I wonder if Funcom should start a timer running when the end-user license agreement pops up on the patcher for The Secret World. I’d like to know the average time a player spends reading it.
I managed “End-user Agreement. PLEASE READ CAREF—” before the natural instincts of my index finger, honed over years of MMO quest accepting, and moving faster than the speed of thought, slammed itself knuckle-first from the top rope onto my mouse button while screaming “WHATEVER!”. I think that’s a new record of endurance for me.
The nice thing about accepting quests in The Secret World is that the nature of the game encourages you to stay a while and listen. Clues and hints, as well as atmospheric snippets of lore, are contained in the dialogue, and although the pertinent quest text is always included in the player’s journal, there are often still very useful titbits to be had by listening to the whole story from the NPC quest-giver. Not to mention the fact that the stories are simply compelling.
For me, the difference between The Secret World and Star Wars: The Old Republic is that the conversations in TSW seem bigger somehow. Most quests (outside of the main story) in SWTOR seemed no more than idle incidental background to excuse getting the player to kill ten womprats, whereas every quest dialogue in TSW seems to be part of a greater whole—part of a connected universe. Yes, even the ones getting you to go and kill ten zombrats. Ragnar Tørnquist has always been a great storyteller; whether you enjoyed The Longest Journey series as a game or not, it’s hard to deny that an epic tale is told within. I think a lot of Tørnquist’s talent shines through in the overarching story of TSW, which is revealed as much through the amalgamate of minor tales divulged with every quest, as it is through the main story quest; something which makes this small world feel more authentic than an entire galaxy of quests, far, far away.
The Secret World once again puts the lore in explore—one of the aspects of play which I’ve been missing in MMOs for quite some time.
I’m of a similar mind myself. TSWs writing and world building is leagues ahead of the gilded pile of horseshit that SWTOR turned out to be. I’ll happily take ‘zero choices but interesting story’ over ‘tons of meaningless or irritating choices and bullshit story at every turn’ any day of the week and I’ve been saying that having voiced PCs in RPGs is downright toxic to the genre for years now.
I’m very hopeful that the costs of producing new story content is low enough that Funcom can keep putting it out every few months instead of subjecting us to the whole ‘nothing to do but daily dungeons and weekly raids’ mentality that Bioware decided to go with at the last second.
I think it’s less a question of cost as one of priorities. Purely hypothetically, I can’t imagine that adding UI customization, a new zone full of daily quests (that make zero sense in story terms – “This man is the greatest threat to our dominance of the planet and must be dealt with!” “What, again? I’ve already killed him five times this week.”), a raid and a half, two instances, and an LFG tool so you can find people to run those dailies, instances, and raids with comes in significantly cheaper than new story content. The question is then one of priorities – do you focus on “grind, lather, repeat” because It Is Known that that’s the way to success, or do you add more of the stuff that drew people to buy your game in the first place and hope to hold onto them long-term?
Ooh, I had no idea that TSW had the same guy who did The Longest Journey, which I really liked. Hrmm… Must look into it naooooo. But but I still want to sample the fleshpots of Tera. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIE!