I’ve played this game since before Patch 10 came around (don’t get me started on that) and even after going through all the downgrades and everything, I was actually thinking about buying some AP at some point. Not a whole truckload of them but just to support the game with my 2 cents (or pennies in Britain) because I really liked S4 (and I still do). 3+ years later, I still have yet to spend a single coin from my wallet on this game.
What stopped me from buying AP? You get unique SETs and more PEN and (especially) the AP STATS. The +12% shirt, the +11% Force Pack, etc. but those were one of the reasons why I didn’t buy AP. And here are the rest:
1. The sheer unbalance in gameplay.
In any online games, there are many benefits that come with paying money to them. Cash items are usually better in terms of looks, power and items. And I believe it should be like that… but not for a PVP game. I’m fine with getting more ‘style’. I’m fine with getting more PEN or EXP or something. What I wasn’t fine with was getting higher stats. It was ridiculous, seeing the difference in power between PEN and AP. After S4 started releasing much more powerful AP gear, I was starting to die a lot faster and a lot easier than I could possibly imagine. “How did that guy kill me in 2 shots?” “When did my HP get so low?” “Since when did I start to feel so vulnerable?” The entire gameplay in general just became a lot more difficult… and a lot less enjoyable.
Now don’t get me wrong here: I like fighting better and more diverse opponents. Skill can be learned by experiencing and observing. But AP was different. It didn’t matter whether I observed them or not. There simply was no counter to AP. I still got better but it wasn’t in the way I wanted to. The competitiveness in S4 became a joke to me. Skill still played a part but now it was also more about the gear. This disgusted me.
These days, I play a mix of Unlimited and SO mode but when I play Unlimited, I only play in DM, Captain and Siege as a healer because that was the most effective way for me to help the team without getting into fights. I avoided fights as much as possible and when I did fight, I mainly wallshoot, fight a nearly dead guy or use a melee because I had to get out of the fight without getting hit even once. Wallshooting gave me cover, a nearly dead guy became a dead guy before being able to put a bullet on me and melee weapons prevented people from shooting me while I was hitting them. This method proved to be effective but it always left me with a slight feeling of nostalgia when I use to be the one attacking head on. It was when I didn’t have to worry about getting killed in 2 hits or 2 seconds.
(I’m sure Harakiry would say “get a SHIELD” but I like to save PEN and use the permanent skills I’ve got from Pre-Patch 10 and HP+15).
SO was different. They still killed me in 2 hits (even in 1 hit actually) but I was able to win fights without even getting hurt at all a lot easier. AP didn’t decrease delays. AP didn’t let you ignore hits. It increased movement speed but I got used to that very quickly. The simplest way to explain would be: no matter how strong their attacks were, as long as they couldn’t hit me, it was the same whether they had AP or not. And unlike in gun fights, they couldn’t hurt me while I was hurting them (ha).
In short, I didn’t want to make others feel the unbalance of AP. Using what I deem to be clearly OP AND not accessible to all wasn’t my thing.
2. The ‘style’
This one doesn’t require as much explanation since it’s simple. I didn’t like the looks. Most of the AP SETs, in my most honest opinion, looked crap even by my standards. The FP weapons didn’t look too bad but getting them for the looks was obviously not worth it. When I play games, I play games mainly for the gameplay. Other things such as looks, graphic, story are different matters.
You may ask: “If you really want to support the game, you could just buy AP and not use it on G-Caps for stats”. But, if I bought AP right now, I would be approving their current scheme of selling OP SETs. I would be saying “I can see the game is unbalanced but it’s alright! Because now I’m at the powerful side so there is no problem with the game at all!” and it would be going against everything I stand for (not that means much to anyone).
These are the reasons why I didn’t buy AP and why I don’t intend to buy AP in the future until a solution comes around but I honestly can’t see that happening. Please do note that I am not insulting the AP players but rather the developers for making an unbalanced cash shop. In a competitive game, there shouldn’t even be more powerful stats in the first place since it’s a test of skill but that’s just how I feel. I wonder if there is anyone who feels the same, AP buyer or not.