Downtown London

The short answer is LOTS!  I know many have enjoyed taking all sorts of shots at Funcom and TSW but along the way the TSW team has been able to put together a pretty solid (and profitable) product while putting out not only content updates but system updates too.

To recap, after a near flawless launch, many people complained about the lack of customization of the character models.  Sure enough, Issue 2 brought us more options and ways to change you appearance.  Also with this update came the rocket launcher which brings new options for combat.  Issue 3 was pretty calm with just quests and more content added and not just the high levels, every update has content for zones all across the world such that there’s always reasons to go back to other areas.

And then there’s the quickly approaching Issue 4 which not only addresses end-game content but those who have issues with their combat system.  Issue 4 not only brings us a story based raid in New York, but also a whole new option for combat.  If you don’t like tab-targeted combat you can chose to use the reticule for a more realistic system.  Mind you the combat system already is pretty dynamic with the ability to dodge and use skills while moving, but not quite a system like Tera (yet).

Oh and those poking fun at their PvP system and the lack of interaction between the societies?  Yeah, Joel’s interview touches on those too and based on what they’ve already shown they can do I expect to be seeing tangible changes soon enough.  They’ve also publically announced back end engine revamps to help with character animations.  How long have people been complaining about LOTRO’s animations without a change?

My final part I wanted to touch on is the whole quest system.  Some people claim quest hubs are dinosaurs that should’ve gone extinct with Everquest but they serve a real purpose in helping tell the story of what’s going on.  I don’t want to wander in somewhere and have something randomly pop up on my screen, I want to actually see the face of the person telling me to go do something.  Now what I do hate is quest turn-ins, and TSW has a cool lore appropriate way of doing that via an email report from your smart phone.  To me that’s the best of both worlds, I keep the story but gain the quality of life improvement of not having to return to get my loot.

That’s quite a bit of content for a game that’s only been out for three and a half months. I can’t think of any game that has put out that much content AND system changes as quickly as the Funcom team.  I can’t stress enough how impressive this is to not only include new content but big picture system changes too.  It does take time to test and polish content, but then each zone and region then has to be checked again for all the system wide changes.  This is exactly why you don’t see system changes all that often, but the TSW team has been rolling them out consistently.

As for my progress in the game, I’m incredibly hooked in the storylines.  I’m about half way through the Blue Mountain zone and I actually think it is my favorite since I feel like I’m getting deeper involved in what’s really going on.  There’s some really great quest lines in there and moments that have literally put me on the edge of my seat.  The whole secret society stuff isn’t blatantly obvious, but it is there and when it comes through it really gets you thinking.  I don’t want to spoil anything but I’d be very curious how the other faction rank missions work as well as the transition between the 2 storyline arcs work for the different factions.  I may have to poke around on Youtube for videos of the other factions to check out their stories as I just don’t have time to roll alts.

I also still really appreciate that some of these quests and areas are actually hard, not just from a gaming complexity and challenge but also from an intellectual level as you have to look around and think about how to progress.  I will admit, some of them I’ve had to google to figure out, but sometimes I do figure them out myself and either way I appreciate what needed to get done in order to progress.  This combination of gaming and intellectual complexity and great story lines is something that I don’t think exists in any other game out there.

Even at launch, this was a pretty solid game and it has only gotten better since then.  They’ve teased a new trial system for people to get their hands on it (in addition to the existing 3-day trial) and I’d highly suggest people check it out.  Sure it might not be a game for everyone but it still is a quality product and you’ve got nothing to lose.