Chaos Theory: Week one impressions of Secret World Legends

It’s been a week since Funcom threw open the doors of Secret World Legends’ headstart to everyone and removed the NDA. That’s seven days of choosing factions, meeting handlers, blasting zombies, dodging traps, upgrading weapons, and learning about the Filth — and getting to share those experiences! And share I shall.

So what do I think of the “new” game after a week of non-testing play added atop my beta adventures? Knowing that I am quite the fan of the original, some folks might expect me to sing unending praises of everything. For that same reason, others might expect me to decry that this version has obliterated what I held dear. In truth, this Chaos Theory will be neither extreme (sorry if that disappoints!). In Secret World Legends, there are some things I really like, some things I will tolerate for the good of the game, and then there are those things I do not like.

How would I answer the burning questions on many folks’ minds: How much has the game changed, are those changes actually worth it, and is SWL worth playing (again)? My short answer is that’s a very personal decision depending on your personal  tastes. But since the game is free-to-play, why not give it a go? I think it is definitely worth it.

Now to be clear, I am not reviewing the entire game. One, we don’t do reviews here on Massively OP. Two, seven days of live operation is not enough time for me to experience the whole game. There are many zones, and I am not racing through them just to get done. Even adding in my time from beta, I’ve mainly focused on one area. So these impressions and thoughts are based on life up through Kingsmouth. And I did something a little different than I had initially expected: Instead of linking my Grandmaster Secret World account to give me lifetime patron, I went in as a free-to-play player for the entire week to get a feel for the game from that position. Yeah, there’s a difference (spoiler: Patron is the way to go if you play more than casually!).

On the bright side

The idea behind the reboot is to make a better experience for people, which in turn leads to more happy players, which generates more revenue so the story can continue. So is it a better experience? As I said, I can’t comment on the entire game (yet), but I can say that there are some worthwhile changes.

One of the first things I noticed — and loved — in SWL was the fact that you could have both a main mission and an investigation mission active at the same time. This is big, because some investigation missions can take a long while to solve, and the only choice before was between stopping playing the rest of the game until done or risk losing progress (back to the beginning of the tier) when pausing to do other missions. Even as an investigation mission junkie, I have times where I need to walk away for a while and do something else before I explode from frustration.

Another helpful touch is having the ability to see which missions are available and which are on cooldown at a glance on the map. This really makes a difference with the long cooldowns (we’ll talk about those more later); you can see which adventures are open to you and don’t have to waste game time running to things you can’t yet do. Personally, I don’t like having a cluttered map, so I appreciate that the option to turn off mission markers is still there.

Speaking of missions, I understand that the ability to restart a paused mission is available remotely now, but I haven’t had the chance to experience that myself yet. I’ve been finishing all I do. But this would be very welcome!

Just like the challenges of TSW were based on completing gameplay tasks you were already doing, Legends’ new daily challenges are ticked off just by playing the game. The first round involves killing so many creatures, completing so many main and side missions, and upgrading so many pieces of gear. The reward is the tradeable currency Marks of Favour. Once you complete a tier of challenges, another opens up. I really didn’t have to do anything special to be earning my reward, which made this system of earning cash feel organic instead of a grind. And I have to admit, without the challenge I likely would have been forgetting to upgrade my gear, much to my detriment! Players need to be upgrading the weapons and talismans regularly to be able to face content as they progress.

Although many missions are basically the same, I was pleasantly surprised to see some variation. For instance, in one case the task — finding research notes — didn’t change, but where those notes were found was completely different. That may seem like a weird thing to be happy about, but the fact that I had to actively search instead of mindlessly going off memory was refreshing.

Another really positive aspect is that a casual player will not run into much trouble with free-to-play. Those who don’t have the time or cash to spend on the game can still have a very rich experience with the storytelling and atmosphere. They can basically run through everything once and experience the game like a single-player adventure.

Where folks will run into trouble is if they want to redo missions to grind out the challenges to earn more Marks of Favour (the free-to-play cooldown timers are extremely punishing), and finding the weapons they like best. Maybe they will get lucky with the starter class choice, otherwise it will be waiting until they have the in-game funds to purchase other weapon unlocks. I call this a big hurdle because finding the weapon you like is, in my opinion, paramount to enjoying combat.

Speaking of combat, although I am not a fan of the combat changes (at least, not yet — that could change). There is one aspect to it that I do appreciate: having to relearn mechanics. One problem with starting over from scratch is going through the same thing over again just to get back to where you used to be. That could be annoyingly repetitive, especially if you’ve already done just that with various alts back in TSW! Getting a handle on the new combat is one thing that brings a little freshness to going through all the content again; having to actually relearn weapons makes me more present in the journey. As for the new weapon progression, the streamlined weapon pages seem to do just what they were meant to — streamline weapon progression.

I’ve already praised the Agartha revamp, better accessibility, and the new tutorial so we don’t need to spend time on that here. Let’s just reiterate that they were good, positive changes. People who like seeing more people ambling about will also be pleased that with everyone starting over, folks are sharing the same zones again so you bump into others while going about your business.

Neutral ground

There are those changes that I am not especially fond of in Secret World Legends, but I will tolerate them because I can understand the reasoning. Remember, I really want the game to succeed! So changes that are for the benefit of the health of the game overall are worth it, even if not my cup of tea.

The first of these changes is the mission flow in Kingsmouth. I’m really not a fan of how on-rails this zone became, with your path predetermined and missions locked behind your progress. I hate having to do things in a specific order; I like wandering about and doing whatever catches my fancy. If I must run for my life from something way out of my league, so be it. That’s exciting! That all said, I understand the need for the rails at the start. This game is trying to bring in folks who may have zero MMO experience, and they need direction. Personally, as a 13-year MMORPG veteran and five-year TSW vet, I know what to expect and want to plow ahead quicker. But others don’t, and I don’t want them shuffling off elsewhere because they got too frustrated before the ambiance and story could hook them here. And things opened up better once you reached a certain stage of the story mission (although some things remain locked until you continue that story-mission progression).

As much as I appreciated some changes with side missions for the variety, I wasn’t so thrilled with other missions. The first sabotage mission in the museum basement was simplified quite a bit. And by that, I mean a whole lot. It was a shock seeing how much easier it was, but again, I understand that this is the introduction to the game and its complex features. I already knew what to expect. I can’t see how the experience would be for a new player because I am not one.

So I just swept through and chalked it up to Kingsmouth being an elongated tutorial. Will the simplification last throughout the game? I can’t say since I haven’t been there yet, but I seriously hope not. One reason I love TSW so much is the fact that it is a thinking game. I realize that not everyone is into that, but I find that thinking MMOs are rare, and I don’t want to lose that here. Making things so much easier everywhere would be a travesty, but I can get behind that need in the earlier zones. And I’m assured that difficulty level was not messed with farther along, so I will trust that and forge ahead.

I have played in beta and now in release, and I still prefer the old combat. I’m hoping the change is successful in having more people enjoy it long enough to stick with the game for the best parts. I think a key point to enjoying combat is finding the weapons that suit you.

For instance, I learned that I really, really dislike pistols; I can’t stand the animations of the beginning skills so much I couldn’t even play long enough to see if it got better. The answer: I picked a different weapon! I’m not proficient in the new assault rifle or fist mechanics, but I am learning. With that in mind, it may not be the combat you are hating as much as the weapon, so give others a try. Luckily, I will have all weapons unlocked once I link my accounts so I can freely move between them to find what feels best for me. This will be harder for free-to-play folks to do, and could get frustrating.

Mistakes were made

While I am willing to be accommodating on many fronts with the changes, I do draw the line. A few changes are just horrible to me. I’m not happy with the changes that messed with one of the basic tenants of the game: the atmosphere. Man, you just don’t mess with the ambiance of Secret World or you lose what makes the game so unique and awesome! In my opinion, these changes were mistakes — but fortunately they aren’t ones that can’t be rectified.

The first change I really dislike is the disembodied voice that now speaks to you randomly when you run into areas with pop-up missions. At first, it felt like someone implanted a chip in my head Orochi-style (and we know what happens to Orochi!). I already have a bee inside messing with me, I don’t need a control chip too! It makes a little more sense when you realize that it is all coming from your contact phone (remember it syncing to your DNA?), but I prefer my phones to be silent.

Luckily, this feature can be turned off! Just go to audio settings and uncheck Enable Combat voice help and Enable noncombat voice help.

Another change that I admit I loathe is the new automatic tracking that the disembodied voice engages on your phone. When you need to follow a blood trail, instead of searching for the smears as the spookiness permeates you, bright blue hexagons bubble up from the ground lighting the way.

I just can’t even express how much this ruined the atmosphere for me. It felt like I was in a Council of Venice simulation, not a horror-filled danger zone. I get that this is really helpful for colorblind folks who struggled to see said blood; I’m pretty close to one who really appreciates the added help. But even he admits that it could be toned down. Even better would be the option to turn this feature off like the voice. I’d so totally go for that, so folks who need it have it and those who don’t can get rid of it.

Along those same lines is the addition of the hexagon barrier on certain area-related missions. Vets will know the barrier I am referring too — it was used to outline the fight zone of the golem world bosses. I didn’t mind it in those instances because golems were an occasional special event. Grinding golems wasn’t about atmosphere, but AP, loot, loot, and more loot. Having it on regular missions completely ruins the visuals for me. When I am out shooting zombies I don’t expect a magical inert forcefield to pop up, blocking my view of the creepy world around me. Bye bye creepiness! Like the tracking prints, I’d love for this to be a toggle so I could remove it from my experience.

Is it all worth it?

As I said earlier, I am not one who can say whether or not the changes are worth it for others to play long-term. Everyone has their own lists of must-haves and must-nots for games. But I think the game is worth giving a try. There are definitely some improvements!

For me, the changes are worth it because I am so invested in experiencing the next season of story. And frankly, it has been so long since I had done the story that I was planning on running an alt all the way through again anyways so it would be fresh in my mind. With the reboot, I am actually getting a slightly different experience than I would have otherwise, and that’s refreshing. I’m also digging getting back together with old friends like Boone, Norma, and Edgar; these are folks you’ve got to meet! I’m also rediscovering some of the amazing quips (Like Tuvok talking about red shirts) that are peppered all about the conversations and other little Easter eggs that I’d forgotten.

Is Secret World Legends the game for you? Give it a try and then decide. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it, from disgruntled naysayers to squealing fanbois to hopeful and/or hesitant fans. Go ahead and dive in, you may be very glad you did. If not, well at least you might have some Lovecraftian nightmares to remember the experience by!

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118 Comments on "Chaos Theory: Week one impressions of Secret World Legends"

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Yangers
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Yangers

I assumed the tracking hexagons were just faction technology – especially as I was illuminati. It made perfect sense to me.

As for the big barriers? I didn’t really get the point. Were they to stop you running away, or keep other creatures out? Mission instructions were usually pretty clear, and its obvious when some creatures rush at you and try to punch your face off. They seemed unnecessary.

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Malcolm Swoboda

At this rate I’ll subscribe at Lv 50 this summer. Probably shouldn’t though, and instead prepare for school :)

Crow
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Crow

I miss school. Half the year as off-time.

boredlol
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boredlol

I was pleasantly surprised by event missions and the named elites on the map. Can’t remember if they’re just re-skinned old quests, but they flow nicely now.

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Malcolm Swoboda

The automatic area missions are new and apperently there for more XP grinding and loot since you can’t just hit the bad guys for it. Named ‘elites’ are partially old ‘rares’ (rares are no longer a thing unless Funcom brings it back as a new system) and new units, to be part of help for better leveling for completionists going a first time through.

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sophiskiai

It’s not just in Kingsmouth that some missions have changed beyond recognition – with most I can’t remember the originals clearly enough to notice how they might differ now but I’ve just finished the Scorched Desert (which has now integrated the “Last Train to Cairo” missions into the main storyline before it’ll let you proceed to City of the Sun God) and was shocked to find that “Live Free, Die Hard” (which I played many, many times while trying to get the Unseen achievement) has changed from “sneak through the minefields and past the patrols to stealthily knock some people out and plant some explosives” to “stroll through a mine-free area killing groups of cultists as you go”.

I’m finding the combat a *lot* better now I’ve got into the rhythm of it and switched Elementalism from primary to secondary so I don’t have to worry about the headache of heat management, but in any long fights against tough enemies it still involves spending far too much time staring at the energy meter to see when it recharges enough for the power you want to use.

The pitiful drop rate of dungeon loot (compared to distillates) is quite annoying, after using 50-60 keys I’ve only had a single piece of dungeon gear (and from what I hear this is about average luck). Even more so given that the way the upgrade system works means that the better your gear is the more time you’ll need to spend levelling up new gear drops before they’re worth using or fusing. Though this may change when harder dungeon modes come back and might start dropping blue or purple gear?

I do think the upgrade system needs explaining better, for example it wasn’t until Scorched Desert that I realised while pips on talismans affect their stats pips on weapons don’t affect the weapon power stat, only the strength of a weapon’s bonus effect. I’ve also started selling a bunch of my gear drops for anima shards, since now I’m getting 2-3 bags per mission and upgrading blues (and spent lots of my Solomon Island anima shards in the museum) I’m getting more gear than I can afford the cost of feeding to my main items!

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Geoffrey Smith

Totally on board with the need for the a better explanation of the gearing system. I, personally, love it, but feel that many things aren’t fully explained better. Your example of the pips is a prime example.

With dungeon loot, it feels a bit awkward. I love that it at least drops distillates, those are highly useful, But they SHOULD be zero cost distillates, in my opinion. Since theese are limited time use keys, it should be things that don’t drain your anima shards. ANd I think it desperately needs to drop skins as well. I think that would make a lot of the concerns with dungeon loot much better. Or at the very least they need to get weapon moulding back into the game.

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Greaterdivinity

Ohhh, I didn’t even realize we could have a main/investigation mission running at the same time. I feel like I may have accidentally done that, but it never “clicked” in my brain. That’s handy info!

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Jeffrey Meade

Overall I am finding the changes to the game positive, but as a older player the game is not different enough for me to want to play through basically the same content again. The changes are really meant to bring in new players, which is great, but it may also alienate older players. At the end of the day its basically the same game so re-branding it with a slightly different name isn’t going to really make the game successful when it really needs completely new content.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I’m an older player they brought back. But yes, this may not be enough for a lot of the oldies until Fall (Tokyo? catchup to TSW?), or even Winter-Spring (new stuff??).

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Castagere Shaikura

The 3 day cooldown on missions killed it for me and the friends i got to try it. That just felt insulting and they are going down the swtor path with the f2p restrictions.

Yangers
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Yangers

I have taken so long to go through each map, that by the time I’m one or two more maps on, they’ve all reset. People must be racing along.

But I tend to watch all the cutscenes and take my time. I only just left savage coast.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Ha I weirdly appreciate the 3-day. Almost *don’t* want to patron to reduce it. I like nudges to not keep doing the same ‘dailies’ over and over.. though I suppose a Challenge update could do that.

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Oleg Chebeneev

When game was released there werent any cooldowns. All missions were one time only.
They gave you ALL content for free, something people take for granted. If you want to grind same missions more often you can subscribe. For patrons its 8h cd

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Roger Melly

Bit difficult to tell so far as I am only in the first area of Kingsmouth . I am noticing it is somewhat easier than I remember when I first did it ( think it must have been 5 years ago ) . I am hoping it will get harder as it goes along . I wish I could find a way to turn off the autotrack feature that highlights things like blood on the floor in quests where you have to track things like blood on the floor because its something I find really annoying .

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

I’m enjoying the game? yes .. too much in fact, when or if the game stopped being enjoyable, then it will be the time to uninstall, some MMOs didn’t take more than 2 hours to achieve that, SWL? well i’m having fun so far, i want at least to reach Egypt, that’s where i stopped playing TSW.

hurbster
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hurbster

And you simply cannot just have any skills slotted. I wanted to put some more chaos skills on as I was always running out of blade energy but I kept on being told I needed at least one basic skill slotted.

Why ? I never use it as it’s rubbish. Just let us use what skills we like.

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Malcolm Swoboda

You need a basic ability. Really. Sure, not at first/Kingsmouth/Solomon.

Reader
Geoffrey Smith

….really?

Ok here goes. Your basic ability is the only ability you have that has no energy cost associated with it. It is there in the event you use up energy and need to be able to attack. The point of it, and the point of having it a requirement, is that way it insures people are never in a situation where they are UNABLE to attack at all.

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Castagere Shaikura

This i find annoying as hell. I don’t get why this was added at all.

Yangers
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Yangers

If you use up all your energy, it will still function.

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Hirku

That basic skill has saved my hide often so I know the value of it, but it annoys me that it has to be for your primary weapon (in my case Blades, with Elemental as secondary). Simple solution for me was to place my Blade in the secondary slot and Ele in the primary. Now I have my strongest Blade attacks on my mouse buttons and a basic Fire Ball attack to fulfill the requirement (which I normally used already just to draw mobs or finish off them off if they’re almost dead).

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Michael Quinlivan

After you leave Kingsmouth and start getting better abilities, you’ll actually want the basic ability on your bar. I’ve got both my weapons as MK3 Energy (chance to not use weapon energy when using abilities) and my basic ability is definitely my most used ability for fights lasting over 5 seconds.

Reader
Bryan Correll

Ugh. Right with you on that one.

Reader
A Dad Supreme

What level of Sprint Speed do Patrons receive? Is it the same as F2P or does everyone have to purchase faster mount?

I think as a Patron mine says “150%”, but it doesn’t say what the top level is.

The Sprint options for a “Quickened Anima” is either 250 Aurum (real money) or 10,000 Marks of Favour (earned from missions) and that adds 62.5% faster movement.

edit: Just asked in game. Apparently even though 150% ‘sounds’ like a top speed, the top speed in game is actually 250%. 150% is the base normal speed for everyone (which is confusing as hell and stupid).

So each Anima you buy increases it until you hit 250%. Next level after that costs 500 Aurum or 20000 MoF.

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BalsBigBrother

the last tier of sprint to hit 250% is an aurum only purchase so I am told. How you get those aurum whether straight up handing over cash or playing the exchange is entirely up to each person. Me I am currently at the 30,000 MoF tier and given how I am needing MoF more and more for equipment progression / fusions I think I will be staying here for a while :-)

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Loyal Patron
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thickenergy

I’ve heard that the last two levels require Aurum.

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Loyal Patron
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thickenergy

Basic Sprint speed is 150% of normal speed. So it looks like Patrons get no benefit in that regard.

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Bryan Correll

The hexagons on trail following are a bit much, but they also made the nights SOOOO much darker that following a trail at night would be nearly impossible (at least for me) without them.

Reader
sophiskiai

The highlight hexagons are also really useful for people with colour-blindness or similar issues.

Reader
Geoffrey Smith

This. For me (with very bad color blindness) the “follow the blood trail” missions on forest floors were simply impossible. I had to look them up.

Reader
strangesands

Debating whether to try and recreate my main TSW character in SWL or start fresh. Yeah, think I will roll everything different this go.

Reader
Toy Clown

I’ve been enjoying it, so much I subbed. I was one of those players that fell away after spending AP and SP in areas that seemed good in theory, but didn’t work in actual combat, having to redo missions in Kingsmouth and Savage Coast ad nauseum to advance gear and get enough AP and SP to survive monsters. I got incredibly stuck and frustrated. It was made worse by wanting to partake in holiday quests, but unable to because I hadn’t advanced far enough to fight stuff. I ended up sadly saying goodbye to TSW about 2 years ago after all the frustration.

Now, I’m happily playing through the game, taking my time and soaking up all the lore, cut scenes, and just really indulging in parts of the game I missed before. I’m excited the game is opened up to me, and I’m doubly excited to see what’s in store for SWL’s future stories.

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Jeremiah Wagner

I got my wife to play with me for a couple hours to see if that helped the boredom. It did not. I love the concept and the quests and the story, but none of that means jack crap to me if the combat is boring as hell. Honestly my fav part about The Secret World was the crazy awesome skills to play with and try and create awesome builds with and they took that out. Oh well, the same thing happened to me in WoW. They literally removed everything I loved about it. I guess MMO’s just hate me since now thinking about it that same thing happened to me going from GW1 to GW2. Its not like a couple things got taken out that I like and a couple new things I like got added , nope EVERTHING I loved about it got taken out and the only thing that I like that was added was the amazing looking world and the Jump puzzles.

Richard de Leon III
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Richard de Leon III

I’ll have to agree. Complexity is what drew me to RPGs both single player and mmos. As much as I understand why they want it easy, I think it wouldnt hurt to have complexity in the later aspects of the game via expanding the systems as you level up through the storyline.

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Paragon Lost

Yep, complexity of the combat and the quests made you think and puzzle things out. Now everything looks to be on rails combat and quests. Boring. :/ Plus the negative cash grab really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Four year old game going into maintenance mode instead being fixed and improved. Release a chopped up, more buggy, simplified version that re-treads all content with nothing new but adding a ton of cash earning tweaks for the company. I want the company to make money, don’t get me wrong on that. This though is an unsavory way to go about it. ;/

Estranged
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Estranged

Pace yourself, learn the game, take in the atmosphere. Will be much better.

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Jacobin GW

Its the exact same game but with with annoying RNG weapon gimmicks that make them less fun for the most part and a monetization scheme that is an abomination.

I wanted to give Funcom credit for taking a risk but its just a cynical cash grab. The game will get destroyed on steam reviews and it will be dead again in a month or two once people get over this brief honeymoon and realize that the endgame is nickle and dime fest that patron status does nothing to alleviate.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

It’s funny to hear some of the new players complaining about how “hard” the quests are when they were made so much easier. It’s like they want it to be like every other game, just hand holding you through every little thing so you never have to figure anything out.

Luckily not all tracking missions seem to be like the blood one, maybe it’s just that one because it’s blood splotches on the grass. Ones where you follow a trail of physical objects here and there seem to have very small subtle help and not that big tracker hexagon – you still need to look for and follow the objects in the world for those for the most part.

Most stuff was made easier to the point of nearly being too easy and there are still some people complaining.

This game is mostly about the stories and atmosphere, the investigations, the lore, etc. So I’ll live with the new combat even though I like the old way better. Realistically I’d rather continue on in TSW instead but since all new content is going to be just TSWL I’m going to have to switch.

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Jacobin GW

Having a high tolerance for poor design does not make you anything special beyond being an easy mark for lazy devs.

People do not like boring/bland gameplay which sums up everything about TSW besides the script.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I somewhat disagree. I think there’s a lot of amazing design and amazing gameplay in TSW. Yes, *amazing*. However, the points of weakness were so blatant and bothersome that only story makes up for that for many (and only so many), and with slowed story content its just not enough. But I still appreciate much of my gameplay experience with TSW, which has been mostly maintained (at least for me personally) with SWL.

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Bruno Brito

Pretty much. TSW wasn’t hard, the wheel was just badly designed to be uninformative. You had one leveling build based on AoEs and sustain through dots.

That’s not hard, that’s boring.

Reader
Chris Walker

I’m having a blast with the game, and not just because I use a shotgun. I really like many of the changes that were implemented, and I think the good changes definitely outweigh the bad. Some of the mission improvements were spot on.

I get the complaint about its spooky atmosphere being…diluted a bit, but the glowing hexagons and disembodied voice really don’t bother me at all. (the hexagons are especially helpful when you’re playing the game in a well-lit room but the atmosphere in the game is dark)

I’m a proud patron, because I like to support the games that I like, and the companies who make them. Whether I plunk $5 or $10 on some Aurum remains to be seen, but I don’t rule it out if I continue to enjoy the game.

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enamel

Is shotgun pretty fun? Might have to give it a whirl, one of the few weapons I never tried in TSW.

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thickenergy

I really thought I’d enjoy the magical weapon skills the most. While I like them well enough, once I got hold of the shotgun I knew I had found my fun. So I’m raging through Kingsmouth with my Gunslinger right now.

I don’t know if I will keep pistols as my secondary. They work well enough and have one of the less fiddly weapon mechanics, making them a good secondary. But I would like to get my magic on eventually so may pick up Chaos down the road. It has some very fun effects and also has the low mechanics overhead that I think makes for a good secondary.

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Jacobin GW

Let us know how that is working out 2 week after hitting 50.

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Geoffrey Smith

Will do!

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agemyth 😩

I haven’t spent a ton of time with it, but as someone who bounced off TSW many many times it seems way less frustrating for someone not super familiar with it.

I do not see how following a trail of blood decals while constantly aggroing difficult to kill (for newbies) monsters was something anyone would have considered fun in TSW. The lower time-to-kill and at least slightly more fun combat in SWL helped that mission, but following a breadcrumb trail that, unless you are colorblind, is easy to see is no more fun than just giving me an objective marker on the minimap.

The changes they made to the museum basement (Horror Show) were much better. The camera spotlight detection was awful in the previous implementation. This mission was a brick wall for some players. Nothing about that basement was a special example of TSW’s “intelligent” mission design not was it oozing with atmosphere. It was not good particularly for players who are still getting used to the basics of movement and jumping and are accidentally double tapping to dodge like I was at the time.

I cannot speak for the monetization because I haven’t hit any paywalls with having all my weapons unlocked for free. Overall, my limited time with it made it seem like a better onboarding experience.

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Hirku

I appreciated the changes to Horror Show. That !@#$% camera in the 2nd room would always see me through the wall when I was turning off the switch in the 1st room.

atherenlightspeed
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atherenlightspeed

That blood on the ground quest, it was so dark I had trouble seeing the tracks, and couldn’t see them at all once I hit the fence line before the forest. Daylight rarely comes in this game! I sure didn’t get any helpful lights. I’ll have to wait till the sun shines again.
You’re seeing people? I haven’t seen a soul since right at Boones camp. It’s depressing. Am I trapped in my own instance somehow? Noooo. Let meeee ouuut.

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agemyth 😩

Yeah, I was probably in the wave of most of the veterans still pouring through tutorials and it seemed like the way they downplayed the MMO of SWL didn’t make any sense. Just gobs and gobs of people can still be found. That will presumably die down and become a bit sterile unless it hits big on Steam.

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Tithian

About the tracking hexagon display … thing… I find it too subtle at times. In more than one cases the visual cues were so tame and spaced apart, that I ended up following the more visible blood trails in the end (and it’s always freaking blood trails). And no, I’m not colorblind, but I do play at max zoom distance. They are far more visible during the night, so maybe your experience with them being too intrusive is due to that?

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Line

It’s kind of what I hoped The Secret World would become: a casual adventure game, with some playable combat on the side.
I dropped the original because it was kind of a chore, now I’m having fun.

But dropping money on the game…?
They have many things to sell, but it’s not attractive in the least. Completely screwed the pooch with loot and itemization.
I’ve done two dungeons, I got super lucky and got a crappy weapon out of it. And a whole bunch of +gear XP. Yay?
What about giving free players cool stuff like cosmetics when they play harder content, and then ask money to get more cool stuff every day? Because right now you get bugger all, and you can pay to get more bugger all.

The game really need to sell itself, which it doesn’t right now.
If the game want to sell everything piecemeal, it better start to entice players to it. Else it’s just a mild annoyance until you can trade for cash shop money…

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Geoffrey Smith

Yes, yay to gear XP. There is how you make incremental gear upgrades.

I do agree though, they need weapon cosmetics and more clothing to come out.

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Tithian

The harder content will drop weapon skins, just like they did in TSW. They are not in the game yet, but will be put in shortly. The dungeons you did already are more akin to LFR, or Scenarios from WoW, completely trivial.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Indeed Tith. You outlevel them and can’t even LFG. Its just there for the zone leveling experience (or to solo overlevel for story). I get somewhat frustrated when people get even so bad as to treat Story Polaris as some be-all-end-all for itemization. I sure didn’t do so for Realm of the Fae in Rift, etc.

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Ryuen

That about sums it up, some things have improved, some have stayed about the same and some things, well, have went down some.
So far it’s an enjoyable romp through the story again, I hope the honeymoon lasts because I want it to succeed. We’ll see I guess.

Who knows maybe I’ll run into some of our more known players this time around, apart from using LondonTaxi’s services that is :)

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Russell Hunt

One of the best takes on the game I’ve read yet! Well thought out and backed with smarts. I played TSW in beta but got out because it was difficult for me to complete the story line as mostly a solo player. I find now that it’s not, perhaps later, but so far so good. I really wish I could put my finger on it but it’s just a much greater game from the one I played. It’s also not just me. Friends of mine who would not even play TSW, for whatever reason, LOVE this game now. It’s actually a bit odd…perhaps timing is better with the current pop culture?

I do agree with the blood stains..I LOATHE the new system of tracking, LOATHE it.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I appreciate the tracking personally. Just don’t rely on it for Investigations, devs.

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hurbster

Just to say I think the monetization is a little too much but I am enjoying it. Why we can’t buy new weapons from vendors I have no idea. I shall miss my Wabanaki sword/battle club thingy.

Saying that I could never spot the blood trails so I’m grateful for that, but how does this work for non-illuminati players lore-wise ?

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Tobasco da Gama

Lore-wise, the cell phone does some kind of bonding thing with you when you pick it up from your faction trainer. It goes through this initialisation procedure, and the voice you hear during that sequence is the same one that says “Visual Tracking Initiated” or whatever when you’re following the trails.

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Ailsa Nordstrom

In regards to the tracking, I get where MJ is coming from. But I’ve seen a few comments from color-blind players saying it has really helped them a lot. I wonder if the devs could make it a toggled feature.

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agemyth 😩

Magic. There is lots of it in the world.

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Geoffrey Smith

That has largely been my impressions as well.

As a colorblind person, yes I was SUPER excited for that mission tracking thing. I simply could not find those type of trails previously. HOWEVER they happen on anything like that. Like the squid boxes on that side mission. Did anyone have issues with that previously?

I also think they would really do themselves a favor by, at the very least, letting people switch weapons right away after the tutorial. Like, right as you finish Tokyo, ask you if you want to try different weapons, and run you through it again, or something. Let people feel them out first.

But yeah, I mostly just agree with what MJ is saying here.

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Toy Clown

It seemed to me they added a few more squid boxes to make following them easier. I remember in TSW losing the trail the first time, as some boxes were hidden with long spaces around a building or some obstacle I don’t quite remember. I do remember having to look up a video spoiler to see where the trail picked up because I couldn’t find it. Now there’s no issue following it.

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wild-abyss

Super important Templar question for people further along than me in the game:

Does Dame Julia not call us anymore? Because… please let that not be true.

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Greaterdivinity

Faction missions still exist, they were just moved. Apparently they kick in after you finish New England, before you get to Egypt. I think there’s a second batch after Egypt and before Transylvania.

Yeah, that wasn’t communicated clearly at all, I saw tons of vets (myself included) fearing that they’d been axed entirely. I was going to get pissed if they were, Dame Julia is half the bloody reason I stuck with Templar!

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Malcolm Swoboda

There’s arc bridging faction missions, and there’s FACTION RANK missions.

Bridging missions are still in. Getting calls on faction ranks are also in.

But faction rank missions (like the NY car garage) are not in. They’ll be in later for the endgame ‘Paragon’ system of missions to do at Lv 50. I assume there is set to be a faction leveling or alternate character advancement system to come, where these more sidestory missions come into play to break up any monotony. They were complained about in TSW anyway, in the sense of disrupting zone questing. They’re irrelevant enough (but often fun!) to be good as non-crucial activities. Faction ranking will, as I’ve indicated, get an overhaul in due time.

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Geoffrey Smith

Wait, isn’t that how they always worked? I only played it through once (on Illuminati), but my recollection was that it was inbetween each main mission was when you did the faction missions.

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TheDonDude

Combat does feel a bit more responsive, which is nice, but I haven’t really found a Blood rotation yet. So far I just spam either my 2 second channeled single target attack (I forget the name), or spam my Instant circle o’ doom (pretty sure that ain’t the name) for AoE. I haven’t found any reason not to just use the same ability over and over again except for the rare moments when I run out of resources.

I’m only level 14, though. Should I expect this to change?

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Tobasco da Gama

I didn’t play too much further than you’ve gotten, but I did find that rotations didn’t really “open up” until a little after level 14. But I didn’t try Blood/AR very long, I was mostly playing Pistol/Shotgun.

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David Goodman

I haven’t played TSW in a while so, while I was aware of many of the quests, I was happy to see the characters and actors and experience them again. Boone is just cool, Edgar f’in nuts, and everything about Norma.

So, i’m enjoying myself. I think I might have a worse time if I didn’t ‘upgrade’ my account to get free unlocks on all the weapons — 20k points for the active and another 20k for the passive for EACH weapon, would make deciding what to play painful if you choose ‘wrong’ for yourself.

But with all unlocked free, i’m happy as hell :)

Plenty of things I would change or add, but nothing that ruins the game for me

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enamel

I thought the pop-up missions felt a bit tacked on and don’t really fit well into the rest of the game, the highlighting of blood trails less so. I am playing Illuminati this time, and as a part of the intro story

minor spoiler of the first hour
they do implant a chip onto your spinal column, so some of this can be hand waved away from the implant.

Combat itself is a wash for me, I like that the specializations provide more interesting and varied mechanics than “build and consume”. But I was never a TSW combat hater, so w/e. I like the changes to the the skill system, it is much more straight forward IMO. It is easier to put together a deck and less overwhelming when you want to branch out a bit. But I am still in early days, so going to see how this progresses as I unlock more branches of the skill tree.

One thing I think they nailed is the control scheme. The constant mouse look, the ease of targeting compared to tabbing, and main skills on Q and E by default is fantastic. It makes the game very easy to control for me, and removes so much of the clunkiness of most MMOs. The only thing I would (or maybe I can) is the utility slots could have easily been 3-5 instead of Shift-1 thru Shift-3. Other than that, the control setup is awesome.

I hear a lot of griping about the monitization, but I am struggling to find things I want to spend cash on. Maybe this is because I linked my TSW account. I will probably subscribe just for the cache keys. I don’t know how they did it, I have never cared about loot crates, but I have strong urges to pop em open in SWL.

Overall I like it as much as I liked TSW, which is to say I like it a lot.

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David Goodman

Spoiler about that spoiler
The implant is Illuminati only though, not Dragon / Templar, which doesn’t’ explain them. Eh, I don’t mind so much – it’s a neutral feature to me.

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Tobasco da Gama

The pop-up missions and visual tracking both come from your cell phone.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Indeed. Its our cell phone. Just without animation to pull it out, but it can just as easily go ‘speakerphone’. The kill quests are just under the idea of clearing out an area of dangers for the sake of further investigation, just like how steps of Action missions often go.

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BalsBigBrother

Spoiler about that spoiler spoiler
Speaking as a Dragon you don’t really know what went on um cough down there cough anything could have been inserted. Though probably best not to think about where :p

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Travis Beaty

Question about the spoiler about that spoiler spoiler
Are you saying there’s a chip in my d … um *shudders*

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BalsBigBrother

Answer to Question about the spoiler about that spoiler spoiler
Well that is one option but not the only one but still yeah um *shudders*

luxundae
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luxundae

I’m enjoying it, though it’s not as magical as TSW was for me. Whether that’s because of the game itself or because you can only lay eyes on something for the first time once, I’m not sure.

Holding out hope that they’re able to advance the story past Tokyo.

I am enjoying the new blood animations, though I’m still trying to figure out a good rotation.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Its less magical (as in the awesome emotion) to me but it seems MORE magical at the same time – in that I feel the team, despite complaints about how some new systems feel and look, actually understand the IP better than ever now. People are also complaining about the New Agartha but I’m in it and loving it because it fits the concept of a world within the world even better now. Its the SECRET world. I also feel I’m more of a ‘bee’ than ever, which is good as that’s where a Season 2 would probably get a lot into.

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camren_rooke

So far, I am enjoying it. Especially pistols although on a solo mob it does sometimes appear the mob is lying down BEFORE I shoot him.

All I can think is its a bit more easier. Lil Cthulhu certainly was.

I do NOT like the lockboxes any more than I did in ESO. Don’t give me ONLY a completely random chance at something without giving me an option to work for it.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I just got 2/3 of the Agarthan Cache cosmetic contents within a week, from Auction House (players sell contents to other players!), and I’m only stockpiling Caches either just in case they phase out and get highly desired, or to open later with exchanged Aurum so I get 3rd Age tokens for more cosmetics at more of my own pacing in endgame.

So yeah screw lockboxes but I’ve gotten to maintain my position where I won’t spend money on it but I don’t rage at others ‘donating’ so much to a company for it. I’m more highly against the leaning towards gambling that they can be – at the very least we need probabilities.

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Tobasco da Gama

Yeah, skills without cast time apply their damage at the start of the animation. It’s particularly goofy with the CQC skill from Shotguns. If the skill damage kills your target, you get this sequence where the mob dies, you kick it as it’s going down, then you shoot at thin air. I guess you’re shooting its spirit or something to make sure it stays dead. :P

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wild-abyss

Especially pistols although on a solo mob it does sometimes appear the mob is lying down BEFORE I shoot him.

Yes, THIS! In dungeons, too! I’ve been saying it since launch. :(

I am always still shooting too long because the animation was delayed and I think the alive things need to be more dead and then my bullets curve to a nearby alive thing and… it’s almost enough to make me switch weapons but I wanted to be pistols for so long.

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thickenergy

Changing weapons won’t matter. Most of the instant-cast skills seem to suffer from the damage-on-cast with the animation playing to a dead audience. How noticeable that is depends a lot on the length of the animation for the specific ability.

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Hirku

I would never, ever, ever mute my talking phone because it sounds like it’s voiced by Catherine Taber (Cassie/Rose/Karen Olsen, Vette in SWTOR) and I adore her.

I appreciate the visual aids myself, but options are always best for everybody. My big frustration during the beta was when they completely removed most of the alert icons to reduce clutter even though they were already options that players could enable/disable as they wish.

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Dug From The Earth

The first change I really dislike is the disembodied voice that now speaks to you randomly when you run into areas with pop-up missions.

I*m playing illuminati, and ive always had this semi cyber-punk like mentality for that faction, so this added aspect of the game is quite fitting for me. But thats just me. If i were playing Dragon, or even Templar, it would feel more out of place.

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Hirku

Speaking for the Dragon, we do what is necessary to get the desired outcome.

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David Goodman

@Hirku Care to join me for a hot tall cup of CHAOS?

Mmm, tastes like green.

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Hirku

“It’s not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that”

– Kermit the Frog (honorary Dragon)

Crow
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Crow

I’m Templar, for life, but my other half is Lumie. We’re good at compromise.

That said, after watching so many of her own cutscenes and knowing the story, it doesn’t at all stick out for me in a bad way. In fact, those “landscape” pop-ups are a really nice addition that allows Funcom to add more quests without breaking the limits. That’s brilliant and needs to be seen as such.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Agreed Crow. It works for me.

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dm_jim80

There’s nothing so far that’s so onerous that I want to stop playing–but that’s because I still have this faint hope of season 2 arriving this year despite all evidence to the contrary, so I’m willing to just bump along. Then again, I was able to ignore / deal with all kinds of annoying things the first time around, too.

Guess we’ll see with the Steam release how their ‘main’ potential customer base responds to this game as opposed to people already emotionally invested.

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Malcolm Swoboda

“despite all evidence to the contrary”? Sure I don’t necessarily expect a new zone, or especially some big expansion pack thingy, but I can certainly see a successful SWL starting up missions and content/features that indicate forward momentum into a whole new phase of things.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Negatives look very minor in your list. I mean the big thing that totally ruined atmosphere for you is something that can easily be turned off?
I didnt care much about new hexagons for tracking trails, but I agree – old way was better. I understand why the added it – sometimes it was too confusing to find right tracks, and they made it easier for casuals. But there arent many missions that involve this mechanics, so it shouldnt be big deal.
About barriers surrounding combat missions – Im 100% with you. This looks just stupid and doesnt fit at all.

Things I personally disliked so far:
-New unskippable tutorial. Its boring and they could explain everything in much cooler subway mission.
-All new weapon mechanics are meh.
-Popup kill missions. This was copypasted from WoW and if in WoW additional objectives fit well, in SWL which was always praised for its intelligent quests and story, they dont.
-Combat visual effects. Some are fine, particularly in shotgun and hammer trees. Many are annoying and look bad.
-Small font. Goddamit, why I should squint trying to read lore pieces and stuff?
-They didnt fix ancient bugs that were reported millions of times. Like double shotgun on the back glitch.

Still only 16 level, Im sure there would be more when I level. But good stuff overweights bad, thats for sure.

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Malcolm Swoboda

-I like the new tutorial personally, but it needs to be skippable (especially for 2nd+ times through) and we need to experiment with weapons like before.
-New weapon mechanics alone are also meh to me. How they interact with everything else is increasingly enjoyable though.
-I’m 100% OK with the kill missions. I’m clearing the area for investigation (for faction), survivors (for my minimal ethics as a protagonist), to find treasures (for.. whatever).
-They still need to work on animations and effects.
-Yes goddamn this font size, or rather UI. I’m playing on TV ATM due to laptop in repair, and I’m constantly want them to even, I dunno, really indeed work on a console version because at least that would imply I’d be able to use a bigger and better for TV UI/font size.
-Lots of bugs I noticed have been fixed and performance is significantly better on my PC. On other hand, indeed lots of still blatant bugs have stayed and performance still isn’t quite where it needs to be (especially for the aforementioned console version idea!).

Crow
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Crow

I just hit 41 and nothing here is changed by one’s level.

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BalsBigBrother

I have been pretty vocal about my disappointment with a lot of what has been done and my worry that it will all be for nothing because of certain decisions made with the payment model. From now I am going to dial that back, what happens happens and I will just have to hope for the best.

With that out of the way I would like to reiterate a point MJ made and that is go try it for yourself. By all means read what others have to say but whatever they say don’t let it dissuade you from trying it out yourself. Make up your own minds you never know it might work for you and you may have a lot of fun. Nothing to lose with free to play but a little time.

:-)

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Hirku

And your bandwidth cap, if you have one. ; )

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