chaos theory

Chaos Theory is a Secret World column by MJ Guthrie. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Chaos Theory: A changing of the guard in the Secret World Legends

As a fan of the wonderful world that Secret World brought us, do you cringe or grin with excitement when Secret World Legends news pops up? Do you waffle between tell me more and no news is good news? I’ve been on both sides. Who can blame us? We’ve weathered everything from financial woes and the corresponding closure concerns to a complete reboot. And now, we’re experiencing yet another changing of the guard. The Creative Director position that has migrated from Ragnar Tornquist to Joel Bylos to Romain Amiel has been vacated, and a new lead designer is taking over; Amiel left Funcom last month to pursue different endeavors, leaving Chris “Nirvelle” Meredith in charge.

You can’t have a big change like this without people worrying that something will happen to their favorite conspiracy-laden game; it’s inevitable, like the sass of Kirsten Geary. The big question is, will this latest development in the structure of developers ultimately fall on the fear or cheer side of the fence? Will the recent momentum be lost? Is this just one step on the continued track of new content, or will the train be totally derailed?

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Chaos Theory: Rushing Secret World Legends’ main story mission is a bad idea

If there is one thing this past week has emphasized to me, it’s that powering through just the main story missions of Secret World Legends is bad. Heed my warning and learn from my mistakes — don’t do it! It is definitely not an ideal way to experience the game. Why? Because although it is awesome to see the story arc play through in large, seamless blocks, you really so miss so much. You miss a great deal of the story, flavor, and atmosphere. And by missing chunks of the rest of the story in the game, you’ve cheated yourself of a richer — and longer — experience. When it ends all too soon, you are left wanting more… more you could have had.

Even though I have experienced 99% of the mission content before (thanks to completing the story through Tokyo in TSW), I seriously wish I could take back my sprinting to the Season 2 content. I don’t regret having the opportunity to show South Africa off to everyone on OPTV, but I do regret cheating myself of the chance to really savor the journey. I felt rushed, less patient with figuring out puzzles (my favorite part of the game!), and I had no time to appreciate the small changes in story that made it seem new again.

I am not about to make that mistake in South Africa! And I hope you won’t either. Barrelling through the main story will only rob you in the end.

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A sneak peek of South Africa in Secret World Legends’ Season 2

The things I do for you! You know that story is everything to me, and in order to bring you more information, I allowed myself to be partially spoiled on Secret World Legends’ start of the long-awaited Season 2. If you know nothing of what’s ahead and are trying to stay totally pure of any information other than it launches on April 4th, then go ahead and leave now. Right now. That was your warning. Because I was just on a pretty detailed (but not completely spoilerific) tour of the upcoming content release with Game Director Romain Amiel and Community Manager Andy Benditt. And I am going to share some of it with you. Don’t worry, though – I’ve got your back. I’ve made it so incredibly obvious the different levels of spoilers — from nothing to lots — so if you get spoiled, you will have only yourself to blame.

If you already know where we are heading and want to learn details about non-story stuff that is pertinent to the expansion, I’ve got a whole section ahead for you. You can stop before any of the story spoilers happen. For those who want to go ahead and get even more of the juicy tidbits of the story, I’ve got a whole big bite of it for you, including screenshots. But even you don’t get to know everything!

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Chaos Theory: A guide for Secret World Legends’ new agent network

Admit it: Ever since your faction handler in Secret World Legends started sending you off on jobs, you’ve wanted your own underlings to boss around. Am I right? Well thanks to the conspiracy game’s latest feature, now you do get your very own minions to send scurrying off on little assignments. Called the Agent Network, this new system was just deployed this week. And while it’s neither a massive story feature nor a hefty progression feature, it does have a bit of both.

Go ahead, dive on in and start ordering your minions around! With this guide, you’ll have all the info you need to be running your very own agent network.

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Chaos Theory: Do you need to sub to enjoy Secret World Legends?

A question I am asked quite a bit about free-to-play games is whether or not one needs to sub to really play. It is a fair question: We’ve got enough examples in the industry where not subbing can cripple you to the point that it is less than no fun and not worth even trying to play. So how about Secret World Legends? You’ve heard how great that story is and your interest is piqued, but you’ve been burned before. Do you need to pay for patron status to have a worthwhile experience playing? No. And yes.

The answer actually depends on what you want from the game and your preferred style of play. Can you play SWL and have a blast immersed in the amazing atmosphere and story without paying a dime? Absolutely! To get the most out of the game if you play more hardcore, however, you definitely want to become a patron.

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Chaos Theory: Secret World Legends 2018 – new year, new game, new goals

What does Secret World Legends have in store for 2018? For the world, or for me? Either answer includes Season 2 of the story! Of course I anticipate much more exciting stuff as well. I wish I had a crystal ball — or maybe the number crunchers of the Dragon — to know what’s ahead. But this Chaos Theory is not about what the game will be doing this year, rather it’s about what I will be doing in the game!

That’s right: I started this resolutions business last year, and now I am compelled to continue the tradition. It’s a new year and a new game, so it’s time for some new goals. It’s also a great time to look back over 2017 and see how well I did with my first attempt at in-game goal setting.

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Chaos Theory: 2017 was a big year for the Secret World IP

Well, 2017 was interesting. It’s not often that your favorite game starts off as one game at the beginning of the year and then ends as another game — all while still being the same game. Sure, updates and expansions make changes, but major overhauls aren’t as common. And setting aside the original and remaking it even less so! But that happened with The Secret World, which morphed mid-year into Secret World Legends. It’s the same game, but not. Confused? Even if you’ve been following the game(s) semi-regularly, it’s easy to forget or miss a few details. And if you are new to it all, no one would blame you for not being in the know as to what all has transpired.

In 2016’s year-end retrospective, I noted, “Not going anywhere is better than going away!” We didn’t know how prophetic that statement would be for TSW. For 2017, I can follow that up with, “Going where it did is better than going away!” This past year was obviously a big one for the Secret World IP. It’s also been rough, stressful, and ultimately rewarding. Here’s a look back at it.

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Chaos Theory: Guide to Secret World Legends’ first Krampusnacht

While many games go festive for the holiday season, no one does it quite like Secret World Legends. Cutesy doesn’t quite fit here, but creepy sure does! OK, maybe onsie pajamas and a few other seasonal costumes are cuddly; much more of the celebration, however, has teeth. Welcome to Krampusnacht!

Second only to Samhain, Krampusnacht is a the much anticipated winter holiday in the land of conspiracies and secret societies. And although all the elements of Christmases of yore in The Secret World didn’t make the transition (which is understandable and even expected after Halloween), there’s still a good chunk or reveling to partake in. Funcom has also seriously improved a few aspects of the event compared to SWL’s previous ones. There’s still a kink or two to Krampusnacht, but it’s definitely a holiday worth diving into. And here’s your guide to make the most of it before it leaves on January 2nd, 2018.

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Chaos Theory: Exploring Secret World Legend’s anima allocation and other QoL improvements

Remember that big quality-of-life update that Secret World Legends launched mid-November? Chances are your quality of SWL life did indeed improve with a number of those changes. Mine did. Some you may have been enjoying are the new summoned vendor that visits you in the field, or the teleports that allow you to pop instantly back to the three hubs to do your business. Perhaps you’ve gotten one of the new weapon-specific belt talismans (one of the 10 actually works for all weapons) that are mob loot drops. You might even have been having some fun in the Seoul Fight Club with its equal-footing PvP matches. Surely you’ve appreciated the new loot added to dungeons, scenarios, or lairs.

While I certainly benefit from all these other improvements, two of the biggest changes for me have been the anima allocation system and the XP transfer on empowerment. The two are actually tied together, along with the reduced cost to recover glyphs and signets. I wanted to give it some time working with the new system before talking about it. And I’ve concluded that more than just quality of life improvements, these tread a bit into the game-changer category.

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EverChaosing: Counting my EverQuest II and Secret World Legends blessings

Good things come in three’s right? Well this is the third installment of the EverChaosing column, which melds Chaos Theory and EverQuesting together. Why a written equivalent to a Turduckin? Because these are my two favorite games, and just as last year, I can’t choose between the two when it comes time to express gratitude. I am thankful for both EverQuest II  and Secret World Legends! Many things. There are overarching things as well as smaller specifics. Sometimes this gratitude is for something constant, and other times it is for change. While it would take much too long to list everything, in the spirit of the day I count a few of my blessings in SWL and EQII.

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Chaos Theory: Farewell Samhain, hello Secret World Legends Season 2 hype!

Do I love Halloween? Yes, yes I do. And while the season was in full swing, my mind was fully focused there. This season is a great diversion, especially in Secret World Legends. But with the awesomeness that is Halloween winding down and with Samhain now over, my mind can finally settle on other matters. Now I know for some, that means Christmastime and Krampusnacht. (One staffer here even declared/warned us of all out Christmas festivities starting November 1st!)

As cool as Krampusnacht is, my mind has turned instead to Season 2. Without my favorite holiday to distract me, I am keen on embracing the big awesome that we’ve all been waiting a long, long time for. New content! New stories! All new zone! Yes, Season 2, I am waiting for you. And the latest little teases coming from Funcom give me hope that we can get it sooner rather than later; the devs’ flaunting it more openly and allowing us to focus on it really has revved up my hype train. It’s almost like there is nothing else in the way and this is their complete focus. Oh yeah! *insert Kool-Aid Man here*

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Chaos Theory: A guide to Secret World Legends’ first Halloween

Hello Samhain my old friend! It’s so good to see you again. It’s been such a long year, and so much has… wait, where is the rest of you?!

Break out your pumpkin masks and vampire fangs: Samhain has started! My favorite time of the year has arrived in my favorite game. It’s a bit of a mixed good news/bad news thing, however. With the conversion to Secret World Legends, I didn’t doubt that the Halloween festival would take place this year, but I was unsure whether we could get new content for the holiday. After all, much had to be reworked for the relaunch, and some things would likely need to be (and were!) reworked on the various Samhain missions. What I didn’t quite expect was not getting all the previous content!

Still, it is Samhain, so amid my disappointment over what is missing, I am glad over what we do have. I am happy new folks can get a small taste of Halloween in SWL (even as I mourn what a tiny taste it is). And I can definitely appreciate that this taste was made more readily available to everyone in game, allowing all the chance to fully participate. And participate you should! Samhain is here for only a limited time, so jump in and enjoy it before it poofs into the night on October 31st. Without getting too spoiler-y with step-by-step instructions, I hereby present a look at this year’s event, the first ever for SWL.

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Chaos Theory: What we want out of the Secret World Legends TV show

Wow. So I had no intention of crafting another Chaos Theory this week. I had plans. Other plans. But then the Secret World Legends announcement hit the airwaves on Monday and all other thoughts left my head as I sat there, stunned. I just couldn’t think of anything else. Could it be real? Was SWL really going to be made into a television series? Holy guacamole, it is! A pipe dream I have wished for five years is actually announced and in the works.

I’ve been pretty vocal about how much I want more story from SWL. Story is what this game does so right, and I just can’t get enough. I’ll probably never get enough! There are so many characters I want to know more about, so much history in locations that I’d love to delve deeper into, and so many fascinating events that we know only know the aftermath of that I’d love to witness firsthand. The IP is so rich with possibilities. I knew that the game would never, ever be able to sate my appetite for more, so I had wished long and hard that other avenues might present themselves: short stories, graphic novels, movies, and yes, television series. I can’t even describe how excited I am for the development of more story from this world. Is there risk? Yes, I get that. But the possibility of so much greatness is there! I seriously can’t wait. Imagine it, 30 to 50 minute cut scenes!

With so many possibilities, what could/should the TV show focus on? I have my opinions. Here are some specifics I’d love to see developed further for our viewing pleasure.

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