TSW: The relaunch heard ’round Agartha


I’m still reeling a bit from the big news that Funcom is going to “relaunch” The Secret World over the first part of this year (starting in late March). Part of the difficulty of getting my head around this is that the only news we have of this is from Funcom’s financial report and not, say, a lengthy producer’s letter (which definitely NEEDS to be posted in the next day or so at this point). So we have the broad outline but not the specifics or any other details.

From the bullet points listed above, it mainly seems aimed at bringing in new players and those who have been turned off from the game (particularly from its combat system). The business model will switch from buy-to-play to what sounds like free-to-play, which is full of question marks. It’s not as though TSW was that expensive to start with, but ditching the DLC model for straight-up F2P definitely will make it accessible for all. It’s not as if TSW has put out a lot of content over the past year, and so it hasn’t had a lot of new content to sell.

I’m… tentatively excited about all of this, if only that TSW is going to get some nice promotion and is being given some much-needed attention from Funcom. Better combat? I’m on board for that. The business model change worries me, because that sort of thing can be done right or very, very wrong, and if it’s the latter, the game’s reputation will go into the crapper. At least Funcom anticipates that these changes will boost revenue, and that has the potential to ensure TSW’s continued development and existence, which I’m all in favor for.

There’s a lot more that I want to know here, with the biggest being “WHAT ABOUT NEW CONTENT?!?!?!?” Seriously, Funcom, it’s been just about forever since we had new missions, and we’ve been strutting around Tokyo for two years now. It’s time to move on, and I want to hear the devs say that there’s not only going to be new missions but also a faster delivery of mission content.

My imagination is revving up about how combat could be improved, but ditching the builder/finisher system for starters would be terrific. Better animations? Improved sound? Yeah, those too. Oh, and let’s use this opportunity to kill AEGIS and pretend that it was never invented, OK?

Argh. Need more info! But still glad to see TSW getting a vote of confidence from Funcom (unlike Anarchy Online and Age of Conan, which have been effectively back burnered from here on out).

8 thoughts on “TSW: The relaunch heard ’round Agartha

  1. I agree on your notion that fresh content is what i’d want to see the most.

    For the rest of what you wrote, i basically just wrote the answer to that here:


    1. Redesigned new player experience

    Improving the new player experience is hard, i watched too many “first Impression” videos where people were too stupid to pick up pnformation which was handed to them by the big floating messages on the center of the screen.

    They rather beat the tutorial using the “monkey at a keyboard” method. How do you want to teach them, even more, if they can’t even process basic information?

    2. Major improvements to gameplay including combat

    On the combat system, i can only see an improvement of animations. (Or go the GW2 way, where animations often are much more broken than in TSW, but covers it up by a pile of particle effects? )

    Removing the combo system, eliminating the complex synergie combinations or deleting Aegis very much reads “hey, NGE” for me. It’s a surefire way to get rid of the present playerbase, without knowing if it will attract any other players to compensate for that.

    Next to that, the text of mine under the link also covers more of Aegis. The short version: new players in my Cabal usually ask a few questions, then actually are fine with Aegis. Its introduction was bad, but it managed to evolve to a good and workable system by now.

    I am aware how bad it felt when it was introduced, but if new players generally have no problems with it, it might be time to consider if it’s still really bad or if your dislike of it is based on the bad impression it made when it was new, before it was upgraded to its current state?

    3. Introduction of new retention systems such as daily rewards.

    There are many MMOs with daily login rewards. I learned to ignore that. My girl still logs in in some MMOS each day, to take the reward and log out again. I don’t really see how the games profit from that, either, so it might be just me, but the benefit of that seems limited to me. But hey, perhaps it’s just us veterans who learned that already, and there are some players out there, where this trick still works?

    4. Adjustments to the business model

    So the most interesting part is the change of the busines model. It sounds very much like F2P, and as they wrote themselves, that change can be a huge success but also comes with a high risk. We’ll see how things turn out.

  2. Wow, I just got back into the the game this month. Other than complaints about AEGIS, I don’t think anything is really wrong with the combat. Unlike WoW, where I can pretty much one- or two-shot everything around me, TSW combat takes a little effort, and I can hit more than a couple abilities per fight. My big worry is that they’ll take away the ability wheel and its synergies, which—as Sylow said, with shades of NGE—might just ruin the game.

    As far as content goes, since I took a break, I still have most of Tokyo to get through. But I can understand the end-game players’ desire for new areas to explore.

  3. I’m pretty worried about all of this, especially the combat and business model changes. The large majority of complaints about the combat have come from people who simply couldn’t be bothered to learn how the system is supposed to work, and I can’t imagine those people are going to give the game a second chance (and if they do they’ll probably give up the moment they hit the first challenging investigation). At best, a combat update will change nothing. At worst, it will drive away the current players. The EPE already sucked out some of the game’s soul, and I really don’t want that to get even worse.

    As for going F2P, since TSW already has just about the most player-friendly model in the genre, I can only see this as an attempt to introduce more predatory monetization, and opening the floodgates on F2P will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the game’s community.

    More importantly, though, the report also mentions “the last large updates” to TSW, so it seems this is all just to prepare the game for maintenance mode.

  4. I really enjoyed the story aspect of TSW when I played it many years ago, but the combat was pure trudgery. By the time I got to Egypt location, it had become too much of a pain to justify playing for the great story. It wasn’t the customization, I loved that, but that enemies were damage sponges that just wouldn’t die, while they could dish out far more damage to you. That made the game no fun.

  5. @ScytheNoire:

    “By the time I got to Egypt location, it had become too much of a pain to justify playing for the great story. It wasn’t the customization, I loved that, but that enemies were damage sponges that just wouldn’t die, while they could dish out far more damage to you. That made the game no fun.”

    That was not my experience at all. Actually in old times i found that killing speed for me increased from Blue Mountains to Egpt. In the EPE, this was reworked, but nothing got harder, only a number of enemies, especially in Blue Mountains, were made noticeably easier and their density was reduced.

    So if you ran into problems with killing speed there, i must suspect that something went wrong with your setup. (Which actually is true for both Blue Mountains and Egypt, these are the zones where the game starts to require good setups to get ahead well. )

  6. PS: Yes, i am very much aware that the game requires you to learn and study a lot and work on your setup, while providing only limited information. I see that as one of the biggest problems for new players. It is very complex, but it also provides very much flexibility, so veterans tend to love this. But for a new player, it also is very cumbersome and it’s quite easy to build something which works in the earlier zones but suddenly turns sour a little later.

    Unfortunately i see no way easy way to please both sides, those who want to just play and those who want to have all the flexibility of the build system.

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