Chaos Theory: The Secret World introduces Issue #12: To the Dark Tower Below

We’ve known for quite some time that The Secret World’s next issue would be dungeon-based. We also knew it would take place under the Orochi Tower. Today, the devs shared much more information during a livestream, everything from unveiling the Issue #12 cover to discussing the ins and outs of the dungeon, raid, and lair changes. Lead Designer Romain Amiel and Lead Systems Designer Andrew Ryker also revealed that the issue will be split into two separate releases so players can delve in sooner — as early as mid-August. It’s important to note that the cost for the issue will be a one-time thing for both parts; once you buy it you’ll have access to both halves regardless of the time between releases.

What all is in store for us TSW fans? Check out this highlight of the incoming features. And if you missed the livestream but still want to watch it for yourself, we’ve embedded it for your convenience.

To the Dark Tower Below

Every TSW issue has a theme, and #12’s is all about the Orochi and their infamous tower. Or more precisely, underneath the tower. Entitled To the Dark Tower Below, the major components of this issue are the two dungeons that will both be below the Orochi Tower in Kaidan that opened up in Issue #11. Both will have story missions to lead players there where they will face three bosses and three mini-bosses. The two will also be available in Elite and Nightmare mode versions. The Elite version offers non-upgradeable blue 10.5 QL gear to help those players still progressing through the game still. Ryker said this loot will “help [players] bridge the gap between where blue gear ends now and where purple gear starts.” The devs also noted that the Elite version is geared toward players with AEGIS controllers and capacitors at QL 5. On the fun side, this version also has the new weapon skins. In contrast, the Nightmare mode will have better loot (purples!) and be ramped up in difficulty.

What’s first on the docket? Players may have already noticed the elevator in the tower’s lobby labeled The Factory. Before, nothing happened upon entering (I know, I tried!). However, once the first half of Issue #12 is released, those who’ve purchased the issue will be able to use that elevator to descend into the basement where this first dungeon awaits, filled with plenty of Orochi enemies to fight against. Amiel also hinted that players will find a few familiar faces in the mix. The devs showed off a variety of concept art and screenshots of this dungeon; as you’d expect from the Orochi and all their technological toys, The Factory has a very clean technological look and feel complete with consoles and conveyor belts. There’s also a tank boss. One thing Amiel emphasized is that the dungeon is not complete in these images or the video fly-though; the lighting especially is still a work-in-progress.

A few weeks after The Factory is released, the second dungeon will open up. Also underneath the tower, this one is less about facing Orochi and more about facing their experimental handiwork. Amiel showed concept art of one of the bosses, a cybernetic-enhanced werewolf.

Oh, and here’s a little dungeon-related tidbit that the devs slipped in: the removal of dungeon lock-out timers! All dungeons throughout the game will allow players to enter regardless of when they last ran it, helping players to fill groups when members drops.

Raid revamp

Issue #12 will bring a new raid as well as a revamp to existing ones. The key requirement for Eidelon of the Outer Dark will be removed, so it will no longer be tied to the overland Lairs (don’t worry, there’s a plan for those keys!). Like the New York Raid, it will now have a three-day cool-down timer. Devs also noted that the rewards were upgrades and the exploits fixed. The New York Raid, on the other hand, won’t have any changes.

Have you missed Flappy? A new raid featuring the filth-bombing bird is getting introduced for all TSW players, not just those who purchase issue #12. Based on the giant 40-man Whispering Tide event raid, this version has been scaled down to 10-man. Amiel said this version, however, will be more difficult, and will even exceed the difficulty of the New York Raid. Even if you weren’t a fan of this boss before, facing Flappy this time around can net players some new rewards and new vanity items.

Speaking of raids, there are also Nightmare versions of all the raids coming out, although those wont be available until the second half of issue #12’s release. Additionally, the Nightmare modes will only be available to those who have purchased the issue.

Lair love

So what happens to those keys that are no longer needed to summon The Lurker in the Eidelon raid? Don’t throw them away! The keys will now summon world bosses, not unlike the golems players are familiar with from the anniversary celebrations. These monsters are powerful: Amiel noted that these bosses will require an entire zone of players to defeat. As an incentive to jump in and help, everyone who participates in the battle will receive a bag reward once the boss is killed. As a bonus, the group that summons the boss will get a special reward on top of that. Players do not need Issue #12 to participate in Lairs; they are free to everyone who owns the game.

Currency changes and more

Although the new dungeons and raids are the heart of the issue, they aren’t the only changes coming with To the Dark Tower Below. The following are features that all players will have access to.

First up: currency revamp. Anyone who has played through a few zones knows that the currency wallet is chock full of various sequins, PvP tokens, scenario tokens, and such. What’s happening is that all of these are being unified into just black bullion. This will allow players to embark on the same progress path and receive the rewards to acquire gear regardless of which play style they prefer, be it scenarios, nightmare dungeons, missions, or what have you. The one exception to that will be a new currency called Marks of the Pantheon. These are basically the new black bullion; players will earn these for participating in end-game activities (raids and Nightmare dungeons).

In addition to all these changes, there will be a cap as to how many marks and bullion a player can have at one time as well as a cap on how many marks can be obtained in a week. Because of this, the passive rewards in Fusang are going away; instead, there will be rotating missions at the anima wells to take and complete. Say bye-bye to AFK PvP rewards! When the patch happens, any excess will be converted to PAX, so Ryker encouraged players who want to get their full value of all earned currency now to spend it down.

Another change is an increase in the progression cap. Weapons and talismans will be upgradeable to 10.7 when the first dungeon releases, as opposed to the current 10.5. Glyphs, however, will remain at Ql 10.5. Speaking of quality levels, in PvP the equal footing buff will increase power to QL 11. Additionally, all Venice gear is converting to custom gear that can be upgraded up to 10.7.

The devs admit that the group finder tool is pretty underutilized, so some changes are coming to it. One is to allow players to players to write in a comment field to add more details as to what they are looking for. It will also be expanded beyond just end-game activities and let people advertise for help in missions, looking for a cabal, and even social events like parties.

Not sure what you want to do when you log in? The devs have just the thing for you: daily challenges! Players will get a heads-up to complete certain scenarios, dungeons, missions (including PvP ones) to earn rewards. On top of that, there will be weekly challenges to participate in. Those who complete challenges will earn Marks of the Pantheon.

Wait, what if you can’t get a group to complete a dungeon for your daily/weekly challenge? Don’t worry, the devs are addressing that as well. When the second half of the issue releases, players will have access to a dungeon finder tool that will create groups automatically.

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Flume
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Flume

Quote: “Say bye-bye to AFK PvP rewards!” Thank f*ing god! I could care less about some of the new stuff, as long as those AFK lard-asses get their supply cut off. Go do some actual game work for a change and shut up your whinging about having to put in actuall *gasp* EFFORT! No one will be crying to see you go

arac666
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arac666

New Dungeons (Lower ones) would be nice. Some between every QL. Not everyone is high end and rushes through Nightmare Dungeons. Normal and Elites should be added. Some cool places like hospitals or asylums – back to the roots. Some new dungeon in Kingsmouth.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

deeggale CharcoalCrow MJ Guthrie Midgetsnowman Yeah, gear is a red herring. The DF and dailies are the real concern.

deeggale
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deeggale

CharcoalCrow MJ Guthrie Midgetsnowman  I dunno, I think I will have to see how all this pans out.

However, if TSW was anti vertical progression, we wouldn’t have the augment system and we wouldn’t have 10.5 gear. To make it worse, these two progressions required very specific consumption of very specific content. This doesn’t even include aegis which is a vertical grind in and of itself.

What seems to be happening is some normalization of the different end game progression points such that you can play the way that most interests you and still progress in the various areas in some reasonable fashion. Now, you have to engage specific areas for specific progression points. Hate scenarios? God forbid you wish to make a dent in your augments. After the update, you just do want best interests you.

Players you enjoy and play the instances and raid currently now get 10.7 to strive for in addition to more challenging instances and raids to accommodate. This is a good thing.

This is far from the power creep we’ve seen in other mmos which add new tiers ever 3-12mos.   I don’t think adding 10.7 now since the addition of 10.5 is such a bad thing.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

MJ Guthrie CharcoalCrow Midgetsnowman These are a collection of sweeping changes designed to make the game like every other themepark MMO out there.
I do not, for example, see how TSW’s commitment to tough fights and difficult NM content has ever been benefited by power creep (including the.5 initial upgrades). Nor do I see how adding in a “no investment” Dungeon Finder will do anything aside from force the devs to re-balance around the Dungeon Finder.
And that last bit is most concerning.
What do we honestly believe is going to happen? People ignore the DF? That doesn’t happen, ever. The majority of players will cease any effort to communicate or plan and will zerg-rush every dungeon. The usual, tired argument comes out then that because so many DF groups aren’t able to clear the content due to mechanics, they’ll adjust.
Or the other way it’ll happen is that there’s the huge shift from non-hardcore content being balanced around reasonable Q10 green/blue which will now get balanced to 10.5 because 10.5 is the new “casual norm”. NM dungeons get nerfed de facto by the normalization of .5 upgrades which trivialize the T1 NM content already. Lose-lose.
TSW exists on a very well balanced effort-reward matrix. You need to actually try to get to the point where you can stop trying. This is throwing all that out the window while also making the power differential between players even larger.

But I really don’t (to address your point) think that “because it is” is any sort of good argument for why we shouldn’t be critical of this. Joel said, explicitly, that he found vertical progression a “dead end” which is a very specific statement. Just more and more evidence that TSW is losing the bits that set it apart from other games and are embracing the sort of gamification, no-imagination approach where devs hold your hand, tell you what to do and comfort you with content nerfs when you get sad.

And all of this, mark my words, is in prep for a lobby-based game. No more big playfields, more instancing, etc., is all confirmed. This is pretty much the same as SWTOR 2.0, just with a slower, less confident rollout. 
Unless you know things we don’t. The evidence seems clear and concise that TSW is changing what it is, at the core. I want the game Ragnar and Joel made… not what focus tests well in a room of people better off to play WoW anyway.

FeveredDreamer
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FeveredDreamer

CharcoalCrow I agree wholeheartedly regarding the addition of more vertical progression… ugh.

crawlkill
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crawlkill

interesting. for a long time there it looked like TSW would never really get “MMOified.” cool to see them implementing features to make it feel a little more modern. I adore the game, but after I’ve blown through all the story stuff I rarely find motivation to log in on a daily basis. sounds like moves in the direction of ameliorating that.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

jackinthegreen mbbrazen Wandris the thing is, eventually it stops being difficult regardless. I can guarantee you for people in full 10.5 and nightwatch signets and glyphs, that raids are no longer hard, theyre just a matter of carrying out instructions you have burned into your muscle memory.

deeggale
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deeggale

mbbrazen  I kind of disagree in regards to your statements about daily challenges.  This gives players who don’t run dungeons regularly or don’t enjoy them a way to get MoP – albeit more slowly. 

I do think the token adjustments have the potential to a create a more sand-boxy end game for many players.  Because I find I enjoy TSW most when I dabble  in a bit of everything, I never feel like I make substantial progress in anything.  I hope these changes keep players such as myself playing more regularly.

jackinthegreen
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jackinthegreen

mbbrazen jackinthegreen Wandris Yeah but my worry is for how long will that content be more difficult . Maybe it will be for a good while but every time I have seen this happen in a game in the past its never stopped there . I am just wary of any developer that does this sort of thing . Its why I wouldn’t play any future Blizzard mmo and its why I wont play another Funcom game .