Digging Deeper Into Secret World’s ‘Digging Deeper’ Update

Noooooo, my Olympic track and field dreams are over.

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.


  1. Askeladd says:

    I have one question:
    Did the core concept of the game, where you have to find clues outside and inside the game to solve the riddles, ever work?

    • tumbleworld says:

      Yes, it did. They got those ones right about 50% of the time, and when they did, the result was genuinely glorious. The other half of the time it was like playing a point-and-click adventure game with the entire goddamn internet to point at. In text.

      I’m so sad I had to give up on TSW. I utterly love the world. I just couldn’t stomach the game, and this update being so delayed — along with Brusgaard’s firing — makes it clear that it’s falling to pieces already :(

      • J_C says:

        Actually this content shows that the devs are dedicated, and not that the game is falling apart. They had to lay off lots of people, yet they are sticking to their promises, and bringing us new content.
        The game is very good if you can look over the mediocre combat. If combat is all that matter to you, good luck with other MMOs. If you like an unique setting, great missions and characters, good story, welcome to the Secret World.

  2. Bios Element says:

    Really sorry to see it headed down the drain. :/ It looked like something I’d love to play, but honestly I just don’t have the time with so many other big hits out. Not to mention it’s fairly mundane besides for the overall setting.

  3. Winged Nazgul says:

    This update delayed until next week unfortunately. :(

    link to forums.thesecretworld.com

    • SuffixTreeMonkey says:

      Beat me to it.

      As they “delay” their monthly updates (and from the looks of it, they will simply release an August and October issue, skipping September) I am fairly certain more and more people will “delay” their monthly payments, moving on to other games.

  4. SuffixTreeMonkey says:

    SuffixTreeMonkey with the latest news again!

    From The Secret World self-updater announcement:

    “Unfortunately, it will take us some more time to make sure the issue is removed and the new version has been thoroughly tested. We will keep on working over the weekend to fix the remaining issue and make sure that the final version will be ready for the live servers next week.”

    TL;DR: Issue #2 will come next week. Not today. Update the article. God save the Queen. Et cetera.

  5. J_C says:

    I just can’t get my head around why people giving this game a hard time. They are talking about it like it is a pile of shit, when it is not. OK, OK, the combat is mediocre. Not bad, just nothing special. But the missions, the story, the settings, the characters are better than any other MMO (yeah, good luck with GW2 if you are looking for a unique setting).

    If you don’t like it, don’t play, but don’t go around “TROLOLOL, THIS IS THE WORST MMO EVER!”

    Also, the devs were in trouble, they had to lay of lots of people, yet they are bringing the new content. Yet people hate on them because they delay it, when they are understaffed.

    • SuffixTreeMonkey says:

      I don’t think your comment is justified. Most of the comments here so far are positive towards some aspects of the game, and possibly negative towards others. but definitely no children trolling like you describe.

      Oh and I think it’s fair game criticizing a product which requires monthly payments, but heavily delays monthly updates, which were supposedly the upside of monthly payments. The layoffs are sad, but they are no excuse, unless they are willing to give us a free month for the update-free month they did. Which they are not.

      • malkav11 says:

        Reactions in previous Secret World articles on this site have been surprisingly negative, often from people who hadn’t, y’know, actually played the game since sometime in the distant past of the beta, if then. It’s frustrating to me because I think it’s a genuinely excellent game. Not a revolutionary one, maybe, and not the open world PvP sandbox that appears to be the only kind of MMO a lot of RPS readers will accept, but a really smartly designed, immersive, and well written game nonetheless.

        • mondomau says:

          To be fair, even then a lot of the negative comments were less ‘haha, hope they burn’ and more along the lines of ‘FFS why do developers still not get that on tacking an interesting new gameplay element onto the tired WoW model is going to end in depressing failure in a couple of months?’ (which was a criticism levelled even by avid players). I’m willing to bet these are a lot of the same people were really excited about TSW until the first glimpses of combat started to leak out.

      • Pardoz says:

        So far they’ve delayed update, singular. As in “one”. Last I checked, one isn’t the plural implied by “updates“. “Heavily” I think a bit harsh for a two-week delay – we’re hardly talking Valve Time here, especially in the MMO space – people laud Trion’s pace for having put out ten updates in the course of 18 months, the eight people who are aware Asheron’s Call is still kicking tout their monthly updates, and nobody else is even attempting that kind of post-launch update schedule.

        And let’s face it, they were fucked either way – if they released it broken, that would have been the end of the world. Instead they delayed it, so that is the end of the world. There is only one catch, and it is Catch 22.

        • Deano2099 says:

          Yeah they’ve delayed the August update to next week. But that means they have one week to get the September update out. I don’t see that happening, hope to proven wrong!

    • jrodman says:

      I thought the combat was incredibly bad. So bad that I went from being willing to send the developers 150 dollars over the course of this year (estimated purchase price + 6 months of play) to not wanting to play it even for free after I was exposed to enough of it.

      Not all may agree with me.

      I liked almost everything else about it. Well, not the interface.. that I was pretty cool on. But story, characters, setting, and general activities seemed good.

    • airmikee says:

      If your comment is any indication how the community inside TSW acts, I’ll stick to GW2, thanks.

      Why don’t you take your own advice, and if you don’t like what other people have to say about TSW, don’t read their comments? Why are you allowed to talk shit to people, but those people aren’t allowed to talk shit about a game they don’t like? Hypocrite, much?

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      The setting is the usual thing people point to, but how you can you that zombies, Lovecraft, and every conspiracy theory ever invented amounts to a unique setting? An unusual setting in MMOs maybe, but it’s not unique. It’s the game equivalent of a Dan Brown novel.

      • J_C says:

        Ok, you are right. A unique setting in MMOs. And that is what we needed after all the fantasy MMOs.

      • malkav11 says:

        The difference is that Dan Brown is a terrible hack who couldn’t write his way out of a paper bag. There’s nothing exceptionally wrong with his premises, and competent writers can and have done interesting, enjoyable things with them. TSW has good writing. (For a videogame, of course.)

  6. Lord Bunnington says:

    I still can’t figure out what the devs were thinking when they decided to make it subscription-based. I appreciate the unique story, interesting puzzles and the lovecraftian background, but did they honestly think that story alone could lure players into paying for it? DC universe online had a solid background and a different combat mechanic, and that didn’t exactly fly off the shelves…

    • Deano2099 says:

      And if the story was worth it, they could have really pushed the “no subs fee” angle, then sold every single “issue” for five quid or whatever.

      I mean this issue structure screams F2P, you’ve got distinct bits of content that player can then experience at their own pace.

      As it is, even if you like it, you’re better quitting, going back in six months, playing the latest six issues over a month, quitting again…

    • Shuck says:

      I think it’s pretty clear what they were thinking: that it’d be nice to have enough revenue to keep the studio going. And that people would be willing to pay for an MMO if it were sufficiently different. Since the game started development about a decade ago, judging what people would be willing to pay a subscription for in 2012 was not going to be an easy thing. Once they had pumped a certain amount of money into its development, they pretty much had to go with sales/subscriptions, at least to start off with, if they wanted any chance of recovering costs.

    • J_C says:

      I think being sub based or F2P is the publisher’s decision, not Funcom’s.

  7. Lifebleeder says:

    I thought the game was a fun, unique take on MMO’s. I thought the storyline was top notch, and the combat wasn’t half so bad as made out to be. Unfortunately I don’t need to be standing on a ship to realize it’s sinking. When I found out they fired the lead designer and a large portion of staff working on TSW, I unsubbed immediately.

    • J_C says:

      But why? They didn’t fired them because the game was bad, they fired the devs because the company had financial problems.

      I’d rather stick to the game if I enjoy it, just to help the devs with my money.

      • malkav11 says:

        Because when most of the people that made a game are gone, the prospects for the continued expansion of that game, at least in the same vein and with similar quality, are pretty slim.

        • J_C says:

          No, the content designer is still the same guy. I almost certain that the quality will remain.

    • Tayh says:

      Yah, great thinking. That’s how avalanches begin.

      “I’m leaving this excellent game because I fear the quality might drop!” -> quality of game drops due to lack of funding -> “I’m leaving this game because of drop in quality” -> quality of game drops due to lack of funding -> etc.

      • jrodman says:

        Feedback loops are everywhere.

      • Lifebleeder says:

        It’s more like “I’m leaving this game because the quality WILL drop.” and it ends there.

        I can’t think of any industry where you have decided it takes X amount of people to do Y amount of tasks. Fire half of them, and expect the same quality result/product, with everything else being equal.

        Especially when one of those people who was fired, played a large and integral part of why I enjoyed the product in the first place.