The progression in APB was god awful. It was complicated and felt relatively abstract. With the website experiencing delays and being out of date by the time it was released, the player was left feeling a bit “wtf?”. This has been substantially improved within APB: Reloaded.
Previously completing missions, PvP and activities yielded a combination of Contact standing Organisational standing, each with their own progression trees. Add in the Roles and Achievements earned along the way along with Prestige / Notoriety, Threat and Rating changes it was far too confusing. Each metric did serve a purpose, but were they really necessary. No. In APB: Reloaded you’ll find that this has been simplified and restructured to a much more logical and understandable system. Organisational standing has been removed, with further levels for Contacts available to ensure that you have plenty levels to earn. It would appear that Rating has been ditched as well, although I may need to double check that one!
What really helps with the Contact progression is the changes to the Contact UI. Now available on the front page is a list of the rewards available to the player from that Contact, along with the level that they can be obtained from. It makes deciding who to pledge with a LOT simpler. Why wasn’t this in from the start you may ask? Well in fact it was part of the design when the “final” design was put together back in August 2009 but got cut in order to afford time to the vending and rather pointless heat pay off system.
This isn’t the only improvement with Contacts as pledging has been changed so that you can pledge with anyone. This allows players to pick their own progression path and grouping isn’t going to risk you being stuck with a Contact that you either maxed ages ago or haven’t unlocked. I do feel as though it does devalue the role of the group leader and getting together but its a very small price to pay for such a massive gain. As you can pledge remotely, there isn’t an issue of having everyone drive around to different places to pledge, which was perhaps the initial concern.
The roles system has had a significant overhaul and I have to say, I am impressed. The roles have been slightly refreshed with more focus on the type of weapon used. Bring down plenty foes with a sniper rifle and you’ll be rewarded with a weapon, upgrades or similar of that ilk. I think that this is a big step forward to creating a logical and understandable progression path. It still isn’t perfect though. If you are struggling with your base sniper rifle up against upgraded players, you’ll want an upgraded one. However this is only unlocked by using a weapon perhaps not up to the level required. There is of course the marketplace, so all is not lost and I’m sure that the new roles system will work well.
My main criticism of the new system is the speed of progression for new players. Previously the choice of a SMG or Rifle was given nice and early, along with the starter weapon of the TAR. These weapons were cheap and provided a quick access to different weapons, allowing a different style of play. Now players must save up $3000, not counting any other expenses, to be able to change from the starting weapon. This is quite a hefty fee, especially if you aren’t able to unlock a weapon you like. Players could be faced with . Simply put, this is unacceptable. I understand why it may be priced like this, all weapons are supposedly balanced not just their power but also cost/accessibility. Perhaps when the old starter SMG / Start Rifle (never released and not to be confused with the base weapons given early to new players) were reintroduced to the game they could have made them *slightly* weaker, available very quickly and for a low fee.