Secret World Legends: Funcom Goes Full Murphy

“Full Murphy” is a concept I came up with in a recent article, and I like the idea enough I’m kind of trying to make it a thing now. It’s when Murphy’s Law expresses itself in its purest form, when literally everything that could go wrong does, a cataclysmic confluence of awfulness. It’s a perfect shitstorm.

/facepalmSuffice it to say, you should never go Full Murphy if you can avoid it.

Funcom just went Full Murphy.

Today the news has come down that The Secret World will be put in maintenance mode to make way for a new incarnation of the game called Secret World Legends. It revamps most of the game’s systems while maintaining largely the same content.

I’ve been pretty nervous about the relaunch of the game since it was first teased, but I am impressed by Funcom’s ability to vastly exceed even my most pessimistic expectations. This is bad in pretty much every way that it possibly could be.

Character wipe? Check.

No compensation for the hundreds of hours we’ve already put into the game? Check.

New business model that’s less player friendly? Check.

Requiring people to pay again for things they already bought (character slots)? Check.

Interesting and unique progression mechanics replaced with generic level grind? Check.

No new content to go with the new systems? Check.

The only way this could have been worse is if Grandmaster benefits didn’t transfer over. Thankfully, Funcom will allow lifetimers like me to keep our permanent subscription, but that’s about the only thing that gets transferred. You can reserve one character name for the new game if you want, and “some” of our cosmetics can be transferred, which sounds terribly ominous for someone who’s spent as much time collecting cosmetics as I have.

I’m pretty speechless, honestly. This is truly Full Murphy.

I have five characters in TSW. Two have completed the full storyline to date and have full ability wheels (well, Dorothy is at like 98%). I have full launch lore on one. I don’t have the words to adequately communicate my feelings on losing all that.

Yes, the old game will still exist, and I’ll be able to play it still, but it’s never going to see any new content, and I doubt it will survive for much longer. With no way to acquire new players (only people who already have accounts will have access to it) and no new content, it’s going to die pretty quickly, and once it’s no longer profitable, it will undoubtedly be closed down.

So it’s move to Legends or bust, practically speaking. And that means starting over entirely from scratch. As much as I love the world and setting, going through everything yet again is a less than appealing prospect.

In a way this is worse than if the game had simply shut down or gone into a more traditional maintenance mode. There will be new content (eventually, supposedly), but I have to repeat the entire game over again to experience it — several times if I want to keep getting the perspectives of multiple factions. I’m between a rock and a hard place.

And would it even be worth investing in Legends? I can’t imagine this is a game with a bright future ahead of it. You’re not going to attract huge crowds of people to a game that is still essentially five years old and has a reputation of having failed once before. Nor do I see a lot of veterans making the transition, as Funcom has been pretty thorough about burning their bridges there.

Honestly at this point I think I would have preferred a more traditional maintenance mode. They could have continued the IP through single-player titles. The current situation is the worst of all possible solutions.

The only positive I see in this unbelievable mess is that Legends will apparently be even more solo-friendly than TSW is. They’re not even calling it an MMO anymore. That’s good. At this point I think we can be honest that making TSW an MMO was probably the biggest mistake Funcom made (until now, at least). It was never a good fit.

It’s pure fan speculation at this point, but there’s some talk of maybe adding solo modes for dungeons. That would be nice. I enjoy the group versions, but it would be great to able to explore them solo at your own pace.

I would also love to see raids made soloable or otherwise made more accessible. They’re the one part of TSW I’ve never been able to experience.

At this point, though, I’m not sure if I’m going to play Legends or not. I’ve long said that if games can provide me with a story I care about I’ll put up with pretty much anything, but this is a bigger test of that principle than anything before. Even SW:TOR’s crumby business model and all of WoW’s mind-boggling blunders pale in comparison to this.

The Secret World is one of my all-time favourite games. I’ve spent years loving it, obsessing over it, and evangelizing it. It would take a Herculean effort to burn away all the goodwill I have for it. But right now Funcom’s answer to that seems to be, “Challenge accepted!”

So StarCraft: Remastered

After months of speculation, Blizzard has now officially announced StarCraft: Remastered, an HD update of the original game and its expansion, Brood War. They’re going to make SC1 and BW totally free, while the Remaster will be a paid upgrade.

A screenshot from the official remaster of StarCraft 1A remaster of a classic Blizzard game seems like the sort of thing I’d be over the moon about, but to be honest… well, as Randy Jackson would say, I’m not feelin’ it, dawg.

The trouble with updating old games is that there’s such a fine line between changing too much, and not changing enough, and where that line sits can be quite subjective. For me, this remaster isn’t changing enough.

It’s basically the original game with slightly tweaked graphics. That will undoubtedly please the purists, but to be honest I don’t really want to be dealing with clunky UI, infuriatingly brain-dead pathfinding, and graphics that may be better than the original but still look about fifteen years out of date.

Ultimately, what kills my enthusiasm more than anything is Mass Recall.

The main thing I’d be interested in when it comes to a remake is the campaign, and Mass Recall already provides all of the story content of the original with fully modernized graphics and gameplay. And it’s free. It’s giving me more while costing me nothing, whereas the official remaster is offering less for a price.

The main thing the official offering has over Mass Recall is that it includes competitive play, but I’m not much for PvP, so that doesn’t really matter to me.

I am a little intrigued by the animated interludes they’re talking about — I don’t know if that means the briefings, the cinematics, or both —  as those sound pretty cool, but I don’t think it’s worth dropping cash for.

I’m sure there are people who will enjoy this remaster, but it seems like it’s going to be a pretty small niche.

I’m not really that disappointed because the remaster I want already exists in the form of Mass Recall. I am, however, concerned about the precedent this sets for other hypothetical remasters of old Blizzard games, which don’t already exist in the form of mods (not good ones, anyway).

I’d love to see modernized versions of a lot of older Blizzard titles, but if they’re all just going to be minor graphical face-lifts and nothing else, I’m not sure I’d want to bother. Warcraft III could maybe work with nothing but mild visual tweaks, but the others would need more changes to really be worth playing in this day and age. I’m not saying I want them totally redone from scratch, but at least fix some of the more broken old school mechanics.