MMOs are at their best when they're not cloning World of Warcraft

MMOs continue to be released every year with gameplay built primarily around aping World of Warcraft's approachable style. Tens of million of people have already devoted hundreds of hours to Blizzard's behemoth. That has to be a majority of the total audience for the massively multiplayer genre, and they've already experienced the pinnacle of that style of gameplay and know that they can return to it for ten year's worth of expansion and patch content at any time. I've been playing two massively multiplayer role-playing games that draw a lot from the World of Warcraft model: Wildstar and Final Fantasy 14. I like both of these games. In fact, Final Fantasy 14 is one of my favorite MMOs ever. But the more time I spend with both of these and the many other MMOs I've played over the last...


Funcom revenues down as large-scale MMOs continue to earn

Funcom's Q4 revenues slid year-over-year from $7.78 million in Q4 2012 to $4.27 million in Q4 2013, due to previously reported deferred billings related to its massively multiplayer online game The Secret World, weaker sales and increased competition. In its recent investor presentation (PDF link), Funcom described the number of large-scale MMO players as "relatively stable" and highlighted Age of Conan and Anarchy Online as its main sources of revenue. The company also revealed that "All games in the large-scale MMO segment are cash flow positive and will remain so in the foreseeable future." Funcom will continue to execute a strategy it developed in 2012. That strategy focuses on creating mid-core online games, developing games more quickly, creating smaller games with smaller teams...


Take on Krampus in The Secret World's holiday events

Krampus, the demonic creature that punishes misbehaving children during the holiday season, is wreaking havoc in The Secret World in a set of new holiday-themed events, developer Funcom announced on the game's website. In the "A Mother of a Season" event, which begins today and runs through Jan. 2, players will follow Krampus into the icy underworld of Niflheim in an attempt to take him down. In addition to the demon and a score of other enemies, players will also get the chance to face Hel herself after assisting in a ritual to summon her. The website hints that players who bring Hel out of Niflheim into the greater world will be met with an even greater challenge and a shot as some unique prizes should Hel be defeated. In player-versus-player scenarios, combatants can now compete...

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Swedish film IRL blends The Secret World and real life

Funcom's conspiracy-laden The Secret World game will play a "central part" in the upcoming film IRL, according to a press release from the developer. Directed by Erik Leijonborg, IRL will use star Valter Skarsgard as Elias, a high school student who uses the massively multiplayer online role-playing game as an escape. "I liked the story straight away and told the producers I would be right person for directing it," Leijonborg said in an interview on the game's official website. "IRL is the story about Elias who lives his life in two worlds. In the real world he is not a very happy person, but in his 'computer world' he can escape and be a happier and true person. Bad things happen to Elias in school and also on the net. In the game, on the chat, Elias has a really god friend and she...

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The Secret World’s Whispering Tide event starts today

The Secret World, Funcom's massively multiplayer online game, has a new cooperative event that launched today called The Whispering Tide, according to a post on the game's official site. In the event, players will struggle together against an invasion from the Filth, which is oozing out of Tokyo's Agartha portal. "The battle will rage until the Filth has been beaten back and access to Tokyo has been won," the post reads. "But any chance of victory is still far off and only by pulling together the players will be able [sic.] to stem this tide of darkness." The post promises "a long string of events that will run until access to Tokyo has been achieved," foreshadowing a lengthy event that will reward participants with items like treasures, clothing, outfits, gear and more. For more on...

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The Secret World: Issue 7 trailer contains a room of terrifying murderous dolls

Funcom has released a new video for "A Dream to Kill," the latest major content update for its modern fantasy MMORPG The Secret World. Set to the tune of children singing an eerie tune, the video starts focused on a chalkboard. The camera slowly pans back to reveal a room filled with little dolls all sitting around a corpse with a cleaver embedded in its skull. In a letter posted on The Secret World's official site, game director Joel Bylos described Issue 7 as a content update that would "offer many new missions and hours of action filled content, but most importantly it will reveal hidden secrets and uncover new and crucial story elements." In the update, players will "witness the Orochi’s terrible experiments in Transylvania gone horribly wrong, but [they] will also discover even...


The Secret World is half price on Steam

Funcom's ambitious modern-setting MMO The Secret World is being offered by Steam at a 50 percent discount, for one day only. The subscription-free game is priced at $14.99, down from its usual $29.99, but the offer is only good until 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 20. Funcom has continued to support the game since its launch last year, with regular content updates The Secret World is set in a modern world impacted by myths and urban legends. Players travel the globe vanquishing monsters and solving mysteries. Polygon's Emily Gera scored the game 6.5 when it launched in July 2012, saying that despite a "unique and sometimes powerful" environment, it suffers from core MMO gameplay problems.


The Secret World getting virtual training scenarios, new advancement system in Issue 8

The Secret World's eighth content update will add training scenarios and a new advancement system, said game director Joel Bylos in his monthly letter to players today. Issue 7, "A Dream to Kill," is set for release "in the coming weeks," said Bylos, adding that it will be available shortly before the game's one-year anniversary; The Secret World originally launched in early July 2012. You can see the issue's cover art below. The seventh issue will end with the revelation that an unknown corrupting force is spreading through Agartha, the titular secret realm, starting at the new Tokyo entrance to the hidden world. The timing of the eighth issue will depend on how quickly players can fight back against the filth and contain it. Issue 8 will begin once players are told to start training...


The Secret World adds new Lair Raid and boss battle with Issue #6 update

A new Lair Raid instance ending in a battle against an inter-dimensional creature is now available for players to tackle in The Secret World, developer Funcom announced today. This new Lair Raid is the "culmination of The Secret World's Lair feature," according to a press statement from Funcom. Lairs are similar to standard raids in most massively multiplayer online games, where groups of players join forces to scour an area for high-quality loot, earn experience points and engage in high-level boss battles. Each major area of The Secret World's map contains one Lair area for players to explore. The Lair instance will bring players between the fabric of time and space into an extra-dimensional prison called the Island of Stillborn Stars. There they will take on a "brutal" boss named...


The Secret World selects 11 fan-made tracks for in-game inclusion

Eleven fan-made music tracks have been selected for inclusion in The Secret World from applicants of developer Funcom's fan arrangement contest, the company announced yesterday. According to a post on the game's forums from senior community manager Oliver "Tarib" Kunz, Funcom received more than 300 submissions from aspiring composers worldwide. Kunz noted that while the contest, announced in January, had initially promised to select five winners, the development team "could not for the life of [us]" pick less than 11: "When Scouts Go Bad" by Thumpermonkey "Deeper" by Sebastian G. "Motivation Cody" by Noise Angel "Think of Tomorrow" by Leitbur "I'll Be the Death of You" by Bright September "Save Me" by Fain "The Ice Cream Fox" by Sugar Monkey "Bad Boy" Les Moustaches "The...

The Secret World Releases
North America
  • Windows
    • Released 07/03/2012
    • Publisher Electronic Arts
    • Developer Funcom
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