And: APB Reloaded Open Beta On May 18th

By Jim Rossignol on May 3rd, 2011 at 5:24 pm.

Smokin'! Etc.
Ah, APB. That most ill-fated of games. What shall become of you? Well, we will soon be able to have a better idea, thanks to being able to get our hands on GamersFirst’s free-to-play reboot of the game. The open beta kicks off on May 18th, and I suspect a fair few people will be popping by to see whether the new owners have managed to deal with the game’s various problems. What’s also fascinating is the openness with which the APB Reloaded blog has been dealing with things like cheating. Take a look at the section on cheating in that last post, for example: “We have ON PURPOSE not kicked hackers for over a week to monitor what they are doing. That clearly will change. One semi-famous aimbot site realized that we had caught a slew of their users over the weekend (though we did so silently), then they stopped their own hack, and then earlier today re-enabled it. Sigh… when will they ever learn.”

And so on.

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46 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    davidgilbert says:

    Will be interesting to see if they put more effort into the gameplay this time round. The original had some nice concepts, like non-lethal weapons for the enforcers, and the way the call for backup system escalated until it became a battleground within a battleground, but there were serious flaws.

    The fact that you could be put up against anyone in the mission system was one, leaving you under serious threat of being creamed into a fine paste when your trying to still learn the game. Also, the map zones weren’t varied enough for a pay to play system at the time.

    In short I never even finished the 50 hours free game-time I got for ordering and ended up uninstalling the game.

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    • patricij says:

      very unexpected…

  2. Rii says:

    As I understand it, banning in waves – rather than immediately upon detection – is now common practice so as to deny cheaters knowledge as to when the tools they’re using have been compromised, thereby allowing devs to take out great numbers of them with each fell swoop.

  3. Longrat says:

    Does it bother anyone else that even though the gun the girl is using in the title picture has a stock, she doesn’t place it on her shoulder? What’s the point of putting a stock on a gun if you’re just gonna hold it awkwardly in front of you anyway?

    And even worse, she’s not hipfiring the gun OR looking down the sights. Even doom guy was holding his guns in a more comfortable way than that!

    Dumb little details that annoy me.

    • Torgen says:

      Maybe… it’s… the recoil that is making it come off her shoulder, because she didn’t know how to hold it properly? (Her spec is in pistol?)

      ….

      Sorry, that’s the best I can do.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      At least she’s not holding it sideways.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Or backwards.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      She’s also wearing raybans. My theory is that’s someones girfriend who innocently wandered in. Someone handed her a gun, and noticing a strange substance on the trigger, went “oh no way, that is so disg ….”.

      5 seconds, and much shock and trauma later, one empty magazine and a lot of dead people who had previously been giggling in a very dirty way.

    • DrGonzo says:

      She knows how to hold a gun properly, but she was startled by the giant smoke monster.

      Also, my glasses are ray bans!

  4. passingstranger says:

    Sadly, it’s still basically a neat open sandbox with roughly 3 mission types and lag problems.

    • gorgol says:

      But this time its going to be free. Worth a try I reckon.

    • passingstranger says:

      Yeah, that’s why I was hopeful going into the closed beta for Reloaded, but it’s still pretty much identical. Not the kind of thing I’d spend the time on, even with the money aspect gone.

    • gorgol says:

      Thing is though, one of my favourite game experiences of all time was the San Andreas Multiplayer mod (sa-mp), played that heavily for years, and it could well be described as a nice sandbox with few zero mission types and terrible lag… I might quite enjoy APB going by your description! :P

    • Jad says:

      roughly 3 mission types

      I never understood the complaints about lack of mission types. How many mission types are there in TF2 (particularly at release) or BF:BC2?

      It’s an online multiplayer shooter with a somewhat larger player count and a slightly different objective system, not a MMO RPG with quests and lore and such. Instead of knowing that on this map you need to capture the Blu flag or blow up the first MCOM station and then the next one, you are randomly given those objectives on a larger map. But the fun is not completing the objectives, just like the fun in TF2 is not picking up the flag — the fun is dealing with other human players trying to kill you while you complete those objectives or steal that flag.

      The problem with APB was not that it didn’t have as many missions/quests as WOW; it was that its player, weapon, and vehicle handling was not as good as in TF2 or BF:BC2. And as you note, that lag.

    • passingstranger says:

      Point well taken. I mention the mission types because it feels that, in light of basically all other aspects of the game (save for a neat music system) being notably sub-par, that’s the obvious aspect that could — and should — make this game stand out.

      It’s an issue when the most entertaining part of the game, by far, is hunting down and killing a player for his bounty. Not because that isn’t a good idea, but because that screams to be a meta-challenge behind a multitude of other activities. Instead, it’s the singular (kind of) unique action among a collection of weak ideas that countless games have done before. As you mentioned, it could probably rely on these tried and true (and very, very safe) choices if only the game they were built upon wasn’t simply broken.

      But even then, I’d argue that it more or less completely squanders its large player count by the very nature of its design. This isn’t a game in which 50 cops interact in any way with 50 robbers. It’s a game in which small, isolated encounters of roughly 8 players battle each other at a time. The current concept could have been done via P2P matches which would probably have functioned significantly better. And that makes me sad.

    • poop says:

      there are three mission types but the game will quite happily mix all of them in a single mission, and even then 90% of the gameplay is still based around camping the nearest rooftop, taking out the other team and then moving in and capping/burning/spraying/bombing/stealing/destroying/breaking into all the objectives in one fell swoop

  5. KikYu0 says:

    BRINKBRINKBRINKBRINKBRINKBRINKBRINK

  6. RvLeshrac says:

    The lag is abysmal. Even worse than in the original beta.
    The balance is nonexistent.
    The matchmaking hasn’t been improved in the slightest.

    As for the cheating, that’s *EXACTLY THE SAME THING* they posted with every update in the original APB launch. They’re using Punkbuster, which is even less useful than nothing at all for catching hackers, and even when they’ve banned hackers, they’ve never touched the majority of them.

    I had high hopes for the APB relaunch, but the devs are still blindly listening to the same idiots who destroyed the game the first time ’round.

    • Symbul says:

      They’ve apparently moved the EU servers from the UK to the continent somewhere. The lag from here in the Atlantic is worse and they’ve done nothing to fix the lag issues while driving, if not outright made it worse.

      I liked APB, rare as though that was, but I have limited faith in GamersFirst fixing it.

      They’ve made the maps more colourful at least, I’ll give them that.

    • Seraphus says:

      The balance has gone a long way, it’s actually in a nice spot aside from a few blemishes.
      The lag is nonexistent for 90% of the population.
      Matchmaking has been tweaked slightly, and is working better, still needs a couple more tweaks to be in the sweet spot.

    • Qwentle says:

      “They’ve apparently moved the EU servers from the UK to the continent somewhere.”

      The EU Servers are in Frankfurt, which is the same as it was at RTW. If you’re central Atlantic, you may potentially have a better connection playing to the US East servers we are spinning up for OB.

    • Cooper says:

      I just got in the closed beta yesterday. The major issues are lag spikes, which grind the client down to a halt. It’s not uncommon to get pauses of 1-2 seconds, right in the middle of action.

      As it is, I’ve no idea if it’s even a decent game, as I can’t get by my frustration at dying because of the client hanging…

  7. Tei says:

    Is a EPIC game with unique gameplay. Hope enough people want to play it to make it viable, because I have lots of fun with it. APB is like Counter-Strike to CS players, or Diablo to Diablo players, or Starcraft to Starcraft players. Is a unique flavour of adrenaline, and theres nothing like it.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Wait, what?

      I’m loving on APB, but that was nonsense.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I think he’s saying that people who like that sort of thing will like that sort of thing.

      It’s like cheese for cheese eaters.

  8. Davee says:

    I see RPS noticed my news tip mail :)

    I really like what G1 has done with the game so far. I can’t remember having nearly as fun playing it in RTW days as I have now! There are still some quirks that need straightening out – but not as many as it used to have. And do remember that it’s still Closed Beta (so I won’t be going into any details hehe).

    And since it’s F2P people won’t (hopefully) be quite as hard on it for not being what it was advertised to be. After all, you can try it and then decide if you want to go premium. Nobody is forcing you to pay for something you think is trash, and thus; I don’t think G1 is going to suffer as much from bad publicity as RTW did.

  9. Heliocentric says:

    The only problem a had with APB (and this is a biggy) the vehicles handled with a whole second of lag behind your input. You are forced to drive like its your first driving lesson, an analogue control offsets this a little though. I know battlefield 2 which I’m holding APB in comparison with isn’t an mmo but surely they can do better than uselessly laggy.

    • Qwentle says:

      We made a fair bit of improvement on this, so if that was your main problem I’d certainly recommend downloading it for a try. Different vehicles now handle radically different from each other, so you should find one that suits you.

    • paterah says:

      Whether or not you made improvements to the handling, the vehicles are still sliding. It’s slightly more tolerable but the unfortunate driving mechanics RTW created are still there. As for the driving input lag it’s because the driving is server based rather than client based, however the delay is still significant, if I don’t notice lag in an online fps game which is incredibly lag-sensitive (as in a 0.5 delay would totally ruin one’s experience) then why is it so noticable in APB? Punkbuster at the very least has definitely got something to do with that last one and while I don’t see you fixing the first problem you could at least do away with PB or make the driving client based.
      I forgot to say that PB isn’t really the genius one at catching hackers either and it’s also destroying client performance other than network performace.

  10. Dana says:

    Dont come close to this game without 4GB RAM at least.

  11. dsi1 says:

    I’m not going to say too much (Closed beta and all that) but this version is looking to be an overall improvement to RTW’s version. Being F2P will probably help them a lot on the critic side as well, as there are a few things that come with being a F2P game that many people don’t agree with, and RTW tried to do them with a P2P game.

  12. Matt says:

    At this point I kinda just want my 50 bucks back

  13. Turbobutts says:

    Enormous laughs will be had if this revisited version turns out to be as bad as the first one and writes history as the world’s shortest living MMO.

    AGAIN.

    • Heliocentric says:

      F2P mmos don’t expect millions over night, instead settling for steadily growing microtransaction profits.

      If does get s@#t canned it will take a while.

  14. Songbearer says:

    They’ve done a fantastic job turning this game into something that’s legitimately enjoyable. There’s a while to go yet, but there are some more major changes down the pipeline (Specifically matchmaking and extra gamemodes) and they’re driving the game in a positive direction.

    Even if you hated RTW’s APB (And I honestly can’t blame you, despite sinking about 200 hours in like an abused spouse) you really should give G1′s version a shot. It’s a lot more stable, fluid and playable in its current state and just shows how deeply in trouble RTW was when they released APB, a few more months and they could have ironed out a severe amount of the problems.

  15. poop says:

    still got horrid lagspikes and repetitive gameplay but now they intoduced the ability to force you to grind for all the nice threads to dress up your pretend cop/criminal in,

    still the driving is better when the server is kind and it doesnt cost anything. I’ll probably revisit it every couple months and fuck around with the character creator

    • poop says:

      oh and they still havent fixed the game looking like garbage and crashing constantly on 32 bit systems that run games that look far better way better

    • RvLeshrac says:

      In the year 2011, there’s no excuse for running a 32-bit OS on hardware powerful enough to play APB.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      “I don’t want to spend the money on doing a full upgrade of my system, and I don’t want to spend the time doing an in-place upgrade to a 64-bit OS.”

      EXCUSE!

    • Premium User Badge

      Buzko says:

      “It works.”

      EXCUSE 2!!

  16. Zyrusticae says:

    I’m still waiting for them to implement the (many-times mentioned) new skill-rating system and to allow me to import my old character.

    The game’s majorly improved from the state it was in during RTW’s run, but there are still quite a few issues that could keep it down if they aren’t fixed. For example (and this is a major one), the time-to-kill of everything has been reduced from something like 1.1s to .66s… which is a pretty major leap and is hugely contentious with the population of beta testers (and possibly the entire player base). The performance is also pretty raw… I’ve been completely unable to maintain good, playable FPS at any setting, probably at least related to my use of SLI.

    If these issues get addressed, GamersFirst could easily have a gold mine on their hands here. But if not, well… we’ll see.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      I have issues killing *anything*, and LTL is completely useless. I’m not sure if this is due to the ridiculous latency they introduced about two weeks ago or what, but it wears on me after about 30 minutes.

      The other issue that still needs to be fixed is the number of players griefing with vehicles.

    • Premium User Badge

      KindredPhantom says:

      The latest patch (out now) includes RTW character importing. As for the new skill ratings system, they said that they “will be added as we move along, and likely some of the new ones will be there before Open Beta.”

      LTL does need a serious look at it, it is a lot harder than it was in RTW, though it is still doable in 2 man teams or just 2 people doing LTL whilst the rest go lethal. G1 are apparently going to address LTL balance, but they do have more pressing issues.

      Vehicle griefing was fixed a couple of patches a go, well dump truck griefing was. Players not in your mission can no longer slam your vehicle into a wall and blow you up, instead you just bounce back. Their is still griefing in APB, the game seems to be a troll magnet.