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The Story So Far

William Murphy Posted:
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With news about The Secret World’s transition to a Buy-to-Play model, I thought it might be interesting to look at all the game’s added or changed since it launched. TSW is one of MMORPG.com’s most highly rated games, and yet I always found it strange how it didn’t quite reach mass acceptance. For sure, it has some foreign ideas and a setting that players don’t quite jive with (if it had involved swords and shields, would TSW have sold better?).  But man, I still can’t quite grasp why more folks didn’t give the title a try.  Despite (for me), lackluster combat, The Secret World’s more solo-oriented adventure through the zones and group-oriented dungeons are some of the best in recent memory.  In any case, now that TSW has gone “buy to play”, I thought I’d remind myself about all of the great changes since the game launched last summer.

For starters, here are the links to all four Issues the game has released for free so far, and then we’ll see what each included, and try to hazard a guess at the game’s direction in the coming F2P months:

Big Trouble in the Big Apple

This was the most recent patch, which added the game’s first “raid”.  Unlike other MMOs, TSW’s dungeon content focuses less on trash, and more on boss fights and ambiance.  It’s about telling the story, as all things in the game.  TSW’s level-less system is not quite what it’s billed to be, and you’ll instead want to make sure you have a certain quality-level of gear and weapons before stepping in here.  But man, if I’ll just leave this trailer for the content here. 

The Cat God

The Halloween themed issue for The Secret World probably had some of the best content to date, if you don’t mind me saying.  It had, easily, one of the best investigation missions in the game’s brief history, though I might be biased because anything Halloween instantly gets my seal of approval.

Digging Deeper

Quality of life… that’s what this one was all about. One of the things I think TSW can and will do better over time is giving players other stuff to do outside of missions and combat.  This patch brought with it a multitude of ways for players to change their characters, including plastic surgery.


Unleased was the game’s first attempt at monthly updates, and while it mainly added content to progress the story and give players more options in terms of the repeatable missions, it also brought with it some much needed polish.  I wonder exactly how many “free missions” we’re going to get, and how much we’ll see as DLC in the new revenue model.

Have you played it?

I really don’t intend to sound like a shill, but The Secret World is one of the most unique AAA MMOs to come out in years, and yet while the title has a strong following here it seems the vast majority of people haven’t even given it a shot.  Now that one purchase of $30 gives you access to everything the game has to offer up until this point, are you more inclined to give it a shot?  From my personal point of view, the combat still needs a lot of work, and is what makes the solo experience boring if at all.  But the story, missions, and team play are definitely some of the best you’ll find in any recent release.  And without a subscription forcing you to decide when and how to play, now might be the perfect time to pick up Ragnar’s opus and give it a shot.  It still won’t be the game for everyone, but if we complain about stagnation when there are titles like The Secret World and we’re not supporting them? Well, then we really only have ourselves to blame if the industry keeps rehashing the same old junk.

Check out other coverage of The Secret World's big announcement:


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.