Funcom tops Oslo stock exchange, invests heavily in The Secret World

Hands-on with The Secret World's Darkness War dungeon

(37 minutes ago)
Betas, Fantasy, Horror, Game mechanics, MMO industry, New titles, Previews, News items, PvE, Opinion, Hands-on, The Secret World, Massively Hands-on, First Impressions, Dungeons

What do Vikings, Excalibur, native Americans, and Mayan hell-beasts have in common? They're all part of The Secret World's Darkness War dungeon, of course.

The instance's story setup is pretty slick, and I don't think we're treading too far into spoiler territory if I reveal that you'll be taking a peyote-fueled trip through time and memory to experience a traumatic event from the annals of the Wabanaki tribe that dwells in the game's Blue Mountain region.

Earlier this week I took my own trip through the dungeon -- as well as parts of Egypt, Transylvania, and New England -- with a trusty Funcom guide and a pair of similarly enthralled game journalists. While it wasn't necessarily mind-altering, it was bizarrely enjoyable in a uniquely Secret World sort of way. Continue Reading

The Secret World final beta weekend open to everyone who registers by Fridayat 04:24pm June 20 2012

Comments 11

Funcom’s conspiracies-and-monsters MMO The Secret World is coming out on the 3rd of July – and to celebrate, the developer is making the final beta weekend open to the public. If you register your interest on the official site by this Friday then you’ll gain access. The beta weekend runs from 4pm GMT/12pm EDT on Friday until 7am GMT/3am EDT on Monday.
If you’ve been playing in any of the previous beta weekends, your progress has been saved – so you’ll get to keep playing from where you left off. All three factions are available, and for the first time the persistent PvP will be opening up.
Read and comment >

source: massively & pc gamer
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The Secret World begins early access this Friday

(1 day ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Real life, Launches, News items, The Secret World

If you haven't settled on a faction yet for Funcom's intrigued-laced MMO The Secret World, you might want to consider shifting your decision-making into a higher gear or investing in a three-sided coin -- the time of the Templars, Illuminati, and Dragons is at hand. The three-way faction PvP will commence this Friday, June 29th for those who have pre-ordered the game. Players who have opted not to pre-order will find the game in stores starting June 3rd and can join the world on that date.

If you'd like to take advantage of the early access (and possibly kiss your weekend goodbye), there is still time to pre-order via the official site.

The Secret World lowers UK sub fee, details pre-order access times [Updated]

(6 hours ago)
Betas, Fantasy, Horror, Video, MMO industry, New titles, News items, The Secret World

It's two days and counting until The Secret World's early access period. As such, Funcom is ramping up the publicity in a number of spots around the web. First up is a new interview with creative director Ragnar Tornquist at Gamespot. He talks about the title's contemporary setting as well as the crunch of last-minute adjustments before the user floodgates open on Friday.

Gamespot is also showing a six-minute preview video of the Savage Coast, Transylvania, and Egypt, which we've embedded for you below after the break.

There have also been a couple of noteworthy updates on the official Secret World forums regarding the early release period. Firstly, Funcom notes that everyone who pre-ordered will get access on June 29th at noon EDT. However, early pre-orders and those who have purchased the Grand Master Pack will be able to log in "even earlier."

Finally, Funcom has dropped the monthly subscription fee "to make it more in line with pricing in Europe." The new number is £11.49 including VAT.

[Update: Funcom has also posted server names and designations for Friday's early access launch as well as an explanation for how the game's single-server technology will impact players. Thanks to Varrakys and Acidbaron for the tip!] Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: Early access to The Secret World

(2 days ago)

Dark days aren't just coming, folks -- they're already here. And they're glorious.

As you've probably surmised, Chaos Theory is a new column all about The Secret World. What you might not realize, however, is that this addition to Massively's feature roster was a little bit last-minute. Don't get me wrong; I've been looking forward to this game for a number of years now (heck, I signed up on waaaaay back in May of 2007, before Massively even existed!). Up until very recently, though, we had no plans to cover the game on a recurring basis. That changed over the early release weekend as I spammed our editors with zomg-I'm-having-a-blast-and-you-should-totally-let-me-write-about-this emails.

Sure, I played the press beta and largely enjoyed it for what it was, but now that I'm in the game proper, tooling around on my own characters and taking the time to soak up the stories, the lore, and the mechanics, well... let's just say that we'll have plenty to talk about for the foreseeable future. Continue Reading

Everything you need to know about The Secret World, part deux

(2 days ago)

Er, well, apparently it's launch day for The Secret World. Funcom has officially opened the floodgates, according to its Twitter feed.

A few weeks ago, we put together a news roundup feature focused on TSW. We do this for every major MMO launch, but this one was a bit, well, early, since early access was still a month away at the time. We did it as a public service for our friends at Joystiq (and their heathen what's-an-MMO readership that had never heard of TSW). Just kidding, guys -- we love you, and we know there's some crossover too.

In any event, it's time for the real Secret World roundup because a lot has happened since the warmup. Oh, and today is actually launch day, so it kind of makes sense. Join us after the cut for everything you need to know about Funcom's new horror-conspiracy MMO. Continue Reading

Funcom patches The Secret World's chat issues, other stuff

by Jef Reahard (2 days ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Bugs, MMO industry, New titles, Patches, News items, The Secret World

The Secret World doesn't officially launch until tomorrow, but Funcom has already unveiled the game's first major patch. Early release customers have been playing since last Friday, and today they awoke to a lengthy set of update notes for version 1.0.

The patch doesn't feature any huge additions (or nerfs) but does boast a sizable collection of tweaks ranging from client and GUI adjustments to a fix for the chat server crashes that manifested over the weekend. Head to the official Secret World website for all the details.

[Thanks to Acidbaron for the tip!]

Funcom's CEO steps down on the day of The Secret World's launch

(1 day ago)

If you were the CEO of a major MMO developer and your studio had just finished a major game project, what would you do to celebrate? Buy some drinks? Throw a party? Resign from your position and step into a new advisory role? Apparently Funcom's former CEO Trond Arne Aas opted for the last one, as he has officially ceded the CEO post to former COO Ole Schreiner on the same day that The Secret World has launched.

Aas himself is remaining with the company as a chief strategy officer, working on the company's newly announced LEGO game as well as undisclosed other projects. His direct statements indicated that he feels the company is in a solid position on all fronts, meaning that now is the perfect time for him to step into a freer advisory position while still remaining involved with the future of Funcom. It's a surprising move, but we hope it's one that will benefit both Aas and Schreiner in the long run.

The Secret World reveals its launch trailer

(1 day ago)
Horror, Sci-fi, Trailers, Video, Launches, New titles, News items, The Secret World

Some secrets are out. Funcom might have slipped the launch in a day early, but The Secret World's launch trailer kept to the initial schedule. For just under three minutes, players can now get a glimpse of some of the secrets hiding throughout the world in the form of various beasts and monsters while being serenaded by the bluesy voice of Dinah Washington crooning (the quite appropriate) This Bitter Earth.

Watch the debut cinematic after the cut, and to catch up on all the latest about The Secret World, check out the launch-day roundup as well as Massively's new column dedicated to the world of secret organizations, Chaos Theory.

[Thanks to Acidburn for the tip!] Continue Reading

The Daily Grind: Has an MMO launch ever lived up to your expectations?

(1 day ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Launches, MMO industry, New titles, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Secret World

Yes, it's another Secret World-powered opinion post. Some on the Massively staff have fallen for the game pretty hard, so you'll have to bear with us if you're not among the faithful.

In any event, Funcom's horror-conspiracy title officially went live yesterday, and the occasion made me think about the last time an MMO launch actually met my expectations (in a positive way). Sure, there's several features I would like to see implemented in TSW going forward, but as it stands, it's one of the more enjoyable MMOs I've played in a while.

How about you, dear readers? Has any MMO launch lived up to your expectations?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Secret World review as it happens

Comments 45
at 07:13pm July 3 2012
The Secret World releases today. I’m deep into Funcom’s MMO of conspiracy, magic and invasive insects, and will be writing down my impressions as I go. First up, some loose thoughts from my time in the early access period of the last couple of days.

Read and comment >

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MV Guide: July 2 - 8, 2012

(2 days ago)
Livestream, Miscellaneous, MV Guide

MV Guide is a weekly rundown of the MMO gaming events planned on Massively TV.

Every week, the Massively Stream Team logs in to play various MMOs live and in person, and we'd love for you to drop by the channel and visit. We have a combination of regular weekly games and new surprises each week, so you'll find a variety of titles to watch. During our streamed events, you can participate in the live chat, ask questions to learn about the game, or simply spend some time with Massively staff and readers. (Of course, streaming is subject to the whims of outside forces like server-side gremlins once in a while.)

Follow along after the jump to see what's on this week's schedule, and let us know if there's a specific game you'd like to see streamed next week! Continue Reading
it's already set for that though. there won't be much of a need to wait.
Funcom extends grace period for pre-order customers

(5 hours ago)
Sci-fi, Events, in-game, Launches, News items, The Secret World

There's nothing quite like the real world for gumming up the operations of the fantastical one. Some players of The Secret World pre-ordered the game and haven't yet received their retail copy, which is important because the grace period for playing without entering a retail key isn't a very big window of time and players were beginning to get antsy. In response to those concerns, Funcom announced that the grace period for pre-order key entry has been extended by 24 hours, allowing more people to slide in under the deadline. It's not an unusual step to take because launch-time distribution is known to be totally sucky.

In a similar vein, some of the pre-order benefits -- the Egyptian Cat in-game pet, an exclusive in-game t-shirt, and an in-game ring -- are also extended to customers who enter their retail or digital game keys up until the end of today, July 6th. While that may not thrill true pre-order customers who liked being special snowflakes, that cat is darn adorable and everyone should get one.

Funcom shares fall, Tornquist defends The Secret World's sub fee

(11 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Business models, MMO industry, New titles, News items, The Secret World

It's not all roses for Funcom following the launch of The Secret World earlier this week. Gamespot is reporting that company shares on the Norwegian Stock Exchange fell by almost 40 percent in recent days.

Earlier this week Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas stepped down, citing internal restructuring as the cause. The company has thus far not responded to media requests for comment on its financial fortunes. The Secret World opened to positive reviews in both the gaming press and MMO fan circles, despite having a subscription fee in an era when gamers are increasingly clamoring for free content.

Creative director Ragnar Tornquist recently chatted about the game's business model with Rock, Paper Shotgun. "The subscription fee and our business model supports a big, ongoing team. We have content plans for a very long time. We have content that's going to be coming on a regular, ongoing basis," he explained.

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MMO Week in Review: Secret agenda

(19 hours ago)
Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

So there's this new game in town called The Secret World -- maybe you've heard of it? This week, while you've been busily solving puzzles in the game, we've been following the news, covering Funcom's CEO's resignation from TSW, the game's early patches, developers' claims that the title's combat is "radically different," and concern over the company's business model and falling stock values.

We also debuted our brand-new The Secret World column, posted a roundup of our launch coverage, and published a detailed guide to the game's skill system.

It's hopefully no secret that the rest of this week's top MMO stories are hidden behind the break. Continue Reading

source: Massively
Funcom unveils armory-like Chronicle for The Secret World

(1 day ago)
Betas, Horror, Real life, Sci-fi, Game mechanics, MMO industry, New titles, News items, The Secret World

Imagine that -- keeping an upcoming feature of The Secret World a secret! Yet Funcom pulled it off, announcing today via a letter from creative director and senior producer Ragnar Tornquist the aptly named new player record that will actually chronicle a player's journey through TSW.

Starting now, players active within the last four days can log into Chronicle and check out their stats on their profile page and compare themselves with players across the world using the PvP and PvE leaderboards. But that's only the beginning. Tornquist goes on to say,
"We have a lot of great features planned, and we will be integrating the service more with the game and also, hopefully, with mobile devices and social networks in the future. We are going to add more stats, more features, more leaderboards, and more user control. We might also look at giving rewards tied to your status and standing on Chronicle."​
The beta is public so the team can gather as much community feedback as possible, so jump in, check it out, and give your feedback to help shape Chronicle's future.

[Source: Funcom press release]
More coverage: The Secret World official site

The Secret World adding server dimension to meet player demand

(21 minutes ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Game mechanics, MMO industry, New titles, News items, The Secret World

Things are looking pretty good for The Secret World a week after its launch. Funcom has just announced that it is adding an additional server dimension to "accommodate the increasing number of players."

The game makes use of something called single-server technology that allows players from different dimensions to chat, group, and join guilds. If you're thinking of taking the game for a spin and looking to roll on the same server that your friends inhabit, don't fret, as you'll be able to play with them regardless.

Funcom says the new shard will be flagged as a "roleplaying dimension." If you're looking for it in the dimension list, it's called Leviathan.

Chaos Theory: Tornquist on The Secret World's launch, future

(4 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Game mechanics, Interviews, MMO industry, New titles, News items, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory

You know, this is probably obvious if you've read my coverage of The Secret World thus far, but I'll just go ahead and fess up: I dig the game, and watching Funcom knock the cover off the ball is gratifying in a strange sort of way.

That's why I didn't get too upset when my opportunity to interview creative director Ragnar Tornquist was upstaged by the firm's huge news dump this afternoon. The company shocked gamers and industry watchers by promising monthly content updates and a whole bunch of other stuff, some of which I had asked about in a series of questions we sent Funcom earlier in the week.

The resulting answers are still worth a read, though, particularly if you're pinching yourself over TSW's successful launch and its rosy future. Continue Reading

Featured Interview Exclusive News

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The Daily Grind: How do you like your MMO PvP?

(12 hours ago)
Game mechanics, PvP, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Secret World

So The Secret World's Fusang Projects PvP zone is a rollicking good time. And this is coming from someone who generally thinks of MMO PvP as ill-considered (at best).

Why is it fun? I can't really put my finger on that. It's an absolutely huge zone, and beautifully rendered. It also supports hundreds of simultaneous players, and for the first week of the game at least, it's lived up to its constantly populated billing.

It's pretty much a zerg, though, unless you happen to be in Ventrilo with a well-coordinated group. And therein lies today's breakfast topic. Assuming you partake of MMO PvP, do you do it in a small group or are you part of the hive mind?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Secret World's July content patch teased, world-altering changes discussed

(2 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Game mechanics, MMO industry, New titles, News items, The Secret World

Don't look now, but it's another article about The Secret World. Shock! Awe! Raaaaage! OK, seriously. Rock, Paper Shotgun has been looking at Funcom's private parts, specifically the parts coming in the newly released game's first major update.

Earlier this week Funcom posted its plans for monthly content patches, and the first such will apparently feature some new missions. Most of the new content will focus on investigation missions, with some additional ARG elements added in for good measure.

Funcom also has a notion to morph The Secret World's er... world with each monthly update. MMOs are notoriously static enterprises; the only thing that really changes in any of these games is our character stats. TSW is taking a different road, though, and concerns about latecomers missing out on content are apparently not as important as creating a living world with an actual history. RPS cites a hypothetical involving the killing off of a major story mission NPC, and the site goes on to suggest that The Secret World will evolve "not through procedural wizardry or player action but rather through the guiding hand of a team of writers."

Postcards from The Secret World: Joining the Dragon

(23 hours ago)

Apart from a high school addiction to Phantasy Star Online (Level 100 HuCast!), and a six-day foray into an ancient World of Warcraft trial edition that came with my Diablo 2 Battlechest, I have very little experience with massively multiplayer online games. The Secret World, however, has intrigued me ever since it was first announced. Here was an MMO that not only had a real-world setting, but one that drew its story and lore from urban legends and conspiracy theories. Illuminati, Templars, Mothman? In short, it sounded like my cup of tea, so I dug in once early access kicked off at the end of June.

The following isn't a review of The Secret World. Instead, it's offered as an account of my own experiences – an MMO novice – playing through Funcom's recently launched online game.
Postcards from The Secret World: Part 1

Continue Reading

Postcards from The Secret World: Part 1

  1. Review
    The Secret World
    The Secret World's puzzles, storytelling, and atmosphere make for captivating exploration--but occasional frustrations threaten the journey.
    1. Watch it
    2. Read it
    3. First week impressions
    4. 3 hr gameplay ma

The Secret World devs to host exclusive livestream on Friday the 13th

(9 hours ago)
Horror, Real life, Sci-fi, Events, real-world, MMO industry, New titles, News items, The Secret World, Livestream

Forget superstition: This Friday the 13th is a lucky day for The Secret World fans who want to delve deeper into the world of conspiracies. Tomorrow at 11 a.m. EDT, Creative Director and Senior Producer Ragnar Tørnquist and Lead Content Designer Joel Bylos will host a livestream of themselves playing select parts of the game while offering commentary and discussing the development process. To watch, join TSW's official Twitch.TV channel, TheSecretWorld.

Don't want to wait until tomorrow to see some The Secret World action? Then watch Massively TV tonight at 8:00 p.m. EDT for a two-hour special stream showing off investigation missions. You can still catch the special developer livestream tomorrow!

[Source: Funcom press release]
More coverage: The Secret World official site
Postcards from The Secret World: Riddles in the dark
(1 hour ago)

Welcome to Postcards from The Secret World, a trip through Funcom's new title from the perspective of a player new to MMOs. Read part one if you haven't!
My character stands outside a locked cell in the Kingsmouth sheriff's office, there to uncover the secrets behind a 2002 murder case. All I know is that something vital to the case's mystery is inside that cell. The cell, as it happens, belonged to Larry Checkon, the man allegedly responsible for a string of summer murders – at least it did when he was alive.

My only clue was discovered inside the sheriff's computer, where I found a record of Checkon's actions after he was arrested. The sheriff had questioned him at the time, but Checkon kept quiet, telling the sheriff that she'd have to talk to his ghost if she wanted the truth. Somehow, this information is supposed to get me inside the cell and get me what I need.

The really weird part is that this isn't an adventure game, but rather an MMO: Funcom's The Secret World. It's this investigation mission – and others like it – that is fast becoming my new obsession.Postcards from The Secret World: Riddles in the Dark

Continue Reading

source: Joystiq

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Funcom outlines The Secret World's dungeon mechanics

(50 minutes ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Game mechanics, MMO industry, News items, PvE, The Secret World, Dev Diaries, Dungeons

If you've been thinking about dungeon-running in The Secret World but you've yet to take the plunge, Funcom has published a new blog post that may push you over the edge.

The piece outlines the basics (one dungeon per play field, five-player groups, etc.), but it also gives a bit of insight into Funcom's encounter design. Gone are traditional waves of time-consuming trash mobs. The devs have instead opted to provide a series of ever more challenging boss fights.

Once you've mastered a dungeon's eccentricities in normal mode (and once you've completed all the Solomon Island and Egypt dungeons), you can access each instance's elite mode. If you're skilled enough to survive elite mode, you can test yourself against Funcom's fearsome guardian. If you survive one of his challenges (of which there are three, one each for the main group roles of healing, tanking, and damage-dealing), you can access nightmare mode dungeons.

Read all about TSW's dungeon options on the official website.



The Secret World (PC)

Steve and Raju dare to enter The Secret World.


July 30 – Reviews on the Run – Full Show

Prepare for a Super Amazing Wagon Adventure, dare to enter The Secret World, hit the hardwood with Rodman FT, blast away with MicroVolts, Dynamite Jack gets explosive, and defend the territory in Fieldrunners 2.

source: ROTR

very accessible with a different setting and scenario from other MMO RPg's

steve gave it a 8.5 and Raju gave it a 7.5

They epsecially like the fact that you can mostly do this game completely solo if you so choose to do so. SO if your one of those that love to do that of often which Rare in an MMO. cause other are centered on team work or if they allow for that they reward those that do the Team work thing better. then this MMO's for you. cause it does the opposite of all that.
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The Secret World's first raid debuts at Gamescom

(11 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Trailers, Video, Events, real-world, MMO industry, Patches, News items, PvE, The Secret World, Dungeons

Remember that badass CG trailer for The Secret World that featured four of the game's factional NPCs joining forces to duke it out with a big nasty in the remains of New York City? Well, that might be our first clue about TSW's next update.

Funcom's new content initiative continues at next week's Gamescom event as the firm will be releasing details of The Secret World's first raid encounter. According to a report at IncGamers, the raid will "involve a giant monster crawling out of the subway system [and] attacking a partially destroyed New York."

We don't know for sure whether the old trailer is related to the new raid, but there are a lot of similarities (including an errant subway car and what looks like the blasted remains of the Big Apple). See for yourself after the break. Continue Reading

Funcom offering bonus Secret World cash shop points to tire-kickers
(4 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, MMO industry, The Secret World, Promotions

If you took part in The Secret World's free trial last weekend, Funcom has a gift with your name on it should you decide to purchase the game. The firm is offering up 1200 bonus points, which are usable in TSW's cash shop. The only catch is that you'll need to commit before this Sunday, August 12th, in order to claim them.

You'll also need to spend the points prior to September 30th, and Funcom says that "they can be used to purchase a wide array of social clothing for your character." Full outfit sets will run you 1080 points, whereas individual shirts, jackets, pants, and accessories are anywhere from 225 to 540 points each.

[Source: Funcom press release]
More coverage: Official site
Source: IncGamers
More coverage: Official site
whew...glad I didn't buy this game. I hear sales are pretty bad right now.
Releasing so close to Guild Wars 2 and making it a pay to play were too poor choices. At the very least if they have released farther away from GW2 they may have done better sales. I don't know anyone who is remotely interested in this game...seems all I hear about from people is GW2.
The Secret World's August update adding new weapon, abilities, missions, and more

(17 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Game mechanics, MMO industry, Patches, News items, PvE, The Secret World

The Secret World's second major content drop is coming on August 28th. The Digging Deeper update includes new avatar customization options, new investigation and action missions, and last but not least, the game's first post-launch weapon addition.

The weapon in question is a rocket launcher that boasts seven new abilities, an eighth ability hotbar slot, and a new auxiliary ability wheel. If you're unhappy with the results of your initial character creation session, you can visit Dr. Anton Aldini in Brooklyn or Ockham's Razor barber shop in London for facial feature and hairstyle customization.

New missions include the titular Digging Deeper, which continues the story thread originally introduced in The Kingsmouth Code. Finally, the August update will add nightmare modes to the The Facility and Hell Eternal dungeons. More info is available at the official Secret World website.

And don't forget about the newly announced free trial; anyone can sign up for three free days of The Secret World. If three days isn't enough, you can earn an additional two days and 1200 bonus points when you complete 30 missions.

Gamescom 2012: Funcom teases The Secret World's New York raid with new screens

Funcom has let slip the first details of The Secret World's first raid at this week's Gamescom convention in Germany. Said details take the form of four screenshots showing player characters duking it out with some sort of tentacled monstrosity in the streets of New York.

A company press release says that "players will be introduced to the story by listening to the accounts of characters that have taken refuge in the New York subway system, and eventually players will battle a monster that towers over the skyscrapers in the middle of Times Square."

Also of note is the game's new three-day trial. Registration is free (but must be completed by August 19th). If you manage to finish 30 missions during your trial period, you'll earn an extra two days of play time. Check out the new screens in the gallery below.

[Source: Funcom press release]
The Secret World Gamescom Gallery

Every summer, the gaming industry descends on Cologne, Germany, for Gamescom, the world's largest trade fair for interactive games and entertainment. Massively's on the scene in 2012, bringing you all the best scoops, impressions, and interviews from MMOs at the show!

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Chaos Theory: The (F2P) future of The Secret World [Updated]

(18 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Business models, MMO industry, News items, Opinion, Free-to-play, The Secret World, Chaos Theory

[Ed: Look for an official Funcom statement regarding the anon tipster email at the end of the article.]

Scott Jennings ended a blog entry about The Secret World with a telling phrase this past week. "This is why we can't have nice things," he said. This was preceded by what can only be called a lament, as Jennings laid out how Funcom did something that most MMO developers are loath to do these days: It made an original game. And the reward for such was a dismal quarterly report and a round of layoffs.

That The Secret World attempts to break from the putrid post-World of Warcraft MMO mold is not up for debate. What is debatable is whether breaking from said mold can be profitable. Continue Reading

Funcom teases rocket launcher screen, Tokyo concept art for The Secret World

(8 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Galleries, Screenshots, Game mechanics, MMO industry, News items, The Secret World

Funcom has revealed a new screenshot and a couple of interesting pieces of concept art for its upcoming The Secret World content drops. Rocket launchers are on the way with the game's August 28th update, and the firm is also giving players their first glimpse of the Orochi corporate headquarters in Tokyo.

Thus far, Tokyo is only available via the opening tutorial mission sequence that also sets the stage for the game's overarching narrative (and players are limited to a smallish subway instance). Could we be traveling back to the sprawling city to unravel the mystery of the filth and battle Orochi's sinister agents?

Let's hope so. See the new art and the rocket launcher screenshot in our gallery below.
The Secret World Gamescom Gallery

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Funcom, CCP, Snail devs talk skill-based MMOs

(30 minutes ago)
Video, EVE Online, Game mechanics, MMO industry, News items, The Secret World

Although the majority of MMOs are level-based, some games are bucking the trend. The Secret World, EVE Online, and Age of Wushu are three titles that eschew the standard system in favor of offering players a more open gaming experience. In a recent interview, GameSpot talked with developers from these games about level-free MMOs.

Why should games forgo the popular trend and throw levels out? To give players freedom and allow them to play they way they want is the reason cited by both Funcom Lead designer Joel Bylos and Tyler Rawlins, Marketing Associate for Snail Games.

Bylos continued by summing up Funcom's design philosophy this way, "You should not be playing a game to get to the top level. You should be playing a game to have fun." He also admitted that The Secret World changed from level-based to skills mid-development when the team decided that the genre had grown stale in that sense. Kristoffer Touborg, lead game designer for CCP, noted how players get to participate in the gaming experience for EVE even without being in the actual game thanks to the title's far-reaching meta experience.

Are skill-based systems on the rise? Watch the full video after the cut to find out. Continue Reading

The Secret World sales at 200,000; Funcom focused on the future

(5 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, MMO industry, News items, The Secret World

Funcom's latest entry into the MMO field, The Secret World, has been receiving some less-than-stellar publicity lately with a bit of news involving poor Metacritic scores and layoffs (albeit temporary) at Funcom. It doesn't look like things are changing much yet, unfortunately. reports that, in a financial document released today, Funcom is claiming sales of "over 200,000" for the horror-themed title. These sales are reported as being "below expectations" and resulted in an impairment charge of $35,000 US.

In the report, Funcom also cites Guild Wars 2's launch date announcement, followed immediately by that of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, as reasons for The Secret World's subpar performance. But regardless of these setbacks, Funcom is looking ahead according to the company's Director of Communications, Erling Ellingsen, who says that "[Funcom's] focus is now to readjust, roll up our sleeves and focus on the future." Hopefully dark days are not, in fact, coming.

[Thanks to Gostik for the tip!]

The Secret World's NYC raid, Tokyo playfield previewed

(6 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Game mechanics, MMO industry, Patches, News items, PvE, The Secret World, Dungeons

We've known about The Secret World's upcoming New York raid for a while now, but details have been rather scarce. Rock, Paper Shotgun recently got a preview of the new content and came away impressed, claiming that "the raid and an entirely new play area will close act one of the story, with plenty of answers and a host of new questions."

In addition to the Big Apple, players will get to check out portions of Tokyo, which originally appeared in the game's brief tutorial sequence. This time around, there's a larger playfield to explore, with the mysterious Orochi headquarters as its centerpiece.

All this comes after the game's second major content update, which is currently scheduled for a September 11th release.

Funcom tweaking The Secret World's lairs for casual players
(4 hours ago)
Fantasy, Horror, Game mechanics, MMO industry, Patches, News items, PvE, The Secret World, Dungeons

If you're a casual player of Funcom's The Secret World, you may not be aware of the game's lair mechanics. Lairs are basically pockets of super-powerful mobs designed for three players in endgame gear. Each adventuring zone has a lair, and each currently offers signet drops and the chance to summon world bosses on par with those in the game's nightmare dungeons.

With the upcoming 1.2 patch, though, Funcom is tweaking lairs to be a bit more palatable for less dedicated players. A new blog on the official site outlines the reasoning behind the changes. "Some people don't like the intense build requirements of nightmares, or don't have the time to dedicate a few hours per night to wiping on the Ur Draug. When we launched, there was not a whole lot of focused endgame content for these players to participate in," Funcom says.

"The intention going forward is that lairs should offer full endgame progression for casual players of The Secret World," the company continues. The 1.2 patch will turn lairs into 5-player affairs, and it will also add a few anima wells to lessen the traveling pains associated with wiping. New missions and loot progression are the order of the day, too. Full details are yours for the reading on TSW's website.


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