When The Secret World's new Game Director, Joel Bylos, mentioned that a live MMO is something that belongs to the players as much as the developers, I wholeheartedly agreed with the sentiment. Certain subsets of the gaming populace are especially fond of treating the games and experiences they have within the games they play as part of their overall life journey. I say this with the full realization that MMORPGs, regardless of how good or well-loved they are, eventually have to end.
Of course, the portent of TSW's end is far off in the distance, so what am I getting at? Simply put, I'm excited to see new ways for players to enjoy themselves within TSW. With new ways to enjoy the game come new experiences that help shape people's feelings towards this MMORPG.
New Options, More Fun
As I've written about in the past, I'm a big fan of options. If MMORPGs are supposed to be a world rather than a linear path, then there should exist different ways of engaging in meaningful gameplay experiences.
The recent interview MMORPG.com had with Joel Bylos discusses some of the new options that will be made available to people seeking to have a good time in-game. For those who want the skinny, some of the additions include a new weapon, which happens to be an anima-infused chainsaw (there's a whole story behind it, which is a nice change of pace from simply grabbing the nearest chainsaw available), as well as an optional fighting mode called reticule combat.
The video linked above doesn't have the best audio, but for the most part, the idea behind reticule combat is that it allows for less clicking to target enemies. Instead, by pressing the appropriate key, you can switch to an alternate targeting mode and then lock onto them. It's a situationally useful alternative to the regular targeting method, especially if there's a lot of action on the screen, though I'm guessing it'll take some practice to get used to.
Also mentioned in the interview link above is the addition of some quality of life improvements, most notably animation revamp and the Albion Theatre. While the animation fixes are self-explanatory, the Albion Theatre idea is something that can essentially be hit or miss with people.
The Albion Theatre allows players to rent a stage and plan out and essentially mess around with it in order to set up and make a play. You have actors, stage managers, and backstage players, all with their own little roles to play that will allow them to put on a show, which I think is excellent.
As a former musical theater actor in college, I would love to see how the setup is done for this, as on paper it seems very unwieldy to have a lot of different interactable items in your inventory just to put on a show. I'm concerned about how lag will factor into performances, and I'm also worried about the potential for stage squatting or disruptive behavior that might occur. Hopefully these issues will be sorted out as more details become available, but I do hope there are some hardcore Shakespeare or Lovecraft fans willing to put on a show for other folks.
Either that, or a stage play about Joel Bylos and Ragnar Tornquist discussing world domination, all evil overlord like.
The stage is set, and the players are ready to enjoy new things and hopefully see new developments as the “end-of-season” cliffhanger looms on the horizon. Here's to hoping this cliffhanger leaves everyone in awe.