A Few Suggestions for The Secret World [TSW]

There is a saying: MMO’s would be so much better if it wasn’t for the other people. It’s funny because without other people, it wouldn’t be an MMO… and yet, it’s true in so many ways. It’s because other people can do simple innocuous actions that won’t benefit and actually hinder other players, even if their intention is good. This is what happens when multiple players play the same game but have different reason for playing, or different goals in the same game.  So here are a few suggestions to make The Secret World much better for everyone.

Open Mob Tagging

I mean, really. This is essentially the future of MMOs and needs to really be here now. Guild Wars 2 has this, and people who aren’t grouped together can tag and get loot and experience from the same mobs, and here’s why The Secret World needs it, too.

Scenario 1: The other night I was playing The Secret World and ran across a guy taking down a few mobs. He wasn’t having any trouble, but I was nearby and could’ve easily helped out. I didn’t. I ran right past like I didn’t even care. And I hate myself for it. My helping him would not help me in any way, as once a mob is tagged by a player, and they are not grouped, that mob becomes theirs. Any loot or experience gained from it would only benefit the first player to tag it. I would receive nothing for helping him out and still cost me my time. Also, there is the chance that helping them out angers the other player, like my interference is a judgement against them. I have received this numerous times in numerous games, and so, when I see another player fighting mobs, my first instinct is just to pass on by.

Here was also a lost chance at loose grouping, meeting someone new, and essentially taking advantage of the sociable side of the game. With the standard tagging rules in place, though, there’s the chance I would be hindering them, interfering, by helping out. And if there’s even a chance at causing more harm than good, it’s better to pass on by.

Individual Loot

Scenario 2: Then, not more than a few minutes later I encountered another player. I was doing a quest where I had to take down a lot of mobs in a small area. Another player showed up and I assumed they were on the same quest, so out of courtesy I threw them an invite. They accepted and sweet, we took down the mobs together. Loot dropped, as it does, and the Need/Greed randomized system came up. Since all the items were dropping wouldn’t help me directly, I was rolling “Greed”. The other player, obviously better geared than I was, and obviously didn’t need the gear either, was rolling “Need”. They were acquiring every piece of gear and there was nothing I could do about it except to roll Need too, despite not actually “Needing” it. They could’ve been collecting crafting materials, or just looking for fodder for lower alts or something, but in either way, I was annoyed. They weren’t playing by friendly social conventions and yet they were entirely playing within the rules.

So, although the system is “fair”, unless I were to essentially lie that I needed every item, it really isn’t fair. So, what is? How about ALL loot being individual to the player, not just basic normal quality stuff, but everything. This would be the way for all items that are Bind-On-Equip. The system in place already chooses items for the players to get, and they can still be traded back and forth without barrier, so why still have this other layer for people to essentially grief on each other?

Flavor of the Month Builds In-Game

One of the hallmarks of a good system with multiple skills but few skill slots is in the creation of builds. The Secret World has these and has some suggestions with their decks, but the decks are far from perfect. So, players create their own builds and some of these builds are so efficient, due to a skew in balance, that others pick up on them and use them as well. This leads to websites designed to help people who want to use the strongest and most efficient builds. When certain skills are nerfed or buffed to make them balanced, this process starts over again as the theorycrafters search for and make the best builds. The elite then turn to those who don’t use these builds and claim them to be lesser players.

So, why not cut out the middle man? Have an in-game system where players can submit their builds under different categories, and others can pick and choose to use them along with the multitude of decks created by the developers. This one is more of a stretch as I don’t believe it’s been done before, but where the “Flavor of the month” builds essentially defined Guild Wars 1 and it’s hardcore players, having player-submitted decks could make The Secret World more of an elite deck-building game, like it seems like it was intended to be.

Cross-Faction Cabals

This one wasn’t on my list originally, but after reading Rowan’s excellent post on cross-faction cabals, I totally agree.

Scenario 3: I’m an Illuminati character. My gear is almost to all QL 10 greens and I’ve been working on the same character for a long time now. I only recently found that most other people I know playing The Secret World are all Templar. I know, I can group with them and run dungeons with them, and communicate with them, and everything else in the world I can still do with them… but I can’t join their guild. So, my choice is either to just put them on my friends list and try to join up with them when I can, if I remember to look, or to give up on my character and roll a Templar. Both options aren’t that enticing, or making me really excited to keep playing.

I think Rowan sums it up the best when he says:

“I understand the importance of separate factions in PvP—or different servers in the case of GW2. However, in most cases, limiting cross-faction cooperation only fragments a playerbase that could not care less about interfaction rivalries.”

It’s true. Right now, I could care less about PvP, and the only time I care about the different factions is when it comes to the storyline between them.

Essentially, Funcom, your game can be so much more than it is. Your storylines and missions are some of the greatest from any game I’ve ever played. Your settings are fascinating and your attention to detail is top-notch. But by holding to old MMO conventions that keep the casual playerbase apart from each other, you’re holding yourself back.

Make these changes, and I can guarantee you’ll see an increase to not only your playerbase, but their overall enjoyment of the game.

// Ocho

8 thoughts on “A Few Suggestions for The Secret World [TSW]

  1. Yeah, the person rolling Need in a casual pair/group was a complete toolbag, or very ignorant of the meaning of the need/greed system. I usually help anyone I pass with a few swings or shots regardless of personal benefit, but then that’s been my habit since WoW. It doesn’t take more than a few second and then I am on my way again. I’ve found that a lot of players do this in TSW. I’ve also never *not* gotten mission credit for a mission-related kill, even if I didn’t get the loot tag, which is of less concern to me. The in-game FotM could be interesting, but also even more sucky for those of use who don’t care. I’ve never pugged in TSW, so I don’t know how nasty the “hardcore” munchkins are. That last one is a great idea. 😉 Cross-faction cabals for all!


    • I use to help anyone I passed in games like WoW and LotRO, despite not getting any credit for it… until I started getting major shit for it. Like “Hey! That was my mob, leave it alone!” type stuff. Despite my lack of reward, I was still admonished for it. This has led to a kind of stand-offish approach… even if another player is in almost dieing peril. Then helping them is the equivalent to holding a door open. Sometimes they appreciate it, sometimes I get yelled at for it. I’ve found the biggest complaint people have had is that “What… I didn’t look like I was capable of taking it down myself? Jerk!”

      Now if there is a benefit to myself for jumping in, then there’s more to it than appearing I’m judging their abilities, and I’ve encountered no issue with it in open-tagging.

      Oh, the hardcore is very evident in TSW… all the “[Insert Dungeon Here], Experienced players only, be prepared to show proof” stuff in Agartha. Pretty rampant. If I’m forced to show someone proof or meet some type of Gearscore (which I was shocked to see is a straight up feature in Neverwinter), I lose all interest in grouping with them to begin with. That whole nonsense is why I quit WoW in the first place. But then, due to non-cross-faction cabals, pick-up groups are the only groups I’ve ever been a part of in TSW. Still haven’t run a single dungoen yet… and I’m ~ QL10. 😛


      • I’ve never encountered that attitude from someone I’ve helped, to be honest, certainly not in TSW. Then again, I often ignore general chat, so unless they went to the effort of whispering me I may not have seen that hostility. People that yell at someone for helping aren’t worth any additional time. Same goes for Agartha chat. I largely ignore it. If you have some arbitrary requiring when you’re requesting help for a dungeon, you can go jump off a treelimb for all I care. Frankly, it’s an indication of how the atmosphere of the PUG will be, and I don’t want any part of that. the LFG of WoW sucked enough. I don’t understand why people want it in every other game.

        If you’re on tonight. I think we might be to run several low-level instances with Sctrz and whoever else is not in the Mercy run of Polaris Elite.


      • I have never run any PUG dungeon in TSW, but done them a number of times with our cabal(s), from TOG (www.theoldergamers.com). We have 3 different cabals, but use a common chat channel, teamspeak etc for the tri-cabal communication.

        Really nice and helpful crowd there, spread out across America, Europe and Oceania.


      • Really, sente? That’s awesome, and reminds me of what an old fleet I was in did for Star Trek Online. What’s the chat channel? I wouldn’t mind joining into the channel if that’s alright. Also, since my Illuminati is unguilded, if any of those cabals happen to be Illuminati… 🙂


  2. Pingback: My First Secret World Dungeon and I Didn’t Make a Complete Fool Out of Myself [TSW] | Casual Aggro

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