APB Beginner’s Guide: Levels

If you’ve played either the Crim or Enforcer Tutorial, you know it’s pretty lacking – you run around and learn what different things the ‘F’ button gets to do, and that’s it. Many of the neatest things – along with some of the most critical information – is completely left out of the Tutorial. This guide is the first step in an attempt to rectify that.

Leveling & Unlocks

There isn’t much in the way of classic ‘levels’ in APB, but there are several hierarchies that you can level through – some on a per-session basis, and some permanently for your character.

This guide heavily draws on character information you can find on your “Character Info” screen, by default brought with the ‘J’ button. Familiarize yourself with this screen – it has alot of good information in it!

Your Character Info Screen.

Threat Level

First off, there is your Threat Level. Your Threat Level is a measure of how ‘good’ a player you are, determined by your total win-loss record. This goes up with more kills and mission victories, and goes down if you lose and die alot. Threat Level does not modify rewards; its only bearing is on the auto-matchmaking system, and to let other players know your relative skill level. The Threat Level is responsible for the rank images you see beside players’ names; your own Threat Level is shown beside your name in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, and by the symbol in the upper left-hand corner of your
Character Info->Character Tab. There are 15 Threat Levels in total, depicted through a rather unintuitive progression of symbols. The best chart I’ve seen is from Phader of the SPPD; I’ve included his chart below.

From Phader, of the San Paro Police Department Clan.


The next measure of your character is your Prestige/Notoriety. This is measured by the vertical bar gauge and the five stars in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Based on your actions, this goes up and down over the course of your play session; Criminals gain Notoriety by committing crime and killing, Enforcers by fighting crime and killing criminals. As you’ve no doubt repeatedly been told, Enforcers lose Prestige when they run over pedestrians!

The higher your P/N, the better the rewards you receive on missions – but the more likely back-up is to be called against you. At the maximum level of P/N 5, your become visible on everyone’s map and minimap, a bounty is placed on your head, and you’re fair game for anyone to kill. That said, you gain the ability to fire back; this means an Enforcer at Prestige 5 can suddenly kill any Criminal in the instance, and a Criminal can go trigger happy on everyone. Criminals can kill Notoriety 5 Criminals and claim the bounty, but Enforcers who kill other Enforcers are heavily penalized.


Next is your player Rating – this is the number beside the capital “R” on you Character Info screen. Rating is the closet thing to a ‘real’ leveling system in APB; it is theoretically a measure of how far you’ve progressed in the game. Your Rating goes up with pretty much anything you do – gaining standing with mission givers, unlocking achievements, advancing roles, you name it. Rating is important because it determines what sort of weapons and equipment you can use. This is almost never a problem, as by the time you’ve unlocked the other requirements for a weapons (faction standing, for instance), your Rating is much higher. That said, check the Rating of an item before buying it off of the Marketplace – you could accidently buy better gear than you can equip, especially if you’ve just started a low-level toon!


Last but not least, there’s Organization/Contact Rank. This is increased by running missions; win or lose, you’ll increase your standing with the Contact that gave you the mission, and the Organization that contact works for.  You also increase organizational rank by doing things like returning stolen cars/ dropping off stolen goods, or killing members of the opposite side. Enforcer’s arrests net more money and rank increase than a straight up kill, but they’re also more effort and more prone to going terribly wrong.

My Progression page, looking my my standing ranks - specifically, my standing with Praetorian contacts.

One of the immediate perks of rank are the weapon unlocks you achieve. Every other rank, and sometimes every rank, you gain the ability to purchase a new primary and secondary weapon. Furthermore, other weapons can be unlocked from specific contacts. For instance, I was able to purchase the Less Than Lethal Stabba – CCG from any Praetorian vendor after achieving a personal contact rank of 3 with Ty Durrant. Also, when you max out a contact – and sometimes at 50% rank, too – they’ll mail you an upgraded weapon. Pretty sweet deal, all things said.

Unfortunately, it can be pretty hit or miss knowing which things you can unlock. There’s a fledgling guide here, but there still lots of questions to be answered – like I didn’t know I could get the LTL Stabba from Ty Durrant till it was available. Go figure.


But that’s not the end of it, not exactly. Additional items are unlocked through completing Achievements and leveling up Roles.

The idea of Achievements is very straight forward – fulfill the requirements of the achievement (multiple times, if necessary) and you’ll unlock it. Unfortunately, it isn’t exactly clear how many times you have to perform some actions.


Not significantly different are Roles, which in practice are like ranked Achievements acquired through normal game actions; Criminals and Enforcers have different Roles. Many equipment unlocks – and most of the LTL weaponry – are dependent on the rank of one of your roles.


However, the naming conventions of Roles are a little more complicated than they should be – for instance, in the above example, the “Reinforcement” role unlocks the “Wingman” rank. This is really confusing for players who have yet to achieve a level in a specific role. For instance, I don’t know what rank the “Munitions Specialist” provides, because I’ve yet to level it once – just haven’t dropped those resupplies enough!


So that’s it. There are alot of different ways to progress through the game, and unlocks are dependent on sometimes clear, sometimes hidden requirements. Players are bit by bit figuring out what items require what prerequisites, but many items are still an unknown. In the mean time, go out, experiment, and have fun.

41 thoughts on “APB Beginner’s Guide: Levels

    • I’m glad you liked it and found it useful! I’ve got a few other ideas for guides – anything in particular you’d like to see?

        • Aren’t we all, man! The unlock system is confusing at best. The weapons that you can see at vendors are pretty clear (it takes X rank with Y faction), as is the equipment (X rank in Y Role). But some weapons and equipment don’t show up till you’ve unlocked them (strange, huh?), and the clothes and car part info screens are completely useless. Yes, I know it’s still locked, what do I do to fix that?

    • Thanks so much for this guide. With a game as dependent on player created content to create interest, guides like this are a step in the right direction towards carving out an enjoyable apb niche community.

      I would love to see more information on how car unlocks work.

      • I really hope APB has a long, prosperous life, so if this helps that along any – awesome times.

  1. its a shame this game will die, i happily enjoyed being part of the beta test team however.

    MILKSHAKE ❤ – Best Enforcer Clan.

    • On a timeline of sufficient length, all games die. In the here and now, I’m really enjoying APB.

      As for Milkshake being the best Enforcer clan – I don’t know, man. SPPD and their auxiliary group are pretty alright. (For the purposes of full disclosure, I just entered the SPPD Auxiliary clan.)

    • Thanks for that! I wouldn’t doubt that the Enforcer’s Role has a slightly different name (Weapons Vendor? Supplier?), but if I find out its the same, I’ll edit my post and cite you as the source!

      • I think the Enforcer version is called Munition Specialist or something very similar.

        Great guide, but I thought your threat level, and not your prestige/notoriety, determined whether you can get backup or not. That’s how it’s worked for me, atleast.

        I usually stay at Prestige 4-5 (hai, suicide-nade) and 10-11 threat level, and I can only call backup when the enemies are higher threat level than me. Their notoriety seems irrelevant.

          • True, that. Haven’t played Criminal much, so that didn’t cross my mind.

            Still, I think you should mention under Threat Level that it’s what determines what options are available when it comes to backup.

            Other than that; Again, great guide. 🙂

  2. Often times my clan-mates ask me to buy them upgrades or weapons that they have not yet unlocked. Previously I had no problem with this until now where they “run out of stock”. Thus, I am not wary of buying anyone anything. Not sure how you know when it will go out or come back in stock.

    • It seems that players are limited to a certain number of weapon and clothing purchases a day – 100 pieces of headware, 5 semi-auto rifles, etc. You can see how many you have left in the bottom of the Contact->Buy screen, as seen here (right of the “Locker” button). This was probably implemented to prevent exactly what you (and I) would love to do – buy lots of things for our friends, or sell them on the Marketplace to people who haven’t unlocked them yet. A limit is actually a really smart way of ensuring that the market isn’t flooded with hard-to-unlock items.

  3. You say you unlocked the Ntec at lvl 13 Preatorians. It is actually unlocked at level 6 Prentis Tigers. You probably got to level 6 Prentis but didn’t notice you unlocked it.

    • You’re right, of course. I knew that the N-Tek unlocked at Rank 6 with the Prentiss Tigers/Blood Roses, but after I hit Rank 6 with them, I hit Rank 13 with the Praetorians. And then the first contact I subsequently visited was a Praetorian. Mistakenly thinking that the reps of each faction sold different materiel, I assumed that the N-Tek could be unlocked later with the Praetorians.

      Edited to reflect this.

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    • As much as I think the cars in this game are cool, I know next to nothing about them. It doesn’t help that I have my awesome pre-order C.S.A ride; it won’t be a while till I can make something cooler than that, so I’m not really inclined to get in the chop shop business yet.

    • It wasn’t till I sat down to write this that I realized it was so complicated! And here people said APB was shallow!

  5. Nice guide, cleared alot of things that had me going crazy 😛

    Just a quick question, you didnt tell us what is the use of leveling the Roles.. is it only the cash and rating or is there something else?

    • Roles seems most significant for equipment unlocks – the devices that make certain ‘F’-bound actions go faster. Also, Enforcer Less-Than-Lethal weapons are heavily dependent on your Vigilante/Defender rank.

  6. Really, Really Useful guide – thank you!

    I was looking everywhere for a list of threat level ‘badges’ so I can pick and choose my fights fairly

    • Glad to be of service, though all I really did was copy the SPPD’s image. Until I saw that, I was basically running on the (pretty accurate) assumption that if I hadn’t seen the badge before, it probably meant I was going to die.

  7. Munitions Specialist is leveled when you use the field supply, and when you or your teammates replenish ammo from it.
    I cant remember how many times you need to use it for level 1. Field supply is a very neat tool, especially when youre inside a mission and need a quick weaponswitch or ammo.

    • Field Supply is thebomb.com; getting two more grenades during an intense fire fight has tipped the scales in my team’s favor more than once. Also nice is the Mobile Supply Unit upgrade for cars, especially because it doesn’t have a cooldown timer.

      I knew that using a FS/MSU was necessary to level Munitions Specialist, but 1) I didn’t know how often one has to do it, and 2) none of the weapons or equipment seem to be dependent on the “Arms Dealer” role. You almost certainly unlock primitives with the role, but I don’t know what else.

  8. Hmm, maybe a guide to various weapons and how to unlock them? But don’t worry about me, add anything you’d like, I’ve subscribed and told some of my friends about this blog.

  9. Hi
    Can you explain me the all thing about the payment? Whan i need to pay? And on what i need to pay?
    I ask it because i need to get the game in this week.

    Thank you
    Shlomi vermus

    • So, you buy the game. The game comes with 50 hours of Action District play time; time spent in the social zones is ‘free’, and doesn’t count against that.

      You buy more time with RTW Points. There’s a very good chance that you’ll simply buy RTW points from RTW directly, then use them to buy 20 more hours, or to get unlimited playtime for 30/60/180 days. However, you can sell items you’ve made in the Social District to other players for RTW Points (just like EVE’s PLEX), meaning you can ostensibly play the game for free, or at least at a reduced rate.

  10. Awesome guide. Consider your site bookmarked as my apb resource.

    I would love to see this guide roleplayed as well, maybe compile it into some sort of “100 things to do in San Paro before you die” or “Sights and Sounds of San Paro” tourguide. I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff, and it makes roleplaying this game so much more fun ;).

    • hahah, a role-played guy would really neat! Unfortunately, I try to write the kind of guides that I like to read – clear and concise. For beginning guides like this, I think I’d annoy more than enlighten.

      An RPed ‘100 Things To Do’ list would be really sweet, though.

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  12. FYI, I am pretty sure that there are some items that are unlocked via Threat level. When I hit Threat 7 the other night, I also hit 4 with the Praetorians, and one of the things that unlocked was new vehicles and new vehicle parts. I don’t think that came from the Praetorians ranking (though I could be wrong).

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