Chaos Theory: Secret World Legends celebrates its second birthday


It’s a surprise party and you’re invited! Secret World Legends has made it to its second birthday. This rebooted version of our favorite conspiracy horror game just celebrated the milestone this week, and the in-game party has already started. Why do I call it a surprise? Because after a lackluster year fostering feelings of development abandonment, astonishment exists that the game itself still does.

Sadly, even the optimism I held on to that we’d get to see that new story has evaporated over the course of the last 12 months. You’d have thought Funcom couldn’t really do worse than year one with only one story update, right? Someone sure tempted fate. (Not it!) SWL, which was grudgingly accepted on the premise that it existed as the only vehicle to deliver the story, has let a full year slip past without any significant story update or continuation of Season Two. Additionally, after two years, SWL still doesn’t have all the content back from TSW. You can’t blame fans for feeling jilted.

That said, let’s celebrate what we did get. There has been new content added: new and returned holiday offerings, new end game activities, and a couple new quests added to the game. It may be few and far between, and it may add only small snippets of story flavor, but it is there to enjoy. And we can also celebrate one thing that’s no surprise: a community that is the glue keeping the game going.

Let’s take a second (year)

Ah, South Africa, you were such a tease. And you left an elephant in the room. With a dire lack of story content the first year, players had really hoped that the release of South Africa would be the start of more to come. It was a start: The start of the infamous Season Two. The only problem is it also appears to have been the end. It turns out that barren first year was actually going to be the story highlight of Secret World Legends’ life. When we collectively asked last year whether SWL would keep making story content for years to come (as Executive Producer Scott Junior said it would), we’d hoped the answer was yes. It wasn’t.

The biggest story news coming up for the Secret World universe is actually not going to happen in Secret World Legends. Instead, Moons of Madness will be a stand-alone single-player game coming out near Halloween. While I’m excited for this game (and I’ve personally enjoyed all the Halloween-time spin off/tie in games), it does come across as a clear indication that SWL story content is over. I wish I could say it wasn’t, but even I — the eternal optimist — don’t have any hope left.

A lack of main story does not mean that there was a lack of content, however. It may not have been a lot of content, but SWL did add bits and pieces over the last year. In a fun twist, an April Fools’ day joke hid real patch notes. The surprise content that came from that included a new mission (Once More Into the Tower), a new pet, a new a PvP minigame (Rosenbrawl), and the reduction in the size of PvP matches down to 5v5, along with more PvP rewards. Earlier in the year South Africa got the new action mission Public Enemy Number One. There have also been a few additions to the Agent system.

A good chunk of the year’s content was geared toward endgame players. The new Occult Defense scenario, with its pros and cons, opened in September. Later it improved by becoming a group scenario; unfortunately, other scenarios didn’t get the same treatment as hoped. Dark Agartha’s time traveling instance was introduced in November, and TSW’s famous faction missions were redesigned with scaling difficulties.

And then there were the holidays.

Happy holidays

Holiday time is still a special time in Secret World Legends. Halloween may be the star, but it isn’t alone. Getting to playthrough of The Broadcast, a favorite TSW holiday mission, was awesome. Halloween also offered more fun with a number of community events. A new holiday tradition joined the roster: The two equinoxes (Autumn and Spring) introduced the Occult Defense and brought a bit of story about the Druids of Avalon. Krampusnacht also added new holiday activities to SWL. Unlike Samhain, these were not imported rehashes but brand-spanking new, never-seen-before-in-TSW missions. That was surprising and so welcome!

Sadly, we are still missing the Golden Weeks and Blingzilla, the golden golem, as well as a number of great holiday missions from TSW. Since one was brought back this year, there was hope that another one or two could return in 2019. That does seem iffy now.

Let’s hear it for the fans

You. Yes you. You, my dear Secret World fans, are what is keeping the heart of this world beating. Even after the most stalwart hopers and wishers have given up on substantial new content coming, you won’t let it die. You still bring the love for this amazing IP. And you also bring the story!

While Secret World Legends isn’t a sandbox game, its fans have been making the lion’s share of content for others to enjoy this past year. Starting with the inaugural MEGAversary last year (which has expanded for 2019), your contributions offer reasons to log in and play beyond endgame gear grind. You gave us a community mod that allows players to make their own in-game missions to share with others as well as genuine fanfic novels based on the IP. You staged this year’s Cabal Pride event continued for 2019. You have RP parties, run radio shows, and carry out charity events to raise money for others, like ExtraLife for Kids.

Fixable frustrations

Other frustrations assailed fans over the year. In February, a new 12-month patron bundle was introduced. That in itself is not bad. The fact that grandmasters don’t get the exclusives even though they are lifetime patrons isn’t even bad. What is bad is that Funcom expects lifetime members — the most die-hard of fans who surely make up the bulk of remaining players — to plunk down $100 for a couple of cosmetics. What’s even worse is that the stupid popup window that gets in your face every time you log in or change characters WILL NOT GO AWAY unless you to exactly that. Come on now. Instead of ignoring your biggest playerbase, why not get them in on it? Why alienate and aggravate those folks who do stay and do spend on cosmetics and such?

This could be remedied easily by allowing grandmaster lifetime accounts to purchase the cosmetics as a bundle for say $10 to $15. I mean, the sweet deal is the patron time, which no grandmaster needs. And how many lifetime members are going to plop down $100 for a couple of cosmetics? It can’t be that many. But the number of those same folks who will buy the pack of cosmetics? I think it would be quite a few. I would. Funcom is throwing money away here. I will emphasize that it should be possible to issue such a deal only to those who already have lifetime patron benefits; anyone else would need to take advantage of the currently proffered plan of patron and bonus cosmetics.

Another frustration from February had to do with a special holiday bag. It turned out folks had to do more than just log in to get their St. Valentinus bags as advertised. Those bags expired — and expired sooner than anyone thought they would. Since folks were used to stuff in the Delivered Items remaining indefinitely, it was quite a surprise to some to find it missing when they went to claim it (after already receiving it) after the date.

The birthday party

If you missed any of the pets, achievements, or goodies from the first anniversary, you’ve got the chance to get them now. Nab those Happy Feet and Angry Feet achievements while you can! The Beehemoth is also back if you lack that title. For full details on the festivities, check out the details in last year’s guide.

Disappointingly, if you already had everything from 2018, there isn’t much to the anniversary for you this year beyond the community events. Same raids, same gifts. Neither the daily rewards nor the gift beehives have many new goodies. Opening my first beehive already jumped me to the you’ve-already-got-it-all anima shards consolation, so I am assuming the hives follow the same gift list as last year. There are, however, two items that are new and worth getting in the daily log in rewards. Even if you have never logged in before you have time to get these now; the 2019 anniversary t-shirt is granted on the first day, and an epic cache key is granted on day seven. This epic cache key guarantees a top tier reward from opening a cache. Here’s your one chance to get the good stuff (especially if your RNG is as bad as mine).

And thanks to the community, the MEGAversary returns, adding the extra oomph into the celebration. Thanks to the help of a number of community members, a big scavenger hunt will be held at noon on Sunday, June 30th. Registration to participate is already closed, but players can cheer on teams. There are also giveaways and raffles for in-game and real life loot, an art contest, a song contest, boss bashing get-togethers, an ARG, and a bake off. Yes, a bake off! There was also a bike race, story RP night, radio show, Rosenbrawl community brawl, and dungeon run event. Check out all the details on the upcoming events if you want to participate!

Is it real? In Secret World Legends, rarely is it not. Conspiracies, ancient legends, paranoia, secret societies, chaos — they all swirl together in a cacophony of reality. In Chaos Theory, MJ Guthrie infiltrates this secret world, exposing the truths that lurk beneath the surface. The big question is, can you handle the truth?
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