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My Beef With Expansions #TSW

I'll start by saying "yeah...it's really my own fault...to a point" so we can all be on the same page and to set the tone.

So I jumped into The Secret World this evening to check out the new Issue #8 content which includes the new "scenario" feature. This is presented as a simulation in the flooded basement of the Council of Venice, the non-neutral neutral fourth faction in the lore. These holographic chambers let you pick from a few locations, and a few difficulties, but right now the mission is the same: rescue 15 survivors of some kind of supernatural catastrophe, kill all the evil things, and stay alive. The presentation is pretty slick, complete with holodeck-style fading walls and training simulator voice overs and the like.

But I went in as "solo", which I figured would be OK. No doubt not the most lucrative option, but just to give it a shot, I could run a scenario and see what's what.

TheSecretWorldDX11 2013-11-07 20-35-28-30

The worst feeling is being a third wheel at the party.


Yeah, no. See, this content, like content in many expansion packs for different games, is really only for players who have consumed all of the previous content. It's the carrot on the stick, an attempt to get people to not leave for other games where all content is new content.

See, I get that. Pointing it out wins you no points, so please continue reading.

Problem is, I'm not one of those "consume all content" players. In TSW, highest character only just got to Egypt (the second major zone in the game), and he's pretty gimped in the skill points department, making him my most advanced, but worst case character. I've still got a lot of content ahead of that character, and even more content ahead of the lowbies I still have kicking around Solomon Island.

My most advanced character was slaughtered in the scenario. So while it was "solo" on the "normal" setting, that meant max QL gear, maxed SP, and advanced AP role...basically, end game content. At least, that's how I see it. Plus, the new "augmentation" system requires 30 SP to unlock just one bubble out of the four possibly disciplines. My character has...3 SP currently, I think? And there are more important things I need to spend it on.

But marketing isn't finely targeted. When news of an expansion hits the streets, everyone knows about it. Everyone gets excited. Everyone wants to see the new stuff. But for those of us who are slower, or who don't play as much, or who don't have or can't find a team, this content is useless. It's sitting out there, taunting us. Or just me.

What's worse is that it keeps those who have progressed from circling back. This is a hit or miss complaint, really, because not everyone can stomach re-doing stuff in a game. TSW is particularly bad because there's only one way through all of the content, and if you've done it once, you've done it as many times as you should (or can, thanks to investigation missions losing their luster the second, third, or fourth time around). When expansions are released, anyone who might be considering re-rolling as an alternative to repetitive end-game content is suddenly spoken for, and the desire to maybe roll anew and join with lower players goes out the window.

So yeah, I'm mainly venting because TSW's philosophy seems to be "full speed ahead", in a straight line, with no looking back. The game in linear (but fun!), and expansions only serve to extend the tracks, not do anything for the landscape left in the dust. I'll keep working on my characters, but I wouldn't be surprised if the game was dropping Issue #30 by the time I'm ready to start Issue #1