Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Issue 9, the Tokyo update, has been released

The Black Signal cover
With today's server update, the Tokyo expansion has been unleashed to live servers. And it's a big update, consisting of a whopping 1.3gb. But so is the Tokyo update. In addition to delivering the first new playfield since the launch of the game, it has more cinematics than any other region before this. Then there's the whole new Aegis system, and a loads of story missions and normal missions, and a wide load of new characters.

There's two versions of the Issue 9 DLC available this time. The basic version costs 1200 points and contains the mission part of the Issue 9. In addition to this there's a Collector's Edition that costs 3000 points. If you have already bought the basic version, you can upgrade to the collector's version with an extra 1800 points.

In addition to containing the Issue 9 missions, the Collector's Edition comes with an Orochi made barrier trinket, a Sensei title, and demon masks and school uniforms for both genders.

As of writing this, the end of the Whispering Tide is taking place, and the migration of Flappy birds has started towards Tokyo. After the migration is over in 20 short minutes, Tokyo will be unlocked.

Other non-Tokyo related changes include the long waited functionality to see the date your cabal mates have been online the previous time. Read the full update notes here, and Funcom's official Tokyo announcement post here.

UPDATE: You need to be a subscriber to be able to access Tokyo for the next 3 days. If you subscribe now, according to the official announcement, you should get enough points to buy the Issue 9 right away. If you do it now, be aware there might be a bit of wait as everyone is trying to simultaneously buy the required Funcom points to be able to buy the Issue.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Orochi Group hacked - but who is NeuromancerQueen99?

Neuromancer, she's a queen
The small big news of the yesterday that got stomped under the leaked journalist tour and the big revelation that Tokyo is coming tomorrow was the fact that orochi-group.com was hacked. By whom you ask. We don't know yet, but who ever it did left behind the picture you can see above. So, who is this Neuromancer lady, that goes by the name Neuromancer Queen 99, and what does she want with Orochi? And does she have anything to do with the namesake on twitter?

It might be worth following what the twitter account has to say, in case it's the real Queen99. You might just find out how she fits with the things taking place in Tokyo.

May Game Director's letter is now available and contains information about Tokyo

Oni, two, three, T O K Y O
So, the last night's live stream was not supposed to go public it would seem. What was supposed to go public was the May 2014 version of the Game Director's letter that hit TSW websites near you today.

The big official (not official, just massively reporting) news is that Tokyo is going to be released tomorrow, Wednesday. That's probably the early bird period for the subscribers, and the rest of us need to wait another couple of days before getting a change to buy the Issue 9 that is required to get an access to Tokyo.

Go read the letter now. While it's not a treasure trove of information compared to the yesterday's stream, it's still a small fortune of juicy information, and contains a lot less spoilers than the stream notes.

So which one is it for you, the red pill or the blue pill?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Joel talks about Tokyo in a Twitch Stream - Lots of juicy Tokyo spoilers

Tokyo is coming soon. There's a teaser trailer already available. Game Director Joel Bylos has also given a tour in Tokyo for some journalists from major sites. You can find the tour at twitch in two parts. The recordings of the stream are no longer available it would seem.

There's a chance Tokyo could come this week, but it's not totally sure.

Read more about it and about other spoilers after the break, where I have written down the most important things mentioned in the two twitch streams. There's a lot of new information.


Update: Tokyo is coming this Wednesday.

Apparently the stream was not supposed to go public, and the recordings have now been removed. Although, Joel did say on the stream that there was no embargo for any of the information.


But lucky you, you can still read the summary of the best parts of the stream below. 


It's unfortunately a bit messy, as what lies below is basically the notes that I wrote down while watching the stream. There's probably a tremendous amount of mistakes in it due to mishearing a lot, and also from me misunderstanding what my own notes meant, when I tried to clean them a bit after the stream last night. And to make it clear, I was not part of the troupe on the stream. Just someone lucky enough to saw the link to it on The Secret World's own forums.



Update 2: In the text below, Game Director Joel Bylos was loosely quoted saying that Tokyo would not be free, but since then he has corrected this. Tokyo can be accessed cannot be accessed without any extra payments by doing the free scenarios. I heard wrong, my mistake.

Update 3: So, Tokyo is not free. I seem to have totally misread what Joel wrote in the earlier link.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Remember to follow us on Twitter

Just a friendly reminder that we are also on twitter with the handle @toHollowEarth. You can find more updates there. While there haven't been that many posts here on our main site as of lately, twitter is getting more updates due to it's shorter content size and for the ease of updating things. Don't worry though, there will be new posts coming soon here as well.

Follow us already on twitter for more updates.

On the other hand, if you don't have a twitter account yourself, you can follow our latest tweets on the twitter widget on the right side panel of this very same page. The widget updates itself every 10 minutes or so.

Down the page you can also find twitter feeds for the #hivehum tag used for The Secret World related in-character tweets, as well as tweets from Funcom handled official twitter accounts such as Richard Sonnac, Said, Miss Geary and Buzzing to name a few.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Time table for the latest part of Whispering Tide event now available

With the May 7th server patch the next phase of the Whispering Wide event has started. During the phase player's get a second change to do those event missions that they didn't manage to do when the missions were available first time. Those that missed the previous

If you have been wondering where the winged menace in filth, aka, flappy* has gone after the patch, you'll have to wait a bit more in order to met the jolly dragon again. The current phase comes in two parts. The first one is already going, as since May 7th, the 3 gathering phases for the filth event have been available. Those are the missions, where you are supposed to melt runes into the 3rd age ingredients that are used to get rid of the filth contaminating the portals. This part will be lasting until May 14th, when the second part will start and the instanced missions of the event will be switched on. The second part of the phase will last until May 21st.

But what happens after May 21st? Will there be a final phase for the Whispering Tide event, or will that last part be the first part of the Tokyo expansion? Will have to wait, I guess.

Meanwhile, if you want to get the beehive helmet that is handed out on completing all the event missions, now is a good time to act.

*not related to the more widely known namesake. Although, flappy has had it's time in the wall avoiding, tapping madness that it's namesake started.

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?