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Reader Comments (25)

Posted: Jun 4th 2010 8:32PM (Unverified) said

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I was interested in APB, but I no longer spend money on any MMO without first playing it. Since I didn't get into the Beta, not going to be buying it. Let me know when there is a free trial, maybe I'll take a look. Been screwed over too many times by hype.

Posted: Jun 4th 2010 8:44PM (Unverified) said

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wow, that is SO pertinent to APB specifically. thank you for sharing your general consumer outlook on MMOs. It was very informative and insightful!
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Posted: Jun 4th 2010 10:47PM MattJG said

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In the same boat with you. I got into the beta. I won't be buying it.
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Posted: Jun 4th 2010 11:07PM ultimateq said

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I can certainly admit, this game won't be for everyone. It's not particularly hard to get into, though I can see why some people may not like it.
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Posted: Jun 4th 2010 9:07PM ultimateq said

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I'm going to assume the NDA has been lifted - Oh well if not.

The game is very worth playing. There are only a handful of balance issues and technical problems.

Problem 1: Driving - Though it's not much of a problem. Your driving input has to go through the server and back down to you before you notice it. So if your latency is 130ms, it takes 130ms to respond. So on days with not-so-good connections, driving may be impossible. Sometimes, very very rarely, a packet gets lost and your input doesn't take, smacking you into a car, or wall. The driving isn't really bad by any means, it highly encourages roles; so better drivers are preferred over worse drivers.

Problem 2: Crashing. The game seems to crash a bit for no real reason. It seems to have gotten better in recent play sessions, but I still crash on the average of 2-4 times a night.

Problem 3: Balance. Some weapons are annoyingly more powerful than others. Namely the AK47 type (they call the NTEC). It's range, accuracy, rate of fire, and overall damage is fine on the base model, however when it's modded it starts to really pull ahead of the other weapons. There is a pistol that you can snipe with, and kills people in 3 shots.

Problem 4: Match Making. It doesn't exist. It just throws you random missions against random people. So if your rating is 30, and you have a starter gun with no upgrades, it can match you against a person with a rating of 250 with a 3-slotted, fully upgraded gun and the best cars.

Problem 5: Addicting: I've logged over 150 hours in the beta in the past month. I haven't been this addicted to a game since Everquest. Be warned.

Really those problems are all sort of minor; frustrating at times, but still minor. The game is pretty well polished and certainly ready for release. The customization is what hooked me initially; but after playing extensively, I enjoy the game as a whole.

The combat is more twitch based than iron sight based. Yes you can zoom to iron sights, and you will; gun fights happen a lot in face-to-face situations, when that happens, think Quake 3. The combat, thankfully, is not 2-3 shot kill like in Call of Duty, and it takes a few extra hits - thus requiring better aiming skill.

The driving, problems aside, is the funnest part of the game for me. The cars handle the way they should. SUVs flip if you take a corner to hard, cars with a lot of muscle tend to over drift easier and drift out farther. I only have 2 problems with the driving physics. Jumps seem to be sort of low-gravity, but that makes it more fun I suppose; and the fastest cars in the game (the Jericho v20 based off the Mustang GT, and the Bishida 8800 GX based off the Supra and 350z) really only feel like they're going 45mph at top speed.

Are those 2 things actually a problem with the game? Absolutely not. The low-grav jumps keeps things interesting. It's always fun to launch off of a 50-foot high highway and land on unsuspecting cars. And the slower top speed actually makes the car manageable. Everything is an obstacle, and there are penalties for hitting anything.

The pedestrians or civilians are the blind un-suspect NPC sheep that roam around the city. They're insanely stupid. Remarkably stupid, even. They make every effort to hit you or run in-front of you. If you are in the left lane, about to pass a car, that car will unquestionably pull in-front of you. If you go through an intersection, the cars will turn in-front of you.

The pedestrians that walk around the city really enjoy running in-front of your car. You try to honk and scare them away, but they'll just run directly to the hood of your car. However, It can be entertaining sometimes as the bodies rag doll dozens of feet into the air.

The game works on prestige, 0-5 stars. Both sides earn prestige differently. The criminals earn prestige by committing crimes (which is just about any action, short of breathing), and enforcers earn prestige by stopping crimes or catching criminals in the act. Each higher level of prestige earns a higher reward for completing a missions. At 5 prestige, players on both sides earn a bounty on their head. So any player can hunt down this high prestige player and kill them for a bounty. This also unlocks the ability for the player to kill anyone in the city to also earn some monetary rewards for each kill.

On the criminal side, at 3 prestige you can get "APBed" which means that an enforcer (player) can be dispatched against you at any time. This is inconvenient, and very annoying. You're prestige as a criminal goes up for just about anything. Running over pedestrians can get you up to 3 prestige pretty quickly. Destroying public property such as road signs, trash cans, barricades, fences, etc, all bring your prestige up slightly. Having a higher level prestige is undesirable for a criminal due to the APB system, so this is their penalty for being reckless.

On the enforcer side. It's quite the opposite, you want to have a higher prestige to earn higher reward. There is no penalty for having a higher prestige as an enforcer. You lose prestige whenever you commit a crime, such as killing a pedestrian or destroying public property. If you've made it this far in the post and are actually reading this, +5 points to you.

The previously mentioned Rating system is an important one. Your rating can determine what equipment you can use including cars, weapons and clothing. Your rating is determined by activity not by skill or grinding. Just playing the game brings up your rating. If you spend your time customizing, your rating will go up. If you spend your time doing missions, your rating will go up. This is to help keep people from accessing the entire game right away.

There is also an unlock system along side the rating system. To unlock most things in the game such as weapons, cars and clothing, you need to complete missions for organizations and contacts from inside that organization. To do this, you simply join an action district and "pledge" to a contact. Each contact is associated with specific organization. To earn some respect with these contacts and organizations you need to complete missions. You get points for winning and losing, however winning gives you a higher reward. Each contact has 6 levels, and you unlock new contacts as you progress further into the game. Finishing a contact will give you unlockable rewards specific to the contact. Leveling up a specific organization will also unlock specific rewards unique to that organization.

Various unlockables are unlocked by time, rating, achievements or progression levels. These unlockables include new shapes for the customization areas, and emotes.

Finally there is another system called the "Threat Level". Your threat level is how good you are. I believe there are 15 threat levels in the game. Your threat level goes up whenever you win missions, because 90% of the missions involve killing other players, winning usually means that your better than them. I found the threat level to be surprisingly accurate of skill. A threat level of 1-4 usually means your pretty new, 5-8 means your average, 9-10 above average, 11-14 pretty good killing machine, and 15... well I haven't seen a 15 in person. Before the end of the beta, I had a threat level of 12. (had to brag sorry)

I could get into detail about a few more things, like the customization and how awesome that is. But you'll just have to see that for yourself. Thanks for reading my exhaustively long post. Bye

Posted: Jun 5th 2010 7:03AM Dandmcd said

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Your review may be legit, but NDA has not been lifted, and I try not to believe any reviews being leaked out while the NDA is still in effect.

Only way I will play this game is with a free trial. No way will I be buying a box copy without a chance to see it for myself.
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Posted: Jun 4th 2010 9:34PM raykor said

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Thanks for the great review!

I haven't had an active MMOG sub for some time (because they all suck) but I think I'll give this a try. You sold me.

Not expecting too much, just a few months of fun as I wait for Earthrise and Jumgate Evolution.

Posted: Jun 4th 2010 9:51PM Itoao said

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Ok, The video is gone. Perhaps it was something he said.
From then on, the only time there's any kind of transaction fee is when you put something on the marketplace and sell your creativity," Moreland says.

That statement isn't exactly true given you will need to purchase time to play in the action districts. If he would have said From then on the only time there is any kind
of transaction fee "for customization"
Maybe that would have been better.

Posted: Jun 5th 2010 2:23AM kasapina said

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They are doing away with the customization fee entirely, the news were posted on the beta portal and I sent a quote to massively, they seem to have ignored it though, and I can't find the news article atm (it's lost between the most recent news section and the news archive). Maybe that is why they removed the video, but the quote basically said that they have noticed player feedback and will be removing the rtw points fee for launch until they find a better solution to marketplace spam.

As for the review, there are points I disagree with:
-The driving is now good. Some players still complain, but it is as far as it can get in an online game I think, it isn't too easy and yet it isn't hard at all, plus I'm not experiencing any input lag at 150 latency. Oh, and the Nulander Pioneer needs to have its physics fixed, it's not fun seeing a car in the truck class, 2,5 m high, fly 30 meters in the air when hit by a tiny jericho (1m), be easily pushed by most cars when it should push THEM, etcetc. I guess they will be fixing it for the key to the city event though.
-Weapons do need some tweaking, but they will never be balanced in the eyes of us players. Tbh, the apb community is split on which weapons are too powerful - I have seen almost every single weapon being called for a nerf, although the ones brought up the most are indeed the N-Tec and the OCA (a submachine gun which kicks ass in close combat, really). To me, such a community split actually shows that the weapons are nicely balanced. As for me, I think all that needs to be nerfed is the OCA, and just by a small amount (increase accuracy regain rate by a small bit).
-Threat levels. While the higher tiers are a good representation of combat prowess, the result is that nobody wants to accept a mission against 12+ threat level players and they get longer wait times for being better. They also often get dispatched against more players than is fair (7v4 anyone?). Additionally, those good players who don't want to bother playing at such unfair odds just create new characters, and since the threat level system takes a while to adjust to the appropriate level, they get to faceroll others. Oh, did I mention that if you are threat level 1 - 5, you usually get to fight in 2v1 matches, where you are on the more numerous side? Seems nice before you find out that this means that those already powerful threat level 1 "newbies" get to fight allied with another level 1 "newbie" against a level 8 average player. Even if they were really newbies, fighting against 2 players at once is generally hard, especially in car chase missions - I mean, how do you kill the 2 people in the car when one of them is driving and the other is shooting at you, while you are a lone driver and thus can't shoot?
-League rewards. Giving the best equipment to the clans with the most members isn't good design imo, and neither is letting player duplicate those rewards (accounts are topped at 8 characters, so basically you can get 6 characters on your account join the same clan and get every reward x6).


After this long trollishy post, I need to mention that there is a BIG list of things that will be changed when the key to the city event starts. So, I guess it'll all be better, especially with league rewards and weapon balance, as I can see a nice chuck of it consists of fixes to them.


~100 hours beta tester here, I got burned out a day before the beta ended.

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Posted: Jun 5th 2010 2:27AM kasapina said

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With the closed beta coming to an end many of you are curious to know what changes APB will see before, and after release. Jericho, Lead Systems Designer, took the time to tell us what we can expect! Here's what he had to say:

Upgrades and their effect on game balance has become a hot topic now that the Beta has seen a wide range of players gaining access to the top tier weapons & upgrades. Over the last number of weeks we have been listening carefully to the feedback on the forums, listening to feedback from the dev team and our own QA department and spending a considerable amount of time in the beta ourselves playing with new characters against the best equipped beta players to see the extent of the perceived problem.

We have now decided on a course of action and though, unfortunately, there will not be time to get these changes in before the end of closed beta, we wanted to let you all know what we will be changing for the launch of APB.

First, let me state that we believe that item progression has an important role to play in APB. That said, we want to ensure that player skill is the predominant factor. In the longer term we will be looking at the upgrade system as a whole and looking at ways that we can improve it to allow players to specialise and customise their characters and play styles without compromising the central skill-based tenet of the game as a whole, which has always been our goal.

In the interim we will be making the following changes:

First, we will be reducing the effectiveness of functional upgrades more or less across the board. Utility upgrades like Bandolier, Quick Fingers, Supermag etc. will be largely unaffected.

Next, we will be making a number of changes to league rewards to ensure that the best items in the game are equally available to all players. The vast majority of league rewards will now consist of Open 1- and 2-slot weapons and Tier 1 and Tier 2 upgrades (as well as open slot vehicles and display point tokens) - and those mainly for weekly and monthly leagues. The top items in the game will be moved into general progression.

Let me quickly sum up the planned changes to general progression. Character upgrade slots and character upgrades will be moved out of Roles and more into the central stream of progression and paced to roughly match weapon progression. Open 3-slot weapons, Open 4-slot vehicles and Tier 3 upgrades will be made available at the very end of Organisation and Contact progression and at the end of various key Roles to ensure that all players have the ability to earn the best equipment available in the game through regular gameplay.

As an additional post-launch feature, we are looking seriously at the possibility of introducing new 'pure skill' district instances in which the effects of upgrades are nullified for those who want to experience the game in its most unadulterated form. With this feature we believe that we are playing to one of the core long term strengths of APB; the ability and willingness to listen to our community and offer them new play experiences based on their feedback, that sit alongside our regular progression game.

Our commitment here at RTW is to keep growing and changing APB to be the game that its players (and you'll excuse us if we include ourselves in that category) want it to be. Thanks for your feedback on this topic, and we hope that you'll continue to express your experiences and opinions (preferably in a constructive manner) to help us make APB everything that we want it to be.

-Announcement from the APB staff, this is not the big post I was talking about in my previous reply, but it outlines their design goals.
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Posted: Jun 4th 2010 11:11PM Crode said

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The NDA has not been lifted :)

I also have played 120+ hours and myself and most people would NOT agree with the preview written above. I will post much more when the NDA is released. I would hold off on your preorders.

Posted: Jun 5th 2010 2:46AM (Unverified) said

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When they don't lift an NDA this close to launch, it's usually a very bad sign.
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Posted: Jun 6th 2010 4:09AM Snichy said

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lol, "most people"...! By most people do you mean the kids in the beta forum? I love it when someone assumes to speak for "most" of the community when in fact doesnt!

The game obviously has issues as does any other game in Beta but it can ONLY be judged upon release and not before, and certainly not before a massive open beta/event patch!
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Posted: Jun 5th 2010 1:03AM (Unverified) said

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Beta tester here, and all I'll say is I'm not grabbing it when its released. There are a variety of reasons why, but I'll hold of on my reasoning till NDA is lifted. All I have to say is be wary.

Posted: Jun 5th 2010 2:33AM Dblade said

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The video is gone, but when it was up did anyone else think it really didn't look that impressive graphically, and kind of looked very basic?

Posted: Jun 5th 2010 11:24AM (Unverified) said

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As a beta tester I dont recommend this game for anyone whos intrested in hard core playing. The game is simple grinding ( mostly rep with fractions/contacts ) and can be maxed under a few weeks. Until then its a simple "shoot em up" game without hitboxes. The quests are about to camp the hell out of an area, so its easily became an annoying game.

The customisation however is awesome, too bad that you can get photoshop for the same goal.

Posted: Jun 5th 2010 9:50AM kasapina said

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This game was NEVER intended to be an MMO, so drop that "maxed out/grinding" mentality. It is an online shooter, and it's not the devs' fault that massively keeps bringing it up :P
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Posted: Jun 5th 2010 11:24AM (Unverified) said

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It does meant to be an mmo since its a massive multiplayer online game and as it is, most of the interactions happends between two PC, and not a PC and an NPC. The fact that it does NOT an mmorpg is right, but still there are a few "rpg - like things like role lvls and upgradeable equipment.

If it is just an online shooter then why is the open world enveiroment, or character customisation?

So it IS an mmo, but not in the conventional wow-clone way.
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Posted: Jun 5th 2010 1:52PM kasapina said

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What I meant was, when the developer says that the game is an MMORPG, you have all rights to expect and demand the features you stated. However, when they do not advertise it as such, but rather as a shooter, you take these features as an extra and judge the game as a shooter, thus there is no room for complaint about the quick maxing out.
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Posted: Jun 6th 2010 2:59AM (Unverified) said

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Yeah if you put it like that it make sence. I just didnt get that from your first post coz it wasnt too precise.

As a shooter its pretty much disapointing due to the lack of hit boxes (or there is only one I suppose) so even if the enemy shooting your toes you still get the same ammount of dmg if you got a headshot.

Plus the game is about camping mostly. Protect a drop-off point, protect an area, protect an item all about to move up to the nearest building and snipe the attackers.
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