APBeta: Open For All This Afternoon

By Jim Rossignol on May 23rd, 2011 at 12:46 pm.


APB Reloaded‘s delayed open beta is set to go live at 1400hrs UK time. It’s going to be interesting to see what changes GamersFirst have made in their efforts to reboot the dead MMOFPS as a free-to-play title, and they’re keen to stress they’re very much regarding this as a beta, despite the game having launched once before. Interestingly, the company has taken on Dave Jones (GTA mastermind, and the mind behind APB in the first place) as an advisor to the project. Make of that what you will.

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33 Comments »

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  1. Jumwa says:

    Regardless of what you think of the original game at launch, I suppose it could only help having some of the original team to help show them the ins and outs of the game, and assisting altering it quickly to an acceptable state.

  2. fr0y0 says:

    Is there a way to download the client beforehand?

    • televizor says:

      Yeah, that’s what I was wondering as well.
      Don’t wanna download it when all the servers will be flocked with retards (like me).

  3. Premium User Badge

    MajorManiac says:

    Oh dear. I can’t get past the enter-your-birth-date screen. It just hangs after clicking enter. Not a good start to proving they have fixed things.

    • CriminalJustice says:

      CriminalJustice thinks it’s clear that you’re trying to cheat the system and trick us into thinking you’re old enough. Tsk tsk.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorManiac says:

      LOL!

      Think I might be too old.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I was depressed to note that I had to scroll almost half way down the column to put in my accurate birth year instead of my normal jan 1, 1900.

  4. Zogtee says:

    I’m curious to see if it’s possible for them to screw the game up again. After all this, it really shouldn’t be.

  5. Cooper says:

    Thanks to RPS, I’ve been in the closed beta for a while now. So a few pointers for those about to try this out.

    1) Treat it as an online shooter. Each “mission” is a round, and although it takes place in an ‘open world’ you interaction with others outside of the mission is very limited. Do not expect much in the way of tradiational MMO stylings.

    2) Matchmaking system is revamped and re-set. Which means you will be in very unfair fights right from the off. If the matchmaking system starts to work, this should resolve over time with more data. But for now, it has so little to go on.

    3) You will die a lot. Even more than in Brink. If respawning is your nightmare, keep clear…

    Overall APB will appeal to many, but certainly put a lot off. Many of the original problems are gone, but this is still a beta, with all the technical problems and server issues that entails. If, like with the original release, these are not fixed for the actual launch, it’s likely to be another flop…

    • televizor says:

      Thanks for the the opinions there.
      But I’m still not sure if I should touch this.
      It it ok graphics wise ( does it look as good as it’s system requirements are) ?

    • Nalano says:

      Quick question:

      WHICH of the original problems are gone?

    • Cooper says:

      Driving is much better, much more responsive and better handling. The problem before was it being server-side, which meant there was a lag between input and response. This is no longer the case (but does make any issues with rubberbanding worse. Rubberbanding causing problems is a much lesser evil than all driving being crap though)

      Missions have mostly been worked over very thoroughly. There’s still a few really crap ones which are almost certain losses for one side or the other, but overall no where near as bad, and often patches address them (VIP protection missions were tweaked recently.)

      Re-Spawning has been changed, but is under review (G1 acknowledge not only that it is broken, but how it is broken. They don’t seem to havce decided on which option on how to fix it yet though)

      Balance is excellent. Any ‘extras’ you get from playing longer (character and weapon modules) now almost all have trade-offs. Extra health = slower. Extra accuracy = slower rate of fire &/or needing shorter bursts.

      Matchmaking (crap in the original – it only took into account your past 20 missions, so good players could simply opt to lose 20 missions then go gank newbies) is now totally overhauled, and they plan on skill-limiting districts (you can move to higher-skill districts than your own to play with friends, but higher skill players can’t drop down to take on lower-skilled players). Currently, because it has so little player data to go on, matchmaking is a bit broken. But that’s to be expected.

      So, yeah, much has changed. Mostly for the better, but it’s still not great. I’m hoping the open beta is a period of rapid development as G1 has promised. It still has quite a way to go (especially performance issues. It stutters something horrid on my machine.

    • ShineDog says:

      Driving is still serverside, the problem before was that they made the steering wheel turn slowly as well as it being serverside. Now the wheel snaps into a full lock (nonlinear based on speed) so the delay is far less.

  6. Nighthood says:

    Tentatively excited. If they’ve fixed some of the biggest problems (like the awful driving) it has the potential to be great. Could be good to play with friends too. We’ll see, I suppose.

  7. poop says:

    IMPORTANT NOTE: GAME STILL LOOKS/RUNS LIKE GARBAGE ON 32 BIT SYSTEMS

  8. Meat Circus says:

    Maybe Jones has realized that we weren’t “playing it wrong” after all?

  9. Robin says:

    I had really high hopes for APB. Unfortunately the client is still a complete mess.

  10. ShineDog says:

    Comment not showing up?

    Aparrently this one is. Let’s copy paste my post from EG last week.

    **
    It’s significantly improved over it’s original incarnation. Shooting is better, driving is better (still weird because it’s serverside, but it’s fun now, and the serverside driving means you never get that “I ran him over but didn’t” thing you get in BF) matchmaking is kinda broken but currently being fixed, and the biggest problem, where skilled players had enormous upgrades that let them crush you, has been mostly (not entirely) fixed by giving all the player upgrades an appropriate downside (health bonus makes you slow and clumsy, etc).

    That said, it’s still rough. Shooting is better, it’s still not great. Movement is still twitchy and kind of rough. missions are either fantastic panicked chases or rubbish camps where one team fails to penetrate the death fortress. It’s still not really an MMO, lots of 4v4 games on a big map. chaos (50v50 megawar) modes are coming, but a way off.

    But it is, to me, more than the sum of it’s parts. I’m not quite sure where it all comes together. perhaps it’s the shared nature of the game, where any firefight can occasionally stop as everyone stops to watch a convoy of cops and robbers sail gracefully through the air, ramping off a bridge over the building you are fighting on. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s a shooter that adds occasional car chases into the mix. Most shooters don’t bother with that part. It’s also got that chaos that battlefield gives you, the moments where everyone asks “did that just happen” when someone somehow gets a car onto the roof and squashes the VIP.

    So yeah. I’d struggle to say “This is definately a good game” but I can definately say “This game is definately fun as hell.” And given the huge improvements the new team has brought after a couple of months, I’m excited to see where it goes.

    And it’s free. Give it a shot.
    **
    Since then they broke matchmaking, and then kinda fixed it again, I’ve had a frustrating night where I couldn’t kill anyone with terrible, terrible matches and not a shred of fun, and a night of fantastic close matches that ranks as one of my favourite multiplayer experiences in the last year.

  11. Rii says:

    Yeah it does that sometimes. If you like we can take it as read that it was both witty and insightful.

    EDIT: Fuck sake.

  12. ShineDog says:

    It’s definately improved from ye old APB.
    Guns work – It’s not the best gunplay, it’s not the worst. Time to kill has been reduced across the board, so that whole method of “spin around each other jerkily” kind of combat is far less common.
    Cars work – It’s still serverside, so it’s still weird, but they’ve made the wheel turn much quicker so things feel far more responsive and exciting. Cars are still very, very heavy, despite the low gravity, but that means enormous drifts and huge air. It’s not perfect, but ultimately I approve.
    Missions… work, mostly. It’s still a case of a terrible, terrible camping siege or a dramatic, exciting, and mobile dogfight, but that seems to be down to the fact that rewriting RTWs terrible missions is ongoing.
    Matchmaking works – mostly. They seem to have a cycle of breaking and fixing matchmaking. Sometimes 1 rookie gets matched against 4 vets though. This is improving though.
    Balance mostly works – Weapons and characters are no longer flat upgraded, so veteran players can’t purely stomp rookies. This was, in my eyes, the biggest flaw of basic APB. 30% extra health, 20% extra damage. kill everything. Now? you can get 30% extra health, you move 30% slower though, and accelerate 30% slower. So you are waddling whale that gets obliterated trying to cross the street. An upgrade to a weapons rate of fire might hurt it’s base accuracy. This is not yet perfect, but it is far. FAR superiour.
    So yeah, everything works, and it seemingly adds up to “ok”, but for me it’s more than that. it’s got that battlefield series chaos, where a car flying through the sky causes everyone to stop fighting for a moment and watch. Where a camping VIP is taken out because someone ramped a jeep onto the roof of the building, Movement might be a bit janky and twitchy, It’s sometimes obnoxiously laggy, it’s all a little rough around the edges, but I can’t help but love the panic when I get a killstreak and 50 people get the call to take me out, or how stylish it looks to see a truck full of goons skidding to a stop in front of an alley to intercept a briefcase run.
    So, yeah, I would hesitate to say “this is a fantastic game” but I will say “this game is as fun as hell”

    Let’s just add a little addendum to say “If you are in a group” because played solo the game is utter bollocks. You’ll be matched into repeated 1v1 games in missions that really aren’t built for solo combat. Find a group, even if it’s with pubbies.

    • Lagwolf says:

      Shinedog is pretty much right. I can’t really tell the difference. Its merely a re-launch no improvements really. If you thought the game was lame before you still will. And solo its total crap, which is a problem if you aren’t on when lots of people want to group.

    • ShineDog says:

      Er. I specifically said it had improved.

      Before gunplay was weak and fussy, leading to people pingponging around at close range plinking at each other. Now guns kill quickly. The weapons sound and feel much better, even though the mechanics are broadly similar.

      Same for cars, much more responsive and fun, despite still being serverside.

      The missions are still rough, but those haven’t all been done yet, and the balance changes are night and day because you don’t get rolled by high level people with superguns. The starter gun is extremely competetive.

      It’s definately still APB, it just feels better and less frustrating. Sure, there are bad games and annoying times, but these are made up for in my eyes by the good stuff.

    • Davee says:

      You summed it up very nicely, ShineDog!
      It’s really fun when you get past the performance issues and manage to have a nice gunfight in a group with friends. Problem is that it has a lot of them (performance issues) together with other less nice things, but nothing that can’t be fixed with some love and care if you ask me.

  13. dreamss says:

    2 things:
    1. you can download the game here
    2. ANYONE can log in already (they flipped the switch this saturday) with a valid G1 user/pass and the g1 launcher. ENJOY

  14. dreamss says:

    Join the offical apb irc at irc.gameSurge.net #apb
    here is a small guide: http://forums.gamersfirst.com/index.php?showtopic=163136

    if you have the “Failed to start transfer.” try:
    Open your taskmanager and kill PMB.EXE and then kill Live.EXE

    Then try restarting GamersFirst LIVE. It should only get you a 75MB file this time, which then acts as the stand-alone patcher

    • ShineDog says:

      once you have the game, delete Gamersfirst LIVE and pando Mediabooster. PMB is borderline malware. A torrent patching client that runs seperately the the gamersfirst client that doesn’t have a task bar icon, so even if you shut gamersfirst down, it’s still ticking away as a service savaging your bandwidth. Nice.

    • terry says:

      Yeah, I’m not touching this with a bargepole. Thanks for the heads up.

    • UberMonkey says:

      PMB even goes and gives itself an entry in the Control Panel. You’ll have to uninstall this thing separately from the G1L program… I used the add/remove programs utility, didn’t check if it had its own start menu entry, but I doubt it did. Not exactly a great way to start things off, having the users install questionable software to download the game (though I will say my download speeds with this torrent system were excellent).

      As for the game itself… it seems like more of the original beta with some minor tweaks. Some of those adjustments do seem to help with gameplay balance a fair bit, but it’s the same formula of small-scale battles (as in, smaller than even most console FPS’s) packaged as an MMO. Driving is still server-side, meaning it takes a moment for input to result in a response from the vehicle, and the gunplay is still kind of bland due to a lack of any positional damage and the ability to spot enemies by taking advantage of the 3rd person camera. The character customization is still very cool, but as a free player you’ll find yourself limited in really arbitrary ways here like “only 3 decals per item of clothing.”

      I suppose you can’t complain too much about a free game and from that perspective it’s kind of fun. I could see myself playing this now and then with a few friends (and having some friends in the game with you is critical).

  15. Acefrog says:

    I really enjoyed APB when it came out for a few months before it got stale, then I was looking forward to reloaded. Then I got into closed beta, had the chance to restore my old character and then all that caused was me to be unable to login to the game at all because it crashed the character load screen.
    I got no support in trying to fix this issue at all to continue testing the beta, so because of this it has just has put me off playing compeletly. From the brief chance of what I got to play nothing had changed anyway. It was the same stale game.