Chaos Theory: To Steam or not to Steam your Secret World Legends account

To Steam or not to Steam, that is the Secret World Legends question — now that the horror game has relaunched on that platform, that is. For those who have never played this game or The Secret World before, that could be an easier question to answer. However, anyone who has a TSW account or who has played SWL already will have to make some decisions as to which platform to utilize going forward. There’s a chance that the choice might also have an time limit on it, though none has been expressly stated, so putting it off too long may become a problem in and of itself.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of each choice, and what is the process to switch if desired? We’ve got some answers right here to help you untangle that web. Speaking of the Steam launch, how has that gone? We’ll discuss that here along with our Secret World Legends Steam/No Steam guide.

Full Steam ahead?

After five weeks of live SWL play, the game finally launched on Steam. Now players have a choice whether to play the game from Funcom’s launcher or from Steam’s. However, it is really important to note that choice will be a one-time deal; once the decision is made, that will be the only launcher that can be used for that account. Unlike many other games, there is no possibility of moving between the launchers in order to log into the Secret World. Funcom explained that this is due to how patron works: Since the player will pay for purchases and patron subs via the respective platform, only that platform will have the information. I admit I do not understand the technicalities of this, but in an age where so many games are moving to cross-platform play, it feels very odd to go the other route and be restricted even on just the PC. Other games let me log in on both Steam or studio launchers, and others still (nod to AQ3D) allow me to log into totally different devices and still play the same account.

Since the final decision is irreversible, you may want to put some thought into it. I myself was initially looking forward to utilizing Steam, but now I am unsure. I’m taking into account the pros and cons before I make up my mind. So here are those facts as I have been weighing them:

Pros

  • Payments via Steam wallet
  • Steam achievements (wanted as per CM but not yet implemented)
  • Exclusive bundles (that have a good price on Aurum)
  • Devs say will patch through Steam (some players rebutting this currently)
  • Adds to Steam library
  • No region blocking
  • Supposedly impressive compensation incoming to patrons for sub issues (round 2)

Cons

  • Payments exclusively via Steam wallet (hey, it depends on your thoughts on this topic!)
  • No access to current or future Steam exclusive items/cosmetics
  • No answers from devs as to whether Funcom launcher will ever offer any exclusives
  • Must redownload the game if you’ve already been playing
  • If Steam has issues (think during big sales) you can lose access to game
  • Restricted to single SWL account (cannot use to play multiple accounts)
  • Multiple SWL accounts will need multiple Steam accounts (one for each) or will need to maintain two separate client downloads if one uses Steam
  • Problems with Steam accounts registering current patron subs, so not getting benefits (now including cache keys)

Honestly I wanted the ease of adding SWL to my Steam library, and the thought of missing out on exclusive cosmetic bothers me, but I actually do not want to be tied exclusively to the Steam wallet. Also, I very much do not like the idea of having one single account available through Steam, meaning if I let my kids use my PC or laptop to play and they choose not to use Steam, I’d have to keep two clients on my hard drive.

On top of that, the Steam launch hasn’t been without it’s difficulties. Folks on Steam are currently running into issues with their patron status not being recognized, which can severely impact gameplay. Think no cache keys, the extremely long cool-down timers, and no free teleports! There was also some surprise and confusion when some players were automatically switched to Steam and could no longer log into their account and play until the re-downloaded the client on Steam or converted their account.

On the plus side, for many others this launch was exactly what was needed to jump in and give the game a try for the first time. It looks like it was also a positive boost to the game. It definitely opened up to a much broader audience! And the game is currently sitting at a 79% positive review rating on Steam, which is wonderful. This means more folks may take the plunge and experience the amazing story and atmosphere of the game.

Simply Irreversible

After all this, and since there is no going back, I am still decidedly undecided as to whether or not I will make the leap to Steam. This choice is going to take me a while. You, though, might already know what want to do! If unlike me you’ve come to your decision, what do you do? There are different steps depending on your situation. Here’s the breakdown:

DO NOT want to use Steam DO want to use Steam
Current SWL player  Do nothing Log into Secret World Legends account page and click Convert to Steam, download and install via Steam
Former TSW Steam/Current SWL player auto-converted to Steam Log into you SWL account via Steam log in and click the convert to Funcom button.  Do nothing
Former Funcom TSW player, never played SWL Download Funcom client from your already created SWL account page (uses your TSW name and password) Log into already created SWL account page and click Convert to Steam, then install and play via Steam. (If you logged into Steam first don’t worry, converting will just override that empty Steam account.)
Former TSW player on Steam, never played SWL Log into already created SWL account page via Steam log in and click convert to Funcom button, install launcher. Do nothing: Just install on Steam and play
Never played TSW or SWL Create account on SWL site and download client Log into Steam, install and play

A special case: For those who had multiple Secret World accounts and played via Steam, you have to go in and individually select which Steam account you want linked and link it. All others will have to remain.

Will you make/have you made the leap to Steam? Are you now trying the game because it has launched on Steam? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

42 Comments on "Chaos Theory: To Steam or not to Steam your Secret World Legends account"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
N7 Spectre
Reader
N7 Spectre

Stayed with the launcher and it made everything easier it appears.

Reader
Jeffery Witman

I’m sticking with the Funcom launcher. I’ve never been a huge fan of Steam and the few games I’ve gotten on there I just don’t play. I’ve seen too many games have major issues with Steam Wallet, banned accounts, and weeks-long delays on purchases actually showing up in game, especially for cash currencies (looking at you, Neverwinter). These seem like things that Funcom will almost definitely repeat, given their past and current performance with Secret World titles.

Similarly, there’s no way Funcom won’t eventually offer sales on Aurum packages or other deals to entice more people to buy Aurum once the whales have all their AP, SP, inventory, bank, and sprints unlocked. People will stop playing before shelling out the money for Aurum just to get in-game essentials once the Exchange caps to 300 and almost no one is selling it. I’ve seen it happen before (looking at you, STO), and it can be fixed, but recovering players after the fact is harder than keeping them in the first place.

Reader
Nick Smith

I have been waiting for the steam release to play SWL! I’ve been too busy with Elder Scrolls Online and since ALL (most) my gaming money goes into my Steam wallet, playing the game through steam is a no-brainer for me. I’m currently on vacation this week, but when I get back… it’s SWL for me :) woohoo! Thanks MJ for the article, this helps show me exactly what I need to do.

ceder
Reader
ceder

I switched to it since 1. They didn’t region block it after all. 2. I doubt I’ll play it beyond once a month casually.

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

I saw no reason not to.

Cadaver
Reader
Cadaver

I’m sticking with the Funcom launcher and Paypal for any future payments. I don’t really care about exclusive Steam cosmetics as my avatar is not important to me in this game. Just here for the story. Once through and out.

Reader
Brother Maynard

Think no cache keys, the extremely long cool-down timers, and no free teleports!

Sooo… Vanilla TSW servers?

Reader
kidwithknife

I switched to Steam on day 1. As a result, I missed 1 day of patron benefits (they hotfixed the next day) and got a compensation package that was far beyond what I would have racked up that day by playing. I can handle that sort of “problem” every now and then. :)

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

Eh, for now I’m sticking with my Funcom launcher.

I don’t care about Steam achievements etc.

The only bummer here is the Steam exclusive items.
Like yesterday I was looking at the dressing room and I noticed an item that was poop brown but had a locked red/white color option. I thought that might look neat so I clicked it and it said something about being Steam exlusive.

L A M E.

Reader
Bill C

Yeah, this kind of stinks with the bundles being Steam exclusive. So no options at all to get bundles like this for the funcom launcher version huh?

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

It’s not a deal breaker for me, but it would be nice if all clothing items/options were available to everyone OR that if there are Steam exclusives there are also Funcom launcher exclusives.

Like that clothing item that had a red/white Steam exclusive option maybe had a black/purple Funcom launcher exclusive option too.

I’d be OK with that.

Reader
Bill C

Yeah, I agree there. The option would be nice.

Reader
Hirku

I like the game a lot, but Funcom couldn’t boil water without burning the whole house down.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tobasco da Gama

Converting to a Steam account means I never have to type a password again, which is a total no-brainer. Also reduces the number of places on the internet where my credit card info is stored, which is another huge plus.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

Yipes I just did my first Flappy after the hot fix. Yeah you have to pay attention now and things are going to hurt you if you don’t so no more snoozing your way through the fight.

This is a good thing by the way :-)

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

Yeah I’m glad that it’s more difficult.

I never did the event in TSW and the “GET TO THE NEXT PLATFORM” emotes confused me. I thought it was a bug.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Didn’t get a choice, apparently my account was “Steamed” without me realizing it. And by the time I realized you could detach it, I had already uninstalled and was reinstalling through Steam.

The added security is nice (yay two factor authentication! *COUGH COUGH FUNCOM*), but it was a supremely annoying process that was not communicated clearly at all. I was already launching through Steam anyways (since you can launch anything through Steam) so nothing really changed for me.

I’m just pissed that, without warning, my Steam install of TSW got turned into SWL. I was unaware this was happening automatically, and it’s left me without an install for TSW any longer. The whole experience was supremely annoying to the extreme and a solid reminder that yes, Funcom is still very much the same, regularly idiotic Funcom that we’ve known over the years. Nothing has changed with the company.

Now if only they’d stop using Reddit as their “official” forums, but I guess the community team is too busy thinking up what bad jokes they’ll tell on the next stream. Yes, I’m still salty about a whole lot with SWL (the Whispering Tide event is super disappointing to me. Granted I went into it blind, but I expected a bit more than a boring 15 minute boss fight every hour -_-) despite sticking around and continuing to play. Though my time spent in the game has cratered compared to what it was at launch : /

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

Have you tried the flappy fight since the hot fix, the mechanics work now so you need to prepare and pay attention. Yeah it is still essentially a 15 minute boss fight but at least its not a snooze anymore

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

The little miniboss thing above the main platform? I did the fight the past few nights so maybe? I can’t say I’m looking forward to doing it again, either way.

It’s one of the most painfully boring fights I think I’ve ever done. I get that the mechanics can’t be too complex with a group of unpartied scrubs, but at least don’t make the fight take bloody forever -_-

Reader
Dug From The Earth

For some reason, any game has has their own launcher, absolutely sucks on steam when it comes to doing updates.

This includes Path of Exile, Marvel Heroes, Dungeon Defenders 2 (and 1), and SWL. The list is bigger than that, but you get the idea.

The reason updates suck? Because the way steam handled file patching is often an additional process on top of the game launchers normal patching service.

Steam has to basically create a virtual “unpacked” drive of the game files, just to apply a patch to one of these games. A patch that takes only 3 minutes to apply (not download) using a custom launcher, takes 15 minutes if steam is added as a layer on top of that.

Ive got over 600 games, but I have moved all my special launcher games off of steam for this very reason. Plus, you can set it up to run the games launcher through steam, without having steam handle the games updates.

Reader
kidwithknife

Not sure where you got the idea that MH and PoE use their own launchers on the Steam versions. If you have them on Steam they don’t use an additional launcher at all.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

Its not that the launcher does/doesnt load when playing on steam, but rather that the launcher handles the file patching natively (and often better) than steam, which has its OWN patch process which doesnt always work well with games designed to have their own native patching process.

For example. Using the games default launcher, the patching process may just download the needed files for the patch, apply them, and move on. Where as steam, will first allocate drive space for a temp install of the game in another folder, unpack all the games files to that folder, download the patch, apply it to the game install in the other folder, repack all the game files, and then copy it back to the actual game install folder.

The entire process can vastly increase the time it takes to patch these games. Every dev ive talked to says the same thing. Its because of steams custom patching process. Even a tiny patch that is only 3 mb, can take upwards of 5-15 minutes to install/patch using steam, and only 30-60 seconds via the launcher.

In every case, switching to playing the game using the default launcher OUTSIDE of steam, improves things. Games that didnt natively have their own launcher to start with, dont have this isssue when it comes to steam.

Minimalistway
Reader
Minimalistway

No Steam for me, i don’t know why … i prefer MMOs away from steam, for me steam is only for single-player games.

xpsync
Reader
xpsync

Couldn’t agree more.

Reader
Sleepy

Thanks for outlining all that MJ, didn’t realise it was an all or nothing thing.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

I got auto converted to the steam client without any input from myself. One day was using the SWL stand alone client quite happily, steam client launches and next time I try to log in I get a message saying you must use the steam client and you can no longer use the stand alone.

I believe this occurred because at some point in the past I purchased the massive edition of TSW on steam so that I could catch up on some missed issues due to me taking a break from the game. I think when I applied this to my Funcom account this flagged my account as a steam one for all of this.

I was going to use steam in any case but I had planned on waiting for problems such as the ones mentioned in the article to be sorted out before I moved over. Sadly I didn’t get that choice and have to grind my teeth a little in frustration till all the things are fixed.

Funcom does make it really really hard for you as a customer to like them sometimes /sigh

The slight bright side of all of this is that I did get the Third Age Ornithopter and Moon Ravens Garb added to my account. The costume isn’t that great but the travel power is fun enough.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

Oh and that pro point about it patching through steam. No it doesn’t it patches through the launcher just like the stand alone version though I couldn’t say where its pulling the download from.

However for me when a game says its patches through steam it means that it patches everything in the steam client so that it is up to date and ready when you click play.

SWL launcher patching.png
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
krieglich

Ah, okay, that explains the point in the table above – I just wanted to ask about this:

Former TSW Steam/Current SWL player auto-converted to Steam

:

Log into you SWL account via Steam log in and click the convert to Funcom button.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

Alas, poor Gaben...

ALAS POOR GABEN.png
Reader
Gen'Challa 🦆

I made the jump to Steam because I like the auto-login and because my TSW account was already on Steam and it was easy to do.

But what is this about missing out on cosmetic items if I’m on Steam?
Can someone explain this to my noob ass?

Reader
Tanek

I think that probably should have been the other way around. Right now, Funcom has not said there are any plans for cosmetics that will be exclusive to non-Steam accounts. There are, however, cosmetics in the Steam bundles that you can only get if you have SWL on a Steam account.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
krieglich

I guess these are just planned cosmetics sometime in the future. In the past there were Steam cosmetics already for TSW, like this one I’m wearing on this screenshot.

(and as Tanek said, it’s the other way round, you would miss cosmetics if you’re not on Steam with SWL)

twitch02_bg.png
Reader
Schmidt.Capela

Are these account-wide? The description makes it seem like they only unlock on one character, in which case I won’t bother with them; for store-purchased cosmetics I either have them on all my characters or I refuse to purchase any.

Reader
Gen'Challa 🦆

I had the exact same question.
$20-$50 for a single-character unlock is egregious.

wpDiscuz