In APB every character has to choose a faction: Enforcer (cops) or Criminal.
I almost always play “good” characters when gaming; I really don’t like doing bad things to people, even pretend people. But in APB I choose Criminal because, well, I’ve played GTA IV (at least, until Niko’s forced actions became too unsavory for me) and I know that when I drive through a city, I tend to accidentally run over people. In APB, Criminals don’t get penalized for doing this but Enforcers do. So for practical reasons I went Criminal.
In APB, Criminals sow chaos and it can be a lot of fun just to cruise around the city making mischief. A lot of the times you’ll get missions that turn into car chases (with you the one being chased) and careening around corners, sliding into buildings, crashing through gates, destroying one car to the point where you have to bail out and steal another…it can be a ton of fun even if you eventually get caught.
But a bunch of Twitter friends who’re just started playing chose to go Enforcer, so last night I created an Enforcer character. Enforcers are penalized for committing crimes. Run over a mailbox in sight of a pedestrian and you’ve committed a crime. You can commandeer cars from people but, at least from my understanding, that’s going to cost you prestige, and the lower your prestige the lower your mission rewards will be. [Melmothulhu says I’m wrong and there’s no prestige cost of commandeering vehicles…I need to test this tonight. It would change playing as Enforcer a lot!] (This might be a good time to point out that RealTimeWorlds has NOT produced any kind of a manual for the game, lending to its “Paid Beta” status.)
So instead of madcap mayhem, I found myself doing a lot of running, or a lot of scratching my head wondering where I’d parked my car.
Those chase missions that are so fun as a Criminal are something of a pain in the neck as an Enforcer. You can’t drive with wild abandon; you have to be constantly wary of hitting things. And the missions I was drawing (on the Zombie server) tended to be small 1vs1 or at most 2v2 affairs.
The other problem, being a new character with low-level gear, is that you die constantly unless you’re a very skilled player. I’ll be the first to admit I am NOT a skilled player, but on my Criminal I at least have a modicum of success. My Enforcer was pure fail. After an hour of playing my newbie Enforcer I quit the game in frustration and declared that I was done with APB.
After cooling down a bit, I jumped back in on my Criminal, and the fun flooded back in. I’d get calls for backup constantly and when I said “Yes” to those would get dumped in as team member #4 fighting against 3-4 man teams of Enforcers. Once you get that many people even an unskilled player can have fun as they can help distract the other side, or finish off wounded opponents, or even just be the driver.
And when not on a mission, the joy of spreading chaos returns. Bottom line: for me, playing a Criminal in APB is an activity that is full of laughs and grinning cringes and fist pumps from a lucky shot. Somehow when I die as a Criminal, it’s no biggie. I laughed out loud when I was breaking into a car and suddenly an Enforcer rammed me going full speed, squishing me against the car I was trying to steal. Well, first I jumped out of my chair (had no idea he was coming) and then I laughed.
Playing an Enforcer, on the other hand, was an exercise in frustration. No one responded to my own calls for backup, no calls for backup popped from other players. All the missions I fought were 1v1 or at most 2v2. I spent way too much time running around and not enough time driving with reckless abandon. It just wasn’t fun.
Part of this is in the nature of the two roles each side plays. Part of it is because the Enforcer was new and poorly equipped.
But part of it, I suspect, is that the Enforcer side is populated by organized gamers who’re already in Clans and regular groups. When I’d get into a good fight as a Criminal, I’d often see everyone on the other side who killed me (which was pretty much everyone on the other side) was part of the same clan. Criminals, in contrast, are just a bunch of crazy-assed gamers having fun. The Criminal side has lots of open groups and lots of calls for backup going on.
If you, like me, are someone who doesn’t have a regular group of gaming friends to play with, and you’re finding the Enforcer side of APB to be not-very-fun, I strongly urge you to roll a Criminal before you give up on the game. Spend some time stealing vehicles and taking them to the drop off points to earn a bit of $$. Hit Yes to Calls for Backup. Join one of the many open groups. Just have fun. Criminals are easy-going fun-lovers. Enforcers…. aren’t.