way that doesnÂt reveal their position for very long.Â When you heal a recon, it will temporarily take him out of stealth and they spend the majority of their time in stealth. You donÂt want to be healing a recon at the wrong time; youÂll do more damage than good.
Robotics agents Â not all of them but certainly the ones with the engineering-style build Â are all about constructing a fortification with turrets and forcefields. TheyÂre often trying to keep those supported, so the medic is seeking them out and healing them at their locations.
Each scenario is very different and we also see medics running with other medics Â where the other medic might be a damage dealing medic or maybe a hybrid. YouÂll see that combination as well, where theyÂre alternating between doing damage and keeping their allies healed. That becomesÂ pretty annoying as well, to see two or three grouped together, channel healing themselves and topping each other off as they progress.
The Medic can take on a variety of roles in Global Agenda.
Ten Ton Hammer: When you say channel healing, what does that mean?
Todd: Channel healing for us is a heal gun that shows a beam and does healing to your chosen target. One healing device that we have is called the channel healgun, and if I left click IÂm doing a more powerful heal on him, like a TF2 mechanic. If I right click and there are other allies in the area, itÂll basically chain between them and do significantly less healing, but IÂm able to heal multiple targets that way.
Ten Ton Hammer: You mentioned the damage-dealing medic Â what are their options there? Is playing a medic solo, is that viable?
Todd: Many medics stay near and, in fact, a little behind their teammates, but thatÂs not the only way to play. You can actually build a medic that does fine in one-on-one battles by taking ÂregenerationÂ (a self-heal over time) and a bunch of poison-dealing devices. Â One of the medicÂs three talent trees is called poison, and thereÂs quite a number of damaging toxins available there.
I usually play an all-healing medic, but today I actually played more of a damage-dealing medic. Â I took my in-hand healing device was the bio-feedback gunÂ - where I can left click to heal an ally (just slightly, itÂs the least powerful of the healing guns), but if I right click on an ally, thatÂll actually heal myself.Â So I can use that to keep my own healing up. Then I took a variety of devices and weapons. Â I took my in-hand healing device was the bio-feedback gunÂ - where I can left click to heal an ally (just slightly, itÂs the least powerful of the healing guns), but if I right click on an ally, thatÂll actually heal myself.Â So I can use that to keep my own healing up. Then I took a variety of creative / destructive off-hand devices, including neutralize wave (which removes enemy protections, like an assault shield of the type we were talking about last week), a poison grenade, and a poison burst area-of-effect device. So I was able to do a small but significant amount of healing and then quite a lot of damage with that build.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do medics also have area-of-effect heals, like perhaps a healing grenade?
Todd: They do, they have AoE heal grenades, and like all the grenades in the game, thereÂs a decent amount of skill to using them effectively. And those are things that the skill tree can be used to increase the power or the radius of.Â ThereÂs other burst off-hand devices like a healing wave that, unlike the heal grenade (which is an area of effect around where you throw the grenade), this is an area-of-effect around the medic. And they have other burst devices such as a frenzy wave that increases damage.
Medic class character sketches.
Ten Ton Hammer: So the recon has a lightsaberish katana that he uses at close range, and the assault class has a lazer-infused battleaxe. What is the medicÂs option in terms of damage-dealing weapons, both at range and in melee combat?
Todd: First, the burst poisons can certainly be used at close range even though theyÂre not melee weapons. In terms of other guns, they have a standard rifle, they have an agony gun (which poisons and debuffs players), and they have a pretty cool device called a pain gun. The pain gun is the opposite of the healing channel gun Â instead of giving green healing goodness, it paints the target with a red beam, which inflicts a slight slow, debuffs the target, and basically puts a bullseye on the target for your allies.Â
As a melee weapon, you have a poison injector, which you can do a standard attack with. But if you attack your enemy from behind, it does poison damage over time.
Ten Ton Hammer: It seems like earlier in development, we saw more screenshots and concept art with more pronounced glowing poison / healing vials on the medicÂs ÂsilhouetteÂ or distinctive shape. Did you reduce the silhouette of the medic, putting the glowing vials on the belt and backpack, or am I dreaming all of this?
Todd: No, we still have these tubes of healing or toxins Â thatÂs still the main element of the silhouette, whether itÂs on the backpack or belt. Probably what youÂve observed is a much larger library of suits for the players to choose from, and some different ones have been featured in videos and screenshots. Over time weÂve been introducing new suits for every class Â they still maintain the basic silhouette, but do have some variations. For the medic, some of the suits have more tubes, some have fewer tubes. ItÂs really going to be up to the player which look they want to go with. Between the suit choices and the different ways to dye your suit (players have three different dyes they can apply to their suit regardless of class Â primary, secondary, and emissive), we preserve the silhouette but also have a lot of variety on the battlefield. YouÂll have some players that look like pure medics and others who are trying to disguise what they are.
Mobility is key for Medics in Global Agenda.
Ten Ton Hammer: Mobility seems like a pretty big thing for medics, whether rushing to heal someone or making a quick escape after a well-placed poison DoT. Are there any special skills that allow medics to move around faster or more efficiently?
Todd: A popular skill choice thatÂs not limited to Medic (because itÂs in the balanced skill tree, so any class can take it), is a skill that decreases the power consumed by your jetpack. It lets you fly a lot farther and longer without draining your power. It only costs one skill point in the current iteration to get it, so thatÂs a very powerful choice for medics, whether they want to get to their allies or out of danger quickly. Medics are very, very active because theyÂre usually the primary target, maybe of an unseen recon sniper. TheyÂre moving around quite a bit.
Ten Ton Hammer: ItÂs good to hear that medicÂs can become their own sort of M*A*S*H* units. Â (laughter) Regarding the user interface, I know that sometimes healers can have a tough time seeing who needs healed in the heat of the battle. Have you done anything with the UI to make a medicÂs life easier?
Todd: One, we have a variety of HUD elements that you can enable or disable based on player preference.Â The medic uses most, if not all, of them. They typically use a team panel - which is a fairly conventional UI element for MMOs, a little less so for shootersÂ - with which they can see everyone on their side and their health at a glance. Two, if you mouse over players with your reticule, youÂll see their health bar. So most of your attention is going between looking at your reticule, because you do have to aim when using both your damage devices and your healing devices, and team status panel. We wanted to provide medics a way of tracking distant teammates too, perhaps a robotics thatÂs setting up a position over in the corner.
Those are the two primary UI mechanics used by medics. As far as players looking for medics, we wanted to give them some tools as well. So thereÂs a key that shouts out ÂMedic!Â and puts an icon over the injured players head. Also, on the minimap (in the lower right corner), where you see enemy players as red and your teammates as blue, medics are shown as green.
Ten Ton Hammer thanks Todd Harris and Hi-Rez Studios for another great Global Agenda class Q&A. Tune in next week for our fourth and final class interview, where weÂll discuss master tacticians and droid wranglers of Global Agenda - the Robotics class.