SWL Beta Phases

This came up on my Twitter feed, and it’s a hot topic for all of us TSW/SWL players: When will Open Beta start?

They seem to be on a specific schedule and have specific goals to reach within each phase.  And so far, each phase seems to be every 2 weeks.  So…. I’m going to go out on a limb and see how well I can predict the future…!

~*Insert Spooky Music Here*~

PHASE 1: Started around April 7 – Focus was on Character Creation, Kingsmouth, and Savage Coast.


PHASE 2: Started April 21 – Focus on Blue Mountain, and first 3 dungeons (Polaris, Hell Raised, and Darkness War) Release of the first healing Class(es?) was delayed.  Weapons were going to be Blood and Assault Rifle.


PHASE 3: Scheduled for May 5 – Promises to open Up Egypt, and I would guess the next 2 dungeons (Ankh and Hell Fallen).  With any luck, we’ll see the Blood and Assault Rifle weapons released.


PHASE 4: I would guess another 2 weeks to May 19 – And should open up Transylvania, and the next 3 dungeons (The Facility, Hell Eternal, and The Slaughter House)


PHASE 5: Again, another 2 weeks means June 2 – And with everything from the first story line opened to the closed Beta users, I would think this is where Open Beta Begins.


PHASE 6: This phase could only be game release.  I don’t know how long Open Beta will last, could be scheduled for one week, maybe two.  I’m sure they will definitely want to stress test the servers as well.  But even if they take 2 weeks here, June 16th is still technically Spring for a few more days.


Ok, so it’s not much fortune telling as it is just watching the patterns and checking a calendar.  But with so much ‘Doom And Gloom™’ out there, I figured I’d try to add a little light at the end of the tunnel. With any luck it’s not the headlamp of the oncoming train from issue 6!

Hopefully you found this somewhat helpful!  Thanks for stopping by! And I’ll see you, in The Secret World!

DevStream 1 – 2017-0407

You’ll have to excuse me for covering some old news.  I’m playing catch up at the moment because I couldn’t come up with a Blog name!  So I’ll be covering both the DevStreams first, and then some of the announcement communications we’ve seen, before delving into what I want to see, and don’t want to see.  This is the first DevStream featuring the new, Relaunch title, Secret World: Legends!

DEVSTREAM LINK (CLICK ME! DO IT NAO!)

The audio starts at about 1:50, and video shortly thereafter.

Stream starts off introducing @Spynosaur as a new Community Manager!

6:10 – Character Creation review begins.  What you see is them starting a Female character in the Dragon Faction.

Character Creator has had a HUGE Revamp!  Some good, some bad:

  • LAYOUT:  Overall Layout looks good! It’s very different from what we are used to, and a lot more simplified.  But as they say, beauty is only skin deep.

MY GRADE: B


  • PRESET HEADS:  So far, the consensus is BAAAAD!!!  The selection of Preset heads appears to be very limited, and from what they showed, not very good. At 8:50, Andy asks for someone in the stream, “Are we sticking with Presets?” And Tilty’s answer was that some of the faces would change in size and some of the sunglasses were clipping and made things much more difficult. This is being done so they can have better control.  “It’s for the best of the game.”

This particular subject has been a HUGE negative feedback topic from Twitter and the forums.  They are removing our ability to customize our characters as we see fit, over something that I have yet to see a problem with, nor has anyone else been able to come forward with examples of this clipping being a problem.   And if it is a problem, then it’s a problem for a select few, and as far as I know, would only appear on their screen. (But what do I know? Right?) And yet they are probably going to leave certain ‘Features™’ in game, like our inability to use chairs properly, or the ‘Resting Bitch Face’ when we are using chairs, and no skirt friendly /sit animations. (Seriously, NO ONE SITS CROSS LEGGED ANYMORE!!!)  And these are things that everyone in the area has to see, yet they think the facial sizes needing to be limited because they can’t scale sunglasses and other accessories together?!  (/salt)

This is going to be the FIRST Thing new players (and returning players) are going to see, and it’s going to be your only chance to make a first impression. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot with it!

Now I can’t remember where I heard it, but theoretically, they will be adding more presets. When and how many is what I want to know. And can we submit faces for review and possible use?   What I’d like to see is maybe keep presets to help expedite the character creation process for those that don’t mind it so much.  But also have a toggle for a more advanced character creator for those of us that like adding those extra finishing touches.  Now call me cynical, but what I DON’T want to see is a more Advanced Character Creator brought out later, hidden behind a paywall.

MY GRADE: D-


  • HAIR: Long have I said that I envied Luella’s hair rendering, and now, I can have it!  Hair has been revamped, and new hair styles added!  However, it appears they left out the BLUE Hair, and my own personal favorite, black hair with frosted streaks.  It’s my hope they ‘remember’ about these and add them back in soon™.

MY GRADE: B+


  • EYES:  You can’t really mess up the Eye color picker.  Basically looks like you get a standard color, and then three shades of that color.  There’s more that they don’t scroll through, but it’s pretty standard.  Like i said, No real way to mess this up, but on the flip side, no way to WOW someone either.

MY GRADE: B


  • FACIAL FEATURES:  This appears to be a combination of some of the old TSW makeup options, mixed in with some newer tattoo features.  Tattoos were always something the community kept demanding they follow through with.  It looks like they finally did! Now, it’s not what I was thinking of when I heard tattoos, I mean I was thinking at least something on the arms, maybe the back too.  And whether or not they’ll give us that tattoo parlor in Seoul remains to be seen!  Obviously this is still in Beta, and again, I’m not sure where I heard it, but more options will be appearing here eventually.  (This is a temporary grade until they follow through.)

MY GRADE: B+


  • MAKEUP:  They said straight out that they are still working on this feature. Judging from the selection shown here, there remains a lot of work that can be done on this one.  (Again, temporary grade until they follow through.)

MY GRADE: C-


  • HATS:  The hat selection is still limited, after all this is just the starting character creator.  And I’m not much for any of the hats in game anyway.  BUT, you’ll notice how much better the hair renders with the hats!  Someone’s been working on this aspect and it looks great!

MY GRADE: B+


  • ACCESSORIES:  Unfortunately, they did not look at these so I can’t show you anything from here.  But the rest of the clothing options they pretty much raced through, so I’ll just give them all a collective grade.

  • CLOTHING OPTIONS:  They’ve expanded the clothing options in the Character Creator!  Some of the clothing shown are items from the Current Darkside vendor, and the fur collar vests that cost 100K Pax in Pangea!  This is good news!  Unfortunately, Tilty didn’t scroll through the options available in game, which is unfortunate as there is more that I’d like to praise, but NDA…. *Grumble grumble*

WISH LIST: One thing that I hope to see is complimentary colors and styles across all clothing slots.  Something they COULD do, (hint hint!) is coordinate the styles and colors so that if you choose the third item in each slot, or maybe the 7th item, or 10th item, whatever, if you pick the corresponding item in each slot, they would compliment each other.  We can still mix and match as we please, but this would at least make it easier for those of us that like to be Fashionistas!

Overall, the expanded selection and new interface make this look really nice!

((There are other things I’d like to praise, in regards to selection, but since they didn’t scroll through the available options, I can’t say anything about them yet. *sigh*))

MY GRADE: A-


  • CLASSES:  Classes? Wait, what? o.O

Yes, you heard it right, we will have Starting CLASSES in SWL.  As Tilty calls it, “Class is your starting deck, in terms of TSW…” But as you progress in the game, it will still be all about creating your deck/class.  This is JUST your starting two weapons for your character.

Now the stream had the talking heads superimposed over the bottom of the Starter Class list, so I can’t exactly comment on how many there are (Effing NDA!), but as you can see in the stream, there are at least 7 starter classes, but having only 7 classes doesn’t quite sound right.  I mean, 7 is a prime number, how would you end up using a prime for something like this?  Besides, looking at the original skill wheel, you get 3 schools of combat: Magic, Melee, and Projectile.  Each with 3 specialties, making 9 total schools.  And the original TSW had 9 starter decks, so I would like to think they keep some kind of continuity with that.

They did show Class names and two of the class descriptions:

  1. Ravager – No Information on this class at this time
  2. Assassin – No information on this class at this time
  3. Mercenary – No Information on this class at this time
  4. Punisher – Shotgun/Hammer – Favored Role: Survivability
  5. Warlock – No information on this class at this time
  6. Gunslinger – No information on this class at this time
  7. Magus – Elementalism/Chaos – Favored Role: DPS
  8. ??? – No information at this time
  9. ??? – No information at this time

It’s been said that you get your first two weapons for free, and then you have to unlock the other weapons using in game currency that can be purchased through the store, and traded between players.  BUT, two things here: First is that they have stated previously, you can progress through the game and acquire everything without spending any real money whatsoever.  (F2P)  You can earn the currency in game, or even trade with other players in game to do this.  Second, if you already own TSW, you will get all weapon unlocks for free! there are other benefits to owning TSW already and subscribers and grand masters will have their memberships carry through to the new Patreon memberships for their own benefits. More on this later as well.

You might recognize some of these class names, but Ravager is a new one that I don’t recall, and they may or may not follow the original deck’s weapons.  Punisher was Hammer/Assault Rifle in the original TSW, but here it’s Shotgun/Hammer.  Magus here is Elementalism/Chaos, but the original Magus from the Templar Deck was Elementalism/Shotgun.  Plus, since they are using what was a faction specific deck as a starter class name, you won’t be getting the Factional deck uniform with it.  Rather this one looks like it is now using the old Polariser deck Uniform.  (Yet another reason I’d stick with 9 starter classes: getting to use all the old starter uniforms!)

And I believe he said that you get the uniform right off the bat.  But that brings to mind that if you unlock the other weapons pages, do you get the other deck uniforms too?  And do they have the old factional uniforms still in game? How would we earn them? Will they have other deck templates for us to fill out later?  Time will tell in this case.

Something that concerned a number of us, was the fact that we are no longer able to play with the weapons first to see which ones we liked best.  And since we can only have one character slot per account, we’d have to roll a character, try out a class, and then re-roll if we didn’t like that class.  This will get VERY time consuming for someone that didn’t get into Beta to try them all out.  Hopefully, someone can come up with a good way to do this.

I’m not going to grade this just now, as it falls under the game play, and it looks like that’s up next!  It’s a short introduction to the Game play and they don’t go through the whole intro Dream Sequence, so a grade for it will have to wait until I write up the next DevStream.


OPENING DREAM SEQUENCE:

This has gone through some changes, and the reason being the original introduction ended up being so long without any breaks in it, so people would escape out and miss things.  So here, they’ve broken the sequence up a bit, with the first weapon tutorial shortly after your character starts changing and gains powers. (So now we have to escape out of multiple sections to get to play! ^_~ )

This is something that your choice of starter class has a direct effect on.  And like I said before, you don’t get a chance to experiment with the weapons to see which deck would be best for you.  Now since I’ve played the original, I know what I’m missing out on, and don’t want the change to happen.  If I could change something about this so far, it would be to hold off on the class choice until this stage, and instead of going straight into practice combat like they do here, maybe give us a change to try out each deck here on a zombie like the one stuck under the fence.  Except make it so it either doesn’t exactly die, or it reanimates itself after a short period of time.  But let us cycle through the classes and give us the first couple starter abilities so we can get a feel for how they handle.  Then, once we confirm what choice we want to make, then let us through the next gate and continue the progression of the intro sequence.  But again, this is a WISH LIST thing, and probably not going to happen.

Something they do mention is that the voice acting of the ‘Dream Architect’ is a temporary voice.  They will be replacing that dialog with a professional voice actress later.  Currently, the person who did the voice acting is also one of the graphic designers!

RETICLE MODE:

As was announced in the next DevStream, the reticle will have customizable effects including Faction icons and removing the reticle.  However, all this does is take the reticle off the screen, and you will still be in reticle mode.  They seem to be pushing this reticle mode for some reason.  Tilty says “It will make the game play so much better!”  But I would like to hear about what NOT having reticle mode did that was so bad that they needed to enforce it now..?

Again, this is another Hot Topic for the new game.  I have seen numerous posts on twitter and elsewhere™ where people cannot play in reticle mode due to vertigo issues.  They have a tendency to get sick from this mode of play.  I don’t mind the new buttons that need to be used, but why can’t we have tab-targeting as an optional mode of play?  When doing puzzles, we can swap back into reticle mode to activate whatever we need to and then back out to tab-targeting  for combat and travel?

Another issue with the reticle mode is the inability to spin around the camera to take screenshots on a split second’s notice.  They have stated there will be a Vanity camera, but it has not yet made it into the test realm yet, and they will let us know when it does.  Again, more Hot topic items for the new game.

ZOOM:

Currently disabled in the beta, they said. But they do have some ideas about how to do some limited zoom.  They also said they have some plans for the mouse-wheel, so the zoom functions may end up being hidden.  =/

COMBAT:

What they show in the tutorial section seems to be an AOE ability, and a single target ability.  This is the Elementalism side of the Magus Class.  Personally, I find it interesting that the AOE ability seems to be your new go to ability, considering AOE abilities were nerfed a few years ago, because they were just too strong. So they made your single target abilities your stronger abilities so you’d use them more often than the AOE abilities.  It was a good change at the time, even though the community balked at first, but it ended up being good for the overall combat in the game.  I just hope we don’t see a repeat of that since they are forcing us to use AOE attacks as our main attacks now.

Another note is the Weapon UI is still a work in progress.  BUT something they do say is that all our abilities will be able to be rebound, INCLUDING the mouse keys if you want to use your keyboard instead! (Tilty says this at 21:00 in the stream.)

WEAPON GIMMICKS/IDENTITIES:

Each weapon will have it’s own gimmick that you will need to keep an eye on. Since we are looking at Elementalism here, they talk about THERMOTICS, and how you have to watch your heat level.  Higher heat = higher damage, but if you overheat, you get silenced and can’t use that ability anymore until you cool down.  There will be abilities that you can use, that will cool you down.  I imagine we will see these later.  In fact, there is one noted on the screen cap above showing the Magus class.  And they do end up using it in the stream at a couple points so you can see how it works.

The different weapons are setup with different levels of complexity.  Titly says that shotgun is one of the more difficult weapons on the Beta right now, whereas Chaos you almost don’t even have to think about it.  Passives that you pick up later will give you more ability to control what you want to control.

ENERGY/RESOURCES:

The old Resources bar is changing from showing the resources you have ‘Built’ using your builder, to being more of a standard ‘ENERGY’ Bar that will replenish over time.  All of your main abilities will use this Energy, and when you run out of energy, you won’t be able to use that ability anymore.  Instead your “Q” attack (default key bind for a ‘BASIC’ attack) is an ability you can use that does NOT use this energy.

WEAPON/GEAR IMPROVEMENT:

They will save this for a future stream.  They promise it will be much more simplified.  We’ll talk about this when we reach that point in the DevStreams.

MISSION IMPROVEMENTS:

There had been some concerns about investigation missions getting changed, but Tilty says that the Investigation missions are staying the same as they were, instead the mission flow, basically how you come across the missions, the breadcrumbs that lead you from one hub to the next, is being smoothed out to make it more of a natural progression.

BETA PHASES:

At the time this DevStream went live, they were going through the First Beta Phase.  Phase 1 was concentrated on Kingsmouth, and Savage Coast and getting used to Reticle Combat.

Phase 2 would add in Blue Mountain and the first three dungeons.

They plan to keep adding content and adding more people to the Beta and give the Dev team time to react to the things that are brought up in the forums and bug reports.

ITEM TRANSFERS:

Yet another Hot Topic, is what things will be able to transfer over from our TSW accounts to SWL once it goes live?  They are still working on this.  Part of the problem is that there are over 6000 pieces of clothes and Tilty is going through that list manually.  But the idea is anything you bought in the store, anything that came from a bag, collectors edition, community related items you will be able to keep.  Some Achievement based items you might keep and will actually become EXCLUSIVE to former TSW players!  They will not be able to get them again in SWL.  Other achievement based items you’ll be able to keep, and when you earn them again in SWL, you’ll get something new!  But there will be some things, such as the Panoptic Core will be taken away, and you’ll have to earn again..!

Something Tilty teased us with was….. The Mankini might be back…!  This is something that I’m sure the community WILL NOT let him take back!

HEALING:

Second DevStream Spoiler:  The first healing class was intended to be in the next Beta Phase, but was ultimately held back from release to the Beta.  With any luck, we’ll see this come out in the third Beta Phase.  The healing weapons were planned to be Blood and Assault Rifle.

VANITY CAMERA:

Apparently, when you see the screen go really dark when you hit the ALT key, that is a placeholder screen and it will not go dark when it goes live.  You will be able to pan around your character and screen cap in this screen, but again, this is place holder only right now.  Coming Soon™.

CROSS FACTION CABALS…?!

This isn’t a promise, but they are looking into giving us the ability for Cross Faction Cabals!  It’s About Time!


And that was about the end of the Stream and information regarding the game.  My first content post was a LOT longer than anticipated!  If you read this whole thing, Thank you for sticking with me!

I plan to do the same breakdown of the second DevStream in the next couple days.  Followed by my own list of things that concern me, and what I’d like to see happen during the development of this new game.

So thank you again, and I hope to see you soon™!

FIRST!

Welcome to Anima-Nation! My name is NetRaven, and I’ll be your host during this experiment!

“Is it Safe?”

A little about me: I’ve played a number of MMO’s, but I’m by no means an expert. I’ve played WoW, SWTOR, Tera, Rift, ESO, and if I missed anything, it was too short for me to care.

I’ve been around since Beta, and have had my breaks with the game in the past. But I am a ‘Grand Master’ and hope to keep playing this game for many years to come!

This is my second foray into the Blogosphere. My first blog was a WoW blog called ‘RandomDailies’ a number of years ago, but I eventually lost my love for WoW and let it pass into the nether. It is my hope that with the new SWL, my passion for this game will continue to burn strong!

Anyway, pardon the dust, I’m still moving into the website. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see, let me know! Leave a comment here, or contact me on Twitter! Contact information is listed…. somewhere around here…

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy your stay!

“Oh, oh, and you may feel some discomfort from the microchip I’ve grafted to your spinal column.  As your doctor, I have to caution you….. Don’t try to remove it.”