The APB: Reloaded beta is near and it certainly has my interest. I shall refrain from discussing any “insider scoops” and focus on the more official news and comments, particularly the APB-Reloaded blog. There’s a few things that have caught my eye, from the premium service to a single player version of the game.
Lets start with the Beta plans! The original beta was, to be frank, a complete clusterfuck. It looks like G1 have a much more solid timescale and I really hope to get a chance to check out the progress that was made. The thing that most caught my eye was the revelation that to some extent it looks like accounts may be restored! Being able to take back my old character names as well as my customisations would be pretty sweet, although one thing does scare me. There’s mention of “gear” being restored. One of the biggest game breakers was upgrades and their mass availability to clans that used “unsporting means”, so to restore them to everyone’s accounts would kill things off before it begun. Lets hope that doesn’t happen!
My other major concern with what I’ve been hearing relates to the premium content. Of course now that APB is free2play (which I’ll get onto later) and they need to make money, so naturally you need some form of charges. However I’m a little surprised at some of the things they are charging for. The premium client hasn’t been explained all that much but there is talk of the free version being low res in interviews so forth.
I understand that the small client is there to avoid the issue of people being put off by APB’s hefty download time but the game’s biggest selling point is the customisation and now all new/F2P players won’t experience that. Hopefully they are just mixing up terms a bit. Customisation is going to be another thing that will be premium, which makes sense. However it does sound like a very complex way that they are looking to implement it. APB’s original business plan was a really good one in my view but what hurt it was very poor communication over it (in particular taking so long to inform people) and in itself it was a very messy and confusing implementation. APB has suffered from being overly complex and that trend seems set to stay :(.
There’s been suggestions about bringing the back plot into APB a lot more. There was a comprehensive story behind the game but it never saw light of day and to be honest, I never missed it. One of the most enjoyable things about APB (for myself at least) was just getting in a group and engaging in PvP with my own personalised character. Missions did need more structure and background, but there is a line. Perhaps it will be another ruleset, along with chaos, pure skill and a few others in the pipeline. That might end up a little convoluted though with players spread thin over rule sets or even worse, people not being able to get a game in their preferred ruleset because there aren’t enough people on. Hopefully they won’t expand the rulesets too quickly!
One thing though… a big NO, NO, NO to AI opponents. APB at its heart is a fast paced broup based PvP game. Adding AI might make it more like GTA, but it will suck the heart out of the game and turn it into a GTA-clone-but-online. Something that RTW (rightly) tried to avoid, albeit very poorly and too late.
As I mentioned earlier, APB:R is going to be free to play. This means that it will be open to people who couldn’t care less about being banned). Only thing I can’t abide in games is people who run their mouths off non-stop or constantly try to be as offensive as possible. This no doubt people who were billy-no-mates at school, a failure academically and probably jobless without a chance or care to work. With the Internet & online gaming they trying to gain some sort of sense of worth and power by trying to belittle others. Pffft. They are all too apparent in paid for games and this can be magnified somewhat in free to play. APB could suffer from it as people harass on district chat & whispers, wear obscene customisations or just hack it on up. Quite how G1 will deal with it, I’m not sure yet. They do have some grand ideas on their blog but I can’t see them having the man power to implement something themselves at this time.
Anyway, I’ll still be giving APB: Reloaded a shot. Sounds like very little has been settled on yet (although the beta is alarmingly close for things to be up in the air) so hopefully I’m criticising things that won’t come to pass. I reckon there’s some cool stuff to come and I certainly can’t forget that at times APB could provide the most enjoyable online experience I’ve had.