Posts tagged pvp

Visual Tour of The Secret World’s Issue 4 Update

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Joel Bylos shares a nice almost 7 minute long video with a tour of all the new goodies coming with Issue 4 – Big Trouble in the Big Apple.  The only thing missing from the video is an expected launch date, but they’ve mentioned they’re putting the finishing touches on the QA process.  And based on prior releases, we know they take that part pretty seriously.

Joel does a good job of commentating as we’re shown the new aspects of this update including:

  • Of course, the new raid which takes place in Times Square
    • One thing I’m curious about is that it doesn’t look too melee friendly?
  • The Chainsaw
    • I like the concept of a damage return shield
  • PvP Changes
  • The Albion Theatre
  • New Missions
  • And of course reticule combat

Always good to hear from the team, but it is really helpful with these kinds of videos that actually show what they’re talking about.

This certainly does have the look of a pretty sizeable and impressive update, I can’t wait for it to hit live!

 

Major PvP Changes Coming for The Secret World Issue 4

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One thing’s for sure, Funcom isn’t holding anything back with their next update, Issue 4, as it is crammed full of HUGE updates.  Today we get a nice diary on what’s coming down the pipe for PvP as this was one of the touted features at launch but has been plagued by a number of problems since then.  You can read the article over on Funcom’s main page, but I’ll also summarize the main parts here.

They’re completely revamping the rewards system which will most likely be beneficial in the long run but will probably cause some heartburn at first.  The main focus is the Fusang area which is getting updates on 2 aspects, rewards and server technology.  They’re switching from a quest based mechanic over to a time based reward scheme that periodically (every 3 minutes) rewards players in contested zones for what their faction currently holds.  Now one part that was a little confusing for me was that they mentioned they’re “removing” the White Marks of Venice, but yet those are the rewards for this periodic territory advantage.  The end goal for these White Marks though, is to trade them in for the Black Marks which can then be used to barter for your armor sets.  The gaining of these sets has also been tweaked to bring them more in line with the PvE sets.

The other big news for Fusang is they’re allowing it to pull from multiple dimensions, and not just the single one.  There’s a chart on the posting that shows what dimensions are grouped together, but the end result is a larger pool of players to draw from.  I’m sure some could claim this is a necessity based on their low numbers, but I actually think the low numbers in PvP are more to do with some of the problems they’re addressing here with Issue 4.  My guess is that with these new changes and the multiple dimensions, it is quite likely you’ll start to see more queue times for Fusang then previously.

Other changes include a new quest for factions struggling to get any rewards due to poor performance or numbers.  Upon completion of this quest, a powerful ally will come support them in their efforts.  I like that they’re not just giving something away, but really making the “underdogs” work to get a leg up.  For those of you that play LOTRO, this sounds similar to the Ranger/Troll options they have in their PvMP zone.

And finally, they’re also tuning the matchmaking service for the other PvP zones to make it easier to actually find groups.  Apparently the problem with the service had been that is was trying to find matches too close to each other and as such was trying to solve an impossible problem.  With Issue 4, these tolerances will be opened up such that it should be easier to find groups going forward.

Aside from all the changes here, I think the bigger picture is that Funcom is paying attention to not only what the player base is telling them but what they’re actually doing.  They’re then using this information to make changes to the game, and it falls on the players to then respond with how those changes are actually improving (or not) the game.

For me, Issue 4 is shaping up to not only be quite impressive but incredibly exciting as there are some very cool things coming down the pipe!

 

What’s new in The Secret World?

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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.

 

TSW State of the Game Update from Joel Bylos

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Today Funcom released Game Director Joel Bylos’s first “State of the Game” post and it is quite a read.  He starts off with a little about his history with Funcom as well as the various reviews TSW has received.  While I know some think Joel and Ragnar are whining when they talk about these scores, I actually think he has a point when he says that that wide swing means they “hit a nerve” with TSW and people either loved it or hated it.  There’s something to be said for being able to create such passion in your reviews, but at the end of the day people really should look at this game (and any other one) for what it does for them personally.  Some people (like me) really enjoy this game but just like every other game, it isn’t for everyone.

As for actual details, he doesn’t disappoint there either.  Issue 4 is around the corner bringing the first raid to the game taking place in New York.  The raid sounds intriguing as he promises no trash mobs but a story based journey.

Joel does confirm what he teased previously that the chainsaw is the next auxiliary weapon and I’ll be curious what kind of story they weave behind that item.

Another big item coming with Issue 4 is an optional change to the combat system by introducing reticule combat which allows you to shoot where you aim, as opposed to shooting the target you’ve tabbed to.  I also like that they’re making this optional such that you can pick the combat method that works best for you.  I have a feeling I’ll probably use a mix of it (assuming that’s possible) as I think this makes sense for ranged weapons but not as much for melee.  Either way I like that they’re adding ways to make this game seem more realistic.  Joel will be showing this feature off at a livestream on Friday the 12th for those interested.

Looking more long term, as he didn’t put any specific Issue numbers with these items Joel also teased the following:

  • Reworking the Dreamworld engine to create smoother and better character animations
  • Revamp of the abilities and skills systems currently in game as well as potentially new ones
  • Improve the secret society conflict
    • incorporating this conflict into both the PvE and PvP areas
  • A little more detail on the “Puzzle Raids”
    • Answering a ringing phone (think the Matrix) will start a series of puzzles for your group to solve

All sorts of good stuff there and I’m happy that not only is Funcom putting out content regularly but they’re expanding and updating the core systems in the game.  Sure they’ve had issues with bugs (what game doesn’t) but they’ve been able to not only work to fix those bugs but are constantly adding new things to the game as well.  With monthly updates like the 3 they’ve put out and the one on the way, I think this justifies their subscription model.

There is currently a 3 day trial program running and you can extend it another 2 days by completing 30 missions.  However they’ve also indicated there’s some more news on this program probably coming out next week.

 

Moving Through Kingsmouth in The Secret World

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TemplarGarage

With the extension of the grace period, I’ve pretty much dived all in with The Secret World and am absolutely loving it.  I will try to keep this spoiler free as much as I can but I will apologize up front if any of what I think are general comments give too much away.  However, you’re probably more likely to find spoilers in General chat then in this post ;)

I’ve decided to go down the Blades and Pistols route and am going for the Paladin deck as that seems to suit my play-style pretty well.  I’m sure once I complete that template deck and get the cool rewards I’ll play around a bit and most likely have a tanky deck as well as a solo deck.  One thing I haven’t figure out yet is how to save skill decks of your own, but since its quite easy to make changes I’m not terribly worried about that.  I did like that there’s a way to store gear combinations which I’m sure will come in handy later on for things like PvE gear vs PvP gear vs Raid gear.  I’m starting to feel really comfortable with my survivability and have picked up a number of nice in-combat healing abilities.  I mainly use my blade attacks unless I notice they’re not doing much, then I step back and start strafing with my Pistol attacks.  While it isn’t anything terribly revolutionary, I actually do like the combat system in TSW as it feels quite dynamic and action packed, almost console-like.

I’m just about through the Kingmouth content (I think), or am at least close to many of the deeds associated with completing missions in the area and I really am enjoying the mix of content.  There’s lots of “standard” MMO kinds of quest to go kill or deliver stuff but there’s a number of these that wrap very cool storylines into them or tease you with hints of what is coming up later on.  Plus you really never know what little side quest will be a part of a bigger puzzle later on :)

One “mistake” I think I made with the investigation quests was doing them out of order, not from a story perspective but from a difficulty perspective.  I will admit I had all sorts of issues figuring out the Something Wicked line that you pick up at the Church, but cruised right on through some of the other ones.  I think if I had done them more in order, my brain would’ve been a bit more accustomed to paying attention and I might have caught some of the clues.  Early on I just wasn’t paying enough attention to things and playing TSW like other MMOs and while you can do that, you’ll miss quite a bit.  If anything I think this might be my favorite aspect of the game as you do have the chance to really dive in and try to solve these puzzles that in many instances are quite involved.  With many of these quests being so key to the game, there are many options for figuring them out.  Certainly it is quite rewarding to figure them out on your own, but sometimes either you just get stumped or are being lazy (I’ve been there for a couple tiers).  I’ve had pretty decent success with Google and many of the sites I’ve found have hints that you have to click such that you can control how much you spoil.  One in-game suggestion would be that if you ask a question in General chat, request folks message you the answer and please try to limit spoilers in General chat :)

Another aspect I love about how they’ve set up quests is that there are decoy items that will glow and try to make you believe they’re part of the quest.  Some times they’re just additional that you won’t need, and other times it will actually send you down a different puzzle line that will eventually lead you back to some previous point.  Essentially this is a way to teach players to figure things out before just going click happy without too harsh of a punishment.

During my time in-game there have been a number of memorable quests so far, but I by far my 2 favorites are:

  • Spying using a radio controlled airplane is awesome, although I was half expecting to be able to fly the plane
  • The Templar quest (part of the pre-release videos) in the parking garage was one of the best quests I’ve ever experienced as it wrapped story, game mechanics, cool graphics effects, and just an incredibly creepy environment all into one.  I believe the other factions have a quest in the same location so I’d be curious to hear what you all thought.

The next area that I really want to dive into is the PvP system as I’d like to really get my arms around how things feel and how the rewards stack up.  Even though Funcom has announced all sorts of cool updates coming up, I do think having a fun and vibrant PvP system really helps with player retention.  I know PvP is the main reason many people stayed in DAOC for as long as they did and I think TSW’s system is the closest to DAOC we’ve seen.  The big key for me is the tie between PvP and PvE as I’m sure many of you have noticed the buff you get for your faction doing well in PvP.

Over all, I’m really enjoying just experiencing this game without worrying if I’m doing it right or not.  I may at some point hit a wall that I’ll need to step back, but since many of the quests are repeatable you can go back and farm experience to re-spec.  I have a feeling that this wall will either hit during PvP or during instances but we shall see.  I will work to get some screenshots and videos going but I just get too engrossed in the game to remember to do such things Winking smile

Finally, I really wanted to give a shout-out to Funcom for their support and openness during this launch period.  They’ve been VERY active on the forums (the dev-tracker twitter handle is back working), all over twitter, and their live-chat system works like a charm.  I ran into the fun issue that applying a game code (my box finally arrived) reset my lifetime sub with a monthly one.  I imagine it took maybe 15 minutes total to resolve the issue but I just moved the chat window over and continued doing other stuff while I waited for the rep to join the chat.  For me personally, Funcom has really matured as a gaming company and seems to have learned the painful lessons from previous launches and are saying all the right things.  Of course, they still have to execute on them but they’ve started off MUCH better then many expected and on par (if not better) then many other high profile launches.

 
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