The Grinch Who Stole Halloween

Halloween. The most wonderful time of the year. The time when the Secret World is really in its element. Suddenly the masks are more meaningful. The jump scares more scary…. But will it be the same this year in Secret World Legends?

Funcom recently announced on Beyond the Veil that this year’s Halloween would consist of a slightly reworked Cat God issue, a new cache and nothing else. If you’re not familiar with the event, the Cat God is a fully voiced story, a dungeon and a roaming enemy to kill in Kingsmouth for extra shinies.

They chose to only release this quest chain (which originally made an appearance in 2012) and not any of the other Halloween content because they “didn’t want to overwhelm new players”. A valid concern. Except Funcom has players who have been in The Secret World and SWL for over five years combined. The Cat God was the first Halloween event to be released. Why would they want to run it again?

As a player I want to see new content. That goes for event content too. But looking at things from a developer perspective I can understand why they have chosen to make the move they have. First changing five years worth of events to fit with the new systems is not as easy as flicking a switch. The last event had regional bosses (something which does not exist in SWL). There’s also adjusting the event enemies and combat to make sure it fits with the new system. Again there’s no quick switch. Making all those adjustments means taking people away from other work.

But wait. Why not at least release a couple of years worth of content? I’m sure this was put across the table. The main problem I see is distracting new players. Which event is which? Should I be doing a or b? It was an issue TSW encountered early on with its events. The answer was to push people toward the newest event and hope the community would explain the older ones. Given that the SWL community is still fairly new there’s no garuntee that the same kind of support can be relied on.

From recent interviews it’s clear that work is going into the next stage of the story. Development work is going into bugs and the next area of Tokyo. Creating a new event was not realistically on the cards. Had I been in Funcom’s situation I would have taken one of two options.

First release the first two TSW Halloween events together. Both The Cat God and Spooky Stories take place in Solomon Island (with the exclusion of a brief trip to foreign parts for ingredients in The Cat God). As they’re mostly in the same areas testing the balance shouldn’t be too difficult. It would provide people with enough to do over the usual fortnight and would not exclude new players.

The second option would be to have a month of Halloween. Each week could “host” one of TSW’s Halloween events. There are problems here though. It means the staff have four events to balance, figure out a way for regional bosses to be defeated by a small number of players and also it could risk excluding new players.

You may have noticed that I haven’t suggested a new event. The reason for this is I’d rather see SWL put its effort into progressing its main story. Time and time again I’ve seen people say “I’m only here for the story now”. The changes may not have gone over well with older players but we are a sucker for the story. Knowing that Scrivnomancer is working on the upcoming content and that voice recording has already begun is a good sign. If SWL is truly a story driven game, we need to worry less about events and allow the devs to progress that which we always complain about not getting.

Are you missing your Halloween fix? Maybe you think Kle is actually right. Let us know in the comments below.

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