“I can’t help but think that I’d rather see a single-player adaptation of The Secret World than to lose it forever if Funcom truly does collapse,” MOP’s Justin Olivetti wrote way back in 2015, when the studio was dealing with financial turmoil. Little did he know that eventually The Secret World MMORPG would be turned upside down and rebooted as Secret World Legends. It’s not a single-player title, but it’s arguably a bit less an MMORPG than it used to be, to the point that even Funcom is hedging its bets by calling it a “shared world action RPG” (but also not admitting it has given up on MMORPGs).
Immediately after the announcement in March, almost half of the readers we polled said they were former TSW players who’d try the reboot come relaunch. But since then, we’ve learned much more about what’s coming for the game, including the sobering reality that TSW players won’t get to keep their characters and will instead have to reroll, in spite of the fact that the studio told us it “could have made [character ports from TSW] work given enough resources and time.”
And that brings me back to Justin, who earlier this week questioned whether he has the energy to do it all again — to start from scratch in a gameworld he already knows by heart. “I’m sure for some, it’s a dealbreaker,” he says, sorting through his anxiety, excitement, and frustration. How about you? Now that you know more about what TSW’s relaunch entails, are you still planning on coming back, even though you’ll have to start anew?
Ever since the tone-deaf SOE proclamation that nobody wanted to play Uncle Owen in an MMORPG, contrary me has consciously fought that very stupid idea. A whole lot of people wanted to play Uncle Owen, then and now, there and elsewhere. Star Wars Galaxies was a game half full of Uncle Owens. I spent a lot of time literally becoming a moisture farmer as my own form of rebellion. And yet, as I realized while debating with my husband a few weeks ago, the person I really wanted to be was freakin’ Lando. And most MMORPGs don’t allow that either — it’s Luke or GTFO.
Such is the argument made by a recent PC Gamer article, which in its own precious mainstream way argues that “MMOs need to let you be an average Joe” to get out of the clear “creative slump” they’re in.
“With their scale and permanence, MMOs give us the chance to be citizens in a make-believe world we create with the help of our fellow players. When it’s left up to us what kind of role we want to fill in that world, everybody’s immersion benefits from being surrounded by all types of characters with vastly different stories.”
For this week’s Overthinking, I asked the staff to chime in on the concept of Uncle Owen in MMORPGs. Do you play this way? Do you wish you could? And is it the way forward?
With all of the hullabaloo going on concerning Ashes of Creation and its Kickstarter campaign, a few bloggers are asking themselves whether or not this is an MMO worth backing, especially if they’ve been burned before by grand promises and poor execution.
“All of this adds up to an enticing package and ought to spark the embers of hope that maybe there will be something new under the sun when it comes to the fantasy MMORPG genre,” The Ancient Gaming Noob wrote. “So why am I not excited about this? Why isn’t this helping me shake off the MMO malaise?”
“I’m not on the hype train by a long shot. Not that I see anything particularly wrong with the game, it’s just way, way too early to even think about commenting on it,” Endgame Viable said.
“Am I going to pony up? Mmmm. Maybe,” mulls Inventory Full. “I’m still thinking about it, although, after reading the Kickstarter page, I’m actually less interested in the game than I was.”
Kind of a weird and fascinating week for MMOs, as an expansion has a legal showdown with a charity, a western MMO is announced, and Vvardenfell decided to come to us two weeks early. Is the industry shaping up for the most explosive June on record? It might just be!
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Conan Exiles performed beautifully for Funcom, at least during the first part of this year, the company’s investor report for the first quarter revealed today. The survival sandbox’s early access launch in February helped propel Funcom’s once-beleaguered revenues to five times their state this time last year, making it the “most profitable quarter ever” in the history of the studio. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 releases are on track for Q3 2017 and Q1 2018, respectively.
The company reiterates that the reboot of The Secret World as Secret World Legends will make its recently announced June 26th debut, but the Steam launch will be delayed until July 31st as a result of “crowded market conditions with multiple MMO releases in May/June on Steam” — those being Black Desert’s Steam launch, Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind launch, and Final Fantasy XIV’s Stormblood. Seriously, nobody else should even try launching that month.
“The Company expects the majority of players after launch to be newcomers to the game, but is also working to make it worthwhile for as many veterans of The Secret World as possible to continue playing Secret World Legends. Due to the high uncertainty regarding a Free to Play business models the Company expects the development team to need to tweak the monetization mechanisms of the game in the months following launch. Paid User Acquisition will gradually be tested and introduced in tandem with the monitoring and tweaking of the game’s monetization KPIs.”
Massively OP’s MJ has only completed one sabotage in The Secret World’s Egypt, so she’s heading there to work on more. That Unseen achievement isn’t going to achieve itself! Besides, a nice romp through some sun and sand wouldn’t be a bad thing either. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m.as MJ tests her sneaky skills once again (while the Fail Counter looms hungrily).
What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 11th, 2017
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.
One thing that I strive for in my professional career is basing things on sources more robust than my own biases. That’s not to say I believe I can remain entirely dispassionate and objective at all times; it just means that while I might have my biases, I need more than just that bias to say something is good or bad. I may not like gender-locked classes, for example, but if a game with gender-locked classes does well for itself, there’s more going on there and it’s worth examining.
But sometimes you just need to rant about stuff.
Hence, this list. This is not an objective list in any way, shape, or form. These are just things that tick me off about MMOs and have always ticked me off about MMOs, and their absence will often give me a more positive impression of a game no matter how little it may be justified. In the words of George Carlin, I don’t have pet peeves; I have major psychotic [REDACTED] hatreds, and it makes the world a lot easier to sort out.
Now that the official countdown is on leading to Secret World Legends’ launch date, questions about this reboot of The Secret World seem more relevant than ever. Massively OP sat down with Romain Amiel and Scott Junior to ask them several point-blank questions about the transition and the studio’s decisions behind the whole process.
When Funcom told everyone a few weeks ago that Secret World Legends was still on track for spring, MMO gamers were skeptical. Technically, they were right to be: Funcom has this morning announced that the game will launch on June 26th, a few days after the summer solstice.
As we’ve previously reported, the game is a “shared-world role-playing game” reboot-like “reimagination” of MMORPG The Secret World, which will be maintenance moded in its wake. The new game, which has been in beta this spring, is still under NDA.
“Secret World Legends features a revamped combat system, newly designed progression system, updated visuals, and more. You can choose to explore and uncover the story by yourself, or you can team up with other players. In the game’s central hub, Agartha, you can meet and socialize with hundreds of other players, while player population in the adventure areas beyond will be tightly controlled to make sure that the experience is as immersive as possible and that the focus remains on you and your journey.”
Stay tuned for more, as we’ll be chatting with the studio this afternoon, and check out the new trailer and images down below.
During last week’s podcast, Justin and I bumped into a tangential topic about competitive PvE and how relatively rare it is in MMORPGs, which seems weird, right? It was once the nature of MMOs to make us scuffle with other guilds in open-world dungeons, but with the dawn of instanced PvE content, devs didn’t replace that type of content the same way they’ve embraced raiding and PvP. You’ve got achievements, sure, and gear show-offs, but outside of Guild Wars-esque challenge missions and WildStar PvE leaderboards, it’s just not something most MMOs bother with.
Why is that? Should they? And how do you want to see it done? I posed all these questions to the Massively OP team this week for Massively Overthinking!
Fans are eager to see and learn more about Secret World Legends, and devs complied with a new livestream. While they couldn’t answer all the questions being hurled at them through chat (noting that some things aren’t done yet), the devs did show off a bit more combat, the new ability windows, map changes, and upgrading gear.
A big point of interest was the look at the combat abilities. The stream highlighted the new gimmicks — the special weapon abilities — as well as the active and passive ability windows. The 16 active abilities on each weapon come in four distinct types designated by colored names. The builders and consumers system was replaced with energy that regenerates over time.
- White: Basic abilities with no energy cost so they can be spammed.
- Red: Power abilities that consume energy and are used most of the time.
- Purple: Specials that consume more energy but are stronger and have a cooldown.
- Yellow: Elite ability, of which players can only have one active at a time.
Over the past couple of months, the MMORPG community has worked its way through massive leaks of top-secret info: first for Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind, then for The Secret World’s morph into Secret World Legends, and most recently for Guild Wars 2’s upcoming expansion. The latter two events in particular provoked long discussions among our staff and commenters about when and whether to cover leaks that are already in the wild and how to approach news we’ve never agreed to withhold. And with The Secret World and Guild Wars 2, at least, the studios’ excessive secrecy and elitist invitation-only testing helped propel a masochistic community desire to see leaks manifest, leading to a perfect storm.
And now it’s ruined for everybody… or at least for people who couldn’t resist clicking past the spoiler warnings. I’m bummed that we’re going to miss out on the fun of unwrapping all those presents one at a time, in Guild Wars 2’s case anyway – it’s more fun and better hits to get to roll out a little at a time. But I’m also hopeful the studios might take alpha tester NDA betrayal as a sign to be more communicative and transparent too and not keep everyone in the dark as long as has gone on here. (Or maybe even just stick to paid testers from the start and give no regular player any temptations.)
How do you feel about MMORPG leaks personally — do you seek them out and click on them, or do you stay away?