Sometimes, it's quite easy to forget about The Secret World. Don't get me wrong: that's not to call it a forgettable experience. Rather, its blend of witty wiles and bone-chilling atmosphere wasn't enough to propel it to the same heights as comparatively household names like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars. Sadly, the main thing that's occasionally shoved it back into the spotlight as of late has been internal turmoil at Funcom - not people finally taking notice of what is a fairly delightful (though certainly flawed) experience. And that's a shame, because it sounds like Funcom's chief fungineers haven't stopped dreaming big just because of a few nightmarish turns for the worse.
Adam, of course, wormed his way into an early version of the Big Apple a couple months ago, and he came away quite impressed. Now, though, Funcom's taken to its blog to reveal more details, and it sounds like its staying very mindful of the fact that this is, well, The Secret World - not some other garden variety MMO.
"TSW's open skill system and unusually horizontal progression make designing a raid extremely challenging. How do you provide meaningful tank challenges when potentially everyone could be taunting? How can healing be kept meaningful over a long fight with renewable resources? We faced some of these when designing the launch dungeons, of course, but more players and higher expectations make everything harder. I think we've hit a good balance of requiring specific roles, and challenging all roles in various different ways through the encounters. Get ready to flex your build-making muscles."
The idea, then, is provide mechanical difficulty instead of requiring truly high level gear. The New York raid is, after all, key to the main story, so it'll be doable by a wider range of players (stats should be roughly equivalent to nightmare versions of early dungeons) - at least, so long as they're skilled and smart. Thankfully, there are also rewards for higher-end players that "absolutely require perfect coordination and the best equipment available in the game," so long-timers hopefully won't have to snooze through their first raid.
Funcom's still not saying exactly when it'll be ready for primetime, but "soon" seems like a good bet given that we're just about due for Issue 4 and the subway-spelunking raid's been deep in development for quite a while now.