Joel Bylos put out another Game Director Letter today and there’s a good mix of the good and bad, but one thing I love about Joel (and the whole TSW team) is that they’re not shy about admitting what’s going on.

He starts off with describing what’s going on with corporate Funcom and how it relates to The Secret World.  I really appreciate this transparency into not only what’s going on but how it has impacted the TSW team specifically.  Essentially Funcom has decided that it wants a single studio for all of its live games based in North Carolina.  This means that many of the teams supporting TSW, AoC, and others will either have to move or find other jobs.  I’m sure there will be some turnover with all of the teams but it sounds like the core of the team will continue on the game.  However, once again this is another corporate shift that will cause issues and delays in how TSW roles out content.  Hopefully this is just a small near term hurdle that they team can power through.  They’ve been through bigger and worse hurdles, so I am confident that the team will push through.

I know many will (and already have) indicate that this is a sign that TSW is in trouble and will shut down.  It is still quite early for that kind of talk since this move is just part of the restructuring that they announced back in December BEFORE TSW made its business shift.  This move is a corporate decision and has nothing to do with TSW specifically, granted it will have an impact but it isn’t a move based on the performance of any specific game.

I don’t like talking about this kind of stuff and I’ll admit it really bugs me when people jump to poor conclusions based on at best incomplete information or at worst inaccurate or stale information.  I prefer to keep things on what we actually know and what the studios are actually releasing as opposed to rumor-mongering.

On to more fun stuff, what about Issue 6 you say?  The bad news is that we are still a month out for when we’ll see it as it is slated for late February.  With all the corporate restructuring this doesn’t surprise me, but still I was hoping for an earlier release date.  I’ve loved the existing Egypt story, so the updates there and the inclusion of an “Indiana Jones” theme is great.  I’ll be curious how the Whip works as an auxiliary weapon, especially from a graphical perspective.

In addition to the new story stuff, there are also some VERY cool system changes coming too.  I love that they’re showing love to the Cabal system, and not just the standard things (logs, custom ranks, notes) but also adding a Cabal news feed which sounds quite intriguing.  Also key is that this is just the “first step” on improving the system in response to community response.  I’m consistently impressed with how well this team is able incorporate what other games have done with their community feedback and roll it into the game.

PvP is also getting some updates, but we’ll have to wait for the upcoming Developer blog to learn more about what’s planning.  I haven’t done too much out there, but I’d really like for this system to do well in TSW as I think it could be a huge factor in overall game enjoyment.

Finally, Joel confirmed that the Veteran rewards will first appear with Issue 6 and that it will be a system they consistently add to and improve.  Personally I’m most excited about the repair consumable, the portable vendors, and of course the new cosmetics and pets.

Overall I think this is a positive letter from Joel and once they get through this corporate mess, I’m confident they’ll continue to pump out quality content.