Funcom is ‘relaunching’ The Secret World in 2017, but it’s maintenance mode for Anarchy Online and Age of Conan

Funcom’s fourth quarter 2016 financial report for investors landed this afternoon, and it’s a doozy, especially for MMORPG players. Of most interest is the news that the studio is planning on a relaunch of The Secret World in the next few months, with a redesigned newbie experience, revamps to gameplay and combat, dailies, and a business model overhaul.

Meanwhile, the studio reiterates its notes that Conan Exiles has performed well, selling almost half a million copies in its first month of early access. It’s on track to “reach its 12 month sales goal on PC of 487,000 units within the first 30 days after launch” with “the direct project cost [$4.5M US] covered in less than seven days.”

“Due to the rapid success of Conan Exiles the Company has evaluated its investment level into the project and decided to increase it, as we believe this to represent the highest ROI for the next 12-24 months.”

Anarchy Online and Age of Conan aren’t left out of the fun:

But they will be going forward, as it appears both are headed into maintenance mode. “No further significant work is expected to be done on this project going forward,” it says for both games.

All that said, revenues were down for the quarter, as Conan Exiles wasn’t out yet.

There remain two additional games in “early concept stages” due to enter pre-production later this year, including another Conan-flavored game.

Source: Funcom. Thanks Anon!
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269 Comments on "Funcom is ‘relaunching’ The Secret World in 2017, but it’s maintenance mode for Anarchy Online and Age of Conan"

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Alexander Johansen

the Secret world sure no New stuff ever since Secret world legends is now a thing
but really there is no Clear Word on no New stuff for age of Conan ever People has been saying it was in maintenance since the relase of dragon spine

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Pedge Jameson

Anarchy Online? To quote Christopher in the Sopranos when he saw that acid burned woman outside the pizza place: “That f*cking thing is still alive???”

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CasualSlacks

As a TSW grandmaster/lifetimer and occasional reddit evangelist, I’m kind of wary of a relaunch. Yes, TSW could benefit from a publicity blitz. Yes, it could also benefit from a graphical touch-up/remaster; a complete overhaul of the character models would be nice, but it would consume a lot of unnecessary time and money. If the Devs do anything to make the combat feel more standard that undermines the depth of the ability with Active and Passive abilities, building, finishing, and elite attacks, damage types, weapon restrictions, etc. I’m against it. I have long said that combat in TSW is as much a puzzle as the quests and once you “get it” and you figure out the right build to deal with a challenge, you have your reward. But obviously, by the time I got to that point with TSW combat, I was already drinking the kool-aid and loved the game; other people have given up. There’s a irrational strain of thought in my mind that says that if you can’t put up with what I would call the little things like sometimes janky combat animations and sub-optimal character skeletons, you don’t deserve to enjoy the great things of TSW. On the other hand, the game has to be accessible for it to thrive.

I hope they fp put more of what I feel is lacking into the game like more variety in repeatable content (PVP and PVE), more cash shop cosmetics, more open and exploratory areas, and more surprises. “You want me to fist fight my way out of this prison!?” Without spoiling it with context, that bit of gameplay is an example of a nice surprise that’s in the game already. The game won me over with surprising quests and unexpected gameplay. The last thing I ever want is for TSW to stop swinging for the fences when it comes to the core game and story.

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Bullet Teeth

Agreed 100% on all counts.

However, I always thought that TSW should benefit a more ARPG-like system. With the isometric perspective, and the ability to mow down waves of enemies with your AR or club the shit out of them with your hammer, rather then firing 30 Shotgun blasts into a Sea creature.

All the clues for the investigation missions, the atmosphere, and the story would mostly be the exact same, save for the really small, cramped places, like the Treehouse & the Black House, etc.

But again, that’s just me being jaded because the combat really is a “chore” to say the least – but the stories are just so fucking good!! To this day I still think of the Amusement park, or Dracula’s Crypt and the Gypsies.

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wratts

Just now seeing this, but I can’t imagine the TSW relaunch is good news. Sounds to me like the current population base is on the bubble between sustainable and not, and they’ve decided to do one last push (think Wildstar) to grow population numbers. Given the age of the platform, I have zero faith that anything they do would bring in meaningfully new populations; at a certain point the game is what it is and audiences have either accepted it or not.

I’d much rather have seen them commit to delivering new story chapters. Maybe combat isn’t great and could use a rework, but what would get lapsed players like me to log back in is an end to the content drought

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mysecretid

I’m not too surprised that Anarchy Online and Age of Conan are going on maintenance.

In my perfect gaming universe both games would receive major updates and continue to see additional content, but I realize that Funcom probably only has the creative and financial resources to ensure that one MMORPG gets their full development treatment.

Anarchy Online was the first “true” MMORPG my friends and I actively played, but it fell behind in terms of modernization and content support, so we all drifted elsewhere.

I am concerned that revamping The Secret World will mean “making it more blandly generic and familiar in order to make it more broadly appealing”, but I’ll wait to see what actually happens.

It would be a shame to lose the unique, intelligent game that is TSW, but at least I’ve gotten to play it while it was spectacular in quality.

We shall see. We shall see …

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John Kiser

Anarchy online is working on that new engine and likely won’t see much beyond getting that rolled out. It is a pretty decentish upgrade.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Access to all the story for free? I sure hope they’re giving people who already purchased all the story episodes something cool then when it switches over.

We all like to give them huge breaks because we’re scared the game may close down, but people who have purchased all the story content should get something – like rare cosmetic gear you can’t get any other way, various tiers of it depending on how many episodes you purchased.

Crow
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Crow

Access to all the story for free? I sure hope they’re giving people who already purchased all the story episodes something cool then when it switches over[…]like rare cosmetic gear you can’t get any other way, various tiers of it depending on how many episodes you purchased.

My god would that be a disaster. TSW has a really entitled playerbase when it comes to stuff like this because of Funcom’s own missteps in how they’ve handled grinds in their rather insane back-and-forth.

There have been revolts and waves of piss-poor PR because there was a cosmetic that wasn’t open to everyone. A large portion of TSW’s now-core playerbase are “collectors” whose motivation is to “get everything”. This has been a direct result of their lack of content and their pushing of cosmetics-over-content for YEARS now.

As someone who put a lot of time and effort into TSW, I really hope that what people who purchased the game “get” is a revamped experience that turns things around and allows for more content to be created. Last year there was ONE single new issue. That is their problem when each Issue only contains eight missions.

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Space Captain Zor

Hard for me not to believe Conan Exiles isn’t just a popular fad right now but I guess we’ll see. I think it’s a mistake for them to rely on that as their primary ROI. There is a strong market for survival games but how many hardcore survival game players actually split time between survival games instead of sticking to one at a time? If you play ARK do you also play CE? Do you also play DayZ or Rust or H1Z1?

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Droniac

It might be a popular fad, but that’s what everyone though about H1Z1, ARK, Rust and even Garry’s Mod too. All of those are still among the best selling games on Steam, right now… despite mixed-to-negative reviews on H1Z1 and ARK.

The fact you point out, that survival gamers split time between games intermittently, seems to support FunCom’s expectations for ongoing revenue. The reality that there isn’t (yet) a survival game good enough to keep players of the genre attached will push many more to try out Conan Exiles this year. It isn’t a free-to-play game that’s dependent on player retention for revenue, so that will result in hundreds of thousands more units sold and millions in the bank. Keep in mind that its competition (ARK, H1Z1, Rust) have all sold over 4 million units.

Selling nearly half a million units in one month of an early access game on a marginal marketing budget… that’s immense. The indicator we do have (SteamSpy) also seems to point to it continuing to sell well. And most other survival games seem to have shown that continued support and added features translate to even more units sold, so it makes sense for them to invest in it and expect solid returns on that.

I wonder what you think they should focus on as their primary ROI? Anarchy Online and Age of Conan are hopeless at this point. The revamp for The Secret World could be perfectly executed and draw in thousands of players, like DDO and FFXIV managed, and it likely still wouldn’t surpass the Conan Exiles cashflow over the next 12-24 months.

Past that timeframe they do have this TSW revamp, which could be a solid long-term play. And they have those two other games entering pre-production.

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Melissa McDonald

The one thing I’d like to see is new avatars. They’re sorta ugly. LOTRO is undertaking it, perhaps they might. It’s honestly the only thing I didn’t like about the game, the cosmetics. They introduced a wonderful system where cosmetic clothing and buff items/gear are two different things. But not enough clothing options, and no way for players to make clothing of various design and hue and put them out on a market or shop.

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John Mclain

Whoa… I had written off The Secret World for all eternity because of how GOD-AWFUL that game’s combat was, seriously, the secret world may have the worst combat/class system that has ever existed in a MMO form to this day.

And yet the game has good atmosphere, (Too many different enemies all packed into “farming zones” to be a “great” atmosphere sadly.) and a great storyline. But are ruined by that atrocious combat/class system. I never thought they would be willing to redo that garbage in order to make it an incredible game.

At this point I don’t think this can go anywhere but up, doubt it’s physically possible to make the combat any worse in that game, so it can only improve. I get to for once add a “garbage mmo” game back into the “optimistically awaiting” list. Something I’ve never done before in my life.

Also glad to hear they are putting more resources into Conan Exiles, that’s a great game concept, that is currently broken as all hell and needs the work/money badly to make it into an actual functional game.

Crow
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Crow

Maybe, just maybe, the game’s focus wasn’t on the combat.

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haishao

Then maybe they should remove combat entirely. This way it would only look like a 15 years old game instead of also playing like one.

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Roger Melly

Two screenshots one from probably one of the more visually impressive rpg games of 2002 Morrowind and one from the Secret World .

This basically shows you obviously don’t have a clue what you are talking about .

the_secret_world_32.jpg
morrowind-screenshot_7.jpg
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Pedge Jameson

That TWS screen is a bullshot, carefully taken and prissed up with filtering etc. I still love the graphics but that one is a bad example.

Crow
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Crow

Why are you even here?

Concerns over how things look are so shallow. If you were looking for a game that was all about combat and killing things and gogogo there are plenty of games out there that are mindless shoot/stab things simulators with great combat.

TSW has a complicated history and can never actually be what was intended, but it was absolutely a philosophical and mental exercise far before one of reflexes or twitchiness. It was a series of cutscenes and investigations that forced you to actually think. It had the beginnings of a robust RP system that didn’t go anywhere and a planned non-combat puzzle raid that was also cut. It was a game where you weren’t handed a bunch of abilities that just got better as you went, but needed to be understood and actually engaged with in order to progress. It encouraged socialization without forcing it, and was home to a nasty, brutal, and eloquently technical set of instanced dungeon/raid content. It was initially committed to the principle of horizontal advancement, never demeaning your previously hard won gear or accomplishment and also allowing for a very level playing field in terms of general difficulty tuning after making one’s way through the zones and story.

I mean, TSW without the combat would basically be Dreamfall. One of the best adventure games ever made. Ragnar Tornquist is a writer and a storyteller. He was building a world with TSW that has been pretty much halted by all the factors that have really gutpunched Funcom over the last few years. All that is left is this new-found focus on visceral combat… an element of the game that was never seen as super important to begin with.

Estranged
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Estranged

Hey, murder hobos need their fix!

Crow
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Crow

And I’m one of them! I love PvP and competitive MMO-stuffs, but I also know when a game isn’t focused on the murder aspect and I don’t try to make it into something it never intended on being.

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haishao

If I was looking for a game that is “all about combat and killing things and gogogo” I wouldn’t have suggested that they remove combat entirely.

You’re saying combat isn’t the focus of the game but the fact is you’re forced to participate in combat at one time or another. Being forced to fight stuff to advance the story is what made me quit; barely a week after I had purchased the game. It was so bad and mods didn’t help, I just gave up.
Technicalities, abilities and skills and weapons have nothing to do with it. It changes nothing how much depth you have in a combat system if the action of fighting is so bad it makes people uninstall.

Like you said. TSW without combat would be alike one of the best adventure game ever made. Too bad it has combat, worst possible combat too. The game isn’t even 5 years old yet but it feels like some cheap F2P game from 2005. Not having combat or having any other type of combats would have made it better. I don’t care about “visceral combat”. Turn based combats would have been better than it is right now.
I always said TSW is a MMO that suffer from being a MMO and I still think it. I hope they do something good with the relaunch and I’m definitely looking forward to it, but right now I’m still very skeptic about it.

I exaggerated about the look because I think the game still looks pretty good but if you think graphics is unimportant and to be concerned about them is shallow in a visual media like a video game, you’re wrong.

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Droniac

It is shallow when you make a big deal about graphics for a game that looks better than the majority of its competition. This is, clearly, not something that should be a focus for the developers. TSW’s graphics are not the reason why gamers are not trying it out or not playing it, with possible exception of the combat animations.

And while admitting to exaggerating about graphics, you also just decided to exaggerate about mechanics. The F2P games you’re referencing are from the 2008-2011 era. 2005 was the year World of WarCraft and Guild Wars were released… not Perfect World.

The notion that The Secret World’s combat is the worst in the genre is merely testament to the fact that you haven’t played Lord of the Rings Online. Nothing comes close to the disaster that is mounted lagfest. And I’m not certain I’d rate TSW’s combat below LotRO’s on-foot combat either… or STO’s ground combat, although that’s seen some much-needed improvements at least.

That being said, I do hope FunCom’s improvements to combat are significant. TSW’s combat mechanics aren’t (quite) the worst in the genre, but they’re definitely sub-par and as a whole the combat system could do with being made a good deal more responsive and impactful.

Crow
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Crow

if you think graphics is unimportant and to be concerned about them is shallow in a visual media like a video game, you’re wrong.

You’re missing the important part. Why?

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haishao

I’m not missing any important part. Just reminding you that graphics is an important part of visual medium like a video game.

Crow
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Crow

Okay. What are we discussing? Games, yes? Not photographs or films or works of material art.

Graphical interfaces for games are a “plus”, not an integral element of their existence which is necessary for them to be successful games. We can go back to analog to make the point that what is actually important in any game is the mechanics. You can breeze through award winning board games and, this is especially the case with older titles, see that the visual elements were representative and far from a priority. That little red cube is a troop unit and the blue bit of wood is my tank. I’m going to move from one octagon to the next during my turn.

Then we had text-based games such as Zork. No graphics and entirely narrative. All words, no visuals. We got base graphics which were essential for certain titles… a text-only Pong wouldn’t work… but the RPG genre continued to barrel forth relying primarily on text with visuals being a nice plus addition to make the games more appealing. RPG voice acting wasn’t even a big, usual thing until a little more than a decade ago.

MMORPGs are even clearer. If you think graphics are essential to MMORPGs then what do you make of MUDs and MOOs? We have tons of text-based MUDs (and likely more in pure numbers than graphical clients… though that may no longer be true). MUDs act as living proof that graphics are completely optional in terms of creating a MMORPG. Hell, Chronicles of Elyria is building an actual MUD client along side their graphical client.

Which is all to say that games are about the mechanics, not the pretty visuals. Graphics are not important at all. They’re nice and they’re a constant that we expect, but they have no effect on any objective view of if a game is actually good or not.

At the end of the day assigning a great deal of value to how pretty things are is just shallow. It is shallow to ignore TSW’s amazing mechanics (that aren’t common in other games at all) because you don’t think it has enough eye candy.

I remember the days when the best we really had was the Gemstone graphical MUD client which was a bash to add simplistic visuals to a 100% text-based game. And really, the existence of MUDs should be proof enough that graphics means absolutely nothing in the end other than a personal preference.

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Tobasco da Gama

So you’d be fine if all the games you play were converted to MUDs?

Crow
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Crow

If what I want to play, due to all the various factors, is a MUD I’m not opposed at all. I love MUDs and they often fit the kind of niche-of-a-niche that people desire. It is the only place to do a lot of worlds and IPs, such as Wheel of Time as a good example.

So you’d be fine if all the games you play were converted to MUDs?

I don’t see how this is relevant..? I made an argument that the core of any game is the mechanics and that visual appeal is, at best, something that rarely effects mechanics. The most beautiful game in the world will be terrible if the mechanics are bad. However, a poor-graphics game can be amazing if the systems are fantastic.

That question isn’t fair at all. I absolutely prefer and love graphical representations and in 2017 it isn’t a rare thing. I used to go to MUDConnector back in the late 90s when they had a new, tiny section entitled “Graphical MUDs” which were the first gen MMORPGs.

But back to the actual subject, TSW’s visuals have zero effect on the mechanics. It could look like EQ and I’d still enjoy the mechanics.

I guess when you grow up on MUDs and board games you understand that looking pretty is just that: it looks pretty. Graphical fidelity doesn’t have any effect on underlying mechanics and systems and turning one’s nose up at a game due to things other than mechanics is kind-of simplistic and shallow.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be or isn’t a personal preference. In fact, that is exactly what it is. But it is immensely rare to find a game where the fidelity of the graphics has any real effect on mechanics and systems. When you do, I’ll easily say that Graphics are important. Until then it is merely a preference (and one I have, myself. I just don’t cut off my nose to spite my face because it isn’t pretty enough.

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Tobasco da Gama

But graphics don’t matter. Surely, what you really want is the pure gameplay experience of a MUD.

Crow
Reader
Crow

You’re intentionally being obtuse and zero-sum. You can like and enjoy good graphics without needing to think they’re essential to if a game is good or not.

I’m arguing against the idea that TSW’s “dated” graphics inherently make it a bad game that people shouldn’t play. My argument is that the graphics do not touch the systems or mechanics which determine enjoyment and engagement. If they did, we’d have an argument.

Do you not understand this? You can replace every texture with a 1999-era map and you don’t change mechanics and systems one bit. If you found a game engaging and enjoyable, you do so because of mechanics not visuals.

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Tobasco da Gama

So, graphics DO matter. So, wanting a game to have better graphics is a completely reasonable desire.

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strangesands

You can have a great gameplay with shit graphics. You can have great graphics with shit gameplay. Gameplay substance wins over shiny every time. Graphics are just frosting, but feel free to live on frosting if you like.

Crow
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Crow

Woah, woah. Again, we’re not talking about “wanting” or “desiring”, we’re talking about if graphics effect mechanics and systems.

Do graphics effect mechanics and systems? Is Dwarf Fortress inherently a bad game because it has crap graphics? If you answer “no” to these two questions we’re on the same page. But “graphics” is at the low end for what is important, and I don’t think graphics are at all important in the question of if a game’s mechanics and systems are good.

Again, if what I wanted was only in MUD form, I’d be playing a MUD. The lack of graphics do not effect the quality of mechanics and systems.

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Cosmic Cleric

That’s a pretty big wheel of weapons/ability choices for not focusing on combat.

Crow
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Crow

And the engine is an adventure game engine. The combat is sapient, not reactive or twitchy.

Everything about TSW is built for thinking your way past problems. The deck system, itself, is an intellectual/mathematical pursuit. If your deck sucks, you’ll never win. You have to think your way past problems.

Which is one of the reasons why I am and always have been against the big world-content nerf-bats. Once they eliminated the punishing difficulty it created a context where you didn’t need to think about your build nearly as much nor finely, finely tune it for specific encounters. Which leads to people focusing on the combat as “bad” when it was never a primarily physical activity in the first place.

It is the sad reality: The demographic for MMORPGs is now basically the CoD demographic. Same mentality, maybe a little less toxicity.

Valkyriez_Gaming
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Valkyriez_Gaming

Revamped combat? Piqued my interest right there off the bat. TSW is great in 9p% of the game but the combat was a little hard to bear for long gaming periods.

CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO CHANGE MY USER NAME ON THIS NEW CHAT SYSTEM?

Pretty please :)

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Orenj

CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO CHANGE MY USER NAME ON THIS NEW CHAT SYSTEM?

http://massivelyop.com/wp-admin/profile.php

I had to hunt for it myself originally… not sure why that function isn’t more prominently linked?

Valkyriez_Gaming
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Valkyriez_Gaming

You sir are a legend amongst men.

Estranged
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Estranged

So, who is going to lead the Vanilla TSW private server and demand mob?

Crow
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Crow

God, I would. I’m love to see TSW go back to what it was at launch. Hell, in a magical world if they could go back and do it all over again I think it would end up as an amazing game.

xpsync
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xpsync

So excited for TSW relaunch!

I always hate when i read the excuse “combat sucks” as the reason why people don’t play, damn it bothers me because it doesn’t… but i can see how to them it would be that way. If you mess around with the plethora of combo’s, weapons, combat is quite deep, but at the same time it really boils down to Build, Build… Pow! Basically the same rotation most of the time.

You can’t just use your PVE set for everything either you need to have different builds for groups and so on. You can also have a spectacular crap build too, but that’s part of the fun is getting that perfect build which works for you.

I have two toons and both only made it slightly into Blue Mountain and i stopped playing both times and i don’t know why exactly. It might be as it’s missing some depth i like in mmo’s, i’m unsure why as i didn’t leave saying it sucks, always left saying I’ll be back some day. tbh some of my most memorably mmo moments have been playing this game because its so different and oh so cool.

OK, now i want to fire it up and play from just talking about it, my sub is still running for several more months. BUT should I? or wait. I’m leaning towards waiting as it feels like, why?

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John Mclain

But it is, it REALLY IS a TERRIBLE combat system, horrible in every way, shape and form. If they had gutted that abomination of a combat system and replaced it with, hell… anything… You could be forced to challenge every monster in the game to a round of tic-tac-toe and it would be a damn improvement over what exists currently.

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Crowe

I enjoyed the diversity of options you could have with the various builds but… the combat just didn’t *do* it for me. It wasn’t as “disconnected” as ESO’s combat feels but it just never really felt like it was a strength of TSW.

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Dystopiq

Combat animations suck. They’re terrible.

Estranged
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Estranged

Lots of people quit at Blue Mountain because the Ak’ab would kick their tail! You may have blocked it out and I can’t blame you.

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Schmidt.Capela

I actually loved the Ak’ab; they were the first mobs in the game that forced me to actually think tactically, particularly if I was facing multiple of them and had to goad them into attacking where I had space to evade their attacks.

Estranged
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Estranged

Oh, I enjoyed them as well. Forced me to retool my build.

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Castagere Shaikura

Funny how they just put AO on steam then put it into Maintenance mode. Last try for cash grab for TSW i guess. Can’t say i can trust Funcom to get things right anymore. They could revamp combat in TSW into something worse and it wouldn’t surprise me. They didn’t even include the AO graphics update with the steam client.

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John Mclain

It’s not possible to make the combat any worse, it’s already the worst combat system in the mmo genre.

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Serrenity

I mean, AO is an old, old game. I love be it dearly as it was my first, but it’s no spring chicken. And it’s been just barely north of maintenance mode for years now. So I’m not seeing a huge change here and nothing that suprirses me.

quietdwarf
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quietdwarf

TSW atmosphere is unique. I even have a lifetime sub, tough I never played that much because I always get fed up with the combat. I usually drop around Egipt or somethin. I’ll give it a got with the new revamp.
I’m so happy things are turning around good for Funcom. They make very unique games.

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Jeff

Staying confident in TSW is smart, it has an amazing community and a lot of potential still.

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Castagere Shaikura

If they make the combat better. The combat and some mob behavior is just so annoying. I remember how sucky Blue Mountain was. If the combat was snappy and fluid like Wows i would be all over this game.

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strangesands

I’d like it if they moved to a pure expansion model, ala GW2 and ESO. I’d almost prefer to get large, substantial content updates less frequently than the smaller bite-sized issues. It’s easier to get excited about a whole new zone and storyline than it is about a handful of new quests.

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Pål Einar Jensen

I love TSW. Hopefully its proper ReLaunch, and not a f2p thing. Combat needs some attention, but to be honest its not as bad as some makes it out to be.
The AEGIS made me frustrated though. Hope that gets a rethink or a removal.

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Bryan Correll

After having not played for quite a while I came back and started Tokyo content. I found the AEGIS stuff just annoying. But not as annoying as the ‘scenarios’ added in the Venetian Agenda (which was a major misstep that added nothing but a meaningless grind.)

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Tobasco da Gama

Yes, the scenarios are awful. The fact that they’re more or less necessary to gear up for the Tokyo zones is even worse.

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Simon Swan

Wonderful wonderful game, it’s my favorite. I’m stoked to hear more people will be hearing about this now and will get to enjoy it too, the stories are just too good in this, it makes SWTOR look like fan fiction. Combat needs work for sure, but I’ve never felt so involved with a story as I have with TSW, and the riddles, if you spend time and work on them yourself, there is a tremendous sense of achievement.

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Paragon Lost

So much for the Age of Conan crafting revamp. These guys can’t make a fully fleshed out mmorpg. They just can’t. It’s tragic too since there are some things that they do so very well, enough to make you invested in the game.

I loved so much of what they did with both AoC and TSW, but they are just so damn incomplete and small feeling. Not enough activities, crappy UI, bugs, crappy pvp etc. They need to stick to one shots like The Park and Conan Exiles.

Personally I refuse to deal with them anymore, they are terrible mmorpg developers. That they don’t get that they need to do what Blizzard and other successful mmorpg game developers do just boggles my mind. Of course they have diminished revenue, when you don’t build the game up and outward, and keep to little splintered pie sections you aren’t going to keep players!

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Serrenity

I can agree with the world feeling small and not having enough non-combat activities. But I think if you look at AO, they have made an insanely huge, deep and well flushed out game. There’s always room for improvement and recent games have been on a much smaller scale, but they are still one of the longest running MMO companies. And really one of the only ones who didn’t jump on the WoW clone bandwagon – each of of their titles is unique, interesting and different in a genre that’s often characterized nowadays by homogeneous experiences with slight cosmetic differences.
Not to say you have to like them, just give them some credit where they do some really cool stuff.

Crow
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Crow

I’d suggest that Funcom is a solid company, but they lost their creative star after the TSW launch and it hasn’t been the same since.

After Ragnar Tornquist left his post as the GD for TSW (in part I assume after the crazy awful launch and the cutting of his team to nothing), Funcom lost their primary creative driver. Ragnar started at Funcom in 1994 (the company formed in ’93) and was responsible for The Longest Journey (1999), which was their first big hit. He was the writer for AO and really was behind almost every big hit the company had (with Joel Bylos being great but always overshadowed by Ragnar).

Funcom without Ragnar Tornquist is really a completely different company.

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strangesands

Maybe Ragnar would come back as part of the relaunch. If we beg. :)

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Tandor

I thought they already relaunched the game, improved the newbie experience, and revamped the gameplay when they adjusted the xp spread throughout the game? Wasn’t that just last year (or possibly the year before)?

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NovaScotiaCitizen

I think this relaunch is digging deeper….

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Cypher

As long as they understand what they need to change (listening to player feedback) there’s no reason this can’t be another FF14 success story, the game has a good following and the company a great reputation… but I’m waiting til I see more of this revamp before re-investing in TSW… still not got to Blue Mountain with 3 toons so looking for the revamp to entice me to persevere!

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NovaScotiaCitizen

TSW relaunch sounds exicting, I have grandmaster account – no regrets. But giving away the story for free, not sure if that’s a great idea.

Housing should be added. Combat revamp – awesome if done right. Animations should get a facelift, inverse kinematics that were once talked about, so walking on stairs doesn’t look like walking on ramps.

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Serrenity

I would be interested in more non-combat focused stuff. Housing , better crafting, etc. Anarchy did such an amazing job by creating meta experiences around the game, I would love to see some of that in TSW

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James Crow

i’m with you on the free stuff.
they could go the Arena.net way if they announce a real expansion but if they continue with the dlc thing…free stuff not work.

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Emperor Caligula

What bugged me the most about TSW is the execution of a good idea. The idea was: a world full of mystery, of secret cabals and X-Files riddles. The reality: Kill 20000 mobs. With horrendous combat. And somewhere in mid-game the mobs because so unbelievable challanging that I did not want to continue to play.

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Paragon Lost

Let me correct that for you. “A township full of mystery, of secret cabals and X-File Riddles”. The game world feels so small and limited in other words.

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strangesands

Well, there’s

The New England coast
Egypt
Transylvania
London
Seoul
New York
Tokyo
Agartha, The World Tree

It feels like it covers the world well, but if you get bogged down in the first zone, I suppose it can feel like it’s just a township. It could definitely do with some new zones though.

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Bryan Turner

I was under the impression that NY,London and Seoul were just faction hubs, and that Argatha was a portal lobby making the meat and potatoes of the game really just New England, Egypt, Transylvania.

With DLCs locking up more quests in those three zones I mentioned above while including Tokyo again spread out over 2 or 3 DLCs?

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Bryan Correll

There’s no fighting on the streets in the faction cities, but there is other mission relevant content in them. And they aren’t faction exclusive except for small enclaves within the cities.

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Dread Quixadhal

I would probably give it another shot if they revamped the combat system and made it more distinct from other MMO’s. I loved the quest-line stories, but got disgusted at the mechanics. When a game feels too much like a “WoW-clone”, I’d rather just read the storyline from the web than play through the game. If I want a WoW-style combat system, I’ll go play WoW.

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strangesands

Yeah, of all the criticisms I’ve heard of TSW combat, the one thing I haven’t heard is that it’s too WoW-like.

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James Crow

as one who played wow…TSW is nothing like that.
you know there is 2 type of combat:

action rpg
target click

so the only thing they have in common is the Targeting combat, other than that they too different for good or bad

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Kevin McCaughey

That was my experience too. But the adventure game part of it (with the clues and the mysteries) really appealed to me. The fact they are doing a combat revamp before the relaunch means I might give it another go. I found combat very difficult because there were just too many options. And yes, there are many areas that have OP mobs considering the quests you are on.

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Jeff Risu Dailey

Now the main question is Does a relaunch invalidate the lifetime sub?

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vengaul

I hope not!

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Koshelkin

Interesting. My fear, though, as much as I know Funcom, is that they are going to be to half-hearted about the changes. If they say “relaunch” and there are no really, really significant changes to the combat… it probably won’t work. If they say relaunch some things need to change fundamentally.

The premise is promising but I hope they put alot of thought and work into this because this may very much be the last chance for TSW to get more widespread recognition.

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Fenryr Grey

Have they ever “relaunched” another game or on what do you base your opinion “knowing Funcom”? Just curious, I’m a bit out of the loop considering beloved games of the past ;). Independently of the producers, caution is always advised. Give you that ;)

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Koshelkin

3 years of Age of Conan in it’s prime, the same amount in TSW. I know how Funcom goes about changes.

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Emperor Caligula

This. Conan does not give me much hope Funcom is honest in this. SW has had potential, but it needs more than an elaborate big patch.

Estranged
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Estranged

They need to do what is necessary to survive. Good luck.

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Alex Hyer

Revamped combat in The Secret World?

Hell. Yeah.

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NovaScotiaCitizen

revamped, but how?

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James Thesing

I was hoping that the quietness of the devs on TSW meant a huge content explosion was coming to really revitalize the game and get more people interested in firing up the client again. Some good investigations to chew on, and more of the incredibly rich story we have… because if your not in TSW for the story… I don’t know why you’d stick around in it.

What is looks like to me is a f2p announcement and a ‘wow ification’ to the difficulty level. Which WoW isnt bad… but TSW for sure cant compete with it. The types of people who have been sticking around with one of the slowest mmo development cycles probably aren’t the ones who will be happy about most of those bullet points.

If the business model change is going towards f2p, I’m hoping a smart use of the item shop, like lotro, to get some money flowing to drive more regular game updates. Otherwise, this change in business model may catch some new players, but a lot of former players and current players may just vanish.

Or maybe the change to the business model will be moving away from Bag Simulator… ><

MJ Guthrie
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MJ Guthrie

Sell bag space in the shop and they’ve got a ton of business from me!

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James Thesing

Bag and bank space already in the shop ;).

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Fenryr Grey

Alternatively they could not sell it in the shop and just allow people to increase it ingame (quest or just ingame-money sink). If it has to be f2p incl. cash shop I’d rather pay for stuff that is fun and not buy stuff to avoid annoyance. To say bluntly I won’t spent a single penny in a cash shop which offers such items. (Yea I know it’s industry standard and hence I don’t spent money at all in f2p games ;))

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Dajhryne

They already do both. Though perhaps you two meant to a greater extent. I forget the original size limit for the inventory but it could be expanded with in-game cash up to a certain point, 200 or maybe 250 slots, then you can buy more space in the store up to at least 300. I used my bonus points due to a lifetime sub for the latter.

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James Thesing

It later was increased to 250 in game, 250 cash shop, for 500 total

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Fenryr Grey

Most games do both. which doesn’t change the fact that they sell something to avoid annoyance. Incentives to create games that are just infuriating to play without spending cash on it (a very mobile gaming thing to do). As I said before I won’t spent money on something that isn’t fun (god knows how many cash i waste on stuff I don’t want (interest rate, food, mortgage etc) no need that games need to be among them). If you guys want to I wont hinder you (but i will silently judge you :P )

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James Thesing

The thing is, it’s a very smart thing to do. I’m using lotro as the shinning example of this. For x dollars, you can out right skip parts of the game. However, the top stuff stays locked.

I.e., ability to buy 2.9/10.9 outright, but ql 11 and 3.0+ aegis only in raids. More extreme example, but that’s kind of how lotro has it.

Also, lotro has annoying ‘achievements’ but there they are called deeds. They actually have a decent impact on your characters ability to fight. There, they sell kill achievement accelerators… here… kill accelerators for those trying to finish Jinn for the museum would probably sell like hot cakes.

Having stuff that isn’t really that fun and a huge slog is a little bit ingrained into MMO culture everywhere. Typically, grinds are time wasters to keep us playing longer. In a sub games, longer = more money. Here, playing longer only means something if people use the store mainly filled with cosmetics.

Cosmetics are great, however, proper use of a cash shop to eliminate some grind, in return for FC getting more cash flow, is what I feel they need. Want to play a free and clear game? Then 120 hours of jinn killing is what you need to finish that achievement off. Want to support the game? Then buy the currently not exist x 10 accelerator and get it done in 12. You may not spend as much time in TSW as you would before, but you probably will have more fun and net FC more money :)

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Fenryr Grey

In my opinion this development is very troubling. From a game perspective it’s just plain insanity. Paying for not playing the game. In no scenarios does this make sense.

Avoiding the grind. If it’s so annoying why make it so grindy? I repeat myself, but once more, those systems in place right now in most f2p just give incentives to create shitty games for people who actually want to play a game and be competitive. For a gamer in heart, someone who wants challenge and wants to beat the game, the mmo genre gets more and more unplayable.

I have lifetime in both games (lotto, tsw) and ever since f2p I couldn’t bring me to play them.

boredlol
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boredlol

combat improvements and free DLC?! exciting

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Arktouros

This game’s combat was always a mess two fold.

For one, Penetration always won out in terms of damage. So gear choices were deceptive because even in the hardmode dungeons where you had to stack accuracy or crit they were irrelevant since penetration still ultimately out performed them. This made specific builds, out of a giant wheel of abilities, pretty much required to do content which made that giant wheel of choices largely irrelevant. The illusion of choice.

For two, this game is pretty much the poster child of “pseduo action combat” where sure it had dodges but they literally did nothing. The limited bar added nothing to game play because it would be like playing Vanilla WOW then just saying you get 8 slots. All the abilities automatically hit their target like any tab targeting game and it just didn’t make sense.

Hopefully they fix it, but it was pretty uninteresting combat wise.

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James Thesing

#1 Currently not true in the game, and hasn’t been in the last 2 years its been out… Even more so with the ability revamps

#2 Except the difference where dodging attacks does matter quite a bit, and it used heavily in the content. And abilities automatically hitting their targets, using combat rolls for misses/evades/etc,…. like almost every MMO out there…

Celestia
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Celestia

If they can make the combat enjoyable, I’m all for it! I wish them luck.

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Armsbend

Funcom stock is USD $.59/share

Maybe the time is ripe to go picking!

Estranged
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Estranged

Yes. They have a hit on their hands now. My favorite type of investing.

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Sray

If the combat system gets a massive overhaul (read: scrapped completely and replaced with literally anything else) then I might just give The Secret World another shot.

I tried for about an hour or two back in December, but the combat was so absolutely horrendous that I couldn’t force myself to play another second. Given that modern MMORPGs are 97% combat, you just can’t afford to have an unfun combat system.

But I’d honestly be shocked if they were to actually give it the complete overhaul needed, as we’re talking an almost NGE level of change to a game that’s almost 5 years old. More likely that this revamped system is just a streamlined meta, and/or skill tree; thus, not likely to be enough for me.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

A relaunch? How a remake instead?

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Alex Hyer

Come on, man.

You know thats a financially unbalanced comparison.

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Vunak

Oh. TSW improved combat? You have my attention Funcom.

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TheDonDude

Alright The Secret World… I’ll give you another chance once your combat has been improved.

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mistressbrazen

This news is not great to me. The majority of the people who commented don’t play the game. The last time Funcom revamped the game, they made it too easy to appease the people who don’t appreciate the game mechanics. The new people came in and continued to complain at each step…”it’s too hard; it’s too complicated.” The main part of the game is so easy now it’s laughable. And the skill system is supposed to be deep and complex. There’s nothing wrong with that. Every game cannot be for people with a short attention span.

I like the combat just fine and I surely hope they do not try and do those Wildstar kind of animations with the combat. Gah….I fear what is coming, particularly because Tilty seems to believe anything challenging should be made easier.

Will there be new content with the new launch for those of us who have been faithful these five years or just the rehashed game we already have?

Crow
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Crow

This. After EPE I have very little faith in Tilty. Especially compared to Ragnar and Joel.

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strangesands

Here’s what I’d hope for:
– All existing characters maintained and saved (doubt they’d wipe, but ya never know)
– New combat animations (hopefully to fix the perceived “floaty” problems)
– Revamp of all decks so that they are more effective and perhaps even more “templatized.” Allow for an “advanced mode” that would free up the templates for custom builds
– Fully revamped tutorials, that better explain sabotage, investigation missions, even crafting. Provide fully integrated guides to the game systems
– Improvements to the character models

I think this would make a good package that would warrant a full relaunch of the game.

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Arngrim

Ive always liked TSW, it’s unique in its setting, however the game looks abysmall (mainly characters). If they revamped this part (along witht the combat) of the game, id be playing this 247.

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SeedEve

I stopped playing the game for the very same reason.I tried to get back several times over the years and each time hit that same wall.

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Patrick

I hope the relaunch goes well. TSW has always been an odd duck for me…the combat always felt kinda off, as did some of the mechanics. So much so that I’ve never truly been able to get out of Kingsmouth. I just can’t seem to stick with the game long enough.

But if this fixes the combat and some of the other little issues, I’ll be one of the first in line to give it another go. Even from the extremely little I’ve played, I can tell the story is something that needs to be experienced. The NPCs alone are great, giving you their little backstories to start your missions (and the humor! Old Ones bless the humor!). I think I can honestly say they are the first NPCs in a MMO that I have not skipped the dialogue for. Which really says something about the game and its immersion.

Please, Funcom, PLEASE do your game justice. I want so badly to believe.

hurbster
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hurbster

They are getting rid of the poor second half of Egypt ?

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strangesands

Love Egypt — this seems to be a desert vs forest kinda thing…

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Tobasco da Gama

Me, too. And I preferred the second half to the first, mainly because the story there had some really neat hooks into actual Egyptian history. (Akhenaten and his mysterious sun cult were a real thing! The conspiracy to erase him and most of his relatives from history was also a real thing!)

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strangesands

And an investigation mission that has you translating Egyptian hieroglyphs. Doesn’t get much cooler than that! :)

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J. J. Sándor

There is a second part of Egypt? ;)
No, really, I spend so much time in Solomon’s island that I always outlevel the game before the end of the first half of Egypt. And that’s when I go to Transylvania, because honestly, desert is just not my thing anyway.
Indeed, maybe the level curve could use some straightening in that part of the game.

luxundae
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luxundae

Hah, dramatically shortening time spent in that zone may well substantially boost retention ;)

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Dug From The Earth

There goes any hope of Anarchy Online 2.

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Armsbend

My guess is that after reading player’s positive opinions of TSW over the years – especially with all of the lackluster releases since 2012 – they realize their old game that could – is still considered a top tier MMORPG.

I’m excited about this, because why not it’s an older game at this point, I just hope my GM still translates well.

Estranged
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Estranged

Whatever they need to do is fine with me, I just don’t want the game to die anytime soon.

And yes, I hope the GM “donors” are treated fairly.

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Roger Melly

I hope I am wrong but I don’t see anything good coming for the Secret World from this . I remember them streamlining the game a couple of years ago which led me to leave because I found killing the mobs too easy after that ( in Transylvania )

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kgptzac

I’ll be sure to have my popcorn ready for TSW’s NGE moment.

Estranged
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Estranged

Boooo

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Dima Wisotski

Lets be honest here – AO was pretty much in maintenance mode already. They were still putting in work to finish the new engine, but nothing new been announced for years.

As for TSW – wow, some great news. TSW always had great story and lore and setting, but was a bit held back by the combat system and bad tutorial. The combat is not bad, but in the current age it just felt dated. It lacked impact.

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Xijit

Oh fuck … That sounds like a F2P “relaunch” for TSW.

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hugmonster

The Year of Funcom continues :D

xpsync
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xpsync

Go Funcom!

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Zen Dadaist

Well, we all kind of knew AO was winding down to be put into maintenence mode this summer. At least the pretence is over. Guess that means the exploits won’t get fixed.

Meh.

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