Exclusive Interview: Funcom on the Secret World Legends reboot and the end of updates for The Secret World

Don’t miss this morning’s explainer piece on The Secret World’s reboot as Secret World Legends, now a “shared world action RPG.”
You wanted answers, we’ve got answers! As soon as Funcom sent us the press release and the FAQ about the launch of Secret World Legends and its effect on The Secret World, we fired off some questions to get more details and some clarification. Game Director Romain Amiel has now expounded on different aspects of both games for us, including the use of the Ability Wheel, changes to progression, Grandmaster status in both games, future development, and more. Here’s what he had to say.

(Bad news spoiler: Your hopes of having continued content in The Secret World or a new graphics engine have the same lifespan as an Orochi agent.)

Massively OP: To start us off: Does the reboot mean that all current DLCs (through Issue #15) will be completely free-to-play?

Romain Amiel: Yes, all content including current DLCs will be completely free-to-play, including all the content in Solomon Island, Egypt, and Transylvania.  Most of the issues content will be available at launch. Tokyo and all the issues related to that region will be released in the weeks following.  All future content, including season 2, will also be free to play.

How will Funcom profit from the game? Will there be changes to the item store or what is offered in it?

All the story and quest content in the game is free for everyone.  Players will be able to purchase a variety of in-game items and services including additional characters, unlocking new weapons, extra inventory space, exclusive vanity items, and more.

What does the change away from an MMO to an RPG mean for future content? Such as, we know that the stories for season 2 and 3 are already written — will we still get to see them? Will the seasons be expansion packs that will now be purchased (as opposed to smaller DLC issues)?

All future story content and quest content will be free.  One of the main reasons we are relaunching is to enable us to release the rest of the story content for Secret World Legends. We will be releasing the first part of Season 2 later this year.

Is the Ability Wheel still intact for combat? Can you detail a bit what those changes to combat are?

We have changed how the ability wheel works in Secret World Legends.  Actives and Passives have been separated into their own unique sections for each weapon.  In addition, we have redesigned the actives and passives for each weapon to make the game easier to approach for new players.  We still allow the combination of two different weapons to make a completely unique build.

What does “improved mission flow” mean? Are missions gathered together into hubs, or is there a system that directs players where to go as opposed to finding the mission nearby after completing another (as currently happens)?

The major change with mission flow is that the main story missions will guide the player around the playfields more so than it did in TSW.  We use side quests to lead players to mission-giver NPCs and other areas of interest.  Exploration is important in Secret World Legends, and players will need to go off the guided path to discover everything in a playfield.

Can you detail the new progression system?

The progression system has been made more traditional and more accessible: As you progress through the game, your character will earn experience, earning levels which will increase your survivability and damage output.

A large part of your power also comes from your equipment. All gear found in the game can be further refined and improved to increase their power and attach powerful effects. We will have more information on this in the coming weeks!

Additionally, every weapon that you master will grant you lasting benefits.

With the line that players can enjoy the game entirely on their own or team up with others, does this mean players now have friends help them in all aspects of the main story missions?

We are updating most aspects of the main story missions to be doable with friends. A few instances with stories crafted specifically for solo play will still require you to play those on your own.

Does “updated visuals” mean that character models have been improved/changed?

We have made improvements to visuals like character models, character heads, combat effects/animations, lighting in playfields, and we’ve increased view distance in some playfields. Keep in mind these are improvements, not a generational jump in graphics. We are still using the original graphics engine.

Regarding “offering a fresh start for new-comers and long-time fans alike”: What will these changes offer players who have been a part of TSW since the beginning and have completed all available content?

A lot of improvements have been done to many of the missions. The story mission has also received several changes, new information has been added, and the story flow has been improved throughout the game. Additionally, the changes to combat and progression system make the game feel different and even more enjoyable than it was the first time around.

For returning players, you will be able to re-live the full story, complete with high quality voice acting, and experience it with the new and improved combat and progression systems, which we believe is an overall more enjoyable gaming experience.

We’re confused on the status of the original TSW — will it still be fully accessible and playable, or is it being outright replaced? If it will continue on separately, will original TSW receive updates and future content like the much-anticipated season 2, or will all new development only be in the new Legends game?

Anyone that owns The Secret World will be able to continue to play it.  Secret World Legends will exist as a separate product so it will have its own account system, installation, server, etc.  Future development will be focused on Secret World Legends exclusively.

Will players who then play both versions get to keep their benefits in both versions (such as grandmasters continuing to get Membership Rewards as well as as the Patron Rewards in the RPG Legends)?

Yes. Once Secret World Legends launches, players will be able to link their SWL account to their TSW account.  Linking will do several things, but one of them is take a snapshot of any remaining Membership Rewards time you have in TSW and copy it over to SWL as Patron Rewards time.  After this one-time account linkage, any purchases in TSW will be separate from purchases in SWL.

If you are a Grandmaster (lifetime member) in TSW then you will have lifetime Patron Rewards membership in Secret World Legends, and you will keep benefits in both versions.

Thanks very much for your time! Readers, you can get the scoop on the reboot in our original article from this morning.

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143 Comments on "Exclusive Interview: Funcom on the Secret World Legends reboot and the end of updates for The Secret World"

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Grave Knight

…level system that increases your survivability. :| That is one of the things I liked about it, that a starting character’s health pool wasn’t that much higher than a end game character’s (granted that does put more emphasis on gear and skills).

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Sim

Honestly, TSW is the only mmo that I don’t mind running the same story missions again. But I still worry that they will simplify the game so much it changes the core of the game.

Disclaimer: I’m one of very few people who actually find the combat in the game interesting.

Crow
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Crow

The largest issue I have is that I’m uncertain if they have a real model for providing additional content. It isn’t part of the massive overhaul and re-launch, and they very much are leveraging existing content in an almost prog-server-like means to avoid having to produce new content.

My concern is because they confirmed that 1) Season 2 isn’t even in dev yet; 2) They don’t have plans beside Ragnar’s ~2011 plan with annotations; and most concerning 3) They do not have a new writer and are likely paying Scriv more than they should via-a-vis an in-house writer to “consult”.

Content cost was what killed TSW. Not having a clear plan to address this is something super concerning.

May have missed this, but will TSWL be the same cutscene/voice-acted as TSW? If so that is concerning from a simple revenue consideration. Unless there exists evidence that what killed TSW has been actually fixed, there’s no real ability to see this as a long-term solution.

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Jonny Sage

RIP Secret world.

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Blaaznar

We have made improvements to visuals like character models, character heads, combat effects/animations

THANK YOU!

Reader
John Mclain

Don’t get too happy, he clearly said that it would be just an improvement not a massive one, and still using their same ancient game engine. so by “improvement” it may just mean “Not quite as ugly.”

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Arngrim

“We are still using the original graphics engine.” So characters will still look ugly af. Got it. Hopefully the combat will be improved at least.

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Craig Sharp

I’m genuinely looking forward to this, but I hope they realise that even using the same engine, there’s going to need to be significant optimisation improvements, and a decent injection of further activities and mechanics if a new playerbase is going to stick around.

The story is great, but without some of the bells and whistles of other modern mmos it’s not going to keep people playing long-term on its own.

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Ekphrasis

I’m OK with this – and I hope it brings TSW the visibility and cashflow it needs/deserves.

The real measure of success (for me) will be in the new implementation of the combat.

As a GrandMaster, also happy that’ll carry across in some fashion and I’ll continue to purchase Funcom points to support future development as I was doing when I was actively playing TSW.

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Mr_Planthead

I enjoy running around solo and seeing other people in the game, makes it feel like a real world then. This just killed my excitement for their re-launch though I imagine others will be happy about it. :(

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Leiloni

They said you’ll see other people in the world, just less then a WoW type game. But honestly that’s exactly how TSW works right now anyway, so it doesn’t sound any different.

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Witches

Not good news, but at least they are trying to keep the IP alive, also the game will still be available in maintenance mode, but this relaunch is sounding a bit…lackluster…no engine change, levels, apparently more linear story, i’m not sure these are things the core audience is/was longing for.

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Greaterdivinity

This relaunch isn’t really aimed at the core audience. It seems like they’ve been pretty clear about that given the fact that they said it wouldn’t come with new content. It was very much directed at getting new/lapsed players back into the game to bring some life into it. It’s not going to survive much longer if it only holds onto the remaining shrinking playerbase. It desperately needs new blood, and that means making some big changes.

And if it ends up being successful, it will be a boon to the core audience. It will mean more revenue for a larger team, progress being made in season 2/3 of the story, which is already written. I’ll gladly take some of these less popular changes with the relaunch if it means we’ve got a solid shot of actually seeing season 2/3. Because as things stand now, I’d be surprised if we even got through season 2 with how much life is left in the game.

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Leiloni

This is very well said. It’s the truth and I don’t see that as a bad thing. Hopefully more players see this as well and are happy for what’s truly a good thing for the game.

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Nathan Aldana

Honestly, speaking as a lapsed player, nothing but a combination of both a better combat engine and new story content will bring me back. Just improved (and that remainds to be seen if it actually is) combat aint enough.

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Jeffery Witman

Lapsed players are part of that core audience. In fact the reason they have so many lapsed players is because they 1) didn’t listen to their complaints seriously from day one, and 2) stop releasing story-related content updates a long while ago. How long has it been since Tokyo was released? How long have complaints about the combat system been voiced?

The fact that they’re choosing this method of addressing those concerns, requiring a full reset with no new engine or anything substantial beyond a console/f2p software port speaks volumes about the future of the game.

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Bannex

Sadly the shared world part is what kind of ruins secret world’s aesthetic

Reader
Leiloni

I disagree. I love seeing other people around since I prefer MMO’s in general to solo games, so this is a huge deal for me. I would not be very excited if I were only running around by myself.

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Pandalulz

Hmmm… on one hand, I actually like the way this new game sounds. On the other, I’m sorry to see the first game get sacrificed on the altar to make it happen. Funcom sure doesn’t do anything the expected way do they?

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thickenergy

The new combat system has to be up to snuff or this game is just going to be The Secret World minus half of its existing player base.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I’m in.

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Malcolm Swoboda

The ‘co-op’ just means they won’t be making any more raids and may tune that stuff downward for 2-5 people groups.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Its weird that they release separate game when they could make all this within original game. But its nice that they didnt forget about GM accounts (which I have) and gonna link it to Legends.

Improvements sound good. But I disliked addition of levels to the game.

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Dug From The Earth

I was a bit taken back by them announcing levels… but they could do it in a very “on the surface only” way if they are smart.

You already earn Xp in the game. If all they do is simply assign a “level” to certain blocks of xp earned, then not much has changed. If you can still freely spend that AP/SP (xp) on skills in the new “wheel”, then im fine with there being arbitrary levels next to my characters name.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I think they said pretty clearly it will be classic levels and gear tied to players level.

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Dug From The Earth

Heh, your definition of “said pretty clearly” seems to match my definition of “infer”.

“As you progress through the game, your character will earn experience, earning levels which will increase your survivability and damage output.

A large part of your power also comes from your equipment.”

No where in that statement does it say anything about it being a classic level system, or anything about gear being tied to character level. You could infer that it could be that way, but we simply dont have enough info to go on to make it a “pretty clear” thing right now.

If it does end up being a classic level system however, then they better hope that the combat revamp is good enough, otherwise I doubt ill play much, let alone spend money on the game.

Mukit
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Mukit

Did I miss the part where they explain how combat will be improved? Not the Ability Wheel changes, but the ‘oooomph’ part of it…

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Leiloni

In another article he said this about combat:

We have expanded on the functionality for the reticule system that was implemented in TSW. In addition, we have changed how weapons work, added unique elements to each weapon, and updated the active and passive abilities. Overall combat should feel more action oriented than it was in TSW.

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Nathan Aldana

which says next to nothing about it, really.

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Leiloni

They’re improving targeting, abilities, and in another quote they said combat animations. So that’s literally every part of combat. How is that nothing?

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Martinez

Huh so its turning into SWTOR…huh..did not see that coming

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Melissa McDonald

Judging whether a “lite” version of a game is going to succeed is a very inexact science. Age of Conan was far more degraded in base and gamer consciousness, a much older game than The Secret World.
The apparent short-term success of Conan Exiles doesn’t necessarily mean a “lite” version of TSW will succeed. I’m not wishing them ill here, but this feels like they bailed on TSW a little early. Of course I don’t see the numbers, it could be too late.

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Dug From The Earth

I hope “improved visuals” mean that they have given options to disable the freaking horrible Depth of field and bloom effects turning this game into trying to look out a fogged window with a flashlight.

More video options = better

Everything else can be summed up like this:

“We are making a buttload of cash from Conan Exiles, and that game isnt even out yet, so its time to push the auto pilot button on TSW!”

luxundae
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luxundae

Thanks for the interview! Cautiously optimistic, and we’ll see how it goes!

I do wish they had the resources to rebuild in a new engine, since I don’t think they have the resources to maintain the Dream Engine. But if they were doing that well they probably wouldn’t feel the need to relaunch in the first place. Catch 22.

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Brown Jenkin

Super-sad to hear they’re adding levels and more traditional vertical progression… just what the people wanted I guess??

Line
Reader
Line

Meh.
TSW was always an extreme vertical progression game.
To the point where even the story was locked behind “grinding” for “level ups” in the form of talisman upgrades… which also happened to compete with skill unlocks.
A terrible model, and one of the most egregious examples of throwaway gear in themeparks.

Reader
BDJ

TSW has been vertical for a while now…

And there are ALWAYS levels in any MMO. The only difference is, is that some MMOs don’t show in a lvl A-Z format. SWG had levels. People loved the “level-less” SP system , but the skill boxes you unlocked were levels themselves. This goes for TSW as well and any other game that has “level-less’ systems.

styopa
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styopa

Sounds like:
– TSW is going into maintenance mode. ‘You can still play it’ precisely equals ‘You can still play GW1’
– SWL will become the main developed property
– SWL will be a “shared online experience” ie not massive, maybe co-op? <- this part makes me the most nervous.
– "SWL will be totally free to play" means that it will be probably unpleasant to play without at least some store-bought options. I mean, they're not going to do this for no income.
– "improved mission flow" more breadcrumbs isn't a bad thing; new players could get stuck in TSW 'WTF do I do next'?. Saying "exploration will still be important" smells bullshitty to me.
– "new progression system" ie levels

I'm not encouraged at all.
TSW offered a unique setting, astonishingly well-written adventures and dialogue, and a unique approach to character development.
There is NO comment on really expanding anything at all setting wise. Nothing. THAT more than anything to me says 'desperate cash grab'. If they were TRULY talking about rejuvenating the IP, they'd be talking about new settings, new concepts, actually advancing the game. This smells more like taking the models and data already developed, shaking them up a little, telling everyone they have to re-set their characters and start over. Oh and yeah, there's that cash shop over there.
More of a focus on the changes coming to combat (hint, hint)
Disposal of the unique character development.

stege99
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stege99

Don’t know what to make of this really…
Bought the Complete Edition last fall and was looking forward getting into to game now after the revamp.
Turns out I’ll have to start out in a game that’s gone into maintenance mode. That or start in the parallel SWL that should give me the content for free anyways…

Well, well, let’s add to this that I last year spent quite a bit of money on my old favorite AoC, just because I want to support it and have vain hopes that Funcom would one day wake up and do something like they now do with TSW/SWL.
Instead, along comes a survival game set in Hyboria and flings AoC into retirement and maintenance mode.
Sigh, what is it with Funcom and not following through…except putting stuff into maintenance mode and then running to the next flavor of the month…like an obsessed kid in a candy store. :-(

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Leiloni

Funcom was on the verge of shutting down as a company at least once in the past few years. What they’re doing with Conan and TSW is making smart decisions on how to make money and decent games for their most popular IP’s with the limited money they have right now. I’m sure they’d love to do huge new AAA MMO’s for both, but they literally can’t. Just because Funcom is a well known company, that doesn’t mean they’re big. They’re small and struggling.

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Oleg Chebeneev

They actually got some millions from investors last year and Conan Exile gave them a decent influx of cash. I dont think they are struggling atm

Reader
wratts

Glad they’re being forthcoming with information now that the information rollout is in full swing.

My reaction so far at least is lukewarm; I’m glad that for the price of my Grandmaster package years ago that I’m getting a newly launched version of one of my favorite games, but not too very excited about playing through a story I’ve already done once. It will be cool to do it as a new faction I guess, but that’s not something I was just dying to do so much as I realize I’ll need to do that to get to Season 2 content that I do want.

I’m wondering what cosmetics will transfer over. I’ve dumped thousands of bonus points into costumes, and earned a bunch through TSW play. I’d hope that most of that transfers over, and will be pretty f-ing annoyed if they try to cash shop me in order to build a look that I want.

Slightly disappointed that they’re retaining the DreamWorld engine. That’s really going to cap how impressive any visual or animation upgrade is; the engine just doesn’t render efficiently and my PC that can run current games on ultra at 60 fps minimum still has trouble getting over 45 in TSW and I get plenty of framerate dips and stutter in any crowded environment. Making it less MMOish will probably help with that, but I suspect the majority of the limitation is rendering engine and the game still won’t perform to current standards.

Long term I hope that this and Exiles succeeds for Funcom. They’ve produced some of my favorite games and I’d hate to see them disappear

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Katriana

I’d hope that most of that transfers over, and will be pretty f-ing annoyed if they try to cash shop me in order to build a look that I want.

Way I see it, this is pretty much exactly what they’re going to have to do to make any money on this new game since they’re crowing so much about how all the content will be free. Not charging for DLC etc means they’ll have to nickle and dime us for pretty much everything else that makes the game playable including cosmetics. Note Romain’s answer above:

Players will be able to purchase a variety of in-game items and services including additional characters, unlocking new weapons, extra inventory space, exclusive vanity items, and more.

Want to try out more than one faction? You’ll have to play for those extra character slots. Want to have more than 10 or 20 inventory spaces? You’ll have to pay for more. Likely in 10 slot increments as you currently do, only currently it’s mostly in-game coin you use for it. Want to use more than two weapons that you’ll probably have to choose at the start? You’ll have to pay for them. Won’t surprise me much if the majority of the cash shop cosmetics come from the random bags (i.e. lockboxes) either.
I really hate being a voice of doom here, but most of what I’m reading is leaving me with a very bad taste in my mouth about it all. Although, yes, I likely will be playing it since I do have a GM package on my account as well.

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Bryan Correll

It will be cool to do it as a new faction I guess

Not me! The Templars and Blue Man Group can suck it.

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silverlock

I will certainly be giving this one a go. TSW was a game I always wanted to like but just couldn’t get into because the game play just wasn’t engaging for me.

Solaris
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Solaris

Well my Lifetime sub, which I’ve gotten more value out of than any other MMO sub, continues to provide value. Win Win!

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Mark

Smells a bit like the NGE to me

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Denice J. Cook

Oh come on now, this is Funcom, first of all, not SOE. And secondly, even SOE learned from their debacle, and when they rebooted EQ2’s entire class system, they actually did a really nice job with it way back when.

So chill until you see what happens. One disaster in the gaming industry doesn’t automatically mean every revamp will be bad.

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Nathan Aldana

It does mean theres no point in being optimistic and making yourself feel terrible when you’re wrong, though.

better to expect the absolute worst and then maybe get a pleasant surprise.

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Dividion

better to expect the absolute worst and then maybe get a pleasant surprise.

I take that approach sometimes, but the trick is to not infect others with your own negativity.

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TomTurtle

I like the sound of a quasi-MMO format. Brings back to mind the enjoyment I got out of how Guild Wars 1 was set up.
The combat will be the real sticking point for me. I like action combat and all, but regardless of the type, combat can be very difficult to nail down correctly. I’m signing up for beta in the hopes that I can get hands-on experience with that and the graphics updates.

Also, it’s nice to know that Funcom won’t shutter the original TSW. I always cheer for when developers maintenance mode an MMO rather than shutting it down completely.

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Nathan Aldana

In all likelihood theyll wait for it being in maintenance mode to kill the playerbase off or move them to the new game then quietly shutter it.

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Melissa McDonald

I always liked the geometry of this game, i.e., London looked good to me (although so small and brief) from a 3D perspective. But the character models were about the ugliest I’ve seen since Vanguard, and it took months before a long hair option was even available. So, not a great deal of hope for this as far as avatars are concerned, although I could be pleasantly surprised (and hope to be).
I would like to know if the existing system of cosmetics and buff items being completely separate is still intact in the new game, and what they’re doing to better the dearth of compelling clothing items in TSW. Best system – but not near enough clothing items. It desperately needs a crafting/publishing system for a myriad of clothing and colour options.

styopa
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styopa

How much will this all matter if it’s not actually an MMO anymore, but merely a few-person co-op that you fire up with some friends?

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Melissa McDonald

I’d say the cosmetic system becomes way more important in a game that’s more social and less deep.

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thickenergy

Path of Exile has had glorious success selling only (very reasonably priced) cosmetics and storage space. This in an ARPG.

Lots of people like to look good even when they’re alone, and being able to support a completely F2P game you like while looking good is a bonus.

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Dividion

TSW was always on my “I want to get back to it someday” list, but “someday” never came.

I’ll be rolling my GM over to SWL, and this time I’ll get past the Blue Mountains.

Line
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Line

Nice questions, good to get such specific answers. That’s rare to actually know accounts work before the game is really “revealed”.

It does sound interesting, they really need to show gameplay.
I’m quite to see some focus on group play, TSW is excessively group unfriendly in the levelling phase… and then only mandatory dungeons/raids. Kinda hope for something more casual and more flexible.

I am a bit afraid of the level up aspect however. It’s a lot more honest than the pitched “no levels!” that they used for so long when gear was just a million level ups and blatant time gates (grind gates?) with skill points. But… what kind of progression? Will it be fun and varied?
The permanent bonus for mastering various weapons does not bode well… wait and see…

The game seems to be exactly what I want though, an RPG with optional group play in the same amazing world, but with a big overall pass on the gameplay issues and kinda crappy MMO aspects?
Sign me up.
For beta, at least.

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kidwithknife

Wait… so they’re making a whole new game out of it, and NOT taking the opportunity to switch to a game engine that doesn’t suck the chrome off a trailer hitch? WTF?

I suppose I’ll still give it a try, it’s free and I already have a TSW grandmaster account so there’s no real reason not to. But really… this smacks of the same old short sighted Funcom, trying to skate by on minimal effort. It’s not a good look.

antheriel
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antheriel

They’re not making a whole new game. They’re taking everything as-is, doing a few cosmetic touch-ups, changing the title, and removing some of the multiplayer. It’s basically the same game. I’m sure that porting it to a new engine and redoing all the graphics would be horrendously expensive and they’d never recover that cost.

ceder
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ceder

To me its more like those beach tourist trap stores that run the same sale with different banners every month in the summer followed by “going out for business”(using “for” to trick you to think they’re deep discounting going out of business when they aren’t) for the rest of the year until next summer.

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Greaterdivinity

Liking what I’m reading so far…

As you progress through the game, your character will earn experience, earning levels which will increase your survivability and damage output.

This is a bummer, I liked not having proper levels. Even if gear basically took over as your characters “level”, it was kinda nice to not have that number floating about in my brain. It was one of the unique aspects of TSW.

We are updating most aspects of the main story missions to be doable with friends.

So…how much of a shared world, exactly? I’m poking around a bit (short on time this morning, sadly), but I’ve yet to see more details on this. Multiplayer is confirmed, but is it going to be a shared overworld or will you only encounter players in certain “shared” areas?

We have made improvements to visuals like character models, character heads, combat effects/animations, lighting in playfields, and we’ve increased view distance in some playfields….We are still using the original graphics engine.

Glad animations/visuals are getting touched up, it’s desperately needed, but pretty bummed that they’re not taking this chance to jump to UE4 to handle the graphics side of things. Was really hoping that they’d transfer their learning with the engine from their experimental games (including Conan) for TSW because the game has the potential to look insanely gorgeous (love the art design of the game). Oh well, it’s still better than nothing!

Future development will be focused on Secret World Legends exclusively.

Disappointing, but not at all surprising. They have a better chance for success by separating this from TSW proper and launching it as it’s own product, and maintaining two versions alongside each other would be problematic (not to mention not very smart given the push to get folks to the new game). At least we’re getting new content for Legends, which is more than we can say for TSW in the past year+

If you are a Grandmaster (lifetime member) in TSW then you will have lifetime Patron Rewards membership in Secret World Legends, and you will keep benefits in both versions.

Glad that they’re making the transition as “painless” as possible for current players, at least from what I’m seeing. As a Grandmaster, I’m glad all my perks and shit will transfer over.

Overall, while there are a lot of little disappointments and points of concern, I think the improvements listed and the potential with some of the stuff like the updated combat system/visuals leave this as a “win” in my book. I’m actually quite looking forward to starting up a brand new character and going through the game again. I’ll likely keep TSW installed and may tinker around in it, but hopefully I can get a few friends to finally join me in the game!

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Leiloni

So…how much of a shared world, exactly? I’m poking around a bit (short on time this morning, sadly), but I’ve yet to see more details on this. Multiplayer is confirmed, but is it going to be a shared overworld or will you only encounter players in certain “shared” areas?

His interview with MMORPG.com said this:

As a Shared World RPG, we have reduced the maximum amount of players that can enter a playfield. While adventuring, you will still meet a few strangers here and there, but the focus is on you, and your friends if you choose. You are following your character’s story, your experience won’t be affected by hundreds of other players nearby trying to kill the same monster.

Agartha has been redesigned to be even more of a central hub to the game. You will be able to meet with hundreds of other players and group up before going on your journey.

So literally exactly like TSW is right now. TSW already has a reduced maximum amount of players allowed per zone which is why it always feels empty and eerie. And TSW already has larger player hubs in Agartha and the cities.

I honestly think they’re just trying to be more honest and clear about what the game is so new players don’t hop in and think the game is dead when really it’s all done on purpose. I think right now many players hop into TSW and don’t understand that it’s a different kind of MMORPG.

So my guess is they’re just doing smarter marketing this time around. Players with appropriate expectations are always happier since they’re getting exactly what they thought they would.

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Greaterdivinity

I’m down with that. Sounds a helluva lot like what I had in mind already – lots of different low population channels for each zone. I’m pretty down with that, as long as central hubs like London/Agartha show more players.

As you said, between the existing way the game works and with its already low populations, it will likely not be much of a change compared to the world as it stands now.

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Leiloni

I would like if they did actual channels. That’s something that Korean MMO’s do that’s super helpful. A lot of Western MMO’s have similar server setups but they hide the channels, so it makes it harder to get together with friends or even random other players you may have connected with. At least with a clearly marked channel list you can just say “I’m in Channel 3, meet me here.” It also allows people to have a “home channel” they always play in, so your entire guild or group of friends know you’ll always run into each other.

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Tanek

TSW was probably already on the list of MMOs that made getting to your friends/group incredibly easy. Just click the person’s name and choose meet up. I can see where having a “home channel” might be useful in some cases, though.

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Tanek

I, too, am a bit disappointed to hear about the levels. Not because it is bad all on its own (as you say, there were already systems that were related to leveling), but because it often comes with restrictions. Like, you can’t unlock this skill, weapon, passive, gear, etc until level x. One of the things they may be trying to streamline for new players is ability choice and, unfortunately, that will probably remove the build freedom we had.

So…how much of a shared world, exactly?

What I have seen so far is that there will be hubs (probably Agartha and the main cities?) that will have a high player count, then the rest of the world will be more restricted in how many players there can be in a given area. No actual numbers yet.

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Leiloni

Like, you can’t unlock this skill, weapon, passive, gear, etc until level x.

Except they already do that. You have to go through the skill trees in a linear fashion already and you also need increasingly higher amounts of skill points the farther you go. So there’s already plenty of progression based restrictions. It doesn’t honestly sound any different, except levels make it more clear for the average MMO player who might have been confused before.

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Tanek

Progression, yes. Gaining experience and points, yes. But levels tend to bring another dimension to that.

In TSW I can choose to dump all my points into a few weapons and get all those skills relatively quickly. Nothing stops me from doing that right at the start.

In a level-based game, they may have more control over where you choose to spend points and when. I hope I am wrong about that, but saying they are going with a more traditional system makes me think the freedom will be very restricted, at least until “endgame”, whatever that is.

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Leiloni

We’ll see. It might be a lot like ESO and you can do the same thing there, except ESO requires you to level skill lines before you can put points in them. But the way I see it working here is maybe you still earn skill points in the same way or maybe you earn a certain amount per level, but you most likely can still distribute them as you wish. So if you wanna dump them all into weapons that would be fine.

They didn’t say gear was bound to levels. They just said levels would give you survivability and damage but that power still mostly comes from gear. They also are keeping the skill wheel, just improving upon it. I’m guessing it won’t be terribly different in terms of freedom of choice and build creation. It’s entirely possible you could be a level 10 with absurdly overpowered high level weapons if you wanted.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

I’m cautiously optimistic about the changes, and can’t say yay or nay until more is revealed, or when I jump in and see the changes myself.

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Tanek

I am still wondering what all Patron status will entail. With the mention of bonus points being in TSW only, I am wondering if Patrons will need to buy those extra weapons and how restricted that system will be.

I’ve put in for the beta, so I hope I am pleasantly surprised with what they have made.

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Armsbend

Nice interview MJ. You asked all of the questions I would have asked.

This is going to be a new game experience for me without costing me anything else – if I don’t want to pay up. Much more than I expected from this relaunch I’m looking forward to it.

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

This really is not helping their case. I mean, I understand why, but it still makes no sense.

finyar
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finyar

In an interview with MMORPG.com, Funcoms Game Director Roman Amiel answered the most important question for me:

MMORPG: Why the shy away from the MMO term to “Shared World RPG”? Is the game still an MMO where you play with thousands of others at once, or is it more “solo” and closed off a la Destiny?

RA: We think one of the strengths of The Secret World was its story and settings.

As a Shared World RPG, we have reduced the maximum amount of players that can enter a playfield. While adventuring, you will still meet a few strangers here and there, but the focus is on you, and your friends if you choose. You are following your character’s story, your experience won’t be affected by hundreds of other players nearby trying to kill the same monster.

Agartha has been redesigned to be even more of a central hub to the game. You will be able to meet with hundreds of other players and group up before going on your journey.

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Denice J. Cook

I wonder if it’s less expensive to run more restrictive zone caps and populations like this; probably.

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Leiloni

Well for the original TSW I heard the smaller zone caps were so they could keep the feeling of the game. When it’s empty it feels more scary and cool which fit the story and theme better.

Crow
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Crow

This plays to TSW’s strengths more than otherwise.

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camren_rooke

I’m hoping this works out for them. Outside of the roleplayers, Agartha was pretty much the meeting hub for stuff

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Leiloni

I’m sad about the Agartha bit. I loved the design of the three main cities so I wanted them to expand upon those and give us more reasons to hang out in them – all of them. I’m just not a fan of Agartha. So it’s really sad to see such cool zones go unused in this new game.

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Tobasco da Gama

The answer was open-ended enough that I think we might also see the faction cities as smaller social hubs. Not a lot of combat or questing happens there, so they aren’t really “playfields”.

Corey Evans
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Corey Evans

The ability wheel needed a pruning anyway. With the removal of cast-time movement snare, rifle had 3 attack builders and 2 leech builders. The differences were really only there for people with a really deep understanding of how the actives and passives interacted (burst for procs, single hit for % buffs, etc), but it didn’t make the core gameplay all that different.

I’m really looking forward to this new version, especially since I now get to see new story content, and ESPECIALLY if it’s as ARPG-ish as I hope.

Till death do me dodge roll, baby.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Agreed. Ability wheel was praised by fans, but I always thought it was too confusing for newbies and held alot of crap that noone took on hotbar. Could definetly use improvements or total revamp

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rafael12104

So, it’s not a new engine? Hmm. The question then becomes is this really a reskin and less of a relaunch?

Frankly, the changes as described are much needed. But the game wasn’t in a bad place either. Quite fun actually. And if the changes aren’t quite wholesale especially with the animations and the graphics many will wonder why bother.

Proof is in the pudding. Anybody dare ask for a launch date? Will there early access?

Mr. Amiel already started using the word “Patron”, I see. And yeah, TSW days are numbered. No new content, or updates from the sounds of it.

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Vinnie travi

You forgot to ask “what happens to current group content?” Are all dungeons now solo affairs. Is the raid gone?

Also I don’t see how they can make money this way unless they make the game super inconvenient then sell conveniences.

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Tobasco da Gama

The FAQ addresses this somewhat. None of the dungeons and raids will be in SWL when it launches, they’ll be added later. So I think they’re still deciding what to do.

I’m gonna take a guess that they eventually release those mostly as-is (with necessary adjustments for the new combat system) but with a new “story mode” that can be completed solo.

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Malcolm Swoboda

The raids may no longer be ‘raids’ anymore, but smaller group affairs. And yeah I can bet on a 1-2 player story mode too.

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Castagere Shaikura

Willing to bet on a very small inventory.

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BalsBigBrother

Does anyone remember the Sacred franchise ? It was a pretty deep if niche arpg from years ago, Sacred 1 & Sacred 2 are still two of my favorite aprg’s. Both are well balanced, have an interesting lore rich story and deep if somewhat involved progression system.

Why do I mention this well there is a Sacred 3 and the folks who published the game wanted to ensure that the game hit a wider market audience. So they stripped out the much of the story and gutted the progression system to make it less niche to be supposedly more palatable to more people.

End result everyone hated it and they killed the franchise.

Why do I mention this well I can’t but help see the parallels to what I am seeing in the dev comments for TSWL and what we were told would be the case for Sacred 3. The sentiments are the same in both cases.

In trying to please everyone they missed completely what made the game what it was and no one liked it. I really really hope that isn’t going to be the case. I will try TSWL indeed I have put in for the beta but I am still can’t help but feel more than a little worried about this whole process.

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Tandor

I see this not as Funcom trying to appeal to everyone, rather that they recognise that they’re not appealing to enough people to make the game viable going forward, and so they are trying to launch a version which appeals to more people while retaining the existing version for those who prefer it. How long they maintain the existing version doubtless depends on how well the whole project goes, but what they are attempting contrasts with what most other developers would do at this stage in TSW’s lifecycle and that is close it and focus on other projects.

In that sense if in no other, it deserves a cautious welcome in my view. Doubtless we’ll have plenty of opportunity to discuss whether the original version turns out to be dead in all but name, and whether the new version turns out to be P2W in all but name, but at least we’ll have two games to discuss where we might already have had none.

Oh and yes, Bals, I remember Sacred very well :)!

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BalsBigBrother

I was just pointing out how very much alike the general sentiment between the two not actual focus or specifics. Simply because as you point out we don’t really know specifics at this point of TSWL beyond the PR buzz word heavy announcement.

Now I have had some time to absorb this I am just going to roll with the flow and see what they deliver. It will be a case of it works or it doesn’t and I will play it or not. Obviously I hope it is a case of it works and I play but if not I have other stuff /shrugs :-)

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TomTurtle

It seems to be more like a systems and graphics update than a complete overhaul. It sounds like they’re keeping the main draw, the story, in tact and front and center. I think they’re able to achieve something so drastic since they can easily port over much of the existing content and tweak it as need be. Think of what FFXIV’s reboot did for the game as a potential outcome for this title.

Personally, I never found the draw of the game to be the progression system or the combat, it was always about the story. Undoubtedly some players will not make the jump due to liking those aspects, but I really don’t perceive it to be due to a horrible gutting of what made TSW so attractive.

The monetization changes are up in the air, though I’m hoping they come out similar to what a game like GW2 offers where content put out can incentivize me to spend some money in the cash shop for some convenient, but not necessary features.

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BalsBigBrother

I really hope you are right in regard to it being more in line with FFXIV: ARR than Sacred 3. Just will have to try to be positive and think good thoughts :-)

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Zen Dadaist

Strangely enough, I’ve been on a bit of a Sacred 2 kick lately. I too pretend like Sacred 3 didn’t exist.

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Danny Smith

In the last 3 generations i sincerely believe more games series have died to sequels made for ‘wider market appeal’ than any other reason.

Crow
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Crow

You just gave me a reason to install two games I thought were padding in my Steam library. Thanks!

Do you have a blog or something? I seriously would love to just read what you think about the games you play.

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BalsBigBrother

Well I hope that you enjoy them and nope no blog sorry. I think I waffle on more than enough as it is on this site :-)

Crow
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Crow

DM me on Twitter… CrowingOne!

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James Crow

why make season 2 free? they don’t want income?
i think they should do the ANET Style – base for free and than expansion for cost.

playing from day 1 (p2p->b2p->dlcs,UE->GM… and going to play it all over again-again.
for me its a good news, they could throw the game like other mmos but they giving us a new chance – don’t if they going to get somthing for this whole free story but lets see.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

It looks like they might be going the route that GGG took with Path of Exile. F2P with cosmetic and utility (bag space, char slots) microtransactions. If the new game is solid enough, and they interact with the community enough, then this could keep the game going.

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James Crow

hope so, we need to wait and see.
just hope they didnt make it like Marvel Heroes when to loot tell you that you most have more bag spaces XD.

but im patron for life than who care :P
-complete the game more than one than one more time going to be easy but…
all the achivment,side quests and lore igot – that going to be hard again.

hope they do somthing like anet done with gw1 hall.

sadly its not a new engine, my TSW dream (not dream engine) is to get TSW on UE4.

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ogged451

So, they want to deliver all the content for free when they couldn’t do it in 2012 when everyone was paying to play the game ?
Makes me wonder how badly we’re going to get robbed by the store.

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Leiloni

A free price point and a relaunch gets more players in the door which translates to more players enjoying the game and willing to pay. Plus, people tend to be more willing to buy convenience and cosmetic items as compared to content, because they can choose to do so without feeling like they have to buy stuff.

When you aren’t forced to buy anything, people often get excited about those little things and spend more on them because you know you can enjoy the full game without all that stuff, so it then just becomes supplementary to fun you’re already having. But needing to purchase content just feels like a huge paywall that turns people off.

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Kevin McCaughey

When???

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

This is an interesting way to handle it. An upgrade to the old game as it heads into maintenance mode and the rebrand is a separate product. I think I’ll wait to hear what the grizzled vets have to say about all of this before I jump in.

I hope it’s to everyone’s liking because I’d really love for the combat to be vastly improved. If it were I could see myself playing through the chapters I bought that I never played.

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J. J. Sándor

Still not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Need to know more to properly evaluate. For example: does the fact that SWL isn’t a MMO mean that it will be playable in offline mode, like, say, Grim Dawn or ARK? Will there be singleplayer dungeons? How long will TSW maintenance mode last before they pull the plug altogether?

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Malcolm Swoboda

It is still online and shared. They’re likely staying away from the MMO label because of the expectations (raids, large open world events, server wide economy, etc).

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Leiloni

It is an MMO and no you can’t play it offline. It’s an online game still.

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Koshelkin

I really, really hope more people see the brilliance of TSW and that the relaunch leads to a more widespread recognition of it’s qualities. TSW always did deserve better and always needed more players.

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Leiloni

From what I’ve read in various places the past couple months, I think a lot of people do see TSW’s brilliance. But things like combat, character models, or other less spectacular game design features turned them off.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Combat yeah. But whats wrong with character models? I like how my character looks

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Leiloni

This doesn’t look completely terrible to you? http://imgur.com/a/uzb2B

SO much is wrong with that and the animations are just as bad.

xpsync
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xpsync

I’ve always enjoyed the TSW (allot) when i played it. Coming back one time after a long break i started another toon and in the end i ended up with two characters which never made it past blue mountain.
From everything I’ve read so far i have a good feeling my new SWL characters are going to go way beyond blue mountain.

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