Secret World Legends: I Hate Myself

I have often said I have far too much franchise loyalty for my own good.

Case in point.

A brief encounter with the Unutterable Lurker in the tutorial of Secret World LegendsI think my feelings on The Secret World’s reboot as Legends are known by now. Nonetheless, I can’t say with absolute certainty that I’m never going to play it. I have eight characters in SW:TOR now, after all. No one could have predicted that.

And if I ever play it, I’ll want my loot from TSW. And if I do, I’ll need to link my account now, because there’s a time limit on that.

In theory, all you have to do is click a button on the account page, but I’m paranoid, so I wanted to actually log into the game and make sure it all transferred. Which meant actually playing the game, as you don’t get delivered items until you finish the tutorial and make it to Agartha.

I bring you now the tale of that ill-fated excursion.

I agonized greatly over which character to attempt to recreate. This is one of the biggest things turning me off Legends to begin with. I don’t have enough character slots to bring them all over (which is ridiculous; I paid for the damn things), and I hate the idea of having to choose between them.

In the end, for reasons I have trouble articulating even to myself, I picked Dorothy the Templar as my ambassador to this new/old world.

My Templar in Secret World LegendsThings didn’t get off to a great start. The new character creation is just awful. TSW already had fairly limited options for a modern MMO, and Legends has greatly reduced your choices. You can no longer customize facial features individually. You can only pick a face and then choose from a variety of randomized variations of it. I can’t imagine how anyone thought this was a good idea.

Also, why is everything blinking all the time?!?! Aaaaaghhh.

To be fair, I like the new hair. It’s mostly the same styles, but they’re now higher rez, and there are more and better colour choices. There’s actually a nice green now. I almost made Kamala instead for that reason, but I couldn’t come up with a face that looked at all like her.

Not that I got Dorothy entirely right, either. She wound up in this weird uncanny valley scenario where she almost looked like the character I know… but not quite.

The new tutorial has gotten some criticism, but I actually kind of like it. It’s atmospheric, and it has some interesting hints about the greater lore. It also feels pretty remedial at times, but a lengthy, hand-holding tutorial is exactly what the old game needed. Really that’s the only big change it needed. I think this will be good for new players.

This is then followed by the original tutorials in Tokyo and the faction HQ (each slightly redone), and I did start to get impatient after a while, but I think that’s mainly because I’m a veteran who knew what to expect. Again, I think a new player would probably find it a lot more palatable.

KILL IT WITH FIREI didn’t experience enough of the new gameplay to form any clear conclusions. It all seemed as insultingly easy as I’d feared (most enemies died in literally one shot), but that is the tutorial. Maybe things are different once you get out into the world.

A part of me died when I saw the “class selection” section in character creation, and the new skill trees are definitely simplified, but after studying them a bit, they didn’t seem quite as brainless as I’d expected. There are still far more abilities than you can equip at a time, so it seems deck-building is not entirely dead.

I still hate the idea of having to unlock additional weapons beyond your base class, though.

From the looks of it, shotguns are now a true tanking weapon. I really like that. I always wanted to tank with a shotgun as my main weapon.

I’m curious if any other weapons have changed roles, but I didn’t notice any at a glance way to see the roles of various weapons.

The new combat animations don’t seem to have quite as much energy or flair as they used to, at least where firearms are concerned, and there’s now this awkward animation whenever your character stops running. It looks absolutely terrible. I don’t know what they were thinking.

The game world itself doesn’t seem much changed. Temple Hall is still full of cats — I wasn’t sure if that would carry over. I thought maybe they’d run the competition again or just ignore it all.

Agartha in Secret World Legends

One thing hasn’t changed: Agartha is still weird as hell.

Eventually, I finished the tutorials and made it to Agartha, at which point my cosmetics unlocked. I didn’t go through it all with a fine-toothed comb, but it does seem the large majority of stuff did carry over, including my Panoptic Core.

Deck uniforms are one thing that didn’t carry over, though, so I was not able to put Dorothy in her traditional Puritan outfit. But I did see some people in Agartha with deck outfits, so they must still be in the game somehow. Bizarrely, they no longer seem to be tied to faction. I saw someone in a Templar uniform that had Illuminati colours. It was very jarring.

Unfortunately, upon entering Agartha I also began to suffer from nearly constant disconnects and crashes that made it unplayable. After nearly an hour of relogging, rebooting, and tinkering with game settings, I was unable to solve the problem. I thought maybe if I could make it out of Agartha things might improve, but I was crashing so much even that proved a bridge too far.

At this point, my already thin patience with the reboot reached its end. I ragequit and uninstalled.

I’m still not going to say I’ll never play Legends, but it’s certainly not something that greatly interests me right now. I still see no good reason why we needed to lose our characters and all our progression, and the fact the game is literally unplayable for me right now isn’t improving matters.

5 thoughts on “Secret World Legends: I Hate Myself

  1. You very much sum up how i feel. There’s just two additions:

    1. While i fully agree that the tutorial itself is good and necessary and would’ve been a great addition to old TSW, too, its placement is suboptimal. There where it is, it just seems strange that the player is taken to a generic “kill zombies on a graveyard” tutorial. Also, it is not just placed in between the intro scenes, but it replaces one. Sure, the replaced scene might be cryptic for the new player, but without it, some puzzle pieces in Tokyo just don’t make sense any more.

    The audio of the old sequence is in the new tutorials background, but you have to be a veteran to know what to listen to, between combat and weapon sounds.

    2. You claim that deckbuilding still is a thing. It unfortunately is not really. The problem lies in all passives working only for one weapon. And often their advantages are not additive but multiplicative, as the improve different aspects and work together.

    So in theory there are two options: use passives of two weapons and thus permanently work at 50% power. Or put everything into one weapons, so weapon one operates at 100% and weapon two operates at like 30%.

    Option two is always the preferable one, even in the theoretical scenario that both weapon see equal use. As soon as the player manages to just use one weapon a bit more than the other or even slots one of the passives which allows a weapon to be used more, that weapon basically is “the” weapon.

    So in the eyes of a real numbercruncher you really only use one weapon in the new game. The other weapon is merely the better alternative to the filler ability. (That one on Q, which officially is called basic ability, but in function the term “filler” is the best i heard yet. )

    So yes, while there is a bit of customisation possible, it’s more smoke and mirrors than actual options. 😦

    • Yeah, I’d much rather just have the ability wheel back, and I’m sure the new system doesn’t have nearly as much meaningful choice. I just meant that I went in thinking there was no choice of abilities at all — you just unlocked them and then you have them — and the fact that there’s still some choices to be made, however weak, is better than nothing at all.

  2. I loathe all tutorials so I’m not an unbiased commentator but i did think SWL’s tutorial was one of the very worst I have ever seen.

    The actual game itself, though, is … okay. It’s now a casual hack and slash that requires no thought or attention and the eerie, unsettling atmosphere of the original has been replaced with a carnival ghost-train jolliness but it plays fast and fun and that’s bound to be a bigger market. You can see why they did it, commercially. It might even work.

    I found the strangest thing was that the quests and voiceovers themselves, which are mostly unchanged, not only no longer have anything like the impact they did. A few even sound…silly. It’s almost like seeing a movie you loved as a teenager and finding out it really wasn’t very good after all. I must go back to TSW and do a few quests there to see if it’s just the effect of the revamp or whether it’s me….

    • Actually it’s to a big degree the “upgrade” of the models. Many characters now look like talking nutcrackers. Their facial animations are very different to how they were in old TSW, and they just look extremely bad.

      But hey, it was only reported during the first phases of the closed beta, so how could they have known about that before launch? (I still am firmly convinced that nobody of the developer team actually took more than a cursory glance at the beta forum… else such obvious problems, which were reported repeatedly, could not have gone unnoticed. )

    • And on the tutorial being bad: it’s much better than what old TSW had: nothing at all. That’s despite it seems like the new tutorial was made by somebody with only basic grasp of the games mechanics.

      The prime example still is the tutorial about telegraphed attacks. Every single telegraphed attack in TSW had the marking on the ground and it was animated in a clear way, to show when it will impact. In SWL -almost- all telegraphs work the very same way: marking and animation. Even the 100% new boss in the subway tutorial has this pattern. But the revenant, which is used in the tutorial, got a new attack, which has the marking on the ground but doesn’t do the animation. Instead you just have to get out of it before the raven attack animation starts.

      Despite all of this, my biggest gripe remains that it was put into the wrong place, where it covers up and thus basically removes a small but in the long run crucial piece of the games story, while being a generic “kill zombies in a graveyard” tutorial. The pieces would’ve fit much better together if the tutorial would’ve been in a council of venice training simulator, installed in each factions training area.

      But despite it being not well done, it was still a big upgrade and something old TSW would have needed from the start. It wasn’t necessary to over-dumb the game, but a better helping hand, along with some easier to obtain information on game mechanics, would’ve done miracles and would’ve helped against loosing so many players who just never learned what they’d needed to know to get along well.

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