Well I went to the SOE Block Party yesterday (hopped on a bus from Comic-Con)...I didn't get to spend too much time there as my friends girlfriend was sick. Here are my impressions on the games I saw...
The Agency :
Waited in line for about an hour. When inside, they played a video of the game (that I think is already on the net, from E3 perhaps). There was a Q&A session at the end. A guy asked 1 question, then I asked 5 questions, then they said they were done...LOL...Most of my questions involved the engine (UE3). Contrary to other companies/games, they said the engine has been great to work with (Epic is being sued because developers complained they were not getting new, fully working builds often enough)...That was about it for The Agency...There were other things mentioned, and I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have (if they were answered during the demo)...
Pirates of the Burning Sea :
This was a live demo, and it was being filmed by www.gametrailers.com
as we watched. It ran impressively well (performance) and had a unique stylef of gameplay...The graphics looked great as well. I'm not sure what the machine was that was running it, probably due to the free beer SOE was serving me :P
Gameplay wise there are 2 modes...Essentially, hand to hand combat and ship to ship combat. The hand to hand seemed pretty fast and looked intuitive. The ship to ship combat was impressive, but was a little slow compared to other MMO's (wich is good to me
)...There are a TON of different ships, and they can be customized quite a bit by crafters. Ships have a crew varying in sized (depending on the size of the ship). The ships are not multi-player as only 1 PC can be on a ship at a time. You command your crew wich are all NPC's. You can, however, group up with other ships to take out a larger PC or NPC ship. This is really where the multiplayer part comes in with ship combat.
The map is of the entire (real life) world, and ports can be taken by different countries. For example, if France has secured a port, Brittan can come in and fight them for and take it. There is a last group that is not a country, but is classified as "pirates". If your a pirate, you can take a port, but not own it...You basically loot and pilage it and once you have what you want, you leave for your next stop.
Anyway, the game is looking great...It should be an intersting varient in the MMO space...I'm still looking forward to other MMO's of course (like AOC, SGO, and STO), but I'll definetly give this a go at release!