Text Summary of Joel Bylos Interview

For those you aren’t into podcasts, below is a summary of the topics discussed in our interview with The Secret World’s Joel Bylos.

As you’ll see, there’s a range of interesting topics covered. Please note: the responses are my interpretations and paraphrasing. If you want the words direct from Joel then please listen to the original interview.

Here we go:

Question asked by Question Paraphrasing of answer by Joel Bylos
  Any other teasers for future plans or upcoming issues? Nice hint about next auxiliary weapon in Issue #4. New York Raid, player will be going back to their old friend Dave Screed AND meeting other characters from the CGI. Halloween event – all the background content is now patched, ready to be put live. Not a typical Halloween event, will need to dig through old irish lore. Puzzle raids will be available in a ‘few months’.
  How confident are you that the monthly update schedule can be adhered to, especially once you get through all the mapped out future content and have to start creating additional content with the heavily reduced staff resources. We now have a set pipeline for content releases including better bug testing and we’re confident it’s all possible. We also have an overlapping development plan to help ensure stuff comes out regularly.
  Different body-types, instead of the standard ‘one-body, many heads’ in a future update? Looking at other options with body shape but the clothing is attuned to the body and clothing system doesn’t allow different body shapes. Trying to ninja some other things that will make people happy
  Do you see any parallels between TSW and AoC? Learnt hundreds of things from AoC. Big two were consistency of content throughout the game and that the technology needs to be completely stable (approx 95% of AoC users who left the game, left when they reached Tortage and the city killed their computer because the tech wasn’t stable enough / framerate too poor.
  What’s your overall feeling about the MMO genre and the ‘game-space-in-economically-challenging-times’  
  Reviewing MMO’s. Are all reviewers gibbons? How do you review an MMO given it’s depth, complexity and essential time commitment. Should reviews be promoted only as ‘first impressions’ with caveats? Should it be illegal, on pain of death, to ‘review’ any MMO before the third content patch drops  
  Fluffy question… Rift giving a buck per Storm Legion purchase to a ‘save the pandas’ charity. Great fun from Trion poking fun. Important to acknowledge Blizzard have done important things for the MMO space, just wish they’d lose some more customers to TSW 😉
David Tell us a little about your journey from Australia to Funcom  
  How good was the response to the lifetime subscription offer and is it something likely to be offered ongoing? Think it’s going well but haven’t seen numbers recently. Lifetime subs are a big part of the core audience.
  What’s a measure of success for TSW over the next year? Current team is still in place and growing, customer base is growing, and in general that it’s a game people talk about in 5 years as an influential game on others. In-game want to fix PvP and other things that can be done poorly, more inter-faction conflict.
  Without mentioning other MMOs by name, what mistakes have you seen them make that you’ve already avoided or hope to avoid? Play lots of MMOs but don’t really judge them from a developer perspective. More about having our own rules – we were always committed to no-class system, no gathering professions, making crafting really good, can’t kill another human unless infected or enemy faction. Just having those sort of guidelines to drive the vision of the game. Investigation missions were a key thing that was non-negotiable. Future marketing should be based on the story aspects, not gear progression. No desire to go beyond tier 10 gear in general.
The Angry Postman Joel, TSW had an incredibly dedicated (yet small) audience almost from the onset. Long, detailed ARGS catered to that audience, and yet it seems very little was done to advertise the game outside of this core group of people. Do you plan to help get the game more mainstream attention going forward? The game is awesome, and unique and needs to be played by more people. Yes -we need to promote the game more widely and we’ll be attempting to do that
Ed Goldstein The Secret World delivers a solid story, but the largest complaint from the community is that there is a lack of scaling to prepare people as they move from zone to zone. I think the largest problem is that once they hit Blue Mountain the casual player finds that if they did not build their character correctly that they’re incapable of continuing on their own. We misjudged difficulty. We made Kingsmouth easier and Savage Coast slightly easier then Blue Mountain was where we wanted the difficulty to be. We don’t communicate clearly enough on skill point allocation. Looking at making story boss fights a little easier. Starter decks coming in 1.4 which will help as well as based on the inner wheel to give guidance on good builds. If you do roughly 70% of mission in an area you’ll be fine to move on. Hell Hotel wasn’t meant to be first area people went to in Savage Coast – was a legacy development issue.
  “So my question is a little complicated, do you see any method by which you can either educate players that when they zone complete that they have some understanding of the goal they are working towards to allow them to say, “”Wow I’m ready for the next zone.””  
  Failing that, do you see any chance of granting those confused players an opportunity to reset their skill points? (The largest problem seems to be players spending too many points in weapon skills as opposed to talismans. I.E. they have 5-6 weapons at rank 3 at the end of Savage Coast, but only major, minor and talismans at 1-2 ranks. – At the end of savage coast level by the way, talismans should be at 4 minimum.  
  This is not limited to Blue Mountain by the way, the same is true of Egypt, City of the Sun God, and finally Transylvania. (Though I feel that in many cases Transylvania is easier then City of the Sun God.)  
Belladawna Does your new position mean you can out drink Ragnar? Always been able to out-drink Ragnar 😉
  Are there any plans to build a high res in game model view? One is used internally, aware of third party options, no plans for official one at this stage
hyperjumpgrandmaster (Reddit) What are the plans to make PvP more meaningful? Is there a timeline for any of these changes? Open World PvP is not very likely to happen a all – too much of the game relies on that being the case. Cinematics don’t offer protection while being watched. Issue #4 will see changes in Fusang and PvP that doesn’t require the player to go to a specific location – factions fighting each other during special events etc.
  “Are there any plans for open world PvP outside of the fight clubs? Maybe a “”hostile”” server where PvP is always on after reaching a certain amount of skill points?”  
Voodoo Shark (Reddit) Are there plans to streamline current skills and mechanics? Definitely looking into streamlining – some skills too similar across weapon types. Will also address on auxiliary weapons with some new mechanics. Another new auxiliary coming in Issue #4 update
  Will there be a more consistent free trial? Big changes in trial set-up – announced in around 2 weeks