Last night, a hipster necromancer (or maybe she was a thaumaturge?) stopped me from becoming the main course at a zombie diner. Just a regular evening in Secret World Legends [official site], I guess. I’ve been dabbling in the relaunched MMO’s head start phase for a wee while, but it launches properly today. It played Secret World Legends for a couple of hours this weekend and it seems quite good; all the best bits, like the puzzles, conspiracy-filled yarns and long list of delightfully eccentric characters, remain intact, while the systems have been spruced up quite a lot. Combat, progression, and the business model are all different. Where previously there was a buy-to-play fee, you’ll now get access to both the base game and all the DLC that Funcom’s churned out over the years without spending a dime. Of course, you can spend a dime and much more if you want to, on things such as extra character slots and cosmetic items, but so far it seems generous and there’s very little pressure to spend money.
The video below has more detail on what Secret World Legends changes:
Even if you’ve played the original game for years, you’ll need to create a new character and start fresh, albeit with some extra perks that properly new players won’t get. All the cosmetic stuff that you’ve bought and unlocked can be transferred over, plus you’ll start out with access to every type of weapon in the game, making it easier to switch from a gun-toting soldier with a PhD in blood magic to an elemental mage with a penchant for big hammers.
I confess that I miss my old characters, but making a new one is an opportunity to learn how to play all over again, and that’s necessary given all the new combat mechanics. Getting to grips with all the changes hasn’t been easy, however, and Funcom haven’t done a great job of making things clear during the head start phase. I’m not sure it’s really going to be as newcomer-friendly as the devs are hoping, though there’s a workman-like tutorial that explains the very basics and, more importantly, lots and lots of players willing to lend a hand.
The Secret World was good enough that it deserves a second (third?) chance at finding an audience. Secret World Legends won’t be appearing on Steam until July, but for the time being, you can play by grabbing the launcher from the official site after signing up here.