The Daily Grind: What should Funcom do with Secret World?


Whenever I think about Funcom and Secret World, my blood pressure goes up. Here we have not just one of the most unique MMOs ever but one of the most unique video game stories ever devised, and the studio is letting it rot after rebooting it into a second version that it supports even less than the first game. Now we have two Secret Worlds out there with none of them getting new content, but hey, at least Conan’s getting Chop Chop!

It’s a mess and it’s one that I feel that Funcom is tempted to walk away from the more it invests in a wider portfolio of titles. There seems to be little-to-no movement on creating new, post-South Africa content for Legends, and the long-suffering community has little hope for the future other than a weird spin-off title for this fall.

I don’t know. I don’t think about it most days. But maybe you have a better idea what Funcom should be doing with this property. Should the studio make good on its vow to support Legends? Add South Africa to the legacy server? Should it reboot the game a second time just to see what MJ would do? Should it put it out of its misery if Funcom isn’t going to make more missions? What do you think?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Admit the reboot failed. Revert to the original, better game. Ignore all the people who complain about the combat. Either produce a boatload of new content, or sell it to someone who will. Maybe Ragnar?

A Bellow From Below

I’d say, get rid of artificial MMO timesinks and balancing constraints, and make a solid single-player RPG out of it. The potential is there. The world is beautiful, the story is glorious. The MMO aspect of the game necessitates compromises that are only dragging the whole thing down.


End game. That’s it. I have played the game since the original Beta and have always been here. I don’t know if I’m stupid or not, but yea. I’ve been a part of the Secret World for as long as anybody could possibly be. I will tell you that in all of my experience there are always new players. Constantly. The starting zones are always full, the forums and subreddit are always full of “I’m new, can someone help with….” posts.

But the thing that kills the game is that there is literally nothing to do once you finish the story line. The same 5 dungeons and 1 raid. Over and over and over and over and over and over. In the old game it was a little more bearable because you had 10 and a half dungeons (Penthouse is a half-dungeon) and three raids or technically six raids if you want to view the AEGIS versions as separate and really, they were. Plus all four PvP maps as opposed to the current one.

I always compare the game to a bucket with a hole in it. It’s constantly being filed from the top, but as long as there’s a hole in it, the players just spill out and the bucket never fills. Without endgame content, nobody stays much past the story missions. They finish all of the story line, hit the dungeons for a couple days until they realize this is what they’re going to be doing endlessly for however long they stick around, and so they just leave. All of this can be accomplished in less than a week by someone dedicated (and really in love with the story) and in just a couple weeks by more casual people.

Funcom should be ashamed.

Kickstarter Donor

Remake on new engine. Return to many of the old setups (ability wheel) but keep some that worked. Burn down Agartha mall. Either inveast properly in PvP (with world changing effects) or just say “no pvp in this game ever more”.

And last but not least: STORY STORY STORY! (It can even be part 2 of zones, to conclude story lines).

Matthew Brooks

I am sure they had their reasons, but I really didnt like that they added the new game. The biggest glaring issue to me is the game from the get go was too heavily focused on combat. I dont think the game sold that way. I thought there would be a mystery to solve with the occasional combat confrontation, not a combat/kill monsters game with a little bit of obvious conspiracy. I really liked the investigation and other non- combat missions. But eventually you are forced into it. Except for dungeons and late game content, this is not an mmo. I can count on one hand how many other players I typically run into in locations. (Argatha not included) This is a shame considering despite all that it is still a one-of-a-kind game that deserves a better chance. They should just scrap it all and build a new one from the ground up.

Patreon Donor

I want to like TSW I really do. In the original version I got to the second half of Egypt and then got STOMPED by the mobs in there. In the new version, the combat is so bizarre and the way they neutered your customization takes the fun outta the game :( but the story, the atmosphere, the characters, the world is SO FREAKIN GOOD. Just…can Funcom maybe turn it into a single player RPG and let us players just enjoy it at this point or something?

Kickstarter Donor

Put current SWL into maintenance mode if it isn’t already.

Start the process on TSW2. Give a very close third person camera with more action/aim-based combat (not tab target/soft-targeting). Make the world extremely atmospheric and spooky. Not the everyone knows everything type of thing that happened as soon as you stepped into TSW.

Rework the Revenant and other similar mobs to actually be a dynamic event type of thing where they stalk players and scale to group size/level when they appear.

Less go kill 10 of these things, more investigation style missions. Missions that you take as a group in your faction that take a long time to go through. One investigation mission might be your entire nights play through.

Emphasis on RP and character connections. Bars/lounge where players hangout and recoup from missions similar to SWG, similar to the dancer profession have a bartender profession. This would be where the in the know NPCs other than faction bases hangout.

Get rid of the ability wheel in its current form (or old form back in TSW, not sure how it works in Legends). Come up with a set number of skill points that can be invested into a main and sub weapon. So something like 40 points into main weapon and 20 into sub weapon . Gain points as your character levels that you can slot or remove at the Bar mentioned above. Gives players the freedom of builds and progression, without the tedium of having to unlock every single thing in the wheel.

UE4 to get the atmosphere really down.


Everyone that I have talked to about TSW that stopped playing it all mentioned how disconnected the games world as with what it seemed like it was trying to accomplish. EVERYONE knew about the secret world. One of the first NPCs you talked to was some cowboy looking guy one tapping zombies outside of town…

And the combat/ability wheel being clunky and horrendously grindy.


What they should do is admit that SWL has joined TSW in maintenance mode.

Funcom was in a very difficult place with the decision to launch SWL. TSW wasn’t making enough money to support further development. Messing around in the margins was highly unlikely to change that, but a dramatic change was highly likely to irk the players who were playing and supporting TSW.

So they had to make a calculus of “how much money are we going to lose from TSW players with these changes” vs. “how much money might we make from new ones?” Hindsight is, as usual, 20-20 and it appears that they didn’t succeed.

It’s easy now to say they should have just spent the money they did making and promoting SWL making South Africa for TSW, and implementing some less-drastic changes. They could likely have done so for less money than they’ve ended up spending on SWL, and might have ended up losing a bit less money overall in the process. But it’s very unlikely that the game would have thrived that way.

Once they admit that there isn’t any more major new content coming for SWL in the foreseeable future they’ll have to deal with the fallout of that announcement. But then they can do what they’ve done with their other “maintenance” MMOs and do clever, low-effort events from time to time. But the long, drawn out “death by a thousand days of no announcements” isn’t helping them.

And then they can keep on with what appears to be the plan going forward – leverage the SW IP into smaller, more focused titles done by them or produced by them. Funcom seems to do a much better job with smaller games than giant MMOs. Conan Exiles has (for me anyway) just nailed the atmosphere of the Conan milieu and even sans any of the PvP or building (the latter of which I really enjoy) is a fun game.

Both the MMOs of theirs I played were, I think, at their best in their starting areas. the island of Tortage in Age of Conan was vastly better than the game once I left it. Secret World didn’t have quite the cliff that AoC had, but Solomon Island remains my favorite story/locale in the game, and it has most of my favorite characters. So I’m not dismayed by the idea that whatever storytelling I get in the SW universe going forward is going to be in smaller games.

It’s a shame than TSW didn’t take off, and that SWL failed to do so either. But at least we got South Africa out of the experiment and while it wasn’t vast in scope, the story had its moments.

Aiun Tanks

Far as I can tell, there was only ever one purpose behind the reboot and that was to stop lifetime members from getting an allowance.

I loved TSW(original) for its settings, for its 3-faction set-up, for its combat tree designs, its lore, and most of all, for its puzzle problem-solving. If I could play Solomon Island: The Game, I would.

But the combat got grindier and grindier as you progressed (I’m convinced it was to apply pressure to buy the various exp/skill/potion packs), and combat meta revolved primarily around trying to balance time-to-kill against post-combat downtime. It became more about the combat than the puzzle solving and that got capital-B, no actually capital god damn everything BORING.

I stuck it out through a tedious Egyptian-themed level before entering a more interesting-looking but ultimately even slower Transylvania before quitting with occasional re-lapses.

When I heard that TSW:L had ‘fixed the combat’, I came racing back… but no, no it hadn’t. It was an excuse to kill off support for lifetime subs and little more.

What Funcom SHOULD do is let the diehards who loved TSW combat in all its grindy tedium have their thing (TSW Legacy or whatever), then provide a REAL ‘combat lite’ version – what Legends should’ve been. Give it all the skill tree complexity but like… at least fucking halve the number of encounters and time-to-kill both so that players in that game can focus on the puzzles.

I’d be back in there in a heart-beat, regardless of resentment over lifetime shit.


Funcom of late seems to lie to try and ‘reboot’ their failing game of the moment in the hopes that they’ll be able to get a second bite of the review apple and somehow their repackaged crap will be better received. The get a quick influx at relaunch, but invariably to original players (who hope maybe this time something WILL be better/different; and the new players suddenly hear that “Oh BTW the game was out for a year…FUCOM just tried to retool it and claim it’s now ‘better’..etc.

I’m amazed the Estate holding the Conan IP hasn’t decided NOT to renew – but hey, maybe their’s not a lot of other developers looking to make a Conan game.