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).
— Romain Amiel (@RomainAmiel) March 2, 2017
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.