Funcom reboots The Secret World as Secret World Legends, a ‘shared-world action RPG’

Raise your hand if you felt trepidation as well as hope when Funcom announced during that last investor call that it was relaunching The Secret World? Fans have been yearning for more TSW conspiracy goodness and system improvements for so long. But the community has definitely feared the game changing away from what makes it so unique; the word “NGE” was bandied about more than once. What if we told you that it is not just different but a brand-new game altogether — that the relaunch is really more like a launch-launch?

Yep, Funcom is announcing this morning that it’s rebooting The Secret World as Secret World Legends, basically a brand-new game with its MMORPG parts minimized. Whether that statement fills you with excitement or dread, keep reading for all the details we have, including the official FAQ.

Defining Secret World Legends

So what is Secret World Legends? The official branding docs describe it as “a shared-world action RPG with completely revamped combat, a newly designed progression system, and updated visuals.” The terms MMO and MMORPG have been dropped. I could read you the whole press release, but that wouldn’t exactly answer all your questions. In fact, it would likely only generate more. It sure did for me. For instance, Executive Producer Scott Junior is quoted as saying,

Secret World Legends features combat that feels more natural, deep systems that are more intuitive, better structuring of the early game for new players, and improved mission flow to strengthen the pace of progression for players.”

I get that this means there is significant changes to combat, but what are they? Do we or do we not have the Ability Wheel? Do hits have more oomph? Are the animations better? I’m afraid we don’t have an answer for any of that yet. And what about this comment about improved mission flow? Is it a guided, hand-held tour from one little quest hub to another? Are the missions even the same in the new game? Since the entirety of the game can be played “entirely on your own or with friends,” does this mean dungeons have a solo versions? Can friends help in story missions? For seasoned TSW players, these are some of the questions we need to see the answers to.

MMO vs. RPG

With Secret World Legends, did TSW just become a single-story experience that folks play through then wait for the sequel to comes along, much like The Witcher series? And if so, what happens to the MMO? Well, at least we have some answers for that!

Here’s what we know: All players, new ones and veterans alike, will have to make brand-new characters to play in this new game. I cannot emphasize this enough: SWL is not a continuation of TSW, but a whole new game that, for now, will be available only on Steam. (This is likely why the original game vanished from Steam this morning. This also means that you won’t be able to access The Secret World via Steam anymore, only through the official download from Funcom.) You can link your TSW game to your SWL game, and that will give you certain benefits such as conversion of old currency to the new currency, transfer your subscription or grandmaster status, and even allow the transfer of certain cosmetics. Note: Only one character is available to make unless you purchase more slots.

We can allay some of your panic: The old version of the game will still be playable. That is a definite plus! I would not be happy to lose all the progress I have made and everything I have earned in game, and I know I am not alone in that. I love my characters, their rare loot, their roleplay. I wonder how many people would revolt if they completely lost everything from the past nearly five years? But that leads us to a very big question: Will the MMO receive any of the updates or new content going forward? I can’t answer that for you yet as Funcom hasn’t answered us, but man I personally sure as heck hope so! So yes, at least your old characters and all their stuff will still be accessible in the old game and you can continue your adventures there, but we don’t know for how long or whether there will be anything else forthcoming. Note: Bonus points will only remain in the old version and are the one currency that cannot be transferred to the new game.

Free-to-play

Here’s an important fact about Secret World Legends that you are probably curious about: It is 100% free-to-play. Funcom says that all current content is and all future content will be completely free. They also argue that the game is not pay-to-win because everything can be earned in the game without players spending any money.

For those who want more perks (defined as “extra features, additional convenience, and in-game bonuses”), there is the option to spend money. The patron rewards program is basically a loyalty program that is available for those who subscribe. This patron status can be purchased in game through the exchange; players can obtain a month of patron by buying Aurum from other players. Aurum can also be used for purchasing inventory space, character slots, vanity items, weapon pages, and more.

All this said, there is still something special about the original game. Can players still buy The Secret World to play the MMO? We aren’t exactly sure about that. I personally still have another copy of the game I bought to give away, so I am wondering if that just became worthless.

Want to check the game out to learn more for yourself? You’ll be able to sign up for the beta at the official site.

Funcom’s FAQ

Have more questions? We understand; we do too. And when we receive answers to the questions we sent, we’ll let you know! Until then, perhaps this official FAQ can answer a question or two:

General

What is Secret World Legends?
We are relaunching our acclaimed story-driven online game The Secret World (TSW) as Secret World Legends, a shared-world action RPG with revamped combat, updated visuals, and newly designed progression systems and quest flow that is completely free to play.

Why are you relaunching the game?
We go into detail about the many reasons behind the relaunch of the game in our producer’s letter to the community, which we hope you get a chance to read here.

But in short, we’re incredibly proud of the ways in which The Secret World has grown in terms of the depth and extent of its storytelling, and we’re ready for more players to be able to experience it in full by removing the hurdles of a pay upfront structure. It’s also an opportune moment to bring this vibrant universe up to date with where we see modern action RPGs are, with some ambitious adjustments to gameplay, progression, structure, and more, which we hope will result in a more satisfying player experience overall.

How does Secret World Legends differ from The Secret World?
One major difference is that the game is free to play for everyone.  But just as importantly, Secret World Legends has updates befitting a modern-day action RPG.  This includes a redesigned combat system to make action feel more natural, more intuitive systems to interact with, enhanced visuals, and an improved flow of the quests, as well as the structure of the early game for new players.

What do you mean by “free to play”?
“Free-to-play” or F2P means that anyone can download and play Secret World Legends without spending any money to purchase the game. All content is available to everyone and does NOT require a subscription or purchase in order to play.

Is the game free?
Yes! Everyone can play what we feel is the best shared-world RPG on the market for free!

How do I play for free?
When we launch you will be able to download and play the game for free via the Steam client.

How much of the game is free?
All content in the game is free!

What about future content releases?  Are those free?
All content will be free: current, past, and future!

Will I need a credit card to play?
You do NOT need a credit card to play. The game is free for everyone!  If you want to make purchases in game via Steam then that can be done using the Steam wallet. Aurum and the Patron Bonus System will require a valid form of payment at the time you make the purchase.

Do I need Steam to play?
At launch Secret World Legends will only be available from Steam. We plan on adding a non-Steam version of Secret World Legends soon after the launch.

What is Aurum and what can I use it for?
Aurum is used to purchase a variety of in-game items and services in Secret World Legends. This includes but is not limited to: Additional Weapon Pages, Extra Inventory Space, Additional Characters, Exclusive Vanity Items, and much more!

How many characters do I get on my account?
By default each account grants access to 1 character slot. Additional character slots may be purchased in game.

What is the exchange?
The exchange allows you to buy Aurum from other players for in-game currency.

Is the game “Pay to Win” now?
No. You will be able to earn everything in the game without spending money.

Which languages are supported?
Secret World Legends is fully localized in English, German, and French.

Patron Rewards Program

What is the Patron Rewards Program?
The Patron Rewards Program is a loyalty program that rewards players with extra features, additional convenience, and in game bonuses. It is not required in order to play Secret World Legends.

How do I become a Patron?
To join you can purchase access to Patron Rewards Program in game. Once purchased you will be granted access to the Patron Rewards Program for 30 days.

What is Patron Level?
Your Patron Level grants additional bonuses to the Patron Rewards Program.  Every purchase of Aurum or month you are a Patron will go towards increasing your rank. You can view your current Patron Level, Patron Status, and all related benefits in game by clicking the Patron Rewards Program icon in game.

What happens when I am no longer a Patron?
All benefits associated with the program are active while you are a Patron. When your time expires you will lose access to those bonuses, but you will keep your current Patron Level. The next time you join the Patron Rewards Program you will be back where you left off (or maybe a level higher!)

Returning Player FAQ:

Why are you relaunching the game?
We go into detail about the many reasons behind the relaunch of the game in our producer’s letter to the community, which we hope you get a chance to read here.

But in short, we’re incredibly proud of the ways in which The Secret World has grown in terms of thedepth and extent of its storytelling, and we’re ready for more players to be able to experience it in full by removing the hurdles of a pay upfront structure. It’s also an opportune moment to bring this vibrant universe up to date with where we see modern action RPGs are, with some ambitious adjustments to gameplay, progression, structure, and more, which we hope will result in a more satisfying player experience overall.

How does Secret World Legends differ from The Secret World?
One major difference is that the game is free to play for everyone.  But just as importantly, Secret World Legends has updates befitting a modern-day action RPG.  This includes a redesigned combat system to make action feel more natural, more intuitive systems to interact with, enhanced visuals, and an improved flow of the quests, as well as the structure of the early game for new players.

Will all content be available in game at launch?
We will be relaunching with the original 8 adventure playfields, scenarios, and dungeons.  In the weeks/months after the relaunch we will be releasing Tokyo, Nightmare Dungeons, Raids, and the rest of the content that is current live in The Secret World.

How do I link my Steam account to my old account?
Once you have launched the game there will be a menu on the start screen that allows you to link your old ‘The Secret World’ account to your new Secret World Legends account. Click this button, log into your old account, and confirm that you want to link them.

What does linking your account do?
When you link your account you will be able to transfer over any remaining membership from TSW to Secret World Legends. In addition, you will be able to move over some vanity items from the previous game. You can also exchange your Funcom Points for Aurum.

What happens if I have an active subscription on TSW when the transition occurs?
After you have linked your account your old TSW subscription will roll over into a Patron Rewards Program time on Secret World Legends.

What about TSW Grand Masters?
Same as above. Link your Secret World Legends account to your old TSW account and you will become a Patron in Secret World Legends forever!

What happens to my old TSW character?
They still live on the old TSW servers.  You can log in and play them.  You will not be able to play them on the new Secret World Legends server though. It’s a new experience and fresh start for everyone.

What happens to all my stuff?
We are implementing a system to transfer over some vanity/store items from TSW to Secret World Legends. More on this will be released as we get closer to launch.

Do I need to create a new character?
Yes, everyone will begin Secret World Legends with a new character. The game has gone through some rather drastic changes to itemization and character progression that aren’t compatible with the old game.

What about my name from TSW?
You will be able to reserve a name on your current TSW account to be used in Secret World Legends. You can find out more about this process here.

What about my bonus points, Funcom points?
After you have linked your account there will be an option to convert your Funcom points to the new Aurum. Bonus Points will remain in TSW and can be used on the old server.

I don’t have a subscription, can I play when it goes free to play?
Definitely! Secret World Legends is free and available for everyone to play.

Will the old version of the game be playable?
Yes, the TSW servers will still be available to play. You will not be able to launch TSW via Steam though.  If you are currently playing on Steam and want to continue after the launch of Secret World Legends you can do so here.

Update: There’s a new Producer’s Letter out on the official site now, reiterating the separate natures of the game and promising more information in the future.

“This will not erase your progression in The Secret World though! Secret World Legends will exist on a different server than The Secret World, meaning you will still be able to play your old character on The Secret World server. But we hope you consider starting anew in Secret World Legends to experience all the new content and updates coming to the game. We’ve made some major improvements to the game and server, so Secret World Legends will have its own client. You can have both Secret World Legends and The Secret World installed on the same computer and play either game at any time.”

Update: Funcom updated its original FAQ sent to us to add this:

Will you continue developing new content for Secret World Legends?

We have plans to create all-new story-driven content for Secret World Legends in the future, which we’ll be able to discuss in more detail after the relaunch of the game.

Update: We’ve now published our exclusive interview with Funcom, confirming that The Secret World MMORPG will no longer receive any updates and is now effectively in maintenance mode along with Anarchy Online and Age of Conan. All future updates will be in Secret World Legends instead.

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237 Comments on "Funcom reboots The Secret World as Secret World Legends, a ‘shared-world action RPG’"

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Vellik

“Is the game ‘Pay to Win’ now?”

I think this is the wrong question. What should’ve been answered was “Is the game ‘Pay-to-Avoid-Massive-Grind’ now?”

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Pedge Jameson

So SWTOR? Ok, well at least they promise no pay2win. Hopefully no fucking boxes!

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Steinar Bergstøl

So, what I’m getting from this is that it’s basically a new game more than it’s a relaunch of the old game since the old TSW will still be available to play. I’m okay with that. Hell, I’ve said for a long time that the setting of TSW would be incredible for a single player RPG, though I must admit “action RPG” is a term that makes me frown a little as that is generally used for Diablo-type games rather than “proper” RPGs.

Veldan
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Veldan

Yeah, this made me wonder too. ARPG is typically a top down viewed twitchy button mashing game. I don’t think SWL is going to be that.

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Ailsa Nordstrom

Not necessarily, I would consider a game like Shadow of Mordor or Assassin’s Creed to be ARPGs and they aren’t top-down or isometric view.

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Obi Sean

I’ve slept on this now .. and I’ve been thinking it through in my head. if they make the game more like guild wars 1/the division where by we have an instance single game with an mmo style hub (agartha,London Etc) and a way of inviting players into your instance like the Divisions laptops .. having the world single player really could add to the mood of the game. And when making chapter 2 could really help the horror elements of the game. BUT .. the importance of having a way to meet people can’t be downplayed. whats the point of having cash shop items that you can’t show off ??

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Bullet Teeth

Was just thinking this myself a couple of weeks ago, when they initially announced that they were overhauling the game. Was thinking it would be a ton better as an ARPG like Syndicate or Shadowrun (sans the Turn-Based combat).

Even though I’ve yet to see actual gameplay footage, I’m definitely optimistic for the first time in quite awhile.

I just PRAY that whatever iteration the game returns as, the Black House, Theme Park, etc all makes a return the exact same way. Because it was among one of the greatest story-driven games I’ve ever played in a VERY long time.

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Bhima Jenkins

Updated combat system with hopefully a little bit more twitch, and better animations will bring me right back to TSW. I mostly play GW2 and enjoy it, but Anet’s storytelling quality doesn’t hold a candle to what TSW has on offer. Needless to say I’m very excited about this, and will be bring a bunch of friends to this party as well.

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enamel

I am really surprised they are putting F2P and all the combat changes people have been incessantly requesting for years into a new game and keeping the current game in tact. I assumed they would just NGE the existing game, and people that didn’t like it could get stuffed. But that they are both redoing the combat as well as leaving the current game alone really goes above and beyond what I was expecting from the revamp. Really the best of both worlds and its awesome to have the choice to play either.

Props to Funcom, having both options is a great move. See yall in SWL.

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Steven Johnson

This is what they needed to do to get me back. I’m in.

Alfredo Garcia
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Alfredo Garcia

Sounds to me like maybe Funcom is finally learning that they need to make games that can be good enough within the scope of the amount of money they’re willing to spend on developing them instead of making games that could have been great if they’d been willing to put more resources into them initially.

Crow
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Crow

So, who is “Scott Junior”? That’s a new name.

Were does Tilty go now?