APB: catch all

Oh yeah, forgot about that Key to the City thing. What was that all about? Or should I just check the beta site?

It was basically the pre-order launch of the servers-- a last-minute stress test before final release, thinly veiled as a "play before the masses do!" gimmick. I missed it, too. I was really curious to see what they might have improved from the beta, since they nixed all the beta forums (and thus any suggestions/criticisms we may have made), but I guess I'll check the game out after a free trial thing or something is released-- I have enough other stuff to play to tide me over.

You didn't miss the key to the city event at all, it starts tomorrow. You get a key if you were in beta or pre-ordered the game.

I just got a key. D/l for the weekend.

Oh-- I thought they kept saying the 10th was the Key to the City day, the 12th was launch. Guess I misread.

I got a key from Rock Paper Shotgun, I'll probably play this over the weekend and then uninstall. We'll see though.

Lots of keys at RPS. Don't have to j ump through hoops either.

Got a key. Figured I'd at least try it out even though I started playing a different game yesterday. Considering how most online pc games are, hopefully it will download and finish patching before the event is over.

I am really interested in hearing the beta tester's opinions. This game looks terrible to me, and am interested to hear if I am right.

SallyNasty wrote:

I am really interested in hearing the beta tester's opinions. This game looks terrible to me, and am interested to hear if I am right.

You are correct

Unfortunately I've heard such uniformly bad things about the game, I don't even know if I'll bother to download it. But, I did get a key in case I get bored this weekend.

Yeah I decided to get a RPS key to try it out. Was liking how it looked but kinda bummed that nobody here seems to like it.

The fact that everybody is down on it is a bad sign. But I snagged an RPS key anyway to check it out. I was very excited way back when it was first announced.

To tell you the truth, I had fun with a buddy of mine while in Beta. But that was until the point where you start learning a bit more how the system works and you realize the game is an unbalanced mess! Also, it get really repetitive after a little while. This could've been so good...

They haven't said outright, but since the beta is closed and the developer hasn't answered my many requests for a timeline on the NDA-release, I'm going to say this under the assumption that the NDA is lifted. Since they haven't said otherwise anywhere that I could find, at least. If someone has specific evidence to the contrary, I'll gladly pull the comment. Either way, this isn't a tell-all, because I have a headache and don't want to type this all night.

So, the game is fun. It has it's flaws, but it is still fun. I think what you'll hear (if you haven't already) from most beta testers is that suggestions made to better the experience were largely ignored. Granted, not everyone is a game designer (read: some ideas while fun in your head, just don't work in implementation), but the forums were largely devoid of actual developers the majority of the time, unless people bitched about one (very specific) thing enough, at which point that thing was nerfed "until we can come up with something better". Unfortunately not a good sign. I believe the lack of fun and the complaints never really stemmed from what people were actually complaining about (rather specific things, actually), but stemmed more from fundamental gameplay designs that cater to a large population and leave loners and smaller groups in the dust, or worse yet, under higher ranks' guns. in other words, that's just bad game design for a game meant to cater to everyone's play-style (you want chaos, right?). Perhaps those gameplay designs will be fixed with a larger population that a beta simply can't provide-- we'll see. I believe that is really the underlying purpose of the Key To The City event-- stress-test the server loads. Even if the larger population does even out the lack of balance others have mentioned, the underlying issue would still exist, and thus, it's still bad gameplay design.

All that said, I'll reserve my final judgment until after the game has launched-- maybe they really did listen to a lot of the testers' issues and wanted to surprise everyone, beta testers included, with a fully-polished game. But after a year of testing, I saw hardly any major change to the gameplay, so I kind of doubt it. Like I said before, the game was still at least kind of fun even in spite of the flaws-- when things worked out the way they were intended, the game turned into a beautiful thing indeed. I'm really hoping those fundamental issues are fixed, though, because the game has a ton of potential. And when you get a taste of its true potential, it is awesome, albeit rather seldom.

More after the Key to the City event, perhaps.

Managed to get a key from RPS as per the heads-up here. However when I tried to create an account with that key on the NA APB website, it gave an invalid key error.

Anyone else getting the same problem?

ruhk wrote:

I think their servers buckled last night, as my installer simply stopped working and their site wouldn't load when I went their to look for a solution. Everything seems to be working now, though, so it's worth trying the key again.

Still not working. Maybe I'll try again once it actually starts.

EDIT: Looking at the comments at RPS, it looks like there was problems with EU and NA codes and being region locked. RPS claims that it should work for both regions but this doesn't seem to be the case.

Falchion wrote:

Managed to get a key from RPS as per the heads-up here. However when I tried to create an account with that key on the NA APB website, it gave an invalid key error.

Anyone else getting the same problem?

I think their servers buckled last night, as my installer simply stopped working and their site wouldn't load when I went there to look for a solution. Everything seems to be working now, though, so it's worth trying the key again.

Forunately I didn't have any region problems but their servers are getting smashed. The launcher won't d/l faster than 35 KB/s.

I got my key from RPS and it worked fine for North America but maybe I just got in early enough.

My seven gig download of the game is still going however and theoretically only has a half hour left.

My installer crashed again, and upon resuming it was back to 0%- all 85% that I had downloaded since the last crash had been corrupted. Eff it. I'm done.

I got a key from RPS yesterday and started the installer morning. It's been downloading for the last 6 hours and it's only half-done. I'm kind of sad I didn't see the overwhelmingly negative first impressions first, but I'm committed to experiencing mediocrity! I will install this thing and complain about it when it meets my expectations!

Tried it a couple of times today. I know it's a deliberate stress test on the server but damn that games a system hog. First time I've seen a game tell me I don't have enough ram for quite a while.

Did the tutorial but haven't even gotten to combat yet - don't know if I'll bother - having it chug along like this (on LOW settings) will probably just make combat a frustrating mess.

I am reminded as to one of the main reasons World of Warcraft remains so popular - you can run it on practically anything.

So I just got back from playing the Key to the City thing, and wow! Nothing's changed! Balance issues galore (I, at 106 rep-- basically a level-- am pitted against one level 16-- how does that even make sense? I completely overpowered him!), and gameplay that still caters to cowards that run during PvP instead of maintaining an area in which the players must stay and fight. Hey, RTW: you don't really get the "chaos" you planned on (and show in your trailers) if you create missions that cater towards running from the enemy.

Case in point: a mission that involves holding an item for the duration of the mission-- keep the other team from getting it, kill them, etc. Problem #1, it doesn't matter who had it the longest, just who has it in hand when the timer runs out-- that's cheap, at best, since I might be able to run up and kill a guy and take the item with 2 seconds left on the clock and win the match, after he's spent 5 minutes basically "winning". Problem #2, if the guy with the item gets in a car and takes off and you have no one else on your team to ride shotgun while you chase him down, that's it, mission's over. In other words, there's no incentive to stay and fight, which just seems like flawed gameplay to me, when the game is based primarily around the PvP experience. That leads to Problem #3: if you aren't in a group, chasing down the enemy is extremely difficult. Especially if you are dispatched against two players and cannot call for backup. The reason being if they are in a car, the passenger can sit out the window and shoot, but no driver can fire from the window. So if I'm playing 1 vs. 2, driving right behind them, I pretty much can't do jack but watch the timer drain out and the enemy shoot my car. Good times! There's another mission type that involves killing the enemy at least one more time than they kill you, before the timer runs out. All these same problems persist, since the moment a player has that one extra kill against the opposing team, he can just run away and ride the clock, sort of like an overtime thing-- if you have one more point than me, all you have to do is keep me from scoring a point against you. Sure, in overtime that's fine, but an entire mission based around that concept is a horrible design-- at least, it is if the players are given the ability to just run from the fight while they're ahead. These issues are somewhat remedied by teaming up with others, and that is an easy thing to do, but just like WoW parties: sometimes you just don't want to deal with other people's BS, and you might want to go at the game alone. The problem is that the developers allow it, but the gameplay skews the odds against the solo player so much it kills any fun an individual might have otherwise.

The other major issue I had already briefly mentioned at the beginning of the post: dispatches, the actual PvP matchups, are not based at all on players' ranks, but who is nearest them. When I complained about this in the beta, everyone always gave me grief, that this would be solved by a larger community evening out the odds. Even now though, with about 90+ players in the server, I (at over 106 rep/rank) was getting dispatched against entry-level (level 10) people. This should never happen, and yet it still goes on. The matchmaking system should be based on what opposition are nearby that are within a certain range of your own rank, to keep things balanced. Without it, high-ranking players are constantly pitted against entry-level newbies that don't stand a chance. The worst part of that isn't even that the entry-level dudes get trounced, but the guy that beat them get's so little reward for doing so that there's hardly any reason to do it except to troll. So again, I wonder what is the point of even offering the higher ranked guys the option. Again, flawed game design.

All this is to say that it sucks because there was such potential, but that potential was blown away by bad game design. The worst part is, that bad game design could have been fixed and made so much more fun for everyone-- not just high-ranked players and large groups-- had the developers just balanced the gameplay's flaws from the start.

*sigh* It was so fun at times, too. And the customization was really cool as well-- almost worth the price of admission, if the game design flaws didn't detract so much. So all in all, I'm avoiding this game for the time being. Hopefully they'll come to their senses and release a patch that remedies such problems, although considering how much a lot of the testers were trying to bring these issues to light and getting completely ignored by the devs or flamed by other players, I kind of doubt it.

Like I said before: I'd stick with GTAIV multiplayer for the fighting or Saint's Row for the MP fighting + character customization. All in all this game just isn't worth it.

WipEout wrote:

APB Issues

Those were my exact issues with the game when I played.

Great write-up, WipEout. From my view those issues seem easy to address, and very appearant. But even if they were changed I've learned from previous experiences that if someone doesn't pay you mind when a transaction is a possibility, they certainly won't pay you mind after that transaction is complete.

I had no intention of purchasing APB, it never seemed that interesting to me, but I do have a love for good ideas that fail or just are not what they could've been.

Edit: Pbbbftt. Good thing I went the free open beta route instead of pre-order. I can't even launch the game without a "General Protection Fault" on my monster gaming rig. Gave it a good 45mins of troubleshooting and forum crawling. Fook this, uninstalled.

Yeah, I think I need to just pick up a cheap copy of Saints Row 2. From the early developer videos I was really hoping for more of a living city environment where PvP opportunities just arose naturally while running more formalized missions. I was also hoping player level wouldn't make that much of a difference. That a low level cop could take out a high level crook if they just played it right. I've always hated the "I've spent more time grinding so I'm guaranteed to kill you." mechanic. It sounds like this is just a glorified arena match without balance and horrible performance.

WipeOut, those are exactly my experiences as well. One thing though, even if they fix the balancing issues, the shooting itself is sort of dull. Weapons have no recoil and it all feels very artificial. You pretty much aim at someone and hold the button. I wish it felt more like first person shooters, where you need to burst for certain weapons, control your recoil and each weapon have a different feel to them. I don't know, I just don't like the way it works in APB.

Also, I can see that there will always be a "Weapon of the Month" thing going with this game. For several months they can't really balance them in beta. N-Tec rifles were too OP (everyone that used them was called a Noob-Tec!). They toned them down and made shotguns way too strong. Every time they try to balance something, they just over nerf a weapon and a different one gets to be the only thing used by players until the next "balancing" comes. Stun guns... Damn, those things were annoying! I think all this could be fixed if the weapons felt a bit more real when shooting. Also, gun mods are ridiculous OP. When low ranked players get matched with higher ranked ones with access to mods, there's no way they can win a match.

KillTrash wrote:

WipeOut, those are exactly my experiences as well. One thing though, even if they fix the balancing issues, the shooting itself is sort of dull. Weapons have no recoil and it all feels very artificial. You pretty much aim at someone and hold the button. I wish it felt more like first person shooters, where you need to burst for certain weapons, control your recoil and each weapon have a different feel to them. I don't know, I just don't like the way it works in APB.

Also, I can see that there will always be a "Weapon of the Month" thing going with this game. For several months they can't really balance them in beta. N-Tec rifles were too OP (everyone that used them was called a Noob-Tec!). They toned them down and made shotguns way too strong. Every time they try to balance something, they just over nerf a weapon and a different one gets to be the only thing used by players until the next "balancing" comes. Stun guns... Damn, those things were annoying! I think all this could be fixed if the weapons felt a bit more real when shooting. Also, gun mods are ridiculous OP. When low ranked players get matched with higher ranked ones with access to mods, there's no way they can win a match.

This is what frustrated me the most. For a game that was supposed to be a shooter it didnt just stack up.