Update May 9, 2017: we now have a release date for the free-to-play relaunch of The Secret World Legends.
Back in March, Funcom announced some fundamental revisions to their MMORPG, The Secret World. They’ve been in beta testing for a while now, pending a live release “this spring”. That release date has now been announced: the rather more summer-flavoured June 26.
The Secret World made our list of the best MMOs on PC - here's hoping the relaunch is as strong.
Anyway, the announcement is accompanied by a new video laying out the changes and introducing new players to the revamped game. Combat, progression, graphics and the business model have all been overhauled - see our original story below for more details.
It all amounts to a pretty radical set of changes, which appear to have split the community. Though beta testers are theoretically under an NDA (according to MasivelyOP, as of a month ago), the Secret World Legends subreddit is nonetheless full of threads discussing the overhaul quite openly, all preserved via an Imgur gallery.
Original story March 29, 2017: The Secret World, Funcom’s MMORPG that blends occult threats with a modern setting, is getting a pretty drastic revamp. The Conan Exiles developers have announced that the game is to be relaunched as The Secret World Legends, a free-to-play shared-world RPG.
That’s a drastic departure from the Secret World’s current business model, which requires only an initial purchase to play. A monthly subscription that unlocks further benefits is also offered, but is optional.
“Over the course of five years, The Secret World has created a truly memorable RPG universe that stands out to this day for the uniqueness of its dark setting and tone, the depth of its quest design, and the high quality of its voice acting throughout,” says Funcom CEO Rui Casais. “Secret World Legends uses that foundation to mark a new era for the game, offering a fresh start for newcomers and long-time fans alike, delivering a captivating journey that can be enjoyed entirely on your own or with friends.”
The relaunch will come later "this spring" and alter the game’s systems at a fundamental level. Combat and progression are redesigned from scratch, and visuals will be updated. Funcom say all the game’s missions will be free-to-play, promising “over 100 hours of mature storytelling and surprises.”
In The Secret World, ancient myths bled into contemporary society, similarly to any number of modern-fantasy TV shows like Buffy, Supernatural, Grimm, Once Upon A Time, and I could go on. The relaunch will retain this premise, with players travelling the globe, chasing clues and using their wits, as well as your characters’ abilities. Funcom promise an extensive and customisable arsenal of firearms, weapons, gear and otherworldly powers to take it to the forces of darkness. You can play solo, or team up with others.
According to MMORPG.com, the new free-to-play model will be supported by microtransactions for additional characters, vanity items, extra inventory space "and more", and there will be a premium currency called Aurum. Existing players of The Secret World will be able to claim some Aurum by linking their account to Legends, and vanity items will also roll over.
You can sign up for a closed beta at this website.
Reaction on Reddit has been mixed to negative, with some players agreeing that systems such as the combat needed a revamp, but many more either worried or furious at the prospect of having to start fresh.