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Secret World Legends. What You Need to Know: Updated

We knew something big was coming. It’s been on the cards for quite some time. But even with rumours reaching fever pitch this caught most people by surprise. Yesterday Funcom announced a brand new game called Secret World: Legends.

So what exactly is it and how is it different from The Secret World? To start with the new game is Free to Play (unlike TSW which is Buy to Play). A bold move on Funcom’s part given the success of their previous attempts at F2P. All story content will be free (including future story content) and it will have a brand new subscription model. There has also been a complete overhaul of the combat system as well as the character creation and the overall look of the game. There’s more but we’ll look at that as we break it down.

 

Going Free to Play

For many people this part didn’t come as a shock. The quarterly report hinted at it when it talked about “adjustments to the business model”. How exactly will it work though? Secret World: Legends will be free for everyone when when it launches and all story content (existing and future) will be open to all. Currently there isn’t any detail about what you will get as a F2P player or as a Patron. At first Tokyo and Nightmare Raids won’t be unlocked but will be opened up shortly after launch.

 

Shiny New Aurum

New to Secret World: Legends is a currency called Aurum. This is used to buy items and service in-game (most likely in-store). Unlike Funcom points or Bonus points they can be traded with other players in-game (similar to Credits in Rift).

New Subscriber System

Once again the Subscriber model has been adjusted. This time you’ll be given additional convenience items, extra features (although there was nothing to specify what features were included) and in-game bonuses. You’ll also now have a Patron Level. This increases with every month you’re subscribed or with every purchase of Aurum you make. Each rank will come with additional bonuses. In addition players coming over from TSW will all receive bonuses (currently exactly what hasn’t been decided) as long as they link their account to the new game.

New Game New Approach

The new game brings changes to combat (so big that characters can not be carried over), systems are now easier to interact with, the appearance of the game has been improved and the flow of quests has been made more smooth. Not only that but there has also been work done on the tutorials but combat is now done through reticule mode (not the current incarnation in TSW but a system designed from the ground up). While the story content and other missions doesn’t appear to have been altered significantly, early indications are that they are more accessible and possibly group friendly.

Existing TSW players will gain access to all weapons when the game launches but for new players they will only have access to two weapons and will need to purchase further weapon “pages” in order to unlock the full range of skills that are available.

The Future of The Secret World

This has been one of the biggest areas of concerns for existing players. Due to the scale of the changes, characters cannot be carried over and players will be required to create a new character. You’ll be able to reserve your TSW character name as long as your character has been active within the last six months. You can only reserve character names for the characters you own so you don’t have to worry about other players stealing your name. There will be more details on how to do this closer to launch.

Existing subscribers and Grandmasters will be able to transfer their subscription to the new game, with any Funcom Points being turned into the new currency. Grandmasters will continue to be Patrons in Secret World: Legends. It’s worth noting that existing Bonus Points from The Secret World will not transfer over.

Clothing and other vanity items are a big part of TSW and needless to say people who have invested a large amount of money in the Item Store have been concerned about what will happen to their stuff in the new game. The good news is that as long as you have linked your account then you’ll be able to transfer clothing and vanity items . Currently the aim is to have Item Store purchases, Subscriber Items (Item of the Month etc) and one time items like ARG and promotional clothing available. For the most part weapons will transfer due to the changes.

If you find that you’re have a hankering for TSW you will be pleased to know that the old servers are still going to be active. In fact you can play both games as they are separate installations. Knowing that the old servers aren’t going anywhere does take some of the pressure off.

When?

That is the million dollar question. As it currently stands there hasn’t been a fixed release date (although it has been revealed that there is a date in mind). There is a sign up for the closed beta at www.secretworldlegends.com Beta’s are notoriously tricky when it comes to pinning down a date. However the fact that it’s in Closed Beta suggests it’s not too far away.

We’ve covered the basics here. We’ll be taking a look at what we think about it in a separate article soon™. Let us know what you think of the new game and how it affects you in the comments below.

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What We’d Like to See From the “Big Update” Part Two

Previously I started looking at things I’d like to see changed when the “Big Update” hits The Secret World. It was a pretty long list so I decided to split it into two articles. You can find the first part here. Again this is stuff I’d like to see changed. Sadly I don’t have a clue what the team at Funcom are actually getting up to. With that said, let’s get down to business

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AEGIS

Many people would like to see this wiped out. Personally I don’t. It adds a new layer to Tokyo. The problem with AEGIS is that the grind is too harsh and puts many people off. Getting to 2.0 is a huge challenge and requires a silly amount of time investment that really doesn’t feel like much of a pay off. Increasing it beyond that requires dungeons (which isn’t fair on those players who don’t really dungeon but want to achieve the best gear). Making AEGIS less of a grind and opening it up to all by removing the dungeon requirement to get upgrade kits would go a long way to making things easier. Another way of improving the system would be to add AutoAEGIS as standard. It’s an add-on that most players use now so incorporating it into the game would also make sense.

Story

It’s been awhile since we were told to hide and wait further orders. So long in fact that even the people chasing us have got bored and decided that a trip to the pub is probably more fun than getting killed. TSW is great at story. It’s one of its defining features. Unfortunately since the conclusion of issue 11 the main story seems to be on hold and needless to say players are starting to get impatient. Issue 12 was Tokyo Dungeons, 13 was a few additional missions that fleshed out the Tokyo playfield and 14 saw a great story in Egypt but not one that progressed the player development. Issue 15 was… yeah, moving on. To keep people from getting bored there needs to be something and fairly soon. As mentioned in the article looking at what we do know about the changes, it’s unlikely that any story content will come with the update itself. Ironing out any bugs and allowing players the chance to adapt to any new changes that are introduced makes sense, however progressing the main story needs to be at the front of the developer’s mind post update.

 

Scenarios

I’m one of those odd people who love Scenarios. Once you’ve got the patterns down they can be almost therapeutic. The Augments can be quite useful too. However the fact the there is only one type of Scenario (I don’t count Shambala) does mean for many that it can become very repetitive. Also, unlike most missions and dungeons, the Scenario lockout timers were not changed when the New Player Experience was rolled out meaning you have to wait at least 12 hours before you can complete a Scenario again. I would like to see further scenario types introduced, the lockout timer changed (brought into line with missions for preference) and the system for creating Augments adapted. I understand that it was originally intended as a way of getting rid of all the excess materials that were floating around the game however it does make it very difficult to craft many of the Augments. Even with large number of materials I have (I break everything I get my hands on) I still have about 20 Augments I can’t create due to lack of materials. Recently Augments have been added to Golem’s loot tables which is good but until more Scenarios are added it would be nice to see them made available in other methods.

 

Events

Currently we have scheduled events that every MMO does (Valentines, Halloween etc), the Anniversary and the Golden Weekends. While these are good it would be nice to see more frequently scheduled events. For example one weekend could be a Scenario weekend with a free Scenario Cooldown available from the Store (yes they still exist) and double AP when participating. The following weekend could be a PvP weekend which would see double rewards for each match you participate in (or in Fusang for each mission you complete). How about a Dungeon Weekend where you get double AP and a guaranteed Museum drop? Of course using existing content seems like a bit of a get out. I would also like to see something like a week long event once a month that requires a total amount of X monsters to be killed by the community or at the very least a new set of golems (or event bosses) that could drop special loot. The idea is to give players a reason to drop in even if they have completed the main story aspects.

 

An End to RNG Bags/Event Lore

It’s no secret that I hate RNG bags. Sadly the game does have to make money and the RNG bags seem to be one of the biggest sources of income so they aren’t going anywhere soon. Even I buy at least one party bag when a new one comes out and that’s because I want the new dance emote. Therein lies the problem. If you have many characters (I have five in total) the emotes are bound by character and I am not going to be buying a party bag per toon. Items like pets, sprints or emotes should be account wide. I’m all for making money but expecting players to buy multiple bags is not really on. Another issue with the bags is the fact that they contain so much filler. When you buy a party bag there is no guarantee that you will get anything better then a green item and whatever filler is in that bag. Cut down on the fillers and adjust the tables so that players who open the party bags are guaranteed at least one purple or above and one blue or above. No green or white items. After all they paid money and it is so frustrating when other players in the area are getting Gold items from the bag you just opened.

As for RNG lore (like we saw in the last Halloween event) that is just not a wise idea at all. Lore is important to most players in TSW. Despite grinding the bosses in the Halloween event once people had figured out how to create empowered versions of the bosses there was almost no chance of getting the earlier lore. RNG lore should be a no no.
I’ve covered a lot in this and there’s probably more I could add. Don’t forget this is what I’d like to see in the update and not what will be there. What would you like to see in the Big Update? Let us know in the comments below.

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What We’d Like to See From the “Big Update” Part One

We all know big change is on the horizon. We don’t know much about it but we know it’s coming. Recently we looked at the small amount we do know (you can read the full article here) but over the next week I thought I’d take a look at some of the things we’d like to see added, or taken away, from the big update. This is for fun and sadly I’m none the wiser then you are about what’s going on at Funcom HQ.

Hairstyles and Other Body Features

For a while now we’ve been teased with new hairstyles. In fact many of the characters in Tokyo are sporting some pretty nifty hairdos. We’ve been told that they have been in the works but so far there has been no sign. Right now there isn’t a huge choice in terms of long hair for men (unless you like the mad scientist look) and many of the women’s styles feel dated. An overhaul of the hairstyles would be a welcome addition. Not to mention the promised Tattoos. RPwise my character has a ton of tatts, unfortunately I’m not able to replicate that in-game. Back around launch there was a tattoo store promised but the team working on it was disbanded when there was a huge reshuffle. In fact there is a building in Seoul that is prepared for that purpose. It would also be nice to have a wider choice of appearances to chose from. I’m not asking for a dong slider (after all I don’t plan on running around naked) but being able to make your character stand out a little from all the other bees would be nice.

 

 

The Veteran Store

Back when the game went Buy to Play the subscription model changed. Subscribers were given an Item of the Month as well as Veteran Points to spend in a special section of the store. Generally it contained reskinned versions of the IotM as well as convenience items or weapon skins. When the new subscription model came into effect last year the Veteran Points were discontinued but the store was still accessible to players who had them. The problem is that there are a lot of items that people would very much like to have (the reconstructor being one such item) and many have even expressed an interest in paying for them. Even though I still have over 100 VPs available I would like to see the items in that section of the store opened up to other players and the system scrapped. The points aren’t being spent because people are holding onto them in the hope they’ll get something else. As that clearly isn’t happening it makes sense to make some money from these items.

 

The Chat System

The chat system has been an issue for TSW since launch. It is clunky and difficult to navigate for new users (even veterans still find it a bit of a hassle). Not only that it feels dated. It badly needs a new chat system putting in place with new commands that can be accessed from the chat window (with the increase of Pax sellers a report feature would be useful as it would save GMs the time of having to answer each petition). Around launch there were attempts to alter the chat system but it led to players not being able to talk to each other and was quickly reverted and never touched again.

 

Combat

Personally, I enjoy the combat in TSW. The ability to swap roles on the fly as well as craft entirely new builds is a great feature of the game. For me the issue with combat is that not all skills feel equal. For example some elite abilities often feel like they do as much damage as a builder. Some consumers just seem to lack the punch that you’d expect. Numbers wise all skills may be equal in terms of their tier but in terms of how they look and feel there can be a huge difference. I would like to see a change to the overall appearance of the combat so that each builder, consumer and elite has the same weight and feel as the next one.

 

Free Content vs Paid Content

The latest quarterly report made it clear that Funcom intended to make the main story content free to all players. This is a good idea. Although there needs to be a way to encourage players to play through the other missions in the areas. There is a tendency to try to get to the end as quickly as possible but if you do that with TSW that can lead to frustration and missing out on huge chunks of backstory. Implementing some kind of zone specific challenge, like complete 10 missions for Kingsmouth locals to make sure that players don’t rush could be one way of achieving this.

There’s quite a few things left on my wish list but you’ll need to wait until next week to find out what they are. In the meantime feel free to speculate amongst yourselves in the comments section below about what you’d like to see in the Big Update.

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A New Challenger Enters

For some time Andy (Odonoptera) has been working hard at Funcom covering all the bases. If you play any of their other games then there’s a good chance you’ll have seen him responding to feedback from the various communities in one shape or another. Well thankfully he is no longer alone.

Recently he was joined by Jens over on the Conan Exiles team and now The Secret World is also getting some love with a new Community Manager. In fact the name might sound familiar if you’ve ever sent in a petition. Our new Community Manager is the one and only Nicole “Spynosaur” Vayo. She’s been working for the company for about two and half years dealing with our petitions as a GM (if you’re anything like Kle then there have been many petitions) and she is fully aware of the myriad of ways we can break the game.

She’s not the first GM to get the Community Manager role though. Andy also got promoted to CM after dealing with our complaints for quite some time.

Before you start to panic, Andy isn’t going anywhere. Before Tomium ended up working alone there used to be at least two people doing the job and with extra games being added it makes sense that the number of people engaging with the community should increase. This is actually a sign that Funcom is wanting to do more with community and are choosing people we are familiar with to make it easier all round.

We hope Spynosaur does well in her new role and helps to give the game and forums a fresh burst of life.

You can find her over on Twitter @Spynosaur as well as on the Official Secret World Forums here.

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We Take a Look at the Changes to The Secret World

Let’s be honest. Quarterly reports are the biggest chore avoided by almost everyone. However when it comes to Funcom, players have taken to looking at them for clues about upcoming content.

In quarter three there were hints at changes coming to The Secret World. This latest quarterly report confirmed that and gave some more information about what the future held for the game.

But the big question is what do we actually know? Well despite the report, details are still quite sparse. We do know that there will be significant changes to the base game including free access to story content (previously locked behind DLC). Changes to the combat system seem to be incoming (something which many people have complained about when first starting the game) as well as a redesigned New Player Experience (with easier to understand tutorials covering the basics that are often missed). There will also be an overhaul of the way players are rewarded for playing including daily login bonuses.

In terms of new story content the report was very quiet. As far as we can tell it appears that the overhaul to the game will take priority to new content. Needless to say this has many people worried about how the game will progress going forward. However we can only wait until we hear more from Funcom. It’s worth noting that Funcom has put out a call for a number of staff “across a number of projects” and the report mentions increasing the total amount of staff further. Hopefully this will allow for more resources to be spread across games.

So let’s take a look at things in more detail.

 

Free Access to Story Content

On the face of it this may seem crazy, after all how are they supposed to make money. But when you think about it what The Secret World excels at is it’s story. Having the Tokyo storyline locked behind payed content doesn’t make much sense as it means players can’t find out how the story concludes. Allowing players to access that will allow for a more inclusive community.

However don’t worry about people suddenly ignoring the other content and rushing to Tokyo. From experience if you only rush through the main story and try to get to the conclusion you’ll find that you’re in for a tough time. The question is what “story content” will be included for free? Will it include DLC like Last Train to Cairo or The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn? Will all Scenarios become open to all? Unfortunately until we get more information we’ll have to wait and see.

Changes to the Combat System and New Player Experience

One of the issues that has always plagued TSW is the combat. While I personally enjoy the combat and the ability to swap roles on the fly, it can be confusing for new players. Often they miss out on some of the finer details (dodging, using passives from other skills etc).

Most of the complaints (even the ones where a player finds the combat is too simple) stem from not realising that there is actually more depth to the system then a simple glance gives away. The New Player Experience a while ago went some way to making things a little easier but it did miss out on giving players details of some of the more bespoke aspects of the system (focusing mainly on combat damage and enemy rebalancing). Hopefully the update will see an overhaul to the tutorials (with an option to disable them if you want to) as well as some aesthetic changes to the combat (so that each weapon feels like it has the same impact even if it is a purely visual or audio change)

Daily Login Rewards

These are often seen in MMOs. The more you log in the better the reward. The main aim of this system is to get people to log in even if it’s just for the shiny items with the possibility of them remaining in game (maybe enticed by the daily missions or the chances of playing with friends). The big question is what rewards can be offered to entice players? Pax has very little use now (repairs, buying the occasional museum item), AP and SP may be good for newer players but would not mean much for players at end game and weapons and Talismans would need to be of a high enough quality to entice people to log in. How they balance the rewards and whether they go for the calendar approach (you get a month and build up as many days as you can during the month with no penalty for missing a day) or the daily login approach (miss a day and you have to start from the beginning) will affect how people take to this system.

Overall these changes (from the little we have to go on) appear to be good and also cover things that many players have asked for time and time again. The apparent lack of new story content is unfortunate but it does make sense to get the big change out of the way and iron out any bugs that it may have before releasing story. It will also give players a chance to adjust to the changes and allow the developers time to factor in anything that may impact future content.

So what are your thoughts? Is there something that you’d like to see added to the big update or are you happy with the current state of the game? Let us know in the comments below.

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