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Failed subscription MMO returns as APB: Reloaded with free-to-play pricing, open beta

apb-reloaded

APB: All Points Bulletin was a fine concept for a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that was done in, as we later found out, by mismanagement and a lack of focus on the development side that led to a below-average gameplay experience. It was essentially a Grand Theft Auto MMO, set in the large, open city of San Paro, where two factions — Enforcers and Criminals — basically traded gunfire back and forth in an elaborate game of cops and robbers. Realtime Worlds, the original dev, shut down in September 2010, mere months after the game’s June launch, and K2 Network picked up the license, announcing plans to re-launch APB: Reloaded as a free-to-play title.

The time has arrived and Reloaded is now here. The game hasn’t gotten a final release yet, but a press release confirms that the open beta has officially launched. To participate, players will need to sign up for a free account at GamersFirst.com, which is hosting. Then you simply download the client and step into APB‘s grim, crime-riddled world.

The game has been running in a closed beta for a little while now, and this new open sign-up release incorporates many of the new features and improvements that have been undergoing testing. You can get detailed descriptions of the specific new features below, but they amount to a completely redesigned skill rating system, new mechanics for “witnessing” crimes, new gear to buy and an East Coast data center. Additional features are planned as well, including clan-based combat mechanics, match making improvements, a new district to explore and added game modes.

If you like Grand Theft Auto and you like shooting virtual people online, there’s really no reason not to give APB: Reloaded a spin. “Free” is a hard price to argue with. Keep reading for full details on the relaunched game’s improvements.

New In-Game Witnessing Mechanic
Open beta includes a much improved “witnessing” system that captures the core of the cops vs. robbers game mechanic. When Criminals commit open-world crimes they gain a stash of dirty money that must be laundered before it is earned as a mission reward. A stash multiplier grows with the Criminal’s heat rating as they continue their crime spree, while carrying an ever growing pile of dirty money. Enforcers can witness Criminals committing crimes and opt into a mini-mission to stop the Criminal. Should the Enforcer successfully arrest or defeat the criminal, the ill-gotten gains convert to evidence, necessitating the Enforcer to race to their randomly-selected Evidence Locker in order to earn the stash as a mission reward. As Criminals fight to protect and ultimately launder their dirty money Enforcers fight to requisition the dirty money, creating a furious back-and-forth firefight for control of the resource.

New Items and Weapons
San Paro’s in-game merchant, the Armas Marketplace, is expanding during the open beta phase and will launch with 10 never-before-seen weapons as well as a large catalogue of permanent clothing, icons, vehicles and accessories designed to enhance the APB Reloaded game experience. During open beta, players will also be able to lease weapons using in-game cash or using GamersFirst’s exclusive G1 credits.

New Hybrid Skill Rating System
In order to create more-balanced PvP gameplay, APB Reloaded is transitioning from a straight win-loss system to a skill-based hybrid rating system, sourced from several proven skill rating algorithms such as ELO and Glicko. This new skill-based hybrid rating system aims to better reflect all gamers’ actual skill levels when compared to the opponents they defeat.