The Secret World: Will My Interest Last?

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot over the last two days, ever since Funcom announced that they would be discontinuing the Grand Master pack. I’ve only been playing the game since late November, but I really have enjoyed it so far and when the GM pack went on sale around Christmas I thought to myself, “If I’m still playing this next year and Funcom is doing well financially, I’m going to buy the lifetime membership.” A year would have been enough time to solidify my interest and the stability of Funcom as a company. Now I have just a few days.

The future of Funcom aside, is the pack worth it? On the one hand I would unquestionably say yes. At $15 a month in 10 months I will break even and that doesn’t include any issues or cosmetics I purchase with bonus points provided by the subscription. There will never be a reason to spend money on TSW after the initial $150 for the Grand Master pack. But this value assumes I will have been subscribed and playing during that whole time and I’m not sure that will be the case.

I love The Secret World— I still stand by the statement that it is one of the best MMOs I’ve ever played— but it has weaknesses. Most notably is the type of content that on the one hand makes the game so great but on the other lacks significant replay value— story. Right now I’m swimming in it as a new player but eventually, like so many others I’ll be left waiting for new issues. Will I be playing TSW still in the interim, working on alts or dungeon and raid progression? I can’t say for sure. I’d feel more confident if I was in a Cabal or had a regular group but right now I don’t.

And then there is my track record as an MMO player. Other than the first two years of playing World of Warcraft, I’ve not been terribly consistent with what I play. Generally I last around 2-3 months focusing on one title before moving on to the next. Sure, I often come back around to my favorites but that still means at most I might be playing a game 4-5 months out of the year. With The Secret World, it may end up being even less if all I’m doing is the new story content each time it is released.

This is of course all speculative, I’m trying to predict my future decisions based on previous patterns and in light of a limited time offer which is of course intended to make me go through this crisis in order to “encourage” me to make a decision now. I don’t fault Funcom for this; it’s standard retail practice and in the long run I believe it truly is in their best interest to discontinue the offer. Generally speaking the value is there, I can buy the pack and never pay for content in TSW ever again. Brilliant. But for me personally? I’m undecided. I’m already slowing down in frequency playing TSW and Black Desert is just around the corner.

I have a few more days to decide what I’m going to do and then by Friday, one way or the other a decision will be made and it will be final. Until then I’ll probably continue to weigh the merits of purchasing the Grand Master pack and continue to fret over my decision like a good little consumer.

Do any of you have the Grand Master pack? At this stage in the game’s life, do you think it’s worth purchasing?

17 thoughts on “The Secret World: Will My Interest Last?

  1. I’ve been a Lifer/GM since the game was still running a subscription, so my value:dollar ratio is probably stupendously skewed. I would be lying if I didn’t say that not having to pay for the game regularly has kept the “pressure” of logging in off…but at the same time, the game is so unique, so deep and so well-realized that it feels a bit like I ripped Funcom off.

    ….I’m not sure entirely how helpful that bit of exposition was, but it is, if nothing else, honest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t think of that, once you’ve payed it almost becomes like a f2p game in that you don’t feel the pressure of a sub to play regularly. And I think anyone who bought the pack teo or three years ago has done extremely well off of it. Obviously the longer you wait the more the value decreases. But assuming a long and healthy MMO life and at least 3 issues a year I think it will be more than worth it even now. I don’t know, I go back and forth but now I’m leaning toward going ahead and biting the bullet.

      I appreciate the honesty and any dialogue is helpful, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve thought about the question; the best answer i can give is three-layered, though.

    Very short answer: get the GM. It’s 150$, true, but i think it’s still a good value for players who like TSW and plan to play it, even if only to go through the newest releases.

    Longer answer: it depends. How many of the games’ DLC do you already own? From your first post about this topic, i gather you own all there is to own until now. If this is true, the Grand Master option won’t offer much for you. Also, you’re already in Transylvania, there’s only Tokyo left in terms of open world zones. Even if you were to subscribe for as long as it takes you to finish that content, my guess is that it would amount to three or maybe six months of subscription.

    So my guess is that you can come out of it cheaper than owning the GM pack. But that would be the pure value-oriented point of view. There are a few things i’d consider in addition.

    – Funcom needs money badly. While i don’t think players should treat games and companies as some kind of humanitarian affair, i think in this case, it’s worth thinking about. Funcom are “good guys”, in my opinion, of course. ( )

    – Being a GM, you can stop thinking about your involvement in TSW. With a monthly sub, you’d need to constantly think about whether it gives you enough bang for your buck. As Wolfy wrote above, being a GM, you don’t need to get as much time as possible out of a month’s sub- turn on the autobuy option in your account and stop worrying- even if you only play for DLC releases. Down the line, you needn’t think about whether a DLC is worth its money- once decided, it frees your mind of such considerations.

    – Fluff. While it might sound bad, remember those bonus points you get from being subscribed are basically capped at 7200 points. This way, you’ll be “forced” to buy stuff from time to time to stay away from that cap. As a result, you don’t “waste” points for mounts, clothing or something else, but it helps you giving value to your allotment. I’ve found myself not only using the item store on the homepage, but also logging in to take a look at that hoverboard, for instance.

    – You’ll also get 20% discount on everything and Grand Masters can go into “bonus point debt”- meaning that if you spent all your points but a new DLC gets released (and you have the auto-buy option turned on), they’ll give it to you. You’ll have -1200 bonus points then and will need to balance it out in the following months, but still, you don’t have to worry about not spending points before a release.

    The even longer answer? I think i’ll do a seperate post on that topic.

    For me, i can tell you that despite never even reaching Egypt in the game, i’ve never thought that the GM pack i got for 200€ at release (about 250$ at that time!) was a bad investment, because of those three last points i mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh also, when the new reward structure hits, i’m planning to dive back into the game.

      One last point regarding longevity: i really don’t know about that- TSW strikes me as a “play-to-finish” MMO (play the story, put it aside, wait for the next content drop), but i also know of many, many players who stayed with the game since release. I don’t know what they are doing- to me it seems there isn’t much endgame to speak of, but they’re there, they love the game and they are very loyal. I’d suggest you find a Cabal like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Let me know when you do start playing again, maybe we can figure out a time to join up. From what I hear there is no NA/EU division.

        And I looked into the Cabal you suggested, they do look good but I’m concerned about meeting all the requirements to get through the probationary period. It’s probably easier than what I’m thinking, it just requires a lot of group involvement. Which of course is the point, but my gaming schedule is very narrow, I have a small window each day and that’s it. I may still try to contact someone in game and talk it through with them though. I also found a website that lists a lot of Cabals so I should be able to find something before long. I’ll definitely need it once the story starts to dwindle.


      • I’ll make sure to contact you as soon as i’m back in the game. It will be a casual affair, to be sure, as i’m quite happy in the MMO department right now.

        I see they changed the requirement up to four guild events in the probation period. Wow, that’s tough; i can understand your hesitation. When i joined them, it was only two and it was really easy to do since they have a Cabal meeting every month and at that time, that counted. Still, in my opinion it’s worth trying. They’re great people, very helpful and they are very organized. Honestly, i think they’re more worried about seeing an interest in the game as well as their community than a strict number of participation in events.

        Liked by 1 person

    • That’s all really helpful, those are the things I’m trying to look at in order to decide. And I definitely think about supporting Funcom because I want them to be successful simply because I want TSW to continue. I just know how fickle I can be about staying with a particular game, but even so, like you said I don’t have to worry about it. Everything will be there when I come back if I get the pack.

      It seems like a lot of people have it, I wish I had discovered the game earlier so that I could have gotten more value out of s purchase like that. Or more accurately, I wish I had tried the game sooner, I’ve known about it since before launch, I just never thought it would interest me. I do own all the issues up through 13 already- again, I want to support Funcom- but they’re already talking about 14 and I suspect they will go through at least 16 this year. And then there is at least one or two CEs that I’m interested in that I could get with bonus points.

      I’m talking myself into it is what it comes down to, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s how i do it most of the time, as well. Unfortunately, i’m not really good at keeping a budget, so take my advice with a grain of salt- i tend to overspend. It was easier right after launch, because at that time, TSW was a subscription game and i decided in favor of the GM before even going for the first paid month- because every subscribed month is an argument against the lifetime sub.

        If you’re thinking about getting CEs even by “really buying” them, i think that’s a good way to decide- if you sum up all your spending you’d most likely do and reach a certain threshold, you might find better value in the GM already. (Let’s say 3 subs, 3 DLCs and 2 CEs – that might already be 110$).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve had The Secret World for about a year and a half and while I came very close to buying The Grandmaster Pack when I first bought a retail copy of the game a few months after it went into the new B2P model, I must admit the time I’ve spent on the game has been erratic. I’ve got (almost) every gaming system and already my unfinished game backlog is already pretty high, which has stolen my attention from The Secret World. In addition to that my current PC is minimum-spec for playing TSW so sometime is can be a REAL struggle to get through a packed raid, so I spend a lot of my time solo through the main story and teaming up with other players when the need strikes.

    On the flip-side though, I haven’t bought a single piece of DLC and I’m still in Kingsmouth (right at the end of it). I’m not a member of any Cabel and pretty much my solo play defines the game for me as I go through with my Puritan and DPS anything into bits of bloody giblets.

    Like you IronWeakness, I’m flipped. I can see the value there (and with the USD-to-AUD conversion hurting me if I go ahead with the AUD$211~ purchase that’s a slim-value for the short-term) and all of the story of The Secret World has had me hooked from the beginning. Before this the only MMOs I tried and abandoned were Everquest, Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast dying killed that: I was in until the end), Tabula Rasa (I came in late before it suddenly folded and what a train wreck!) and World of Warcraft… and of those only PSO held my attention for more than three months.

    If my gaming PC wasn’t minimum-spec this wouldn’t be a problem; I would have taken this 25% discount offer without blinking as I’ve already gotten ~18mths enjoyment out of this MMO. It’s just a problem of time to play the game vs all of the other competing time clashes of real life… and thrown in with the possibility that Funcom might be under in less than six months and The Secret World with it I’ve got a long five days to think on this.

    The biggest thing holding me back is that Funcom could be dropping the Grandmaster Pack because they’re worried that The Secret World may be shutdown before the year is out.

    It’s going to be a long five days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can see not having a computer that can run the game as optimally as you would like being a setback, if it means you end up playing the game less. I’m on the optimistic side about Funcom’s future but I wondered the same thing about the timing of discontinuing the GM pack. I think it’s more about giving greater value to the subscription and enticing more people to that model and in a way a lifetime subscription does actually devalue the subscription model.

      But if it is because they don’t want to offer something for $150-200 after February 5 that might be useless in 12 months, that’s actually a pretty ethical business move. If you buy now in 10 months you’ll have your money’s worth and then some, so no one could say they were ripped off if things didn’t work out for Funcom and TSW. Regardless, I hope the increase in subscriber benefits helps them financially in the long run, I want them to succeed.

      And I hear you about the Dreamcast! That was my favorite console and I was so disappointed when it didn’t last. I wish I had thought to keep mine back then but I think I sold it. All I know is that it’s the last console I played on seriously and I wish I still had it and a bunch of the games I owned back then. Never tried PSO, but I think I would have liked it.


  4. Pingback: TSW’s Grand Master pack: still worth it? – Party Business

  5. Just some random thoughts:

    1. Just like some others here, i played since launch and immediately bought the GM after my first free month was over. I definitely got my moneys worth from that investment and indeed, just like Wolfyseyes, have to say that i feel a bit like i ripped FC off there, despite it was their very own offer. (On the other hand, while they could’ve made more money from me without GM, they got the money immediately and i am still very loyal to the game. )

    2. Never spending money on TSW again after buying GM? Now that indeed is possible if you save the bonus points for the issues and stay away from fluff, but i admit that the party bags (free gifts for up to 20 people around you) are just too tempting and i tend to always have a few of them on my character “in case of need”.

    Since my girl is a DJ on one of the games radio stations and since she tends to sometimes drag me to RP events, i find plenty of opportunities to use those bags. (And also get random presents in turn from other players there. )

    As a side-effect, i tend to spend all my bonus points on such fluff stuff and have to spend money again whenever a new issue is released, but considering how much time i spend in the game and how much fun i have there, i consider this a good investment.

    3. On dungeons and Cabals: It’s nice to have a Cabal, so you spend time with people you know. While i could advertise my Cabal here, i would have to put up a number of warning signs in advance. It’s small, activity is only a few hours every day (european evening times), we’re currently too small to regularily do the NY raid. I very much like this Cabal and appreciate the atmosphere, but can’t generally advertise it.

    Anyway, while i do most my dungeon and scenario activities with my Cabal, it’s not too hard to get into Dungeons in TSW without one, and it got even much easier with the last changes. Already before the last patches, it was quite easy to get a dungeon group by contacting people on the Noobmares channel. (It’s the brother of the Sanctuary channel, which is there for beginner help all over. ) And while we already before had the LFG tool, we now have a group finder, too. Not only does it work quite well, we also now have the daily challenge to complete one dungeon by using this tool.

    I tried it several times and had positive experiences. The rewards from the daily challenge makes plenty of well geared playes sign up for both nightmare and elite difficulty. The only slightly rough experience was yesterday evening in the Slaughterhouse Elite, when most of the group was in purple gear while the tank had a mix of green and blue gear, which generally is considered to be proper for the easier elites, but not any more for this one. But while the run was tough, the atmosphere was allright. We stopped before each boss and explained things to the new tank. (It meant that one who never liked to slow down and always ran in like a fool died once at each tank while we explained stuff, but that was his loss. ) So while healing was much more work than usually (my F1 to F5 keys almost overheated), we still were successful. I guess that means that the new system works. 🙂

    4. After all this, there is only one consideration in my eyes if GM -still- is a worthwhile investment. A friend of mine who plays casually this weekend finally, due to the special offer, bought the GM account, and for casual playing it’s perfect. As long as you don’t completely surrender the game, you just keep autobuy running and whenever you return to the game you have all the issues ready on your account. (This can somewhat reduce the waste of bonus points to do the cap. ) The only problematic aspect is the survivability of Funcom. The company was offered for sale this year. While TSW according to their business report is lucrative and as far as we know The Park was also a financial success, the actual survival of the company depends on more than just this IP.

    They recently announced to publish a survival game based on the Conan intellectual property. (As they already pay for the license for Age of Conan, they apparently can use it for another game, too. ) They also announced two more projects for this year, which are not revealed yet, but from all we know, the future of the company depends on them. If another one of them turns out to be such a failure as the Lego game, they might be forced to close doors.

    When they sell, the most likely survivor of course is TSW, since the IP according to their business report is going strong and profitable, but nobody can tell if Funcom survives this year and what happens to TSW in case it gets sold. Will development continue, or will it be just held on life support and milked for profit? Will GM accounts still have their advantages if the game is sold and run by another company?

    These questions are hard to answer, but i very much hope that the new projects will be a success and will keep Funcom up and running. I know that all i wrote doesn’t give a definite answer, but i hope it helps you deciding to stick with TSW. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you, this was very helpful. It’s nice to hear the perspective of others and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to hear just how many people have the GM status.

    I will probably try the dungeon finder soon, as I really enjoy dungeons and other games be just haven’t gotten around to it here. I worry about my build a little— it’s perfect for solo play but maybe not for group— but I can do a little research before I jump in. I didn’t know there was a daily challenge attached to it, and now that you mention it there is also the weekly challenges that function as something to do as “end game.”

    With all the feedback I’ve received, especially everyone who has the GM pack saying how worth while it has been, I think I’m going to get it. It happened to work out that financially I have a little extra right now, so that’s not an issue. I just needed to decide if I would get my money’s worth or not. I’m pretty confident I will.


  7. A small addendum on the stability of Funcom: according to news from their Q4 report of 2015, all of their MMOs (Anarchy Online, Age of Conan and The Secret World) are lucrative. They also state that the total revenue of their MMOs decreased, due to their natural aging, but they actually managed to increase their profit.

    This, along with The Park being not a super-hit but still a good success, allowed them to restructure their loans. The companies survival thus is ensured till the start of 2019, which is not “forever”, but gives us enough time to play their games still. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: TSW’s Grand Master pack: still worth it? – Mersault Online

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