Monday, November 26, 2012

Coming next: APB version 10, "New Breed Part 3"

Written By Qwentle, Lead Designer

Now that Halloween is out of the way, it’s time to talk about APB Reloaded v 10 (aka 1.10.0), which will appear in the next few weeks. This is New Breed Part 3, and introduces two new T5 contacts, "Birth" and "Templeton," which will be available to anyone that has completed the two boss contacts from their faction’s organisations.

Birth and Templeton bring with them a large number of goodies that players can unlock through pledging and completing missions with them. Along with a  selection of vehicles, presets and Capacity increases, they also bring a number of new modifications and weapons to the table. Let’s take a look:

With Birth and Templeton, we’re mainly focusing on character modifications. With a number of very useful modifications in all categories, we hope to see a much larger amount of diversity on the streets of San Paro.

Field Supplier – Wide Radius: This field supplier can supply teammates from a longer range at the cost of a slightly shorter deployed time. In addition all ammo suppliers will now automatically resupply any valid targets in range that are not actively firing.

Spotter: An activatable character modification, this works similar to tagger but without requiring you to hit an enemy. Simply activate and paint enemy targets to show them to all teammates, even through walls.

Car Surfer: A utility character mod, this allows you to ride on the roofs of moving vehicles. Great for hitching a ride when there’s not enough seats, or when using a heavy weapon, it does however leave you heavily exposed and without the safety of the car interior to hide when you are hit.

Flak Jacket: A Health modification, this heavily reduces damage taken from explosions. This comes at the cost of your ability to dish out explosive damage however, reducing the number of grenades you have available by 1.

Fragile: A Health modification, this slightly reduces health (14%, just enough that you won’t be 1-shotted by an HVR), but increases your sprint and run speed by the same amount. Perfect for fast assaults and task item carrying.

High-Magnification Scope: An upper-rail modification for weapons, this is functionally similar to a Hunting Sight. It also sets your weapons zoom to a very high value (4.66x normal magnification) and replaces your reticule with a Sniper crosshair at the cost of removing your non-marksmanship crosshair completely.

New Weapons

Half-Brick / Eight-Ball: These are new Grenades that physically hit the target for high damage, depending on how long they have been in the air. At extreme ranges, these can kill instantly, though require high skill to land hits on an aware target. The Eight-Ball flies faster, but the Half-Brick kills earlier in its flight-time. Due to the lack of noise, these can be devastating as stealth weapons, for targeting stationary campers from long range, or just for a bit of fun.

OSCAR : Obeya Corps. Armory have made several modifications to their successful OBIR range in order to provide a weapon for the close-quarters urban market. With the brake removed, iron sights, a 2 round burst and a CQC stock, the Obeya Systems Carbine is much more accurate on the move, giving a burst fire alternative to the Joker Carbine.

We’re also making a number of substantial bug fixes and changes to the game. The most noticeable one is the OSMAW. We wanted to keep our Rocket Launcher feel very powerful, but be primarily useful in an anti-vehicular role, and be very counterable while on foot.  In this regard we’ve implemented a Wind-Up system for it. When firing you now need to hold the button for 1.75 seconds while the rocket is primed then fired. This stops players firing it directly after exiting a vehicle, or directly at your feet from point blank. Due to the balancing brought about by this change, we’ve been able to buff the launcher in several other areas to keep its power. It now carries three spare rockets (so can be affected by Bandolier), has a larger kill-radius, and has a faster travel time. While this may seem like a lot of improvements to an already very formidable weapon, the wind-up timer ensures that it performs most actions either the same or slower than before.

Here's a bit of maths on the subject.

Firing after leaving a vehicle
1.75 seconds
Switching to an OSMAW and firing
2 seconds
0.7+1.75=2.45 seconds
Reloading and Firing
3.5 seconds
2.25+1.75=4 seconds

Overall it takes longer to perform actions with the OSMAW, hence the improvements to projectile speed, ammo capacity and kill radius. This should make it a more effective primary weapon, and feel snappier to use, but in reality be quite easy to counter by an aware team.
Other improvements include weapon damage visually affecting vehicles, a new alternative weapon skin for players that have progressed past tier 1, changing the default pistol to the FBW, and a lot more. We’ll have full patch notes for you soon.

Next time we'll be talking about the next patch, 1.10.1, which includes a number of fundamental balance changes among other additions, and our upcoming plans for Christmas Fun.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A San Paro Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving time is here! While this holiday may be viewed as controversial nowadays, over the years it has also become a shop-till-you-drop and eat-till-you’re-stuffed holiday.  On more positive note, Thanksgiving also celebrates a time of thanks, and what better occasion to give thanks to our community! So starting today the Thanksgiving festivities begin and carry out through the weekend.

Base image courtesy of Salek (Colby)

Black Friday deals are coming to the Armas Marketplace early this year. 

50 % Off ALL Premium Packages

Starting today through Sunday all Premium Packages are discounted 50% off.  If you’ve never experienced the benefits of Premium Membership now’s the time.  For those of you who may not know or need a refresher, Premium Members enjoy the following benefits:
  • Up to 90% Bonus XP
  • 125% Bonus in-game currency (APB$) earnings
  • 50% reduced cooldown on activated abilities
  • Advanced customization abilities
  • 20% Discount on Armas Marketplace purchases

50 %
Bonus Loyalty Reward Points

Shop the Armas Marketplace from today through Sunday and get an additional 50% More Bonus Loyalty Reward Points towards your APB Credit Counters for every G1 Credit spent in Armas.

Thanksgiving Day Login Event

For every Character you login to the game with November 22nd - 25th (PST), you will receive an exclusive Character Title Unlock: “Pilgrim” for FREE.  It’s that simple all you need to do is log in and unlock.  Just a little something to thank you for being a supporting member of the community.

Daily Credit Counter Deals

Starting Black Friday Day through Sunday you’ll find Daily Credit Counter Deals in the Armas Marketplace.  Each day (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) a new Daily Counter Deal will have a different Joker Mystery Box available as your promotional reward. Friday- Sunday (Nov. 23rd – 25th)

Lastly, thanks go out to all the participants of the “48 Hour Turkey Gobble Contest”.  We saw some very creative ways to dress up Characters as turkeys, just like the one posted above, courtesy of Salek.  On a side note, we’ve learned to be a little more careful what we name our contests – seeing as we have a global-wide community and certain terms may have different meanings in different cultures.  For those of you who may not be aware – the unintended meaning of ‘gobble’ can be found in the Urban Dictionary.  Clearly this is an M-rated game, but unlike what some may think, we STRICTLY meant 'gobble' in that Turkey and Thanksgiving kind of sense.

So - Happy Thanksgiving San Paro!  

And don't forget more Holiday fun (and our One-Year Anniversary for our official Live Launch) is around the corner for December so be sure to stay tuned for more details about our Holiday Events! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Asylum Preview – Halloween Just Got A Little Crazier

On October 11th, an anonymous user posted a mysterious audio file and tiny image on the APB Forums.

Players were intrigued.  What was that haunting score with eerie Tubular Bells' style syncopation? And what was up with that 200 x 200 pixel image?

Over the next few days a new image was posted in random forum threads. Some valiant players started putting together the pieces.

After some time it all became clear… we have arrived at the Asylum.

On October 22 we took down Fight Club to make way for our October 25 preview of "Asylum" to San Paro in the form of, “Fright Club.”

While this is not the full version of our soon-to-be new game area and game mechanics designed for the Asylum, we wanted to give players a serious taste of what’s to come and a chance for the community to provide layout feedback on the core game map.

When you log into the Asylum District for the first time you will unlock a new Title – “Asylum Seeker” since nothing says, “I’m a little off my rocker,” to the world than "Asylum Seeker” floating over your head.  Whether you’re hearing voices in your head, or just morbidly curious, this new Title is just the thing for you.

Fright Club includes 7 new Missions and some pumpkin smashing activities that would make Gallagher want to trade in his watermelons for pumpkins. Just leave your Gallagher-style sledgehammer at home and do it San-Paro-Style and shoot that pumpkin!

Players will also get Joker Distribution tickets when they advance new roles in the Asylum district.  

Enjoy the Asylum, collect those Joker Tickets, and go to the forums and provide map feedback on the Asylum.  Regular Fight Club will return the week after Halloween.

Also here is quick note from Qwentle:

A Message From Qwentle, Lead Designer

Hey guys,

Due to its construction (multiple level indoor areas with very limited vehicle access) and lack of mission targets, the current version of Asylum is not a straight up Action District.

Our final goal for Asylum is a free-fire district with elements of "turf control" and it also adds some non-PvP oriented goals (emphasising completing non-opposed objectives in enemy territory over engaging in combat, even rewarding players for avoiding combat during certain engagements). We paper-prototyped a number of solutions for more flexible and less goal-oriented designs, and our final design can best be described as modified small scale Turf Wars.

Completing the full non-opposed objectives for Asylum will still take quite some time, but since the map is very close to complete, and we felt Asylum fit Halloween perfectly, we wanted to take the opportunity to share it with you as quickly as possible. This meant temporarily making it a Fight Club map (or in this case a 'Fright Club' map with some modifications).

Keep in mind that the current game modes are not yet finalised, but certainly feel free to give us constructive feedback on the map layout itself.

With those important caveats in mind, please go out and enjoy this preview of Asylum!

Don’t forget to stay tuned for more details regarding all of the Halloween Contests and Events we have going on starting this week!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Trick and Treat Time Again

It’s that most wonderful time of year again. Halloween is here San Paro, and we’re bringing back a couple of familiar faces from last year.

Trick and Treat are back!  Little is known about the origins of Trick and Treat, but some claim that they are the spirits of dead Criminals and Enforcers called forth on Devil's Night to count the cost of the fallen. These two Halloween Contacts will be chilling in the Asylum District, a place we know you’ll be visiting soon (stay tuned for the blog update shortly with all the "2-Weeks of Asylum" Details!).

Trick and Treat in the Asylum

For those of you who may not be familiar with these crazy characters, there will be four levels of Missions to complete just like last year.  Criminals and Enforcers get the same number of Missions to complete for their respective Contact.

                  Level 1 – Start
                  Level 2 – Spooky Symbols (Unlock 4 Symbols)
                  Level 3 – Terrifying Themes (Unlock 4 Music Themes)
                  Level 4 – Petrifying Pumpking Mask (Unlock Pumpkin Head)

This year we’ve added 2 more Levels and all new Mail Rewards:

                  Level 5 –  Thrilling Titles (Unlock Title: “Wraith” or “Ghost”)
                  Level 6 – Wicked Weapon Skin and a Horrifying Headband
                                  (Unlock Halloween Weapon Skin and A-Knife-Through-the-Head )

When you go visit Trick or Treat in the Asylum district you’ll notice that it has been decorated with some spooky looking pumpkins all over the place.  One can only assume the patients residing there did not do the carving themselves; mentally unstable people and sharp objects tend to not mix.

These pumpkins aren’t just lying around for you to admire the Halloween spirit of the place.  It’s smashing pumpkins time!  (Not to be confused with the legendary rock band.) Smash these pumpkins for quick cash rewards and keep smashing them to progress a special new role.  Every Level of pumpkin smashing gets you a new Title:
                  Level 1 – Unlock Title: “Pumpkin Chaser”
                  Level 2 – Unlock Title: “Pumpkin Murderer”
                  Level 3 – Unlock Title: “Pumpkin Assassin”
                  Final Level – Unlock Title: “Pumpkin Terminator”

The top pumpkin smasher in each world will be awarded an exclusive Title Unlock: “Pumpkin King” or “Pumpkin Queen.”  This special title for the top smashers will be given sometime after the Halloween event has ended, giving everyone to the last second to maximize their Pumpkin Kill Count.

We’re crazy about our pumpkins so we’re also bringing back the Pumpkin Head Customization Contest. In homage to Sleepy Hollow we are calling this year’s contest the, “Headless Gunman Pumpkin Head Contest.”  We’re even increasing the stakes this year by improving the prizes for the winning submissions.  Use your old Pumpkin Head that you’ve kept from last year, or get one by completing Missions for Trick or Treat this year.

Costume Customization Contest

We will also be holding a Costume Customization Contest again this year, so be sure to join the “Halloween District Parade Costume Contest.” Check out the APB forums for further details on rules and prizes, and submit your entries there. On Halloween, Wednesday, Oct. 31st, San Paro Citizens are invited to dress up in their Halloween costumes and go to Social District to participate in our GM-led Halloween District Parade.  Trick out your characters and there could be some treats waiting for you.

Saving the best for last, this year we will be celebrating Halloween with “Fright Club” our introductory preview of The Asylum District!  Fright Club will replace our regular Fight Club for the duration of the Halloween event, so starting Monday (October 22nd) regular Fight Club will be unavailable.  Fright Club will be going LIVE on Thursday, Oct. 25th.

But have no fear. You will be able to still earn Joker Tickets during this time!  All those goodies in Joker Distribution are within reach.  And just so you know Fright Club has the following Missions set up:

Moving Target Item
Moving Target Item Large
Team Death Match
Territory Control 1 Point
Territory Control 3 Points
Territory Control 5 Points
VIP Survival

You’ll get a lasting souvenir upon your first visit to The Asylum District as well! When you log into the Asylum District for the first time you will unlock a new Title – “Asylum Seeker.”

Please keep in mind that this Asylum preview is your chance to give all your initial candid feedback on Asylum as we work on completing it as a district (it's left as a Fight Club only temporarily).  We are eagerly looking to hear back from all of you to see what you think.

Halloween 2012 – Let’s do this San Paro!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Urban Warfare Escalates

It wasn’t too long ago, but those early riots seem like a walk in the park compared to life on the streets of San Paro nowadays. Take but a few steps down the sidewalk and you can feel bullet shells roll underneath the soles of your shoes. More shells collect around storm drains and all along the curbsides. You’re moving too fast to even notice anymore. No time to stop and smell the tear gas.

Block after block smoke rises and dims the sky. Be it from fire, gas, napalm – who knows. No time to make out who that silhouette is at the other end of a cloudy alleyway. Secure your helmet and strap that bulletproof vest on tight.

Everyone is trying to represent Criminals or represent Enforcers in their own unique way.  But in the end everyone is the same; everyone is raging on the inside thinking about the loss of friends and family to the cause. No need to show off those tattoos, scars, or war paint to let the world know which side you're on.  Now is the time to cover every last bit of exposed skin you have and make sure you survive.


Next week a whole new set of Combat Gear is coming to the Armas Marketplace.  Urban Warfare escalates and it’s time to armor up. 

Enforcers can get the Armored Urban Warfare Pack and Criminals can get the Impact Urban Warfare Pack. Both packs will contain the brand new set of heavier Combat Gear, the never before released 4 Slot Performance Vehicles, and a FREE never before released ATAC 424 mid-to-close range Assault Riffle.  We will also have the Combat Gear sold separately also with a FREE ATAC 424. Here is the breakdown of the NEW Urban Warfare Packs and Bonus Packs coming out next week:

Armored Urban Warfare Pack
·       Combat Gear: Armored
·       V20 Patriot Pursuit Special (4 Slot Performance Vehicle)
·       FREE – ATAC 424 (Mid-to-Close Range Assault Rifle)

Impact Urban Warfare Pack
·       Combat Gear: Impact
·       V20 Nightrider (4 Slot Performance Vehicle)
·       FREE – ATAC 424 (Mid-to-Close Range Assault Rifle)

Armored Bonus Pack
·       Combat Gear: Armored
·       FREE – ATAC 424 (Mid-to-Close Range Assault Rifle)

Impact Bonus Pack
·       Combat Gear: Impact
·       FREE – ATAC 424 (Mid-to-Close Range Assault Rifle)

Players can also have a chance to win these soon to be released packs for free by participating in our “Heavy Metal Fighters” in-game event starting TODAY until Tuesday (Oct. 16th, 12 PM PDT):

Complete as many opposed missions as possible from now until Tuesday at Noon.  The top 500 players with the most opposed missions completed will be entered into a random drawing to win.  10 Winners will get their choice of either new Urban Warfare Pack (depending upon whether they want Enforcer or Criminal), and 10 Winners will get their choice of either new Bonus Pack (Enforcer or Criminal). (For further details visit our APB Forums)

We’ll have more screen shots and images of the new Gear and the ATAC later, but for now here are some concept art and screen images of the new Vehicles and kits.

(Please note that players who have previously purchased the Performance Kits will be sent a free update for the new kits, shortly after we have updated the current Performance Kits on Armas.)

Stay tuned for more updates regarding the Armored and Impact Urban Warfare Packs coming out next week and join us for the Heavy Metal Fighters event. 

Armor up San Paro.  Armor up.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In the Spirit of Scots and Schoolgirls

Now that 1.9.0 (New Breed Part 2) has made its debut to San Paro, we can take a brief moment to share some of the things going on behind the scenes leading up to the big launch.  We have a few stories of travel and adventure to share first, and then we’ll get into the title of this blog post.
About 2 weeks prior to 1.9.0 launch, some members of our US Team (including myself), went to visit out UK Team. For many of us this was our first time visiting Scotland.  For those of you who are not familiar, our Reloaded Studio is located in Edinburgh, Scotland - a very beautiful European city rich in its history and culture. Our office is located right in the heart of Edinburgh within walking distance to many historical and famous attractions such as the Scot Monument, Edinburgh Castle, and the National Gallery.  Not quite the birthplace you’d imagine for the chaotic world of APB Reloaded.
Let me paint a picture of some of the stark differences between a city like Edinburgh and a city like San Paro.  One city has cobblestone-streets lined with quaint cafes, brownstone buildings, and red double-decker buses passing through.  The other city has asphalt roads lined with looted electronic stores, neon-flashing billboards, and sidewalks littered with pedestrian corpses throughout.  One city was founded before the 7th Century AD – antiquated and European.  The other was founded in the New Millennium- modernistic and Californian-inspired. 

Our journey to Edinburgh did not come without a few hiccups. I’ll start off with the security line at LAX airport.  One of the guys traveling with us forgot about a USB at the bottom of their bag.  This was no ordinary USB, it was a special USB we made specifically for marketing APB Reloaded… and it was in the shape of a bullet!  Needless to say we had to wait for our lucky travel buddy to pass security after some scrutiny. 

Outside of some rain the first day we were there, the rest of the trip was pretty smooth. In a nutshell – lots of meetings, lots of cross training, lots of lunches, plenty of haggis, blood pudding, and whisky.  Not to mention some of the best scones I’ve ever had.  
For one full week the Reloaded team was under one roof in one singular spot on the globe.  Not only did we get the opportunity to spend time with each other in person (versus video conference), we were able to have more in-depth discussions going about our plans for the future and how to move forward with those plans. Included in those plans were the new sets of Gear we had thought about right around the time we launched the Combat Gear and Tactical Gear Packs & Bundles.  Enter scene – Schoolgirl and Highlander Packs!  We are excited to announce that these new additions to the Armas Marketplace will be available this week or next.
What might have inspired this particular combination you might wonder?  Well, the connection to the Highlander Packs and Scotland Weapon Skin I’m hoping is apparent.  Plus if female characters are going to get skirts shouldn’t the male characters get something similar?  So there you have it – Highlander (Enforcer) and Goth Highlander (Criminal) Packs. Both packs include the Scotland Weapon Skin (a.k.a. Saltire Flag Weapon Skin).  One little fun factoid –the kilt included in the Enforcer Highlander Pack was inspired by our Lead Designer’s family tartan.  That’s right – now you can pay homage to Qwentle and family in game!
As for the inspiration for the Schoolgirl outfits, some of you may remember our live-action trailer.  Although, this concept for the Schoolgirl outfits was something the community has wanted for a while perhaps the trailer reminded everyone.  On a side note, one of our artists was inspired by…well… the desire to see female characters in little skirts.  I’m not naming names, however, the in game description specifically for the Schoolgirl Skirt hints that there was some ulterior motives when this pack was conceived.  The in game description says:
“A schoolgirl skirt. 100% cotton and schoolgirl cut. Someone ‘accidentally’ moved a zero from the length to order number category when ordering skirts for San Paro High. This is the result.”
Guess who that “someone” might be? Finally, the fun factoid for the Otome Neko Weapon Skin – this was inspired by one of our very own APB Community members.  Now player-made content has made it into the game and into Armas.  We are pleased to have such a creative player community!
So as I mentioned keep your eyes peeled for these tantalizing editions to the Armas Marketplace we will be releasing this week or next.  You too can soon celebrate APB Reloaded in the spirit of Scots and Schoolgirls. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

APB Reloaded 1.9.0 Now Live! Big Bonus Offers and Free Premiums

Every 4 years countries around the world send their athletic elite to compete in their honor.  Every 7 years one can view a full Solar Eclipse from the same spot on earth.  Every 13 years cicadas come swarming from the sky to inhabit the US Eastern Coast.  But only once in an entire lifetime does New Breed Part 2 go LIVE. That’s right APB Reloaded version 1.9.0 is live!

We’ve started the celebration early by offering a limited-time pre-launch promotion – the 20% G1C Rebate Promotion!  Players will get 20% of the G1 Credits they spend in the Armas Marketplace back on their accounts shortly after the promotion ends.  We’ll be counting all G1 Credits spent in the Armas Marketplace starting from yesterday until July 31st, 11:50 PM PDT.
That’s not all!  We are celebrating the release of New Breed Part 2 by sending all players a FREE gift of 1 Day Premium and 400 Joker Tickets.  All players have to do is go to the Redeem Code page in Armas and click on the promo code link.  But everyone should hurry to redeem their codes because they will expire at the end of the month - July 31st, 11:50 PM PDT!
As Qwentle had mention in one of our earlier 1.9.0 preview blog post that one of the big new features New Breed Part 2 was bringing was the Joker Distribution in Social District.  After everyone’s redeemed their promo codes and have their Joker Tickets in hand – go to Social and say hello to our new NPCs - Ophelia and Wilde!  They’ll have some fun stuff for you to buy with your Joker Tickets – including Titles and Armas Items.  You’ll also dig the new tunes playing inside Joker Distribution and be sure to check out the crowning glory of all Joker Ticket prizes!
Onto the next brand new feature – Activities!  This feature we are introducing first with Fight Club where players can complete smaller tasks while in a Fight Club Mission and get additional rewards.  Those smaller tasks could be things like “Get X amount of Assists” or “Kill X amount of enemies with your side arm.”  There are 3 tiers of Activities: Bronze, Silver and Gold.  Each tier becomes increasingly challenging but also increasingly rewarding.
Attaining a Bronze or Silver rank will immediately reward you on the spot, but attaining a Gold rank will win you a significantly larger reward at the end of the week.   Activities can also be skipped if there is another Activity available that you want to go for instead. 

Please advise,  Activities will be available in game as of Monday (7/30/12), in order to follow our regular Fight Club Challenge Rewards cycle.  Although we are introducing the new Activities system with Fight Club, our hope is to add them to general Missions as well.  So while we are testing out the waters with Fight Club Activities we’d love to hear from all of you to see what you like and what you don’t like about this new feature.  We want your feedback!
Finally, while you are taking a gander through Joker Distribution in Social, completing new Activities, or customizing your new Character Titles (there are some fun Titles our team took creative liberties with – you’ll see…), take advantage of a few other promotions and events we have going on to top off the New Breed Part 2 celebration:
·         Double Premium Discount Weekend – That’s right it is back!  From Friday through Sunday, (7/27/12 -7/29/12), Premium members will get 40% off all Armas purchases (double their regular 20% discount).
·         Joker Mystery Box 2 BOGO Sale From Friday through Sunday, (7/27/12 -7/29/12), buy one get one FREE – Joker Mystery Box 2.  This Box will only be available for a limited remaining time on Armas after this promotion ends so stock up while you can.  Delivery of the bonus Joker Mystery Box 2s will be completed shortly after the promotion end date.
·         San Paro Triathalon – Enter this video and screenshot forum contest for your chance to win some cool Armas Kits, Packs and Premium Days.  Check out our Forums for further details!

That about sums it up for all the goodies New Breed Part 2 has to offer for right now, but stay tuned as we have some other events, promotions, and new products in store for later…

Cheers to 1.9.0!