the secret world

Official Site: The Secret World
Studio: Funcom
Launch Date: July 3, 2012
Genre: Modern Horror Hybrid Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid B2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

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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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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Global Chat: Fare thee well, Landmark

Believe it or not, there were actually people who played and enjoyed Landmark -- and were saddened to see it taken offline. To kick off this week's roundup of interesting MMO blog posts, we turn to those who knew and remembered Landmark with their words.

"The game, once just a bullet point on the EverQuest Next announcement at SOE Live, has been shut down," The Ancient Gaming Noob said. "The web site and forums have been hidden away and the domain resolves to the Daybreak main page. The few remaining fans have had their final look at the lands of… erm… <does Google search>… Lumeria! That was the name of the place."

Superior Realities took a tour on its last day: "That, really, is what was special about Landmark. You could go to any map, walk in any direction, and in no time flat you’d be sure to find something beautiful, fascinating, or awe-inspiring. The traditional wisdom is that if you give players the tools to make their own content, the vast majority of it will be utter crap, but Landmark was stunning refutation of that notion."

Continue our roundup as bloggers dissect problems with The Secret World's combat system, share tips on how to grind LOTRO points, mull over why it's hard to go back to the "olden days," deliver an early access review of Revelation Online, and pontificate on why theme park MMOs simply work.

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The Perfect Ten: A plague of MMO bears

I have long been of the opinion that there are few more terrifying animals on this planet than bears. Sure, there are sharks, the mighty kraken, and that little fish that may or may not swim up your urethra and summer home there, but as I live primarily on the land, I think that the odds are greater that a rampaging bear might ruin my day.

True story: When I lived in Colorado Springs, one morning I left home to drive to work and there was a black bear sitting in the middle of the road. I looked at it, nonplussed, and then sloooooowly backed up into my driveway and called in a sick day. Bear days should totally be a thing, however.

I have also been of the opinion that bears are consistently underestimated in MMORPGs. They're low level trash mobs or pets that finger players as complete noobs for not picking something more exotic. More exotic? Son, if you have a bear on your side, you have won the game. Period. One swipe of its paw and any raid boss' head should pop right off.

There is a plague of bears in MMOs. Today, let us delve into the ursine horror that curses our genre.

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Leaderboard: Will The Secret World's relaunch entice you to play?

Last week, the MMO world was startled to learn that instead of getting an expansion, The Secret World is getting a complete relaunch as part of a big Funcom push of the game. At this point, there's been plenty of time to speculate (and not a lot of info from the studio forthcoming, and yes, we've asked!). From the investor call, we know that the game is due for a newbie experience overhaul, a combat overhaul, daily login rewards, and a new business model that makes story content freely accessible, which suggests a lean away from buy-to-play.

So do you think we are looking at a game-crushing NGE -- or a Final Fantasy XIV-style GOTY-quality do-over? And more importantly, do these sound like the kinds of adjustments that might entice you to return to The Secret World or play for the first time? Let's find out in this week's Leaderboard.

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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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The Secret World kicks off another Golden Week

While Secret Worlders wait anxiously to see what Funcom has in store for the game's recently announced relaunch, the studio is attempting to distract them with a glint of gold.

That's right, another Golden Week is currently running in The Secret World. During this gamewide event, players can hunt down the golden guardian, enjoy double ability point gain, nab some golden bags, and partake in special discounts in the game store. C'mon, you know you want a gold unicorn for some reason.

The event will conclude on March 8th. Funcom said that relaunch activities will begin later this month, although the studio hasn't been forthcoming about what those will be other than what was said in its investor report.

Source: The Secret World. Thanks GreaterDivinity and Lena!

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Battle Bards Episode 93: It’s a madhouse!

It’s taken this long, but the Battle Bards have gone completely and irreversibly insane in the membrane! Today the team cracks open the door of the MMO music funhouse to see what off-kilter, crazy, and manic tunes may be found. WARNING: Once you’ve entered the asylum, you might find yourself a resident… for life!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 93: It's a Madhouse! (or download it) now:

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 106: Ready to relaunch

Call this episode "tangent city," because it doesn't take much to send Bree and Justin down conversational rabbit holes! From discussing why Champions Online failed to pick up City of Heroes' refugees to going on epic rants against gankboxes, you'll need a flow chart and a five-dimensional mind to follow all of the topics of today's show. Good luck!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Funcom is 'relaunching' The Secret World in 2017, but it's maintenance mode for Anarchy Online and Age of Conan

Funcom's fourth quarter 2016 financial report for investors landed this afternoon, and it's a doozy, especially for MMORPG players. Of most interest is the news that the studio is planning on a relaunch of The Secret World in the next few months, with a redesigned newbie experience, revamps to gameplay and combat, dailies, and a business model overhaul.

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One Shots: There's nothing wrong with being childish

An interesting bit of fallout from last week's One Shots challenge to submit a picture that captures a "childlike" spirit is that several commenters noticed that there is a fine line between something being innocent and childish and something belonging in a horror movie.

Why not start out with this shot from Zulika Mi-Nam, who brings back Halloween at the tail end of February? "I think everything in Dragon Nest looks childlike, so I found all of it kinda creepy. Just as I had heard though, the combat is 100% awesome -- and no child's play."

I've occasionally heard that Dragon Nest is an underrated title in the same vein. Might have to check it out one of these days.

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The Stream Team: The Secret World's Emergency Procedures

Are you prepared? If you are Orochi, the answer is probably not. The organization was apparently studying the The Secret World's Filth, and you know how that had to end: in disaster. Massively OP's MJ is back in City of the Sun God to continue her work on the sabotage mission Emergency Procedures, Just how bad did the Orochi fail, and what exactly did they unleash upon the world? MJ aims to find out. Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to see if she gets closer to completing The Unseen achievement.

What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Friday, February 24th, 2017

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