By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
So, I haven’t had a lot of real experience with TSW, the original game. There were lots of little things that just took the interest away from me, even if I did love the story/concept of it. The story is still pretty similar between TSW and TSW Legends, but it is being approached in a way that could potentially isolate hardcore The Secret World fans. I don’t think it will, but I see how it could. One of the big draws for people to the original TSW was that it does not use classes/levels, whereas they are a bit more prevalent in TSW Legends. The game has character levels, skill points, “starter classes,” which each feature a difficulty rating and a pair of weapons associated with it. But these are not where you are bound, which I think is terribly interesting, and think it will not alienate anyone. This is because as you go, you can acquire other weapons from the other classes, and grow in power using these and the passive skill points to boost your stats. This is a reboot, a relaunch of TSW, but it will still be a new game. You will not be keeping your original character, but you can connect the accounts for your vanity items.
TSW does have a terrific story, but not as many people know about the game as perhaps should. So this is the perfect time to do a relaunch, retell the story in a fresh new way, offer some sound, clever mechanics to really reel in the audience that they should have acquired in the first place. Not to mention that this is a lot less of an MMO than one might think. You won’t see thousands of players in the same town looking alike, stealing your boss kills, preventing you from getting loot. Players will be in smaller instanced zones/maps, typically with friends, and will be able to do the content without fear of not having to wait to kill something. This is something I like, and I’m sure a lot of other people will too. This is something you can play with a few friends and not have to worry about spending a dime on it if you don’t want to.
Content won’t be gated behind paywalls. What I mean is, the upcoming content, the next stories won’t require you to spend money on them, which I love in a F2P game. Not to mention the Auction Hall/Trading System will reward people who have more time to spend farming and grinding in dungeons, scooping up those rare items. The people who have money that they want to put into the game can trade some currencies to those people, to help them spend money on a game they cannot afford to, and the people who work, and have money [You know, lovingly called “Whales”] can get what they’re after. The stories are incredible, the dark, foreboding atmosphere is well done, and the ability to do what you want and play as you see fit really speaks to me.
Another thing I think is pretty cool, is how customization works. You aren’t going to be worried about how your armor looks, or how unrealistic wearing full plate in a modern era is going to be. When you create a character, you can make characters that actually look attractive [in the previous game that was one of the major complaints. And yeah … they weren’t so hot] you can pick from a variety of styles, colors, clothing options, and it will be suitable for this modern world. Now that I’m thinking of the characters and the world, you know what this kind of reminds me of? The “World of Darkness” tabletop. That’s what this makes me feel like I’m experiencing. The Illuminati, Templars, zombies, all kinds of insane, dark, broody stuff. And I love that. The game has a fresh coat of paint along with hosts of useful, interesting mechanics to make it not feel like I’m going to have to grind forever on a game that has a story that doesn’t pull me in. Because this definitely does. Modern fantasy is very hard to pull off, but I certainly am intrigued by what I’ve seen so far. So we created characters, ran through the tutorial pretty quickly, and got a feel for how the game works. The other press with me actively played, so he had that going for him. Me on the other hand, I just have lots of years playing MMOs on my side!
The tutorial was simple, did not drag, and made sure I knew how the story began, getting used to my powers, that sort of thing. Then we swapped over to level 10 characters, so we at least knew how the game worked before they threw us into some real quests. We followed mysterious ravens into empty, lonely suburbs, and lit up groups of zombies with magical curses and an AK-47. Because you know, you have to mix it up. We explored the world around us, and this was where they talked about not having to worry about people cluttering up the world and stealing all the enemies, so you’re free to enjoy the game instead of rushing everywhere. We also learned a bit about the upgrading system, which is something I’m sincerely interested in. Say you find an awesome, rare healing item in the early going of the game. A unique that you frankly have no desire to get rid of. You can take the other gear you get as you go [though you get bonuses for the same slot/type], and upgrade that piece, so you can just keep using what you like. They also give you a pile of dungeon keys a day, and even if you use all those keys [they’re used on chests, not getting in], you can keep going in to help your friends. No more “Oh, I’d love to help you, but I’m locked out!” stuff going on! And the dungeons are not designed so if you don’t build a normal comp [tank/healer/dps], you can’t win. Because they just aren’t. Go in with what you want! You might have to work a little harder, but it’ll be worth it.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.
I think one of the major disadvantages that TSW originally had was it launched buy to play with subscription in the era when subscription mmorpgs were dying out. Major competitors with much more developed content at the time were all forced to switch to free to play, and the free to play clone machine of MMOs was pumping out new titles to steal away TSW fans on nearly a monthly basis. But it’s now 2017… and quality MMORPG launch competition is hardly a problem these days. I’m sure there will be people that will be upset that it has an aiming reticle, and that it has “classes” and “levels,” but it’s not as cut and dry as people are going to assume. It will no doubt pull in those people that need some kind of leveling system, or class system to govern their lives. You know, like me. I need that. It’s why I never get anywhere in an Elder Scrolls title. It’s a more traditional approach, but they put their own spin on it, and it’s fantastic. The game looks sharp, has a nice, edgy darkness to it, and you don’t have to run back to quest givers! That’s another fun thing I forgot. It’s the era of smartphones, so you can go “beep boop” on the phone and get your reward! Isn’t science magical? This is a completely free to play version, no paywalls, nothing of the sort. June 26th is the date it goes out, and there is one more thing I have to discuss. That’s monetization. I did say it’s free and has zero paywalls, and that’s true. There IS the Patron Program though, which is a manner of loyalty program. It does offer bonuses, and will be handy, but will in no way be required or expected. Those of you who have a lifetime account with TSW will be grandfathered in to the Patron program also. You purchase it in-game, and you have it for 30 days. Unless you had the lifetime one … I think there’s nothing wrong with this though. They have to make a living, and supporting a game that you love that’s free helps them keep making content. Do keep your eyes on this, it’s going to be incredible fun!