The APB Reloaded open beta has launched following a short delay caused by player disconnection issues.
Free-to-play specialist GamersFirst said the beta adds a brand new skill rating system, redesigned 'witnessing' game mechanics, new items and weapons in the Armas Marketplace, and an additional East Coast data centre to host the game.
Upcoming improvements scheduled during the open beta phase include new clan-based combat mechanics aimed at higher level players, further matchmaking improvements, plus a brand new district and fresh game modes.
GamersFirst and Reloaded Productions CEO Bjorn Book-Larsson said: "From the start of the development of APB Reloaded last fall our focus has been to remove obstacles preventing players from having fun.
"While our development and design teams have done an amazing job improving driving, shooting, skill ratings, witnessing and other key elements of the game, I am also thrilled with the changes slated to be released during the latter part of open beta.
"We expect APB Reloaded to set a new bar for what is possible to achieve in a free to play MMO game, and the open beta represents another big step in that direction."
New in-game witnessing mechanic
Open beta includes a much improved "witnessing" system that captures the core of the cops vs. robber's game mechanic. When Criminals commit open-world crimes they gain a stash of dirty money that must be laundered before it is earned as a mission reward. A stash multiplier grows with the Criminal's heat rating as they continue their crime spree, while carrying an ever growing pile of dirty money.
Enforcers can witness Criminals committing crimes and opt into a mini-mission to stop the Criminal. Should the Enforcer successfully arrest or defeat the criminal, the ill-gotten gains convert to evidence, necessitating the Enforcer to race to their randomly-selected Evidence Locker in order to earn the stash as a mission reward. As Criminals fight to protect and ultimately launder their dirty money Enforcers fight to requisition the dirty money, creating a furious back-and-forth firefight for control of the resource.
New items and weapons
San Paro's in-game merchant, the Armas Marketplace, is expanding during the open beta phase and will launch with 10 never-before-seen weapons as well as a large catalogue of permanent clothing, icons, vehicles and accessories designed to enhance the APB Reloaded game experience. During open beta, players will also be able to lease weapons using in-game cash or using GamersFirst's exclusive G1 credits.
New hybrid skill rating system
In order to create more-balanced PvP gameplay, APB Reloaded is transitioning from a straight win-loss system to a skill-based hybrid rating system, sourced from several proven skill rating algorithms such as ELO and Glicko. This new skill-based hybrid rating system aims to better reflect all gamers' actual skill levels when compared to the opponents they defeat.
Developer Reload Productions secured the rights to the urban crime MMO shortly after original creator Realtime Worlds shut last year. Earlier this month it was announced that APB creator Dave Jones had joined Reload as an advisory board member.