The Secret World found in the summer of 2012, fast gaining praise because of its fancy, conspiracy-filled narrative, entirely voiced NPCs, and unconventional quests. It had been Funcom’s third MMO, but entirely unlike Age of Conan or even Anarchy Online. Regrettably, player numbers dwindled, and despite dropping the subscription, it never really made the dash its programmers were awaiting.
This season, it had been rebranded and relaunched as Secret World Legends, accompanied by a ton of important alterations, for example, change to the free-to-play company model. For Funcom, it has been another chance to showcase the game’s distinctive spin on MMORPGs.
“We always believed that The Secret World was undiscovered,” says Rui Casais, Funcom’s CEO. “Some of it was because of dangers we took that did not repay, and some of it was a result of market conditions. The sport was over four decades old, and we saw earnings falling as they obviously do when a game ages. We had to choose what to do next.”
Funcom realized that there was an untapped market: individuals who’d never had an opportunity to play the match due to the barriers for entrance, such as the subscription and, after that has been lost, the box buy. This was also an chance for the group to have a bird’s eye perspective of this match–to research what was not working and that which was holding back the game. The end result was new methods sitting alongside what The Secret World had consistently excelled in.
A good deal of the modifications simply would not have been possible in a live match. “When you have got a live match, you have got to be cautious of what you alter,” Scott Junior, Secret World Legends’ executive producer describes. “You do not wish to interrupt the core crowd, but you have to resolve things which are causing attrition, therefore lots of the time that you develop with band-aid alternatives. When you are doing these band-aids, you become really annoyed that you can not do particular things, such as why did we create this choice five years ago to get no amounts? That is one of the huge problems we had.”
The Secret World had a classless system with free-form player development and no degrees. Junior jokes which the machine gave them buzzwords they can use in advertising and media releases, such as ‘horizontal development’, but it put too much of a burden on gamers.
“There’s been 20 decades of games with amounts to teach you exactly what a degree signifies, but we did not have this,” he states. So among Secret World Legends’ most important additions was a degree system which not only made progress better, but enabled gamers to gauge how hard an enemy may be in their degree, too.
Combat, quests, dungeons, the images — they all went under the microscope and were reconsidered, tweaked, as well as updated. Over an upgrade, it was a reinvention. Plus it appears to have paid off, with hubs and areas which were once ghost cities coming back into life.
“We had more people playing than we anticipated, and earnings has triumphed our expectations,” says a relieved Junior. “But of course once you start something new, you are never exactly certain how the consumer will consume it. There are still a few places we will need to tackle, therefore we’ll be constantly listening to comments and making adjustments, but we are very pleased with it so much”
New beginning, new version
It may not have gone as well had Funcom not spent a great deal of time contemplating how it implemented the free-to-play version. “How can you make money with a free-to-play game? Using a subscription version you could always rely on people giving you their $15 per month,” says Junior. “When we moved buy-to-play, there was still the box purchase. With free-to-play, we needed to make the choice: How do we gate articles? Can we sell assignments? Or do we market convenience and vanity? And that is exactly what we ended up with: advantage.”
So Funcom currently sells ways to accelerate quicker and electricity up weapons better, but largely it is decorative items, pets, and vehicles. Wish to hunt down creatures while sporting a gold tuxedo? You can certainly do this. A number of these things are also available simply by playing the sport and spending in-game money. And what else, for example, DLC issues which were sold within the span of The Secret World’s lifetime, is totally free. “Every part of content to the sport is completely free and will be free forever,” Junior reiterates.
Since the studio has noticed, the free-to-play version also has a multitude of brand new expectations from gamers. “The minute that you have added monetization following the box cost, players handle it like a ceremony,” explains Casais. “They expect more from the sport, they anticipate more assistance, and much more communication from the programmers.” However, Funcom has some experience on this through Age of Conan: Unchained along with The Secret World Legends following the subscription has been dropped.
What has not changed is that the game’s focus on storytelling, not only through fully-voiced personalities and cutscenes — that Secret World Legends has even more of — but via subtle universe puzzles and building that players need to research themselves. In spite of a more conventional leveling platform along with other amenities, Secret World Legends remains fairly different from other MMOs.
“I really do think there’s a ribbon — all of our games attempt to do anything different, and break away from the standard,” states Casais. “Not necessarily a particular system or special characteristic, but the games always have a strong social element and invention which makes them unique.”
“Innovation is a great word,” Junior agrees. “But we also take large risks. Anarchy Online was among the very first sci-fi MMOs. Age of Conan was likely the safest of this MMOs, but we still took big risks. There is nudity, which I believe was a first for MMOs, and we had an act battle system. And Secret World Legends is quite insecure because we place so much more about the participant, much more accountability for what they will need to perform, such as the investigation assignments. You will find real riddles in the sport, which requires a whole lot of work on the participant’s part. It is much less hand-holdy as other MMOs. And there is the atmosphere: it is horror and modern, which isn’t the safest way to proceed with MMOs.”
Live MMOs rarely remain the exact same for long, and Secret World Legends will continue growing. Funcom had four decades’ worth of tales it desired to inform at The Secret World, and lots of them stay untold, possibly to be given yet another opportunity during the relaunch. And there is a totally new period of articles in the functions, too.
“At the conclusion of Tokyo, the participant finds a response to a puzzle they have been after for quite a while,” clarifies Junior. “So Season 2 begins to unravel new queries, while answering different questions which were laid out earlier. Players will soon be traveling into a totally new place, encountering new NPCs with fully-voiced conversation and cutscenes.”
However, Junior and Funcom will also be looking farther into the future, beyond Season two. “The strategy is to keep on telling the story and keep adding unique adventures which have not been seen earlier in the match.”