Chaos Theory: Speculating on The Secret World’s relaunch

Well, it wasn’t the news I was hoping for, but I’ll still take it! This week we learned about Funcom’s plan to relaunch the conspiracy-laden Secret World in late March. This March. That means this month. I’d have really liked to hear more about season two, which we know has already been written; the story is really the core of TSW, and I admit to a certain level of impatience to finally experience more of it. Knowing that seasons two and three are both written makes it that much harder to wait. But upon consideration, perhaps the idea of revitalizing the core game just before adding additional story is a wise move. Nab new players and bring back those who left before and you’ve got a bigger player base to enjoy new content — not to mention more reason to make more! Hopefully the news about the new content and next season will follow quickly on the heels of the relaunch.

So what exactly is happening with this relaunch? That’s the big question! The answers aren’t forthcoming yet; there is no official word, and we learned there won’t be until at least after PAX. (You better believe I tried!) That leaves only the bullet points offered in the quarterly financial report to go on. However, that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of ideas floating around about what specifically each could mean. So let’s do a bit of speculating.

Redesigned new player experience

I’ve got to say that of all the known information, this one worries me the most. There has already been one redesign, and that drove away some of the player base with complaints that things were dumbed down too much and made too easy. I felt a bit differently: Many aspects of this 2015 Enhanced Player Experience helped mitigate points that would drive new players away before they had the chance to get engrossed in the story. That was then. It was already a slightly risky venture trading old blood for new blood, and now they want to do it again?

My biggest fear here is that the game will move to make itself more familiar — and generic — to players by copying what is out there and losing TSW’s identity. Could how to use the ability wheel be clearer to new folks when they are in their faction home testing out new weapons? Oh sure. But I really hope immersion-ruining pop up meta tutorials don’t replace the story. Seriously, whatever you improve or redesign here, do not wreck the story! Some of those story bits exist right in that weapon testing room and throughout the beginning, so a complete overhaul could mess with that.

One change I hope to see is one I spoke with Game Director Romain Amiel about back in early 2015. That’s the ability to have friends join in on story missions. He said that it wasn’t something players would see back then, but that “it has been on [his] watch list, and [he] can definitely bump it up and have a look to see whether it is worth doing.” Getting stuck in the story mission and being unable to continue is a big turn off in a story-driven game, so perhaps this actually jumped up the priority list?

What I really do not want to see is for people to be spoon-fed a specific build. The variety and choice in abilities are one of TSW’s strong points, and I would seriously hate to see that go away. Perhaps instead of auto assigning points to make a build (one possibility), the game can simply highlight the skills that match the starter deck for the two weapons that were selected in the training room. A pop up could appear to say go spend your ability points, and the actual abilities you need will be highlighted. A tool tip explaining that you need to buy previous ones if your needed one is farther down the chain could appear as well. Do people have to do the recommended spend? No, but at least they had some guidance if they wanted to go that route.

Major improvements to gameplay, including combat

Although not all of us agree (I actually like The Secret World’s combat), I understand that combat is a major contributor to many people disliking and/or leaving the game. If the number of people who said that they would return if the combat got better kept their word, the game could be looking at a significant swell in population. I think this one promised aspect has more people hopeful than all of the others in the report combined. But the question is, is this change something along the lines of redesigning the ability wheel itself or will it be a redesign of the actual mechanics? Or could it be something totally different?

Personally, I really, really, really hope that the ability wheel is not taken out. I love the choice it affords me to pick things I want to use. I absolutely do not want another “here’s what you have to do when you pick this weapon/class ” like I am forced to endure in so many games. And for the love of all that is good, do not make this a class-based game.

I mentioned that I like the combat just fine, but part of that may simply be because the problems many people face are not really present in the weapon builds I prefer. That, or the problems just don’t phase me. I may like the combat, but I am fully in favor of the mechanics being improved — especially if it makes those who care more about combat than I do happier. There’s the old complaint of hits not carrying weight. Hopefully that gets fixed. I know there are those who’d be ecstatic with better combat animations. I also know of an issue where a friend continually loses target and can’t heal himself because his target literally keeps swapping. Is this an intended feature, like a skill a mob has used? I can see that being an OK thing, but only if it doesn’t happen over and over and over again in a short period of time. Even mob abilities should have a cooldown! My personal request is that combat does not become like WildStar’s with its giant telegraphs on the ground and such.

I know most people really latched on the “including combat” part of this statement, but I am curious about what other systems and such might be getting improvements. A major improvement to gameplay could equal new zones, more puzzles to solve (along with different kinds of puzzles!). More unique types of gameplay should definitely be introduced. Remember punching your way through one mission, or chasing clothes through town to get dressed? One of the greatest things about TSW is the anticipation of what surprise is waiting around the corner.

You know what else I think will really enhance gameplay? Having a separate crafting inventory and a glyph inventory, and making those items go directly there. Those would allow me more time to play the game instead of play inventory management!

Introduction of new retention systems, such as daily rewards

This bullet point surprised me a bit, since I looked at the challenges as a type of daily reward for logging in and playing. I surmise that the studio is instead looking more at something to just gift players for simply logging in. Folks definitely like free goodies; I myself have on more than one occasion just logged into a game to get the free goodies even when I don’t stay and play. The idea with these daily login rewards is that folks who do take the time to log in might actually stick around, and if they stick around they are more likely to ultimately spend.

If daily rewards become a thing, I am undecided whether I want something akin to ArheAge’s daily loyalty points that build up to buy goodies in the shop or the kind where you click the calendar and are immediately rewarded with some item. Members already get a monthly allowance of bonus points to spend in the item store, but a smaller daily one could be for anyone who logs in. I definitely do not want to see my monthly allotment switched to being predicated on how many days I log in!

Of course, the report actually says systems plural, so maybe we’ll be seeing a mixture of a few different systems implemented. I strongly feel that those who do not pay for monthly membership and aren’t grandmasters should also be rewarded for daily play. This type of daily log in should be separate from what the members get and be available to everyone. And I do hope that the current membership rewards system stays with added benefits for folks who’ve been been subbed for a long time.

Adjustments to the business model, including allowing access to the story content for free

I am also very curious to see how this change in business model pans out. Will “access to story content for free” follow the example of Lord of the Rings Online, where you can only do the story mission chain and then have to pay for all the rest? This sounds reasonable and seems to make the most sense when considering how this bullet point was worded. I’d just hope folks wouldn’t think they are done with the game when they finish the main story since so much of the story in TSW is actually tucked away in the other main and side missions.

Honestly, I find it a bit strange to think of giving away the best stuff (the story) for free. Then again, maybe it doesn’t really end up being free: As it is, you cannot possibly do the story mission all in one go because you will lack the strength to get far without building yourself up through other missions. Perhaps folks will have to pay to unlock access to all other missions outside of the story in each region either as individual regions (can you just see some people skipping Egypt) or unlocking everything with the grandmaster pack. I definitely see Funcom retaining the grandmaster; getting rid of it would be disastrous.

However it works, I’d hope that the DLCs continue to be paid content as well so that Funcom has that revenue stream. Story missions will just be added into the game like quality-of-life improvements and other systems. Events should also be free content, though I admit I would pay handsomely for more amazing Halloween story missions!

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86 Comments on "Chaos Theory: Speculating on The Secret World’s relaunch"

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ragedyrage
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ragedyrage

I’m looking forward to playing again if there’s a combat overhaul, just to see how it is, but ultimately I won’t find myself coming back to the game without CONTENT.

Seriously, the game’s been out for 5 years, and it took them 4 years to reach the end of the first season of storyline. I started playing the game long after Tokyo came out, and I was definitely irritated with the shift in gameplay and enforced grind.

It wasn’t more than a week or two after the final fight atop the tower that I stopped playing. There was no point if there was no more story to pursue. I don’t have the time or patience for group content.

They did the exact same thing in Age of Conan, a game I bought and played from day one, only to drop after 6 months because of bugs and group content. I picked it up again this last year and had a blast, until it was time for Khitai, at which point the game took a huge dump in gameplay difficulty, faction grinding, group content, etc.

I’m not saying their games need to be dumbed down or made easier, but rather give players a reason to stay and spend money beyond grinding — regular and accessible content.

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Jeffery Witman

Why are you playing MMOs if you dislike “group content” so much?

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Rottenrotny

I’m going to be upset if they remove the skill wheel.
As far as combat goes, the animations are kinda pewp so I’d like to see that updated.
Hitting escalation and watching that crappy spinning animation 5 times and then 2 finishers isn’t very exciting.

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Kevin McCaughey

What would stop me coming back is if there are still bottlenecks in the story line where I need a group to complete it. I also really hope there is a total combat change – the combat is truly dreadful – though I like the ability wheel.

I suspect they have been working on combat changes for over a year and are ready to drop one game changing patch.

I am excited to give it another go at the relaunch – this is a game that I really wish I had played more and I always thought it was worth the money. I love the quests and mysteries – some of them are truly outstanding.

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Matt Redding

What ARE you talking about? There are no group content bottlenecks in the game. The entire game is single player, except there are are 10 dungeons and a couple raids.

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Jacobin GW

Combat has always been the main issue. Its painfully slow 1v1 where all you do is press 1-1-1-1-2-3 and fire 50 shot gun blasts into a single zombie before its dead.

Even though the game has tons of abilities and customization the actual gameplay remains that same old 1-1-1-1-2-3. It gets so insanely boring after the first 2 zones that most people just leave.

Contrast that to games like G2W or BDO where you fight tons of monsters at a rapid pace and its more about avoiding 1HKO moves than spending 30-60 or more seconds on every single trash mob 1 at a time.

Fix this and I would come back. The only way I can see them doing this in this short amount of time is to drastically decrease the TTK which people will see as dumbing down the game.

Turn it into an Asian game where you are constantly spammed with kills, exp, levels and loot but with a good story and setting and that game will do way better. Slow burners just don’t work anymore.

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Mari Vallik

Please, for the love of god, no. The last thing we need is another immature, overly competitive MMO where everything is reduced down into fast kills, fast levelling and one-upping other players instead of having to put actual thought and effort into it, taking the time to enjoy the game and the community. Different games cater to different tastes, the likes of SW are rare gems, let’s not loose them.

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Ekphrasis

How long have they been working on the new combat system?
A relaunch in a few weeks doesn’t seem like enough time for “Major improvements to gameplay including combat…”

I know many people enjoy TSW’s combat and for the most part, I found it serviceable but hardly enjoyable. Up until last year, I’d been a supporter from launch with the grandmaster and initiate packs as well as buying Funcom points for every content drop (not because I wanted to buy anything with them but to support TSW & Funcom). Unfortunately, after Tokyo and the Aegis system, I persevered through what I felt to be a terrible addition/change, finished the main story and stepped away from TSW.

Honestly, if they were to somehow blend Blade and Soul’s combat with everything else in TSW then it’d be enough to bring me back to MMO gaming.

I really do feel TSW is an underappreciated gem of a game – and I really do want to see it successful. Look forward to seeing what comes in March.

(An aside, I’ve clearly been away from Massively for a while too – new commenting system!)

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Ocho

Last major release was Issue #14 Call of the Nameless, in March of 2016. They had an Issue #15, which was just a repackage of the side mission packs and 1 new investigative mission. So I’d say it’s been in production easily for almost the past year. But major changes like that would include an engine overhaul, and the likelihood of that is slim. There will probably be more of an effort toward an “area” system instead of single target, is my guess, but we’ll have to see.

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strangesands

Work has been going on since last year, hence the reason for so few content updates.

hurbster
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hurbster

Needs a total avatar update. Everyone has essentially the same face. It’s not quite down to DCUO levels but it’s not too far off.

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Rottenrotny

The character models are god awful.

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Matt Redding

Plus the chargen and ingame graphics are wildly different. I mean WILDLY. Even skin tone and hair style doesn’t always accurately translate from the editor to in game.

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NovaScotiaCitizen

Smooth combat animations, combat feeling more impactful, improved avatars, an updated engine and housing would be my top picks for a “relaunch”.

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James Crow

the real reason why there is less players there any other west mmo is not the game, is because most of the people like the medieval-fantasy feeling.

i like the game because of the modern-horror uniqe style and also because is the only game that feel like GW1 in the free build scene.

i also met alot of gw1 vet in the game.

now for the relaunch :
to get more players i only think they need to do soothing like this:
make some normal skills to be with 0 cooldown so the game feel more like action combat.

make the zone with more players (right now you dont see players because that what the developers want because of the horror feeling – they change the cap in event.

and now for the big change that can upset alot of tsw vets:
change to the big wheel.

-i don’t think they going to make the game more easy because the last new experience made the game so easy.

and for the augis – i like them but…hate the scenerio XD

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Castagere Shaikura

I like some of your idea’s. But i do know alot of people that really hate the use builder first thing to fire off you better skill. It just gets so boring after awhile.

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Castagere Shaikura

Sorry but this line in the article made me laugh.

What I really do not want to see is for people to be spoon-fed a specific build. The variety and choice in abilities are one of TSW’s strong points, and I would seriously hate to see that go away.
People have been spoon fed builds since the launch of the game. Just look at the build forum on the website. You need this build for this zone and a different one for this zone. And the mess that the pre builds were made it worse. Don’t use that weapon with this weapon because they don’t match up is always told to new players.

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Castagere Shaikura

I used to be one of those players that complained about games being dumb down. But you know what if the game was so perfect why isn’t hardly anyone playing it? If there were they wouldn’t feel the need to make it more appealing to the masses. They are a game company in the need of money. We all know Funcom isn’t doing so great either. You guys should be welcoming to any new players that come in and not be pissed off if they have it easier than you did. Clearly the game is struggling and they feel they have to do something or close it down. So would you rather it shutdown or be appealing to more players. Not everyone that plays mmo’s are hardcore players. And if you feel you have to leave the game because of this so what. The will probably get two or more players to replace you. Stop thinking that a game company owes you something for playing its game. They didn’t force you to play it.

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Frank White

Umm, she never said anything about being pissed off that new players might have it easier than old ones. Saying that she hopes the game keeps its build versatility and doesn’t pigeonhole users into using only a few specific builds is not the same as saying she’d be pissed that new players might have it “easier.” In other words, she likes the game’s current build variety/flexibility because its fun and it allows for a lot of choices – NOT because she thinks it makes it more difficult than it needs to be and by extension thinks it should be equally difficult for new players. You made that inference all on your own.

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Roger Melly

If you pay to play a game over a long period or support it by buying DLC’s a gaming company does owe you to keep up the quality of that game just as any service provider does in any other type of business . Otherwise they will lose your custom .

Making gameplay unchallenging may work well for a game like Warcraft but it may not work so well for TSW .

The most logical thing to do if they want to keep the regular player base but also attract a new one is to have classic difficulty servers as well as easy mode ones .

Single player games have different difficulty levels so why shouldn’t mmos ?

In the last seven years since I gave up WoW I must have heard the same thing from hundreds of players in the games I played since then that they would have stayed with the game if it hadn’t been made so easy . I imagine other people have probably encountered similar comments .

Maybe if WoW had they given players server options with different difficulty modes they might have had 25 million subscriptions ?

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Roger Melly

I was one of those that left after the streamlining a couple of years ago . I had worked quite hard to get some decent gear before entering Transylvania because I had heard those areas were quite tough I got about halfway through it when the streamlining hit and everything was just too easy to the point I haven’t played anymore . I suspect it is still quite challenging if your gear is a bit more on the average side . From what friends told me they thought the last “relaunch ” probably drove away as many as it attracted .

The reason I liked TSW was it was a niche game with a bit of challenge to it and I suspect this new relaunch will just make things even easier . Everyone I knew who played the game back then has left because of various reasons . There isn’t a lot to do at the endgame and the price of the DLC’S were a little too high especially when I can get a full game that will last me longer in a steam sale for less .

If you see it for sale at 75 percent of with all the DLCs included its probably worth a try but this relaunch just makes me think it will probably be dumbed down even more . I hope I am wrong .

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Jason Clearwater

” I definitely see Funcom retaining the grandmaster; getting rid of it would be disasterous.” Typo: disastrous

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storieshaped

I just wish they would give players a way to by-pass the jumping puzzles. There’s one in Egypt that, if it could be done a different way, would mean I’d be back playing lickety-split1

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Slaasher

You quit playing because of one jumping puzzle?

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John Mclain

Just how much they improve/change the combat will decide if I return or not. (I quit shortly after launch.) I absolutely HATED the combat system and a good chunk of the skill selection/build system as well. (Too much spamming of pathetic attacks.)

On the positive side of things, they can only improve a combat system this awful, no matter what they do to it.

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Katriana

Everyone gripes about the Aegis system, and I agree that it’s rather confusing at first, and poorly explained, but I ultimately find it far more understandable than the Augments system. I have yet to fully wrap my head around that one, and what little I have, I’m still not quite seeing how it’s really worth the AP/SP grind to really make use of it. Maybe it’s just me.

In general I think the game would benefit from a lot more in game instruction in how to utilize the various systems in the game. Some of the tool tips could use some polish/tuning besides more/better tutorials about some of the stuff. Like everyone else, I just really hope they don’t dumb things down too much or genericize things to the point that the game loses it’s unique character.

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strangesands

Redesigned NPE
I thought they did a pretty good job with the first pass (EPE), at least addressing the critical issue of getting two weapons equipped. There’s more they could do though — get folks using the decks right off the bat, and possibly more guidance on choosing a deck. I really think they could do with optimizing every single deck in the game, making each of them much more effective (I think they only re-did the starter decks in the EPE — clean them all up!). Combine that with choosing a deck right at the outset and possibly provide more guidance on which ability to buy next as part of a more templated deck experience with the reward being the outfit. They could even choose a small questline that could end with the deck being completed. Finally, be sure to offer an Advanced Mode that allows decks to create any freeform deck they wish (and thus allow existing players to keep their hard-earned decks).

Improvements to Gameplay/Combat
I’ve always enjoyed the combat (Blade/Chaos), but I am thinking perhaps some of the other builds and animations didn’t have such a great feel — I am thinking especially pistols, fists and assault rifle, possibly blood. In this case, better, more weighty/impactful animations would help a great deal. Possibly some changes to the decks such that builder/consumer is less important, or at least less used. I think the big criticism here has always been the spamminess of builder/consumer, though I think the in-game decks could be constructed in such a way that this could be reduced.

Daily Rewards
I don’t really care about these, so meh.

Business Model
I could see either a great reduced B2P price that gives the base game and all issues with the main storyline, or F2P that does something very similar. I am predicting the main storyline will be “free” with the purchase of the game, but that mission bundles will be sold for every zone and region, with a possibility of buying everything for a single higher price or with a X-month sub. I doubt seriously Funcom will give away all the questing content for free, though I could very easily see the main storyline be given away with the base game. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say Funcom will exponentially increase the number of cosmetics in the cash shop.

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Jeffery Witman

My big hope for the combat system changes is that defensive stats begin to matter. Defense, mitigation, evade, they’re all mostly useless when compared to block and raw health. I know as a chaos/blade setup, I initially looked forward to tanking with an evade build. Once finding out that it was basically impossible to do, I just found a tank build guide and followed it because what’s the point in having a unique build when there’s only one right way to have a working build? I also would like a re-tooling of the signet system. Most of them are a terrible grind and totally not worth the effort of collecting 100 of them for a minor boost.

For non-combat, I want them to get the reticle working right. I drive with my trackball, not my keyboard, and having to switch to mouse free mode every time I want to interact with almost anything in a reliable way is annoying, especially on ladders.

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Marc Hill

redo agartha. i hate having to jump around on shit to get to certain zones. its why i stopped playing

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Jeffery Witman

Streamlined travel isn’t high on my list of improvements for the game, but it is there. Having a whole zone to traverse just to get between magic transportation portals kinda defeats the purpose of those magical portals. Keep Agartha intact for a few missions where you have to track someone through it, or whatever, but otherwise let us just jump from one zone portal to another like we do with anima wells.

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mistressbrazen

Cue impeding doom music….. The build situation has already been simplified. Use a pre-configured deck for crying out loud! How much easier can that get?!

I would hate to see any major change in the premise of the game in order to get better “graphics.” The idea that a game has to have the latest, greatest graphics is a mistake imo. Our story is far more important then what your character looks like. And the artistic appearance of the various zones is TSW is truly outstanding. You can be standing anywhere in the game and if you take your time and look around, you’ll find breath taking vistas and intricately detailed environments. Of course I was an AO fan so you know I don’t need 2018 graphics to enjoy a good game.

As I have from the beginning, when the game was released, I have to disagree on the combat issue. I jumped into Wildstar when it was in beta and people were talking about those combat mechanics. Does everything have to tailor to twitch mechanics? It will be interesting to see what Romain (Tilty) will end up with there. I know MJ has a lot of confidence in him, but I don’t. key impending doom music again….

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ogged451

The new tutorial video on Tilty’s Twitter is divine ๐Ÿ˜ธ

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strangesands

I just took a peek — classic. :)

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Sleepy

I actually liked having to switch around weapon sets for different encounters, or just for the variety occasionally. Then I hit the epic weapon grind and that all went out the window, cos I play too casually to grind up more than one pair of weapons, and half the fun of the game is gone.

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mistressbrazen

I did my entire purple gear progression with Shotgun, and AR. I do solo with blade and have done so since the beginning. It can be daunting to tell your group, yeah here’s what I can brig to the table, its these two weapons, but it can be done.

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Jeffery Witman

It can be downright game ruining for some people, especially if they are casual enough that they don’t have a leet grip of raid runners to depends on. In in that situation and I’m overcoming it by building a blade/chaos tank because everyone always needs them. I’m also gearing up for DPS and Heals, but it’s not getting my full attention like my tank gear and skills are.

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GamingSF

Honestly the thing that brings me and friends back to the game is new content. The combat is ok, improving it doesn’t interest me that much as we play the game for the storytelling, other games already have better combat. I do hope M J’s prediction comes true over the idea of allowing story missions to be done as a group – I play this MMO with friends, never solo so the solo sections were annoying as we are forced to play content in parallel not together.

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mistressbrazen

I totally agree with you. We need content. I think after the base story you could group. At least I vaguely recall Joel saying that. But that is a change I don’t have any problem with whatsoever.

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Asif Kazmi

I’m definitely in the “I’ll come back if the combat is fun” camp but I’m not sure how they can do that without a total revamp? I think the wheel is great but I’m looking for GW2, Wildstar, Tera, heck even ESO style combat. I’m just a casual gamer so I’m not sure how to describe why all of those are fun and TSW combat is not… animations? graphics? some combos beyond just building main resource and spending it?

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Dajhryne

Given the success of Conan Exiles I speculate that the changes will be full nudity, graphic, bloody fatalities, simplified two button combat, full pvp everywhere and the ability to build your own base. I’m going to put mine right up the side of the world tree in Agartha.

Sadly I think what will really happen is that it’ll be dumbed down to the point where the original fans will abandon it while the new intended audience will still stay away in droves because it’s simply not possible to turn TSW into what most of them seem to want and trying to do so will destroy what it actually is. Either way it’ll be a shell of the game it was and it’s beyond words depressing to me that we’ll probably never see it’s like again because apparently there’s just no market for a game with actual challenge.

Even if they manage to get and keep more players it’ll be very temporary once they hit the end game grind that TSW has become. Which I was never a fan of myself as it’s a complete departure from what the game was. They might change this… but I find it very doubtful.

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Karinshastha

I’d like them to soften the grind to 10.9.5/2.0 and emphasize the story. That would, of course, require there to be more story; I also understand that the AEGIS/MoP grind keeps long-term players subscribed, as it did myself until January of this year. I did the non-mandatory endgame grind and didn’t mind it, apart from the fact that it turns H. P. Lovecraft World into a Diablo 2 simulator (*clickclickclickclickclick*). Give me more dark spookiness and we’re good. I’m not resubscribing until they do.

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Schmidt.Capela

“””What I really do not want to see is for people to be spoon-fed a specific build.”””

Actually, as long as the pre-built decks remain completely optional and a single character can still access the whole wheel, it might be a good idea to spoon fed newbies a build. Particularly so if the lore behind the decks is fleshed out, perhaps even with a small quest chain to obtain the deck outfit after acquiring the needed skills, and the devs try to ensure on an ongoing basis that no pre-built deck is too behind the best similar cost custom ones.

People like you and me might love playing the “design a deck game”, but not everyone is like that. For those, allowing them to have a choice of sane default decks, without requiring them to actually learn how to build their own deck, would greatly improve the game’s accessibility.

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Dug From The Earth

They already DO this in game, its just not required. There are pre-built decks for new players to pick and follow so they dont get lost. The tutorial just does a crap job at letting new players know these exist

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Matt Redding

The starter decks are ok. The ones that are faction linked are horrible and should probably be removed … except they unlock cool costumes. The problem with them is they date back to before launch and they just don’t work. I mean literally they don’t work, some of them don’t even function or do what they’re described to do. They’re more like poster children for bad builds. The last 3 they added, the “elite” builds for Tokyo are ok though.

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Witches

The main problem with the game are the graphics and animations, stuff like the main quest not being linear can throw people off at first but i don’t think the game will gain from making it more linear.

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Hirku

What little information they’ve communicated leaves me with zero confidence in the future of this game. It’s honestly starting to feel like SWTOR II, all they need to do is announce the Gaia Command system.

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Matt Redding

I’m really fed up with the lack of communication. I mean it’s making me actively dislike the game. I played for a while at launch but quit, and came back after they were well along with Tokyo and packaged those updates at a reasonable price. I was nicely caught up and then they just stopped. After a while we got the new issue that was set in Egypt again and I didn’t like that content actually and it just felt like a big filler storyline. It reminds me of when City of Heroes was actually down to like 6 developers and it was kept secret until they got new funding from NCSoft and staffed back up.

I get part of the problem. They envisioned this long, labyrinthine storyline that would unfurl at a steady rate and the game tanked at launch. They went from monthly updates that were planned to have a quest in every zone at least to a couple times a year, then nothing genuinely new for almost a year. At this point they need to stop screwing around with side stories and filler and get on the main story, but they don’t really have the resources to do that so they keep throwing out bits and pieces to tide people over. But that didn’t work and now they have even fewer people.

There’s a lot of things that the game needs fixed. The engine needs actual code updates due to the age of the game and the changes in PC hardware. I personally find the combat and builds “OK” in the sense they work well enough to do the content but clearly a lot of people would like better there too. But above all it needs CONTENT.

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Totally Not Mike McLarty

I loved TSW, but it would need to have a serious graphical update to the characters for me to return. I just don’t see that happening.

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Dagget Burmese

Main reason our group stopped playing TSW was the early enforced solo content combined with enforced deck changes to succeed at said solo instances for what had been otherwise good group content. Some ppl want to be one class of player to cap, and greatly dislike having to become something else just to conquer a solo instance, especially when they had been happy in their designated team role. If they make all early instances group, then that’s a big improvement.

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Matt Redding

The story of the game is cool but the initial designer came from first person adventure games and really blundered imo. He made a solo online game with a grouping for certain content option, NOT a proper MMO. It’s nice if MMOs give you the option to solo while leveling or group up, but this game actively flips out if you try to group as you level. There is content for groups but it’s all at QL 10, or the leveling dungeons. If you can get past that though (and leveling is VERY fast nowadays) there’s a lot of fun to be had in the content that’s there… until you get bored.

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Dagget Burmese

Even if the solo instances allowed most any decent deck setups to beat the instance it would have been tolerable. Their prior MMO, Age of Conan, made you do solo instances at certain levels, but every such encounter was readily winnable by all the predefined classes in the game, as long as you were reasonably equipped and understood your class. That hasn’t been the case for many of the solo instances in TSW, notably some force heal spec decks to get swapped out for DPS setups, and plenty of ppl can’t cope with changing what they know for some other foreign setup to be used for 30 terrifying minutes in a solo instance.

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Matt Redding

Right because there are 4 roles in TSW: Heal, Tank, DPS, and You Are Soloing. And the entire game assumes that You Are Soloing. If all you ever want to do is Heal, you’re completely out of luck in this game. It CANNOT be done.

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Jeffery Witman

The game’s advantages become a weakness at that point. The complexity and depth of the Ability system and how each weapon works sightly different is fantastic to play with, but when you’re used to fist/elemental and suddenly you have to figure out blood/shotgun, or chaos/blade, and you’re lacking the best gear for those weapons, and your glyphs are set for something totally different… Yeah, it’s a lot to handle at once.

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Castagere Shaikura

If they make the combat snappy and fluid like Wows i would check it out again. But it Funcom i don’t see it being better. You still have all the use your builder first then use you main skill over and over. It just got so boring.

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BalsBigBrother

I don’t like speculating too much as it invariably leads to some form of disappointment. I suppose that sort of stance wouldn’t be conducive to writing an mmo article though hehe.

So I will just sit here patiently if a little nervously and hope that Funcom don’t throw away what makes TSW a good game in its attempts to be more attractive to new players. Or possibly alienate the folks who have been keeping the lights on in the meantime.

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Dug From The Earth

For me, much of TSW’s appeal gets pushed to the side by other things that take precedence over that appeal.

For example:

– The skill system/ability wheel. It seems massive and full of freedom of choice. The reality is, if you want to do anything end game, that freedom is removed and you are expected to play with the meta builds. Not only that, you quickly learn that despite having 100s of skill choices, many skill are nearly identical, with one small keyword difference in how they work mechanically. This quickly diminishes the feeling of how “massive” the system is.

– The quests and investigations. Whats that? A game where every task isnt “go kill 10 bears” or “go collect 10 bear skins”. Seems great. Missions that require you to do actual research and detective work. Sign me up! Only…. most of these are put together in such a non intuitive way that you become very frustrated and just end up following guides online to do them. Not only that, but they dont really support group play… in an mmorpg…. which means a lot of time spent solo.

– Combat. You would think that having such a “open ended” system of skills would make combat very dynamic and fun. Nope. Its a finger tapping spam fest. Your fingers will hate you after playing this game.

– Graphics. Part of the games appeal for me is the setting, theme and mood of the game. All conveyed by the games visuals. Lets face it though… the engine is dated, and suffers from many things that can easily break immersion these days, especially after experiencing newer games. Short view distance, ugly fog effects, low polygon counts, big FPS hits in specific locations, choppy animations, etc. The engine REALLY needs a modern update. Thank goodness for sweetfx at least.

– Completely wonky itemization. Not just the types of items you find, but how they convey the sense of character progress. Its just wonky, and even confusing at the start. Its often not clear what stats you should be focusing on, and this causes huge issues in early group dungeons. It makes “Hunter Loot” seem like it wasnt a problem.

All of these types of things make my stay in TSW world often very short and limited. I kick myself over it because its entirely the setting and theme of a game world that I want to spend a lot of time in. There are just too many things that end up feeling half arsed about it that cause me to cut that stay short however.

Id really like to see the “relaunch” improve upon these things.

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Jeffery Witman

You really nailed a lot of it here. The game’s premise and setting and even the ideas behind the combat system are all exactly what drew me to the game when it was in development. From the launch onward, however, everything else about the game got in the way of it. It’s gotten better in recent iterations, so I’m hopeful the relaunch will continue that improvement.

The unintuitive and random leaps of faith required in the investigation missions are one of my pet peeves. It completely ruins those quests for me because they have no internal consistency within the game world. Instead they rely on metagame tropes or just give you a mundane task that is usually handled in game. Like in BF, when you investigate the bartender’s ghosts and suddenly you need to translate pages of Romanian into your own language when you have a tool in your hand that can do that for you and does it regularly when you examine objects or hack into computer systems. It’s an immersion breaking time sink.

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dm_jim80

Hopefully this ‘improving the combat’ stuff is more than ‘just lower TTK on everything open world.’ Guess we’ll see. Eventually.

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Xijit

It is going to be going F2P

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BalsBigBrother

in some form or another it seems to be reading from the investor notes. What form or how deep into the game it will go hasn’t been revealed at this point in time.

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RJB

The combat needs to really improve for a vast majority of ppl to get back into it i can prob deal with the rest of the outdated feels but the combat kills me

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Robert

Sorry, reposted because I’m learning the new comments system.

What about the Aegis system? There’s been some talk about toning that down in Tokyo; maybe only being used as part of boss fight mechanics in instances for example.

I for one would love to see that go away in the open world/non-group instances. Or at least tone down the huge grind to improve your Aegis stats. Make the gate to later content in Tokyo a bit easier to open? I’m for that!

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Justin Olivetti

Hey, ho, the AEGIS system’s gotta go!

What a horrible system that was. I’d also be far more in favor of ditching the builders/finishers system in favor of a less spammy combat system and skills.

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mistressbrazen

I cannot believe you all are STILL complaining about Aegis. Really? It been made far easier to get the points. You can buy items to dis-assemble to get your points… You can buy canisters to get your points. I mean really…what is the problem. It’s not better or worse than learning how to fight in a NM dungeon.

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ogged451

Well, try to do a MFA/B without an AEGIS auto-switch mod.

It’s not fun.

Sure, in outdoor Kaidan, AEGIS is a complete non-factor, but the system plainly sucks for dungeons unless you automate it (cue Decursive reference)

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mistressbrazen

but you have the mod right?

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styopa

I was thinking maybe Gojira could in FACT destroy Tokyo? What a hell of an event that would be.
There were some very good storylines in Tokyo, I’ll admit, but man did I get sick of the “play this minigame in combat” thing.

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Greaterdivinity

I would welcome this so hard. I’m slowly working my way through Tokyo right now, but the impending grind that is the Aegis system does a lot to kill my motivation -_-

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Matt Redding

They actually changed the Aegis grind a lot. You can dissassemble old aegis bits for experience, they put in lots more filth containers to get you xp. It’s not real hard but the thing is if you get your controllers up to about 1.4 that’s enough to do all the story content. You only need higher for raiding.

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Nordavind

The question is, why do you grind the AEGIS system?

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mistressbrazen

exactly!

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TheDonDude

Speaking of one of the dudes who is on the “I’d try it again if the combat was good” train:
– Designing the ability wheel so I can make effective builds that fit my vision for a character (a la City of Heroes)
– Making combat less dull
– Make mobs feel less like bullet sponges
– Make animations and weapon swapping less weird (who the heck shoots a rifle, puts away the rifle to throw a single punch, brings the rifle back out to shoot twice, puts the rifle away for two punches…)

Now I didn’t get very far in my first runthrough (75% of the way through Kingsmouth, baby!) so I have no idea how many of these above issues even apply past the early game. But nevertheless, it’s why I stopped playing.

There are other annoyances with TSW I had, but for combat that was about it.

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Nordavind

“Effective builds that fit your vision” Could you elaborate on that, because I’m pretty sure you could do that from day 1. Unless you’re one of those “my char only uses one weapon because RP” kind of guy.

Mobs were never bullet sponges, and less so after the EPE update.

Agree on less dull (too easy) and animation swapping.

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TheDonDude

Keeping in mind I’m a total TSW n00b and so the chances of me being wrong about stuff is pretty gosh darn high. My info all comes from zone chat.

Anyway, I wanted a guy who was as non-magical as possible. Normal dude who has to deal with crazy stuff using his wits. So… guns and fists, I guess? Or guns and more guns? Basically Fox Mulder, or maybe the detectives from Powers. I also love me the healer role, but have to be able to solo effectively as well.

Doable?

(being a one-weapon guy would actually be great but it isn’t a deal breaker for me).

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Nordavind

Running with AR/Pistol, AR/Sword, Shotty/Pistol are all very viable in most content.

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TheDonDude

Viable in most content?

What wouldn’t I be able to do?

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mistressbrazen

stuff you don’t try. There are a few dungeons (at the NM level) that encourage the use of certain mechanics. But I don’t know of any story content that requires one skill that everyone must use..

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Matt Redding

Non magical as possible is completely contrary to the design. The entire premise of the game is that Gaia has linked up to you making you a functional immortal. You can fall from any height without damage; teleport to any ley line nexus; revive from any death that doesn’t vaporize you. Any weapon you pick up will act as a focus for the huge tap of magic that has been shoved into you. Even if it seems weird. (Assault rifles are damage or healing weapons and pistols are too to some extent). Even if you don’t pick up a sorcery-style magical focus your weapon attacks are magical.

Justin Olivetti
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Justin Olivetti

Yes, they absolutely were and still are bullet sponges. Time to kill, even after the EPE, is too high compared to most MMOs, and it’s a turnoff. When it’s tuned like that, your abilities and weapons feel far less powerful.

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Nordavind

I didn’t spend more time killing thing in TSW than I did in SWTOR.

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Matt Redding

It’s faster than FFXIV … even nightmare mobs.

luxundae
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luxundae

I think I’d be fine with that if mob density were much lower. That’s actually how I initially envisioned TSW back in 2007…scary monsters that normally stay out of site, so you don’t encounter them all that frequently. But when you do, watch out!

But if they want to keep it where it is (hordes of zombies at every corner, thousands of cultists in the desert, and a werewolf behind every tree), then TTK probably needs to drop.

Maybe not in Tokyo though. I enjoy the current endzone feeling really dangerous all the time. I admit that can be a serious disincentive to folks trying to solo through the zone.

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mistressbrazen

They already lowered mob density in ALL the zones people cried about. You can kite the mobs in every single zone even Tokyo. Thinned mobs and reduced aggro. That was done almost two years ago when the EPE came in.

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ogged451

This is just poppycocks. Except for selected sabotage missions (which were nerfed for the Unseen schievement) the game has still the same mob placement as in 2012.

Even in Kaidan, only mob HP was nerfed. North Kaidan even gained new mobs since its inception.

Edit : Egypt and Transylvania also received some new mobs for I6 & 7 & 14 which weren’t present in 2012.

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