Global Chat: Secret World Legends edition

Over the past week, many MMO bloggers returned to the conspiracy-laden regions of Secret World Legends to see if they could answer the million-dollar question: Is this reboot and relaunch any good?

Today, we’re going to devote the full column to some of these impressions, starting with Ayren Sojourner, who identifies several problems with the launch of the game as a returning fan.

“I get that they want to walk new players through all the possible side-quest types. But man… I get thrown into a cutscene, then into a graveyard, then into some fragmented raid-something-something that I was familiar with, but would have been extremely confused by if I were a totally new player. Then more cutscenes. Then London. And now that Tokyo scenario that TSW used to start with. I’m still not out of cutscenes,” she wrote.

“I am cautiously optimistic for the game and I really hope that they’re going to do well,” Nerdy Bookahs wrote, “because what I have seen so far is really awesome and I really really hope that I can get into the game properly now. It’s such a fantastic setting and as I already said the atmosphere is amazing and I really want to explore that world!”

Mel Brankin appreciated some of the changes: “I did notice a lot of the quests were improved, a few steps removed or some of the challenge dropped down a notch, which for me was welcome. A bit of the zombie trash in the first zone seemed to removed which again made fora  better flow and the mobs themselves had their damage reduced somewhat from what I could tell (or players buffed a lot, I’m not sure which).”

“Not much has changed in the revamp,” Stargrace notes. “Weapons and combat work differently. Classes do basically the same thing. Things don’t hit as hard. There are people everywhere.”

Gryph is over the moon: “When you’ve been playing TSW for years it can be easy to forget how absolutely gorgeous it is. How *every damn character* with extra dialogue options is worth listening to. How the writing is both supremely clever, and succeeds in pulling you ever deeper into the story, into the world.”

Many bloggers agreed that the revamped game is more newbie friendly. “I think this’ll be a good step in helping new players become comfortable with the game. Old timers might think this is holding someone’s hand, but in a game that can be complex and intricate like SWL/TSW, a little help up at the start of your character can help retain more players,” Rambling Redshirt said.

“Fun was a long time coming. The new interface is both ugly and unintuitive. I spent longer than I would have liked just clicking on stuff to see how it worked and when I had that sorted I was underwhelmed with the options on hand,” Bhagpuss said. “I found the ‘action’ UI to be irritating. Really quite irritating. I don’t like ARPG controls but I’m very familiar with them and I can tell good from bad. These are bad.”

“It’s a great game, with a variety of quest types and combat options,” Atheren blogged. “It couldn’t have a more distinctive atmosphere. For people like myself who have been reading horror tales and ghost stories for ages, it doesn’t get much better than this.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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178 Comments on "Global Chat: Secret World Legends edition"

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Sorenthaz

One thing I’ve heard about the dungeon keys from a friend (who’s been playing it a good amount and is enjoying it) is that you get the most value out of them by saving them for the final boss’s chest drop or w/e. Probably part of the complaint comes from folks who are just opening the chests immediately upon defeating any boss.

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enamel

TSW was my favorite MMO, and now SWL takes that spot :)

Loving the reboot so far, and glad to see so many people are positive on it too. They left my favorite stuff alone (story, writing) and changed what so many people had issues with (combat). The weapons are a lot more straight forward while still offering branches to customize your build and I think the specializations are great.

The value in the sub seems to be cheap cache keys. Paying with the cash shop currency means those keys are $1-$1.50, but with the sub, logging in every day give you keys around the $0.40 mark. I want to support the game so I will probably sub and do something I have never done in a game ever – open loot crates.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Since im lifetime member I opened few cashes. Its always 3 items. For me it was usually 10 of special currency, one blue upgrade injection and one epic upgrade injection

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enamel

Hmm, the upgrade injections are nice and functional, but I was hoping for something a bit more flashy I suppose.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

I didn’t think the new beginning was fragmented or confusing. It’s all explained pretty well to you what’s going on and how you’re in a dream and then a vision.

I liked the old “more confusing” combat setup though. Maybe it’s because I used mostly Blood, and I don’t like the new Blood as much. I can’t really judge about how much other types have changed for the better or worse. I get that they thought they were dumbing it down a bit from the old giant wheel and stuff but I’m not usually for dumbing down of systems especially in a game where you need to think more to begin with.

It’s funny a lot of the quest stuff was made easier here to figure out and follow in game but there are still the whiners used to having every step of a quest hand holding for them and never having to use their brains at all. That’s not the type of game this is though, it’s about the world and story and lore, if you’re just there for action combat this is the wrong game for you still.

It always had amazing stories and quests, I’m glad that a lot of new people that never got to see them will get to see them now. They really are the best part. I don’t think they made the new combat as good as they felt they were going to in comparison to the old, and the new character models are so beautiful (realistic skin and such) that they look almost out of the place with the NPCs that didn’t get this same makeover. Overall it’s always been an amazing game and still is, despite me not really being a fan of the combat changes.

Crow
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Crow

I’ve come a full 180 on SWL. I was put-off by the process and the tight-lipped-ness of the devs throughout the cycle. I was utterly expecting something even worse than EPE and somewhat unfairly wrote off SWL. Even in the earlier Beta, I didn’t feel like the game was that improved and didn’t go too far into the testing.

All that said, this is overwhelmingly positive. I love many of the new systems, especially the gear upgrading which is great because it doesn’t punish you for upgrading anything. You can spend some time looking for the “right” gear and meanwhile you don’t only not get punished for upgrading non-essential bits, but those non-essential bits are “placeholders” until you can fuse in the “right” item.

New Agartha is awesome.

Action Combat is acceptable and fine. The streamlining and paring down of the abilities is overall a positive, because Funcom was never great at balancing such an unwieldy field of “equal” abilities. This is more to-the-point. Moreso, it appears every build is pretty much “viable” and the days of a huge skill wheel where only 10% of the skills were worthwhile is done. I’m sure we’ll get optimized builds, but you don’t need to jump through hoops to survive anymore.

Which goes to the fact that it feels like Funcom’s process was actually very good in terms of “fixing” things. They looked, it seems, at every bit of the game that players needed to find a “trick” around to make it work and eliminated the middle-man (be it a mod or a trick or a convention.) Everyone was in survival builds with specific weapons in TSW for story content. So in SWL every build is basically a survival build, eliminating the need to sort through tons of crap to find what works.

Haven’t hit NM level yet, but the story dungeons are harder than before. This is good. Not as difficult, at all, as at launch but still tougher than EPE’s nonsense easy-mode.

Overall, I have faith and I’m playing SWL like it is 2012. So many new people, and whatever else you can say TSW/SWL has the best story in MMORPGs, still.

Good luck to everyone. Remember to do your dailies and sell on the exchange!

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Malcolm Swoboda

There is no Elite or Nightmare at the moment. Endgame is, I believe, the last Story dungeons, some form of Scenarios, Lairs, repeating Transylvania missions, PVP?

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Geoffrey Smith

The dungeons are something I wanted to point out as well.

Story mode is clearly designed to be challenging, but doable, at appropriate gear/level. If you plan out your build and know the boss mechanics, you can do it relatively easy, which should be the point as it is rewarding your knowledge and tactics. But if you try to do it undergeared or underleveled, you will fail.

The limiting of it to keys also makes sense because of the gearing system. Since EVERYTHING you get can go into upgrading your gear, without limits, someone could just run Polaris and nothing but for a week to max out their gear without doing any other content. This would be bad. The game now actually encourages you to explore both the content and the missions to max out your character. Much, much better system than what was in place.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I was critical about SWL before and still am about few things (leaving original TSW to rot, over the top melee particle effects, small font, not bringing some new content for reboot) . But I have to give credit to Funcom, vast majority of changes are positive ones and Im enjoying SWL atm. Its good to see an active global chat, alot of people in Agartha, new challenges. New controls fit better imo. And I much more prefer new crafting system over almost useless old one.

With all its flaws and server going offline constantly, I think TSW relaunch was a success and will be even more so when game launches on Steam.

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Ben Stone

I much prefer the new UI. Some specs are still a bit clunky, I hope they continue to improve some animations / effects (chaos magic I am looking at you). Still I am enjoying it far more than the original and I played all the way through Tokyo.

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Tithian

It has greately re-invigorated my interest in the game, I’ll tell you that. Combat is much more enjoyable now that it has been sped up a little, to the extent that I was not dodging mobs like I used to in TSW. I actually enjoyed killing Akabs.

I keep hearing about how shit the monetization is, and it boggles my mind. Of course they need to monetize more aggresively than in TSW, the lack of it is why TSW died in the first place. Almost everyone that was left playing was a GM with all content unlocked, a stipend of freebie points and absolutely no incentives to spend any money. It’s already proven that people will not pay for content, even quality content, and the game is not sustainable through cosmetics only.

Would I like it if there were more perks in the Patron package? Well, considering I’m lifetime, yes. absolutely. Would people scream at the top of their lungs that Patron provides too huge of an advantage and that it’s mandatory/P2W/whatever? Abso-freakin-lutely, just look at the backlash that SWtOR gets everytime monetization comes up.

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Dima Wisotski

“It’s already proven that people will not pay for content, even quality content, and the game is not sustainable through cosmetics only.”

Umm….ESO? People are more than willing to pay for content. Its all the tehnical issues, and absolute lack of Funcom’s ability to fix them, and at times – blatant lying in patch notes about fixing issues that drove people away initially. And what then killed them game was the content simply drying up.

The game was a disasster on lauch. Complete technical disaster. The B2P relaunch didn’t work because they fixed nothing . Heck, do you know what did I get within first 5 minutes of me playing Secret World Legends – I get disconnected from community server, and loose my chat/cabal/group functionality for like half an hour. That was an issue present in The Secret World on launch. They claimed to fix it at least 4 times, then blamed the fact that people left and they cant recreate the load situation on their community server for their inability to diagnose and fix it. And in re-release – its here again. Tons of other bugs, issues and glitches from original game are here. Hell – the damn double-weapon model graphical glitch is still absolutely here.

People’s willingness to give money to developers relies on developer’s listening to people and fixing issues people have problem with. Funcom never, ever does it – they can’t even include the goddamn new CUDA DLLs, still have ones from 2011 – which actually hurts the performance on newer nVidia GPUs – but apparently, any modification to the engine, even trivial one, is difficult now because most of the people who worked on the engine left, and Funcom is switching to Unreal4 for all their new projects, so they dont give a damn.

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Tithian

The devs specifically mentioned that the Issues they were putting out were not selling enough, to even cover the production costs. And ESO definitely doesn’t rely just on content updates to make money. Far from it.

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Matt Redding

I think there was some horse before the cart things happening there. They were on such a skeleton crew that the content they were putting out was far apart, so enthusiasm waned; and some of the content was not that great. For instance, I bought the Tokyo dungeon issue before I realized it was JUST the dungeons and that my AEGIS wasn’t quite good enough to run them. And, by the time my AEGIS was, nobody wanted to run them! So that was wasted money. The side story combo pack actively irritated a lot of people. After Tokyo the final issues were basically fancy side stories and at that point I wanted to move on to “story 2.0” I’m not surprised they might be less popular.

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Dima Wisotski

ESO relies on combination of content and cosmetics and convenience. The fact that you get all the content for free is what makes ESO sub appear worthwhile. While in Secret World Legends, the sub is nearly worthless. It almost feels like their main thought was to make sure cash shop will be mandatory regardless of sub, and to make sure that at no point, one will feel like sub offers him enough benefit and convenience to the point he forgets and doesnt care about cash shop.

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Sorenthaz

Well yeah Dima, that’s the point. They’re adopting Trion’s “patron” model where it doesn’t actually give you anything substantial and you’re forced to buy from the cash shop if you want anything from it.

The whole idea behind it is that they don’t want people to sit comfortably on their subscriptions. They want people to pay extra to get the extras from the cash shop, and the sub is just for some bonuses.

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Dima Wisotski

In this day and age, they can fuck right off with this approach. 15$ a month + more in the cash shop….yeah. There are whole games on steam sale right now, which are flat out better, and cost less.

Out of all the ways to do it, Funcom picked the most desperate and unrealistic – they are hoping to catch a few whales that will sustain the game. And the rest of the fans – well, screw them, their meager 15$ per month wont sustain a company that has massive depts and barely making ends meet.

Well, if thats their attitude, then screw Funcom I guess. Only thing I regret is getting a few people to try this. Luckily, all of them saw past Failscum’s B$.

Crow
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Crow

The cash shop is so not mandatory.

While it is not open now, the Exchange means you’re always able to make more marks. Buying Arum is for the impatient. Get Marks, buy Arum, buy unlocks/stuffs.

This is far better than STO/NW’s exchange system. Make good use of your ten AH slots a day and you can make 10’s of thousands of Marks every day which makes the whole thing pretty simple.

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Tithian

@Dima

Putting the issues and future content under a sub option would make a lot of people ragequit instantly, definitely a lot more than those outraged by the presence of a cash shop.

I mean, you are presenting as a solution a tried model that has already failed. I was in TSW from the beginning, and saw first hand the unsustainability of the sub+shop model, or the content+shop model later on. ESO may be able to pull it off, because they have one of the biggest IPs in the industry and a large company backing them – and even they had to ditch the mandatory sub; and they still have to sell convenience and cosmetics on top of that to be viable.

@Crow

Obviously the shop is not mandatory, people are annoyed by the fact that things are time-gated. They cannot spam dungeons 4 hours per day or farm for rank 30 epic gear 3 days after release unless they pay, which one would guess is par for the course in a F2P game, but for players coming from “legacy” TSW where they (we) had full access to everything for free, expectations were skewed.

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Ben Stone

Yeah I have absolutely no incentive to subscribe, and that’s probably a good thing because as you mentioned there are too many people with unlimited patron. Hopefully they develop some cool pets / runs / outfits worth paying for in the shop so players can support them.

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Tithian

As it should be, IMO.

Let’s face it, monetization in F2P games is never aimed at you, me or the average player. We are more than welcome to spend the odd penny here and there, but SWL will make most of its money from the whales that have no qualms buying dungeon keys by the dozens, or opening tens of lockboxes each day. The majority of the complaints are coming from people that want the ‘whale experience’ without havint to commit a ‘whale wallet’.

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Mikka Hansen

tsw died because of the combat, and I have no doubts swl will die for the same reason soon enough

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BalsBigBrother

I suspect it will me the monetisation that will do it in this time round, which is a little ironic considering that they did all this to get money /sigh

Crow
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Crow

Actually, I suspect the monitization will keep it open this time around.

Anyone who can play with some regularity will find that buying Arum with Marks isn’t like STO/NW but is bred into the very fabric of the game’s mechanics.

Honestly, anything that costs Arum actually just costs Marks. Marks that, in a few months, you’ll not know what to do with because you have so many.

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Sorenthaz

SWL is essentially using Trion’s model with RIFT, and look where that game is now after only a few years later. The content pace has died down massively, there are now plenty of “tricks” and “traps” in place to ensure people spend money past a point, and a subscription is basically mandatory if you don’t want to progress at a snail’s pace.

Legends could differ but I’m hardly optimistic. This is a desperate attempt to attract whales and then the game will come down to depending heavily on them. Which will lead to eventually more mandatory purchases and more inconveniences if you aren’t willing to shell out an exorbitant amount of money.

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Geoffrey Smith

You are missing a massive difference between Rift and SWL, the exchange. The model is more based around STO/Neverwinter than right.

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Geoffrey Smith

Well, clothing. I would hazard a guess that when they expand things like clothing options, it won’t be just for Aurum, they will also do it with Marks. As a way to help drain them out of the economy. There are already many vanity items that only cost Marks.

Crow
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Crow

Absolutely, but people also need to, I think, stop treating Aurum as some cash-only currency. Aurum is Marks converted. Same thing!

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Geoffrey Smith

Agreed.

I also think it is a matter of people not fully understanding how the new gearing system works and what is necessary for it.

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Dušan Frolkovič

Ok, so after a few days of playing, i can confidently say that for me it is a better game.

1.) The main things i enjoyed about TSW (setting, quest design, investigations) are still there.
2.) The main things that i disliked are improved: Combat could not have gotten worse from TSW (again, personal opinion), so the very incremental change to the combat was welcome. The difficulty of some frustrating passages was adjusted.
3.) Small changes i really appreciated (different icons for completed/incomplete quests, the visual indicator for the “tracking” missions, more visible laser grids)
4.) The new ability system i have no opinion yet on, will see with time. I know there are less abilities, on the other hand how much of the old wheel was being really utilized.

It is probably an advantage that i went through TSW only once, so the content is still fresh for me, but if they really start a season 2, i am in all the replay way.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

So far enjoying the game, one thing i didn’t like is telling me to reach a level before i can keep doing the main story line, i didn’t like that, TSW was level-less which i admired, but that’s not a big issue, doing side missions will be enough to level.

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Geoffrey Smith

But it wasn’t levelless. You couldn’t go through the blue mission alone, you HAD to do side missions to get better gear and abilities.

All they did was max explicit what was implicit before.

Crow
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Crow

Yeah, I have to agree. Not having levels was nice, but there was plenty of vertical gear grinding and the game abandoned the “horizontal” advancement with EPEEN. Honestly, it just means people don’t get totally screwed by being gear-poor as upgrading makes a HUGE difference and gaining levels better places you on a solid footing for clearing content.

Which is another positive, I think. Overall I think they ramped up the combat difficulty again. Nowhere close to launch, but it isn’t EPE when all mobs outside of Kaiden were suddenly turned to paper.

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Geoffrey Smith

Honestly, I think the current “ease” people are talking about is related to the fact they streamlined the weapons and how they work. You can’t really make a “bad” build right now, or “Screw up” and buy abilities you can’t use. Which you could EASILY do in TSW.

My wife took fists and shotguns in TSW, cause she liked them and wanted that, and couldn’t do anything in the game because it was a terrible combo and didn’t work well. And you can’t just, respec, so she had to go back and do different things. They got rid of that. Good for them.

Crow
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Crow

I love it. They saw everyone in specific, narrow “survival builds” so they made that the default. Smart move.

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Geoffrey Smith

Me too. And I love, love, love, what they did with my AR healing. They basically made Anima burst a basic, spammable attack.

I am totally going to be healing at end game, once it comes to that. I may actually DO the NY Raid for the first time (asuming that is in game, I didn’t see it from the guy in the laundromat in Brooklyn on my Illuminati so I am not sure if it is right now).

Crow
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Crow

Oh man… I was so excited to see NYR Lurker in the intro!

If you’ve never done the Raid… OMG it is awesome. So worth it.

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Geoffrey Smith

I would love to do it. I am just hoping it will be in the game by the time I am up there to do it. I am curious to see how they rework it to match the new system.

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Dušan Frolkovič

I agree that the story quest level gates are very hamfisted, on the other hand in the original game i would be running into difficulty walls without warning.
So i agree with the intention, only the execution could have been more subtle.