Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sublime Crime!

I broke down last night and purchased APB on Steam.  I had played the 5 hours that were allowed in the open Beta and had a blast.  I was looking for a massive FPS to tide me over until either Dust or Planetside 2 comes to PC.  (I know Dust is headed to consoles first, but I am not a big fan of console gaming.)  The main contenders were APB and Global Agenda.  They both have strongpoints, but the customization and style of APB pulled me towards crime sprees and away from futuristic paramilitary fighting.
The character customization in APB is really nice.  I spent a significant amount of time tweaking my look.  (I will try to get a screenshot soon)  Once you are in the active PVP zone, the best strategy is to manually join a group.  If there are multiple players disconnected or if everyone is scattered around the zone, leave and try another group.  The gang warfare is excellent, and the mission system is nice in the way it funnels good guys vs. bad guys dynamically.  In the first night of play I was able to upgrade my weapons to be more effective.  By using cover and following a more experienced player with better weapons, you can help out and get kills right from the start.
The MMOish features in APB are slick.  There is a step sequencer/synthesizer that allows you to make your own theme song.  This will play to the enemy when you frag them!  I had a blast making a dark, echoed, techno freakout to assault the ears of my victims.  You can also customize your look, your clothes, and your car.  If motivated, you can design your own tattoos and symbols.
One of the very fun ways to trigger a mission in ABP as a criminal is to drive around the city mowing down pedestrians and wreaking general havoc.  This behavior will spawn a mission for "Enforcer" characters to bring you to justice.  You have 10 minutes to evade capture while they hunt you down and try to kill or subdue you.  Driving is fun in the game, and there are many different car-jackable vehicles with different speed, handling, and toughness.  You can drive around the city evading the Enforcers and then jump out and run into an alley for a little urban warfare.  It feels very "movie like."  I found myself howling with laughter often during my first night of play.
Some people are saying that APB is not an MMO.  I'm not sure I agree, but I mainly don't care.  The game is fun: you can shoot people in the face, drive over them at silly speeds, explode cars, snipe, run-and-gun and develop a wicked individualized avatar.  The graphics are beautiful, and can run smoothly at 1920x1080 on high settings on an ATI 4870.  I found it to be very slightly choppy on maximum setting, while high was smooth even with lots of people running around.  You would need a faster card than a 4870 to completely max out the graphics with a big monitor.
Overall, I think APB is a great compliment to EVE.  It provides a burst of kill that is quick and accessible.  It really makes me realize that CCP needs to flesh out Dust and eventually bring squad based FPS into the PC EVE client. Then I wouldn't have to dip into another virtual universe for that visceral FPS PVP fix! 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Elite PVP Battle report!

If you enjoy reading elite PVP EVE blogs, move on along. I am slowly learning some PVP ropes, and today I aquired several burns!

We had a big CTA because of the Goon's new Eastern focus. It was fun to see over a hundred ships assembling in a fleet. The lag really is amazingly problematic, even with just 150 ships or so. I really hope CCP is working hard on fixing that!

We moved into position and camped some strategic gates while the big brains developed a strategy for the battles of the day. When the first big fight happened, I was about the third pilot targeted. I asked for logistics but my buffer Brutix evaporated in a few seconds from the concentrated DPS of dozens of Battleships. With the lag, there was no time for a Logi pilot to get me locked!

I flew my Pod though seriously red Goon infested space, bouncing off planets to dodge the blood thirsty enemies. I managed to make it 4 jumps to an NPC station in Curse with an Atron available. Sadly, that station had no useful mods, so I had to fly "naked" without any mods another 3 jumps to a station with some basic mods to get me back in the fight. Each time I loaded a system it took from 30 seconds to a few minutes to load. Miraculously, I got the Atron into our engagement system to try to help tackle. I rarely fly Atrons, preferring Ishkurs or Incursus', and I was not a ton of help as the engagement was at sniping ranges. I orbited our logistics, hoping to at least be helpful if an interceptor came in close.

We fell back to another system and assembled at a gate to await reinforcements. We were hanging at the gate when BOOM! - I got killed by Goon bombers for the first time! I doubt it is the last time I'll get smoked by a Goonie... They got my POD with a subsequent bomb about a second later. I then realized that I was out in my main clone with all Level 4 implants...

To really make the day awesome, I later tried to help a local pilot in our homespace who was being attacked by a Curse, Vagabond, and Malediction. I warped in with my Ishkur, and got to experience the serious pain of being Neuted to the point of having no cap, no mods, and being unable to warp out while the enemies leisurely take their time shooting you. It was great fun, and I learned to avoid Curses like the plague without some serious backup. (I did have some backup, but no ECM or logistics.)

In short, I got seriously creamed today, 3 times! It was great fun. The PVP is hooking me deeply, but if you see me coming, I wouldn't worry too much -- YET!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


There is a great proposal up on the CSM forums to encourage CCP to focus more on fixing bugs, Lag, "polish", and fleshing out neglected features and UI rather than cranking out half finished buggy expansions every six months. To quote the original poster:

What we would like CCP to consider:
* Continue developing features until they reach a predetermined 'excellence' level
* Re-evaluate the amount of time allocated to fixing/developing old content and reduce the nonchalant attitude towards re-assigning teams to shiny new content.
* Reconsider the total release schedule time: is it really sufficient to produce 'excellent' quality game design?

Check out the threadnaught and vote to support if you agree at: