Chaos Theory: The Secret World introduces Issue #12: To the Dark Tower Below

We’ve known for quite some time that The Secret World’s next issue would be dungeon-based. We also knew it would take place under the Orochi Tower. Today, the devs shared much more information during a livestream, everything from unveiling the Issue #12 cover to discussing the ins and outs of the dungeon, raid, and lair changes. Lead Designer Romain Amiel and Lead Systems Designer Andrew Ryker also revealed that the issue will be split into two separate releases so players can delve in sooner — as early as mid-August. It’s important to note that the cost for the issue will be a one-time thing for both parts; once you buy it you’ll have access to both halves regardless of the time between releases.

What all is in store for us TSW fans? Check out this highlight of the incoming features. And if you missed the livestream but still want to watch it for yourself, we’ve embedded it for your convenience.

To the Dark Tower Below

Every TSW issue has a theme, and #12’s is all about the Orochi and their infamous tower. Or more precisely, underneath the tower. Entitled To the Dark Tower Below, the major components of this issue are the two dungeons that will both be below the Orochi Tower in Kaidan that opened up in Issue #11. Both will have story missions to lead players there where they will face three bosses and three mini-bosses. The two will also be available in Elite and Nightmare mode versions. The Elite version offers non-upgradeable blue 10.5 QL gear to help those players still progressing through the game still. Ryker said this loot will “help [players] bridge the gap between where blue gear ends now and where purple gear starts.” The devs also noted that the Elite version is geared toward players with AEGIS controllers and capacitors at QL 5. On the fun side, this version also has the new weapon skins. In contrast, the Nightmare mode will have better loot (purples!) and be ramped up in difficulty.

What’s first on the docket? Players may have already noticed the elevator in the tower’s lobby labeled The Factory. Before, nothing happened upon entering (I know, I tried!). However, once the first half of Issue #12 is released, those who’ve purchased the issue will be able to use that elevator to descend into the basement where this first dungeon awaits, filled with plenty of Orochi enemies to fight against. Amiel also hinted that players will find a few familiar faces in the mix. The devs showed off a variety of concept art and screenshots of this dungeon; as you’d expect from the Orochi and all their technological toys, The Factory has a very clean technological look and feel complete with consoles and conveyor belts. There’s also a tank boss. One thing Amiel emphasized is that the dungeon is not complete in these images or the video fly-though; the lighting especially is still a work-in-progress.

A few weeks after The Factory is released, the second dungeon will open up. Also underneath the tower, this one is less about facing Orochi and more about facing their experimental handiwork. Amiel showed concept art of one of the bosses, a cybernetic-enhanced werewolf.

Oh, and here’s a little dungeon-related tidbit that the devs slipped in: the removal of dungeon lock-out timers! All dungeons throughout the game will allow players to enter regardless of when they last ran it, helping players to fill groups when members drops.

Raid revamp

Issue #12 will bring a new raid as well as a revamp to existing ones. The key requirement for Eidelon of the Outer Dark will be removed, so it will no longer be tied to the overland Lairs (don’t worry, there’s a plan for those keys!). Like the New York Raid, it will now have a three-day cool-down timer. Devs also noted that the rewards were upgrades and the exploits fixed. The New York Raid, on the other hand, won’t have any changes.

Have you missed Flappy? A new raid featuring the filth-bombing bird is getting introduced for all TSW players, not just those who purchase issue #12. Based on the giant 40-man Whispering Tide event raid, this version has been scaled down to 10-man. Amiel said this version, however, will be more difficult, and will even exceed the difficulty of the New York Raid. Even if you weren’t a fan of this boss before, facing Flappy this time around can net players some new rewards and new vanity items.

Speaking of raids, there are also Nightmare versions of all the raids coming out, although those wont be available until the second half of issue #12’s release. Additionally, the Nightmare modes will only be available to those who have purchased the issue.

Lair love

So what happens to those keys that are no longer needed to summon The Lurker in the Eidelon raid? Don’t throw them away! The keys will now summon world bosses, not unlike the golems players are familiar with from the anniversary celebrations. These monsters are powerful: Amiel noted that these bosses will require an entire zone of players to defeat. As an incentive to jump in and help, everyone who participates in the battle will receive a bag reward once the boss is killed. As a bonus, the group that summons the boss will get a special reward on top of that. Players do not need Issue #12 to participate in Lairs; they are free to everyone who owns the game.

Currency changes and more

Although the new dungeons and raids are the heart of the issue, they aren’t the only changes coming with To the Dark Tower Below. The following are features that all players will have access to.

First up: currency revamp. Anyone who has played through a few zones knows that the currency wallet is chock full of various sequins, PvP tokens, scenario tokens, and such. What’s happening is that all of these are being unified into just black bullion. This will allow players to embark on the same progress path and receive the rewards to acquire gear regardless of which play style they prefer, be it scenarios, nightmare dungeons, missions, or what have you. The one exception to that will be a new currency called Marks of the Pantheon. These are basically the new black bullion; players will earn these for participating in end-game activities (raids and Nightmare dungeons).

In addition to all these changes, there will be a cap as to how many marks and bullion a player can have at one time as well as a cap on how many marks can be obtained in a week. Because of this, the passive rewards in Fusang are going away; instead, there will be rotating missions at the anima wells to take and complete. Say bye-bye to AFK PvP rewards! When the patch happens, any excess will be converted to PAX, so Ryker encouraged players who want to get their full value of all earned currency now to spend it down.

Another change is an increase in the progression cap. Weapons and talismans will be upgradeable to 10.7 when the first dungeon releases, as opposed to the current 10.5. Glyphs, however, will remain at Ql 10.5. Speaking of quality levels, in PvP the equal footing buff will increase power to QL 11. Additionally, all Venice gear is converting to custom gear that can be upgraded up to 10.7.

The devs admit that the group finder tool is pretty underutilized, so some changes are coming to it. One is to allow players to players to write in a comment field to add more details as to what they are looking for. It will also be expanded beyond just end-game activities and let people advertise for help in missions, looking for a cabal, and even social events like parties.

Not sure what you want to do when you log in? The devs have just the thing for you: daily challenges! Players will get a heads-up to complete certain scenarios, dungeons, missions (including PvP ones) to earn rewards. On top of that, there will be weekly challenges to participate in. Those who complete challenges will earn Marks of the Pantheon.

Wait, what if you can’t get a group to complete a dungeon for your daily/weekly challenge? Don’t worry, the devs are addressing that as well. When the second half of the issue releases, players will have access to a dungeon finder tool that will create groups automatically.

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113 Comments on "Chaos Theory: The Secret World introduces Issue #12: To the Dark Tower Below"

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Flume
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Flume

Quote: “Say bye-bye to AFK PvP rewards!” Thank f*ing god! I could care less about some of the new stuff, as long as those AFK lard-asses get their supply cut off. Go do some actual game work for a change and shut up your whinging about having to put in actuall *gasp* EFFORT! No one will be crying to see you go

arac666
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arac666

New Dungeons (Lower ones) would be nice. Some between every QL. Not everyone is high end and rushes through Nightmare Dungeons. Normal and Elites should be added. Some cool places like hospitals or asylums – back to the roots. Some new dungeon in Kingsmouth.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

deeggale CharcoalCrow MJ Guthrie Midgetsnowman Yeah, gear is a red herring. The DF and dailies are the real concern.

deeggale
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deeggale

CharcoalCrow MJ Guthrie Midgetsnowman  I dunno, I think I will have to see how all this pans out.

However, if TSW was anti vertical progression, we wouldn’t have the augment system and we wouldn’t have 10.5 gear. To make it worse, these two progressions required very specific consumption of very specific content. This doesn’t even include aegis which is a vertical grind in and of itself.

What seems to be happening is some normalization of the different end game progression points such that you can play the way that most interests you and still progress in the various areas in some reasonable fashion. Now, you have to engage specific areas for specific progression points. Hate scenarios? God forbid you wish to make a dent in your augments. After the update, you just do want best interests you.

Players you enjoy and play the instances and raid currently now get 10.7 to strive for in addition to more challenging instances and raids to accommodate. This is a good thing.

This is far from the power creep we’ve seen in other mmos which add new tiers ever 3-12mos.   I don’t think adding 10.7 now since the addition of 10.5 is such a bad thing.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

MJ Guthrie CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman These are a collection of sweeping changes designed to make the game like every other themepark MMO out there.
I do not, for example, see how TSW’s commitment to tough fights and difficult NM content has ever been benefited by power creep (including the.5 initial upgrades). Nor do I see how adding in a “no investment” Dungeon Finder will do anything aside from force the devs to re-balance around the Dungeon Finder.
And that last bit is most concerning.
What do we honestly believe is going to happen? People ignore the DF? That doesn’t happen, ever. The majority of players will cease any effort to communicate or plan and will zerg-rush every dungeon. The usual, tired argument comes out then that because so many DF groups aren’t able to clear the content due to mechanics, they’ll adjust.
Or the other way it’ll happen is that there’s the huge shift from non-hardcore content being balanced around reasonable Q10 green/blue which will now get balanced to 10.5 because 10.5 is the new “casual norm”. NM dungeons get nerfed de facto by the normalization of .5 upgrades which trivialize the T1 NM content already. Lose-lose.
TSW exists on a very well balanced effort-reward matrix. You need to actually try to get to the point where you can stop trying. This is throwing all that out the window while also making the power differential between players even larger.

But I really don’t (to address your point) think that “because it is” is any sort of good argument for why we shouldn’t be critical of this. Joel said, explicitly, that he found vertical progression a “dead end” which is a very specific statement. Just more and more evidence that TSW is losing the bits that set it apart from other games and are embracing the sort of gamification, no-imagination approach where devs hold your hand, tell you what to do and comfort you with content nerfs when you get sad.

And all of this, mark my words, is in prep for a lobby-based game. No more big playfields, more instancing, etc., is all confirmed. This is pretty much the same as SWTOR 2.0, just with a slower, less confident rollout. 
Unless you know things we don’t. The evidence seems clear and concise that TSW is changing what it is, at the core. I want the game Ragnar and Joel made… not what focus tests well in a room of people better off to play WoW anyway.

FeveredDreamer
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FeveredDreamer

CharcoalCrow I agree wholeheartedly regarding the addition of more vertical progression… ugh.

crawlkill
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crawlkill

interesting. for a long time there it looked like TSW would never really get “MMOified.” cool to see them implementing features to make it feel a little more modern. I adore the game, but after I’ve blown through all the story stuff I rarely find motivation to log in on a daily basis. sounds like moves in the direction of ameliorating that.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

jackinthegreen mbbrazen Wandris the thing is, eventually it stops being difficult regardless. I can guarantee you for people in full 10.5 and nightwatch signets and glyphs, that raids are no longer hard, theyre just a matter of carrying out instructions you have burned into your muscle memory.

deeggale
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deeggale

mbbrazen  I kind of disagree in regards to your statements about daily challenges.  This gives players who don’t run dungeons regularly or don’t enjoy them a way to get MoP – albeit more slowly. 

I do think the token adjustments have the potential to a create a more sand-boxy end game for many players.  Because I find I enjoy TSW most when I dabble  in a bit of everything, I never feel like I make substantial progress in anything.  I hope these changes keep players such as myself playing more regularly.

jackinthegreen
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jackinthegreen

mbbrazen jackinthegreen Wandris Yeah but my worry is for how long will that content be more difficult . Maybe it will be for a good while but every time I have seen this happen in a game in the past its never stopped there . I am just wary of any developer that does this sort of thing . Its why I wouldn’t play any future Blizzard mmo and its why I wont play another Funcom game .

Bango
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Bango

EricCartmanboy I’ve always felt that my character is homeless – a wanderer in the mould of Dr Bruce Banner – moving from place to place in search of answers. Now, perhaps an apartment (or a flat, as we call it in the UK) at our respective faction bases might be a good idea but having somewhere outside of that in what is a very dangerous world seems to go against the main story of the game.

Bango
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Bango

I absolutely love this game. I’m still not in Tokyo yet (Shadowy Forest atm) but mission series such as The Search for Tyler Freeborn is some of the best story-led content I’ve come across in any MMO. Also the voice-acted cutscenes have been outperforming SWTORs for three years now. That Funcom are still able to turn out decent content including new dungeons puts to shame those other publishers (looking at you Turbine) who neglect their games and allow their communities to get hoodwinked into accepting 3rd best.

So, well done Funcom and here’s hoping for another 3 years!

MJ Guthrie
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MJ Guthrie

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman Look st the first part of your evidence. “”I actually don’t really want to commit to more raids until we see how the first is received.” Well, they have seen it, and find it valuable to do now. 
Not only that, but keep in mind two things. One, Joel is not running the game. Two, he did help lay out the story for a long time in the future AND where the direction of the game is going (I believe they told me it was Issue #22 — no joke). So I am pretty sure this was already planned for, with his blessing.  And even if it wasn’t, he’s not responsible for the health of TSW now so his old statements don’t necessarily have bearing on the current game.

BigMikeyOcho
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BigMikeyOcho

And here I was excited to hear about Issue 12…. ah well. Good to hear the dungeon runners get something this time, though. Might be the first Issue I straight up don’t buy, unless they announce more than just dungeons. Ahhh who am I kidding. I have a lifetime account… I’ll still pick it up, even if I ‘ll never play it.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman Armsbend to be fair, pretty much nobody playing an MMO is anybody important. In the grand scheme of things, who the shit actually cares about world first raid achievements on any level other than being mildly impressed?

deeggale
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deeggale

Really really really looking forward to these changes… especially the token revamp because it was getting seriously messing.  And,  I like the idea of being able to do whatever I want for any given session and feel like I’m making progress towards something.  I’ve always felt like the end-game progression was just way to fragmented.  Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow Armsbend Exactly that. I’m an elitist asshole who knows you aren’t worth the digital footprint to make your toon. Fuck your defensiveness, this is a shitty direction for people who aren’t WoW-whores.
I am so much better than you. I work in development and share that goddamn insight with you all. But assholes like you mean I have no interest in telling you what dev statements mean or providing anything but a basic idea of “OMG you’re a badass!” such is really the issue.

Because if you’re not “top dawg” you’re nothing. And you’re not. You’re nothing.

ArtemisiaWS
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ArtemisiaWS

BenesHacha Because the way it is now it’s pretty useless.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman I’d wager it has a unique story because nobody else has thought to make a modern horror/fantasy/black comedy  MMO (except the Eve devs, but we all saw how that turned out)

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman Armsbend

Just like they made you feel like a badass for mastering remembering pattern recognitions so you could walk around slamming it in people’s faces how much better you were than them?

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow Armsbend Yeah, that’s the problem. Everything you wrote is the problem. It is incoherent and self-absorbed.
Well, good thing gear levels are getting artificial boost! Make you feel like a badass again in your welfare purples.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman mbbrazen Styopa You still die a lot. I can assure you of that. I’ve gotten to orochi towe just this week, in mostly greens, blues, and 10.1 purples. and its been me dying so often I’ve burned myself down to being penniless on repair bills.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman Armsbend need? no.

Because whats the fucking point to playing a videogame where you’re metaphorically spinning your wheels while the guys doing one specific activity can walk right up to the mobs you are and blow them up in seconds?

You worry about the game becoming too generic because the game might change its soul? I worry about the game running out of players because the current design expects those of us who dont like nightmare dungeons to cheerfully spin our wheels forever at a single point in the gear curve and be happy with our lot simply because we dont enjoy nightmare dungeons, and if we dare speak about it, being called entitled as though liking one specific game type entitles them to being stronger than we can ever be.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow Armsbend Yeah, because if you aren’t doing NM dungeons you don’t need purple gear. Such entitlement.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow mbbrazen Styopa Nah.
TSW is a game where you used to die a lot. Now you don’t. TSW used to be a game that challenged you. Now it will hand you raid-level progression for doing QL10green tasks.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman But it has a unique story in large part because it employs a unique gameplay philosophy in the development. We’re gonna see daily story missions and the curation of what was a wonderfully open play experience.
I’m becoming more and more convinced TSW will be a PvP game. And that is assuming that after the insanely low sellpoint of #12 they’ll throw out 13 as a PvP issue. I just don’t see me playing a game that changed its soul three years in. I’ve done that before and I won’t put myself through that again.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

ehh. I suppose that could be a problem for a player like you, yeah. me, as long as it continues being the most unique story I’ve ever seen in an MMO, I’m fine

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman BalsBigBrother The currency changes are totally positive.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow This statement which addressed what you claim: “I’d personally prefer to think more about what we can do to expand the game horizontally because the gear treadmill is ultimately a dead end. You have to throw developer resources at it and widening the gap between casual and hardcore for a long time.”

Actually… are we on the same side here? I’m totally for the ease of 10.5 for everyone if that is the direction. I have issue with 10.7 and QL11 gear. I have issues with Dungeon Finders and Daily Quests.
Nothing in this issue is designed to actually level playfields aside from the PvP EF buff. The casual/hardcore will just get bigger with QL11 and they, meanwhile, leave their largest progression wheel untouched. Augment availability in endgame is the only thing they needed to do.

In any case, TSW seem on a path that makes it more like every other game out there. The lack of DFs and dailies were why I played, in large part. I can’t condone the game losing its soul so gratuitously in search of a population that was already rising.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman evidence of what exactly? I’m just saying its my opinion that Joel, while well intentioned,  never seems to have noticed theres alwasys been a wide gulf  between casuals and non-casuals since day 1,. unless you wanna argue theres no real difference between 10.0 and 10.5

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman Armsbend yeah i do. My opinion is that we’;ve had vertical progression since launch. Its just stalled at a state of “you dont get to vertically progress unless you do nightmare dungeons”

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman mbbrazen Styopa I said ql0

The biggest problem with Aegis isnt high end drops. Its that at the low end when you first hit tokyo, if you fdont have a great build and pretty decent gear, you are going to die. continually, and most of the green capacitors that drop will expect you to have ql2-4 controllers to make any use of them

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow Armsbend Then you don’t actually have an opinion on this anyway.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman mbbrazen Styopa What? I have all QL9 AEGIS capacitors. All from drops. They’re most common from keys.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman Armsbend TSW’s strength is the storyline, and the combat wheel. or at least thts what i view its strengths as. I view nightmare dungeons and raids as distractions from making more plot heavy missions and stories.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow Why? Evidence, man. Back up your damn statements with more than hypotheticals.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow Armsbend It is a shift that gives the game what every other generic MMO themepark has. TSW’s strength was in not being the game everyone has played sixteen times already. Now it will be.
I have a physical disability that prevents me from really running “hardcore content” so don’t play some sort of “you’re an elitist” card.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman I can take it seriously and still disagree with him.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow  Look, if you think you know better than the guy who used to run the game… by all means. I’m saying that the Lead Designer who saved the game calls exactly what Titly is doing “ultimately a dead end”.

I happen to agree with him and you don’t win an argument by throwing up your hands and ignoring actual evidence. You don’t get to throw Joel’s statement out. You have to take it seriously.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman Armsbend

I agree its a shift. I think its a good shift though, because obviously, a shift like this caters to people like me who are happy about the thought I can go play through every single mission I skipped in transylvania, search out every buzzing glowie I missed, anbd get rewarded with the same gear as people running dungeons nonstop. It allows people like me to play what we enjoy without feeling like we’re handicapping ourselves.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman Okay? and? designs change. Maybe the data they got showed a lot of people stalling out at 10.1 because they saw nightmare as a wall not worth climbing? I sure as hell did.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow Armsbend Then you shouldn’t care about any of this.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

Midgetsnowman CharcoalCrow Don’t start that. Here’s a quote from Joel on the design philosophy: 
“I actually don’t really want to commit to more raids until we see how the first is received. Raids are very very expensive content and they are really a form of cheap vertical progression – in that you can force people to do them over and over again for small amounts of reward. I’d personally prefer to think more about what we can do to expand the game horizontally because the gear treadmill is ultimately a dead end. You have to throw developer resources at it and widening the gap between casual and hardcore for a long time.” -Joel (http://www.dualshockers.com/2012/10/29/interview-the-secret-world-game-director-joel-bylos-casts-light-on-the-future-of-the-game/)

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Armsbend what makesd TSW engaging to me is the story. The mood, the backstory,  and the mission design. I couldnt give two fucks about whether hardcore players are sad that they arent the elite few who can survive doing a mission without dying.

CharcoalCrow
Guest
CharcoalCrow

Armsbend CharcoalCrow That doesn’t matter. The vast majority of players will DF and then future content gets balanced around that data.
I understand this is slightly hyperbole, but I think this is going to be TSW’s NGE. Everything they’re doing is making the game more like a generic themepark, not doubling on what makes TSW unique and engaging.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow jackinthegreen Estranged Because of course, the combat system and the story certainly werent the main elements that set the game apart, and the rest certainly didnt just make it look like a dated as fuck 8 year old style themepark.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

BalsBigBrother On the bright side, the currency changes mean doing the stuff you do like nets you the same shit as if you were doing nightmares.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

mbbrazen Styopa the problem is, they rarely drop ql0, which means most capacitor drops you get are worthless as fuck until you’ve been grinding in kaidan for weeks anyhow.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow Armsbend You do however, need a lot of build advice if you want to last more than a mionute on kaidan, purples or no.

a newbie who just left transulvania afterr buying the game 2 weeks ago will get wrecked in tokyo without a damned good build.

Midgetsnowman
Guest
Midgetsnowman

CharcoalCrow the thing is, the “lack of vertical progression” was never true,

Dont like raids and or nightmare dungeons? then you were stuck at 10.1 forever (outside pvp gear)

Dont like grinding story missions in kaidan? Good luck ever having enough power to survive Tokyo mobs

if anything, the new system has even less “vertical progression” given now theres a baseline of gear everyone who likes any aspect of the game can reach, with a cutting edge that everyone can also reach if they put in the effort for pantheon marks..

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