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Transcript for the APB Q&A Session One

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Posted (edited)

 

This is the the transcript of the Q&A in its entirety, that happened on Kempington’s stream here between himself and Matthew Scott (the CEO of Little Orbit). The video can be found here.

 

This transcript was co-written by myself (@SKay) and @Kevkof, and we’ve made every effort in making sure that it is word for word what was said during the stream, with emphasis on relevancy to the question asked. If we have missed anything at all, please do let us know and we’ll do our best to add it in. The questions that are posed by Kempington himself are marked “Q”, with their answers (from Matt) marked as “A”.

 

To give an example of how the transcript will be laid out;

Q: So will we get crumpets as a consumable in APB?
A: It’s an unknown at this point. Mainly because there are bigger priorities on the table. While we wish that we could give England’s favourite snack that goes with their cup of tea, really the bigger picture needs to be addressed.
Q: TEA!
A: Sorry Kemp, I'd rather have a coffee.
 


Q: What sort of brought your interest towards this game? You have a sort of outside perspective?
A: Even though I have limited experience with playing the game, it is unique. While it is hard and not the average shooter, not being a clone of Counter Strike for example, I thought honestly that it didn’t get the attention it deserve, and we didn’t want to see that happen. My biggest fear would be that we’d announce these changes and that no-one would really listen, but clearly that hasn’t been the case.

Q: The anti-cheat system. Will you be making any changes? 
A: This was the number one question. I think the community is super divided, especially the second part of the question. Will we be changing cheat detection? Absolutely. We’ve been working with Battleye, and we think that they are the market leader in client-side anti-cheat. We’re already three quarters of the way into the integration. The reason why we set this date was that we could get something concrete in place before announcing it, and also to allow the new support system to gain traction. But we think that this is the most important thing that we could implement to immensely help the game. We also mentioned that we’re keeping FairFight, but without doing auto-bans. The system has not been tuned for a year, and wasn’t being updated while the company was struggling. In my opinion with FairFight and Battleye, which will come in the next patch we put out, will be the ideal solution.

Q: Will there be unbans? Will it be a full reversal or partial reversal?
A: This is such a divisive issue. These last two weeks have been extremely busy for Little Orbit, especially with GDPR. What I did was sit on the customer support calls and worked through issues. We had FairFight auto-bans and I sat on the line with customers and logs, and we can clearly determine that there were improper bans. Those bans shouldn’t have been in place. It’s really hard for me to leave those bans in place. But I do want to say that this could raise issues of “oh these cheaters are bad” but specifically the bulk of the cheating bans are going to be reversed; the community is going to get a second chance. We’re not going to unban all players, for instance players committing credit card fraud, but we’re going to unban the majority of the bans. It’s going to be quite a bit of work trying to get the next patch out, but once that happens, and we get the updated FairFight with Battleye, there’s going to be unbans.

I did see in the stream, someone was mentioning the keys that were passed out and were the cause of a number of bans. We will be unbanning those players, I know they were linked to some credit card fraud and some other things. Again, looking back over the logs, looking back over that situation, I don’t think we can hold those players accountable. Obviously it was a murky situation, but they will be included in the unban. I honestly think that that sort of policy of in theory if you commit credit card fraud yourself and you need to bring your account back to balance, we understand that, that's the right way to handle it. You need to pay for something that you got and it's already on your account, you need to bring it back to balance. This case was such a different scenario, it wasn't handled well. So for me, look, I apologize to those players. Not all of them are scott-free or innocent, many of them knew at the time they were trying to collect these things and exploit. But it wasn't handled well by Gamersfirst.

Q: Will bans be broadcasted?
A: No. It’s a super toxic practice. I view banning as a failure; it’s not something to be proud of or to enjoy. We lost a player and it’s our fault when it happens. We have done something in the meantime; even if you’re banned in game, we’re not going to ban you on the forums. We’re going to be doing some tweaks and utilize temporary bans. My commitment to the community is that we are going to clean up the cheating problem in a fair and good manner.

Q: Moving on to the elephant in the room, what is Little Orbit’s rough roadmap of what you’re working on first?
A: So this was #2. I tend to group issues a bit, and there is a lot going on at the studio, we got people working on various stuff. I’ve found a new project called “Infrastructure” which will improve the entire spectrum of how GamersFirst work, a rebuild of the foundations. It’ll involve improve the communication that goes both ways. It began with getting the new support system online, implementing the new Anti-Cheat, and ending with clearing the cobwebs with our first patch. “Unification” is our next project, which will involve completing UE 3.5, which will unify the code bases that will allow content release to begin again. Unless we unify the code bases across all platforms, it’ll be impossible to I think beyond, we have UE4. We also want to look at the long standing mechanical issues that have been in the game. Get back into the content design and workflow for the game. Beyond that would be major content, involving a new map and a new mode. It is quite far along the content that has been in development, just been sitting there waiting to be released.

Q: Will the ARMAS pricing be changed? And if so, how?
A: It’s interesting, seeing as I have spent time looking at it. People are divided on the opinion of what APB is, some say it’s P2W, and some don’t. I don’t think APB is P2W, but there is a stigma. You could give the best weapon to the worst player, and the worst weapon to the best player, and the best player would win every time hands down. APB is a game of skill. The weapons don’t make that big of a difference, however the stigma does exist for a reason. I do think we need to go through the pricing and change it, as it is a little obscene. I’d like to bring it down to a price that players don’t feel gouged. It is a little bit too egregious and expensive. We have hired back one of the designers from the game, to help us with factoring more weapons in game and balancing.

Q: With the upcoming changes to CoC and ToS, what areas will be scrutinised with most?
A: I think first and foremost, you’re going to see us around. I think having GMs in the game being present and talking, it shouldn’t be a big scary thing. We should be present. We should be there. We should be running small little events. Nudity is great, but it has no place in our game game. Why would you bring that in? It feels inappropriate. It’s something that we don’t want to see in the game. However other than that, it’s going to stay the same. The creativity in this game is beyond outstanding. While we do have to moderate the symbols, I do want to encourage the players to knock themselves out and get designing. I love all of the crazy things they do with the symbol. I think that if we’re present and in game and paying attention, the problem should solve itself. We’re looking to get GM coverage on all servers as much as we can, hopefully all the time.

Q: What will you be doing to tackle dethreating, and if so how? And will there be changes to the threat system?
A: This is definitely one of those systems that fall under the “Critical Mechanics” segment earlier. The threat system has to be altered at a minimum, or if necessary, scrapped and started over. There’s just a fundamental flaw at tracking your progress over such a short timeframe. To be able to bring your threat down quickly should not happen, and should take much much longer. We see this as an exploit in some ways, if it is an exploit it should be dealt with. If there’s an exploit then it should be on us to fix it. Shame on us for leaving the exploit in for so long, that it has a name and people can look it up.    

Q: Will there be livestreaming dedicated to future Q&A’s, dev live streaming? Would there be something like a Dev Blog?
A: I love this idea. I think it’s fun to watch the process, but I also think it’s a great way to show progress to the community. I plan to do more open letters and VLog’s, where we can show to the community the progress we’re making with new features.

Q: Will the original login screen, with previous music make a return?
A: I actually had the track on loop from Youtube. I am a big fan of that screen. I would have to look at the music rights and see what we have currently. While we can’t truly guarantee getting the old music back, I’d love to see that screen with that music come back. I also think we don’t need a loading screen to a loading screen.

Q: Will you be addressing the poor performance of the Consoles?
A: Absolutely. I want to openly apologise to the console players, we posted the letter and we did all these conversations, without realising that the forums are split. The console players couldn’t really participate in the forum where we were talking. We’ve merged that with distinction to the platform. For the consoles, the optimizations are long overdue. As part of the unification and critical mechanic processes, we will go in, look at the code and see what we can do to optimize and make the game run better. There’s a fair amount of issues I’d like to fix there.

Q: Are there any further extensions to the friends and ignore list?
A: In fairness to that team, there is a cost to storing that list. It can’t be infinite. Charging for more slots, it’s already a problem that breeds toxicity, and then you’re trying to monetizing that, it feels like the absolutely wrong approach. I think what we’re working towards is increasing the slots, without people having to pay for it. The ignore and friends list should be there for everyone to use, in protecting yourself in the game.

Q: What do you think of the Bounty system, and will there be any changes to it?
A: This is part of the Critical Mechanic process, things we need to look at. This and maybe one other element where if you’re in a mission where players stand in front of you and sort of grief you, I think the idea of people interfering with an already challenging time for players (missions) shouldn’t happen. I think the heart was in the right place, but it needs some tweaking or re-design to eliminate the feel bad moment. It is something that we’re hoping to look at, making a little tweak and level out the game experience.

Q:  In the distant future will character server transfers be possible?
A: Let’s give some context, character server transfers are problematic. They are problematic from a technology standpoint, what happens that I’ve seen when you transfer a character from server to server, is because the characters are so heavily customised there’s loads of opportunity for things to go wonky. For the character to literally come over looking different or some of the customization or some of the symbols be missing. It is a very very nuanced process so it’s not something we typically can just open up. Not yet. We’re going to work on that system. I’m a big believer in allowing as many people in the community to play together.I think that right now the community is very fragmented and certainly with respect to Han, that is a low population world server. We are absolutely looking at trying to help them, if only for the moment. I think Gamersfirst needs to take the bullet on mishandeling where those servers went and slowly killing that population. In the near future, now it’s not going to be the next thirty days, but hopefully in the near future we’re going to give all of the Han players the ability to migrate to Jericho and play with other players. The russian server is a bit of a challenge because there’s some unique things those players have so we have to balance that but I would love to see in the future an open sort of character transfer system, that maybe you can’t use it all the time or it has limits around it. But I would love to see players be able to congregate and have a great experience. It cannot be any fun playing on Han right now, where you’re playing the same 25, 26 people over and over and over. 


Q: So the point is: Do you plan on sort of looking to make a proper trading system into the game or is it even possible?
A: This one is tricky, I’m going to answer both ways. I would love to solve this problem. The fact that you can scam a player is absolutely a problem, you shouldn’t be able to do that. We should have enough infrastructure in the game to properly have the item held and the money held and that transaction should all happen at the same time. The problem that you run into is that once you create a secure trading platform you get into other issues. Which are third party sale off site and you end up with people using your system to transfer money and goods. Certainly when we get into the consoles, Sony and Microsoft very much frown on that so we have done it in the past, we know some of the pitfalls. It is the system I want to fix, but we just need to be very careful about how we do that.

The biggest problem is when you have a free to play game where people can come back and reroll and you have a trade system, let’s say a secure trade system, it opens up a lot of credit card fraud. So with the other games we’ve done we locked the trade system to a certain level to make sure that you have been playing the game for a while and that new people can’t just come in, charge a credit card and then immediately trade everything off of their account, which is systemic. We helped another company with a game that they had, I think, 12% credit card fraud. We were able to go in and modify systems and put in trade locking and smother things that brought that down below 1%. So this is a case where the coding is not the problem it more the system design to make sure it cannot be abused.

Q: What kind of things do you want to look at, maybe implementing or improving to kind of bring the competitive scene in to its own fruition in the game? I know it’s a tricky one.
A: I will say this, I can’t actually answer that question on the stream. But I can say this: We are in active talks in working on this. This is something I think would be great for apb, it was designed for it. I think there’s a lot of players who would want to see a more competitive environment, so I’ll just leave it at. You guys can all point back to the stream and go “oh, that’s what he was talking about” if it happens, if it doesn’t you can say “Oh that’s nonsense”.

Q: More importantly, are you looking towards potentially reintroducing the Refer a Friend system and if so, do you plan on making changes to it and as sort of a direction here kind of towards letting the player who was invited also get some rewards for playing with his teammate that invited him.
A: I love the idea of a Refer a Friend system. I think you have to be delicate with these especially in these kinds of games because they can easily unbalance things if those rewards are too much. At the heart of it we need to regrow the audience for APB and so it’s absolutely something we want to do, honestly it’s not something we’ve put a whole lot of focus in yet. We’ve got so many other things to get right, certainly on the roadmap is the effort to building mechanisms that incentivise our players to help us grow apb.

Q: Are we going to see any changes to Joker Mystery Boxes? Whether they'd be removed or the chances written out and clear as crystal.
A: This is very complicated issue. Obviously you've mentioned the legality of loot boxes. We’re taking a hard look at what's happening in Europe around this. Certainly there's US legislations being built, I am personally a fan of how the Netherlands are handling it. In that they're being very specific on the timeline to be compliant, the ways you can be compliant and their goals in who they're protecting. So basically the Netherlands is saying you can have lootboxes, you just can't make the rewards tradeable. Because the minute they're tradeable it becomes gambling. People are now paying money to get a huge reward that can be traded away for monetary value, I think that's a simple solutions. We've already started to unfortunately take the rewards from the loot boxes and make them not tradeable. Which means we're in compliance and we don't need to change that system. It may mean that we also need to bring the price down on them. Or we need to make some adjustments to our economy, but I think it’s a good system in a game, and as much as people have railed against this monetization mode, I don’t envisage this going anyway anytime soon, however I think we need to be fair with our players.

Q: Shaders and certain configs, will they be allowed back into APB?
A: I feel like that this would be a super slippery slope, to say we’re gunna allow custom shaders or changes to the game. Now having said that, I do think we need to make these options available in the game, we need to put them in. We need to allow players to change the colour of the crosshair for low accessibility, and low processing reasons (Editorial: He meant low processing power.). That’s something that we should be putting in. While we appreciate the community doing the leg work, we feel it should come from our side, because it’ll not only look better, it’ll come from us, it’ll work properly and won’t be flagged by our anti-cheat. It’s a slippery slope to say “sure, you can mess with the components of the game”.

Q: Weapon balance, do you plan on making changes in the near future?
A: The HVR has come up a lot, especially from reading the forums. I think personally, I think that the weapons are fairly well balanced with exceptions of course, but for the most part they’re balanced. I feel like they could be a lot less balanced than they are currently. I’d rather make a couple of little adjustments here and there, where we could remove one bullet out of a casing(Editorial: he meant magazine) so you can get one less shot off. I think that some of these things could just be tweaked a little bit. Of course, others need a little bit more adjustment. We are up for a weapon balance, we think a weapon balance is long overdue. Just go through the whole thing that we don’t have a HVR that fires a sledgehammer!

Q: Are we going to see daily events and seasonal events?
A: We are admittedly behind the gun. I would love to do daily events, I’d love to see better quality holiday or special events. It’s terrible to see events becoming stale and rinse and repeat, it feels like the whole system is on autopilot and no one cares. We’re doing our best to get to that stuff. It is a little further down the roadmap, we want to get a better foundation in place, but it certainly is on the roadmap.

Q: Are you related to Barry Scott?
A: I will never tell ;).

Edited by SKay
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Very useful and complete, I can see you have put a lot of effort on this. Hope this gets pinned.

+1

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Posted (edited)

Hopefully Legendaries will be account-wide if they're no longer tradeable.  I think this is a horrible idea though as the player market is already so tightly bound by high static prices and insane market tax.  I love player driven economies, so what they're saying about it all really depresses me.

 

But if I can't mail my Legendaries between my characters, I hope they'll be account-bound then and I hope they'll give notice on what they plan to do here so, if I have to, I can move them where I want them before they're stuck there forever.

 

I miss open markets in games, even if it invites real-money trading from third parties, I think it hurts more to not have the system than to have it.

Edited by mynd
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I can agree with the legendaries being account wide, and non tradable - but at the same time I think it shouldn't be as hard/RNG to obtain them.

Currently, you have to be one rich mofugga, either in game or RL, or get lucky with lootbox RNG while you get loaded down with '7, 10, 14 day' rent garbage you dont want or need.

The old login screen returning?

I'm happy the new boss wants to see that back. It was that when I first started playing this game - on a PC that mind you - would crash at random when playing because it wasnt up to spec. 

Honestly I just think the threat system should be gutted entirely. It needs to be more fair and accurate if it stays around. 

Someone could be decent at the game but 'OH YOU ARENT GOLD GO AWAY' would be the reaction he'd get from clans they'd be hoping to join, in part to get better.

Unless you're playing with people better than you, its hard to get better.

That's something I learned during my hardcore GTA Online days - I was in a crew with several people who were godlike at PVP - I passively took from them and started to get better in practice the more I played alongside them.

I think thats something clans should take into consideration.

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thx for the transcript 

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Thank you for this! All my love! ❤️

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Just now, SKay said:

Q: Will the original login screen, with previous music make a return?
A: I actually had the track on loop from Youtube. I am a big fan of that screen. I would have to look at the music rights and see what we have currently. While we can’t truly guarantee getting the old music back, I’d love to see that screen with that music come back. I also think we don’t need a loading screen to a loading screen.

 

If you create a new character, aside from a few sound effects from the menu, the music is still in the game, and iirc, it was made by Realtime Worlds. So... I don't think that licensing should be an issue with music that was already created by the company that G1 bought, that is now bought by L.O.

Here's the two menus:

 

 

 

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Q: Will the original login screen, with previous music make a return?
A: I actually had the track on loop from Youtube. I am a big fan of that screen. I would have to look at the music rights and see what we have currently. While we can’t truly guarantee getting the old music back, I’d love to see that screen with that music come back. I also think we don’t need a loading screen to a loading screen.

 

THIS. This is the most important thing I've read today on APB Forums. Maybe the whole week. I'm all hyped if they'd bring the old theme back. This feeling .... I feel so nostalgic already

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Pinned. Thank you very much for doing this.

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I really wish more detail had been afforded on threat and matchmaking, but it was a good Q&A session.

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This Q&A was gold.
After years of speculation about bullshoot bans, and Tiggs pretending like there weren't, Matt Scott just came in with a sledge hammer and confirmed it.

Plus all the other stuff he called the old G1 out on.

 

nruIQ55.gif

 

 

They seems genuinely interested in making this game what it should have been all these years ago.

Then again, so did G1 when they first bought it. I suppose time will tell.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, SKay said:

Q: Will there be unbans? Will it be a full reversal or partial reversal?
A: This is such a divisive issue. These last two weeks have been extremely busy for Little Orbit, especially with GDPR. What I did was sit on the customer support calls and worked through issues. We had FairFight auto-bans and I sat on the line with customers and logs, and we can clearly determine that there were improper bans. Those bans shouldn’t have been in place. It’s really hard for me to leave those bans in place. But I do want to say that this could raise issues of “oh these cheaters are bad” but specifically the bulk of the cheating bans are going to be reversed; the community is going to get a second chance. We’re not going to unban all players, for instance players committing credit card fraud, but we’re going to unban the majority of the bans. It’s going to be quite a bit of work trying to get the next patch out, but once that happens, and we get the updated FairFight with Battleye, there’s going to be unbans.

I did see in the stream, someone was mentioning the keys that were passed out and were the cause of a number of bans. We will be unbanning those players, I know they were linked to some credit card fraud and some other things. Again, looking back over the logs, looking back over that situation, I don’t think we can hold those players accountable. Obviously it was a murky situation, but they will be included in the unban. I honestly think that that sort of policy of in theory if you commit credit card fraud yourself and you need to bring your account back to balance, we understand that, that's the right way to handle it. You need to pay for something that you got and it's already on your account, you need to bring it back to balance. This case was such a different scenario, it wasn't handled well. So for me, look, I apologize to those players. Not all of them are scott-free or innocent, many of them knew at the time they were trying to collect these things and exploit. But it wasn't handled well by Gamersfirst.

Well played, Little Orbit. Well played.

 

tumblr_m3ppveMgu71r4lux2.gif

Edited by GunsGoBang
Cause I can.

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1 hour ago, Sergsininia said:

 

If you create a new character, aside from a few sound effects from the menu, the music is still in the game, and iirc, it was made by Realtime Worlds. So... I don't think that licensing should be an issue with music that was already created by the company that G1 bought, that is now bought by L.O.

Here's the two menus:

The menu music was actually made in a way that the entire thing could loop seamlessly by fading in and out instruments at random, so the song was slightly different every time you heard it.  Here's the original version of the song on the channel of the guy that made it:

 

Personally I liked the version that ended up being the menu music more because it cut out the kinda cheesy guitar parts but it's just cool to see the whole thing :3  

 

Oh and I'm super happy to hear that it may be coming back 😄 

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6 hours ago, SKay said:

Q: Are there any further extensions to the friends and ignore list?
A: In fairness to that team, there is a cost to storing that list. It can’t be infinite. Charging for more slots, it’s already a problem that breeds toxicity, and then you’re trying to monetizing that, it feels like the absolutely wrong approach. I think what we’re working towards is increasing the slots, without people having to pay for it. The ignore and friends list should be there for everyone to use, in protecting yourself in the game.

 

 

For what it's worth, if we could have a way of being able to mute or lower the volume of death themes, that would cut my ignore list in half, reducing the need to expand it. 

 

Way too many players think it is cool/edgy to have some sort of ear-hurting loud noise or obnoxious tone as a theme which is far more abusive (to me) than any whispers of "get gud". 

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ty for doing this guys, happy birthday Skay you da bes~ ❤️

 

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4 hours ago, Winter Shyvana said:

Q: Will the original login screen, with previous music make a return?
A: I actually had the track on loop from Youtube. I am a big fan of that screen. I would have to look at the music rights and see what we have currently. While we can’t truly guarantee getting the old music back, I’d love to see that screen with that music come back. I also think we don’t need a loading screen to a loading screen.

 

THIS. This is the most important thing I've read today on APB Forums. Maybe the whole week. I'm all hyped if they'd bring the old theme back. This feeling .... I feel so nostalgic already

yea this tune just made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.. We need this back.

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I don't think they'll precisely bring back the old screen, but they'll bring a similar version. Maybe, possibly, no?

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Hello,

 

Thanks for the effort you did both

 

moamen147

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4 hours ago, Nymphi-DoubleDee said:

Well played, Little Orbit. Well played.

 

You were the first person I thought of when he made that announcement.

 

Meanwhile, all those people defending how Tiggs handled that whole situation, I wonder how they feel knowing Matt Scott disagreed with the chosen solution.

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1 hour ago, Moamen-147 said:

Hello,

 

Thanks for the effort you did both

 

moamen147

You're more than welcome :classic_biggrin:

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Nice one Skay 👌

Time well spent 

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Thanks to both Matt and Kempington for that Q&A. You both did a great job, and hearing Matt it sounds like APB is finally heading the right way.

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