Exclusive Interview: Secret World Legends’ story, monetization, membership, Tokyo, and more
Don’t panic! Nothing has been taken away from the story. In fact, it has been added to. Amiel described how in some places you move to the next part of the main story mission without even knowing why — you just do. Illustrating with the example of Egypt, he noted that bits have been added to make it clearer why players must move from one place to another The basic story is the same, and the awesome cut scenes are the same, there’s just more. Whew.
How about the other missions? Amiel stated that there was absolutely no change to investigation missions (Yay!). Action missions, however, are another story. He explained that the changes in those involve bringing the action closer, so people were not running all over the map to complete those missions. The idea is to reduce down time of just running around to get to objectives. Since the old system had players ending one mission near the start of another, i asked how this will affect folks finding the scattered missions. Amiel explained that there are many new missions added that lend to exploring the world.
Although many of the missions haven’t changed, how players will access them has. Amiel noted that folks will use a key to talk to NPCs instead of clicking the floating mission icon near NPCs’ heads. Investigating and using all items will also be a key press.
We’ve already discussed some forms of monetization (weapon page unlocks), but folks are understandably nervous about being nickle-and-dimed since the story content itself will be forever free. How exactly will Funcom make its money? From the vanity and convenience items as well as subscriptions. But that doesn;t mean players have to spend money to play or get anything in game; Amiel explained that players will absolutely be able to get all the things in game without forking over cash. He said there will be two types of currency — the one you buy for cash and the one you earn for play time in game. Amiel did note that there may be some slight differences to things such as vanity items in the store that can be gotten by the two currencies, but since the currencies are tradeable, players can make deals with one another to get particular items.
But of course, the game keeps running on getting cash, so everyone who wants the game to continue wants some folks to support it financially. You can do that via ala cart purchases or by subscribing.
Although Amiel said he couldn’t elaborate too much on what the specifics of the patron benefits are (as they are still being worked out), he did emphasize that it was similar to now and that the team was committed to making the membership enticing. Bonuses like players receive in TSW (XP, currency, etc) are pretty much a given. He said to watch for a blog that will appear as soon as it all gets ironed out. Will patrons and grandmasters earn more of the special currency used to buy all the extra goodies in the item store? That is highly likely. Remember, however, that Bonus Points have to be spent in TSW and do not transfer over. You also might want to consider spending them before SWL launches if you want to carry over specific vanity items, since you can only carry over stuff you have unlocked (most likely as of the moment you link the accounts).
After nearly five years, many players have accumulated a number of items that they certainly don’t want to lose. The good news is that many items will transfer over to the new game. Amiel emphasized that anything bought from the store, gifted to you, obtained in a bag, or earned exclusively will be transferred. That means all those pets and mounts and outfits you worked so hard to acquire will stay with you. The vanity items that won’t transfer are the ones that are earned via missions and possibly from achievements. One reason is that you can earn them again!
It is important at this time to note that for things to transfer, they need to be claimed on your character. If you are like me and haven’t added some pets to your collection (because you couldn’t decide which alt to give them to), you need to get them out of your bag and into your collection in order to transfer. It looks like the system will take a snapshot of what you own — across all characters, not just one — when you link your accounts. So click them and get them out of your bags, or try and quickly sell what you don’t want to give others the chance to enjoy having them. There’s no real benefit to holding on to anything if you plan on playing Secret World Legends and want your goodies there.
Also, lucky coins will not transfer, but anything you buy with them will. So if you want to use them and get items to take with you, you will have to make your purchases before linking your accounts.
Speaking of achievements, I’ll mention that achievements have been reworked, but that there are still many of the same ones. I don’t have any more specific details until I can look at them in the beta — and then I can’t tell you! I also confirmed that lore is still a thing, as is the Museum of the Occult. The lore, however, could have moved (there goes all my work on my bestiary guide!).
When will Tokyo hit?
Since the game is launching without Tokyo, I had to ask how long it would be before we saw that playfield. Although he couldn’t give a time frame, Amiel said it would be very soon after launch. Tokyo is not a part of Secret World Legends’ launch not because it isn’t done but because it will be opened again by The Whispering Tide event. Now don’t panic: Amiel assured that this time the event won’t stretch over multiple months. However, it was a big part of opening Tokyo and a part of the story progression. That’s actually good news for anyone who missed it the first time around.
In discussing updates, Amiel shared that the team has very aggressive release plans after launch. Throughout the interview he spoke many times about how much the team wants to continue the story, and the focus is the story, so hopefully we won’t have to wait terribly long to get to the next big chapter of season 2!
This may not affect many people, but it affects a couple friends and I. If you have any unredeemed Steam keys for the game, you will want to make sure they are redeemed before the launch of Secret World Legends. At that time you will not longer be able to redeem the codes and will have wasted any money you spent. Once you have redeemed them, however, you will be able to download TSW from the official site and play it from there without having to buy any other copy, just follow the sintructions on the site. Amiel did note that the sale of The Secret World would possibly cease completely, so once SWL is out there will be no way for anyone to try the original unless they already own it. It is also likely that no DLCs will be available anymore either. However, this is not a sure thing, but I wouldn’t count against it.
I just had to throw this one out there. Amiel stated that a whole bunch of optimization has been done, so the game can run better. The new system requirements have not been detailed, but if you could run TSW before, you can run SWL; it should even run better.
It will also likely run better because only about 10 people will be allowed on each playfield. That is significantly less than the 60 or so from before. This also means that you are less likely to run across strangers in your adventuring (which can be a boon if you’d ever had to deal with people coming and messing up certain missions by clicking items out of order).
But wait, what about those big event world bosses we needed a huge crowd in order to down? Will we still have anniversary golems and golden weeks? Amiel said not to worry, the world bosses — and all their loot — are not going away. Instead, the large fights will be in special playfields built for large groups, much like the Flappy raid from The Whispering Tide in Agartha.
Speaking of areas for large groups and Agartha, Amiel also said that Agartha was revamped. It will be easier to navigate and will have special sections designed for folks to congregate, from raiders to roleplayers. I have to admit, I am really curious to see that latter one!