With the release of Joel Bylos’ new Game Director’s letter on Friday, there was a rush of excitement going through my veins. After almost four months in game, I was nearing the end-game and was starting to wonder if I would feel like hundreds if not thousands of others who feel disappointed with the new content not being added to the game on a more regular basis. With the new content and new features planned to be released in the coming month, not to mention months, I’m happy to say that it looks like I’ll be busy in game for a while to come.
Now, let’s be fair. Considering the restructuring Funcom underwent and problems associated with it, it’s no wonder that new content became a bit sporadic. Considering the staffing issues we know they were faced with and other issues we may not be aware of, I for one think they went through the restructuring with flying colors. Despite these problems, it needs to be said that their creativity, resourcefulness and most importantly, content quality never suffered. Just look at the last two DLCs, TheVanishing of Tyler Freeborne (issue #5) and The Last Train To Cairo (issue #6). They were both extremely well received by the players and both are still being played on a regular basis. Yes, there were a few bugs along the way, but by far and large they were tackled and solved as Funcom became aware of them.
I expect nothing less from Funcom with the future releases. As Joel Bylos, Creative Director for The Secret World said, the last two DLCs really set the bar high for any future releases. I am inclined to give them some maneuvering room and am prepared to be patient and wait for the new content as long as high quality is maintained. Admittedly, I still have some content to go through, but I doubt that if the situation were reversed, I would be very vocal about the draught. I would simply start playing another game and look forward to playing the new content as it comes out. Like I said, I will always prefer quality over quantity.
From the information we have received so far, the upcoming new issues 7 and 8 promise to be chalk full of interesting new content and tweaks to the game system that should allow even those who have reached end-game to find ways of enjoying the game once more. We can expect Issue 7 to be released in the second or third week of June, with Issue 8 following closely after, coinciding with the first year anniversary of the game or shortly thereafter.
So what can we expect of the future two issues?
In issue 7 we’ll be joined by Carmen Preda, a stunning agent of the Council of Venice and the Vampire Hunter as we investigate the presence of werewolves and the Orochi in Transylvania. If you’ve seen the poster for issue 7 you roughly have an idea as to what awaits you – base jumping from an exploding bridge and a wild snowmobile ride across the snow covered Transylvania. While the base jumping was confirmed as being done in cut-scene only, I sincerely hope that the snowmobile ride allows us more freedom and adventure by allowing us to maneuver it ourselves. One can hope, right?
We can expect a ‘climatic ending’ to the issue with Agartha’s Tree of Life being threatened by the filth that will spill from the newly revealed entrance to Tokyo. In addition, players can also look forward to a flamethrower, a new auxiliary weapon that will have many cool abilities tied to it and promises to be a pyromaniacs dream. PvPers can expect to see some tweaks to the games PvP matchmaking system as well. Issue 7 will also allow players to stream custom radio stations and playlists directly into the client, which I’m sure many of us are looking forward to. Killing monsters to the sound of Zombie by Cranberries or maybe even some classical music? Awesome!
With issue 8, the plan is to deviate somewhat from the story arcs occurring in the last three DLCs. Issue will start off with a summons to Venice and to the Council of Venice HQ where we will have to undergo training exercises in order to be certified by the Council to ensure that we are ready for what awaits us in Tokyo. These training exercises will be achieved by completing different Virtual Training Scenarios. These Scenarios will be available for both, solo and group play and will have different levels of difficulty. In addition, they are designed to be repeatable through the use of highly random elements which means that they will play out differently every time based on the decisions made and players will need to adapt to new circumstances as they complete them.
Another new feature to look forward to is the new advancement system called the Augment System. This system will allow the players to directly improve on their active abilities by providing customization towards certain role types in the game: Damage, Support, Healing and Survivability. This new Augment system will make use of Ability and Skill Points, as well as the crafting system and its progression will be tied to the Scenarios System. Based on the level of Augment and the type, players will be able to use a wide variety of effects to customize their current ability set up.
So, there’s plenty to look forward to in the future of The Secret World. New additions and tweaks to the game should make the game even more dynamic, interesting, challenging and enjoyable to a huge variety of players, regardless if they have already reached end-game or not.
The game promises to be in full swing all the way to the run up to Tokio and issue #9 which will probably be released towards the end of summer. And then, the new adventure begins!
Exciting times are ahead for The Secret World that’s for sure! To borrow one of Star Trek’s punch lines –
May it live long and prosper!