APB Overhauling Matchmaking, Combat, Driving, And More
APB, the new action MMO from Realtime Worlds, launched a couple of weeks ago to less-than-stellar reception. According to recent posts on the APB website, though, virtually every aspect of the game will be receiving some major changes in the coming months.
Realtime Worlds community rep Neil Castle wrote up the two posts on APB's site. The first, posted yesterday, is titled "APB: The Road Ahead," and does a broad rundown of all of the issues the developer hopes to address soon. Some interesting points:
On vehicle handling: "We're already underway on a major overhaul to vehicle handling to make cars more responsive and less slippy overall."
On combat: "We're looking at almost every aspect of combat - how it looks, feels and sounds, as well as weapon characteristics and tactics. Weapon changes will be put up on the Public Test World to get some feedback in due course."
On camping: "We'll be addressing a number of the worst camping spots in the game in an upcoming patch. We'll be tackling the rest on an ongoing basis."
On missions: "Investigations are already under way into ways to make mission objectives more interactive and to try and add a bit more strategy to the actual missions themselves, not just the combat surrounding them."
Castle also says that the team is considering adding in a "newbie" ruleset, essentially special instances of the city's combat zones that would help ease new players in a bit easier than the current game, which throws you right into some intense PvP after a brief and less-than-helpful tutorial. They are also continuing to work on the Chaos ruleset, which will allow for completely open PvP in some instances.
In another write-up posted today, Castle focuses on one of the major issues that has plagued the game's launch: matchmaking. According to Realtime Worlds, the main problem with matchmaking balance is due to players turning down Dispatch and Call for Backup missions at a higher rate than was expected. The developer believes this is partially due to high-end players wanting to maintain perfect stats and partially due to people who've had bad experiences in previous unbalanced matches and don't want to risk it again.
Whatever the case, their planned solution is bold: Players will be able to enter the action zones in an "Off Duty" state, which will allow them to do non-combat and non-mission activities, but the second they switch to "On Duty," they won't be able to turn down Dispatches. Players will have a much more guided experience, but it could also be frustrating if they want a break from the action and keep getting pushed along into more PvP missions.
However the changes with matchmaking and everything else actually turn out, it's definitely a good sign that Realtime Worlds is recognizing some of the game's problems and attempting to improve on them. In particular, I'm happy that they're looking at combat, camping, and missions. I genuinely hope they've still got the time and resources to salvage the promise of this game.