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The News, Pt. 2 (Secret World Legends)
Some of you might have already heard that The Secret World will soon be relaunching as Secret World Legends. For those of you who haven't, I direct you to the official site, which has some answers regarding what it is, and what is the purpose of this relaunch. The TSW game director has also given a few interviews with further clarifications, which you can easily find in Google.

I have read these intreviews, because I wanted to get a deep understanding of what was going on with this relaunch and why. By now, I think I have formed a pretty clear picture in my mind. Funcom have analyzed which were the core strengths and weaknesses of TSW, and now they are trying to do a new launch of TSW under a new name, capitalizing on its strengths and addressing its weaknesses. It makes sense - back when TSW was originally released (does anyone here still remember the original release?), many players were off-put by its subscription requirement, as well as its combat mechanics and somewhat confusing progression. But many did praise TSW's storytelling, so that's what SWL will be focusing on, going as far as sacrificing its MMO elements (and labeling) in the process. The new launch will be free-to-play from the start, as well as featuring improved new player experience, progression and graphics (although they are still using the same old engine). Funcom are clearly aiming to improve new player retention this time around. If I were them, I would also spend some extra budget on marketing, because it was a weakness of the original TSW launch as well - the mainstream crowd simply didn't know that game existed.

There was one particular piece of information I was looking for in these interviews, one which you won't see mentioned on the official site. I am talking about PvP. The lack of its mention on the official site was already telling me that the three-faction conflict would not be the focus of SWL. Given that Funcom has not been a very successful company lately, and their resources are very limited (I was surprised they could even muster this relaunch), it was clear to me that little-to-none resources will be assigned to the areas of the game which are not considered its core strengths and do not largely affect new player retention - these areas include dungeons, raids and, of course, PvP.

My fears soon came to reality, when I found this interview. It has a paragraph which is the only official mention of the fate of PvP in SWL, so I quote that paragraph in full:

Regarding PvP, in SWL we want to incentivize players to have fun rather than focusing too much on the faction tension. At launch we will be including TSW's most successful PvP minigame: Shambala. Based on feedback and demand we will be updating the remaining minigames at a later date.

Ok, wow. The game director of TSW and SWL has just literally said that the faction tension is the opposite of fun. He also considers Shambala as the "most successful PvP minigame" in TSW, which is probably not related to it having unique signets and much lower queue times.

This didn't come as a surprise to me, but, sadly, this relaunch will not be used as an opportunity to address any problems with PvP in TSW, or with the faction conflict overall. If anything, it's the opposite - 3 out of 4 PvP battlegrounds are going to be disabled, and PvP will be sidelined further into obscurity.

Needless to say, this is not a good news to ICO as a PvP cabal. Or to any remaining PvP cabals in TSW for that matter. Does the cabal system even exist in SWL? I found no mention of it in any of the interviews.

The development of new content for TSW will be halted, and all remaining TSW players will be soon switching to SWL. So I guess it's the definitve end of the faction conflict in TSW, as well as any chance for a fun and competitive PvP experience, assuming anyone besides me was still hoping for that.

I will probably be giving SWL a try - I still haven't completed the main storyline, so I need to finish that in either TSW or SWL at some point. But, given the impending fate of PvP in TSW/SWL, the current state of ICO and my current inability to commit to its restoration, I'm afraid it might be the time to put ICO in TSW to rest. And there's not really much need for a PvP cabal to be created in SWL.

I'll be following the news regarding the launch of SWL, but, in the meantime, I would like to hear your opinions on it, as well as your expectations for the fate of ICO in TSW/SWL. There's already a thread on the forum, so feel free to post there, or leave a comment on this news article.
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