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

See also: Secret World Legends

The Daily Grind: What’s Funcom’s secret project?

When Funcom‘s Joel Bylos casually announced this week that he was moving on from his role as game director of The Secret World to a “new initiative within the company,” I got worried, especially once it became clear that he also wasn’t being directly replaced. But when he told Age of Conan players that he’d “been asked to work on something that is super exciting and totally not something [he is] allowed to talk about,” my worry turned to curiosity.

I didn’t have the impression that Funcom was doing spectacularly well after its recent quarterly report, so it hadn’t occurred to me that the studio might be working on something shiny and new. Speculation that Anarchy Online 2 might be in the works is running rampant.

What do you think? What’s Funcom’s secret project?

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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The Secret World begins its epic forum game with a plea for help

A new forum game is afoot over at The Secret World, as one of the in-game characters, the Stationmaster, posted a cry for help with a mysterious MP3 attachment.

“This message came through today,” he wrote. “Garbled. Can’t make much sense of it. There was a number attached: 122635. Put on your best pondering hats. Give us a help. Yes?”

Funcom announced last week that it had been preparing an epic forum game for its fans. The community is already hard at work trying to figure out the meaning behind the number and the sound file. Listen to the message after the break and see if you can lend a hand!

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The Daily Grind: When’s the last time an MMO made you laugh?

There are few things that I love more in gaming than to have a genuine laugh-out-loud moment. Maybe something silly and stupid happens in a game (such as a Guild Wars 2 glitch that made dead sharks float above land), maybe it’s clever or weird quest writing, or maybe it’s just the game’s cheekiness coming through.

Kingdom of Loathing got more than a few chuckles from me for its absurdist grammarian humor, but I am equally fond of the black humor of Fallen Earth and The Secret World.

So cynicism aside, when’s the last time an MMO made you laugh?

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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The Daily Grind: What constitutes an ‘action combat MMO’?

In the course of organizing MOP’s new tag database, I found myself looking for input on games to include in the “action combat” tab. I had TERA, Age of Conan, DC Universe, and Vindictus, of course. “Don’t forget WildStar and The Secret World,” Justin said. “Haha, but seriously,” I laughed. “Seriously,” he said. And thus began a fascinating discussion in which we discovered that what we thought was a black-and-white category is actually not an easy call at all.

See, I think of WildStar’s combat as being only slightly more actiony than Guild Wars 2’s, which I’d never classify as an action-combat MMO like TERA or Vindictus. But for him, WildStar’s combat is very actiony and Guild Wars 2’s straddles the line. I think that I am mentally binning the games into “twitch” vs. “busywork,” but then I’m weird.

So what do you think constitutes “action combat” in an MMO? How much actiony combat does an MMO need to boast before you’d classify it an “action combat MMO”? And what other MMORPGs are contenders?

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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The Stream Team: Testing out TSW’s Enhanced Player Experience

With The Secret World’s Enhanced Player Experience out, MassivelyOP’s MJ and Justin are tossing aside their higher-powered characters and facing Solomon Island on a couple of relative newbs. Want to test out just how the mobs — especially those pesky Ak’ab — have been affected by the rebalancing? Maybe you’d like to check out the new quest rewards? Or perhaps you just want to all the new bells and whistles? Then tune in live at 9:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s dynamic duo brings you…

What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie and Justin Olivetti
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Enjoy the show!

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World’s enhanced player experience

Amazing story, awesome cutscenes, phenomenal atmosphere, compelling missions, incredible NPCs… The Secret World definitely has a lot of good things going for it. It is an MMO in a class by itself, unlike so many of the MMOs we’re all used to. But that last positive is also a negative: There are some former players who never got far enough into the game to really experience all it has to offer. Some of the unfamiliar aspects of the game were too unfamiliar to get used to, and some things were just plain difficult (Ak’abs, anyone?). The learning curve was steep enough to put many players off, players who might otherwise have loved the setting and uniqueness of the world.

That’s where the newly released “Enhanced Player Experience” comes to the rescue. I sat down with Lead Designer Romain Amiel and Communications Manager Tor Egil Andersen to talk about these quality-of-life improvements and get a few behind-the-scenes details about this patch. Of course, you know I had to ask about Issue #11 and beyond as well!

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The Secret World publishes enhanced player experience patch

If you’ve ever felt frustrated by The Secret World’s high level of combat difficulty, you might want to see what the team has done with today’s 1.11 patch.

It’s a massive quality-of-life update that focuses on what Funcom is calling the “enhanced player experience.” Basically, all pre-Tokyo mobs will be easier to kill (and won’t be as deadly), players will be able to fast-travel between anima wells, better gear is given from story missions, the tutorial has been improved, and many elite abilities have been upgraded. Additionally, players who have yet to buy Issue 9 can now go into Tokyo and experience a select few missions.

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Age of Conan plans blockbuster year while Bylos teases ‘super exciting’ project

Age of Conan players, don’t feel left out; you got a meaty game director letter too. Joel Bylos appeared for his last time in that role to promote all of the goods that players have to look forward to in 2015.

The next update for AoC will include more achievements, more panoramas, a hidden treasure system revamp, and additional instance challenges to spice up dungeon runs. Past that, the team is prepping the arena (which includes pet fighting) and preparing an additional endgame progression system that will allow classes to use a wider variety of weapons.

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The Secret World’s Bylos moving on, details 2015 plans

The Secret World game director Joel Bylos has posted a new update letter in which he says that the original name for the game’s upcoming Enhanced Player Experience was Enhanced Player Elite Enjoyment Nirvana, or EPEEN. Though Funcom’s higher-ups had other naming plans, the update is now live on the test servers.

Bylos then mentions ongoing work on Issue 11’s Orochi tower and the final chapter of the Tokyo storyline. The letter contains a blurb or two about Funcom’s 2015 TSW plans including “more issues in new locations,” a scenario update, more dungeons, and “even a bit of PvP.” Finally, Bylos mentions that he has “moved to a new initiative within the company,” and as such he has been slowly “handing off responsibilities to other members of the team.”

Bylos doesn’t give specifics on his new role, but he does say that the game director letter format will change and will henceforth be handled by Funcom’s senior community manager.

[Source: Dev letter; thanks Nordavind!]

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The Stream Team: MOP’s 12-hour Kickstarter countdown extravaganza

We’re down to the wire, folks! Our Kickstarter clock is ticking down, and there are only 12 hours left in one of the greatest reroll endeavors ever. And just how are your favorite writers going to spend that time? With you, of course! From now until the campaign closes, Massively Overpowered’s MJ Guthrie will be living it up (and trying to live some things down) in a mega stream extravaganza! Throughout the day she’ll be joined in-game and in-chat by the rest of the Overpowered crew.

Ever wondered if Bree and Justin could actually play while talking about games at the same time? Don’t miss the Podcast Hour at 1:00 p.m. Want to influence which games we play? Select our Sandbox at 6:00 p.m. Want a chance to win your very own custom Mo drawing? Tune in at 8:00 p.m. and watch a Mo spring up before your very eyes. There will be more contests, keys, and events as well, so don’t miss out.

It all goes live starting with Waking up with Wakfu at 10:00 a.m. Join us as the MOP crew brings you 12 full hours of OPTV goodness. Read on for an approximate schedule of events!

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World experience blurs the lines of reality

When Funcom recently teased an upcoming forum-only event for The Secret World, my interest was immediately piqued. Though we have scant details right now, said announcement was met with equal enthusiasm by many other fans. There were those, however, who questioned why time and effort isn’t being directed toward more in-game activities and content to enhance the game itself. The reason is that this is TSW!

What I think those folks are missing is that this particular title is in fact an experience, not just a game. The Secret World draws you in like nothing else can. No where is the suspension of disbelief so masterfully created as in this game that is literally set in our world, using our very customs, myths, and folklore to weave a tale. Blurring the lines between the game and reality is what TSW is all about. That’s why things like ARGs are so perfect for it: The game is quite literally brought to life, and you are left questioning what is real and what isn’t.

Funcom wants to offer more play out of the game? Bring it on! To do anything less would be to waste one of the game’s biggest strengths.
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Perfect Ten: The Secret World moments that freaked me out

I wouldn’t say that The Secret World is a scary game. It’s a game that has scares in it, to be sure, but you’re also an immortal superpowered being with an arsenal at your beck and call and a community to team up with, so sometimes the bad stuff isn’t as terrifying as it would be if you were a weakling in a single-player setting.

Even so, there are certainly moments that have freaked me out, from cheap jump scares to deeply unnerving sights and sounds. Every long-term TSW player has his or her own list of the same, I’m sure. From a literal boogeyman to a house that’s out for revenge, here are my 10 creepiest moments and missions in the game.

[Warning: Spoilers and scares ahead!]

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Funcom’s financials improved in Q4 2014 but are down year-over-year

So do you want the good news or the bad news when it comes to Funcom’s financials? The good news is that the studio saw a bump in revenue in the last quarter of 2014, with The Secret World being its strongest moneymaker. The bad news is that revenues were almost half of what they were a year ago, decreasing from $21.4M in 2013 to $12.6M in 2014 due to “the ageing of the live games.”

Funcom said that the studio’s monetization of LEGO Minifigures Online has taken longer than expected. The upside is that recent promotions have caused a steady player increase and the studio is preparing to roll out the game to additional platforms.

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