Funcom made the announcement they were remaking their MMO “The Secret World” on Mar 28th. Funcom also removed the game from sale on Steam. Of course there is some controversy with how they’ve handled the removal. As for removing the game from purchase on Steam. Funcom chose to leave the store page up additionally removing and altering information on the store page while dedicating it to the remake instead of creating a new store page for Secret World Legends. Some have criticized Funcom for this decision, citing that all reviews of The Secret World(TSW) have not been purged from the store page. This means at launch of Secret World Legends, the game will have the overall positive review score earned by TSW. And while TSW has slightly more than three thousand positive reviews on Steam, that number provides a certain amount of buffer at launch against any possible negative reviews. It also has the effect of giving players the impression the game has a sizable player base. Furthermore, if one uses a service such as Steam Charts to get an idea for how many players are actively playing, those who are playing TSW through Steam will likely show up in the same pool as those playing Secret World Legends. This has the potential of giving prospective players a false impression about the game as a product and it’s community. The grounds for these criticisms of how Funcom is handling the transition could have been avoided had they created a new page to announce the release of, and dedicated solely to, Secret World Legends.
Even with those issues aside there was still the mess in how the announcement of the remake and removal of the original from sale was handled. The game was removed from the Steam store on the same day the remake was announced with roughly sixty days minimum until the remake’s public launch. Some argued Funcom was waiting until the last possible moment to go public with this news and take the game down from sale, with choice implications alongside. But that doesn’t address the fact that the game is available for purchase from other online retailers such as Amazon, Gamestop, and Origin to name a few. Most retailers have pulled the game from sale after the 28th, but as stated there are a handful still selling copies. Lastly, Funcom have wiped the discussion section of the TSW community hub on steam. Essentially clearing out all threads and posts made before March 28 leaving some to worry about the remaining content on the hub.
So this leaves us to discuss the details concerning Secret World Legends.
As for a release date….there is no concrete date as of yet aside from “Sometime in Spring 2017”. Given we’re at presently in April that means the (re)launch will happen sometime in the next 60 days. Unless there is some sort of announcement then expect end of May at the latest.
Even though TSW has been removed from sale from Steam, it is still playable at present for those that own it. There is no announced timeline on when TSW will be shutdown. The announcement made it clear that both games will be playable after launch. But new players will not be able to come to TSW short of having a product key and registering it with an account. In other words, TSW will most likely not see many new players if at all. But the game will still be playable. But there won’t be any further updates to TSW in terms of content and likely there will not be any further TSW game updates in general.
All story content from TSW will be transferring over to Secret World Legends(SWL, the remake), and any new content will go exclusively to SWL. Where TSW was more an MMO, SWL will offer more of an action rpg and a somewhat single player experience. Combat and progression will be different to suit a newer playerbase. Of course some consider the announcement to mean the remake will be watered down and made more generic, citing corporate marketing speak. But there are others noting that until the game is in public release only the people involved in the closed beta will know for certain due to the typical non disclosure agreements associated with the closed beta.
As for items players have worked hard to attain. In a letter from the producer it was stated purchased items from the item store would be transferable to SWL. Likewise anyone part of Funcom’s membership program will automatically have their membership time transfer over to SWL and those with “Lifetime” will have it transfer over “for life”. Of course I never mentioned progression transferring over, because progression wouldn’t transfer over. One more detail is that the transfer only applies to one character. However the expiration on that offer to transfer ended on April 5. So if you missed that window, you’re out of luck.
Will it be worth it for new players? If you were interested in the game before but were turned away by the game’s price tag then soon you’ll have a chance to play the remake for free. It won’t be the exact same experience as many players of TSW had, but it will be free. If it looks interesting to you then perhaps give it a shot. As for players of TSW, some seem to have their mind made up with others opting to take an optimistic view of things to come. On the upside is that they will have their loyalty rewarded in part. Especially since all players of TSW will have free unlocks of all basic weapons. They’ll have a slight boost in progression on that end. However players that bought access to later issues of the game will likely see no trade off for their purchase as those coming to SWL will have the same level of access they paid for. Likewise, the more time a player sank into a character in TSW will likely feel as if that time has gone to waste. Those old players who are upset are upset from a lack of communication. This announcement came out of the blue for many. And the way information has slowly dribbled out leaves those with time and money invested in the game concerned about what they have to look forward to. An MMO placed in maintenance mode is less reassuring. Especially after those players were told to “go nuts” on progressing through the game about a year ago.
I may not be invested in TSW but I’ve played a number of MMO’s and used online services that are either defunct or changed so much over the years they may as well be considered a different animal. Being given short of a week to save some aspects of one character, especially if you have more than one, does not seem like something that sits well with most people. Certainly not if that announcement seemingly came out of nowhere. There will be TSW players that feel burned, but you can’t please everyone. Likely those burned feel a little resentment towards Funcom’s shifting focus away from an established player base to a new market. But it’s not like some people couldn’t see this coming. Even the creator of the YouTube series “Freeman’s Mind” suspected TSW’s days were numbered. He even went as far as warning players to have a private server option ready for times like these. Which let’s be honest, if TSW’s days were not already numbered they certainly are now. And even if there was an option for a private server it wouldn’t have the newer episode content SWL will receive. So it’s a mixed bag based on where and how you’re invested as an old player. But as I said earlier, we’ll have to wait for the public launch.