Funcom announced a while back that The Secret World no longer requires a subscription. And right now they’ve got a deal where for just the $30 dollar cost of the game, you’ll get all the game’s “issue” packs so far included. Now I’ve had a lot of people talk to me, who only played the beta, and didn’t enjoy certain things (like templars having less exclusive stuff than anyone else, dragon missions being broken, etc). I don’t really have experience with the Dragon missions (I would encourage you to play Illuminati instead because they rock) but I know mechanically that a lot of improvements have been made. I would encourage anyone who played the beta, liked the base system, but felt the content was off, to give it a second chance now. It’s been a long time and I’ve played since almost the beginning and seen a lot of changes for the better.
There’s been 5 major updates since I started playing, never mind the beta. A lot of stuff’s changed and gotten better. Tons of quest bugs have been fixed. Trust me, I’ve worked through these myself. They all work now. Yes even the Hell investigation mission where all the annoying sigils didn’t activate when you clicked on them. It’s all been fixed. And if you encounter a new bug, you can call a GM with a text command to help you, and it’ll get fixed. There’s been a really awesome recent balance update where Resource Consumer attacks now deal extra damage and have better effects for every resource consumed. They’ve really worked on even core game mechanics and made them more accessible, balanced and useful.
There’s been all kinds of cool additions like the Theater in London where you can put on user-generated stage plays using in-game props and emotes, a clothing shop where you can kit out your character using only in-game quest currency (Pax Romana) and not funcom store cash, and a plastic surgeon for changing your appearance if you don’t like it (such as making your character super tall like mine). They’ve added a bunch of new missions and raids. The only place that feels sort of sparse in content now is the very last story area, the Carpathian Fangs, and that one still has like 20 quests.
For only 30 bucks you’re getting a ton of content for the price. It took me 5 months of regular play to beat all of the story missions, and I still haven’t really done many raids, and I’ve skipped over quite a few side-quests because I was interested in the story. So I think if you played it in beta, and you felt that stuff was missing, it’s probably there now. There’s a lot to do. It’s still an MMO – if you don’t like lootz, cooldown powers and the skill-based character building you probably still won’t. Yet, as a solo game, there’s tons of interesting and challenging content and a lot of choice in building your character. I think it’s really worth it getting into this game, because it’s put together so well as an MMO. It takes the MMO, makes it solid, modern, interesting and unexpected. I never thought I’d have to do a morse code puzzle in an MMO!