Chaos Theory: The Secret World says sayonara to 2016

Have you ever had a year that you looked back on and all you could really say was, Hey, I made it through. I've had years like that, when many things either go wrong, go a totally different way than hoped/planned, or just don't really go anywhere at all. But you know what? Not going anywhere is better than going away! It may seem sometimes like the only thing to celebrate is the fact that you are are actually still here, but that is reason enough to cheer.

The Secret World seems to have had just such a year. And by golly, it deserves three cheers just for hanging on. It may not have been the best year filled with fulfilled dreams and wishes, but it could have been worse. It could have been way, way worse: It could have not made it to 2017! So even though there were hiccups and disappointments, I am super glad I still have TSW to log into and play. And I am looking forward to 2017!

Get thee behind me, 2016!

It's kind of the popular thing right now to dog on 2016, especially since it felt like many iconic figures were taken from us. Had we lost The Secret World, I probably would have been right there with folks, thrusting a pitchfork at the year and calling it a monster. But I don't really think the year was the devil. It was certainly no saint, but it wasn't evil incarnate. (I am still glad it is over!)

For the brand-new folks joining TSW, 2016 was awesome! The implementation of a free trial did entice new players into the game, and those players got to experience the eerie creepiness of the atmosphere for the first time. They got to discover investigation and sabotage missions while exploring the story. They definitely yelped at least once or twice while playing in the dark, and had their jaws drop a time or two at the twists and turns of the various tales in game. And then there were all the holiday events to take part in, with oodles of loot to try and acquire. Even without going through any additional issues (6-15), there was plenty of tasty content to chow down on.

For veterans, however, the meal looked quite different. New content offerings were pretty sparse last year. The year initially looked promising with the release of four new side missions in Tokyo along with two new rare bosses in one update and the addition of Shambala to the PvP arenas in another. Veterans also felt the love in February when the new membership rewards system launched (although there was a bit of a brouhaha over the membership badge.) In March we got our first DLC issue of the year, Issue #14 Call of the Nameless. Things seemed good.

But then the momentum was gone. We understand why content creation was slowed down so significantly, but that didn't mean we didn't mourn the loss. Only one other issue was released in 2016, and it was just a bundling of already released content with one additional mission. Sure, for those who hadn't bought all the side stories previously, it was new content to delve into, but for those who already purchased and played them, it wasn't much at all. And that happened clear back in May. June saw the introduction of the Museum of the Occult housing-esque feature. There were also changes to PvP -- most notably a revamp of Fusang -- along with changes to elite skills.

But there hasn't been much in the way of content since the July anniversary, despite the fact that we learned that Funcom secured funding just beforehand. Hey, at least we didn't have to have the fear of losing the game as we once feared in 2015! Two issues in one year (or just one really if you already owned the side stories) is pretty darn sparse. On a positive note, we did have a couple more morsels of content, like September's Doomboard challenge and October/November's Samhain event with the new raid investigation. Other content, like the 80's items and the new Krampusnacht snowball mini-game, felt too much like being forced into the cash shop. And while The Halloween addition of the spin-off Hide and Shriek was a fun diversion with some lore, it didn't really tie into TSW like its predecessor The Park did.

So yeah -- for veterans, The Secret World had far from a banner year. But it did have a full year and is still going, and for that we can all be very, very grateful.

Hellllooooo 2017!

Call me an optimist (you wouldn't be wrong), but having lived through my own bouts of just-hanging-in-there years, I can say that the next year invariably turns out to be much better. I think that will be the case with TSW. In fact, I think we are moving from a famine year into a feast one. OK, almost anything will feel like a feast after 2016, but I really think we will start seeing more content.

How can I have this confidence? We know that the studio has secure funding. Funding is good -- it means development (admittedly, I am extrapolating that this development will also occur on TSW and not just new titles). We know that seasons two and three are already written. Hey, having the story is like half the battle! And we know that Funcom is planning "a large update to the game to be released during the first half of 2017."  So maybe we are inferring an expansion-like update here, but you know what? I am going to pull for that! I will believe it is possible until I am told otherwise. (Which, by the way, we are supposed to be getting more news on here at the beginning of 2017, so I am eagerly awaiting it.) Large to me says bigger than we've had lately, and since we've had DLCs, I say large will be a TSW version of an expansion. Besides, naming aside, it specifically said major upgrade to content; I don't care if it turns out to not be an expansion of sorts, I will be quite happy with major content!

So I am looking ahead to the next 12 months with an eager anticipation. The devs continue to be innovative, and they continue to care. That there is a recipe for good things. And I think the planets are aligning better for more success. If they aren't, I think I have come across a few incantations during my research for investigation missions that I might be able to prod them into better alignment. Hey, we all do what we can.

Here's to 2017!

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38 comments
SwobyJ
SwobyJ

My TSW 2016: Aw time flew by, I'm almostt glad they basically just did 1-2 Issues and that Museum.

BigMikeyOcho
BigMikeyOcho

I totally agree with you on all fronts. Though 2016 did see a lot of QoL improvements, especially for PvP players, like the introduction of equal footing (though it's far from perfect), shambala, and major tweaks to Fusang, the content side of things was minimal. We saw 3 issues in 2014, relative same amount in 2015, and then... 1 issue and an investigation mission in 2016. <Price is Right fail noise>

But I'm with you, I think the lack that we've seen in 2016 is the calm before the 2017 storm. I think we'll see something really big in 2017 that will make us forget 2016. Here's hoping, anyway. 

SteveFury
SteveFury

I think the general consensus here is that we love the idea of TSW but it's executed so poorly that most of us can't bring ourselves to play it..even if the lore is great.


I gave it a real shot. Combat NEEDS a re-haul..From animations to the overall feel of it. Character customization is nice but why do the environments look great but my character looks like it was ripped out of a ps2 game? I don't get the disconnect there.


This game has real potential but devs needs to work fast before they lose all momentum. 

Nemesis7884
Nemesis7884

@SteveFury you do realise how old this game is? the thing you are expecting is not going to happen, neither the money nor the man power is there if funcom survives at all...all you can expect is more of these issues coming out...im with you on everything you have said, but i dont think its a realistic expectation...


tsw should have run with a look like the telltale games, i think that could have worked well...and a combat system similar to gw2 which isnt to active and not to passive... but the mmo train has left the station and it doesnt seem it will come back any time soon

enamelizer
enamelizer

I am with you MJ, TSW is the only MMO that has kept me coming back to play it at least once a year since it launched. Every time I come back to it, it is like a breath of fresh air in a stagnant genre. I am really glad it and Funcom survived 2016 and were able to get the funding they needed.


Really looking forward to new content!

Karl_Hungus
Karl_Hungus

After six hours of trying to stomach this garbage game, I'm saying sayonara to TSW. I bought the deluxe edition while it was on sale recently and it's the most disappointing $18 I've ever spent on anything. I feel sorry for the writers etc that work on this game because while the concept of it is interesting, the execution of it on a technical level is a complete disservice to their creative efforts. The complete and utter shit storm that is this game's engine makes me appreciate SWTOR's engine in ways I thought I never would. I could really rant for paragraphs about many things like the character creation process which give you the options of douche and douche-ier, but I'm so dissatisfied with the overall experience of this game that I don't even want to spend the time to bash it.

Hurbster
Hurbster

Sadly I can't bring myself to finish the second half of Egypt. It's awful.

Dajhryne
Dajhryne

@Hurbster If you mean City of the Sun God and you're in mostly QL7 or 8 gear you should be able to easily skip ahead to Transylvania zones with anything even in the ballpark of a decent build since the NPE.

Dajhryne
Dajhryne

@Hurbster @Dajhryne You can't skip the main storyline but you can come back and do that later. You'll just be skipping most/all of the other zone quests in CotSG. Just go to the Besieged Farmlands portal, which is the first Transylvania zone, zone in and have at it.

xpsync
xpsync

Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!

JamesCrow
JamesCrow

my main and fav game (the nearest thing to my beloved gw1)

but you totally right, this year was awfull for vet players.


i really hope for expansion but first give us some news, all the last stream was "Lets Play TSW"

the good side is that i met alot of new players in 2016 than i saw before.


i think beside the story funcom need to make the game more MMORPG-ish.

like kaidan could have more cap of players because it doesn't have the lonely horror feeling like KM needed.


alot of players saying somthing about the combat but i like it, what i didn't like from day one is we don't have real pictures for items in our inventory and there is no really somthing like "the road for epic weapon skin" like they done with the custom of 100% skills & master dungeon achivment.

its not really matter but yes, i want to say the weapon skin change from 10.0 to 10.1+ - sry but i like when new players look at my charcter and write me a msg like "how you got this weapon"


but offcurse we all want new story and not those box from the cash shop.. anyway just glad this game is here to stay another year.

2015 was hard for funcom and carbine but all the people who said the games not going to see 2017, can sit quite and write the games not going to see 2018 XD

BillySpears
BillySpears

New combat animations and it'll make all the difference in the world

strangesands
strangesands

@BillySpears Question: when people slam the combat, is it animations they are referring to?  Name some MMOs that have what is considered "great combat," please.

ThunderJackson
ThunderJackson

Subjective of course but TERA, BDO, GW2, and Wildstar jump out for me.

Karl_Hungus
Karl_Hungus

@strangesands @BillySpears 

Animations won't save this game's piss poor combat. It's clunky and unresponsive. It plays like a browser game built with an outdated version of Flash.

Dajhryne
Dajhryne

@ThunderJackson Blade and Soul usually gets mentioned as well. Personally after playing all of those except Wildstar and B&S I still prefer TSW for the complete freedom of movement, the sheer variety and depth. Not being tied to/locked into animations with movement and positioning being so important adds a lot of weight to me. That said TSW certainly isn't the instant pew pew pew that many people seem to expect and prefer. Of course after the New Player Experience much of it is so easy now that the movement and positioning part really isn't needed until high level content. It's like a different game.

As far as the animations go it seems that most mean they don't flow together well. Swing a sword for instance then hit a shotgun ability while the sword is at the end of the swing and the shotgun will appear pointing and shooting in the same direction as the sword was, off to the side, even though the target is in front of you. You still hit the target, it just looks like you're shooting off to the side. Stuff like that.

Not using mouselook for TSW is a recipe for disaster and disappointment also.

This video shows a bit of what's possible. Sadly it's a bit dark unless watched in 1080HD.

https://youtu.be/bcue4Zfo9d0

Karl_Hungus
Karl_Hungus

@strangesands @Karl_Hungus @BillySpears 

Name any MMO.. it probably has better combat than TSW. Even WoW's tab target traditionalist approach is executed better than TSW's jankiness that's so inexplicably bad that there's no adequate adjective to describe it. I'd compel my credit card company to issue a chargeback for my purchase of the game if I wasn't even remotely interested in trying Conan Exiles, so instead I'm writing off my purchase akin to buying a craft brew that turned out tasting like piss despite the hype.

ThunderJackson
ThunderJackson

@Karl_Hungus @strangesands @BillySpears I don't know about the last part, but you said my feelings about the first part. Anything that has to do with your character is terrible. From animations, to combat and the very beginning of it all character creator is just so bad that it ruins the great setting, lore and quests. 


This was a day one buy for me because I was a huge Age of Conan fan, but it didn't last a month. Once GW2 released it wasn't even on my hard drive anymore. 

ThunderJackson
ThunderJackson

@Dajhryne @ThunderJackson I didn't even see the shotgun sword thing you speak of, but with that aside the animations in that video look low rent and this video seems to be trying to showcase them.

MJ Guthrie
MJ Guthrie moderator

@Karl_Hungus @strangesands @BillySpears I've heard some people don't like the combat. I get the idea you aren't liking it? =D

Seriously though, I totally get that it isn't your cup of tea. Or craft brew. Personally I like the combat alright, but combat is also the lowest care on the totem pole for caring about a game for me. I actually dislike other games combat much more than TSW, like WildStar's and GW2. Just preference.

Dajhryne
Dajhryne

@ThunderJackson @Dajhryne I have to say that a connoisseur of fine animations such as yourself missing such a blatant defect is absolutely astounding.

strangesands
strangesands

@Karl_Hungus @strangesands @BillySpears I find it interesting that some people throw an absolute shitfit regarding combat, while others seem absolutely unconcerned or even like it.  Must be a condition -- graphical dissonance, graphical blindness, graphical I-don't-give a crap-because-I like-the-gameplay?  It is interesting that you are blaming the engine -- Dreamworld I think?  I prefer TSW combat over WoW combat any day -- being able to move around and position is fun, though I'll agree that TERA/BDO animations are much more flashy and over-the-top.  I'd absolutely hate them for TSW.

In any case, one thing I don't try to do is project my personal graphical likes/dislikes as if they are objective facts.  One persons favorite craft brew can be another's pisswater.  I can't stand IPAs for instance -- give me a Guinness any day.

strangesands
strangesands

Any inside scoops on the big update coming this year?

MJ Guthrie
MJ Guthrie moderator

@strangesands Not yet, but I am still trying to execute the sabotage mission "break into Funcom offices"

Paraxamos
Paraxamos

I admire your optimism and really hope you are right. It's so sad that TSW can't really be your main MMO to play since content updates are so sparse. I already experienced that with Age of Conan, where I actually actively raided but it always hits me when I see TSW as an MMO for the only thing that its worth playing for - the story - that's in my opinion never a good thing for an MMORPG.

And that sucks hard, considering that I really loved the dungeons back when I played them and the fact that Funcom focused on good bosses instead of arbitrary stretching the playtime by trash packs.

libertylion7
libertylion7

I went back to TSW this year and was enjoying it immensely.  Then I hit tokyo and the newer game mechanics.  That was the end of TSW for me.  What a shame.  I would have dumped some more money into it for sure.

BigMikeyOcho
BigMikeyOcho

@Hirku @libertylion7 Yeah, Aegis was their attempt at putting players on the same footing, making the content difficult for all players, without demanding the large gear difference between 10.0 greens and 10.5 custom purples. It... didn't work out so well, as the system felt convoluted, grindy, and didn't make a whole ton of sense in the lore. There are decent mods that will auto-switch Aegis so it takes away that manual switching, but they still won't remove that sudden power-drop that most players feel that turns them off of Aegis.  

ziboo
ziboo

2016 was a bit slow for vets, crossing fingers 2017 picks up speed and the new 'stuff' lasts more than a minute and a half.  One of the best games out there, just wish they had the $$$$ to keep making this awesome content!

BalsBigBrother
BalsBigBrother

Funcom is still hanging in there so yeah it certainly could have been a lot worse in that regard so that is a good base starting point.  Still as a TSW fan 2016 was a pretty dire year, for completely understandable reasons but even with that understanding it doesn't change what it was for the game. 

I am hoping that Funcom are going to be in a position to push TSW forward and give us some meaty content updates over the course of 2017 but I will settle for them just being here I guess if push comes to shove :-)

Hirku
Hirku

Hard to believe the strongest reaction I have to TSW news is cautiously optimistic, but that's 2016 for you. I see an RNG lockbox grind around every corner now.

Greaterdivinity
Greaterdivinity

2016 was a pretty bad year for Funcom and TSW, the game saw very little in the way of new content/updates compared to years past (at least it felt that way). Definitely wasn't much that got me excited to jump back into the game despite still needing to finish the storylines in Tokyo.

I'm hopeful for the "large update" that they have planned, but they're going to need to make a pretty big communications/marketing push. Because that games been pretty quiet for some time now, and it's going to need a bit of a spend to get folks aware of it again/back into the game.

Though real talk...WHEN IS THE NON-MMO TSW RPG COMING OUT, FUNCOM!?

Armsbend
Armsbend

One of my biggest hopes in  gaming for '17 is that Funcom has a stellar year and gets back on track to making great games again.


#MFGA

Make Funcom Great Again