Secret World Legends Impressions – free and easy

The Secret World was always a game struggling to crawl out from under the weight of its own genre. Many have attempted to build a story-led MMO – and it’s a noble pursuit – but no one has ever quite figured out how to do it, not least because an MMO is a terrible setting in which to tell a story. The Secret World got the closest so far. The intricately woven tale of conspiracy upon conspiracy was a huge hook when the game first released five years ago, and some could forgive the janky grindy weirdness of its online necessities to enjoy a setting and quest style not seen before in the genre. Will more people learn to see past the structural faults now, with its free-to-play reboot as Secret World Legends [official site]?

The Secret World made some colossal mistakes, none more colossal than launching with a box price, AND a subscription. At a time when subscription MMOs were flailing, it tried to see how expensive it could be. It was very, very silly.

Secret World Legends is an attempt to relaunch the game, but this time entirely for free. With a new combat system, tweaked missions and skill trees, and items snaggled in the cruel vines of bemusing in-game currencies. The changes are many, but their impact isn’t enormously felt compared to how it all played before. My early impressions are of a game that’s good in all the ways it was previously, improved in terms of accessibility and flow, but muddled and confused by a ludicrous array of in-game currencies bought for real-world money.

The Secret World, as was (its “The” seemingly now cast into the definite article bin of history with this new release), shone through its setting (Earth, with humans) and its story-led missions. While it still asked you to kill five of those and ten of these, it also asked you to investigate a symbol, and interpret the results, perhaps with some Googling, to decipher a code. These moments, while occasional, were outstanding in a field that is renowned for unimaginative tasks designed to channel you along its upgrade path. And that you were a human, with other human-looking-humans, in familiar-ish settings like a small Boston town, or Egyptian ruins.

It wanted to be so many things, and an enormous part of why was because the story and setting was a long-term passion project for creator/writer Ragnar Tørnquist. In fact, before even Dreamfall was announced, I remember Funcom top dog Jørgen Theraldsen taking me and then Edge editor Margaret Robertson aside in the offices of Future Publishing to show an early teaser they’d put together for the meta-concept: that every conspiracy theory was real. That was seven years before it was released in 2012. Visiting the studio to see Age Of Conan during development in the late 2000s, I remember sneaking off to see the former Longest Journey team in their new office, where the barely announced new MMO was now in development. They told me secrets, so many secrets, about an MMO that would have no levels, no classes, but instead intricately weave ARG-like elements into a shared world of puzzle solving and real-time combat.

Of course, over the years I’ve been told secrets, so many secrets, about so many MMOs that would have no levels, no classes, and real-time combat, and not a single one stuck with those pledges by release. TSW was no different, realising like they all eventually do, that there’s no way to usefully provide progression without such elements, and no server is going to handle all those people doing all those chops on all those monsters at once. (It’s worth noting that Legends gives up entirely, too, and just puts the level numbers in place.)

But despite it all, TSW definitely was different. For instance, you’re unlikely to find another MMO that features the words, “It was like a motherfucking butterfly.” But it was always a difference that struggled to be heard over the obligatory features of massively multiplayer gaming, and one completely strangled by the idiotic pricing.

Secret World Legends removes the cover price, and the subscription, and replaces it all with utter confusion. So it’s entirely free, free to download, free to play. All future DLC will be free. You don’t even need a credit card. Which of course means, it wants your money, because it’d be a pretty poor business idea otherwise.

This means new currencies have been introduced, and it goes out of its way not to introduce these to you as you start playing. The most immediately apparent is Aurum, essentially gold bars, that allow you to buy… stuff you’d really expect to come with an MMO. Like more than one character slot. Enough space in your inventory. More weapon options. You know the deal. You can buy Aurum with real world money, or there’s going to be a way to get it with in-game currency from other players via the Exchange, which hadn’t been working for the bulk of when I’ve been playing.

Then of course there is a way of paying a subscription, via the Patron Rewards Program. This is a 30 day sub that gets you “additional convenience” and “in-game bonuses”. Nothing says “F2P” model like highlighting the unpaid version will be inconvenient.

And after Aurum come utterly unexplained currencies that you find yourself spending without knowing why, like “Mark Of Favour” and “Anima Shards”. The latter seems to get used, very much on the sly, every time you upgrade your weapons and equipment – something you need to do incessantly in the new design. Each finished mission, of which there are billions, gives you a reward sack, which contains an item that is 90% of the time useless to you. This gathered scrap is then ‘sacrificed’ via the upgrade system, that lets you boost what you’ve already got by scrapping similar. And, without mentioning it to you, charging you Anima. I’ve got 19,000 Anima at level 22, but everyone got given a big pile of them as an apology for the extensive down-time last week. Upgrades start at a few hundred each time, and you’ll do a great deal of them. I’ve no idea if it’s something that’ll eventually run out – I haven’t so far, but I can’t see why they’d be in the game if they weren’t intended to run out at some point.

Then it just starts to feel silly. Fast travel is listed as “free for Patrons”. Fast travel. Oh, and by the way, a monthly fee doesn’t make anything in the game “free”. Then as you get deeper in, you discover you start needing “keys” for dungeons, scenarios and lairs. You start with a fair few, but talking to players who are deeper in, they run out fast and the nickel-and-diming begins to get farcical. And in the vein of many ‘free’ MMOs, even loot is hidden behind a fee. After a certain point you’ll see purple loot boxes dropping after fights, which require a ‘cache key’ to open. One key will cost you 150 Aurum. 500 Aurum costs £4 (with bonus extras when buying in bulk, but let’s work on the exchange of 1p = 1.25A), meaning a key will cost you £1.20. And that gets you a random selection of mostly useless items with which to upgrade your current kit. It is, essentially, a short-cut.

And ho boy, can you buy yourself short-cuts. (Literally, when it comes to fast travel.) While Secret World Legends definitely can defend itself against accusations of being ‘pay to win’, you can sure pay to advance. There’s something I find so inherently demoralising when playing a game about noticing I could just bypass all my hard work of earning AP and SP (the game’s two XP units for gaining active and passive abilities) through missions and combat, by just buying some more. But there is that telltale ‘+’ button on the skills tree window, letting me buy 5 AP/SP for 150 Aurum (so £1.20 again), with most upgrades costing 10 to 25 points. A fiver to get a new skill, anyone? Urgh. It’s ugly and gross.

At the start you’re offered two weapon choices, and you’ll want to choose carefully, because if you want to add to your roster after that, guess what! Costs money. 400 Aurum (£3.20) for your first. The madness here being, if you wanted to spend enough (and we’d be talking hundreds of pounds) you could unlock every weapon and all the skills for them before you’d taken your character’s first step. (Although despite this, you’d still be doing all those skills at level 1.)

Oh gawd, I’ve just noticed you can buy improvements to your sprinting speed. And it doesn’t tell you how much of a speed improvement it’ll be when it asks for the 250 Aurum (£2) – it’s 12.5%. Oh lordy.

But crucially, I am not paying those fees, I’ve not bought a single bit of Aurum, and I’m still enjoying playing through the entertainingly written and crafted Kingsmouth sections of the game. I’m currently back in Innsmouth Academy, ploughing through the reams of quests available from the remains of the faculty, as I de-haunt the place of its genuinely unsettling ghouls. I’ve been charging about polishing off missions from the Stephen-King-alike author in the lighthouse, including one that pleasingly requires finding a stalky blog on the real world internet to get the necessary clues.

The characters are unlike anything else in the MMOsphere, because, well, they’re characters. Each quest giver can be talked to, at ludicrous length (optionally), fleshing out the world and often with superb performances. Tørnquist’s Whedonesque banter hits and misses along the way, but there are a fair few good gags in there. (It perhaps leans a little too heavily on jokes about how little difference you’re making to the world by your efforts – its being self-referential can often underline frustrations, rather than mock them.) And there’s just so much to do that I’m quickly pulled back in to the busywork of it all, dashing about ticking off quests, while picking up more I spot lying on the ground on the way, and quickly killing ten of these as that pops up as an extra as I’m running from the last to the next. It manages that sense of flow very well in the first main area.

Combat tweaks feel minor, but the game still infuriating limits the number of attacks you can have to a ridiculous six, making it just utterly bemusing why you’d want to unlock more once you’ve got a combat regime understood – made even worse by the mystifyingly bad descriptions in the skill tree, invariably failing to explain an attack in a meaningful way, and often leaving you having wasted points on a minimally useful extra that takes up a vital slot, which then has to be immediately discarded. The madness of the original game’s 500 skills has been reduced to a more sensible 200, but I don’t think the limits on how many you can use at once makes sense.

But when you’ve got a set you’re happy with, it’s quite pleasant working out the best tactics for particular enemy types, or more frequently for dealing with a mob of disposables, or one big strong bad. It’s definitely not a difficult game, and I think they’ve perhaps made things a little too easy with this new version – in the end I’m not that fussed because I’m there more for the story, not the biffs, but it’ll definitely be a problem for those leaning the other way.

Much has been enormously simplified too, from a clearer opening tutorial, to simpler ways to enter dungeons – no demands for roles to be met. And with fewer skills to worry about, and clearer presentation of levels, it’s much more approachable.

It’s five years since I last played it, so I honestly couldn’t tell you what’s changed about the plot and the mission flow, but I do keep realising I don’t recognise something, or that it’s happening in a different order. It definitely all flows nicely, and there’s unquestionably far less tiresome running about. Where this shines – trundling through its story-led quests – it shines brighter than before, and is still an enormous pleasure.

Although I’m also told that the original game’s biggest problem, the disappointment of its latter Tokyo section, has been solved by – um – removing Tokyo altogether. Not entirely sure how the game will work without that, but despite plugging in many hours over the last week, I’m not close to finding out. It’ll be added in again at a later date, but they’re not yet saying what date.

Oh, and before I wrap up, one really sodding weird thing: rather than simply logging you out if you’re idle for too long, Secret World Legends bloody shuts itself down to desktop. That’s idiotic.

So yes, it’s a muddle. Sometimes it’s a charming muddle, sometimes it’s an infuriating one. It’s still packed with exactly the same lovely characters, story missions, and real-world puzzles, and now you can play all of those for free. If that’s what you’re after, then absolutely you should be diving head-first into this. A big, free story-led action game with some strong writing, now much more accessible. But if you’re after the much more MMOey elements, I’m more hesitant. I can’t say at this point how the paywalls will affect you, but I feel quite certain those who’ve found them will let us know below. Obviously this isn’t a charity – they need to make a profit out of it somehow, and god knows I don’t envy anyone in this genre trying to figure out how.

Ultimately, if you want to enjoy the tales of conspiracies, via some pretty clunky-but-fine combat, it’d be silly not to when it won’t cost a penny. It’s still struggling to crawl out from under its own genre, but now it’s struggling in all sorts of new ways.

Disclosure: I know the original project lead, Ragnar Tørnquist, pretty well, and while he’s had nothing to do with Secret World since he left Funcom five years ago, the game still contains an enormous amount of his work.

Secret World Legends is available now, and you can sign up or login here.

49 Comments

  1. Churba says:

    “Although I’m also told that the original game’s biggest problem, the disappointment of its latter Tokyo section, has been solved by – um – removing Tokyo altogether.”

    While they have removed it, it’s only temporary. IIRC, according to devs, it needed more work before it was completed, and they wanted to release the polished bits sooner, with the later parts coming out equally polished at a later date. It’ll be released for free at an as-yet unannounced time in the future.

  2. chuckman006 says:

    The most frustrating complaint I have of Legends currently, is that for the game’s original purchase price (and no sub after it dropped sub requirements) I had effectively free unlimited access to all the original base game’s content, trading, inventory unlocks, pvp, dungeons and loot FOR YEARS. If I wanted to pay, it was to unlock new areas or missions.

    Now the game is 100% FREE and I have less access to the same dungeons, trading and loot?? Irony? Despite having already paid the company for many things?

    (Yes I am aware the original base game still exists on its own server as it was but who in their right mind would continue to play a dead game with 0 chance of future development — and honestly, how is going to this new super free system going to even get Funcom the $$ to invest in Legends when they couldn’t make $$ on the original Buy2Play and cash shop??)

    • Unclepauly says:

      The idea is to bring in the F2P crowd and hopefully snag some whales. Honestly I’m goin to give it a crack and toss a bit their way. I’m no whale though.

  3. Koshelkin says:

    Everything you mentioned in the article can be bought with the ingame currency “Mark of Favour” as well, which you can acquire through daily challenges(do x missions, kill x mobs etc.) and trading at the marketplace. The only thing you need the real cash currency is for certain pieces of cosmetic clothing and, as far as I heard, the highest grade of Sprint(/ooc movement speed). You can trade your MoF for Aurum, though, and thus can unlock everything without spending a dime.

    Coming from the old Secret World, I can say that the progression speed without spending money is en par with the progression you had at the original launch. The game is perfectly enjoyable that way(even more so, probably, because you don’t “buy away” any challenge during the leveling).

    • Arkayjiya says:

      “I can say that the progression speed without spending money is en par with the progression you had at the original launch”

      That’s not quite true, no. While I agree with most of your points, the progression in SWL is slower at the moment, but you might not see it until you reach max level. That’s when the rate of earning AP/SP is greatly reduced (although they’re going to accelerate it in today’s patch, we don’t know by how much yet I think).

      To get every ability you need 1485 AP, 1035 at level max since you get 450 during the leveling. Long story short, for now it takes more time than in the base game because the differential in experience needed/experience provided is slightly worse, and on top of that it feels longer because each ability takes a lot more time to purchase.

      And then comes passives: It takes around 5k5/6k points to purchase them all and right now that means it will take around twice as long to get them as the active.

      There’s also the capstones who are even worse, but I don’t mind them too much because they merely add a small bonus every 40 AP (10 AR, 10 HR, 15 Health) so they’re obviously very long term progression that’s more about comfort than performance.

  4. Morte66 says:

    Still should be a singleplayer game.

    • Josh W says:

      If they keep the servers running long enough, eventually it will be, just keep rebalancing things down so they can be done by smaller and smaller amounts of people.

    • Arkayjiya says:

      I don’t see why. If every MMO with a great story and mood should be “single player” then that mean that a MMO should never have a great story and mood which is of course complete bullshit. So do you have a particular reason for this specific MMO to be SP?

      • Sin Vega says:

        PLAYER TALKS TO NPC
        (elaborate character acting establishing spooky mood)

        PLAYER LEAVES ROOM:

        “I’m trying to find out what these ghosts want”
        “lol noob”
        “WHO WNATS TEAM UP! L14+ TEAM UP 4 RAID”
        “dont aggro the mobs”
        “TEAMUP 4 RAID WHO WANTS TEAM Up L14+”
        “ur mom”

    • Spudnik says:

      Make a friend and then you would enjoy the game. QED.

  5. kleptonin says:

    Many have attempted to build a story-led MMO – and it’s a noble pursuit – but no one has ever quite figured out how to do it, not least because an MMO is a terrible setting in which to tell a story.

    Biased though I may be in my fourth year with the game, but Final Fantasy XIV and its expansions have me more invested in the world and its characters than most other games I’ve played, single-player included, so I think it’s perfectly feasible to have a good, story-led MMO.

    • Daemoroth says:

      Mandatory post-ARR filler crap before HW killed it for me though, and quite literally caused me to cancel my sub and stop playing.

      Why they don’t have an intro-to-HW quest line that becomes available immediately AFTER you finish ARR I cannot fathom. And the fact that there’s another bunch of post-HW filler crap before you can get started with the latest expansion?

      Yeah, I got better things to do, and better stories to experience.

      • Merus says:

        There’s a lot of filler in the post-ARR questlines, but given the game’s insisted on a single main quest from go to 50, it’d be weird to then let you go straight to Heavensward and skip meeting a bunch of important characters. They learnt their lesson in HW; the post-expansion quests there are of much improved quality and a good deal shorter.

        They probably should blow up the post-ARR quests and reshuffle them – no point bouncing from zone to zone to slowly advance three storylines at once. This is the game that blew itself up, so I imagine it’ll come before the levelling process gets too daunting.

        • Daemoroth says:

          The problem is that for the first time since starting the main quest, I started skipping the quest text/cutscenes just to get the effing errands over and done with (When you’re called to travel to a different zone to carry three crates up a flight of stairs while your supposed comrades are sitting on their asses ten meters away, you tend to lose interest), which means that even if I do meet ‘important people’ down the line I’d still have no idea who they are.

          A quest line that sums up the events between ARR and HW and then gets you started on HW would be much more effective.

  6. brucethemoose says:

    I can’t help but think how much this mirrors SWTOR.

    It made the mistake of launching with a subscription requirement AND a box price. It also made fast travel a “premium” feature when it went F2P, but they eventually corrected that.

    That being said, the big thing that irks me about SWTOR is its combat: it’s stressful from the constant hotbar mashing/target selecting, yet incredibly boring. I never even get to watch the fight animations because I have to stare at power timers and click on some of the buttons. They never fixed that. I enjoy the conversation, beautiful scenery etc, but I still curse whenever I fail to tiptoe around a mook cluster. That dread of combat destroys my interest in the related game mechanics.

    As far as I can tell, the Secret World has a similar problem, and it’s something this relaunch didn’t fix.

  7. brucethemoose says:

    no server is going to handle all those people doing all those chops on all those monsters at once

    Planetside 2 handles it pretty well.

    If someone just took the PS2 engine and put a good story + a few NPCs in the world… Oh man, that would be freaking brilliant.

    • haldolium says:

      Uh. No.

      PS2 is a constant compromise with so many issues exactly because it *can’t* handle that many people doing shit at once. They did a great deal to hide it, with more or less success (dynamic render distances and such), but it still is one clusterfuck of networking issues you simply cannot solve with a high variety and high amount of network traffic.

      PS2 might be unique, but it’s far from a positive example on how to deal with many people going pew pew in one tiny place.

      • brucethemoose says:

        It might just be from the smaller fights these days, but end result looks pretty good to me.

        I can fly with 40 team mates, go to the other side of the map, watch them all drop from high altitude onto the ground. Then I can die, respawn in a tank, and generally see the 12+ people actively trying to kill me as well as a few friendlies behind me and bunch of others fighting each other. All with 0 loading screens.

        No, it can’t handle 150 people lined up in a row and shooting each other, and I can’t see every single person in an ESF from far away. But it doesn’t need to, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had serious networking issues with the game.

  8. malkav11 says:

    I’m not sure when you played but they’ve already bumped the starting character slots up to a more generous 3. I never bothered with more than one in the classic edition because you could eventually just buy all the skills and abilities and switch between entirely different builds at a moment’s whim. It -seems- like that’s still possible, if far less customizable and rewarding. So it still seems like the biggest reason to run more than one character would be to play a different faction and you only need three slots for that. Mind you, even there it’s hard to say if it’d be worth it because mostly you’re getting different quest completion text and a few different lines of dialogue from certain people (e.g. if you’re Illuminati running around the Illuminati-founded Kingsmouth, a couple people will treat you a little differently than they would a Dragon or Templar). As I understand it they don’t even have most (all?) of the faction missions from the original, and they didn’t differ that much to begin with.

    Secondly, the only paid currency is Aurum. Marks of Favor and Anima Shards are earned in game – the former from completing challenges, the latter as quest rewards. Most of the things you talk about paying Aurum for can also be acquired for Marks of Favor. And the fast travel cost is Anima Shards, which do seem to come fast enough that I’ve not seen any risk of running out. But then, I paid for a lifetime subscription back when the original game launched so I am a lifetime Patron as well.

    That said, I definitely feel like the F2P side of the game is a lot more obtrusive than I would like even for Patrons, and I feel like abandoning the formally classless and levelless progression system and the elaborate build possibilities of the enormous skill wheel are mistakes. The level stuff is especially grating in Kingsmouth, where previously there was a gentle graduation of difficulty as you got further out into the map away from the Agartha gate and police station, while now just one street over from level 4 zombies you have identical looking level 9 zombies.

    • Dearth says:

      I am not sure how you were able to obtain three character slots, but as of now it is still limited to one slot for me.

      • Premium User Badge

        Iamblichos says:

        I suspect it has to do with when he referred to being a “lifetime Patron”. Previous owners get extras, IIRC.

        • malkav11 says:

          It was definitely one character slot when I first started Legends up and is three now. I guess it might be something they only gave to previous owners though. There were a few perks like getting all the weapon pages unlocked and the vast majority of cosmetics transferred over (some of which aren’t available in Legends otherwise). Extra character slots weren’t one of them initially so I had assumed it was a global change.

  9. KDR_11k says:

    I only played it for a month close to release, my main issue was that combat felt counterproductive. Fighting anything would leave you near dead and waiting a long time to recover that health while winning would give so little experience compared to doing quests that it seemed best to just sneak around all those enemies unless they were a quest objective. Running around a big map while having to sneak around randomly scattered monsters isn’t terribly fun though…

    • malkav11 says:

      You’ll be happy to know that, at least in the lower levels, Legends causes you to regen health to max almost immediately upon exiting combat and most of the wandering monster fights end within maybe 4-5 attacks. The combat is not dramatically more interesting than it was (indeed, I think it’s less interesting because there’s much less flexibility), but it’s certainly over quicker.

  10. EkoAzarak says:

    Just not a good game. The combat is pathetically mediocre. Seriously, they should have just removed all combat and made TSW into a co-op game like The Park. Funcom is notorious for this bullshit MMO conversion – free, but you gotta pay FOR EVERY OTHER LITTLE FEATURE. They did the same exact thing to Age of Conan when it was on its deathbed. it backs you into a corner once its got you to login. But meh, the game is a single player borefest anyways so…. pass. Story is your typical rehashed Lovecraft, etc.

    • Unclepauly says:

      That was very helpful, thanks :D

    • Someoldguy says:

      The combat was the reason I uninstalled recently having given it a try (although the 1 character slot grated badly too.) It just doesn’t seem to flow smoothly in the way City of Heroes did or Guild Wars 2 does.

  11. April March says:

    I’m trying the game again. Every combat explanation felt to me like the adults speaking in Charlie Brown cartoons. There sure are a lot of numbers and I sure ain’t sure what they all mean. I have a shotgun and I don’t even know how to fire it.

    I’m also quite disappointed with how it directs you to quests. I remember that when I tried the first game on a free weekend I found the old lady with a sawn-off in Kingsmouth by going out and exploring. Now, following the story quest just led me directly to her doorstep. (I admit I may be misremembering.) I kinda want to like it and the combat seems to be less MMOy this time around, though. I think I might try to keep on it, see if I can find some blokes and/or blokettes to play with me.

    • malkav11 says:

      The original incarnation points you at some key NPCs by making you visit them in the main story quest and a LOT of those little “box” sidequests you find lying around are basically breadcrumbs to lead you to various questgivers. (This is still true in Legends.) They’ve definitely made the very early progression a lot more linear in Legends, but once you hit like level 10ish a lot more quests are available from various NPCs and you can basically wander around and do them in your own time like the classic game, the main difference being they have levels attached now. (but I’m already almost level 16 and the highest quest I’ve seen in Kingsmouth so far is 13, so that’s not really a huge obstacle).

      I haven’t gone into later zones or anything, so linearity may crop back up in future but it’s not as rigid as it initially looks.

  12. internisus says:

    I bought the original on Steam ages ago, and I have most of its “issue” expansions, as well. Just never got around to it. This (very helpful) review leaves me in the strange position of half-wanting to go and play that older version of the game even though it’s over and won’t be receiving any further content rather than jump into this new one. There’s a lot here that sounds terribly off-putting to me. I played Star Wars: The Old Republic long enough to know how unpleasant it is to see hooks for microtransactions all over the game design. Maybe if I just keep waiting it’ll get better.

    • malkav11 says:

      The patch scheduled for tomorrow should be a significant improvement but there’s still gonna be F2P hooks all over. We’ll see how things shake out from there.

      • Unclepauly says:

        It’s just the nature of the beast I’m afraid. F2p has to make money some how and that “some how” is assaulting your senses with hooks.

  13. skyst says:

    TSW was fantastic at launch. I was a huge fan of MMORPGs at the time and dove in with a group of friends for a month or so. The questing in the first town was a blast – it required you to get on the ole Internet and access websites made for the game to find clues. It all worked well until Googling the topics just led to TSW walkthroughs instead of the intended websites. There was an in-game browser too iirc that probably works better to avoid spoilers.

    The zones got worse and worse as the game went on. Egypt wasn’t great and Romania (I think?) was where it really went to shit. A few friends fell off, but our core made it to the elite dungeons, which were insanely hard. Eventually, the team crumbled and moved on. But what a month!

  14. Jaykera says:

    You know how you feel when you smell tequila years after a bad hangover ? I felt exactly that when I launched the game.

  15. Merus says:

    The weird thing to me is that if you were going to blow up The Secret World and relaunch it, the last thing you’d do is keep depressing Kingsmouth Island as the first three zones of the game. The main quest is badly paced and if it just looks like dark zombies with Lovecraft stuff mixed in, you’re not going to give people the best of impressions.

  16. neofit says:

    To me the main problem of TSW was not that it tried to tell a story, or whatever TSW players use to belittle those who didn’t like the game. I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it didn’t have the worst combat system in the MMO-sphere.

    From the limited number of usable skills as stated above, to the repetitive 1-1-1-2-3 or whatever button presses, to the complete lack of ranged abilities, everything about it sucked IMO. The game is set in a modern setting. If I imagine I had to choose today a weapon to go fight something, I won’t go for a sword, let’s be serious, I won’t go for a book of ancient fairy tales either, I’ll go for a gun. But heck, even with an assault rifle, from the second second of an encounter, you are meleeing a group of linked mobs. And it doesn’t matter how interesting and intriguing the rest of the game is, you still spend 90% of your time fighting in this crappy system.

    At the beginning of the article I read “new combat system”. “Nice!” thought I and kept on reading. Then I reached the “Combat tweaks feel minor” part and figured I had just wasted my time.

  17. Snargelfargen says:

    Is this a game you should spend money on?

    Short answer, no.
    Buying in-game currency is a waste of money, as the exchange rate is terrible. The caches don’t drop anything close to being worth the price of the keys. Seriously, you’re not missing out on anything.
    If you want to play through the game for the story (which you should, it’s great), don’t subscribe as a patron. Patrons get showered with extra xp and skill points whill will massively overlevel you for the game’s content. It will be boring. XP rewards are already extremely generous as it is, grinding is not a thing at all.
    If you’re in the endgame and see yourself hanging around for a while, Patron becomes worthwhile. Amongst all the convenience bonuses you get one cache key a day (which means Patron’s real money to key exchange rate is better than buying aurum directly).

    I really hope they introduce some more sensible monetization as I would like to buy some pretty baubles, and support the game in the off chance that they finish work on the second season. It doesn’t really make sense right now though.

  18. AmazingPotato says:

    I really, really want to like this game because it has so much stuff in it that’s right up my alley, but I’ve never played something so keen to drop exposition on you whilst remaining utterly bewildering:

    A magic bee flies in your mouth and now you’ve got powers, unless you chose a non-powered archetype…in which case you’re still shown to have powers? And the tutorial is several dream(?) sequences before someone lets themselves into your apartment, and either knocks out your comically mute and blank-faced avatar, or info dumps all over you.

    Then you’re on the streets, where you’re now privy to the secret world behind everything, except it can’t be that secret because loads of colourful nutters are running about. It’s barmy and – before I come across as grumpy – it is quite endearing, though perplexing. The monster designs are excellent though, and obviously making it ostensibly free deflects some criticism. I’m looking forward to coming across more investigative missions as they all sound brilliant.

    • malkav11 says:

      There are no non-powered archetypes. Even if you’re toting around guns you’re still enhancing them with magic. Also you’re functionally immortal because of the bees.

      Also, the thing about the population density is that you are respectively running around 1) very small neighborhoods in big cities where the weirdos hang out and 2) small isolated areas where major supernatural incursions are ongoing and everyone that wasn’t clued in or capable of dealing with this stuff is already super dead. It still seems questionable that certain things (e.g. the massive Filth outbreak in Tokyo) could have been covered up but we never spend time in civilian populations in the wider world so I don’t think we actually know very much about the “mundane” part of the Secret World’s setting.

      • AmazingPotato says:

        I’ve just hit level 12 so I’ve started to see what you mean now, malkav. The game is definitely growing on me, and (surprisingly) gives me a similar feeling to playing Dark Souls, in terms of “Oh there’s a new monster nearby, I want to get a good look at it but I’m scared to get too close” haha

  19. DoctorMemory says:

    I tried to play The Secret World with a friend in 2015. We got into one of the early dungeons (I think it was Digging Deeper) and she was zipping around completing some puzzles while I was searching a side tunnel for an item for one of the puzzles. We ended up in this situation where I didn’t get credit for something she did for a puzzle even though we were in the same instance. It struck me as very counter productive for an MMO and I pretty much ended my time with TSW at that point. Does anyone know if that was a glitch or if it was an issue that has been fixed. I hope it wasn’t a “feature” of the MMO.

  20. hfm says:

    Lack of proper 4K support is currently killing it for me.

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