Interview With The Secret World’s Joel Bylos: Ask Your Questions

Interview Joel BylosThis weekend we’re pretty excited to be spending some time one-on-one with The Secret World‘s newly minted Game Director, Joel Bylos.

Aside from being a friendly guy, Joel is also an expat aussie, so we’re here to both give him some homegrown hospitality whilst grilling him on everything TSW.

It’ll be an interview for our Flash Point podcast, and so we’d love questions from the TSW community to pose to Joel alongside our own.

So – if you’ve got a question, post it in the comments below and we’ll ask as many as we can, with a full shout-out to each person on the podcast. Hard / critical questions are fine but please keep it civilised.

Ask away!

The Secret World: 50% off

The Secret World discountIf you’ve been sitting on the fence about giving The Secret World a whirl, you might want to check out Funcom’s 50% price reduction off the digital download version. It’s being offered over this weekend only.

You get 30 days of playtime with that, so for under US$24.99 you get a relatively cheap month of quality MMO time.

Why not give it a go?

The Secret World Issue #3 Patch Notes

The Secret World Issue #3Well it’s fair to say you could knock me down with a feather. True to their promises, Funcom are churning out new content for The Secret World on schedule now as promised.

Issue #3 is now live and it has two new missions plus a bunch of new Lair missions. In addition to that. there’s a bunch of bug fixes. Then, in the lead up to Halloween during October, The Cat God makes an appearance.

Here’s the full patch notes for Issue #3 for you:




Two new missions are available with Issue #3:

  • ‘The Binding’, which brings you to the City of the Sun God in Egypt to learn more about the Seven Sentinels. This truly epic investigation mission is definitely one of the most challenging and extensive.
  • ‘Dogs of War’ plays on the mounting conflict between the vampires and their allies. Use your wits and battle prowess to instigate a war between the werewolves and the vampires.


There are also a full set of new Lair missions available!


The Cat God himself, after whom Issue #3 is named, will make his appearance in October as we are getting closer to Halloween. The Halloween event will run through the end of October and into the first week of November, and will include several missions which set off a brand new storyline including a new villain. So there’ll be plenty of opportunities to take on the challenge and learn what’s behind this new, dark threat to The Secret World come October!



  • Fixed an issue that caused some nVidia users to occasionally experience a Stop Error (BSOD) when zoning.
  • Fixed an issue with leech heals. “Reap and Sew” has been re-enabled.
  • Female hairstyles should no longer be offset by one in the list during character creation. ‘Sideswept Twist’ is no longer showing twice in the list of hair styles available for female characters.
  • Agartha: The portal to Hell Eternal (Elite) is now easier to access.
  • All of the faction marks have been updated to make them more visible.
  • Fixed an issue with hair clipping through some hats.
  • The ‘Close shaved’ hairstyle for males no longer shows over the character ears when viewed from the side.
  • Mark of the Templar and Mark of Blood no longer have the same visual effect on a target.
  • Social pets: The “Tabby-Cat” has been more accurately renamed “Calico Cat”
  • Fixed an issue with some shadows in The Shadowy Forest.
  • You can now swap weapons when you do not have one drawn.



  • Fixed an issue with in-game messages that could not be received by some players.
  • Deleting a mail without removing an attachment first will no longer cause the item to eternally remain in sender’s bank.
  • Added a message warning users if they are the last member leaving their cabal, that anything left in the cabal bank will be lost.
  • Fixed the possibility of visually displaying very large expiration times in the marketplace.



  • Saved gamma settings will now load properly.
  • Shared gear manager builds do now appear correctly in the GUI.



  • The Facility: When Nodes get smashed you now immediately lose the buff if you are already inside the radius.
  • Darkness War – Wayeb-Xul: Bomb Mayans should now always explode at 0 HP.
  • Hell Raised: The Black Iron Artefacts no longer sound like they are machine-guns.



  • Dawning of an Endless Night: To lessen the inventory clutter, we removed the Deep Shaft key from the Illuminati box in the Franklin’s mansion. Players that already have the key will still lose it upon finishing tier 17 of Dawning of an Endless Night.
  • Into the Darkness (Dragon): The Phoenician agent now sounds like he’s been corrupted by the filth.


New York

  • Mainframe: The entry field shown during tier 4 now provides information on how to enter data.


Kingsmouth Town

  • Death and the Instruments thereof: the diesel tank is no longer temporarily locked by other players.


Blue Mountain

  • Detritus Prime should appear more reliably in tier 1, though he still enjoys long walks in the bog.
  • The Haunting: Thomas is back in the fight during ‘Protect Margret and Thomas’ in tier 3.


Carpathian Fangs

  • The Motherlands: Fixed an issue with one mapmarker.
  • Stalker in the Darkness no longer resets during the fight.
  • Too Deep: Thirsting Shades will now provide the proper update when killed.
  • Too Deep: Metamorphosing Shades will now provide credit to all players involved in their death.
  • Too Deep – Tier 3: The mission goal now correctly instructs the player to kill a Shade from Beyond.
  • There are no Flowers in Pricolesti: Interacting with the mobile phone will now provide team credit.


Besieged Farmlands

  • The Forest God is no longer holding an invisible mug throughout the cinematic during tier 2.


The Shadowy Forest

  • Singing Stones – There is now an animation played when picking up a melody from a stone from tier 1.
  • Hungry like the Wolves – Tier 1: The Lone Wolf now shows a proper animation when he rotates to wait for you and when he returns to his patrol path.


City of the Sun God

  • Akir the Sun Guardian will now visit the City of the Sun God once in a while!


The Scorched Desert

  • Black Sun, Red Sand: There is now a visual indication that the tablet is “locked” for use while the guardian is alive during tier 4.



  • You can no longer change a build in the gear manager while an ability is on cooldown.
  • Perseverance should now trigger on activation of Frenzy abilities regardless of the result.
  • The grenades from ability ‘Dirty Bombs’ are now placed on the ground when possible.



  • Updated the tooltip for On Guard to say that the effect can stack up to 5 times instead of 10.



  • Reckless will no longer be triggered by Canonball.
  • Warmth now consistently works on other targets and it no longer requires you have put points into Follow Up to function properly.


Rocket Launcher

  • The animation for the Big Red Button ability no longer shakes the character for a second or two in the beginning.



Blue Mountain

  • Getting between the scaffolding and the wall in the casino won’t make you slide out of control anymore.

Joel Bylos Appointed TSW’s Game Director

Hot off the Funcom PR presses is the announcement that The Secret World‘s Lead Content Designer has taken a step up to be Game Director.

Here’s the full announcement:

Funcom is excited to announce that Joel Bylos has taken the new position as Game Director on ‘The Secret World’,the company’s recently launched massively multiplayer online game (MMO). Mr. Bylos will work together with Creative Director Ragnar Tørnquist on expanding and enhancing the game through quality post-launch content. The team has already launched two major content updates in just over two months following launch, and focus going forward will be to expand the storyline, introduce entire new areas such as the upcoming New York raid, and much more.

Ragnar Tørnquist will continue in his role as Creative Director with even more focus on the overall setting and story for the game.

Mr. Bylos, who has been instrumental in shaping ‘The Secret World’ as Lead Content Designer’ throughout development, has extensive experience with developing post-launch content for MMOs. This includes serving as Lead Designer on the critically acclaimed ‘Rise of the Godslayer’ expansion pack for Funcom’s previous MMO launch ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’. Mr. Bylos will manage the development team together with Scott Junior, who continues in his position as Producer on the game.

“Being given the opportunity to lead the game into a bold, new future is definitely a dream come true for me,” says Joel Bylos, Game Director on ‘The Secret World’. “I am very proud of what we as a team have created with ‘The Secret World’, and it is truly a brilliant canvas that will allow us to create more groundbreaking MMO experiences for many years to come. ‘The Secret World’ is only really getting started, and with a game world that draws upon our own,real world, there is no limit to what sort of amazing stories we can tell and fantastic locations we can visit in the upcoming content updates.”

“Joel and I have worked together for many years, and I cannot think of anyone more suited to maintain the vision and lead the game going forward than him,” says Ragnar Tørnquist, Creative Director on ‘The Secret World’. “I look forward to continue working with Joel on bringing the game forward through many, exciting post-launch updates, and I especially look forward to spending more time expanding on what I truly enjoy the most about ‘The Secret World’: the story, characters and the setting itself.”

The development team is currently working on wrapping up ‘Issue #3: The Cat God’, the latest content update for ‘The Secret World’, and production on‘Issue #4’ is also well under way. This update puts players in the middle of a devastated New York City where they have to battle an enormous monster crawling up from the depths of the New York subway system and onto the streets of Times Square.

Aside from the news of the promotion, which seems a positive thing, the other interesting aspect is the Issue #3 and #4 mentions, although with no timelines. It’s always good to see the future updates laid out and hopefully we’re seeing a more settled team that will grow the game.

What’s your take on the announcement?

The Secret World: Free 3-Day Trial On Offer

Funcom have continued their run of offering free trials of TSW.

The latest option is a 3-day trial, with an extension to 5 days if you complete 30 missions. Here’s the details:


You can play as much as you want for three days and experience anything you like in the game.

Immerse yourself in the deep story and unravel the mysteries in The Secret World. Choose a Secret Society and take part in the brutal war between the Templars, the Illuminati and the Dragon. Team up with your friends and take on the challangening and exciting Dungeons in the game, such as a wrecked cargo ship off the coast of New England, called The Polaris or venture into Hell itself.

  • Complete 30 Missions to get two extra free days of playing time. Any new player which completes this challenge also gets 1200 Bonus Points (equal to 10 USD/EUR) which can be used in our in-game store.
  • Defeat the fearsome Ur-Draug boss and complete the first dungeon in The Secret World, The Polaris, to get a unique reward – The Whispering Demon Ring. Equip this powerful ring to increase your stats and get an XP bonus in the early parts of the game.

Just sign up for the trial on and fill in your information on the lower right side of the page.


We’ve said it before in our review of TSW, and we’ll say it again: this is one of the best MMOs out there. Now  you can check it out for free – so get cracking!

TSW Issue #2 Full Patch Notes

It’s been a while coming but it’s now a reality. The Issue #2 content update is live on the servers, and we’ve got the full patch notes for you right here.

As you’ll see, there’s no shortage of things to delve into, so here we go:


“Issue #2: Digging Deeper” Game Update 1.2 – September 18th


Brand new missions, the rocket launcher – our first auxiliary weapon including its own mission line – and the plastic surgery and barber shop are now all available as part of The Secret World Issue #2: Digging Deeper. Please click here for more information about the new missions in Issue #2.

And there is also a new title available if you complete all of the Digging Deeper missions!


Top changes

  • Two additional dungeon Nightmare modes are now available: The Facility and Hell Eternal.
  • The plastic surgeon’s shop Modern Prometheus in New York is now open for business.
  • Visit Ockham’s Razor barber shop in London for a new haircut or change of facial hair styles.
  • You can now access a Looking for Group (LFG) Tool using the Shift+C keyboard short cut or via the in-game menu.
  • You can now equip an 8th active/passive ability! This is reserved only for auxiliary abilities.
  • All lair NPCs now have a chance to drop Bind on Pickup rare core items.
  • All Lair bosses will now drop two Bind on Pickup rare items, 1 rare signet, 1 rare Glyph kit, and two Region boss blueprints.
  • All Region bosses will now drop a loot bag containing 2-4 blueprints to summon that boss, 3 epic Bind on Pickup items, 1 epic signet, 1 epic Glyph kit and a unique Raid Puzzle Piece.
  • NEW Lair Kill missions :
    • From Beyond the Iron Curtain (The Carpathian Fangs)
    • The Spoils of Cold War (The Shadowy Forest)
    • Midnight Mass (The Besieged Farmlands)
    • Sinking Feelings (The Savage Coast)
    • Unto the Beach (Kingsmouth)
    • Citadel of Pain (City of the Sun God)
    • Return of the Red Nights (The Scorched Desert)
    • The House always Wins (Blue Mountain)



  • London – Fixed the hat vendor’s voices to match their genders.
  • Tabula Rasa – Gave some NPCs more health. You can now use active dodge in this playfield.
  • Pangaea mannequins no longer have (U) tooltips.
  • Corrected several visual issues with clothing.
  • You are no longer able to get stuck between the bookcase and a chair in Dracula’s Castle.
  • Slightly optimized client memory usage.
  • Athletic Hoodie, blue should now appear correctly in the players Dressing Room after purchase.
  • Turrets will turn to their original rotation after combat and when they deactivate.
  • A new Anima Well can be found in the vicinity of the Lair area in Shadowy Forest.
  • The Magna Cum Laude achievement should now always be achievable.
  • You are now unable to accept dungeon teleports before reaching Jack Boone in Kingsmouth, to prevent an issue where your character could become totally unable to progress.
  • Adjusted the animation of running while using a cellphone.
  • Fixed an issue where the Shirt and Tie would clip through your equipped jacket.
  • Each lair now has a “warning area” encircling it on the map.
  • On the London map, the spelling of “Ealdwich alley” as been changed to “Ealdwych Alley”.
  • The clock on the top menu can now switch between showing game time and real time. Switch by clicking it.
  • Rifles will no longer clip through your character’s body when drawn.
  • Fixed an issue with naked characters in cinematics.
  • Fixed several locations worldwide where it was possible to get stuck.
  • Fixed some clipping issues with new female hairstyles and hats.
  • London: A specialised arms dealer in Ealdwic Station will now provide you with the necessary components to create and cast your auxiliary weapons.
  • Signet of Echoes will no longer cause friendly targets to attack you.
  • Fixed an issue with NPCs not playing attack animations for Assault Rifle attacks.
  • The sound of your headlamp will no longer be heard by other characters.
  • Fixed an issue with ocean reflections.
  • The camera will no longer jump when changing sex during character creation.
  • Fixed a few issues with hairstyles that caused clipping issues.
  • Fixed collision issues in several places worldwide.
  • Lair – Spoiled Garden – The Chain Spore detrimental effect on players should now display its icon correctly.
  • Fixed an issue with flickering shadows with crossfire enabled.
  • Fixed the cause of a server crash.
  • Fixed a spot where players took unintended environmental damage.
  • Fixed a crash caused when skipping introduction cinematics.



  • Do or Die no longer has a brief delay after activating it.
  • Turn the Tables and The Scarlet Arts will build counters on Hot Iron.
  • Turn the Tables updated to indicate that it is not affected by any heal increasing effects.
  • Mass Provocation will now affect up to 5 targets.
  • Mass Confusion will now affect up to 5 targets.
  • Queued dash abilities will now change weapons correctly when they are executed.
  • Assault Rifle
    • The tooltip for Leeching Frenzy will now correctly state that the beneficial effect has a duration of 4 seconds.
    • Anima Outbreak now specifies the number of friendly targets healed per enemy target hit.
    • Tactical Retreat grenade will now damage targets.
    • Tactical Retreat will no longer go on cooldown if it can’t be used (e.g. if you have a cliff behind you).
    • High Explosive Grenade’s tooltip now reflects that it does more damage to Afflicted targets.
    • Frag Grenade now does area damage when used with 4 and 5 resources.
    • Lucky Bullet’s tooltip now reflects that the effect happens on the 7th attack, not on the 8th attack.
    • The tooltip for Shellshocker now correctly states that it hits every 0.25 seconds instead of every 0.3 seconds.
    • Fixed an issue with Demolition, Man.
    • Updated the tooltip for Groundwork to state that up to 5 friendly targets will be affected. Improved Groundwork will affect the same number of targets.
    • Updated Veteran Passive ability to only apply once per cast of abilities.
    • Demolition, Man will only proc once from Tactical Retreat.
    • Updated spelling error in Call your Shots.
  • Blood
    • Gaian Exposure’s buff is now correctly named “Gaian Exposure”.
    • Updated Blood Pact tooltip for barrier with numeric information (absorption rate and amount).
    • Updated the tooltip for Prolonged Darkness to correctly show that it adds 3 seconds (instead of 2 seconds) to Left Hand of Darkness’ damage over time effect.
    • Blood Pact: Updated tooltip for barrier with numeric information (absorption rate and amount).
  • Elementalism
    • Aidelon: Reduced the critical chance bonus on Afflicted targets with Blaze from 100% to 40%.
    • The damage buff from Short Fuse is now consistent whether the caster is in a group or not.
    • Group mates will receive the Short Fuse buff when a group member casts it.
    • Blaze is now affected by Seal the Deal.
    • Final Fuse passive ability now correctly improves the buff from Short Fuse.
    • Manifestations will now more reliably trigger the Elemental Skill: Fury.
    • Fire Manifestation will now trigger hit effects.
    • Updated description for Elemental Skill: Fury to clarify what triggers it.
    • Fixed several issues with Short Fuse and its passive Final Fuse.
    • Phantom Purge now removes the particle effects from targets that have been purged.
  • Fist
    • Hog Wild now only effects NPCs located within the specific cone effect area.
    • Lick Your Wounds’ healing ticks are no longer able to crit.
    • Using Anima Burst will now increment stacks of Hot Iron.
    • Nurture, Cauterise and Shelter will now trigger Adrenalise.
    • Vigour can now critically heal.
  • Hammer
    • Updated tooltip of Blowout to display proper health increase %.
    • The tooltip of Epicentre has been updated to say that it creates a damage area around the targets of the caster’s attacks.
    • The Thor Hammer ability will now stop to play its animation when the caster is interrupted.
    • Epicentre should no longer cause FPS drop when used by multiple players near each other.
  • Pistols
    • Big Bang will now actually trigger each time each time a manifestation, turret, or drone deals damage.
    • Critical Help will only trigger when a manifestation, turret, or drone is summoned.
    • Win-win will now affect the caster and cleanse the correct number of detrimental effects.
    • Mad Skills will now trigger when critically healing.
  • Shotgun
    • Smart Bomb: Reduced placement range to normal shotgun range.
    • Bomb Squad: Reduced placement range to normal shotgun range.
    • Riot Act will now show the advanced tooltip when the Show Advanced Ability Descriptions option is selected.
    • Shotgun Damage Skill attack will now appear in the combat message window as CQC instead of Point Blank.



  • Cover in Stonehenge has been more evenly spread out.
  • Hit Rating and Defence Rating have been removed from the World Domination buff.
  • Updated the mechanic for capturing an Anima Facility.



  • The Facility and Hell Eternal Nightmare portals in Agartha have been added.
  • You will now be able to rejoin a Nightmare dungeon that you previously left, provided the instance is still active. An instance will remain active for 5 minutes when empty.
  • Generic pets are now disabled in dungeons.
  • Wallachian nightmare dungeons give an increased amount of Black Bullion.
  • The Facility: Anima Control Rod beams should no longer flicker.
  • Hell Fallen – Nightmare: Some issues have been fixed and balance adjustments have been made.
  • Hell Raised Nightmare and Hell Eternal Nightmare: Lifeburn will no longer cause certain passives to damage you.
  • Nightmare Xibalban Bloodhound (Darkness War), Nightmare Pit Dweller (The Ankh), and Nightmare Piston Predator (Hell Eternal) mobs now have a 50% chance to drop Bind-On-Equip Band 10 purples.
  • Trash in Nightmare dungeons now has a chance of dropping either Band 10 blues or a low chance to drop Bind-On-Equip Band 10 purples.
  • The Slaughterhouse
    • The dungeon has been rebalanced extensively and it’s now significantly harder.
    • Aleksei-Chetyre should now die immediately when reaching 0 health.
  • Darkness War Nightmare
    • Wayeb-Xul: The duration of the stun applied by Concuss is now slightly shorter.
    • Wayeb-Xul now pauses his combat a few seconds after casting Concuss.
  • The Ankh
    • A particle now plays on the target and Doctor Klein right before he casts Dreaming Shroud.
    • Added tier and goal text in the mission journal for Pandora’s Box and Pandora’s Box Revisited.
    • Removed the filth spawned along the edge in Normal/Elite.



  • Healing signets will now trigger on the correct target.
  • Signet of Castigation will now have a visual indicator when active.
  • Fixed an issue with Signet of Ablation not activating properly.
  • Fixed an issue with Signet of Equilibrium not applying properly.
  • Penetration kickbacks will now trigger correctly.
  • Black Mark of the Morrigan now correctly applies Flurry of Feathers from all heals, including blood magic barriers that have a direct healing component.
  • You can now create moulds with weapons such as Taipan’s Last Resort and Soul Crusher.
  • The clothing item Atenist Garb no longer causes your character’s eyebrows to change color to orange.
  • Fixed the name of the ability cast by the Fragmentation grenade, now named “Frag Grenade”.
  • The cost of purchasing Glyphs from the PvP vendors has been significantly reduced.
  • The cost of purchasing Venice Glyph Upgrade Toolkit has been significantly reduced.
  • The cost of purchasing Venice Talisman Upgrade Toolkit has been significantly reduced.
  • Auxiliary Weapon Mould: Original now for sale from vendors.
  • Auxiliary Weapon Mould: Gold-Plated now for sale from vendors.
  • Auxiliary casting Toolkit now for sale from vendors.
  • Auxiliary weapon mould blueprints now have a chance to drop from all Nightmare bosses.
  • Adjusted Signet of Order to behave more like its description.
  • Signet of Temperance should now trigger properly.
  • Plethron Epipens will now behave more consistently.
  • Fixed spelling mistakes in several signets.
  • The Atomos head talisman will no longer incorrectly place a stacking buff on your hostile target.
  • Fixed an issue where some Dress shirts would clip through the Punk Blazer.
  • Fixed some issues where the Female tight plaid pants would deform multiple shoes meshes.
  • The Orochi Field Uniform will no longer change the your pants and shoes when equipping it.
  • Shell of the Nautilus from normal Polaris has had its icon corrected.
  • Achievement Rewards: The male “Dawn Leathers” item is now a green poncho similar to the female, as intended.
  • Faction Marks sold by the Explosives Vendors now clear each other – a given target can only have 1 Mark. These Marks also no longer falsely claim to only effect one target at a time.
  • Thoth’s Condemnation (normal and elite versions) now add the correct amount of stats to you.
  • Wosret’s Marvel can now be properly disassembled.
  • Caress of the Void can now be properly disassembled.
  • Calabi-Yau Manifold can now be properly disassembled.
  • Grotesquely Bloated Heart can now be properly disassembled.
  • Pishacha’s Hunger can now be properly disassembled.
  • The coveted Taco Hat is now available if you have consumed 7460 tacos or more in-game.



  • Fixed an issue with the gear manager swapping builds with similar weapons.
  • Marketplace : The marketplace search no longer returns with items that are already sold.
  • The equip button has been replaced by a reassign button for abilities already equipped.
  • Improved the mission tracker visuals and feedback.
  • Cabals – Added a new permission to cabals (Can Withdraw Items).
  • Cabals – You can now invite other players to your cabal even if they are not in your area.
  • Made the GUI of states and resources a bit easier to understand.
  • Added burst as a subtype in ability search.
  • Fixed target decal option not saving properly.
  • Crafting – Assembly window should now never open without text on the assembly button.
  • The in-game browser should no longer crash when a download link is opened (it will rather just be ignored).
  • Fixed an issue where the PvP GUI would not update properly after a Battlefield was completed.
  • Fixed an issue where the Gear Manager would sometime not load the gears that are part of a build.
  • You can now invite other players to your Cabal by Right Clicking their name in chat regardless of how far the invited player is from you.
  • TO MODDERS: Added the possibility to set a target though the UseShortcut function in com.GameInterface.Game.Shortcut (UseShortcut(pos:Number, targetId:ID32)
  • Changed cabal member promote button from Ok to Ok/Cancel.
  • Opening up the dressing room tab should no longer show a blank Back tab by default.
  • Gear manager has been updated to work with auxiliary abilities and weapons.
  • Removed outdated achievements The Grimms and Heart of the Matter.
  • Fixed a brief delay when joining a group where group chat would not display right away.
  • Hazmat Suit will now correctly appear in the multislot section of the Dressing Room.
  • Corrected an incomplete sentence on a character selection screen popup.
  • The maximum number of possible gear manager slots your character can have when purchasing all upgrades, has been increased to 20.
  • Added new icons to playfield maps to show the lairs.
  • Area names and Lair names should no longer appear onscreen at the same time.



  • Into Darkness – Illuminati : You will now be able to continue if you skip the road flares and proceed to the meeting point in the dark.
  • Dawning of an Endless Night: Correct instance name will appear when attempting to enter Illuminati Archives.
  • Dawning of an Endless Night: You should no longer be attacked by friendly Undying Thanes in The Savage Coast stone encounter.
  • Hub cities: You are now unable to leave the training rooms until the weapon missions are complete.
  • Virgula Divina: Fixed an issue which caused some players to be unable to move after watching a cinematic in the mission.
  • To Catch a Thief: Goalmarker now guides you back to the instance on the ‘follow the rogue agent into Agartha’ step.
  • Total Eclipse: The Headlamp is now removed from inventory upon mission completion.


  • London Underground: Fixed an issue where the door found in the Bazalgette could be interacted with without having the mission active.
  • London Underground: The Crocea Mors item has been removed from the mission as it is no longer required.

New York

  • Mainframe: A locked door found in the instance will now provide appropriate feedback when interacted with.


  • The Pick-Up
    • Adjusted the trigger areas for this escort mission.
    • Fixed an issue where Cassandra would sometime stop following you during tier 6 which would prevent mission completion.
    • Fixed an issue where leaving the instance would sometime not solve the “Leave the maintenance tunnel” goal during tier 7.
    • One of the 3 doors will always allow you to pass through to the other side.
  • Floater: Lost Drone can now be spawned by other players after someone else already spawned it.
  • It takes Two to Tango: Tango should automatically respawn after it despawns either from mission completion or failure.
  • That’ll Leave a Mark: Fixed an issue where the Injured Man would duplicate himself.
  • The Kingsmouth Code: Fixed an issue where the mission would pause after clicking some paintings.
  • Runaway Light – Fixed a few issues with Ellis gun during the mission cinematic.
  • The Hunger: Voracious Wendigo will now consistently spawn at the bones for tier 1, and then run away after the first ambush (without getting stuck at half health).
  • Hell and Bach: Theodore Wicker’s spiritual memory re-lived on the seance circle in tier 2 is now distinct from his tape-recorded journal later in the mission, as intended.

The Savage Coast

  • Carter Unleashed
    • It is no longer possible to get stuck in the generators in the basement.
    • You can now complete the mission even if you have crafted the Charged Ward Generator before the intended goal.
    • Another Portable ward generator can be picked up while on goal “Assemble a charged ward generator” if it was used up previously.
    • The Media pop-up is now larger and easier to read.
  • A Carnival of Souls
    • Fixed an issue where you would sometimes be unable to destroy the Joy of Children during tier 3.
    • “Joy of Children” can be destroyed when re-entering the instance during “Free the Joy of Children”.
  • Bring it Bach: Camera effect appears when the camera is used.
  • Jack’s Back: Jack will reliably spawn after killing the 3 revenants in Tier 3.
  • Ami Legend: Fixed an issue where the encounter would sometimes break if you died during tier 2.
  • The Exterminator: Burrows can be attacked by melee attacks.
  • Dear Reader: Fixed an issue where the ravens would sometime not fly away when approached.
  • The Faculty: Professor Jones now drains less life from her familiars.
  • The Breakfast Cult: Ward generator effects in the library will show properly now.
  • Sinking Feelings: Added a text for when the mission has been solved. The number of slurs to kill has been adjusted.

The Blue Mountain

  • Bitter Servants can no longer attack you through walls in the Franklin Mansion and can no longer pass through walls.
  • Fixed an issue in pathfinding near the Franklin Mansion staircase where NPCs would end up under the stairs or on the above floor.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented you from entering the area for the Aspect of the Long-Toothed.
  • The Filth Amendment: The waypoint for finding Subject-Zero among the prisoners has been increased slightly in radius.
  • The Filth: The Media pop up in Tier 2 should now be localized in the mission journal.
  • His Master’s Voice: French and German version of the pages should appear correctly in the journal.
  • Jack of the Lantern: Fixed an issue that could make Jack of the Lantern take a lengthy amount of time before spawning in the pumpkin patch.
  • Up in Flames: The Hazmat Suit awarded when completing the mission will now properly appear as a Multislot item in the Dressing Room.
  • Scavengers: Fixed an issue where the Faction Report would not show any text.
  • Dreamcatcher
    • Fixed an issue that prevented you from completing the goal “Find a Wabanaki Guide’s feather” after pausing and unpausing the mission.
    • The mapmarkers for the Ancestor’s Nightmares have been adjusted to better reflect the location.
    • Fixed an issue that could cause the mission to not complete correctly.
    • Ancestor’s Nightmares will no longer keep you on their hatelist, preventing you from regenerating health.
  • The Orochi Group
    • The Poisonous Smoke can now be prevented by wearing the hazmat suit (from the Up in Flames mission).
    • Fixed an issue where the required password was incorrectly shown on the computer terminal GUI during Tier 3.
    • The Media pop up for Tier 4 of the mission should now be localized.
  • Homeland Insecurity
    • The Tactical Map found during the mission will now match the visual look of it’s media popup.
    • Fixed an issue that could prevent you from completing the mission if your inventory was full.
  • The Ghosts and the Darkness
    • Fixed an issue that prevented you from hearing Billy Woodrow’s spoken dialogue.
    • Jimmy Rigby’s corpse will now be easier to find.
  • Echoes in Eternity
    • Fixed an issue that prevented you from completing the mission if you resumed it on the last tier.
    • Fixed an issue that sometimes prevented you from completing the mission if you paused it.

The Scorched Desert

  • Old Gods, New Tricks: Mission dynel used to spy has been renamed to Spy on Tanis.
  • The High Cost of Dying
    • Tier 1: Interacting with the Altar of Learning inside the Ancient Marya Atheneum will now properly complete the mission goal.
    • Tier 2: Leaving the Ancient Marya Atheneum during the mission will no longer block the mission from progressing.

City of the Sun God

  • The 3rd Age – Tier 3: Fixed an issue that prevented you from completing the mission if it was paused.
  • Batteries Not Included: The Malfunctioning Drones found during the mission will no longer remain immobilized on the way to their destination.
  • Waters of the Nile: The mission will no longer disappear from certain instances.
  • Halls of Lost Records: The locked door in the Chambers of Horus will now unlock properly when the mission asks you to pick up the Key of Horus.
  • The Way of Things: Slightly improved lighting inside the pentagram room.
  • Blood and Fire: The Statue of the Voice of Aten encountered at the end of the mission will now respawn faster and should not lock anymore.
  • Changes to NPCs:
    • Shade Stalkers should be easier to handle.
    • Foreman Gahiji found new strength and should be slightly harder.
    • Eiz has drawn even more power from his altars.
    • Filth-Warped Aspirants now know how to use their weapons correctly.
    • Golems now properly bind to the will of the Shaper of Golems.
    • Transformed Orochi Soldiers have grown and found their proper powers.
    • Filthy Orochi Assaulter should be more interesting to fight.
    • Vile Dive ability from Soul Corruptors now have a clearer area of effect.
    • Bullrush ability from some Guardians now have a clearer area of effect.
    • The Corrupted Corpses NPCs in City of the Sun God have been tweaked to be more enjoyable.
    • Infectious Commander should be easier to handle.
    • Several NPCs have been made stronger in the mission “The way of things”.
    • Shezmu the Betrayer found new defensive moves making him harder.
    • The manifestations of Amir now have less health.
    • Mummy ability “Old Blood” area of effect will now be clearer.
    • Envoy Runihura has gained new gear and will be harder to kill.
    • Rib-Hadda has gone through some soul searching and has been completely rebalanced.
    • The Bling Blang ability of Mummies should be less of a problem.
    • All NPCs in the mission “The Sad Song” should be easier to handle.
    • Jinn Riftseeker has channelled more power.
    • Heropsis, found in the Tainted Burrow, will now properly spawn adds during combat.

The Shadowy Forest

  • Respawn timers for standard NPC population have been increased around The Shadowy Forest.
    • You should no longer find oddly placed object interaction labels around the playfield.
  • Mortal Sins
    • The Water of Life pouring should no longer appear to cut abruptly.
    • Puzzles in the Dreaming Prison can now be solved without audio.
    • Each letter of the Water of Life puzzle should now reset correctly after a moment.
  • The Cellar Door
    • Fixed an issue where you would be unable to complete the mission if you Disabled the Security Wall too early.
    • You won’t be able to skip ahead of the security systems and use levers unless you are on the appropriate objectives.
  • Fatal Framing
    • The Camera should now be removed from your inventory when you are not currently on the mission, or if you have completed it.
    • You should now be able to interact with the Romany Corpse again during the first goal of tier two, should you decide to abandon the mission.
    • The Camera should no longer be removed pre-emptively if you are in a grouped situation.
  • The Drăculeşti: The Goal Marker for the Photograph Fungal Incubators should now be more accurate.
  • The Amazing Brothers Blaga: The Electric Hazards debuffs in the area should no longer display placeholder text.
  • Free Spirit: The Goal Marker for Tier 1 is now more accurate.
  • The Wild Hunt: Leaving the cinematic directly after taking the mission does not continue to hinder your movement speed anymore.
  • Lord of the flies: You now have two minutes to kill the Forest Heart’s Decay, and should revert back to the first goal should you fail by dying or running out of time.
  • Fungal Fireworks: The Electrical Substation image should no longer display to every player in the area, it will only display for the player using the terminal.

The Besieged Farmlands

  • Moved General Rodica slightly to prevent him from floating.
  • The Lone Wolf won’t be lazy anymore, it will stand up and use its correct fight animations.
  • Added collision to Slave Dog Gladiators and Slave Dog Trackers in the Besieged Farmlands.
  • Ripples: The Herald of Sorrow won’t disappear anymore if summoned while the summoner is outside of the circle.
  • Mortal Sins: The Forest God will now properly hold a mug while he is drinking during the cinematic on tier 2.
  • The Cost of Magic: The page can be picked up again if deleted or never picked up in case of a full inventory.
  • The Kindly Ones: This mission can now be picked up again after being paused.

The Carpathian Fangs

  • NPC respawn times in Carpathian Fangs have been adjusted.
  • Improved pathfinding in The Breach.
  • Breached
    • The Orochi message triggered from the terminal now plays to completion in all languages.
    • Audio will now be played when accessing the audio file on the computer terminal.
    • The Zmeu-Mother’s will now respawn more quickly.
    • Adjusted the map marker for the “Access the terminal and find out what happened” goal during tier 1.
    • Adjusted the map marker for the “Gain access to the research data” goal during tier 2.
    • Adjusted the waymarker for ‘Breached – Tier Two’
    • Finding the Orochi terminal will now update closer to the actual terminal.
  • The Girl is Gone
    • Fixed an issue where the helicopter would despawn before you could reach it.
    • Lidiya will be more aware of new players entering the observatory while she is in combat.
    • The helicopter should now arrive on time.
    • Boss lockout barriers encountered in Tier 4 of the mission will now come down sooner following the encounter’s completion.
  • Eye Spy
    • The mission will now provide the correct amount of experience.
    • The mission will now fail properly if the triggering player disconnects. Note that the mission will only provide credit for grouped players – solo players must each escort the drone.
  • Too Deep: Fixed an issue where the four Bringer of the Beyond would sometime not spawn.
  • A Dying Breed: The mission will now provide the correct amount of experience.
  • Bloodlines: Added map markers to the goals requiring you to acquire blood sample from vampires.
  • Cabin Fever: Virgilu’s respawn timer has been adjusted.
  • The Castle: The ability cast by House of Danesti vampires now has a proper name.
  • Icebreaker: The Ice block found during the mission can now only be destroyed by players on the appropriate goal of the mission.
  • Metal Detective: Adjusted the waymarker for Tier 1.



  • Blue Mountain soldier’s arms now match the color of the rest of their skin.
  • Blue Mountain – Fixed the respawn times on the Ellri Lords and Broodmothers in the Quarry.
  • Reanimated Warrior’s XX_Mesopotamian Snare cast is now named “Halting approach”.
  • Ellri Destroyers’ XX_Attract Zombie cast is now named “Undead attraction”.
  • Zamira Vata now has her shades above her head.
  • The House of Danesti Keeper located in Dracula’s Castle is now more aware of people sneaking up behind him.


World Design


  • Added collision to some gas canister found in the Fight Club.

The Shadowy Forest

  • Fixed an issue where the runestones near Mama Padurii lair were floating above the ground.

The Savage Coast

  • Fixed an issue where players could get stuck in the Shadow version of the Theme Park instance.

TSW Issue #2 Update: Tonight

It’s had some delays but The Secret World is getting it’s Issue #2 update tonight (Tuesday).

The servers will be down for five hours, which is pretty reasonable for a full update.

Here are the local time conversions for you:

AEST: 9pm-2am

AWST: 7pm-Midnight

NZST: 11pm-4am

The short official blurb from Funcom:

The servers will come down for “Issue #2 – Digging Deeper” on September 18th at 11:00 GMT / 7am EDT / 4am PDT (check this link to see when this is in your timezone). The downtime is scheduled to last 5 hours.

Don’t forget you can check out the preview vid of the new content right here.

Over to you: are you excited for the new content?

The Secret World Issue #2: Content Update Video Preview

It’s arrived: in the next number of hours we’ll see the latest content update for TSW drop. Ahead of that, Funcom have released a tasty developer preview of what’s coming. It’s narrated by Lead Content Designer (and by the sound of his voice, expatriate Aussie), Joel Bylos:

So the summary of new content highlighted in the video:

1. New missions including investigation missions, an auxiliary weapon mission and Lair action missions
2. New auxiliary ability wheel
3. Rocket launcher abilities: Big Red Button (large damage single focus), Cluster Strike (AoE)
4. 8th ability slot
5. Ockham’s Razor barber shop in London (change hairstyle and makeup – double the number of hairstyle than currently)
6. Modern Prometheus in New York (for a facelift)
7. Nightmare modes for new dungeons: The Facility and Hell Eternal

For those at work or other locations where YouTube’s an issue, here’s some assorted pics from the new content (click on pics for full size):

Fancy a facelift? New York’s the place to go…

Facelift Part 2: The Barbershop in London

Rocket Launcher as ‘diplomacy’ with the Secret World

More diplomacy

I feel all United Nations right about now…

Over to you: do you like what you see??

The Secret World Patch 1.2 : Lairs For All!

Funcom have posted a nice little teaser for patch 1.2 on their blog. They’ve given some insights into their aim to make end-game content a real drawcard for casual and hardcore TSW players alike.

First, the cited changes:

  • Lairs are now for groups of 5 players. The new Looking for Groups (LFG) tool in patch 1.2 should make finding those groups of 5 a little easier than before.
  • Each Lair’s distance from nearby Anima Wells has been evaluated. Lairs deemed too far have had a new Anima Well added. This should ease the punishment of wipes, and players can also use this Anima Well to “meet up” and get started with their Lair more quickly.
  • Each Lair is launching with a new item mission in it, and we will expand to three missions total. Each of these missions will reward you with Ritual Fragments to help you summon the Playfield Bosses in the Lair.
  • Lairs now provide loot progression; everything you need for your next stage of the Lair can be found at your current stage. To be specific:
  • Standard Lair mobs are balanced for a full set of greens and signets. They have a chance of dropping BoP blues, as well as green signets and Playfield Boss ritual fragments.
  • Playfield Bosses (3 in each Lair) are balanced for mostly greens, with a few blue talismans. They are guaranteed to drop a few Bind on Pick-up (BoP) blues, a blue signet, and Regional Boss ritual fragments.
  • Regional Bosses (1 each in New England, Egypt, and Transylvania) are balanced for a full set of blue gear. They are guaranteed to drop a few BoP quality level 10 purples, a purple signet, and few ritual fragments to make these bosses easier to resummon.
  • Regional Bosses also drop strange and powerful ritual fragments- even though the magic of this ritual doesn’t yet function, who knows when their latent power might activate again…

There’s also one crucial thing that won’t be changing: Nightmare mode will remain damn hard and will deliver better rewards than the easier modes.

For me, the LFG tool is a major win as I tend to play in periods of an hour or so only. More broadly, it’s great to see the ongoing planning for end-game content – I just need to spend some more time getting to a stage that I’m competent to tackle it. September’s going to be an even better month by the look of it now…

Over to you: do you like what you see for 1.2? Anything missing that you’d hoped for or a surprise you hadn’t expected?

TSW: State of The Game Update – More Content Coming!

Funcom have followed up their interactions with the TSW community the past week with a fairly detailed ‘State of the Game’ update for TSW.

As we posted a few days back, Funcom have emphasised that they’re committed to TSW in the longer term, but this update puts some significant flesh on those bones:

Hi all,

As most of you probably know, The Secret World team has been through a turbulent couple of weeks. We’ve had to let some people go, and we’re in the process of reshuffling and reorganising ourselves around the remaining staff. This is never fun, but it’s the way of things: we need to scale down from a full development team to a more cost-efficient live team.

So what does this mean for The Secret World? How will a smaller team affect the delivery of upcoming content? And most importantly, does TSW have a future?

That last one is an easy one: of course it does! The Secret World has a bright future ahead of it and the team remains dedicated to delivering monthly content updates.

Okay, look, we all know there are a lot of alternatives out there — from warring guilds to kung-fu-fighting pandas — but I can safely say that no other game offers what The Secret World offers. Freedom from classes and levels; a modern-day setting with real world locations; a critically acclaimed storyline and an atmosphere second to none; fully voiced characters that you can empathise with and believe in; a deep and unique character progression system, with boundless opportunities for experimentation and character development.

The list goes on and on. I think it’s fair to say that TSW is an original and ground-breaking game, and our players agree. Our ratings remain incredibly high — in fact, with an 8.4 Metacritic user score, we’re amongst the highest rated MMOs of the past decade — and our community is vocal, positive and growing.

And that’s why we’re not about to change. We’re not going to play it safe. We won’t be introducing classes or levels, elves or centaurs, and regardless of the competition, we won’t back down from our original vision. We’re going to keep doing what we’re good at. We’ll continue to push the boundaries, and we’ll keep reinventing the wheel (quite literally). Five years ago, we set out to revolutionise the genre, and the revolution has just begun.

Fact is, this is more than bullet-points on the back of a box: The Secret World is actually unique and different, and even if our players go off to dabble in a bit of high fantasy, we’ll still be here when they come back, doing what we’ve been doing since launch, offering a deeper and more complex experience, a game that’s truly original, mature and challenging. A game for gamers.

On the development side, we have two main goals right now: To continue to service our existing players with new content, features and gameplay — along with tweaks and fixes to existing content, of course — and to build our player base by reaching out to new players who haven’t yet had the opportunity to take the game for a spin and get hooked.

How do we plan on doing this? First off, we’re going to stick with our monthly release schedule. Like we’ve said before, we feel it’s important to give our paying customers new content and features every single month. Our second issue — Digging Deeper — has unfortunately been delayed by two weeks, due to the restructuring of the team, but issue #3 (title to be announced, but there are cats and it ties in with our Halloween event) will be released on time.

Secondly, we’ll be polishing, fixing and streamlining the game based on feedback from our community, in order to make The Secret World even more inviting to new players. We won’t mess with the core game, but we will continue to improve the experience — visually and mechanically — and this will certainly benefit players both new and old.

So what’s ahead in upcoming issues? There’s a ten-person raid in New York scheduled for October, and it’s not like any raid you’ve ever played before. We have a bunch of auxiliary weapons on the way, and more character customisation improvements. We have a huge and exciting new feature pencilled in for Christmas, which ties into the achievement system and gives a lot more meaning to the usual ‘Kill 1,000 Vampires’ goals. (After all, who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to have some vampiric abilities to play around with?) We’re creating intermediary decks with brand new clothing rewards; we have a ton of new missions and storylines in development; and we have a huge new adventure zone scheduled for next spring, bringing players back to Tokyo’s Ground Zero, to face brand new threats, meet new characters, play new missions and explore an intriguing urban environment unlike anything you’ve ever seen in an MMO.

And that’s only some of the cool content we have in the pipeline. The Secret World is far from done: in fact, we’re just getting started. (Actually, we’re pretty far along, but you know what I mean.)

This game will continue to grow and evolve in the months and years ahead, and I hope to see you all along for the ride!


P.S. Oh, and please tell your friends and family about our trial! All you have to do is go to our official website and register to enjoy three whole days of The Secret World, free of charge.

Sure, there’s some fairly generic PR-speak in there but there’s also some tasty teasers on future content.

What’s your take?

Funcom to TSW Players: We’re Here For The Long Haul

In case you hadn’t realised, the creators of The Secret Word, Funcom, have been through some hard times lately, including some pretty significant company restructuring.

That’s understandably got a lot of TSW players twitchy, particularly given that the next content update has been delayed to the 11th September.

One of Funcom’s community reps on the TSW forums, has jumped in to put a positive spin on things:


But seriously, I am sorry that there haven’t been as many dev and CM posts as usual. There’s some heavy restructuring going on right now, and we’re all just working to get settled.

I wanted to come in here and assure you that Funcom and it’s teams are incredibly committed to making sure that TSW keeps it’s steady content flow. While I do know that there has been a delay with the implementation of Issue 2 – Digging Deeper, this delay should not affect other Issues with new content or updates/bug fixes from continuing as planned. We hope to continually improve the game by listening to the community’s feedback!

In the words of the Illuminati (which is not to say that Funcom is Lumie-run):

You either do or get done, and we’re not done.

We’re in this fully, and we have no intentions of stopping any time soon.

Like any posts like these, you’re not going to get a lot of insight into the true state of the nation, but at face value it seems there’s a real commitment to keeping things happening. No-one wants that more than me. As I said in my review of the game, there’s a hell of a lot to like about this game – enough for me to fork out for a lifetime subscription.

At the very least it’s worth buying the game with its 30 days of game time and working out for yourself whether it’s a keeper. I know that if this game does go under, it proves that innovation in the MMO sphere isn’t being rewarded like it should. SOme would say the MMO model has been dead for a few years now, but I’m a little more optimistic than that.

What about you?

/gchat: Swings, Roundabouts and Blenders

/gchat is an ongoing column on guilds and the fun, conflicts, laughs and rage-quits they contain. If you have a topic you’d like covered, drop our guild guru Jemima Moore a line!

Raid Team Selection. Yep, I said it. It’s a dirty word. It’s an ugly word. Ok, it’s three words but I’m bringing them out of the closet and shining a light on the shabby, shameful, heart-wrenching world of raid team selection – no holds barred.

The oldest and arguably most maligned way to assemble a raid team is the Playground Panel.

It comes in many forms from “everyone be on at 7 and we’ll see who’s on” to “I’ll be picking teams based on class balance and gear” and is often characterised by a green wall of furtive questions around  7:15pm AEST: “Are we raiding tonight?” “What time is it starting?” “Have invites gone out yet?” It may seem harmless enough, but rest assured it’s all a euphemism for “I’m too lazy to care about anyone ‘cept me and mah boyz.”

It’s a bad system. Designed and perpetuated by a select few who want the maximum number of warm bodies to fill raid slots for the minimum effort. It promotes elitism, anxiety, dissent and disappointment as even the most seasoned raider can’t help feeling at least a momentary lump in the throat wondering whether they’ll get to go – and only the biggest narcissist will leave someone behind without at least a momentary twang of guilt. The best case scenario is you didn’t set aside an entire evening for nothing and the majority of the team made it through the selection process with enough confidence intact to actually perform.

Thankfully, this arcane system of selection has evolved and most guilds have moved on to more structured modes of selection. If yours hasn’t, I suggest you shop around.

The Rotating Roster with a Team Split Twist is the most common of these. Guilds divide their raiders into fixed, over-sized teams and schedule the extras on a rotating stand-by schedule.

It’s a much fairer method and provides a lot more flexibility in terms of attendance. Plus there’s an argument that sticking with the same people in the same roles makes progression easier and more efficient. There are some hidden drawbacks though.

Tanks and healers are typically not rotated as much as dps. If they are, it falls on a few members of the team to maintain two sets of gear and the skills to fill those roles on odd nights.

The counter-argument to easier and more efficient progression is reduced development of skills across the broader team which often makes the next fight harder. Plus, you’re back to wiping a few times on a boss you usually one-shot when that key taunter/runner/add collector isn’t around.

It sucks to have your standard rotation night come up just after you spent an entire evening wiping on a boss and know the team will kill him next raid without you. The only things that sucks worse is having it happen twice.

Unapologetic 1980’s reference foisted on this great post by the sentimental Editor

Then there’s the ‘guild killer’ that’s more insidious than cancer: the A-team / B-team split. One team due to subtle (or not so subtle) differences in make-up, happens to progress faster than the other. Maybe that team has an extra taunt, a speed boost or a min/maxing dps of a certain class that makes a hard boss just a little easier. The acquisition of gear and new skills they’re developing skyrocket them ahead of the other teams and A-grade egos develop in line with an A-team tag. As the gap in progression widens, so does the ability for players to interchange teams and, over time, the individual groups become insular and cliquey. A vicious circle ensues until one day someone wonders out loud why they’re tolerating the whiney/egotistical pack of QQers/l33t jerks on the other team at all. There’s usually casualties.

All too frequently, guilds with this make up can’t ride the ebbs and flows of raiding through multiple expansions and inevitably one team breaks away to form their own guild ready to start the cycle over again.

In order to overcome these problems, some guilds are now guaranteeing raid spots for players willing to commit to 100% attendance (or close to it) and are mixing raiders up from lock-out to lock-out. I call it “Will it Blend?” and Aftermath tried it this season. It’s not a perfect system by any stretch but it does engender whole-guild camaraderie, significantly reduces the drama surrounding kills and loot drops and that in turn develops both loyalty and pride in oneself and the guild. It also requires a team of skilled and committed raiders who show up every week ready to do anything but that’s kind of a chicken and egg thing. The downside is that without guilded raiders on stand-by, real life getting in the way becomes a huge issue. Assembling and balancing teams each week is no small issue and maintaining a wide and varied friends list to PUG from takes a lot of time.

As an aside, Murphy’s law holds true every time – a PuG will always win the /roll on set gear. And finally, when there’s no side door to nudge a lacklustre player to, it occasionally forces you to have conversations that are more honest than you’d like.

I can’t help but think there has to be a middle ground. On the one hand, it’s a game and requiring 100% attendance for a hobby is pretty hard core. On the other hand, less than 100% attendance when multiplied by the number of people in your raid team, means that somewhere between 7 and 24 people that set aside their evening are adversely affected to at least some degree every single raid.

In a good MMO, raids are hard enough that the individuals in the team need to work pretty hard on their class, their gear and their research to be there in the first place. Yet developers don’t allow any flexibility in raid size or balance for sickness, working late, someone’s 21st birthday, wife aggro or the Grand Final. Guilds and players are expected to somehow overcome real life and field a team of an exact size and class balance each and every week.  Working within these limited parameters, it’s hoped that Raid Leaders can minimise disappointment, inconvenience and drama while providing a fulfilling and satisfying group experience for a set of highly competitive and motivated individuals.

Anyone else think these mechanics are somewhat at odds?

What BioWare, as a developer, has done to help is make a point of supporting server communities.  On the Empire side of Dalborra end-game raiding guilds have embraced that. The GMs of Prophets of Agony, Tenacity, First Legion, Reach (now part of Violation) and Aftermath formed a network of guilds that “borrow” raiders from each other for the night or the week. We try and make sure all our raiders get a run through somewhere and we try our best to help each other out with any bodies we can muster when another team is short. There’s still a healthy dose of competition between the guilds, but there’s just as many woots and gratz in /1 Denova on Wednesday night.

Again, it’s not a perfect system but it is better than the sand-box shenanigans we suffered in primary school.

I’d love to hear your stories of the best and worse raid team selection techniques you’ve come across.