MMORPG Info Logo Eating Babies

This is a fascinating write-up on All Points Bulletin, the recent MMORPG which rushed directly from launch to bankruptcy.

Eating Your Babies: APB’s Essential Failure

A 64-bit Technical Success

By technical standards, APB is impressive. If your PC is a 64-bit multi-core monster and your 1+ Mbps broadband doesn’t drop or reroute packets like hot potatoes, the game performs impressively. You run, jump and hurdle fences in a large city district with 79 other players and hundreds of NPC civilians. Far more impressively, up to one driver and three passengers can travel together in a fast car that spins, slides, bounces and rams into other vehicles, including airborne vehicles that can launch themselves from ramps, roofs and overpasses. All three vehicle passengers can shoot, be shot at, hit moving targets while in motion.

Arnold Hendrick, whose resume is impressive if riddled with scare quotes, writes about the essential reason for APB’s decline: eating babies.

Baby Eating

A game design is a “baby eater” if high-level players constantly defeat low-level players. APB is a classic example of this. Incoming “baby” players experience nothing but defeat as veterans tear them apart. Despite claiming that a special “threat” system would create “fair” matches, the actual system completely failed. Vastly unequal matches were commonplace in APB. This resulted in no positive word-of-mouth encouraging games to try APB. Instead, discouraged novices spread “bad vibes,” in the form of complaints about everything from real culprits (such as the matchmaking system) to irrelevant issues (a lack of “realistic” gun recoil).

I recommend reading the full post on MMOtidbits, as it not only details the failures of the game but also looks at possible solutions that Realtime Worlds could have considered.


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