With APB Reloaded making its triumphant return under the flag of GamersFirst and Reloaded Productions, Staff Writer Paul "LockeColeMA" Cleveland sat down with the team to talk about the rebuilding process
ZAM: What are the pricing options available to players, and what benefits do they bestow? How much of an edge do you feel the cash-shop gives?
RS: Currently there are two versions of the game. There's the Free2Play® version that players can download from either www.APB.com or via Valve's STEAM® service, and with those downloads you get the game client. Players looking for a more traditional first-time game experience can pick up our retail version at a local GameStop, Best Buy, Wal-Mart or Target store, to name a few, for an MSRP of $29.99. That cost gets players multiple value-added virtual items and services including Premium Service, an account-bound secondary weapon, an upgraded faction-specific car and G1 Credits that are redeemable at the Armas Marketplace, our in-game cash shop, for weapons, vanity items, character slots and vehicles.
BBL: We have spent a lot of time ensuring the cash shop doesn't offer items that make a player completely over-powered, but we also didn't want to have the same weapons in the shop that you can earn in-game. So yes - there are players who find their favorite weapons in the shop, and some who find their favorite weapons in-game. Our goal is to offer two weapons of near-equal strength, one in the shop and one earned in the game, that favor completely different playing styles. Take the sniper rifle as an example; both the in-game and in-shop versions are everything you'd expect in a long-range weapon: long range, hits very hard and has a much smaller ammo capacity than an assault rifle. However, the weapon you earn in-game is heavy and keeps the player from being able to sprint, but generates much more damage. It also takes a little bit longer to "steady" and has a larger magazine that takes longer to load, making it an ideal "sniper nest" camping weapon. The Armas Marketplace weapon is very different. It does less damage than the weapon you earn in-game and has an even smaller magazine, but it's lighter so players can sprint with it, it reloads faster and has a heavier barrel, making it "steady-out" faster. This weapon is for the closer-to-the-action sniper, running from spot to spot offering closer support fire. Both are devastating in the right hands but favor very different playing styles.
MW: The only real tangible advantage you get in the game is Premium Service. With Premium, players gain reputation and in-game cash faster, so they can get access to a Contact's arsenal faster. They also get a 20 percent discount in the Armas Marketplace, so they get more for their money over the long run. The Armas Marketplace is also the only place to get permanent weapons, but I'm not sure that's really an advantage to a constant player who prefers to grind for in-game cash.
ZAM: One of the biggest new features is the "Fight Club" that was just released. Could you explain to our readers what they can expect in it?
BBL: In a sentence, Fight Club is APB Reloaded in concentrated form. The fight club maps are extensions of areas that are inaccessible in the main district maps, and they offer a much denser environment. Players drop in to 12-on-12 or 16-on-16 faction battles. In the first version the only game type is a straight deathmatch, but next up we are adding weekly challenges, and eventually the ability to pick game types for the fight club matches.
The Baylan Shipping map looks more like the traditional San Paro battleground. The Beacon, on the other hand, consists of a partially-built skyscraper turned in to a vertical playground that requires strong team coordination and communications. In the Beacon, attacks can come from above and below, which creates a whole new game dynamic. The long term goal is to refine these maps, add more maps, and then set them up to be useful for E-sports and knock-out tournaments between clans.
MW: There are two mission types right now, Deathmatch and King of the Hill, and we're working on more missions that should roll out in the coming months. The action is fast-paced yet a bit more forgiving than the action districts. Fight Club is a great place for new players to work closely with APB Reloaded veterans, pick up tips and tactics that translate directly to the main game.
ZAM: In regard to the Fight Club, this is just the first iteration of it: what expansions to it do you hope to implement in the future? Any tentative time frame for the changes?
BBL: Our plans include more Fight Club areas, but it's all still in the discovery phase. There is still a lot more we want to do with the game's main districts and new game modes such as Street Racing (or rather 'death-racing').
ZAM: Besides the Fight Club itself, what other features will Reloaded Productions be focusing on in the immediate future?
MW: for the next month or so, we're going to continue to monitor the server stability, crack down on cheating and research and address any player issues that come up we haven't yet seen. We're also working on new weapon modifications and we're starting to look at new missions in the main districts.
BBL: The team is working on the Racing District, Clan Warfare, the Asylum and Turf Wars that I mentioned earlier. We're also creating new vanity gear like the recently released SWAT gear, and we're looking at possibly creating new cars for San Paro. We have a ton of ideas we want to flesh out and play with, but for now, we are going to focus on continuing to deliver the best Free2Play open-world shooter out there.
ZAM: Do you have any words to prospective players who might want to give APB: Reloaded a try?
RS: Bring friends! Just like real gangs and police forces, there is strength in numbers. And I'd recommend that you try out all the different weapon types as you progress. I found a real talent for mowing-down players with the crew-service heavy machine gun.
MW: I'd say for players to be patient with themselves. While we've made new players more-survivable than in the game's first incarnation, you're still going to get killed and lose for a little bit. It's part of how the match making system finds the best opponents for you. And if you need a break from missions, you can always go solo in the world.
BBL: Take a real close look at what the Premium Service gets you, especially in the early levels. More money and faster reputation gains can open up the fun "toys" faster like grenade launchers, rocket launchers, less-than-lethal for the Enforcer side, customizable cars, cloths, modifications. For a new player, Premium really is a powerful tool to get the most out of APB Reloaded.
*** Want a headstart on your APB Reloaded adventures? Just follow @ZAMOfficial on Twitter and retweet the interview for a chance at a 7-Day Rental of a Gold Tier Weapon! Enforcers get a Quick Reload Shotgun while Criminals get a Heavy Assault Machine Gun! ***
Paul "LockeColeMA" Cleveland, Staff Writer.