Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy happy Valentine's Day

Everyone logging in during Valentine's day 2014 can claim a free silver pendant
Valentine's Day is here again. If last year's Valentine's Day mini event was my favorite event of the year, this year's Valentine's Day might bring with it the most interesting little new game improvement this year, even though the year has barely began.

Funcom is celebrating the day with a bunch of special in-game items. Somewhat unfortunately, this year the Valentine's Day themed items are only available via the in-game cash store. Fortunately, one of the new items, a silver pendant, is solely available as a free claimable item, available to anyone logging during Valentine's Day.

So, this year, there's several new items available at the item store, all Valentine's Day flavored. But that's not all, for here comes the best part - the items are tradeable! I'm pretty exited about this turn of events. This is a kind of big day for The Secret World, as this is the first time in the game's history, that an item sold in the cash store can be traded to other players. Well, at least, it's the first time it's not due to a bug. Nevertheless, it's a daring move from Funcom. I hope this will turn out to be a successful experiment and these items won't be the last of their kind.

Hopefully more and more items will be tradable in the future. I hear it's hip to dress up in second hand clothes. Wait, that was already back in 2012. Still, second hand clothes never go out of fashion.


The new items available for Valentine's Day 2014 are:

Brown Valentine Bear
Pink Valentine Bear
White Valentine Bear
Engagement ring
Wedding ring
Corsage, lily
Corsage, rose
Heart pendant, gold
Heart pendant, silver (free item, claimable during Valentine's Day 2014)

Everyone logging in during Valentine's day will get a free Heart pendant, silver. The item is available in the item store's claim items tab.

Bit unfortunately, the match-making arcade cabinet, nor the clever Valentine's Day post cards from the previous year are not making a return this year.




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New raids, lock boxes, and Tokyo - The past weeks have been rough for TSW, but it's getting better


Recently there have been both good and bad news surrounding The Secret World, and it's maker Funcom. Last week was all woe and accusations, while this week looks again all better with a shining future ahead for the game and the company behind it.

Let's delve deeper into what has happened in the past two weeks.


Last week was sort of a disaster - Funcom's headquarters in Norway were raided by government officials

Last week, Funcom's HQ in Norway were raided by the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, Økokrim. This was apparently related to the insider trading that was alleged to have taken place shortly prior and after The Secret World's launch in 2012. Funcom's stock was temporarily halted during the raid, and all employees working at the Norway's HQ were sent home, while government officials confiscated documents. 

The stock is now available again, and Funcom has since released press releases stating that they are cooperating with the officials on the matter.

Meanwhile, Funcom was doing great work keeping the game's main forum areas clean of any chatter about the Økokrim raid taking place in the company's headquarters. All the threads mentioning the raid were locked and moved to the forum's offtopic area. That's some fine PR crisis mitigation. When in doubt, brush everything under the carpet.

If that wouldn't have been enough, in an attempt to avert the looming PR crisis and show how well they know the everygamer's needs, Funcom's marketing department decided to introduce lock boxes, ahem, mystery boxes, to the game's cash store. Every other MMO seems to have them, so people must love them, they were probably thinking.

Apparently that's what you do, when your company's stock has been temporarily halted for, and your HQ has been raided by the government. To get the good will and trust of your paying customers, you introduce the single most hated thing in the MMO world - lock boxes.

Jokes aside, the introduction of lock boxes right after the raid is just a school book example of an extremely bad timing in PR. The lock boxes have been coming for some time already, as the introduction of such an item needs to go through a rather long process, before it can find itself in the game. Even testing has probably taken several weeks or more. Still, who ever is responsible for Funcom's public relations should have probably put the mystery boxes on hold in the aftermath of the investigations. Pushing bad news one after another is just a bad idea.

When the game a year ago dropped it's subscription requirements, Game Director Joel Bylos, vowed that there would be no lock boxes coming to the game. Year after, we have mystery boxes. My guess is, the management gave Joel Bylos a year to make the game work without marketing department drastically stepping in. Now that the year has ended, and the situation isn't as good as the management had wanted, players can now enjoy such gems as mystery boxes. The question is, what will we be seeing next in the store? In other games, selling end game toons via cash store seems to be trending.


Rewind to this week - some better news about Tokyo, Flappy and Joel Bylos

Fortunately, this week came with better news, as the road to Tokyo event, the Whispering Tide, is about to enter it's final phase, and Tokyo is coming up at intended pace. Even Game Director Joel Bylos seems to have survived his trip to the deadly Australia, and will be back in the wheel. Hurray!

Go checkout January's Dev letter for all the good things you can wait in the future. There's more raids incoming, but they are of the good sort, the ones taking place in The Secret World.

Among the future additions to the game, Players will get to fight Flappy in the conclusion of the Whispering Tide event, in a whopping 40 person instanced raid. The fight is going to be timed somehow, but it will be dropping raid level items from time to time for the lucky ones. The Flappy raid will launch in couple of days.

If everything goes right, Issue 9 should be out soon, and Issue 10 should be following right on it's heels. Both are currently, simultaneously, in the making. There will be new lairs, scenarios and whole lot of missions. Issue 11 that is supposed to end the first act of the main storyline will be coming out some time later. The Issue 11 will be taking place in the Orochi Tower, and will contain dungeons and a raid on the lower levels, while the higher levels will come with revelations and an epic fight.

Tokyo will also come with a "Love Hotel", whatever it is, that is supposed to be suited for mature audiences. Will it finally be a replacement of the Tabula Rasa hotel in London, with a sound/chat proof rooms? After the addition of the "Love Hotel", would Tabula Rasa be a safe zone again? Or will it be Funcom's take on Second Life and IMVU? I hear there's big money in the mature content.

Still remember the community contest where the community got a chance to design and vote for new outfits for the game? The first outfit from the community contest has been made to an in-game clothing items, and will be coming for both male and female characters. The second female outfit winner is still in the making. The first outfit is looking pretty good.




  About the raid at Funcom headquarters in Norway:

In case you are interested to read more about the raid on Funcom's HQ, you can find more information in the following articles (in Norwegian): e24.no (1, 2), pressfire.no, gamer.no. Forbes has also written about it in English.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Item of the Month - New Years Dragon pet

Red New Years Dragon in AgarthaD
If you have been wondering what those green, red and blue dragons all over Agartha are, and where they are coming from, wonder no more. Many of you might already know that they are January's subscriber items of the month.

The dragons come in three colors, each available for their distinct factions. Red are for templars, blue for Illuminati, while green dragons being naturally Dragon.

Apparently, these dragons have a history of their own. VonFoxFire noticed on forums that the dragons are in fact an old attack animation that was first left away from the game at some point before the launch, and finally recycled as a pet.

If that is true, it's pretty brilliant move from whoever got the idea to recreate the animation as a pet. What a waste it would have been, if the old attack animation, that good looking, would have just been tossed away. Even bigger pity it would have been, if we wouldn't have gotten these new marvelous pets. There's something hypnotizing in the flight patterns of the dragons. If I wouldn't know the dragon's history, there's absolutely nothing that would have hinted of it's origins. Needless to say, the dragon is my current favorite pet.

The faction colored New Years Dragon is the Item of the Month for January 2014. It's available for all the players who have an active membership or lifetime membership during January 2014.

Winter event ends - Krampus and Niflheim stay


Even though the winter event is officially over for this year, it's not totally gone. There are still Krampus armies lurking all around Kingsmouth. Even the portal to Niflheim is still open.

Wonder if it's intentional?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Things to expect in 2014

Welcome to the year 2014
The year has changed and the brand new year 2014 has begun. If the previous year was any indication, it's going to be a promising year for The Secret World, with lots of things to see and experience.

Following the previous list, here's another one listing new features, systems, areas and other things that could be part of The Secret World during the year 2014 and later. There are lots of things you can expect to see this year, but there are also other things that are most certainly not going to happen in the next 360 or so days. And then there are the things that are most definitely not going to be happening this year, or even the next one, but nothing is keeping us from hoping to see them already in 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The year 2013 in The Secret World

Venice in Issue 8
It's the end of the year again, the end of the Gregorian calendar. It's also the second coming of the end of the mayan calendar in this cycle. As it has been, and and as it will always be in the end of the calendar - it's time for lists. Here's one such list.

I was thinking of making a list of all the updates that have come out for The Secret World this year. It turns out, a lot of things happened this year. A lot of things that I had totally forgotten. And a lot of things I probably forgot to add to this list.

Without further ado, here's a list of some things that happened in the year 2013.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays and Merry Krampus Killing for Everyone


It's again the merriest of times - time to beat Hel out of Niflheim. But it's also time to celebrate Christmas or Solstice or any of the other festivities one can celebrate this time of year. I'm going to take a break for the holidays, but will be probably posting a post or two before the year ends.

Merry Solstice!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Developers tease on possible books set in The Secret World's universe

The Secret World's Lead Writer Joshua Alan Doetsch (you might know him better as Scrivnomancer) is teasing on the forums about a possibility that one day there could be The Secret World themed books. If that would happen, I'm guessing, one of the possible writers for such books could be Mr Doetsch himself.

In addition to writing for The Secret World and Age of Conan, Joshua Alan Doetsch has also previous experience from writing novels and short stories, mainly set in White Wolf's (or is it Onyx Path's nowadays) World of Darkness setting. If you want to have a bit of taste from Joshua Alan Doetsch writings outside The Secret World, you might want to read some of excerpts from his latest WoD material.

How do you like the idea of additional stories set in the world of The Secret World? Would you like to read such books? If so, you might want to voice your vocal opinion in this thread in the official forums.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Servers were patched today - Hel's health now fixed

Morninglight no longer illuminates the Crusades
The servers were patched today, with the hotfix 1.8.3. It drops the health of Hel outside Niflheim from 176M to 17.6M. It also adds a report buttons upon completion for the End of Days missions The End of Something and The Final Countdown.

In addition, it removes The Morninglight Preservation Society vendor from the Crusades night club in London. If you didn't manage to snack yourself the last year's quetzal bird pet, now is too late, unless you want to get it from the auction house. Same applies for the Mayan council robe outfit from the last year, except you can't get it from the auction house either.

Edit: As mentioned in the comments, the Mayan council robe is still available as a drop from the Mayan event dungeon.

The Secret World now half off on both Amazon and Steam

The Secret World is having a 50% discount on both Amazon and Steam, cutting the core game's price to $15 on both sites.

In addition to this, Amazon is also giving $5 worth of holiday credits to the buyers of The Secret World that can be used in buying anything from Amazon's Editor's Choice game collection.

If you are thinking of buying some of the Issues as well, Steam is also selling the Massive Edition of The Secret World for half the price. The Massive Edition, containing the core game and the Issues 5, 6 and 7 (Issues 1 to 4 are free for everyone owning the core game), costs now $30. Unfortunately the latest Issue 8 is not in the bundle.

The Steam discount ends on January 2nd. Amazon's offer is probably available while it's winter sales campaign lasts.

If you can't spare the buck now, you can also try your luck in getting one for free. Gamebook is having a giveaway, where they are handing out 15 copies of Massive Edition (or it's equivalent) with an extra month of VIP time on top. They are giving out 2 games every friday, starting today (December 20th) and lasting until January 31th. Apply immediately in order to take part in today's draw.

UPDATE: Steam is currently having a flash sale for The Secret World. The price is now $10. The flash sale will only last 20 more minutes, after which it will be back to the $15 discount, so be quick. The flash sale on steam has ended. Steam's TSW discount is now back to 50%.