Open Beta so far has gone extremely well in most areas, and now we are heading in to the "cleanup phase" for several parts of the game, including post beta optimizations, tweaks and preparation for new features and items.
In a very short time we saw a huge number of players in game to the point where we accidentally overloaded our voice over IP systems earlier today (which is part of tonight's maintenance).
We have also seen our Facebook group rapidly reach 80,000 likes (now beating out other great games such as Star Trek Online, Champions Online, Runes of Magic, Dungeons and Dragons Online and World of Tanks), while setting our sights next on Eve Online (104,000 likes)!
Of course Facebook likes are vanity items and not great indicators of good games (after all Charlie Sheen has 1.3 million likes, not sure he is a "good person"), however for us Facebook is clearly another important channel we use as a communication tool with our rapidly growing community (and you guys of course know how much we DO value our ongoing communication with players!).
So a big Thank You for all the FB likes (!), and please do continue telling your friends about our Facebook Page, and if they have not yet heard of APB then certainly tell them everything you know about APB and San Paro as well!
Tonight at midnight PST (aka early am in Europe) we are performing a quick maintenance to continue rolling out tweaks (patch 126.96.36.199), that will further improve the game.
First - we will be adding more Vivox (Voice over IP) servers tonight on our end, since the incredibly high load and demand for the game had us running short on voice channels today. After the additional systems are added, we should see fewer problems with people unable to launch team based voice chat due to unavailable voice connections.
Second - the new threat levels and matchmaking systems have started working out much better game in the last 24 hours. Still a few more tweaks to go, but now we can see clear behavior trends in the data, and what appears to be some really great matches.
Specifically - Patch 88 has the following changes:
Threat Level and Matchmaking Updates
- Fixed an exploit where a leader could gain large amounts of Threat by kicking their team just before winning the mission.
- Fixed a bug where a kicked player could still have their Threat updated as if they had won.
- Fixed the Max Threat Player Notification referring to a ‘Threat Level 30’ player instead of ‘Gold Level 10’.
- Adjusted Matchmaking formula to better fit the new Threat system.
- Added a new ‘Threat Training’ system:
o New characters will see their Threat level as ‘In Training’, with a unique Threat icon for up to the first ten opposed missions.
o This gives the Threat system some time to home in on a characters skill level before displaying it on the UI and to other players.
Over the next few weeks we will continue tweaking and optimizing the game, and among other things we will be adding more network providers to give people more optimized network routes to reach our servers, and also laying the foundation for the next big wave of core game additions that will give people many more choices in the types of gameplay and engagements they can pick in APB. But we will share more about that after the post Beta cleanup.
And - before I go - we DO hate cheaters (when they are in fact able to bypass things for short periods of time). As I responded in one of the earlier Blog Responses; after this first wave of OB-launch-craziness subsides this week, we are going to start a much more aggressive campaign of public naming-and-shaming of cheaters when we catch them.
The exact community policing methods are still under discussion, but we CLEARLY want people to realize that they are playing with fire when they are drawn to the "dark side of the force." In fact, we will extend the system to friends of hackers, where if your friend gets caught cheating, you will instantly be a suspect too. The motto is "Friends don't let friends cheat in APB" - and we will work on new methods of Community Policing to deter cheaters in conjunction with the "normal" technical policing we perform all the time.
As hackers attempt new cheats that work for limited periods of time (and idiots pay the hackers for the cheat - which basically lets hackers install a keylogger on each machine running the cheat), we will eventually detect it (we always do), and at that point we will invalidate everything you have achieved in the game, and eventually we will also suspect anything any of your friends have also done or achieved in game.
Nueume will shortly share more information about the upcoming City Council program and other exciting community events in the near future, and as all these initiatives get underway, we look forward to growing a great San Paro community that can thrive and prosper as a self-governing city in cyber space...