The Secret World’s 2017 Relaunch Could Make Or Break The Game For Good
If there was ever a time to play The Final Countdown theme for The Secret World, it would be now. Funcom announced earlier this week that the secret society MMORPG where myths and conspiracy theories come true would be relaunched this year. The Oslo based developers have been given the green light to make some drastic changes to the game. No doubt from the success of other Funcom IP’s like the very profitable Conan Exiles of course.
The relaunch efforts start in March this year and aims to fix a few issues with the game. The main thing is the combat system. For many years since the game launched, both critics and players have lambasted the game’s boring and non-energetic combat slog fest. The relaunch will seek to address this, on top of many other quality of live improvements. But what are the consequences if they still get it wrong?
1. The Combat System Needs To Feel More Fluid
So let’s go back to The Secret World’s combat system again. What went wrong at release? The game utilizes a seven ability bar combat system, where players can pick from over five hundred skills in a wheel. You can also select matching passive abilities and equip them regardless of which weapon you use. The meta skill wheel is fine as it is, but the execution of the combat system does feel poor.
Not only is it dull as you mash the same four or five buttons repeatedly, but the animations are slow and sluggish as well. Most players ignore this considering the main story quests and missions are really good. But as the years roll on, combat is the one constant thing that players actively do to complete new content. As a result, that feeling of “uggh this sucks” grows larger and larger and it’s about time Funcom did something about it.
The relaunch has to nail the improvements to the combat system. This is the game’s second and final chance I feel, to re-draw the interest of players that have left the game because of the combat alone. Should nothing of significance change, then I’m afraid Funcom will drop the ball on this MMORPG.
2. Free To Play Story Content Is Good But Must Reward Players Who Have Already Paid
Going free to play and giving up the best part of your game for nothing is always a risk. You definitely will draw in new crowds and potentially new paying players, but run the risk of upsetting those who’ve already paid for something that’s now going free. The story content in TSW has always been spectacular. Fully voiced cut-scenes featuring well known voice actors fill the game, and they are very entertaining.
The downside is, how do veteran players make up for the money that they’ve spent? Funcom does do a good job at retroactively rewarding subscribers currently, so there must be something they can do for the relaunch as well. In my opinion, either reward players who’ve already bought the base game before March 2017 with large amount of Funcom Points or make new shiny goodies that’s only available to that group. This evens out the playing field somewhat. If not, there’s going to be a large group of unhappy players leaving the game, relaunch or no.
3. Regular Content Updates Are A Must
If I’m being really honest, even now with the buy to play model, Funcom are pretty slow in delivering new story content for The Secret World. It’s great that new players will now get to play them for free. But there must be regular content continuity in order to hold player retention, otherwise it’s pretty much all for nothing.
Even today, I’m still waiting to move on in the main story that I’ve completed almost a year ago. Stories are the backbone of this MMORPG but not much is being done to pave the way forwards. If the game does go free to play, new content must be put out regularly in order for the game to pick up the pace. Can TSW do it? For the sake of this MMORPG continuing, I think we’re all crossing our fingers.