I was pretty surprised when I saw the posts concerning TSW’s rapidly approaching anniversary as it hardly seems like it has bee a year since it launched.  Many because so much has happened to the game and the company over the year that times has just flown past.  I’m not sure I can think of another game that has had to overcome as much as TSW has, and I’m really hoping this latest batch of news is a positive sign that the team has moved past the turmoil and is stronger because of it.  I’m not going to dwell on the past, although it would probably be plenty of material for a novel, but instead focus on what’s coming up.

Joel kicked off the news batch with his June’s Producer’s letter where he does a bit of a recap of all that TSW has been able to accomplish over this past year.  For me the biggest thing he left off were the amazing ARG events the team has put out, which really are content updates, just in another form factor.  If you think about it that way, Funcom has put out 9 content updates, lost a CEO on launch day due to suspicious circumstances, gone through 2 corporate restructurings, moved the staff half a world away, and switched business models.  That’s an impressive year, but from everything they’ve put out (and they have to be open about their numbers) TSW’s model switch has worked very well and the game is striving.  I don’t care whether you like TSW or not, you have to admit to be able to continue through everything they have and be in the position they are now is quite the accomplishment.

Before I press forward, I have to comment on the two images in his letter.  The first one is the “Cover Art” for this episode and while it does look like a James Bond montage (as it should being the them of the update) I must say I’m a little worried about the teddy bear in the image.  I have a feeling this is going to end up more like the Holy Grail Bunny then a Ted rip-off Smile

Also, the two comic strips at the end tie in that little teddy bear and you just have to wonder if it is an evil bear, or a benevolent one.

If that isn’t creepy enough, well there’s the trailer for you as well:

However, before we get to the goodies of Issue 7, we have to survive the actual game’s anniversary.  I like this idea of building up to the new content which TSW has done an amazing job of in various other patches they’ve done over the year, and I’m excited to see how they do it for this update.  So there will be some nasty and powerful creatures invading the land that will challenge the players, but success sounds like it will grant some sort of cosmetic pet?  Also during the event there will be daily bonuses to things like XP, ability and skill points as well as an across the board 30% discount in the store.  I’m pretty excited about the store sale as I know I have a huge pile of points and I need to use some before they expire.  Which I might add, is quite a smart way to do it as otherwise they’ll be hard pressed to ever get money out of lifers again.  I know my ridiculous stockpile of points in LOTRO will continue to allow me to purchase pieces of Expansions that I want, unless of course they change that model.  There will also be gifts given to the players, but no details on what those gifts are other then there will be something extra for members and Grandmasters.  And finally, the game will be completely free for anyone who has ever played a Funcom title (hint go check out AoC for free if you want to get in that way) will be able to enjoy the event without having to buy the box.

The conclusion of the event is the actual release of the Issue 7 content, which seemed a little weird to me as I thought they already released Issues 7, but then I remembered this was another one of their split patches where the guts of the update go out earlier then the story.

Joel wraps up his article with some teasers for Issue 8, and I have to say I’m probably most excited about the new Scenario and Augmentation systems as they could go horribly wrong, Funcom has done a pretty good job with their system changes as well as taking what others have done and improving on them.  Scenarios could be a HUGE content improvement for TSW in much the same way skirmishes have helped out LOTRO and I think if done well with the right story tie could fill a void in TSW’s content.

All in all, some great stuff coming up for TSW and I’m really hoping this is the start of an even better second year in The Secret World.