All Points Bulletin Hands-On Preview (Pt 2)

In the last part of our All Points Bulletin preview, we wrote about the basic premise of the game, the tutorial zone, missions, contacts, groups and movement. Today we continue our in-depth look at All Points Bulletin.

There are several ways the game tracks accomplishments. In addition to the previously mentioned contact level system and threat level, there is a prestige/notoriety system, an achievements system, a role system, an overall rating, leaderboards (called leagues) and an organization rating.  The overall rating is just based on completing missions and is akin to a level, it goes up and not down.  Right now, Realtime Worlds says it maxxes around 300, but it is really a limitless metric.  The organization rating is similar to the contact rating. Each zone has an organization that the contacts in that zone are members of and completely missions in that zone increases rating with that organization. Increasing organization level in a zone (and contact level with a specific contact) unlocks more of the content in that zone. The content not only includes other contacts and missions, but the ability to buy better equipment. The prestige and notoriety systems level from 1 to 5 and is a way to determine how good an Enforcer or Criminal the player is being. For example, committing crimes raises the notoriety of a criminal, while completing missions and arresting criminals raises the prestige of an Enforcer. Enforcer’s prestige is reduced by doing anything on the gray line, like commandeering vehicles or running over pedestrians. Ok, running over pedestrians may not be that gray, but they should really get out of the way.

The achievements system is similar to what XBox has done with their achievements. There’s a few hidden ones, but most have a description of what is required to gain that achievement. Some achievements include rewards, although Realtime Worlds was pretty tight-lipped on what those rewards are. Sample achievements include Don’t Cut the Red Wire, earned by defusing bombs, Bros in Different Area Codes, earned by maxing both currently available organizations, I’m Kind of a Big Deal, which is awarded when a player achieves maximum threat (15) and Roll Deep, which means a player has successfully called in back-up during a mission. There are some very difficult and rare achievements and there’s even one, One Lucky S.O.B., which is an achievement for getting random rewards. Random rewards are very, very rarely awarded during missions (the player wil get an item that’s better than the one they should have gotten.) Realtime Worlds said they weren’t even sure anyone had gotten a random reward in beta yet, since it’s that rare.

The role system is another way to differentiate a player and give them goals to pursue. Roles are awarded when a player accomplishes a certain number of things in various categories. Enforcers and Criminals have a few roles that are different, but share some, mainly those that would be awarded by playing in the social district.  Examples of roles for Enforcers include reinforcement, which players earn status in by assisting their groupmates in killing other players, and detective, which is increased by completing missions. The criminals roles obviously involve committing crimes, like the car thief role, gained by stealing cars. Each role has 15 levels to gain.

Leagues are the leaderboards of the game.  There are leagues for each zone as well as overall leagues.  Some of the metrics tracked include total kills, kill to death ratio, total missions won, grenade kills, pistol kills and longest kill streak.  There are leagues for individual achievement as well as clan totals, and each zone tracks their own figures.  Enforcer and Criminal stats are also tracked separately.  So there’s plenty there for players to compare themselves against.

Besides the two PvP zones, there’s a non-combat zone which is referred to as the social zone.  In the social district, there are several kiosks that allow customizations of various aspects of the game.  For example, the salon allows a player to go back to the character creator and change their appearance, but every alteration at that point costs money.  There’s also a symbol designer in the salon, which has some very basic shapes, decals and primitives available to use to custom create a symbol, which can be used as a clan logo, in a tattoo, or in a customization on a car or clothing.  More primitives are unlocked as the player progresses in the game.  There’s a kiosk for clothing design and purchase, one for car purchase and customizations, and a marketplace, which is like the traditional auction house, but with a twist. 

Players can put up items for sale on the marketplace for either the in-game currency (APB dollars) or for RTW Points.  RTW Points are the real-world currency that players can purchase with cash and use to buy things in the game.  RTW points can also be used to buy additional time to play in the game.  The mechanic exists for players who are particularly artistic to create customizations other players would want to purchase with RTW points, which they would then turn around to use to purchase time to play the game.  One of the interesting things, though, is that the hours spent in the social district don’t count against purchased hours.

Realtime Worlds is definitely trying to do something a little different with their payment model.  The game must be purchased, but the box comes with 50 hours of play time (which are only spent in the PvP districts).  Once that time runs out, players will have a couple of options.  For a really active player, there’s an unlimited subscription which costs about $10 for 30 days of play, which is lower than the standard MMO subscription.  Less active players can purchase hours.  The figure that was thrown out to us was 20 hours for $7.  A person who spends a lot of time in the social district or has a very limited amount of time they can play could spend the $7 for that 20 hours and have it last months.  This system is definitely on the innovative edge and it will be interesting to see how it works out.

Limited beta begins tomorrow, with a more open beta coming later this month.  The game launches in the US on June 29, 2010, in the UK  on July 2nd and elsewhere in Europe on July 1st.  Pre-orders will receive a 2 day headstart.

1 Comment

  1. Im really liking the hrs payment plan. I know some months I only have a few hrs to play, so its nice that I can just rollover my hrs. But 20 hrs seems a bit low, 25-30 would be much better imo.

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