Chaos Theory: The Secret World predictions 2016 vs 2017

It’s no secret that The Secret World had a rough year in 2016. I just really wish I could say differently. And it’s especially sad because I had such hopes for my favorite game. Granted, I knew it wasn’t going to miraculously get the funding and staff to give me all the story and things my heart so desired, but I did anticipate a bit more than what we actually got. When 2016 dawned, I pieced together our available clues to try and draw a map of where the year was going. A cartographer I apparently am not, and Google maps won’t be hiring me anytime soon. Perhaps for this year I shall consult with the Magic Eight ball? Here’s a look at the scorecard for my 2016 predictions, and a modest list of 2017 hopes, dreams, and predicted happenings. (We’ll just have to wait to see how those ultimately pan out!).

I don’t have issues!

My first swing and my first miss. Because of the track record from all previous years, I fully expected the usual three additional issues to release in 2016; heck, I ventured to say maybe even more! That certainly wasn’t the case as we had only the one real issue, Issue #14 Call of the Nameless. Of course, numerically we also got Issue #15 The Sleuth’s Gallery, but many fans are hard-pressed to acknowledge this one because it is comprised of already-released sidestories. So even if we count it, that makes only two issues. In all 12 months. Prediction fail.

As for the where these issues would take place, I ventured to say that either #14 or 15 would focus on Savage Coast. Nope. The former was in Egypt and the latter was just spread all over the map. I mean, some of the missions have some Savage Coast components, but that’s stretching it a bit too far. The clues we had haven’t lead anywhere yet; we still haven’t heard anything more about Carter’s friend nor her family. There’s always this year?

I also dared to say a new zone would be opening it. It just looks like I missed the year it would happen. We still know it will happen, 2016 just wasn’t the year. Let’s hope for 2017! If we had the right amount of issues, I am sure this one would have come to pass.

In this scenario…

Another swing, and another miss. This time, the focus was on scenarios. I blew it on predicting a new scenario mode or locale — we got neither. Maybe this one falls under the category of my hopes more than a prediction per se. I just felt this feature really needed something to pull more people into it; it has been languishing, feeling mostly neglected for some time. To that end, we actually did get something that brought more focus to the scenarios, it just wasn’t new scenario content. The Autumn’s challenge (which I’ll discuss in more detail in a moment) definitely had more people doing scenarios for a time. It’s still on the list of things we were told would happen, so hopefully this comes about sometime.

My final prediction fail involved TSW’s events. Specifically, I said, “I expect Samhain 2016 to include an amazing new mission chain.”  We know that didn’t happen. We did get an interesting all-new type of event with the community investigation, but no story mission chain.

In the events I get one right

Speaking of events, that brings me to my first success. It may have been near the end of my predictions, but I finally got a hit! Events — with all their goodies and cosmetics — are a staple in TSW, and I envisioned us getting a new one. Ta-da! One Doomboard challenge came up. While I might have initially considered the event to be a recurring themed event like the holidays and such, I am pleased we got something new. Admittedly, it was a bit rough to pull of succeeding (at least for me), but it was doable. And the challenge really did get folks participating in aspects of the games that they may not have tried before or hadn’t bothered with in a long time. And the event appears to be recurring, at least in a fashion: We have the new gravity skate challenge.

I am obviously more in tuned with the event side of things as I also declared, “A new Christmas event will also be a necessity since there wasn’t one in 2015.” This, however, only feels like a half win since I was hoping for a new Christmas story mission chain that did not materialize. I technically still won the point though because the snowball minigame was a new event, even if it wasn’t what I anticipated.

Ding! I may have blown in on the Halloween mission, but my other Halloween prediction was spot on. I said we’d see another Halloween spin-off and we did! OK, so the game wasn’t quite what I was envisioning; I was thinking another single-player scary experience. But let’s be fair: One of the charms of The Secret World is when you are thrown a curve ball and the result is different than what you expected. The 1v1 of Hide and Shriek is definitely all about scaring, so that was right on the money. And almost worth another half point is the fact that with the lore, the game did tie into the Innsmouth Academy. We all just wish there was more!

My next successful prediction was actually half right and half wrong. I said that there was no way housing would make it into the picture in 2016. And I was right: The amazing housing systems that devs had described to me did not make it in last year. That said, a housing-like feature was actually introduced when the Museum of the Occult opened up. Since I specifically said, “2017 might be the year we see something develop in the player housing area.” I will have to deduct half a point; something in the housing area did develop in 2016.

2016 tally: 3.5 of 9. Will 2017 be better?

Apparently I really need to brush up on my real-world investigation skills because I did not bat a great average with my predictions. But this wasn’t just me getting things wrong; with all the lack of content delivered in 2016, it’s no wonder many of my predictions missed the mark. Maybe with the content slow down, things were just pushed back a year. I’m hopeful 2017 sees a marked increase in content and those things we looked forward to last year. The key here is hopeful. I do have my hopes and dreams, and we definitely have some hints. But I am not sure I feel up to predicting what this year will bring. One prediction already came to pass before I could get this Chaos Theory out — we got another challenge! However, for anything more, I think this time around maybe we should just consult the Magic 8 Ball.

OK Magic 8 Ball, what will we see in TSW in 2017?

  • Will we see a new zone? Signs point to yes.
  • Will scenarios see any love with new content? Concentrate and ask again.
  • Will at least three issues release? Most likely.
  • Will we finally learn more about Carter and Innsmouth Academy? Don’t count on it.
  • Will there still be a focus on event bags? It is decidedly so.
  • Will we get one new unexpected feature? As I see it, yes.
  • Will fans want more story? It is certain.
  • Will we delve deeper into a familiar character? You may rely on it.
  • Will the housing idea come to pass? Better not tell you now.
  • Will we get a Magic 8 Ball in game we can use? Reply hazy try again.

Well, there we have it. The Magic 8 Ball has spoken. We’ll just have to see if it is in tune with the universe come December. it could be pretty accurate, unless the Orochi designed it. What questions would you add to the list? Add yours below.

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18 Comments on "Chaos Theory: The Secret World predictions 2016 vs 2017"

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Paragon Lost

Honestly and quite bluntly, I feel that Funcom isn’t going to put any major effort into TSW, AoC or AO. They’re just gonna let em mostly coast and focus on new things that can bring in a fresh revenue stream.

Gonna say it again, they just don’t have the focus, skill and organizational skills/talents to actually consistently deliver a fully fleshed out game world. What I mean by that with many things to do, large explorable areas, meaningful and fun crafting, dynamic and varied pvp etc.

They do one thing really well, tell a story and lay out really immersive but small areas. I wish they could do a large, living, immersive game world with many factors thrown in to make it interesting and long lasting. Sadly they just don’t seem to be able to embrace that concept and run with it.

How many of you come back for the latest issue, run through it and then leave? (raises hand) I know I do. But it’s not a game world where I go to play day after day, because there is so little to do and end game daily activities lack. :(

Need to put Funcom, Blizzard, Turbine, SOE etc into a blender, hit puree and see what comes out. All of them do “something” well or in many cases “something(s)” , but they all miss the boat to various degrees. Funcom being the biggest heartbreaker of the group because what they do do, they do soo damn well.

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wratts

Yeah, I don’t think they’ll announce it, but TSW is basically maintenance mode now. New work is going into Exiles and I really doubt there’s the budget for much more than that in 2017. I wouldn’t be surprised if FC released another small single player game and maybe made a publishing deal for a smaller studio, but you don’t even see much marketing for TSW any more.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

That just doesn’t jibe with what was said at the last investor call about the major content coming this year — I guess we’ll be seeing where that stands during the investor call at the end of Feb.

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Paragon Lost

Heavy statements made lightly? ; ) To paraphrase a favorite book of mine, “Heavy Words Lightly Thrown”.

Crow
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Crow

There’s been a lot of question about exactly what that new content will actually look like. I think we’ll a new zone, though by their own admission Kaiden was backbreaking for them so that inherently limits their ability with even less resources. They lack key people in key positions (having gone elsewhere or pulled for Conan without being replaced), including a writer and cinematographer. There has been a posting looking for a new writer that, I think, came down awhile ago but no announcement or any news officially.

They also talked, to the investors, about plans to rework things to make the game more retentive and attractive. This could be a blessing in disguise if it is used by Funcom to do a “TSW 2.0” along with a full price traditional expansion pack. They could re-scale the game and mechanics and systems in one way or another to better reflect the current size and capacity of their team. As one potential and interesting option, I think it attractive as a concept to Funcom if they approach TSW similar to how SW:TOR has morphed into a kind of MMOSPG. TSW has story going for it, same as TOR. TSW has cosmetics and bags as primary moneymakers, same as TOR. TSW has always been torn between being a story-based single player game and being a MMORPG, same as TOR.

Funcom could easily take a page out of Bioware’s book and approach TSW, a game that in concepts is very similarly driven to TOR, as a vehicle for the stories and a diminished world-social plane on which to gather.

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Malcolm Swoboda

“”TSW 2.0″ along with a full price traditional expansion pack”

drool

TSW is much more appropriate for what SWTOR seemed to be trying to do.

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Dajhryne

As I understood it the main problem with creating Kaidan is that it was a city zone which meant it needed a lot of new assets and plain old elbow grease to make it look convincing. Very much different from creating a natural landscape.

For 2017 I’m going to predict that the Filth will suddenly appear in and take over the real world leading Funcom to announce that TSW was a practice simulation to prepare us all along and to also give a sigh of relief that they no longer need to create new content. Life imitates art…

Crow
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Crow

Sure, but honestly city vs. country isn’t a compelling argument at all. It isn’t that a city zone takes up entire multiples of work versus a more open landscape, but that TSW doesn’t have the staff left to properly work on anything. Their staff was, in comparison, larger for Kaiden development. Issue #14 was pretty simplistic and that was only issue we got last year in entirety.

I think TSW is a great game, but it didn’t land. The major issue from the beginning has been that content creation in massively expensive. For comparison, LotRO releases content packs that always include at the least a hundred new quests. TSW releases a pack with traditionally 6-8ish missions. That is because TSW development is insanely expensive and has a ton of moving parts. Missions need to be scripted and cutscenes directed, voice actors need to get into the studio and record their lines in a one-off with little room for additions or corrections down the line. Funcom has spent a ton of money on voice acting they don’t end up using due to the dev crunch.

Literally, TSW requires a huge investment to create a small amount of content. It doesn’t matter if it is a landscape or a cityscape. The issue is in the total insane cost for cinematic and voice acted missions which is what buried the game in poor financials.

Unless TSW swap to focus on text missions (a la the sidequests) their overhead is just too high to make it a good business decision. Issues sell poorly and do not make up their high cost.

That’s the core issue. TSW as-it-currently-is-set-up is unsustainable financially. Personally, TSW could benefit from limiting the big voice acting and cinematics to the main story and tell everything else in cheap-as-dirt text. I’d rather read my way through 20 new missions then get another issue/xpac that is minimal and not enough to promote consistent play.

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zoward

I’m hoping Funcom can spend some of that new-found capital pouring in from Conan Exiles on some of their other games. Time will tell.

Crow
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Crow

To be honest, it would be a stupid move to do so. Their success has been in stepping AWAY from the MMOs and toward non-MMO games. AO/AoC/TSW were all failures, objectively, and while Funcom is great about keeping servers on and doing what they can, profits from Conan: Exiles will go back into Conan: Exiles as well as be used to continue developing new, far more financially viable products.

We’ll see what the big announcement is this year for TSW. But I guarantee that it will be more of a re-adjustment to get their expectations in line with TSW’s semi-maintenance mode rather than doubling down on a product that is already old and generally not very financially appealing.

They also have newer investors to impress, and Conan: Exiles is setting a high bar. If Conan: Exiles had flopped they may have tried to salvage what was left of TSW, but they won’t be spending too much time on the horse that is limping and lagging behind when they’re focusing on the horse out front that is winning the race.

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dm_jim80

Super Hel. The Rider. The Guardians of Gaia. The Hatekeeper. The Golden Golem/Blingzilla. If there’s anything to be sure of, it’s giant stompy loot pinatas.

The Military Bag. The Professional’s Satchel. The Gym Bag. The Retro Bag. Seasonal bags of all kinds. If there’s anything else to be sure of, it’s bags in the cash shop.

Beyond that? Only Funcom knows, and they aren’t saying anything in detail.

I could see a ‘new zone’ arriving at some point, albeit on a much more modest scale than Kaidan. Like Kaidan, however, missions and NPCs for it would probably arrive in waves over the next year + several months in the form of issues. So that’s where you could get your issues—filling in the blanks on a new zone.

As far as returning to old favorites in the NPC camp…doesn’t seem likely at this point, unless it’s an old NPC who shows up in a new place (i.e., this possible new zone we’re imagining). That certainly seems possible.

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Hirku

At this point my expectations for TSW are zilch, and I’m already starting to write it off. They might pull a last-minute save and announce new story/zone content, but I doubt it.

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ogged451

I don’t see three issues this year. It’s almost March already and if they want to do something big like a new zone, they better put it on testlive first and then let us test it for more than a token amount of time.
Well, or maybe they can’t be arsed to deal with testlive anymore, it’s pretty much dead for a while now.
I expect another grindy “AA like” system, similar to the Museum, though.

At least I got the first two items of my “2017 to-do list” out of the way :)

Crow
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Crow

They’ll squeak out the big, (didn’t see this mentioned, but…) paid xpac but I don’t see more unless they’re being really proactive and also doing a few further issues as a single dev process.

I’m split on if they’ll go with another AA grindy syetm. They need to, and abandoning such was stupid, but they’re held by the testes by their core fanbase who hated it. If Tilty has shown us anything, it is that he is overwhelmingly effected by criticism, regardless of the realities of keeping the game running well.

Likely Tilty will just throw out another insane and damaging gear level increase married to another across-the-board difficulty nerf because that seems to be the only real tool in his box.

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Greaterdivinity

I’m desperate for any news about the big content update/overhaul/whatever that they said they’d be talking about early this year.

Any good news, because thus far it’s either dead silence, or disappointment. WHERE IS GOLDEN WEEK ALREADY, DAMNIT?!

Honestly, I can’t imagine playing this as a primary game right now due to how little support it’s getting. Thankfully I’m an insanely casual player (with a lifetime sub, so yay for having piles of cash shop currency whenever I come back!), but I feel really bad for the folks who play this as their primary game : /

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Nordavind

Remember to spend your BP so they don’t expire.

luxundae
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luxundae

I think the way they talked about TSW (and AoC and AO) this year, along with how much effort they put into shorter term projects like new Halloween events and missions, will give us a good idea of what to expect for the remaining life of the Funcom MMOs. They could channel a bit more resources at them with the success of Conan Exiles! Or they could decide the smart bet is to double down on new projects along the lines of Exiles or The Park or similar and continue to leave the MMO teams a bit starved.

It will also be interesting to see if they talk about any larger TSW spinoff games this year. A survival horror game set on Solomon Island (or Tokyo, for that matter), could be pretty cool. Though how they’d fit the investigation aspects in I’m not quite sure…

Crow
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Crow

Content in TSW is pretty much dead. That isn’t cynicism, but the reality of what goes into creating a single mission versus games where they just need to write a few paragraphs of text. Between voice acting, cinematics, scripting and depth Funcom simply doesn’t have enough people on the job. The cost is astronomical, and will bury TSW into a manageable maintenance mode a la AoC.

We didn’t get the museum because they thought the museum was awesome content that they really wanted to do. We got the museum because, think about it, it was pretty much zero animation, no large, scripted cinematic, no real voice over. They literally did a bit of level design, coded the systems and then hijacked their existing art assets as the unlocks. I have nothing against the museum, but it doesn’t bode well.

Season 2 is going to be make-it-or-break-it for a lot of people in TSW, I think. Hell, I haven’t checked in a bit but they still don’t have a new writer as far as I know.

And that is a huge issue. Ragnar was Ragnar and had a team. Bylos is brilliant and brought great direction, Scriv wasn’t Ragnar, but he did a damn good job that was, unfortunately, a peg below Ragnar’s work.

Every bit of enthusiasm I had for TSW left with Ragnar, and it just took awhile for it to catch up. I’m a fan of Tornquist’s work immensely, and TSW’s quality dropped just as RTG started releasing Dreamfall: Chapters.

They’ve moved on. At best TSW will be supported better than AoC, but this is life support. Conan: Exiles just nailed shut this coffin.

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