I don’t know if any of you ever ordered a computer from Dell or Gateway, but if you have then you’re familiar with how you customize the setup by deciding between different components. Do you want more RAM for more money, or the standard amount for the same price? Bigger monitor or smaller? Extra software package? I’ve gone through that a couple times and have always come away feeling dissatisfied with my purchase, because I could never afford all of the options I wanted, and yet the company made me very aware of them.
That’s how I’m feeling about The Secret World’s pre-order announcement. I mean, awesome that they’re revving that up and I’m completely excited (if terrified) for the game’s prospects. I’m looking forward to playing it, and the second I heard about the pre-order, I went to check it out.
But that’s where it gets complicated.
Instead of the semi-standard system of offering at least the standard and collector’s edition (with perhaps a middling deluxe edition between the two), TSW is going for a build-your-own package approach. I guess this empowers players a little bit more, but it’s almost a little too overwhelming and gives me that same unnerving feeling I had with Gateway.
So let’s break it down:
- The basic pre-order ($50): The game (and hopefully at least 30 days play time), beta weekend access starting in May, secure one character name in advance, 3 character slots, 1-4 days of early access, in-game pet, in-game t-shirt, and in-game XP boosting item.
That’s a pretty good deal for a pre-order, I think. I especially like being able to reserve a name in advance, particularly if someone else gets in the head start before I do. That calms the nerves. At $50, it feels like a good deal with nice bonuses.
But wait, there’s more! You can upgrade with:
- Initiate Pack ($15): Blood raven pet, faction leather jacket, high-end beginner weapon set
- Master Pack ($60): 30 days of game time, one more character slot, one more character name reservation, full talisman set, 10 XP potions, and a 10% discount on future store purchases
- Grand Master Pack ($200): Everything in the Master Pack plus a lifetime subscription and a snakeskin jacket.
I’m… not convinced any of these are worth tacking on to the $50 price tag above. The Initiate pack is pretty much either social gear or items you’ll quickly outlevel, and for a game with an item shop, why buy these now instead of getting exactly what you want later?
The Master Pack feels like a ripoff — it’s more than the cost of the game itself — and players looking for a sub-free experience will have to shell out $250 total. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Funcom will probably make this game F2P within the first couple years (just look to Anarchy Online and Age of Conan) unless it’s some sort of massive runaway success, so a lifetime sub is almost counter-productive. But hey, it’s your money.
Finally, you can beef things up with:
- One more character slot ($10)
- One more character name reservation ($10)
Eh. Three character slots for the core game feels limited (and is far below the standard of most MMOs), but when you consider the classless system and three factions total, it makes sense.
All in all, that could add up to a lot of money if you want to make your own collector’s edition, but I guess I can’t get on a soapbox about it considering that I spent $150 for the SWTOR one. $150 here could get me the core game, master pack, initiate pack, and a couple extra name reservations.
However, I’m probably just going to go with the standard edition here. None of the extra perks are so incredibly compelling that I feel the urge to splurge, and with other games coming out this summer, I want to be smart with my money.