Honey Coated Goodness
Yesterday the topic of Secret World came up on twitter, and as always I give my normal response of that I need to go back and play some more. This will forever be one of those games that I remember very fondly…. so long as I don’t really focus on the end game content and frustrations we felt there. As far as narrative storytelling… I have to say this game probably provided the best experiences I have ever seen in any MMO to date. The mixture of real world and game world puzzles, that required me to look things up in the provided in game browser…. which often lead to “fake” websites about in game companies… was just a level of integration I had not experienced and honestly have not since. The storyline itself was this wonderful blending of so much real world lore, that quite honestly… it blends so well into almost any modern fantasy genre. I remember thinking that this fertile ground should provide for plenty of additional adventures, and in truth it has. Since June of 2012 the game has released 13 major content updates called “Issues” and a handful of smaller packs, which is a far cry from the original goal of “monthly” content releases… but not horrible by any stretch of the imagination.
The problem is… the game has struggled to find an audience that is also willing to pay for the game. One of the best purchases I ever made was the original “Lifetime Subscription” that was available back at launch, that honestly was still available until recently. According to MMOWatcher this officially went off the market on February 5th, meaning that there will be no more new Grandmasters. The problem is…. the Grandmaster system is so amazingly good, that after my initial one time purchase… I have never NEEDED to give them any more money. I have this feeling that a lot of the folks who are actively playing are in this same boat. Now they cranked up the benefits of a monthly membership, because quite honestly…. Funcom has been hurting for a long while. Once again however as a Grandmaster I am “grandfathered” into this system… but the perks are pretty insane.
- A 30% increase to all Experience earned. (This replaces the Time Accelerator)
- A 50% boost to all Black Bullions gained.
- 20% extra capacity for Black Bullions and Marks of the Pantheon.
- 8-hour Mission Cooldowns.
- 18-hour Raid Lockout Timers.
- 2 Lockout Timer Resets every 30 days. This item resets all active Cooldowns (Missions/Raids/Scenarios).
- A 10% storewide discount for everything in the item shop (20% for Grand Masters).
- 1200 Bonus Points every 30 days.
- Free Anima Leaps!
Then in addition to this there is a reward system that you get various really cool items available to you at fixed points in your subscription much like the Final Fantasy XIV or Everquest II veteran reward systems. This is also on top of getting the monthly items, that have been acrueing on my account since launch. Once again as a Grandmaster… I just get all of them unlocked at once. Some of the rewards available are.
- 30 Days: Anima effect on sprint and faction jackets
- 60 Days: Hoverboard and Panoptic Core in faction colors
- 90 Days: Ur-Draug pet and an additional Agartha Conduit
- 180 Days: Portable bank and a baller costume
- 360 Days: Weapon skins and a scooter mount
The problem with being away from a game like The Secret World this long however is that I quite honestly have no idea where to start. I know I completed Issues 1-4, and 6… but all of the ones I missed I have no idea where they even start. Normally speaking in a traditional wow-style MMO you can simply run around until you see exclamations over the top of NPC heads. However in TSW almost every quest can be repeated as many times as you like, so as a result you end up with a sea of possibilities, and several years later I have no clue where to even start. I’ve talked about this before, but games really need a better “welcome back” system, that presents the players with a guess at what they were doing last, and also presents them with five or so items that they should consider doing. Initially I had this idea of starting a new character, like I do in so many other games when trying to ease back into them. The problem being…. that I am already capped on the number of characters I have access to. During the 2014 Extra Life I created the horribly named “Belstream” to stream the Secret World newbie experience, and even then… I have no clue where I left off with him.
The challenge is that I don’t really WANT to play an Alt… I would prefer to just keep trucking along on my Templar main. However the level of investment that I will have to make to get into the game… sort out what I did and where to start doing again…. is ultimately want keeps me logging in and then after futzing with my wardrobe a bit, logging right back out. Similar to Everquest II, the other big challenge for me is sorting through my inventory… which is full of so much crap that I can no longer recognize if it is even useful. All of these candy colored icons mean nothing to me right now, and the fact that I am wearing epic gear in most of my slots makes me doubt if they are even useful to upgrade anything with. I would break stuff down… but honestly I would even have to look up how you did that again. I have the desire to play, but right now there is entirely too much “friction” standing in the way of me doing that. I realize Funcom more than likely lacks the funds to devote to new systems, but this at least is a huge challenge for me. I guess I could simply start by looking up the patch notes for Issue 5 and then going forward from there, trying to go find the quest chain starter for each additional Issue that I missed. But this is the point where I ask myself…. do I care enough to devote a few hours of research, or do I just want to spend my limited evening hours playing something else that I remember how to play?