I did not play the game. I only read the info on it, watched trailer, etc. and from what i saw i would not have payed for it either. Only PvP? I love some PvP and did my share in STO and other game but i would not pay or invest time in a game that only offer me that. For me and lots of other people, a game must have some flavor and some game maker seem to forget. Right now i am testing a new game (sorry NDA) and i hope they had some flavor to it because it will also go bye bye before a month.
APB really was a gem of a game, but that could be difficult to see when everything special about it got buried under a few key issues. And when it comes to those issues, most of them were the fault of two very different groups: Real Time Worlds (the developers) and the players themselves.
1) Hacking/aimbot cheats. Both parties were at fault here. RTW for their failure to do anything about the hacking in a timely manner, and the players themselves for abusing this game with their hacks in the first place. The excuse "the game should be less susceptible to hacking" is just that.. an excuse, and a poor one at that. Every player had the same opportunity to abuse the game with cheats; whether you did or not boiled down to your strength of character as a person. I'm not so weak willed as to cheat at (of all things) a computer game. Nor will you find me stealing money from the bank whenever everyone is distracted during a game of Monopoly. Honestly, the entire concept of cheating at a game is just sad and pathetic. And yet players did it in droves.
2) Exploiting. Again, both parties were at fault here. RTW (again) for failing to do anything about the exploits in a timely manner. While they claimed to be serious about exploiting, their actions in this area just didn't match their words. They were incredibly slow to lock them down, and while they threatened to ban exploiters from the game I saw no evidence of that happening on the scale that it should have.
And then, sadly, we also have the players to blame for abusing those exploits in the first place. Their actions directly damage the long term health of the game, but these players participated in the exploiting anyway, giving the proverbial finger to the rest of the community. In the end, it caused many honest players to leave in frustration and disgust (in a game that couldn't afford to lose many players to begin with).
3) Matchmaking. Once again, both parties failed here. The matchmaking system might have actually worked well if players hadn't purposely broke it by artificially lowering their in-game (threat) ratings. The end result was a matchmaking system that couldn't do its job correctly, and a game that was made completely unfriendly, unfair, and unappealing to new players (whom this game desperately needed) as a result.
Of course, RTW was guilty here as well. Because while the cause of the problem was obvious, RTW was (once again) too slow to react. This seemed to be a disturbing, running theme with them. I hope if developers learn one thing out of this, it's that they can't let major problems sit for months or even weeks at a time. Every day there are customers making the decision whether to stay or leave an MMO. Talking about fixing the problem only works with some players, and even then only for so long. At some point the developers actually have to show real progress on the problem or people will take their business elsewhere.
4) The community, the forums, and communications. I think RTW dropped the ball here when they decided to have two forums, one for North America and one for Europe. The European servers had a much more active developer presence. And that same presence was needed on the North American forums, but we didn't get it. It always seems like we ended up with the cliff notes version of any developer comment, and usually not even that. When I used the "Dev Tracker", I needed to see more than a half dozen comments a day, especially if a majority of them were some variation of "I'm locking this thread" or a completely canned response. I found myself often visiting the European forums to get the real news, where I saw the developers providing at least some useful information and insight about the game.
Players want to know that the developers are invested in their game, and a developer presence on the forum helps with that image in a big way. But, because we we're split into two forum communities, half of APB's playerbase rarely ever saw that presence. I don't necessarily think having two separate forums based on region is a bad idea, but it becomes one when your company doesn't have the resources or setup to correctly field both. And that seemed to be the case with APB in a big way.
Had those few (but important) issues been handled better (and had the marketing not failed so horribly), I believe APB would have been a much larger success. Complaints about weapon balance, car handling, instance ruleset, faction favoritism, technical problems.. those are arguments and issues that will always be around for someone no matter how much time is invested into solving them, in any game. But, the few issues above were the big "bang for the buck" areas that really didn't get the focus from the developers they deserved. Cheats, balanced matches, communication - these are basic, but far reaching concepts that needed to be working and working well. And between the failure to do so and the playerbase repeatedly shooting itself in the foot.. here we are today looking at a 5 year effort collapsing in just a handful of months. And now, when will we ever see a game like ABP, especially after this disaster? I doubt in my lifetime.
I got a little frustrated whenever I read news articles where the administration firm chalked up APB's problems to a "lackluster response". It left me wondering if they truly understood the problems with this game from the perspective of the playerbase. Lackluster response is another way of saying "nobody was interested in your concept", which wasn't true, and was certain to give potential buyers the wrong idea. I had hoped that, when faced with a chance to save the game, RTW would be able to properly communicate that there were only a few basic (but important, and correctable) issues keeping APB from truly shining.. but apparently they failed there as well (which is not too surprising when you consider the internal communication issues they were having as a company).
Well, now that the cat got out of the bag and that we know that RTW had extreme financial problems even months before launching the game ( employees fired, not getting paid, RTW bleeding millions of $ all around for over 5 years while not earning one single dollar... ) , it is NO WONDER that support for NA website, advertising, development and all was deficient.
One could say the game was on life support before it even launched. Add to that internal conflicts in between dev teams, publishers, programmers and lack of direction in general... It could explain why they were so slow to react to players that were cheating, exploiting. Maybe devs of this game were already in over their head and most of them probably very unsatisfied about what was going on. They probably knew they were launching an unpolished game and they probably even were aware that RTW was going down anyway so they probably didnt care and were already busy looking for another job....
Also add over all that the "pay per hour" system that is not very popular or common in NA/EU, add the fact that the game was made for a very narrow fringe of player ( pure PvP , manual aiming, furious pace, 21th century era gamesetting ), i doubt the concept was even viable from the start. I doubt they would ever have had a critical mass of players to pay back for litteraly over 5 years of development ( that was obviously terribly managed financially-speaking as it appears now ).