The resurrection of All Points Bulletin from the dead by GamersFirst has been uplifting, both in that it happened at all and in how well it has been going. The game recently entered open beta, and with it, we at WorthPlaying have been spending inordinate amounts of time shooting Enforcers and mugging people on the streets of San Paro. At E3 2011, we got to have a detailed discussion with GamersFirst's Cesar Gatica, Associate Producer of APB: Reloaded and talk about the state of the game and their plans for bringing more content before and after the game's projected August release.
It is no secret that the game's matchmaking system is currently somewhat broken in terms of balance, and that has not escaped the notice of the development team. Later on this month, they will introduce a new matchmaking system that prioritizes even numbers of participants per team and tries to even out their threat level. Though you may still see a 3v4 match or other slight disparities in numbers, it should address the issue where a lone gold threat tier player is forced to face down three or four silver or bronze players just because the threat math added up that way.
Weapon and mission balance has greatly improved since GamersFirst has taken the helm, but it is still undergoing some tweaks here and there. To that end, the developers have been keeping a close eye on the official forums and other sources of community conversations. Perception can certainly be reality when it comes to issues of balance, and the developers' stance is simply that if they begin to see a lot of people complaining about a pressure point in the game or see that an undue amount of players use a particular gun or mod, they will take steps to address it. This community feedback is a primary motivator in these balance issues if only on a transparent level, and it helps organically balance the game rather than have balance be dictated in a way that the developers see fit.
Brand-new content will soon be introduced in the form of two new districts and some new game modes. In the new Turf War mode, the entire instance of 50v50 is able to freely shoot at each other, but more importantly, each side is vying for capturing and holding chunks of the city. The new Clan Warfare mode allows for up to 20v20 clan fights in objective-based missions to finally let clans show off who is the most skilled of all. While the Turf War gameplay mode will drop sometime after the August release, Clan Warfare should be hitting sooner than that, though no set date has been announced.
In addition to the new gameplay modes, there is a new district in the form of the Asylum, which is a new PvP-centric zone where enforcers and criminals can duke it out with each other. A second new district caters to the new racing game mode, a smaller district in which cars can drive faster than they do in the normal districts. Since it's APB, racers can have passengers shooting at other racers in a true death race fashion, so the one crossing the finish line first may be the one who has a car full of gun-toting maniacs hanging out the sides.
One feature that will not be getting added is a criminal LTL (Less than Lethal) equivalent, so that rumor can be safely put to rest. What is getting added to the game is more unlocks and unlock notification descriptions to make it easier to know what you get at the end of each mission. The Armas cash store will be getting new vehicle designs, and it'll eventually get new vehicle models and guns, though GamersFirst seems to be playing it cautiously in how it goes about doing so.
The developers seem pretty happy with their active account numbers and of how many of those upgrade to premium accounts via the Armas Marketplace, and it is not hard to see why. With the game brought back from the dead with a renewed effort toward balance and clearing out the hacking that plagued the original, APB: Reloaded is shaping up to be a fantastic action MMO well in advance of its actual release. Though there are still matchmaking issues to iron out and some balance to level, there really hasn't been a better time to take to the streets of San Paro.
Greg Hale also contributed to this preview.
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