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Secret World Legends' closed beta has started, TSW players will get all weapon unlocks for free

Here's some news we couldn't wait to tell you! Game Director Romain Amiel just publicly shared two bits of information that The Secret World fans should be glad to hear. One, the closed beta for the rebooted Secret World Legends is open (yes, a few invites have already been sent out!), and the next big wave of invites will be heading to inboxes tomorrow. If you haven't signed up, do so now for your chance to get in during this wave. Of course, there will be more keys sent later, so if nothing appears in your email, don't lose all hope. Amiel noted that the plan is to keep the numbers high, so invites will be sent out regularly based on the number of active players. Additionally, there will be bigger rounds of invites sent every two weeks. Note that all participants will be required to adhere to a strict NDA.

The other welcome piece of news is that everyone who owns The Secret World currently will be granted free unlocks of all the basic weapons in the game. That means it won't matter which combination you prefer to play with, or if you like to switch them up; they will be available to use and gain abilities in from the get go.

There's much more to learn, so keep your eyes out for another exclusive interview with Amiel coming out tomorrow.

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The Daily Grind: Are you excited about Secret World Legends?

I quite like the setting behind The Secret World, and the game had some very neat ideas about progression and character builds. For my money, that didn't make up for atrocious combat and somewhat lopsided balance issues, but it meant that I was quite excited to hear about Secret World Legends back when it was just "the relaunch for The Secret World."

Now, though? I don't know. The announcement seems like it lacks a lot of substantive statements like what the future is for The Secret World or what precisely differentiates the two; is Secret World Legends built more like a single-player game where you can invite friends? How much is shared online by default? Is content only coming to this version from now on? Yes, I've read the press releases and interviews multiple times, but there's still a lot of vagueness and implications that don't really deliver much in the way of firm answers.

I'm still cautiously optimistic, of course, because the idea of the base game with better combat is appealing, but there's a lot that is unfortunately unclear and offers space to worry and be confused. What about you, readers? Are you excited about Secret World Legends?

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The Stream Team: Carrying The Secret World torch and discussing the future

Well then. That answers that. If you haven't heard today's The Secret World news, you'll get an earful tonight. Massively OP's MJ is still reeling from the Secret World Legends announcement and all it means for her favorite game. No matter what, she'll always carry the torch for TSW! Thankfully, MJ still gets to log in and play, and that's exactly what she's going to do. What she'll do, however, is anyone's guess; she might take her frustrations out on every mob in sight and litter the ground with corpses, or she may just wander the world as dazed as a zombie. Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. to join the discussion in a rant-filled edition of OPTV in...

What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

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Exclusive Interview: Funcom on the Secret World Legends reboot and the end of updates for The Secret World

Don't miss this morning's explainer piece on The Secret World's reboot as Secret World Legends, now a "shared world action RPG."
You wanted answers, we've got answers! As soon as Funcom sent us the press release and the FAQ about the launch of Secret World Legends and its effect on The Secret World, we fired off some questions to get more details and some clarification. Game Director Romain Amiel has now expounded on different aspects of both games for us, including the use of the Ability Wheel, changes to progression, Grandmaster status in both games, future development, and more. Here's what he had to say.

(Bad news spoiler: Your hopes of having continued content in The Secret World or a new graphics engine have the same lifespan as an Orochi agent.)

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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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Funcom CEO suggests that gamers are suffering MMO 'fatigue'

It's been a good year so far for Funcom with the success of Conan Exiles and the impending relaunch of The Secret World. CEO Rui Casais recently sat down to an interview discussing both the Nordic development scene for video games and the specific future of Funcom, including the company's focus on the Conan IP. Casais points out that it's not really a focus born of recent entertainment trends; rather, it's just that a lot of Funcom's staff knows the Conan lore in great detail, and it's a setting that lends itself to a wide variety of game styles.

As for MMORPGs specifically, he says,

"There are still many players enjoying this space and we continue to invest in it as is proven by our relaunch of The Secret World coming this spring. We do see that some players have gotten a bit of fatigue from the very large time commitment that these games tend to require and are moving on to our online social gaming experiences, and we plan to create some of those experiences as well, just like we’re doing with Conan Exiles."

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The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we're going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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The Stream Team: Tearing through Transylvanian terrors in The Secret World

In The Secret World, Transylvania is very much like the monster stories. In fact, there are even more monsters! Massively OP's MJ has yet to finish many of the missions on her Illuminati, so she's diving into the horror-movie mayhem headfirst. Join us live at 9:00 p.m. as she faces off against the many nightmares come to life.

What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

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Massively Overthinking: The City of Heroes Master X Master debacle

On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.

Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.

For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?

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The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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Perfect Ten: Memories of an Anarchy Online noob

My initial foray into MMORPGs was, to put it nicely, quite ungraceful. I wasn't even aware that they were a thing until about the year 2000, when I started to notice EverQuest and Asheron's Call boxes on the shelves. But stories about addiction from friends and the seeming obtuse nature of these games kept me from trying... until fall 2001, that was.

That's when I saw a sci-fi title lumped together in this unknown category, and I had liked Funcom's The Longest Journey so much that I thought I'd take a chance on this odd online game. My subsequent experiences in Anarchy Online were fragmented, ignominious, and confusing as all get out. It was so weird, in fact, that I needed a "redo" of City of Heroes several years later to properly get onto the MMO bandwagon (and I haven't fallen off since!).

So what was it like being a total Anarchy Online -- and MMO -- noob back in the day, feeling out this game from a position of complete ignorance? Glad you asked, friend, because I'm going to tell you all about it.

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The Secret World welcomes new community manager, should talk about relaunch plans soon

Ever since finding out in late February that Funcom has plans to relaunch The Secret World with a new business model and redesigned combat, players have been desperate for more information on how this all will shake out. Fortunately, we're about to end a month of speculation, as the studio will reportedly be opening up on the subject soon.

According to a player post on the forums, Funcom said on a livestream that it will be talking about the "big update" by the end of March -- so sometime in the next week -- but is keeping silent until then. That might prove welcome news for fans that have started to feel stressed out about the lack of communication on this relaunch so far.

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The Daily Grind: Should MMOs ever retire classes?

Last week, I asked the Massively OP readers whether World of Warcraft needed another class (I want the Bard, obviously). But one Facebook fan proposed something different entirely: Why not "retire a few classes" to "keep it fresh?"

I suspect that nearly everyone reading is recoiling in horror at the thought of deleting classes from MMOs, which is exactly why I wanted to stare the concept full in the face to sort out why. MMO developers seem to have few qualms about retooling classes -- your characters -- to be almost unrecognizable from their original versions, applying band-aid after band-aid to make them functional and keep them around. Would it really be so bad to nuke them entirely and start from scratch with something built from the ground up?

Yes, say thousands of Star Wars Galaxies Bio-Engineers and Creature Handlers. I hear you. But what if they'd done it more gracefully and replaced them more immediately with something, as the commenter put it, "fresh," as opposed to nuking them overnight and replacing them with nothing?

Should MMOs ever retire classes? Can you think of acceptable circumstances for such a thing?

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