Funcom’s five-year old MMORPG, The Secret World, is getting a second chance at life. The developer announced a relaunch of the PC title as the free-to-play Secret World Legends with new upgrades and a fresh coat of paint.
Secret World Legends will launch sometime this spring on Steam with a beta period coming soon. Those interested in participating in the beta can visit the game’s official website to sign-up. The “shared world action RPG” promises over 100 hours of play either with friends or solo. All missions and quests will be completely free to play.
The studio is not simply standing pat and flipping a switch to change Secret World into a free-to-play title. Funcom’s press release states the company has revamped combat, designed a new progression system to improve both the beginning and end-game for players, plus given the visuals an update as well.
“One of our biggest goals in relaunching the game has been to reimagine the core gameplay experience in a way befitting a modern-day action RPG,” said Scott Junior, Executive Producer. “Secret World Legends features combat that feels more natural, deep systems that are more intuitive, better structuring of the early game for new players, and improved mission flow to strengthen the pace of progression for players.”
Funcom created an original modern day real world setting that integrates myths, urban legends, and dark fantasy with Secret World. There are influences throughout from various authors such as H.P Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe plus works from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Egyptian mythology.
Players join one of three factions – the Illiminati, the Templars, or the Dragon – to start a quest to prevent the end of the world. The main missions and various side quests take players around the world to both exotic and everyday places to battle supernatural creatures with a mix of modern weapons and magic.
There are PVP zones in the The Secret World. Currently, the faction that gains control over these player-vs-player warzones gains bonus experience and other perks.
Initial reviews for the game were mixed when it first launched in July 2012, but most agreed the story and setting were outstanding. Funcom added to the game world since then with 15 content updates called issues released as paid DLC. Each release added new missions and new items to collect.
“Over the course of five years, The Secret World has created a truly memorable RPG universe that stands out to this day for the uniqueness of its dark setting and tone, the depth of its quest design, and the high quality of its voice acting throughout,” said Rui Casais, CEO of Funcom. “Secret World Legends uses that foundation to mark a new era for the game, offering a fresh start for newcomers and long-time fans alike, delivering a captivating journey that can be enjoyed entirely on your own or with friends.”
It’s not been uncommon over the past decade and more to see MMORPGs transition from subscription-based games to either free-to-play or even buy-to-play titles. Secret World Legends is a bit unique as it went from the subscription model to buy-to-play in December 2012 with an optional subscription service and is now going to free-to-play.
Like any free-to-play game, Secret World Legends will use a microtransaction system via in-game money called Aurum. This is used to purchase items like additional weapon pages, extra inventory space, additional characters, and various vanity items.
The official fact sheet provided states there is a “Deep Character Customization” system with “hundreds of different customization options for your character, from a deep arsenal of weapons, extensive gear and clothing, to a vast set of supernatural powers and augmentations.”
As long as those microtransactions don’t dip into pay-to-win territory, the changes will likely be well received. Funcom states everything can be earned in Secret World Legends without spending money.
[Featured Image by Funcom]