Global Agenda: Sandstorm's new item onslaught

Josh Augustine

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Flaming Sword

Hi-Rez started releasing Sandstorm, a major content and systems update for Global Agenda, a couple of weeks ago, with plans to continue releasing the content in waves over the next few months. On the show floor of E3 today, I got a behind-the-scenes look at the first wave of changes, including developer reasoning for the different changes, as well as a look forward to upcoming changes.

The most noticeable addition in the first wave of updates for players is the whole new slew of items available to each class. Since I enjoy playing the sneaky, backstabbing type, I had them give me the scoop on the top-level Recon items added to the game earlier this month that most players haven't had a chance to earn in-game yet.

Dual Daggers : Replacing that one larger blade with two, swifter daggers will net you about a 30% damage increase, but will remove the reflection capability from your blocks.

Deconstructor Kit : Like a dose of digital termites, tossing this down will cause all nearby deployed tech to rapidly deteriorate, destroying everything in about 10-15 seconds. You can only have one active and its immune to enemy melee damage.

Vulture Vision : Causes nearby enemies to be highlighted with brackets as soon as their health gets low, helping you hone in on the weakest of the bunch and finish the job.

Recon Combat Jetpack : Shoot while flying. Awesome.

Targeting system : You lose the ability to stealth, but gain an active ability that allows you to temporarily see through walls. Perfect for the sniping Recon.

Shatter Bomb Boost : Charge up this bomb before you throw it and be rewarded with a bring-'em-all-down mini-nuke explosion even you'll need to run away from.

Sandstorm also makes it easier than ever to get your hands on that top-notch gear--the brand new “conquest tokens” system is borrowed from other MMOs like World of Warcraft and removes the luck requirement for getting your hands on a piece of gear you desperately want. Players can earn a maximum of 10 Conquest Tokens per day, which are used to purchase the epic items from a vendor. Acquiring the maximum amount of tokens per day should be easy even for casual players—log in once, play a few matches, and get out. Items will cost around 50 tokens, so you should be able to pick up a new piece of gear (the specific one you want) every five days. Not too shabby.

But getting your hands on the epic loot isn't going to be enough, you're going to need some player-crafted mods to boost their performance. You can make these yourself, using metal scraps and other materials earned through playing to craft them yourself or just buy them from other players. Although in the semi-near future, Hi-Rez wants to have specialized crafting that offer super mods usable on the crafter's gear only, so min-max'ers should be prepared to level up the crafting skills themselves. However, about 30 days from now, Hi-Rez is going to be making that a lot easier for you, thanks to a new salvage function (like disenchanting in WoW), that breaks down unwanted gear into crafting materials to help you level crafting even faster.

Hi-Rez says you'll also be able to craft consumables for use in battle (once per life), that mimic the off-hand items for all of the classes. Examples given were a ranged shield, huge temporary boosts to power, and a healing grenade. Cosmetic items such as pets, dyes, and showy armor are also on the slate, so you better start prepping that crafting ski.ll

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