APB (Now That The NDA Is Gone, Or Maybe It Isn’t)

I’m not actually sure that the APB NDA has gone, but the game has launched, so I’m going to rely on the legal precedent of O’Really vs Ya’Really and put up my pre-launch opinions anyway. So, APB:

Conclusion:

– This particular attempt at GTA Online is probably going to struggle to hold large numbers of players, but could definitely attract a niche group of players to it.

– The free-flowing, non-permanent nature of APB’s PvP content means that players are going to make their own fun after a certain point. This is the area in which APB will live or die.

– Customisation is awesome. Sets a new MMO benchmark.

Combat:

– It’s mostly FPS, with destructible vechicles adding in an extra layer of tactics.

– Missions are short and sweet and all PvP.

– There is no permanent result to your actions – you can’t drive crime / the law out of any particular location, making every mission fairly limited in terms of in-game impact.

Crafting:

– You can craft designs for tattoos and cars.

Character:

– Customisation of character models is awesome. Lots of different possibilities with the layering of clothes, tattoos, piercings, images, etc.

– Customisation of cars is also very deep, with different types of parts available.

– Lots of options, a lot requiring they be unlocked or bought before you can use them.

Communication:

– VOIP allows you to hear insults about your sexual preference in real time.

– Text chat is basic yet functional.

Content:

– It’s all PvP. This means a critical mass of players is needed on both sides to make it work.

– The closest thing to PvE is either stealing from shops (for criminals) or returning stolen cars (for enforcers) but this still has a PvP slant (criminals can be tagged for PvP by doing those crimes, enforcers need criminals to steal the cars to get them tagged as stolen).

Collectables:

– Lots of unlocks – clothes, design shapes and decals, weapons, etc.

– There are also in-game achievements for pulling off certain actions e.g. killing someone with a car, killing someone with a grenade, etc.

Competition:

– APB is all PvP.

– This means that the speed of your connection is critical to how effectively you can play APB.

– Given APB is also an FPS-with-vehicles, how good you are with both of these systems is also critical to how much you will enjoy APB.

Community:

– The beta forums were mostly full of nice, reasonable people. The abuse only starts when you are in the game world.

– It is PvP, so things are very competititve.

Contingencies:

– Characters with slotted weapon bonuses have a large advantage over players who haven’t got them. Assuming that two equal skilled players have a 50 / 50 chance of winning, a slotted bonus that provides a 5% advantage is a big deal.

– Car control takes a while to master, given that lag apparently requires you to start turning your vehicle about 2 seconds before you actually want to turn. Some people claim this is a feature that the later-game vehicles don’t suffer from.

– There is a huge issue with ‘grey’ (i.e. non-damageable) characters assisting red (i.e. damageable and involved in a mission) characters through things like pushing opposing characters off objectives or blocking kills / pursuit. As more organised clans get involved in APB, this is going to be a big problem.

– No end-game objectives. You can be the biggest crimelord in all of San Paro (or have an arrest record that would fill a maximum security prison) but you will have not an iota of impact on the world around you.

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