chaos theory

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

Chaos Theory: Are levels good for Secret World Legends?

We’d heard about (and stressed over!) various Secret World Legends changes for a while, but you just can’t know how those changes will affect the game until you experience them. Now we have. We’ve had three and a half weeks to dive in and play around, getting a feel for the Secret World reboot. So how do some of those changes play out in practice? I’ve already noted a few initial pros and cons, but some topics — like levels — needed more time.

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.

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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.

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Chaos Theory: Guide to The Secret World’s Templars faction

It’s Templar Time! After looking at the Illuminati and delving into the Dragon, it’s now time to tie up this trio of guides and talk about the final faction in The Secret World: the Templars. I could fall back on that old adage of “saving the best for last,” but this secret society may not be the best for everyone. That’s the whole reason behind these faction guides — so folks can get a feel for what they may want to play. And with Secret World Legends launching its early access tomorrow, the time to pick is close at hand.

As much as I have been tempted to roll a different faction for SWL, it’s going to be very hard to pass up being a Templar. I can’t deny that it has been my my favorite faction; the philosophy jells better with me, I prefer the deck costumes, and I enjoy the wit of Richard Sonnac’s messages. But what really cemented this society’s place at the top was the final story mission, Virgula Divina. Doing the Illuminati story mission felt like a let down by comparison! If you’ve never visited the playroom, you are truly missing out. Could this become your favorite faction, too? Let’s take a (spoiler-free) look-see at what it has to offer.

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Chaos Theory: Guide to Secret World’s Dragon faction

When it comes to chaos, do you tend to run away (possibly screaming), or run toward it? If you lean toward the latter, you might be a Dragon at heart. In that case, this next installment in our The Secret World faction guides may be of particular interest. Today we look into that mysterious green-clad faction that calls Seoul its home base in game. What sets this home-grown secret society apart from the others? Who is a part of this network and what are its goals? And how much information can I spill before I reveal spoilers?

Unlike the Templars and the Illuminati, who are quite present in the real world, the Dragons were specifically developed for TSW. (Or maybe they do exist and are much better at being a secret society!) My very first character I made and played was actually a Dragon. Unfortunately, I found the faction less interesting to me than the others, and I abandoned her to play a Templar, then livestream a Lumie. Now that I have delved deeper into the intricacies of the Dragon, however, I realized I may have ducked out too soon and I am seriously contemplating rolling one in Secret World Legends!

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Chaos Theory: Interview and impressions of Secret World Legends, part II

Last time, I told you my Secret World Legends tour with Creative Director Romain Amiel was too big to fit in just one Chaos Theory. Luckily, we aren’t restricted to just that one! After talking about the monetization and lockboxes, customization, and a bit about combat, we can focus on other facets of the revamp. Specifically, I’m delving into the accessibility of the new game. We’re told a big push for the revamp and relaunch was the fact that The Secret World had barriers to entry and retention that led to the loss of too many players for the conspiracy-laden game to remain viable. So SWL needs to hit that nail on the head. Does it? Honestly, I think it takes a mighty swing and lands fairly true. As much as I love TSW, this title does appear to be more accessible.

On top of accessibility, we take a long look at the new Agartha as well as touch on lairs, scenarios, open beta and launch. Grab a conduit and join us for the second half of the highlights of my tour and talk with Amiel.

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Chaos Theory: Interview and impressions of Secret World Legends

I may or may not be in that secretive NDA-locked closed beta of Secret World Legends — I’m not telling. But there is something I can tell you. A number of somethings in fact. Thanks to an open tour with Creative Director Romain Amiel, I was able to ask questions while gallivanting around, checking out the revamp of my favorite game ever. We talked about combat and dungeons, monetization and the patron system, and customization and the dressing room as well as open beta and launch. I didn’t get all the info I set out to, but there’s a good bit to chew on — enough that I have to split this report in two!

Even though the game isn’t finished, my first impressions are definitely favorable. As a five-year veteran and ardent supporter of the original Secret World, I do think this version is more accessible, both in gameplay and in entry (well, once it leaves closed beta at least). Here is the first half of the highlights of my tour and talk with Amiel.

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Chaos Theory: Guide to Secret World’s Illuminati faction

Kirsten Geary. That is almost all you have to say when talking about the Illuminati faction in The Secret World. That’s because the infamous KG (as she signs her memos) is practically the personality of the organization — at least as far as players are concerned. As the player handler, she is the main contact point for everyone putting on the blue. However, there is more to the faction than her. Lots more! Not that I can tell you all of it; that would spoil the game! But I can tell you some, in case you are considering rolling one when Secret World Legends hits the scene.

After laying out the gist of factions last week, I’m shifting my efforts to looking at each one individually. Today we’ll peek behind the curtains of the Illuminati so you can get a look at the inner workings. Don’t worry: I promise to make this as spoiler-free as absolutely possible.

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Chaos Theory: Which faction should you choose in Secret World?

While a spring launch of Secret World Legends is not a guarantee it’s still a hope, so it’s not too soon to be thinking about creating your character. Anyone who is remotely like me could use as much lead time as possible to make important decisions! And one of those decisions is what faction to play when the game releases.

Why would faction choice matter? Although Creative Director Romain Amiel told me in our interview that faction PvP is something the new game was hoping to move away from, factions are still a thing. Beyond determining the hue of faction-colored armor (if that ends up being a thing in SWL as well), factions really flavor a good chunk of your game experience. So picking the right one for you could affect your level of enjoyment. If you played The Secret World, you have already faced the quandary that new players will face: which one? You might already have a favorite faction that you will automatically choose. However, maybe you are interested in experiencing the story from a slightly different perspective. The question then becomes which secret society should you pledge to this time? If you’ve never played before and will be starting fresh in Secret World Legends, you may not know anything about the differences in the three organizations. So how do you choose?

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Funcom reboots The Secret World as Secret World Legends, a ‘shared-world action RPG’

Raise your hand if you felt trepidation as well as hope when Funcom announced during that last investor call that it was relaunching The Secret World? Fans have been yearning for more TSW conspiracy goodness and system improvements for so long. But the community has definitely feared the game changing away from what makes it so unique; the word “NGE” was bandied about more than once. What if we told you that it is not just different but a brand-new game altogether — that the relaunch is really more like a launch-launch?

Yep, Funcom is announcing this morning that it’s rebooting The Secret World as Secret World Legends, basically a brand-new game with its MMORPG parts minimized. Whether that statement fills you with excitement or dread, keep reading for all the details we have, including the official FAQ.

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Chaos Theory: Speculating on The Secret World’s relaunch

Well, it wasn’t the news I was hoping for, but I’ll still take it! This week we learned about Funcom’s plan to relaunch the conspiracy-laden Secret World in late March. This March. That means this month. I’d have really liked to hear more about season two, which we know has already been written; the story is really the core of TSW, and I admit to a certain level of impatience to finally experience more of it. Knowing that seasons two and three are both written makes it that much harder to wait. But upon consideration, perhaps the idea of revitalizing the core game just before adding additional story is a wise move. Nab new players and bring back those who left before and you’ve got a bigger player base to enjoy new content — not to mention more reason to make more! Hopefully the news about the new content and next season will follow quickly on the heels of the relaunch.

So what exactly is happening with this relaunch? That’s the big question! The answers aren’t forthcoming yet; there is no official word, and we learned there won’t be until at least after PAX. (You better believe I tried!) That leaves only the bullet points offered in the quarterly financial report to go on. However, that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of ideas floating around about what specifically each could mean. So let’s do a bit of speculating.

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World predictions 2016 vs 2017

It’s no secret that The Secret World had a rough year in 2016. I just really wish I could say differently. And it’s especially sad because I had such hopes for my favorite game. Granted, I knew it wasn’t going to miraculously get the funding and staff to give me all the story and things my heart so desired, but I did anticipate a bit more than what we actually got. When 2016 dawned, I pieced together our available clues to try and draw a map of where the year was going. A cartographer I apparently am not, and Google maps won’t be hiring me anytime soon. Perhaps for this year I shall consult with the Magic Eight ball? Here’s a look at the scorecard for my 2016 predictions, and a modest list of 2017 hopes, dreams, and predicted happenings. (We’ll just have to wait to see how those ultimately pan out!).

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Chaos Theory: My Secret World 2017 goals

When the year-end Massively Overthinking asked about game resolutions, I honestly answered that I don’t really make any because I hadn’t ever done that and didn’t expect to start. Many of the goals I make as I play throughout the year are pretty specific to what is happening at that time and what I feel inclined to do right then. But the topic stuck with me, and I began thinking about what goals I did have in The Secret World.

Once I started thinking about it in concrete terms, I was able to pinpoint a few more things I’d really like to accomplish this year. It turns out there are some that are more overarching than just an in-the-moment whim. So here they are: my 2017 TSW goals. At the close of this year, you can help me gauge how well I did. (Ironically, since this column was usurped by other topics hogging the spotlight for a couple of weeks, my first goal has already been achieved. Go me!) And please, add any goals you have in the comments!

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World says sayonara to 2016

Have you ever had a year that you looked back on and all you could really say was, Hey, I made it through. I’ve had years like that, when many things either go wrong, go a totally different way than hoped/planned, or just don’t really go anywhere at all. But you know what? Not going anywhere is better than going away! It may seem sometimes like the only thing to celebrate is the fact that you are are actually still here, but that is reason enough to cheer.

The Secret World seems to have had just such a year. And by golly, it deserves three cheers just for hanging on. It may not have been the best year filled with fulfilled dreams and wishes, but it could have been worse. It could have been way, way worse: It could have not made it to 2017! So even though there were hiccups and disappointments, I am super glad I still have TSW to log into and play. And I am looking forward to 2017!

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