PAX 2011: On the (re)starting line with APB: Reloaded

APB car crash
There's nothing like a car crash to slow down traffic as everyone rubbernecks at someone else's misfortune. Likewise, gamers and media alike were fascinated with the premature demise of last year's All Points Bulletin, craning their heads to see how extensive the damage was.

But out of the wreck a new and improved version of the game was born, and now the crowds are equally taking notice of this resurrection. Not every canceled MMO gets a second chance at life, after all. This is why we were glad to sit down with GamersFirst's Jon-Enee Merriex at PAX to discuss how APB's reloading is going, what the devs have planned between now and launch, and what other projects they're tackling.

Put the pedal to the metal and hit that jump -- this interview can't drive 55!

APB waterfront
Massively: So what are you working on now?

Jon-Enee Merriex: We've been working on our next update, 1.5.3, and it should be out in the next few weeks. We're doing a lot of changes to the code to stop a lot of the cheating, which is annoying. We're also starting to do statistical analysis to catch cheaters, looking at player activity to see if they're cheating and things like that. And there's other stuff I can't talk about or I'll get killed!

Our design team is working on a lot of projects as well. We're adding new contacts and more levels in the next month or so. We're going to increase the level cap again and add tier 5 contacts, which will have things like car kits and mods and SWAT gear, which players have been waiting for. Oh yeah, and permanent weapons, so they'll do a whole bunch of new stuff with that.

What's been the hardest aspect of the cheating to deal with?

It's really funny -- there are two main issues we're handling. Fortunately, the game is server-side, so it's really hard to hack. The two issues are wall hacks and aimbots. Depending on what type of player you are, one will annoy you more than the other. So the casual players tend to be very annoyed by wall hacks, and the more skilled players are worried about aimbots. That's because when people use aimbots, they end up in the high ranks, so the advance players have to face them a lot.

So with 1.5.3 we're focusing on wall hacks and changing the way all that works, so they won't be as exploitable. Part of the issue with aimbots is that because it's a client issue, the client is sending us bad information, things it shouldn't be doing. We have a couple of ideas we're working on; we can't talk about it, but it will make aimbotting much more difficult. It's our number one issue, and although it's just 3% of the players, they can ruin the game for the rest.

APB character creation
What's the level cap going to be?

We haven't determined that yet.


[Laughs] We're still working on it. But there will be eight new contacts: four new criminal contacts and four new enforcer contacts. As far as extending the level cap, we're trying to determine how many ranks each of the contacts will have. Once we know that, we'll know how far we're going to raise the level cap. Hopefully within two weeks or so we'll have more details on that.

So all of these wonderful things we can't know about yet!

You can still play the beta, though. We're about to cross 800,000 players. I was actually expecting it to happen this weekend, but it didn't.

What does the launch window for APB: Reloaded look like?

Fall. We're basically saying "when it's ready." I can say this: 1.5.3 is going to be a big cheat patch to deal with the cheating, 1.5.4 is going to have the new contacts and additional areas in the waterfront and financial districts, and we may have a 1.5.5 -- we haven't determined that yet. Patch 1.6 is going to be clan warfare, and that's the patch we're going to launch with.

Having seen our track record on releasing updates every four to six weeks, you can determine the launch. I didn't say any launch date, but that's what we're looking at right now. We're very close. You guys have already talked about our retail, and we're working with Steam and something else -- I can't say the other thing.

Stop doing that!

Another major company is doing something really big they're going to announce, I think, next week, and then you'll understand -- we're working with them as well.

Thank you for talking with us!

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 26-28, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2011. Whether you're dying to know more about SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, City of Heroes, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!
This article was originally published on Massively.