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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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*
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.
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.
What is The Whispering Tide, and why does it matter? More than just an excuse to get goodies, the appearance of Flappy — technically named Bird of the Zero-Point Pathogen — heralds the imminent opening of the Tokyo portal in Agartha. And sometime after Tokyo comes the next season of story! Veterans of the previous event will be familiar with the Flappy raid, but folks who’ve never played The Secret World are at a disadvantage in knowing what is going on. Even those who’ve participated in the original will find that there are some significant changes to The Whispering Tide. Some of these changes, most notably how the loot is dispersed, are much improved from the TSW version; some aspects, unfortunately, are not.
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.
Moving to a level-based system was one of the changes I was personally most unsure about with this reboot. I have never been a fan of levels, preferring skill-based systems. Luckily, the ability to personalize your build with the weapon skill trees was retained. And I get that levels are more universally recognized. But after nearly a month, I have found that although levels do have some benefits, as currently implemented they are causing issues within Secret World Legends that are affecting gameplay — but mostly only for patrons! The good news is there is a fix.
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.