Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 6 Jul 2010.
How many poor reviews will it take for people to finally understand that MMO's barely change when going from late beta stress-testing to full release?
I was in the beta for this (and few other MMO's in recent years) and I've learnt that there is only one constant - people always expect there to be some miracle launch-day patch that will turn the game from what it is, into some secret awesome version the developers have been hiding.
Also, did Realtime Worlds do anything to try and enforce that hilarious 7 day post-release review embargo?
MMO's usually improve over time. But I still won't be giving this one a go.
As far as I know, the embargo was rescinded following the outcry - at which point I was frankly still casting around for someone who'd actually be willing to review the game. We could have had it done in time for the release date, but decided it was only fair to give the game a proper amount of time and thus went with the old (and no longer enforced) embargo, rather than rushing one out just to catch the wave of release hype. As such, I have no idea if RTW tried to enforce the embargo - I didn't even get the press release revealing it had changed until very late on.
I remember Hellgate: London had a similar problem with blurry textures. You would look bad-ass with your high-detail ultra-armour, but when you went to a social hub, if the game was to download the hi-def textures for everyone, the memory size and download times would have been horrendous. So it enforced medium textures on everyone, and you realised that you looked just as blurry to everyone else.
It looks like it is still a problem. Custom textures taking up a load of space, eh? Who'd have though it?
After searching around, it does indeed seem as though the embargo was quietly lifted.
Now the question is, how long will it take APB to seriously adjust its payment model? I'm guessing it will be in record time. TBH judging by the amount of time they spent implementing the customisation tools, they should focus on selling this game as Second Life with Guns.
Second Life has guns, just everyone complained so I guess they will be enforcing "No drive zones" etc in this too as when I played the beta, people were more interested in stacking as many cars as they could into a street rather than playing the game.
Got to agree with the general consensus of this review, at least from what I experienced of the beta. Main issues for me were certain guns just = win, and the missions got really repetitive really quickly.
I didn't have an issue with the graphics, but that is explained by the fact I was using 64-bit Windows. Not that they were that amazing anyway.
All I can say is, you must have been playing a different game. I found APB excellent fun - sure there are glitches and the balance is off - name me an MMO that launched with no balance issues - but the flaws are there for both sides to exploit, so it all balances out.
I get the feeling when you saw the game a year ago, you formed an overly optimistic opinion of what the game should be like, and now you're disappointed. Did you play in a group, and use voice chat? It's a game that rewards teamwork and a good knowledge of the city and its various opportunities - e.g. the hotel roof in Financial that can be camped with snipers. Sure, the new player has some learning to do, but it's not an insurmountable "cliff".
I have to agree RTW failed miserably with their PR campaign - the embargoes were just ridiculous.
So, having played ABP since 'Keys to the City', and now since release, and seeing rather bad reviews pop up here and there, i came in here expecting not much less. But hey, after reading, i have to say this is a very good review.
Until now i've been able to enjoy the game a lot, mostly due to playing together with 2 buddies. It's a game that seems to have a lot of good things going for it to be honest: i like the rather cool cars, i think the action districts are well-made, there is a lot of choice for items/weapons/cars... Customisation is very present.
However, as said in the review, the largest downfall by gigantic miles is the overpoweredness of some weapons. After only a week i can say it's becoming a major issue for players who, like me, play 2 or 3 hours an evening (which is probably a lot by many other's standards already).
We don't shun from many mission offers, but the first thing we now do is go to the scoreboard to check out our opposition. When you now see 2 guys with the SMG with 3 upgrades, and one NTEC with upgrades, we know it's a Game Over for us. It's like smashing your head in a brick wall over and over again. We are not bad players, we know that, but after playing one evening we'd begin thinking we're absolute crap and have yet another off-day. It's getting horrible and ridiculous the longer this goes on.
I also have to, unfortunately, agree on the mission types. Missions often end in one of several problematic ways:
VIP : get to a perfect camping spot and wait it out, or get in a car and race to the other side of the map. Especially the camping spots are getting awfull, as day after day we see more and more teams go to the same exploited area. /afk for 10 minutes till it's over, cause they sure ain't gonna come even peer over the ledge. This is HORRIBLY frustrating, and a travesty that we need to wait so long for a patch. Don't ever expect players to behave, once an easy way to win is found, it'll be exploited, and here we have a prime example.
Even the running away is frustrating. You practically need a very fast car, lap it there, and put them down. Sure - you could make it work, but it's real work and frustrating. With the multitude of players clogging the streets in stupid ways, you often enough crash into something, if not mostly another player who thinks it might be fun to ram you head on.
Capture and Hold: 8 minutes of spectacular frenzy. Who holds the circle after those 8 minutes wins. Only that last second matters. That doesn't bother me so much, but combined with the stupidly OP weapons, it's often just getting kills anyway.
I've been checking if i should try and collect some OP weapon, but i'm getting more unsure by the day if i even should bother. I'll see how much fun it remains the coming days, but i sincerely hope the devs turn the balance around a bit, else it'll indeed take a turn for the worst.
Another point is the Matchmaking. It only takes in regard threat levels of players. When you check the scoreboard and see that those threat level 10s have an amazing rating of 150+, you're screwed. The devs say rating matters not, and i beg to differ. They often have access to much better gear (we're again in the balance zone here). Otherwise i'd say it's pretty okay. We often join another group in a backup call, and the resulting giant shootouts with 14 players can be quite exhilarating.
Also for PC-players, there are next to no graphics sliders to configure your game to match your rig's power. Not a big deal to me since i can run it fine, but for many others this isn't the case. The fact the devs know this, and 'will consider adding this option when there is demand for it' is rather... Amazing? Either way, i've not run into the extreme blurriness the review mentions, only the symbols on cars could use a little res bump - but other than that it all looks rather nice to be fair.
As pointed out in the review, new players may be very well put off when they get put against well-decked out opposition. Most of the game is let down by balancing, and getting that right may just help iron out some growing frustrations with many players.
Sorry for /wall_of_text_crits_over_9000
Think I will stick with Saints Row 2 and eagerly await Saints Row 3
Clearly at Bit-Tech they were looking forward to APB, but for me personally I'd never even heard of APB until I reviewed it a few days ago, and I have to say that I agree with everything they've said.
Team-work is the key to APB, you're right - but there just isn't any. In the whole time I played APB, nobody even vaguely attempted to collaborate, it was just a huge mish-mash of people flailing all over the place. I think they should've worked a lot harder to make people collaborate - at the moment there are no benefits to working together, and there's no decent system to help people work together, and as a result people don't. And it kills the game.
What about winning?
As for the review, i feel that this is one of the more fair ones, but did it expand on how exactly was last year's version of APB better? Because from my skimming over the pages it seems to have brought that up a lot.
If you played on your own, no wonder you found it hard. You can flag yourself as LFG and accept a random group, and if they turn out to be noobs, just leave group and find another.
No system for working together? How about the LFG system, or the built-in voice chat, or the Call for Backup feature?
A fair criticism would be that it's unkind to solo players, but if you can't find a decent group of guys who are working towards the same goals, you're not trying hard enough.
Well, benefits to winning are of course a possible increase in threat level, prestige, standings. Lose enough and your threat level drops.
Working as a team though, you're right, noone does it, like most games (only in BF i get some sense of superficial coordination between people). Matchmaking pitches some folks together, but that's it: there is no cooperation to get down a VIP and his homies. Take a group of 2 and 2 randoms, and the only thing that could go for you is luck and how skilled/equiped they are.
Worst part is: barely anyone types anything, and so far i've not even encountered ONE player who was using the built-in voip. So i can stand there asking or shouting, noone is ever tuning in. I bet a lot of people just go to Audio and disable voip right away, which is really too sad.
On the other hand, i've had enough trouble to keep ingame voip going lately, sometimes it just drops away one moment to the other, without you having a clue about what's wrong...
I've had no trouble during KttC or before servers went live, but since then my experience is rather mixed. When i was able to use it, it was wonderful, the quality is actually good, and i've forced my 2 buddies on it for an evening or 2. Just being able to taunt the other team when you stand over their corpse, or hear them curse when they go down, priceless.
So i'd say a system is in place, but as usual you'll find pc players reluctant of voip.
This pretty much echo's my experience from the beta.
There's some fantastic bits in there, but the actual gameplay is flawed, mainly by the omnipresent lag. It's like playing GTA4 on an underpowered rig, driving around you'll be constantly missing corners, forcing you to drive 'sensibly', rather than drifting across intersections. The shooting has the same problem, aggravated by the weapon balance. Almost all fights will be either a quick, easy win, or an equally quick pwning.
The customisation is fantastic, but for me that doesn't up the fun much, and while I thought the way it dynamically hooked you up with other players was great, it too suffers from balancing issues.
Could try harder.
You'd think, wouldn't you? I think people are too wrapped up in themselves to be honest - look at games like BF2, and you're rewarded for commanding the forces, for supplying/healing people, for assisting on a kill, and for piloting a helicopter into enemy forces so that the gunner can rack up some kills.
So people personally benefit from teamwork, and I think it does make a difference. Most solo players (as in people who aren't based in a clan) just want to progress and move on, and it's rare that a group will come together who all see the game in the same way, and agree to work together in order to win. Me, personally? I'm not going to play a game for 8 hours on the off-chance that I meet somebody who will be a good team-mate.
I didn't play on my own, I played in a group - didn't help me though. As I said, I tried various approaches, and nobody wanted to work together.
Sorry, no idea what LFG stands for? Voice chat was a joke, lots of people swearing at each other in a variety of languages, and call for backup isn't teamwork - it's just adding another solo fighter to your team.
I think you're spot on there - as you point out, BF is one of the few that has a semblance of co-operation. And that, I believe, is a large result of DICE putting a lot of effort into making it a team/squad based game. RTW should've put a lot more work into that side of things with APB, because without teamwork this game is just nothing... it's not worth playing.
People just don't want to by default, so unless you can find a group of people - i.e. a clan - who will use TS/Ventrillo and work together, you're pretty stuffed. And if you're in a clan, I'm almost certain that you'd wipe the floor up with everybody else on the servers I played on, so I wonder how much fun that would be after a while anyway.
It's a good concept at the end of the day, I can certainly see what it's all about... I just don't think it works as a game in its current iteration. And since that's what's being reviewed here - the game as it stands, in terms of "How much fun is this to play", then it's inevitably going to score badly.
I was really looking forward to it, but after reading the review I feel let down. I would have payed the subscription for it if it were awesome. But alas, I won't be.
It all boils down to APB being inspired heavily by GTA except APB accomplishes not even half of the experience of GTA. I played APB and it is an absolute crap of a game. GTA IV multi player is far better than APB.
Shooting, driving, player control, graphics, collision detection all need fixed and the missions are very repetitive and boring.
customization is cool but too bad there is nothing exciting in the game to do.
Nice try (sarcasm) but GTA IV multi player is far superior to APB
Separate names with a comma.