TSW – New Player Experience

Funcom recently (and seemingly quietly around BlogNation) dropped their Enhanced Player Experience in The Secret World. As a recent purchaser (November 2014) who struggled with some of the well documented issues of the early game (mob density and time to kill) and I even spoke about it in my first blog post about the experience.

The good is what was expected (story), the bad is how silly ranged weapons fit into the game (and MMOs in general). Having to empty 40 bullets into a zombie to kill it isn’t right. I am going to stick with it because I want to see how the story progresses but this is one of those examples where the game play gets in the way of the point of the game.

Truth be told I didn’t really stick with it – the beginning part of the combat aspects was a huge detractor to the questing and story based aspects. I was excited to revisit it with the presumed improvements. And let me be the first to tell you, they are simply Amazing. Amazing! The game is 1000 times better. That is a scientific number, I assure you.

I am way more likely to play this seriously now because it is such a more enjoyable experience. I made a brand new character to fully dig into the changes, and went Blade / Fist (you get two starter weapons now) and revisited the new and improved Kingsmouth. The entire experience was so much smoother and fun. Combat felt like part of the experience now, steps between investigations, not the barrier slowing you down.

Now, all it needs is PC controller support.

I am Chris ‘Braack’ Fontaine on the Leviathan (RP) server if you are playing. I am looking forward to further exploring what The Secret World has to offer. If you have friends who were on the fence about this game but always had a bit of interest now is the time to reintroduce it to them. It’s a night and day experience compared to when I started back in November. With the hype long gone about this game I am not entirely sure what they hope to do with this patch – I suspect a big marketing push will follow – and hopefully the word gets out. Interestingly enough there were more people in Kingsmouth on that Saturday afternoon than I had seen in the previous days I had put into the game. I hope it was actually new people or new people returning so my trek to Tokyo isn’t as lonely as I was first prepared for.

The only detractor for me with TSW is the same complaint I have with GW2 – weapon swapping mid fight. It looks a bit silly when I have a 2.5 foot sword out that during an epic battle I sheathe it instantly, punch a zombie in the face, and then the sword is magically back out instantly for the next attack. I love the idea of having weapons attached to skills so you can level up in different ways and have a differentiation – I just wish that the weapons were more integrated OR separated – one or the other, instead of mashed into each other. It suspends the fluidity. For example, You can be more integrated by using my example of Blade/Fist – I swing my sword with one attack, and the next I punch the zombie in the face – but my sword is still out (or use the offhand). It would be a bit less silly. I know they can’t separate them completely at this point (a la FFXIV). Some may think that is a silly complaint but those little things can add up to detract from a game. It’s something that takes away from the experience for me anyhow. I am going to try and pair a magic skill with blades instead to see if that works better thematically. Blades is definitely the right fit for me.

The ability wheel still scares me and I am sitting at 8 SP and over 20 AP because of the aforementioned decision to want to get away from Fists as my secondary. I find having two openers is great for up front burst but then there is a bunch of waiting in between. This could also be because I have only fully updated the inner wheel of offensive blade and haven’t touched fist yet. Still, I will be Google-fu-ing some nice synergies to go with blade.  I played again for a couple hours last night and what an amazing experience again.

Now is a good time to go back if you have been gone for a while to see the changes, and if you never did get into TSW it’s the probably the best time for you now if you are looking for a greatly improved experience.

26 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Great to hear you’re having fun. I would highly recommend filling out the whole inner wheel before moving on to the outer. You’ll find more versatility, and there may be synergies with passives outside your main weapons. It’s hard to go wrong with Elemental, but from what I’ve heard, Chaos goes well with blades (both being melee range).

    1. Thanks =) Still consuming as much info as I can. It really is complex at first but I am quickly getting more comfortable with it. Thematically, I love the ‘Preacher’ concept – sword and blood (I am Templar). But I haven’t messed much with the spells at all. I’d like to go ranged so I can pull, build ranged resources, unload melee resources when they get close, rinse repeat.

        1. I actually made three characters to play through the beginning of all three. I went Illuminati first but the snootiness drove me nuts early. Settled in on Templar like a proper colonized nation (Canada). Hail to the motherland!=)

  2. I’m looking forward to trying out the changes when I get back into TSW. Pretty tied up with FFXIV right now, so that could take a while. I’m on Arcadia with the character name Aywren, so if I catch you around, I’ll send you a friend invite! 🙂

    1. Is TSW server independent? I am still confused about that. Does it matter which you choose? I am in the beginning of the FFXIV trial as well, it is so… opposite in feel and theme as TSW but very slick in it’s own right. I have posts coming up about that too =)

      1. TSW has this strange sort of single server technology. Their blog post describes it as: “The Secret World exists on one server, and on that server there are multiple dimensions.”

        I’m a bit fuzzy on how it all works, but here’s their blog about it: http://www.thesecretworld.com/news/blog_single_server_technology_in_the_secret_world

        I’ve never been divided from other folks due to dimensions, but I don’t really have a lot of other people (aside from my duo partner and sister) who have played TSW with me.

        1. Moe of I tend to re-use names between games, and in EQ2 I’d had “Clarissa” intended to be “Clarissa the Cleric” (who actually became a Shadowknight, not a Cleric) but then due to a server merge I lost the name and modified it to Clarisse as a result. But people like to say “Hello, Clarisse” in groups, and I kinda of like that, so I keep it s I move around. Plus Clarissa’s usually taken in any game I move to anyway.

      2. Short answer: Yes, servers are irrelevant.

        Long answer: Sure you roll on a server, but you can freely move between them in order to play with people, participate in events, etc, and zone chat crosses all servers too. Just group with someone and then right-click their name in the party window, choose “Meet Up” and you teleport to the closest anima well to them on their server.

        1. Sorry for the double post. You can also do friend requests across servers as well. Just need their unique nickname.

          1. This is great. What an elegant solution to the old problem of all of your friends in different places (for different reasons, usually too.)

          2. Silence of the lambs inspired? =) I didn’t quite understand how the nickname part played into things so went with my old troll nickname from EQ, Braack. Either way, not rerolling again, so Braack it is!

  3. I agree on what the changes have done to the outdoor parts of the game. Unfortunately they have done nothing for the instanced parts. I am no more able to defeat Mara to get past step 25 of the main quest sequence now than I was the last time I tried or the time before that. It doesn’t have anything much to do with my build – its exactly the same reason I can’t complete the big fight in the Tyler Freeborn sequence: both require a huge amount of dodging and I simply can’t do it.

    Short of somehow upping my DPS to such godly levels that I could kill these bosses before they even start throwing out their AEs I will never get past these roadblocks. That’s the fundamental reason I can only dabble in TSW much though I’d like to go further – it’s too difficult for me.

    1. Ignorance is bliss! I am still happily plugging away in Kingsmouth. Much more happier, actually. Still, I hope that the things they learn from these changes (assuming they are as well received by all as they were by me) that they also look at other aspects. Roadblocks are not fun. I know it’t not really the point, but assuming they are solo instances that you just can’t drag Mrs. Bhagpuss to help you out in? =)

    2. Which big fight in there does need that much dodging? Maybe i just don’t realize it, but i thought everything there was quite manageable. ( Additionally, even before the patch there was little solo-content which could not be done with an AR and just wearing it down with healing attacks. It’s not the fastest or most enjoyable way of killing things for me, but it usually works. )

      Also, the missions you are stuck with, are they solo-only? If not, just contact me (Slad) when you see me around and we push through it.

  4. Great article. I’m a relatively new player (since early Jan) and while I certainly was frustrated by the mob strength, I felt like it was worth taking my time and grinding XP because of it. Now I’m equipping my first blue 10’s and I’m still only in Blue Mountain.

    Sarah ‘Appletango’ Bean on Leviathan if you need help chugging through missions. I love the game and love to help.

    1. Thanks Pete! Definitely let’s get on a friend list in game. I kind of play odd times/days and don’t mind the solo romp (so I can take my time, read the lore bits, explore, etc.) but I know that there is a fair bit of group content in TSW as well that I’ll need to learn to tackle at some point. I am still learning a lot about core mechanics. I switched from fist to blood last night (the Massive Edition on Steam made this really easy – it gives you a blue starter weapon for every option). Also, just nice to have a friends list to chat away for questions and companionship, even outside of group. Most MMOs feel so solo these days.

  5. No, it’s one of the quirks about TSW that it sometimes throws a solo instance into a chain that has allowed grouping up to that point. Sometimes there are instances that allow a group, sometimes its mandatory solo. I think the Tyler Freeborn one might allow groups. The Mara one doesn’t.

    1. I don’t mind solo instances – they add a lot of flavour often – but they have to be a bit on the easy side to fit all sorts of class combinations and difficulty levels. Especially if they are a “roadblock” of sorts.

    1. I am actually reading through all of the lore (bees, hives, you’ll see!) and it fits well. Once you start investigating in Kingsmouth and learning what happened there it gets intriguing. I am only 3/18 on the main quest (I always do all the side quests I find) but without spoiling anything – I have a real genuine interest in sorting out how everything came to be there.

        1. COnsider it this way Murf. You just finish a long shift at the retail job we all know you love and admire and you go home. Exhausted, you pass out. You wake up and something is.. off. Energy pulsates out of you and trashes your room. You panic, not sure what to do, crazy things are happening – it hurts, and things are just combusting and breaking apart in your room. Quickly you go to http://www.ihaspc.com to calm your nerves and that works, as always, as you very deep in contemplating thought by the high quality of the articles and friendly camaraderie you find there. As you browse through a litany of critically written articles you notice that the power that was torrent around the room you have somehow harnessed, and you feel the power coursing through you. A knock at the door – you answer, and some things are explained to you, and you are invited to visit that faction to learn more. Once there you are outfitted with weapons and knowledge and they send you on an investigation to a small, new england town cut off from the world and blanketed in fog. Strange things have happened to the population and small groups of survivors need help, and as you do that you start to piece together the mystery of how these events unfolded and why.. a siren’s call beckons you to a dark hallway….

          spoilers enough?

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