Secret World Legends’ Dawn of the Morninglight expansion released

Smile for the camera

Nine months after its free-to-play reboot as Secret World Legends, Funcom’s globe-trotting MMO of modern myth and magic finally has a second new location to explore. For those who have finished the main story and are hungry for more, you’ve got a new assignment out in South Africa, and giant glowing hyenas are probably the lesser evil out there compared to the Morninglight cult.

The Dawn of the Morninglight expansion is a linear continuation of the main story arc, so you’ll have to have gotten through the three original acts, plus the massive vertical cyber-dungeon crawl that was Orochi Tower in Tokyo. This time you’re back on the trail of the Morninglight cult; outwardly halfway between Scientologists and hippies but clearly hiding their fair share of dark secrets. You first crossed paths with Morninglight way back at the start of the game in their magically warded camp in the woods of New England, but they’ve got a big new operation going on in South Africa that you’re going to infiltrate.

Recent updates to the game have also brought some pleasant new changes and systems. While your gear will eventually determine your role once you start getting into late-game specializations, you can use the new Anima Allocation menu to assign your basic stats between Damage, Toughness and Healing at any point once you hit level 20, allowing you to adapt your character on the fly for group or solo quests without having to respec everything. A feature I’d like to see more MMOs borrow, honestly.

Most recently they also added the Agent Network system. A little minigame letting you build a stable of expendable minions and send them off on little side-adventures that reward you with experience and money and (in the long-term) buffs bestowed upon your character by high-level agents. It’s extraneous fluff, really, but it gives you a little something extra to do in-between hiking between locations not linked by convenient fast-travel points. Quite a few other MMOs have similar systems, but more little snippets of story are always appreciated, even if they’re purely text-based.

I’m still sadly quite early on in Secret World Legends, with most of my MMO time being poured into catching up on Final Fantasy XIV. I’m sure some of you are avid Secret World fans – what do you have to say about this new expansion? Does it have much meat on its bones, or does it feel like a relatively slight episodic update? Plus, the most important questions of all for anything Secret World related: How do you feel the writing and puzzle design stacks up now that Funcom has replaced much of their original writing staff?

9 Comments

  1. SaintAn says:

    Dang, that’s two articles here today that called a game an MMO when it’s not. And you did so good not calling Warframe an MMO the other day.

    • malkav11 says:

      It’s almost as though your definition of an MMO doesn’t match the entire rest of the world’s.

    • markzero says:

      “Massively multiplayer” becomes a matter of debate. SWL bills itself as a shared-world RPG, but they mostly took the MMORPG TSW base and added server instance limits. You can still get up to 40 people for the loot pinatas in Agartha.

  2. ChocolateWaffle says:

    I beat the expansion yesterday after a few hours. The start was a bit wobbly, but quickly ramped up into a hype finale. Tokyo is still at the top of my list, but I’m happy to say this new expansion is on par with the previous content, minus a few rough edges.

    I hope it performs well and brings in more players, because this game is an experience worth going through at least once, and I eagerly await future updates now that they are back on full throttle working on it.

  3. pizzapicante27 says:

    Im glad this MMO game is doing well enough that it got an expansion.

    Seems the new model fits it well.

  4. zaldar says:

    So the story has not suffered since it went free to play? The other story based MMO – TOR I would say the story suffered greatly when it went free to play – and what I played of this they seemed to remove some of the thought provoking puzzles (or at least toned them down) and relied more on jumping puzzles – which the game does very poorly. Would love to get back into playing this but the roleplay, especially the roleplay through quests and dungeons (as opposed to sitting around in a bar and chatting) community seems to have completely disappeared.

    • Josh W says:

      I’d also like to hear about this at some point, as this should be the first time the new story team has worked on their own, not building off previous work.

    • markzero says:

      I don’t remember *more* jumping puzzles in this iteration. It’s possible, though, that some of the action missions that were optional in TSW were rolled into the SWL storyline and thus made mandatory.

      The old TSW faction roleplay has all but disappeared, most of the faction-specific missions are gone, and the best PVP zones were removed and nobody plays the remaining one, really. I don’t know what roleplay you did in TSW dungeons and quests, though.

  5. markzero says:

    I like the new area, but it seems pretty small. Those who are familiar with the old TSW “issue” system of expansions will probably agree that it feels like a new issue, but not a whole lot more. TSW got around 3 issues (and some “side stories”) out of Tokyo, but, spoilers, apparently this will be the only one from this zone. Or at least the storyline tells us of another country to look forward to, if they tack more missions onto this later.

    There’s some funny bits, some surprise guest appearances and new NPCs from voice actors that are beloved by players, so you definitely should read the storyline if you made it this far, but the combat, especially in the main story missions, doesn’t seem any harder than Tokyo. If anything, most of it is easier. Someone on another forum said they thought it showed the zone was originally set up to use AEGIS (an extra system you had to master in TSW’s Tokyo, but that was taken out for the reboot) and it certainly feels that way. Which makes me wonder how much of it was already done before they shifted resources to work on the reboot. It’s ridiculously easy to farm most of the monsters even without a relevant quest for the kill total achievements. Oh, and spoilers, it feels heavy-handed having your faction leader get angry at you for getting into this. (Maybe that sets the groundwork for some more conflict yet to come?)

    Is it fun to play? Yes, probably more so if you’re a newbie or been away for a while.
    Was it worth the wait for those who played TSW for years? Not exactly, but it’s here now, and necessary to move the story forward.
    Is the side grind, after the main story, worth it? Probably not really, but the repeating missions that give you the new currency are very fast and easy. The new outfits from that currency aren’t super, either, but the pets might be neat.
    Speaking of which, you can get some Collectors Edition exclusive pets and outfits, and to some of us that’s a metagame, itself. Still weighing whether to buy it.

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