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10:07am on Thursday, 26th April, 2018:



I stopped playing Secret World Legends yesterday, after cancelling my subscription last week.

I'd planned on stopping about now anyway. I'd started because I knew I had a very busy period at work and wanted an MMORPG to come home to play; now the busy period is over, I've got more time to work on some of the projects I've been storing up. Overall, I had a /played of 44 days 19 hours on my main and 1 day 4 hours on my alt, with maybe another day on a character I abandoned after switching from my Steam account to my Funcom account.

So, Secret World Legends is like a light version of The Secret World. TSW is the better game, but they broke it when they added a new combat system. SWL is easier to play but isn't as intellectual; the combat isn't as sophisticated, but it's easier to learn and you don't need a mouse with side buttons to play it. I can see it appealing more to casual players.

The storyline is the same for both games. Some of TSW's content has been shoehorned in a little, but overall it works. Story is the greatest strength of the game, which has a slew of great characters; it's one of the reasons I decided to play SWL rather than some other MMO this time round. Amazingly, Funcom actually added some new content a few weeks ago, although I'm not actually all that engaged by it; as usual for Funcom, they spent all their time making the world and not enough on making something to do in the world. The characters are mainly retreads, too.

If I hadn't decided to quit around now several months ago, I probably would have done anyway. I was getting a bit annoyed with the game, having reached the stage where all my gear and its augments was in the highest category (red) but to move it within that category took either hours of mindless grinding or (surprise surprise) the investment of real money in some pay-to-win boosts.

Another annoying factor was the new "agent" system. This is ripped off from other MMOs: you get some NPCs you can send off on missions while you're playing, and they come back a while later with stuff for you. The ones in SWL can also buff you. Some of these agents are game characters whom you've actually met, which is somewhat fiction-breaking. Worse, they can give amazing buffs — 30% extra heals and damage, that kind of thing — but they're ultra rare. They only drop from blue chests in high-end content. Maybe one chest in ten is blue, and I must have opened 40 or 50 of them without getting a single agent. I've only seen other people get them 3 times, and these are for parties of 5 or 10 (mainly 10). What makes it particularly irksome is that there's another way to get these agents using, oh, real money. I do not like this.

Oh, you can also sometimes get them from sending your agents on special missions. The only agents capable of doing said special missions are the aforementioned high-ranking ones, or possibly lower ones with high-ranking gear that you can also buy for real money.

The main thing that annoys me isn't even this, though. I knew SWL was pay-to-win when I started, after all. No, what really put me off was the concept of a sustain tank. These are tanks who can take damage without dying, because the way their skills and gear are set up they're unkillable except for something like 4 seconds every 20. They don't need healers. My character is a healer. Almost always when I get into a group on a healer ticket, I end up having to switch to DPS, then get criticised because my DPS isn't as high as people who have full-on DPS gear. Great.

I didn't ever manage to get the game's one raid completed at level e5. I'm rated e10 (the maximum), but could rarely get into a group. I maybe could have done if I'd joined a cabal (guild), but knowing I was going to quit I didn't want to form too many friendships I'd have to lose.

Yes, this is all moany, but it's endgame stuff. Until the endgame, SWL is exceptionally good — one of the best out there in terms of story and atmosphere, if not graphics. I wish it well: it deserves it.

Oh, here's my character, Flute, for posterity.

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Copyright © 2018 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).