Auto Assault was a massively multiplayer online game (or MMOG), developed by NetDevil and published by NCSOFT. It combined vehicular combat with role-playing elements, allowing the player to explore a post-apocalyptic future in customizable cars, motorcycles, semis, and tanks. It took inspiration, in part, from the Mad Max series of films.
Players could choose to play as one of three fictional factions—Humans, Mutants, and Biomeks—as well as a class to determine the type of character they would play. The majority of the gameplay took place in a vehicle, but the player could leave the vehicle when entering towns in order to purchase items, talk to contacts, etc.
The game servers were shut down on August 31, 2007, and players were no longer billed. NetDevil issued a statement shortly after the shutdown news, citing an agreement with NCsoft to buy out the IP rights was not reached.
After years of widescale open war between three factions—Humans, mutants, and the human-created Biomeks—the issues between the groups are largely pacified on the worldwide scale, but conflict between the three remain with small scale battles involving armored cars, trucks, motorcycles, semis and tanks armed with advanced weaponry. This is the fictional, futuristic world the player starts and plays the game in.
In 2030, alien craft drop strange terraforming pods onto Earth's surface that release killer contaminations across the world. The contaminations, if not fatal, cause mutations in some humans on Earth.
The resulting mutants are considered a plague and are herded into internment camps, however some mutants escape and form plans for revenge, causing open war. To fight this, the world's governments unite to battle them. These governments create biomechanical soldiers—immune to mutation—known as Biomeks that get mental and physical enhancements.
Facing defeat, the humans nuke the world as part of a total purge program. Elite humans are saved, but the rest of humanity is apparently destroyed. Even the biomeks were left on the surface to be obliterated by the cleansing.
The humans live underground for a period of nearly eight hundred years, continuing to advance their harnessed alien technology, developing powerful energy shielding, among other advancements. All the while, they never know that the cleansing almost totally failed. On the surface, small numbers of mutants, biomeks, as well as groups of scavengers and gangs, and even mutated forms of plant and animal life, grew and thrived on the remains of the old world.
Because of this failure, the humans who assumed the world would be clean instead still found Biomeks and mutants on the surface. Open war occurs, but it is pacified over time.
Thus, conflict between the three groups is reduced to small scale battles involving armored cars, trucks, motorcycles, semis and even tanks, armed to the teeth with advanced weaponry. This is the world the player enters and how the game starts.
The game takes place in the 23rd century, after the sterilization attempt that left the Earth in ruins. Players play as either one of a new generation of Mutants, a BioMek or one of the newly emerging Humans. Players fight in their race's area of control against Non-playable characters (or NPCs) and eventually reach Ground Zero, or GZ. There, they can either fight against NPCs or Players in two different "layers" known as instances. One "layer" is the PvP layer, in which the player can go and fight against players of opposing races. The other "layer" is controlled by the faction you belong to. It is the non-PvP layer in which usually players complete their quests from GZ in. The PvP elements of the game are not available in this layer, since only other members of your faction are there. All NPC enemies are in both layers. The game centers on 3rd person vehicular combat using state of the art weapons to combat foes.
Auto Assault takes place in two settings; towns and the outside world. The town is experienced by moving the player's customized character around, interacting with NPCs, other players, and environmental objects. Upgrades and vehicles can be bought here. When the player chooses to exit the city he/she is in, they are taken to the outside world, where they traverse the terrain in heavily armed vehicles. Combat is reminiscent of a third person shooter game, with movement, aiming and firing being done in real time with the keyboard and mouse. There are also character skills, which activate special abilities.
Auto Assault differs from other MMORPGs as it doesn't have a Death Penalty and the player can die without consequence.
The three playable factions each have distinct racial advantages and are separated into four classes unique to each faction.
Descendants of modern humans are meticulous in fending off mutation. Through the use of genetic engineering and subverted alien technology, they have staved off contamination while enhancing their strength, eyesight, agility, and mental powers. They view Mutants and Biomeks as vile perverts to the pure Human race and seek to eliminate them.
Mutants are those descended from the first people affected by the alien contamination. They see their mutation as divine intervention, and revere the change with religious zeal. They consider Humans in utter contempt for their past oppression of the Mutants and hold Biomeks to be inherently evil.
Biomeks are biological beings who have used technology to enhance their abilities, including cybernetic, prosthetic body parts. They hate Humans for their betrayal during the apocalyptic strike and see Mutants as dangerous religious fanatics.
Due to lack of subscribers, a decision was made to terminate support for the product. This was communicated by the company on the Public Forums one month prior to shutting down. On July 2, 2007, it was officially announced that Auto Assault's servers would be shut down August 31 and that the subscribers' accounts would be 'reconciled'. Offers to continue to run servers by various parties were denied, but additional “Parting Gifts” were sent via e-mail with, "...opportunities to take a part in some of our other products, including Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa and City of Heroes..."