Global Agenda, developed by Hi-Rez Studios, is a game that's been on my radar for awhile. Though it was released back at the beginning of February, it wasn't until recently that I had a chance to sit down and give it a spin. Advertised as a massively-multi-player third person shooter, it blends the ideas of an FPS and an RPG to make its own action-oriented hybrid. The background story is very simple: the year is 2155, and earth is controlled by a tyrannical government known as the Commonwealth. There are pockets of resistance, however, who equip their elite teams (knowns as agencies) with the best gear technology can offer in order to fight the Commonwealth. Your character is one of these elite agents.
Character customization is pretty straightforward, borrowing some well-received techniques from some games, while also introducing some new and interesting ideas. You choose from four classes on character creation: assault, recon, robotics, and medic. All of your characters will share the same name as your name is account-based. Each of the classes have their own unique devices which they can spend their 15 device points on. Every agent, no matter what level, only gets 15 device points which they spend on "in-hand" and "offhand" devices. An in-hand device would be like a sniper rifle or a healing-beam gun while an offhand device might be a mine, a self-centered area heal, or a turret. Each of these devices have four ranks that make them do more damage, heal more, etc, so if you want one of your devices at max level 4, you'll need to spend 4 of your precious device points on it. So not only will you need to pick and choose which devices to take on a given mission, but which devices deserve to get higher ranks than others. You can rearrange your device points any time you're not in a mission, however, so there's no fear of experimenting and seeing what arrangement suites you best. In addition, there are three devices/abilities that don't require any device points at all which you'll have equipped at all times: a melee weapon, a jet-pack, and a boost ability. The jet-pack is used to cover short distances at faster speeds than running and can be used tactically as well. The boost ability is a super ability which can only be used after your morale meter reaches are certain point. As you fight, your morale meter slowly fills until at 100 points (the max) you can use your boost ability. Some examples of boost abilities are a short-term group buff or a dome force field.
Leveling up in Global Agenda has two primary functions: you unlock more devices at certain levels while at other levels you receive skills points which you can distribute over your three skill trees. Everyone has access to the balanced tree and two other trees that are unique to each class. All skills are passive and are geared to help you be more effective in a certain role, or with a certain weapon type. Again, Hi-Rez encourages experimenting and variation here as you can reassign your skill points whenever you're at the skill point distribution area.
The max level is 50, but at this time levels 30-50 are mostly "prestige" levels. You'll have all your devices and skill points unlocked by level 30. Armor is purely cosmetic (something I can definitely appreciate with my extensive Guild Wars background), with the armor shop offering a good amount of armor styles and helmets which you can further customize with a large selection of dyes from the dye shop. As for non-cosmetic equipment progression, there's a crafting system where you can craft armor and weapon upgrades that give you small bonuses which you can put in their appropriate upgrade slots.