By Nathan Grayson on September 13th, 2012 at 12:00 pm.
The Secret World‘s second issue hasn’t exactly had the shortest journey to players’ virtual mailboxes, but – after one more brief delay – it should be arriving sometime today. Let’s be honest, though: seeing as it’s Guild Wars 2′s time now (Is that the point they were trying to make? I still don’t know), your TSW icon – cold and untouched by a mouse click’s caress – probably has the other kind of mouse living inside it at this point. You, I’m guessing, will require some convincing on this one. Funcom seems to think so too, so it’s put together a video overview of “Digging Deeper” – just for you, and you alone. And also hundreds of thousands of other people who are incredibly similar to you.
Rocket launchers! Your supernatural foes will never know what hit them – but, based on copious explosive evidence, they’ll strongly suspect it was a rocket. I like that there’s now extra skill slots for auxiliary weapons, too, though I worry that until Funcom adds more variety, Secret World’s just going to be a big fireworks show. That said, starting battles with a bang sounds right up my alley, so you won’t see me complaining.
There are also heaps of new character customization options – including complete facial reconstruction and double the number of hairstyles. The new missions, meanwhile, run the gamut from action to investigation – one of which is a lengthy chain involving the Council of Venice and stolen rocket launcher shipments, while others send you back to Kingsmouth and into infected Transylvanian forests. And lastly, a much-needed group finder tool is finally on the way. Because no MMO is complete without one – except all the ones that perplexingly launch without them.
The Secret World, in other words, continues to be a super unique, lovingly created place - even in spite of some ho-hum combat and moments of kill/collect tedium. But with Guild Wars 2 out, Pandaria on deck, and a subscription fee still glaring menacingly at all who dare enter, I can’t help but worry that TSW’s missed its boat [Update: Especially in light of rumblings that TSW's lead designer and large portions of Funcom's Norway and Oslo studios were among the 50 percent staff reduction last month]. Could it go F2P and rally? Certainly. But according to Funcom, that wouldn’t be so great for its monthly update plan, so I doubt players would stick around for long. It’s in a rough spot, to be sure. And unfortunately, the cult classic status that games like The Longest Journey enjoy isn’t really an option here. Cult hits, unfortunately, tend to have a problem making money, and that’s something MMOs simply can’t afford.