So I read this article over at Massively OP yesterday: “Funcom is relaunching The Secret World in 2017“. That caused a major double-take incident, I was not expecting that. The details come from an earnings report to investors, not from a PR article or announcement so the language is rather dry and lacking in details.
Redesigned new player experience
The first of the bullet points, with the aim to “broaden the appeal” of the game. I suppose the weapons and skill wheel systems could do with better up-front explanation beyond “having two different weapons is good”. The importance of status effects and combinations thereof does need some explanation but then how much detail can they include in a tutorial without it scaring off potential new players? Tera’s old tutorial had you playing a level 20 version of your class, it was story-wise rather confused, but it gave a taster of what the class would play like at later levels. That kind of ‘sampler build’ for each weapon would offer one solution to presenting a flavour of the gameplay for different weapons.
Major improvements to gameplay including combat
Hmm, I’m always wary of this kind of announcement as revamping combat wholesale can radically change the feel of playing a MMO – not always for the better. That said this may not be that extensive a change anyway, the line is vague. Discussions on the forum have mentioned possibly removing or reworking Aegis, something I’d applaud as I feel it would be awkward to keep the system for new zones in future without limiting storytelling.
Daily rewards can be a minor motivator in my experience, logging in to invoke in Neverwinter worked for a time but it doesn’t drive deeper engagement with the game – it may keep you logging in after you’re starting to tire of the game but then that can also build a kind of resentment against it as a ‘needy MMO’ so it’s a double-edged sword at best.
The addition of daily login rewards reminds me very much of the broad free to play model that’s in place for most of the Western converts and Eastern imports. That’s reinforced by the line stating the game is adjusting the business model to allow story access for free. So we’ll not be buying Issues anymore but spending on something else? I’m in a probably unusual position here, I very rarely spend cash on fluff in MMOs or pay-to-win boosts either. I’ll pay for content unlocks (expansions, issues or otherwise) but otherwise I’m not interested. So if this new model gives the game more money to develop and allows them to start producing new content again faster, then I’ll benefit without actually spending as much money on the game as I did before…