The Secret World
Funcom’s upcoming MMO.
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
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.
I haven’t seen this posted too many other places, so I thought I’d share this out for folks. Pretty cool interview by the folks over at MMORPG.com with Joel covering all 3 live games Funcom is maintaining. My gaming time has changed recently and I don’t hop into TSW nearly as much as I’d like, but it is by far one of my favorites and a game I really want to do well. I know Issue 6 has been a little rough, but it was all sorts of fun and I’m happy to see news about what’s coming down the pipe for TSW. Check out the full interview below, and below for my thoughts.
Joel had me with just two words – flamethrower and snowmobile I love what TSW is doing with their auxiliary weapons as each really fits well and has its own story and usage. I still have work to do to actually use any of them, but that’s not the point as I appreciate having something to work towards. One of the things many have complained about with TSW is the lack of a mount or quick-travel system so I’ll be curious to see how the snowmobile works, will it be like the train in Issue 6, or something that more closely resembles an open mount we’ve seen in other games? Joel has since confirmed, that it will be mission specific and not an open mount – but it would appear that we’re getting closer to a mount system. Not too many more specifics with the Issue, but with everything that company has gone through lately I hope something finally starts turning their way.
I haven’t been writing all that much, and that’s mainly due to not playing much of anything lately. But things are coming around and I’m getting settled at my new job and getting into a better routine with our newborn, so I should be getting back into more of a schedule. But it shouldn’t be a surprise what main games are occupying my time and plans for the future.
I’ve been in and out of LOTRO lately, but more trying to keep things somewhat organized and not doing a whole lot out purely due to time constraints, that are loosening up. I’ve toyed with the idea of dusting off my Captain but I think there’s still more then enough work to do on my Warden to keep me busy. She’s not in that bad of a position, but I need to go grab a few virtues to adjust to the whole Agility switch. I also think I’m going to start playing in the new instances to see what all I can do in there to challenge myself – I’ve heard rumors of Warden’s soloing the new 6-man, so that’s something I’m going to toy with.
Sadly I really haven’t been able to get in much of The Secret World and I’m really looking forward to the new content with Issue 6. I always enjoy that world once I’m in it, but the concentration requirements have been a bit of an issue for me. I’m still feeling pretty good about my Blades/Blood build but I think I’m going to probably check out the Assault Rifle and see if I can make a Warden-like build in TSW. I’m really excited to get further into Translyvania as everyone talks about how much harder that area is and I’m curious to see how that all plays out.
My main play time though has been with Football Manager 2013, mainly because I can run it almost as a background game. I ended up having a bit of a philosophy shift and started over a new game as my previous one I had cheated just way too much and it really wasn’t much fun due to the lack of a challenge. And by cheating, I mean re-loading if I don’t get a result I like. I started again with Everton and have reduced my “cheating” to long-term injuries (over a month) and transfers. I know the purists will say that I’m not truly playing the game but I really enjoy the player development side of it, and the other option of “starting over” is quite daunting. I just started my second season on this save and am enjoying it MUCH more then previous games as I pay much more attention to each game. My first season saw quite a bit of turnover as I really prefer younger players and Everton has a bunch of older (yet still valuable) players. I ended up selling Jelavic,, Gibson and Heitinga along with a couple others and a ton of loans for a infusion of over 51 million pounds. I ended up spending that on 3 players initially – striker Ademilson from Brazil, fullback Mattia De Sciglio, and center back Ryan Shawcross as some of my other targets weren’t available or were too expensive in this new patch. I then went out in January and was able to bring in Clint Dempsey on the last day of the window and Moi Gomez to strengthen my midfield. My moves and my youngsters really preformed quite well as I was able to reach the finals of the FA Cup (losing to Manchester United) and 3rd in the Premier League. The biggest disappointment was getting knocked out in the 3rd round of the League cup, but the fans got over that after a bit.
Coming into season 2, I have an amazing wave of youth from our development system so I really don’t have too many holes to fill. The RNG was very generous with me as I brought in 5 players rated 4 stars (maximum is 5) or higher that should be fun to see how they develop. I parted with Mirallas, Naismith and Gueye which brought in quite a nice sum of money. I brought in a couple of youngsters and then on the last day of the window I saw that Michael Bradley was available so I grabbed him to see how he would work paired up with Jack Rodwell (yes, I modded the initial DB to keep him on Everton instead of the crappy move to Manchester City) to control the middle of the field. My start has been a little rocky with an opening day loss followed by a dull draw, but I did win my 3rd game and am now getting into the teeth of Champions League group play, so it will start to get VERY interesting.
I still enjoy FM13 but I’m really starting to get the itch to get back to my characters stuck in MMO-land and as such I’m sure they’ll get some more attention, which will bring more writing from me as well.
Like many of TSW’s updates, this one came and went pretty quickly without too much fanfare. However, this not only brought some fun social items but quite a few other changes and tweaks. I’m not sure I’ve figured out TSW’s numbering schemes but this to me seems pretty big for a tertiary update. Full patch notes can be found here, but here are some snippits:
- Valentine’s Day items
- I like that not only can you send traditional Valentines, but also warnings
- Quite a few changes to the Albion theatre
- I need to find more time to spend there, really curious to see what others are doing
- Anyone have any good YouTube channels for this?
- Ranged weapon resources should build more reliably
- Tweaks and changes to pretty much every weapon type
- Crafting changes to make dis-assembly more uniform
I’m sure there are other things in there that folks might find important, but those were the big ones for me.
Here’s hoping we get news on Issue 6 here soon!
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.