The Secret World: Legends

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Bladebreaker
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The Secret World: Legends

Post by Bladebreaker » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:54 pm

I've mentioned The Secret World to some of you over the years. It's a really interesting game, with I would argue some of the best writing I've ever encountered in an MMO. If you haven't checked it out, it's worth a look.

They're currently doing some sort of strange reboot/publicity stunt/I-dont-understand-what thing, effectively resetting the game to zero and relaunching as a free-to-play game. They've also supposedly reworked the notoriously confusing skill system into a more class-based system for people to start with, though reportedly the complex system is still underneath it all (which is great). They've also supposedly reworked graphics and combat mechanics, though I haven't played it enough to say... from the videos it looks basically the same, so I dunno. They're now calling it a "shared world action RPG" but I'm not exactly sure what that means... I think they're trying to basically say "hey, come check out the storyline stuff, it's cool".

I'll definitely be playing more (I have a legacy account that I can transfer pets and stuff from) and if you're interested at all in the magic realism conspiracy genre, check it out. I'm trying to decide if I go back to Illuminati or try a different faction instead. Let me know if you're playing!

Link: https://secretworldlegends.com/
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Re: The Secret World: Legends

Post by Ont » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:07 pm

I'm curious as to what your thoughts on the new combat is once you've given it a try. Action RPG is one of those nebulous terms that has a lot of variance in it's meaning.

I'm interested if the gameplay is remotely enjoyable now, maybe?
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Re: The Secret World: Legends

Post by Bladebreaker » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:50 pm

Hey there Ont! Yeah I'll update when I try it. I'm concerned from looking at the videos because honestly? The combat looks exactly the same. And the clunky combat was one the biggest problems I had with the game. It's too bad, because I love so many of the other parts of the game.

EDIT: I should have added, apparently what's starting today is a "Head Start" for anyone who has played the game before. It'll open for brand new accounts on the 26th.
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Re: The Secret World: Legends

Post by Bladebreaker » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:06 am

And I'll say as another edit: I'll give even odds to this being a death spasm for this game. A lot of the community is thoroughly pissed off by this "reboot", and there's a real chance that this is basically a last gasp of a dying game. Which is too bad, because there are so many things about it that are just thoroughly amazing. Still, a good time to get in and play around with it if you haven't before.
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Re: The Secret World: Legends

Post by Bladebreaker » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:55 pm

Okay, a few comments after having played a bit this morning:

1) If you played the original The Secret World, you can transfer some (not all) of your outfits, pets, etc from the old account. Another major benefit is that depending on how much you played you may be able to unlock all the weapons, which is one one of their new pay walls with the FTP model. It's a bit funky because you have to start a new character and play through the tutorials before you can unlock your stuff, but once you get to the first hub (Agartha) you can. Instructions for doing so are here: https://secretworldlegends.com/news/legacy-transfers/

2) The combat so far feels very similar, animations are the same or similar for the weapons I've tried. However, the skill system is different, with linear skill trees you purchase into with passive benefits along the way. It has a similar "deck" concept to the old game where you will quickly end up with far more abilities than you can actually equip, and the challenge is in setting up a set of abilities that work well/synergize. However, they seem to have taken out a lot of the old synergy systems, where attacks of one type with one weapon would activate special bonuses from another weapon. Not happy with that, though it will obviously make it all a lot easier (as I'm sure is their intent).

3) They've added mechanics to the weapons, though I've only tried a couple of them. For example, for shotguns you have to reload every 6 shots, and when you do you can choose a different ammo type, and the ammo gives different abilities, such as armor-piercing or incendiary or even healing rounds that restore some health to you. It currently has a really annoying mechanic where the ammo types are randomized buttons so you have to scan through the buttons to pick out the new ammo, which seems really bad for any type of intense gameplay. Hammers now have a rage mechanic that's pretty simple really, you build rage and spend rage. Each weapon type has a different mechanic that's new, but not sure how they play. Can see videos on them all here: https://secretworldlegends.com/news/deepdiveweapons/

4) The new tutorial is nice. It demonstrates weapon mechanics for the "class" you picked, and demonstrates some of the different mission types (investigation, sabotage) that you'll run across in the game.

5) The new character system has you picking a "class" from a list of starter classes (https://www.reddit.com/r/SecretWorldLeg ... r_classes/), which sets your first two weapons. You can unlock other weapons with currency later (either earned in-game or with cash) and you can create whatever combination of weapons and abilities you want down the road. I'm not sure how long it takes to unlock new weapons but I get the impression it's fairly expensive/time-consuming. So if you play through the tutorial and don't like how the weapons play for your chosen class, what I've read is that it's probably best to just reroll.

Overall, I'd say jury is still out on game mechanics. I haven't played deep enough or grouped to know how tanking or healing will work. Graphics look pretty much the same to me, maybe a little cleaner EDIT: the mechanics of the spell weapon types (Blood, Chaos, Elemental) are much spiffier than they used to be. The skill systems are MUCH simpler, for better and for worse; the old system was extremely deep but also confusing. Uncertain how the pay walls will affect non-legacy folks; I bought a lifetime sub to the game back when it first launched so I have a lot of perks unlocked automatically.

The faction you choose, by the way, doesn't impact who you can group with except in PvP. Otherwise, you can team with people cross faction. The biggest thing with faction is that it influences how you experience the story. Illuminati have a secret society, mad science and business vibe to them, and have a lot of really entertaining dialogue through the story; that's the faction I was in before and I loved my main contact's dialogue. Templar are righteous and seem a bit serious, I haven't played them much but they're very popular, and are probably the closest thing to "good guys" that you'll find in the three factions, though their ends-justify-the-means approach means they have rough edges like everyone else. The Dragon are mysterious and strange, with lots of philosophical nods to chaos theory and Asian mysticism; they state right in the intro that you'll often not understand why you're doing what you're doing, but that it's part of a plan.

I really dug Illuminati and can definitely recommend, but that said I've rerolled Bladebreaker as Dragon. I like the "from chaos comes order" philosobabble, and plus you get some sexy time in the intro tutorial so, you know, win-win.

My feeling is that if you didn't like the old game because of how combat played out, it probably won't be any better for you. If you didn't like the old game because the game systems were too confusing and open-ended, then it might be better for you. If you haven't tried the game, give it a look. It's definitely not for everyone, but I dig it.

Screenshot attached of Blade sporting a hammer and a shotgun, getting his groove on.
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Re: The Secret World: Legends

Post by Bone Lotus » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:58 am

I haven't tried the "reboot" yet, though I definitely will!

That disclaimer out of the way, The Secret World is the greatest MMO ever made. Period. I sure as fuck miss City of Heroes/Villains, and have the most nostalgia attached to it. The Secret World is, pound for pound, a better game than it and every other MMO I have played. If people play with any seriousness, I want in. I will ALWAYS drop what I am doing to get in on some TSW.

I play Dragon. Dragon for life. I will probably return to an Assault Rifle & Claws healing build that I had previously, with a back-up Chaos Magic & Claws for DPS when needed.
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Re: The Secret World: Legends

Post by Bladebreaker » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:17 pm

Update time:

So this is going to be TL;DR, and accordingly I'm just going to up-front say this: the game is only a little different, don't believe the "shared world action RPG" line it's the same game. The systems have been significantly simplified, for better and for worse, such that it is much friendlier to new players at the sacrifice of a lot of depth. The pay model seems pretty greedy, though not unusual for F2P games. The story is still the best thing I've ever seen in an MMO, hands down.

So, deeper dive now, for anyone who's interested:

Graphics: The graphics are definitely prettier now. Overall textures are better, colors are better, weapon animations are mostly better, including some really cool looking effects from magic like Blood and Chaos and Elemental. It is a better looking game. That said, it is shackled by an old game engine, so even at its best it doesn't compare with some of the newer game engines out there. Animations tend to be stiff and buggy.

Story and questing: The story so far is 100% exactly the same, aside from the tutorial. They have added better clues or simplified a few of the quests, which honestly is fine because some of them were just bad. The hard investigation quests are still crazy hard. Questing is more linear and level-gated, so when you start playing you are put on a very linear path for a while; only once you hit level 10 do the number of available quests open up and you start being able to really explore and discover. This is fine, it was a bit overwhelming in the old system, so this will probably be friendlier to new players. Supposedly there will be new story added, but only after they've gradually added back all the old content from the original.

Skill systems: Different, and yet the same. First, history for those who didn't play TSW, the old system was a "wheel" (http://www.drakkashi.com/secretworld/), a big circular skill tree with insane numbers of choices. The wheel was populated by 9 weapons, each weapon had an inner skill ring with 2 branches each with 7 skills, and then an outer skill ring with 6 branches each with 7 skills. That's 486 skills. There were also three "role" skill branches with 7 skills each aimed at tanking, dps, or healing. And then there were also auxiliary weapons. But then, of all of those skill choices, you could only ever equip 7 active and 7 passive skills. So you could build a nearly limitless number of skill combinations.

You equipped two weapons at a time, and all weapons were based on a builder/spender style. Some builders would only build for one weapon at a time, but many builders built for both; for example, if I was hammer/shotgun, I'd fire my quick builder shotgun blasts which would build resources for both hammer and shotgun, and then I'd hit my shotgun spender and then my hammer spender, and go back to building. It tended to get a little repetitive, basically just 1-1-1-1-1-2-3 repeat, with some CD's peppered in.

Active abilities had to be for the weapons you had equipped, but passives could be from any weapon. So you could be hammer/shotgun and put in a claw passive that caused you to put a mild HoT on yourself every time you did damage, or a pistol ability that caused you to get a buff every time you got a crit. The ability to take passives from other weapon trees contributed to making the system very deep, as people would scour the wheel to find the best possible set of synergies from various weapons to make some pretty broken combinations.

Okay, that's all history. The new system still has 9 weapons, but now there's 6 active and 5 passive slots. You now buy active abilities with "AP" and passives with "SP" in each of your weapons; each weapon has 15 active abilities and I think 24 passives that you can buy, as well as some stat boosts. Still a fair number of abilities, but far fewer. Active abilities are in three categories: "Basic" that don't cost any energy to use, and can only be equipped for the weapon in your primary slot, "Power" abilities that spend energy and can be cast repeatedly with no cooldown, and finally cooldown abilities that usually have some large effect but have a cooldown. Your weapons are now equipped into a "primary" and a "secondary" slot, and all weapons build energy passively while you have them equipped; your primary builds energy twice as fast as your secondary.

The passives are nearly 100% aimed at the weapon they come from, so cross-weapon synergy seems to be pretty much gone. One consequence is that there is now almost no reason at all to use your secondary weapon; in the past you were building resources for it so you would at least want to spend resources, but no more. Now, what you seem to mostly do is spend all your energy on your primary, use your CDs, and fill with your secondary as your primary weapon's energy refills.

The summary is that the new system is much, much simpler, with very little depth. This will probably help with new players because the old system was really confusing and overwhelming, but it has a lot of hardcore fans of the game pretty pissed off.

Class System: A major difference from the original is that you pick a class at character creation. This picks two starting weapons for you, and gives you a little outfit if you want as well. For non-legacy, brand new players, you are stuck with these two weapons until you pay to unlock other weapons; it costs 20k marks to unlock a weapon, which is about 2 days of grinding content if you're saving up. Not so terrible, but still kind of annoying compared to the completely free-form system they had in place before. So if you roll a new character, choose carefully! You'll be playing with those weapons for a while. If you make it through the tutorial and don't like your weapons, probably faster to just delete and reroll.

Pay model: The F2P model is similar to that used by a lot of games. Loot from dungeons has to be accessed by "keys" of which you only get 10 per day as a F2P player, enough to run 2 dungeons. Buying more keys costs money. Most systems in the game are purchasable with in game marks that you can earn by playing, and of course everything can be bought with money. This includes AP and SP, which has a lot of people up in arms about "pay to win". It's not quite correct since technically you can get absolutely everything by grinding, there's nothing behind a strict pay wall. They also currently have a really strict policy in place for non "Patron" (subscriber) accounts that prevents them from even trading items, which is a huge turn-off for me, but I guess is meant to protect against gold-sellers/scammers/etc. The pay system feels a bit greedy to me at the moment, at least compared to the only other F2P I play much (DCUO).

Other notes: There's a lot I don't know yet. The "story mode" dungeons are insanely easy, don't require people in specific roles and just allow you to swagger through blowing everything up and seeing the story, a la LFR in WoW. I'm assuming that the "Hard Mode" dungeons that happen at level cap will be challenging and require specific roles such as tank, DPS and healers and maybe some CC/interrupts/actually paying attention to mechanics, etc. I also don't know how the "end game" raiding situation will be, but I never did any "end game" stuff in the original so I couldn't compare anyway.

The temperature around this game is currently running very hot, with a LOT of extremely pissed off players of TSW. And their anger is understandable. Imagine if WoW suddenly said "Okay, so we're re-launching the game, on these servers, and everyone has to start over with level 1 characters, and you have to play through all the content you've played through before, but all new content will ONLY be available to those characters on these new servers. The old servers will still sit there but you'll get nothing new, ever. You can move over your pets and some transmog items and mounts, but that's it." We would be cranky to say the least.

Now, the counter argument, the one being put forward by many who support the "new" game, is that TSW was dying, and it was either reboot to attract new blood, or shut down the game. Obviously, this keeps the game alive and so if you love the game and this is what was necessary, then okay. But was this necessary?

A more cynical view would be this: F2P games make most of their money off "whales", people who spend absurd amounts of money on the game. A reboot like this has the potential to re-farm your whales, as people who poured lots of money into the original may feel compelled to come in and spend lots of money on the reboot. This could all be a fairly cynical cash grab before the game dies completely.

A more optimistic view is that there is still interest in moving this game forward, but it needed to revamp its systems, become open to a wider audience, and also update the graphics, and that it would help if everyone was starting over fresh. Rather than changing the old game, it would be left in place for those who love it, but this could give time and influx of capital required to actually develop new content.

Jury is still out on which of these two scenarios is actually at work (or some combination/alternative I haven't stated). Here's what I'd say at the end of all of it: I still wholeheartedly endorse going and checking out the game. The writing and voice acting is fucking stellar. The investigation quests range from pleasantly thought-provoking to holy shit I have to look up ancient Hebrew words to solve this. In tone, setting and story it is out of this world. However, it's never really gelled well as an actual MMORPG, and it's not clear from the "reboot" that it's going to be any better. I'd be very reluctant to spend much actual money on the game at this point, out of concern that they're going to sink the whole ship in the next year or two.

I'm currently playing periodically, mostly on a character named Klebshed on Illuminati. Sorry Kay, but Illuminati are my jam. The dialogue blows my mind.
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Re: The Secret World: Legends

Post by Bladebreaker » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:53 pm

Okay... one last post. I watched this review of the game and although it's quite negative... I think it's pretty damned accurate. Know that I'm posting this as someone who absolutely loves the game and would still encourage you to try it... but I wouldn't suggest spending money on it until they drastically change the pay model. It's really too bad. I mean, if it was this vs. the game being shut down, I guess this is better? But I'm honestly not sure.

Also this video review is just outright entertaining. Stay to the end for the awkward cutscene montage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiEKJ0_K9nY
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Re: The Secret World: Legends

Post by Bladebreaker » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:45 am

And one more post. I'm just talking to myself at this point, I know, but I wanted to amend that last one, that was pretty negative.

I've still been playing, and the combat system isn't as bad as the reviewer above says. In particular, the Funcom devs have responded to the feedback and are putting in sweeping changes, including allowing F2P players to trade items once they've reached level 15, increasing drop rates of actual items in dungeons, and greatly reducing the cost of the first weapon unlock that you buy to make it easier for people to change their initial build/try something new. There's a number of other changes coming down the pipe that have convinced me that they are actually taking community feedback seriously, and while I still don't love everything about the new systems, it no longer feels so much like a callous money grab, and more like a serious attempt to make the game viable.
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Re: The Secret World: Legends

Post by Bregdark » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:00 am

I will give it a shot!
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