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All Posts by Ortwig

All Posts by Ortwig

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Here are some of the big myths I see being thrown out about TSW:

  • The combat "sucks" (left intentially vague, because that's the usual amount of detail)
  • It's a grindfest at endgame
  • Only one raid, so there is no endgame (heh.)
  • Nothing special about the investigations -- you just Google the answer
  • Nightmare dungeons are full of elitist jerks, and newbies are never welcome; the community "sucks"
  • You can finish all the content in 3 days
  • It's full of kill X rats quests, just like any other MMO
  • PvP is hopeless
Did I miss anything?  ;D


Originally posted by Scalpless
Originally posted by Ortwig
Originally posted by Scalpless
I like TSW, but "does everything right"? "Little trolls"? Sounds like a rather typical case of fanboyism.

Yeah, agreed unnecessary.  Argument without the fanticism always in short supply.  ;)

True. He does make a lot of good points, although I've rarely seen some those arguments on this forum.  If people have complained about TSW's quests or Cabals, I missed those posts.

Originally posted by Skooma2

However, I truly believe that a major portion of the "poor" sales numbers is the fact that a great deal of people do not like 1) MMOs that occur in the present; and/or 2) do not like zombie apocalypse games (I'm not sure how many are actually out there.); or, require a game that holds your hand through out the game (there is ZERO handholding in TSW.)

I don't believe this is true. Zombie games are very popular (DayZ, Dead Island, Dead Rising, Resident Evil, etc.) and people like guns and conspiracy theories. The lack of hand-holding combined with the rather high difficulty of later areas may be a reason, but I don't think it's THE reason.

I think TSW failed commercially simply because it wasn't polished enough. I don't mean the bugs, mind you, but the general "feel" of the game. It lacks a certain elegance many successful games have. It's a bit hard to describe, but where GW2 and WoW are fluid, flashy and easy to learn, TSW is clunky, bland and convoluted. It's still a great game and in many ways better than GW2, but first impressions matter and the first impression many got from TSW was far from great.

A flashy intro would help a lot. Now we've got half an hour of cutscenes and a tutorial that's far too long. Oh, and after that, you get to shoot zombies on a grey road. Yay. Absent marketing is also to blame. I know many gamers and none of them had heard of TSW when it launched.

The thing is that TSW really isn't a zombie game, though you might get that impression from Kingsmouth initially.  But you are on to someting --I think that TSW is too subtle for its own good in many ways.  I happen to LIKE that, but I can see how many people walked away scratching their heads and shrugging.  The game grows on you, but you have to give it a chance.  

Strangely enough, having played it awhile now, it seems to be like they couldn't have done it that much differently -- maybe better tutorials and help up front?  I like the steep learning curve myself...  Hmmm.

Here are what I believe are the main reasons for poor initial sales of TSW, and why Funcom made a serious mistake in overestimating sales:

  • The game launched right before 2 major releases (GW2 and MoP).  They should not have been anywhere near these releases
  • The game launched in the month of July -- terrible time, people are on vacation or away.  October would have been the ideal launch month for TSW
  • Guerilla marketing only (Facebook ARG), but for a first rollout you need to do better than that.  It should have been on TV: Scifi channel, Fringe, The Walking Dead
  • Lack of distribution and promotion from EA -- you did not see this game on shelves anywhere
  • Rated M title -- the demographic is automatically smaller -- no problem with that, just plan your sales accordingly
  • Niche genre -- modern day horror will never sell in the same numbers as fantasy.   Again, no problem with that, just plan your numbers
  • Sub+cash shop model:  It probably should have come out of the gate as B2P, as good as the game is.   I never had an issue with the sub myself, but the sub was a serious barrier to entry for a brand new game with a niche audience anyway.  Ah well, hindsight is 20-20.
I do NOT believe the poor sales were due to reviews (which were good to very good, with a few pans here and there).  Players who tried the game tended to stay playing.  B2P has been very good for the game, and lots of activity these days.  
I do believe more companies need to plan more modest numbers when they budget these games. Heck, even SWTOR and GW2 never matched WoW numbers, and I think more companies need to use an EVE-like approach if they are to introduce a new MMO with any hope of financial sanity.
Originally posted by Talonsin
You did see all the reviews of this game, you did see the very poor sales numbers and you do realize the game went B2P because the majority of people who purchased it felt it did not deserve a sub fee right?  Yet according to you, the combat is great, the PVP excellent and there is plenty to do with RAIDing and all.  Amazing...

You mean these reviews, which were all pretty darn good? 

I'd say the PvP needs work, myself.  But it's getting better, and the devs have committed to improvements.  Next change is to get queues working well for the minigames and fix rewards in Fusang.

I do believe that the nightmare dungeons are as tough as any MMO raid going.

Originally posted by Torvaldr
Ortwig I think you could have addressed those points and written a lot more interesting piece than that guy did.

Lol -- maybe I will now!  :)

Originally posted by Scalpless
I like TSW, but "does everything right"? "Little trolls"? Sounds like a rather typical case of fanboyism.

Yeah, agreed unnecessary.  Argument without the fanaticism always in short supply.  ;)

Originally posted by Aeonblades
I couldn't even make it past the first paragraph without feeling nauseous. What a condescending turd, good to know the Steam forum has them too! TSW is a good game, but this doesn't help lol.

A bit heated maybe, but I didn't think condescending -- well, maybe a little.  He's in rant mode.  :)  Still, I think many of the counterpoints to the criticisms leveled at TSW are spot on.

Okay, this is a repost from over on the Steam forums (not me), but I thought it summed up really well many of the preconceptions people have about TSW:

[Orignally posted by Mike Litoris]:

I get really irritated when I read the same things about this game over and over again. I feel that while some people have responded in an informative and civil matter, not all explanations have been as eloquent as they could be. So, I would like to address some of these things individually so that each person viewing each point doesn't get lost in a sea of text or just walk away because tl;dr. If something interests you, just move to the subject line of text you feel you need to see. :)

Quests are boring just like every other MMO fetch quest :

Wrong. There is a very large variety of missions that involve both investigation and/or outright Google'ing as well as quite a few stealth missions that require finesse and guile. The main faction story missions that follow your character development throughout the game are also a nice grab bag of all the mission types. And it's not a thing about 2 or 3 missions like this to break it up amongst a sea of fetch stuff, but a seriously heavy balance that's almost even. This game does have "fetch/kill count" missions but...even some of those cookie cutter MMO style missions referred to here are done with style or some element of ambience that makes them feel just a bit more intuitive. Maybe you'll have to really search for your kill, or maybe it's not as easy as knocking one over and you have to figure out 'how' to kill it, etc. So, even the boring isn't so boring. Anyone saying that this game has boring regular ol' MMO missions just simply has not played the game past the first two missions and they are lying.

There is no raiding:

Wrong...kinda. There is 'a' raid. But, in fact there are plenty of other raid quality material to be had if people just do them. As for an official raid, yea there's just the one...but there are Lairs which are pretty much open world raids where you can farm out nice chunks of XP, get loot, and form bosses for other loot and upgrades. But, keep in mind that this game hasn't been out that long, and in comparison to other MMOs it's actually not any different in it's development progression. When World of Warcraft first came out their first raid instance was Blackrock Spire. Think about that for a minute and let it sink in if you're familiar with it. Also, this doesn't count the seasonal raid material that has popped up so far.

[Ortwig's Note: Nightmare mode dungeons are TSW's raid equivalent.  The New York City Raid is also there, along with Lairs.]

PvP doesn't exist and is broken:

Wrong. Just because people don't play your faction (cough - Dragon) doesn't mean it's dead, it just means you're not a part of the biggest of two factions enjoying it. Transfer to another server or change sides if it's what you're dying for. Is it something for a strictly PvP type person? Not at this stage because you can't really do it 24/7 (think Wintergrasp). But again I need to put this in perspective of other MMOs (or just WoW lol)...of which didn't have anything but world pvp until well over a year after it was out. And even then the battlegrounds were broken for a solid year too at the least. PvP is not something that many MMOs have gotten right and had perfect at launch...or a year following for that matter. 

What's the point of a Cabal if there's nothing to do?:

Sometimes I want to choke people. When I hear this rant it becomes one of those times. First off, many people do grasp the core concept of a Cabal/Guild. That concept is for social purposes first and foremost. And those purposes are particularly to keep you and your close friends together in one place without actually having to be in one place. You get your own chat channel, your own bank, and your own ranks so the jerks in charge can randomly kick their friends and have a laugh or bark at new guys and experience a sense of power that they otherwise never see irl. The advent of Guild advancement in other MMO titles is a fairly new concept and still fairly infantile. And even those with advancement concepts in working order right now...still tend to be broken and offer nothing more than just a ruse of farming XP. In reality, taking that part still have the same thing in Secret World. And right now, Cabals have plenty to do if people need to kill time. Such as the typical organized dungeon run, raid night, lair farm, or theatre production for the RP'ers.

The combat sucks:

Definitely, positively, absolutely...wrong. I imagine this comes from people that have 2 skills unlocked and have repeatedly had their butt handed to them by the zombies on the road to the Kingsmouth Sheriff's Dept. In which case; you're doing it wrong. If you keep getting violated past the point of having say ohhhh...10 skills're still doing it wrong. This game does not hold your hand, but if you need advice on why you can't survive more than 3 hits or why you can't kill anything, the community will help you. You cannot just throw points all willy nilly into your tree and actually see good results from it. You have to think it out and plan ahead to some degree. And if you can't think it out, they were nice enough to add skill point Starter Decks so that people would know how to spend points into something that works. Take advantage of your resources available to you and learn the game before jumping in expecting to "win all teh lootz". Otherwise you will walk away with a big sadface crying and whining like all those that use this line. And before anyone argues with 1,1,1,1,1,2,1 - name one MMO that does not play like this to some degree, then the argument would be valid. All puns aside; the combat in this game is more deep than I could have ever imagined. When you can theorycraft a skill set that allows you to kill raid mobs en masse without taking damage or dying - that can otherwise destroy you in 1 hit...I'd say the complexity of the combat is unsurpassed. I love building a seemingly new character every other day just because of curiosity or there's something new I want to try. 

So, all in all I think many of these comments are coming from people that have spent very little time with the game and they do not help bring customers in. Which is a sad thing considering this is probably one of the most rich and involved MMO experiences I have ever had. I have played: EVE, Allods, WoW, EQ, EQ2, STO, AoC, Rift, GW 1 and 2, Requiem, Hellgate, Invictus, SWTOR, and many many many more. This game is my absolute favorite because it does everything right. There are bugs, but every MMO has it's bugs. Nothing has broken the game. There are things that aren't fully realized, but every MMO has it's teething process. I believe in this game. And I know it will grow more and more. I've brought 4 new people to this game so far and that list will grow. Oh, and the fact that Nightmare mode dungeons make WoW Heroic raids look like a cute little baby toy warms my heart. And it warms my heart even more that all the little trolls with bad attitudes will never make it past the Gatekeeper to know what it's like.

Here's a summary of all the Issues (updates) since launch:

I guess I'm wondering when we started believing that the quest-errand became the best way of telling a story in an MMO.  Why can't the stor(ies) be imbued in the world without all the markers and pointers?  Every person or object in the world could possibly lead to something interesting, and better, it can be completely non-linear.  Simply bake the story into ALL the NPCs and objects and let us come across them serendipitously.  If I have to talk to all the locals to see what's going on, then I can make my own decision about what to do, without any packaged "quest."  Maybe if I put 2+2 together and figure something out, then do it, I can be rewarded with something for acting intelligently.  

Hell, what if NPCs were unreliable and occasionally told me fibs in order to get what they want?  What if I could get back at them in some other way once I know what the real story is -- there's a lot more room for interesting and DIFFERENT ways of playing these things out.

Originally posted by BitterClinger
Originally posted by Goatgod76

Look at the amounts spent by people in this thread and that pretty much sums up why most companies rather go the F2P/Cash Shop routes. Sickening.

Well, we can't be sure how much is cash shop. It seems the only money some of the people have spent was for the game client only. Of the $300 (est.) I've spent in the last six months, $100 was on monthly subscription fees. Another $90 was spent on game clients, and finally I spent over $100 on cash shop items.

I actually changed mine because I missed 6 months (thought it was one) -- much more in that time...

1. What are the top one or two MMO games you have spent the most hours playing in the last 3 months?


2. Which MMO got you hooked on MMO games?


3. If you could wave a magic wand and "fix" all the problems in any one MMO (past or present), which MMO game would you fix ("fix" includes upgrade graphics and animations)?

Ultima Online

4. How much money have you spent on MMO games in the last 6 months, including game client, time cards/subscriptions, gem cards, real money auctions, third-party gold or leveling services, etc)?


5. If you could turn any setting from a book or movie into a modern MMO, designed to your specifications, which book or movie would you adapt (even if it has already been done)?

Elric of Melnibone

TSW dungeons are some of the best around -- very few trash mobs, and challenging boss encounters that require teamwork and tailoring your build.  The nightmare mode dungeons are the equivalent of many games' raids.
Originally posted by Phaserlight
I guess it depends on what you are saying yes/no to.  We often make yes/no decisions in real life, although these decisions are often related to many other things.  Should I take that new job that pays more but is a longer commute?  Do I tell my close relative about a new project I am involved in?  Often times one has to make a host of these yes/no decisions in rapid succession that creates a cascading effect, but it's often really simpler than it appears.

A yes/no decision that is not a simple "proceed with the script" decision then, with no other story possibilities than that.  I think we think of stories too easily as these linear, monolithic, binary proceed/do-not-proceed things, when they should, at least in an RPG environment, be situations that can be discovered and tackled in whichever way you see fit.  There are a million ways to rescue the princess once you figure out that the princess needs rescuing.  

Take a long hard look at Myst to see how a story can be fragmented into pieces, with the players putting 2 and 2 together to figure out how to proceed.  There IS a story, but there is no One True Way to proceed.

Originally posted by PWN_FACE
Originally posted by Ortwig

 We need more stories waiting to be uncovered in bits and pieces and then acted upon with our own free will.  We need to be dropped into the story, discover what is going on, then act upon it.

I agree with this completely. 

Of course, this may just apply to certain subsets of players (including me). However, a lot of people still love the cut scenes and all that goes with it. I like those, too. Just not in my mmorpg.

I actually don't even mind a cutscene or a bit of text here or there either -- it's all in how it is presented.  Heck, even Myst had little cut scenes with the two brothers when you figured out how to read the books they were trapped in.  But those were still just pieces of the story, not the whole deal.  If devs can think of the cut scene or text as one piece of the puzzle, then it's all good -- just don't make it an all-encompassing Expository with a simple yes/no decision.

The problem is in the method of telling the story.  

In a tabletop game, you are given certain situations, but the players determine how the story will play out based on their actions.  In many, many computer games (including single player games) the authors have created The One True Story that players must decide to participate in, or not.  Basically, the only decision we are making is whether or not to follow the script.  

But real storytelling was done well in games like Myst, where the story is present, but hidden, waiting to be discovered.   We can figure out a clue here, and then go over to the other world and find another piece, until finally the entire puzzle is assembled.  

Too often, we get a huge dose of cut scene or a wall of text explaining to us what the story is (a chunk of exposition, which any writing instructor will tell you is bad form -- show, don't tell).  Thus, the feeling of being "on rails."  We need more stories waiting to be uncovered in bits and pieces and then acted upon with our own free will.  We need to be dropped into the story, discover what is going on, then act upon it.

Here's the official word from Joel on issue 6 -- we'll be seeing it in February:


The Issue #6 DLC, primarily set in Egypt, sees the player working with the Marya against the cultists of Abdel Daoud. The player learns the location of a prison, where Maryan captives are taken and tortured by the Atenists. Infiltrating the prison reveals information to the player about an Atenist plot to cause a second event on the scale of Tokyo. The player must race against time (and through time) to prevent the event from occurring!

Issue #6 will also see the return of the characters Said, Nassir and Zhara, as well as the villainous Abdel Daoud. Through the events of the issue, players will also gain access to the newest Auxiliary weapon, the whip. More details on the whip and its abilities as the DLC gets closer to launch.

Players will also see new features in Issue #6, including improved Cabal management functionality. New functionality will include things like Cabal logs, custom ranks and permissions, notes and a cabal news feed. We see this as the first step in improving the cabal system in The Secret World and we will continue to listen to our community and make improvements based upon their feedback.

PvP will also see some new updates in Issue #6 including a revamped matchmaking system and PvP ranks. More details will be available in a developer blog in the coming weeks.

As I mentioned in a forum post, we have always been looking at ways to improve the value of the subscription for our players. One of these initiatives is the Veteran Reward System. As players spend time with The Secret World, they gain veteran points, which can then be spent at in-game store to purchase both cosmetic and convenience items. Here is a list of some of the veteran rewards that you can expect to see:

  • Automatic Item Repair Consumables
  • Portable Combat Dummy with Feedback
  • Veteran Outfits
  • Veteran Pets
  • Veteran Titles
  • Mission Cooldown Removal Consumables
  • Portable Bank/Tradepost/Mail Consumables
  • ... and many more to come.

The first iteration of the Veteran System should be available in Issue #6.

In addition to the Veteran System, we are also going to sweeten the deal for members and Grandmaster account holders by allowing them 48 hour early access to the DLC content.

As you can see, the plans for The Secret World are as ambitious as ever. The development of the game continues to be a priority and there is plenty of story left to come!


Joel Bylos

Game Director


Originally posted by Torvaldr

Any perceived bugs in the game are not accidental.

Thanks to the other two factions for documenting investigation information so that we may more easily accomplish our goals.  We keep you around because you're useful, for the moment.

Order Through Chaos

Hope that wasn't too spoilerish, but you are right -- I would say the more bugged you think it is, the further you are from solving it.  And those who are last will be first.  :)

EDIT: removed the more spoilerish stuff from the posts.

Originally posted by Rayshe
Originally posted by Ortwig
Originally posted by Rayshe

You should also add the point where im saying your probubly both right because the game has a weird hickup in how the bugs function in the game.


If this were a debate in the TSW side of the forums i'd say go at it so we get activity however we dont. 


Ill restate the point just in case though.

TSW servers are weird and bugs don't appear on every server. Arcadia "feels" smooth up to Trans from what i remember where as Cerb had a hickup or 2 that i experianced in kingsmouth. Thus the bug you experianced may have been a issue your server suffered for afew hours to days. That being said i never felt it because of how the servers work.

So in short your both probubly right, and we should leave it there.

That cross-dimension bug is known -- the Wendigo who is unhittable until someone calls you to group across servers has been there for awhile.  And yes, it is annoying.  

But going from "there are bugs" to "the game has billions of game-breaking bugs" is a pretty huge leap.  I'm fine with the first statement.

Oh ill agree there. the game isn't nearly as bad as it launch, and its launch wasnt nearly as bad as AoC's. However every side has its own Bias, if he wishes to claim to his saying "the game has billions of game breaking bugs" let im, it will only make him look like a idiot when the chips fall.

Sigh, yeah -- and after all that  sidetrack, I'm in agreement about doing some better things with the browser search, and throwing in more in-game resources.  Still, I DO like the use of the browser in missions -- I just wish there were some better spoiler filters.  Having played lots of puzzle games growing up, I'll go out of my way to avoid them, but most MMO players aren't used to it, so not sure what the best way is to go.  I'd prefer a filtered search by default, then a full internet search that is selectable.  I also like the fact that I actually do have the entire internet as a resource to some of these things -- loved looking up Egyptian glyphs and deciphering.  Great fun.

Originally posted by Rayshe

You should also add the point where im saying your probubly both right because the game has a weird hickup in how the bugs function in the game.


If this were a debate in the TSW side of the forums i'd say go at it so we get activity however we dont. 


Ill restate the point just in case though.

TSW servers are weird and bugs don't appear on every server. Arcadia "feels" smooth up to Trans from what i remember where as Cerb had a hickup or 2 that i experianced in kingsmouth. Thus the bug you experianced may have been a issue your server suffered for afew hours to days. That being said i never felt it because of how the servers work.

So in short your both probubly right, and we should leave it there.

That cross-dimension bug is known -- the Wendigo who is unhittable until someone calls you to group across servers has been there for awhile.  And yes, it is annoying.  

But going from "there are bugs" to "the game has billions of game-breaking bugs" is a pretty huge leap.  I'm fine with the first statement.

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