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[Column] The Secret World: The Epic Cog

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Comments

  • ZooceZooce B, FLPosts: 586Member

    Victor, I applaud the format of this article over your previous entry.

    In my opinion, you dug yourself in a deep hole in describing SW:TOR's problems, which mirror TSW's, and failed to climb back out when trying to distance TSW from SW:TOR.

     

    SWTOR and TSW Limitations

     

    To put it simply, the problem with SWTOR's and TSW's epic adventure is that it ends. There is a disconnect between this chosen hero you have raised to cap and the person he becomes upon reaching the cap.

     

    Here you are, going on this grand journey as a heroic or dastardly sort of fellow with amazing storyline quests to take you to 50 and quality 10. Upon hitting the cap, however, the story hits its high point and then gradually reaches its inevitable end. The only way you progress further with your newly minted level 50 quality 10 epic hero is through the completion of the same high-level nightmare dungeons repeatedly for better EPIC gear or by engaging in PVP.

     

    This is aggravated by the limited number of available quests to do among all possible characters you can make (no point rolling other characters in TSW), such that some stories in Transylvania get forcibly rehashed way too easily and thus water down other class (no point rolling other characters in TSW) playthroughs. Even worse, the content patches provided so far focused on aspects of the game that aren't really story-based (TSW's content patches focused on aspects of the game that are story-based yielding 12-16 hours of original content, majority of which was in pre-transylvania zones), and that's not what people wanted to experience in a game with such a rich lore component (and that's not what someone who is already finished with the short story and in quality 10 gear needs to distract them from the gear-treadmill endgame).

  • MarcelinoMarcelino BlackburnPosts: 116Member Uncommon

    Great article.


     

    This is a bit off topic but I have not reached the end game in either mmo's yet. i just want to comment on the actual worlds they are set in.
     

    When i first played WoW, the world felt so epic to me, and for me, having an "epic" world is the main aspect of what makes an MMO actually epic. Azeroth felt so huge, and amazing, i used to gasp at the huge zones, the huge maps, look out to sea from the coast and think "wow there is another whole island over there, and I'm gonna be there one day!!". The mountians where epic, the caves where dark and mysterous, the secret areas that nobody could reach where epic and the raid dungeons, well they where just a dream to me, and the fact that I never reached them gave them there epicness. As 7 years have passed, the world does not feel as epic as it once was in vinilla mainly due to the flying mounts that where introduced and also the fact that new mmos have come out with larger, bigger scaled worlds. But none of them will feel as epic as Azeroth first did.

     

    SWTOR did not have this epic feeling for me, even tho the world land masses where 10x as big, it just did not have the epic world feeling. The fact that there where npcs that you couldnt even click on annowed me, they felt like they were not part of the world at all, and the layouts of the zones, just didnt feel epic. I get this same feeling in The Secret World. The way the world is laid out, does not make me feel like it is a proper "world", does not justify the epicness i first felt when i stepped foot into Azeroth. For me the world itself has to feel epic, or else I might as well just stay in the real world and not play mmos at all.

  • stragen001stragen001 ReadingPosts: 1,720Member

    Disagree about SWTOR not being epic. 

    It is THE most epic fail ever

    Cluck Cluck, Gibber Gibber, My Old Mans A Mushroom

  • burmeseburmese Austin, TXPosts: 546Member
    TSW 'end' as we see it now is just 'Act I' as the Director pointed out - gives you an idea of how much content is still to come.

    ~\_/~\_O

  • RhoklawRhoklaw Ft. Bliss, TXPosts: 3,498Member Uncommon

    I have to agree with elocke and Marcelino about their views. Story alone doesn't make an MMO epic. Combat alone doesn't make an MMO epic. In order to be an epic MMO, you have to do everything perfect and that makes an MMO epic.

    MMO's that came close to being epic in my opinion are probably EverQuest, Vanilla WoW, and Star Wars Galaxies.

    Honestly, those 3 games in my opinion of course are still better than SWTOR or TSW.

    image

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,467Member Uncommon

    I think the term EPIC is a good analysis but not quite in the way people talk vaguely about it.

    I have often thought about it becuase yes i have heard the same mention many times myself.

    I think have the answer and wil ltry to explain.

    To me Epic battles are ones that are extremely tough near impossible to win but are definitely "possible".So many games i see have such a poor combat design that you know right away if yo uhave a chance or not,there is little actual skill behind the whole combat set of spells/abilities.

    SWTOR had a VERY limited set of spells/abilities to begin with,then each one was extremely simple,nothing to think about at all.Been awhile but i remeber one ability,the ONLY one that had any substance,it had something to do with holding the enemy in the air and damaging it and sending it for a knockback.other than that the entire combat sysem offered nothing to in depth variable combat.

    I will give a small example of EPIC combat can happen.

    First of all you need timers that are NOT spamming,so yo uhave to be smart in their use.

    Ok you start with debuffs that lower attack/defense/mobility/lower accuracy and possible stuns[paralyze] and various other possibilities.Then you have assorted long timer abilities like SLEEP,BIND,Gravity/SLOW yo ucan already see a VAST array of abilities that coudl allow you to defeat an enemy even if your attack versus the enemy attack is grossly outmatched.

    Bottom line is SWTOR did NOT offer that kind of depth,not even close,so the combat NEVER felt epic,just generic and everything predictable.


    Samoan Diamond

  • Apollymi452Apollymi452 San Digeo, CAPosts: 9Member

    I hope when they get around to adding more end game content, that its more "area's". There is so much lore and mythology in the world to dive into that if they use it right , the options are endless.

    We've seen so far a portion of the East Cost of the US, Egypt and Transylvania (sp?). I hope to see other countries such as China or India in future content.

  • GorillaGorilla Posts: 2,203Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Jaedor

    I think it depends on your definition of epic. For some players, epic is about the setting, the story and how you fit into it while for others it is the intensity of battle. Both can provide adrenaline rush, but the path is different, as is the length of time the rush lasts.

     

    Epic is pretty well defined. Of course people might bastardise the meaning (that was an epic burger). To base a whole thesis on the 'wrong' meaning is iffy to say the least.

    Epics usually involve a hero, the article argues against that. An epic is also large in size and scope. IMHO opinion TSW is clearly not that either. So TSW is epic in the hyperbole sense of 'this was an epic burgher'. Not epic in the sense of Homers Iliad. (its arguably finished as quick as the burger too!).

  • GorillaGorilla Posts: 2,203Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Derpybird
    Originally posted by elocke
    Originally posted by Vapors
    Originally posted by elocke
    For me both games have the same problem.  Limited content and a storyline that just ends as well as boring ALT play due to redundant "leveling" paths.  Also, combat in both games needs an overhaul.  To me, any game that makes me want to find ways around mobs instead of fighting them, fails at FUN combat design.  It should MAKE me want to tackle every mob I see, not look for the easiest path around them or FORCE me to fight them when I dont' want to, as TSW and SWTOR do.  Epic fail on those fronts.

    The question is simply how you want to to see the combat to be? Try to explain me your view of how should a shooting pumpgun and a shooting pistol look like and how should you shoot them up, by pressing 1 button or aiming with them with the mouse or stuff like that.

    I guess its very hard for both of the games make the player satisfied, they can't make simple weapons to look like epic.

    Im not sure but the most players just love to see awesome particle flying over your whole computers window (not a big fan of it personally)

    My complaint about the combat is not the animation or graphics or even if its tab target or reticle.  My complaint is about how it "feels" and "flows".  It feels slow and tedious and not visceral at all.  GW2 combat is what I really enjoy, maybe even a hint of Tera's combat IF they would add more depth to it and get rid of the locked in place while casting, hence why I lean toward GW2.

    I completely agree with this point. For PvE missions I had a high-AOE dmg build because everywhere I went I seemed to be fighting 3-5 of something. There was something about mob density that made even moving around the world tedious. I mean maps are just packed with stationary mobs, and some limited-patrol mobs, that stand between you and mission goals. Sprint-speed boosts helped to an extent, but I found myself just wanting to avoid combat because it was so repetitive. And even though mob design was sometimes very good, basic combat mechanics didn't seem to change, the exception being storyline bosses and dungeon content.

    AoE circle straffing seems to be the way to go. The mob density detracted a bit for me, I was hoping more for a lovecraftian 'hidden evil'. The story is great but the world almost felt 'post apocalyptic' rather than leading up to the coming of great evil. 

  • GorillaGorilla Posts: 2,203Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by burmese
    TSW 'end' as we see it now is just 'Act I' as the Director pointed out - gives you an idea of how much content is still to come.

    Problem is no one has managed to deliver content remotely quick enough to feed voracious players. Whether FC produce it as quick as Trion (rift) or SoE (DCUO) remains to be seen. Hell blizzard promised major monthly content updates until they realised tat they simpy could not, if they can not with there resources........

  • BlackbrrdBlackbrrd KongsbergPosts: 811Member
    Originally posted by Gorilla
    Hell blizzard promised major monthly content updates until they realised tat they simpy could not, if they can not with there resources........

    Blizzard could have delivered monthly content for WoW if they wanted, but why should they? Before now, the expansion model has worked out really well for them. Why go for the more expensive route?

  • victorbjrvictorbjr Quezon CityPosts: 186Member Uncommon

    Hey folks. Victor here. 

    I know my articles are a bit long, but I appreciate everyone going through them and chiming in... strangely enough, this is perhaps my shortest article to date. :D

    The one difference between SWTOR and TSW, I think, is that TSW came after SWTOR. Funcom and Ragnarthulhu know that if they mess up with content update deliveries, they're going to be in a world of hurt in the long run. To maintain a good subscriber base, they have to appease casual players and people more dedicated to the game, which means having a good mix of all types of content to sustain interest.

    I'm hoping they can maintain momentum. :D

    Anyway, I'm going to go on an off-tangent for a moment. The main reason why this TSW article is shorter than this week's Devil's Advocate or the Lovecraft post from two weeks ago is because of torrential rains that have hit my country, the Philippines, these past few days. Flooding, property destruction, and general death and mayhem for people across a good portion of the northern side of the country.

    In other words, I had to hurry up and send something worthwhile out in case I got flooded or lost power.

    Anyway, if you folks have a spare dollar or two on a paypal account, perhaps you can send a donation to the Philippine Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate

    Doing so will go a long way towards rescuing people and providing needed provisions that can be given to people who have lost their homes as a result of the flood.

    A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

    Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  • victorbjrvictorbjr Quezon CityPosts: 186Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Zooce

    Victor, I applaud the format of this article over your previous entry.

    In my opinion, you dug yourself in a deep hole in describing SW:TOR's problems, which mirror TSW's, and failed to climb back out when trying to distance TSW from SW:TOR.

     

    SWTOR and TSW Limitations

     

    To put it simply, the problem with SWTOR's and TSW's epic adventure is that it ends. There is a disconnect between this chosen hero you have raised to cap and the person he becomes upon reaching the cap.

     

    Here you are, going on this grand journey as a heroic or dastardly sort of fellow with amazing storyline quests to take you to 50 and quality 10. Upon hitting the cap, however, the story hits its high point and then gradually reaches its inevitable end. The only way you progress further with your newly minted level 50 quality 10 epic hero is through the completion of the same high-level nightmare dungeons repeatedly for better EPIC gear or by engaging in PVP.

     

    This is aggravated by the limited number of available quests to do among all possible characters you can make (no point rolling other characters in TSW), such that some stories in Transylvania get forcibly rehashed way too easily and thus water down other class (no point rolling other characters in TSW) playthroughs. Even worse, the content patches provided so far focused on aspects of the game that aren't really story-based (TSW's content patches focused on aspects of the game that are story-based yielding 12-16 hours of original content, majority of which was in pre-transylvania zones), and that's not what people wanted to experience in a game with such a rich lore component (and that's not what someone who is already finished with the short story and in quality 10 gear needs to distract them from the gear-treadmill endgame).

     

    Just so you know, I applaud your framing of this. I can see where my thoughts can bring about your own rebuttals well!  Thank you. 

    One thing I wasn't able to really discuss in detail (due to my attempt to focus on the TSW thing) was the difference in expectations for SWTOR and TSW.  SWTOR has had a little over half a year to distinguish itself and make money. It spent a lot, but didn't recoup its losses. It also carries with it a strong fan base of people who are heavily invested in Star Wars lore.

    By comparison, TSW has had a month or so of activity. People have either blown through the game, or they are progressing slowly and enjoying themselves in a different way. There is no large fanbase with exaggerated expectations of awesomeness, so people have more realistic expectations (I'm hoping) for the game's direction. You can't please everyone in month one, but by providing different types of content across the next few months and being open about their directions, they can sustain interest and mitigate churn (people leaving versus people coming in).

    That said, your points are quite valid, and I will admit that I may have had my blinders on when writing  some aspect of the epicness bit. I'm not at endgame yet... which would skew matters further. Thank you for addressing issues with my post. :)

    A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

    Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  • WabbaWayWabbaWay Posts: 101Member
    A quick spell check goes a long way, just saying...

    image
  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,769Member Uncommon

    "The one thing that would worry me about The Secret World's future is if Funcom fails to maintain momentum. The momentum they have coming from good press from enthusiast sites like MMORPG.com as well as from direct customer interaction can be lost if a content update that was promised doesn't fall into place or if they don't explain why something didn't go as planned."

    The reviewer does realise that every MMO in the last five years has lost its 'momentum' after only a few months? Rather than comparing TSW to SWTOR, look at the big picture.

    MMO's cannot hold on to a player base audience any more, wake up and smell the anti-hype coffee.

  • MindTriggerMindTrigger La Quinta, CAPosts: 2,596Member
    Originally posted by Fadari

    Good article and you're right, I truely enjoyed my "story" in SWTOR but then it just ended..bam.  I did the so-called endgame but there was nothing exceptional about it, not even difficult.  I guess I remember way back when games had some difficult aspect to them.

     

    Now, TSW has brought that back.  Maybe since it's an adult game, I'm not sure.  But the hours of work put in doing some of the missions and investigations.  But the best has to be parsing combat logs with different weapons and passives to be as strong as I can possibly be.  But there are so many choices, any play style can be accomidated.  I can be, whatever is needed, for whatever situation we get in to.  I am definately liking not being tied into just one role and have to level multiple toons just to experience different aspects of the game.  Just load a different deck and head out!

     

    This to me is one of the reasons running PUGs, and doing so repeatedly, is actually fun in this game.  You're always going to get a different mix of people with different levels of ability (especially in normals and elites).  This means people will often have to tweak their abilities and/or gear to get past some harder bosses.  My main role is a tank, but I often have to spec down to add a little DPS, or to share the tank role with a second tank on multi-boss situations, etc.  Other people often have to throw on some off-heals to help out, or reduce their DPS to keep from peeling the boss off the tank, etc.

    It's always different, and I love that the players are part of the wildcard aspect.  In this game, when you fail against a boss, you have much fewer ragequits.  People know there are tweaks that can be made, or adjustments in tactics to match the strong points of the group as a whole.  I've been in several PUG dungeons where we will try ten different ways to beat a particularly hard boss before anyone gives up, and often we end up beating it.  I love this, and it makes ragequitters look like complete tools, moreso than usual. 

    A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  • ShotokageShotokage PanamaPosts: 1Member
    A very good article, I can express nothing else.
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