So back I went to APB today, and continued my love/hate relationship with the game.
I’ve found, as someone who solos as a rule, that accepting “Call for Backup” missions is my favorite way to go. When you accept one of these you get thrown into the group that called for backup and can help them complete their mission. Once the mission ends, the group dissolves. I love that mechanic as I hate being shackled to a group.
When the matchmaking works, it can be great fun. I got into some great 3vs3, 3vs4, & 4vs4 fights where our team worked together and they were awesome. I also got into a lot of 2vs4 fights where the dude that called for backup apparently sat in a garage somewhere the whole time.
And even with the numbers, missions can be really one-sided. I finally figured out how to pay attention to a player’s Threat Level. As you gain threat levels you gain access to better gear. You don’t have stats that go up, so they aren’t really ‘levels’ in the traditional sense. A player who is threat level 9 who has never upgraded his gear isn’t going to have a more powerful character than a player who is threat level 1. And player skill factors in heavily.
But generally speaking, a Threat level 9 is going to be more lethal than a Threat level 1. And I was in missions where one side had Threat Levels of 1, 3 & 4 vs a team with 2, 4, 7 & 8. That wasn’t pretty.
But at the end of the day, teamwork is what matters even more than threat level. Focusing fire, flanking, watching all ingress vectors.. that’s all going to help a bunch. So as a solo player who hasn’t used a mike yet, I’m going to be at a huge disadvantage, but that’s my choice so I’m not really complaining about it… just noting it.
I did also find something I’m pretty good at: driving. Whenever I get an Evade mission I tend to do pretty well since I can drive around the city pretty much flat out, making me hard to catch, unless the Enforcers have enough cars to cut me off.
Still, the funnest thing in the game for me is just messing around, mostly in cars. Since you can smash into anyone you can help out, sorta, even if you aren’t part of a mission. If I see an Enforcer cruising along with his lights on and siren blaring, I’ll do everything I can to run him off the road… 🙂
My other favorite thing is people who haven’t yet figured out that voice chat is heard by everyone in proximity. So they’ll be ‘sneaking up’ on you and chatting about what they’re doing the whole time. Before too long people will start using that as deliberate misdirection.
Oh, and I tried the Enforcer side a bit too. It didn’t feel all that much different from a gameplay point of view, except you can’t jack any car you see without consequences. If I end up playing over the long run I might switch. There’s a lot of stuff the Criminals do that is a bit harsh for my weird tastes. So I come flying around a corner and slide sideways through a crowd of pedestrians, it doesn’t really bother me, but mugging, for instance, isn’t my thing. When you mug someone you punch them in the face a bunch of times even though they’re quaking with fear. I just don’t like doing that.
And actually they’ve managed to make the Enforcer side seem kind of cool. Nice job with that.
I’ll be very surprised indeed if I use up my 50 hours of play time and find myself wanting more of APB. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a short-term interest for me. Once the game launches and people who play 40 hours a week hone their skills, it’s going to be nothing but frustration for casual players like me.