The Secret World column

The Secret World: Where Funcom Went Wrong and Why It’s Not Over

The Secret World: Where Funcom Went Wrong and Why It’s Not Over

Published on: Aug 22, 2012 at 15:29
Updated on: Aug 22, 2012 at 20:13
By TJSonntag | More infos about the MMORPG The Secret World

Funcom’s conspiracy-theory MMO The Secret World enjoyed a year’s worth of really interesting hype before releasing in July of this year. The Facebook Secret War, coupled with the interactive puzzles on the game’s website, allowed gamers to feel like they were part of the development of the game’s storyline and universe.

Unfortunately, TSW saw a number of less-than-stellar reviews from some of the bigger names in video gaming, resulting a low-70s MetaCritic score. Most notably, IGN scored the game at only 70 of 100, and G4 TV scored it at a whopping 2.5 out of 5. When the users on that same website have submitted scores averaging 4.4 on the same scale, it becomes obvious that the wrong people were asked to review this title.

Nevertheless, Funcom blames the MetaCritic score in part for the game’s lower-than-expected sales numbers, although they knew all along that they were making a niche game for a rather small — well, niche. After reading some of the G4 TV review’s details, it becomes obvious that the reviewer never played the release version of game at all. See, for example, the reference to bad voice acting, weak story and dialogue. What? No way is this the same Secret World I’ve been exploring!

The combat, another of the reviewers’ sticking points, has seen a lot of love from the devs in the six weeks following release. Nearly all of the mission-aborting bugs have been ironed out. Basing a review on only the beta is asinine. So what’s really wrong with Funcom’s break from the MMO norm?

The biggest problem with the game is twofold: a monthly subscription fee is hard to justify when players are running out of content just six weeks after launch. While the lack of levels and deep skill wheel design are huge draws to the game, it’s still hard to work up the desire to complete the same old action missions over and over. I’m killing the same ghouls, only this time with Pistols and a a Hammer instead of my Shotgun and Elementalism spells. That’s not really variety.

Funcom promises monthly updates, and the next is scheduled to hit on August 28. The first, Issue #1, included several new investigations (my favorite part!) and a couple of action missions. Here’s hoping that Issue #2 is even meatier than the last, and provides enough to keep its fans busy for at least another four weeks.

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About the author:
TJ Sonntag has owned various Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Microsoft consoles, most of which were purchased for an exclusive survival horror game or RPG. She has been playing World of Warcraft since July of 2006, as well as dabbling in several other MMOs such as Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings: Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. TJ has participated in the closed and open betas for Aion, Rift, and several WoW expansions. She also participates in several FTP MMO betas, and has been leveling a member of each Secret Society in The Secret World.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of

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