What makes a successful launch?
The Secret World early entry period started yesterday for pre-orders and I must say that thus far Funcom is doing a superb job of handing things. I know no matter how things go with the launch of TSW there will always be those that want to point back to Age of Conan and Anarchy Online and talk about how horrible things were, but I prefer to live in the moment, and at the moment I am having a blast and enjoying my purchase 100%.
This post though is not going to focus on the game itself, I plan on doing that in segments, this is just about the launch and my experience with the process.
I did have a slight delay in processing my purchase via paypal, but once I switched to a CC the order went thru within minutes. My name reservation was easy to set up and my beta client patched to the early access client without any major issues. Once I got home from work I was easily able to log in to the character creation menu without any delay. I have read that from time to time the client locks up at the character menu but by shutting down the client and restarting it will sort itself out. I have not had to deal with this yet myself but since the forums are not on fire with anger I trust the restart works for most players.
The character creation is pretty much as simple as it was in the extended beta periods, perhaps a few new added options here and there though I did not notice anything remarkable different. There is already an announcement on the forums that a ‘plastic surgery’ feature is being worked on for a later period that will allow players to redo their appearance once, free of charge, with the exception of changing your gender. After the initial redo of looks you can still choose to do this in your faction hub, but it will be at the expense of PAX. I have no issue a developer adding in more content to the character creator post launch, especially when they offer access to it for free to early players. As it stands I was able to make a character I am happy with at this point.
Once in game I have had nothing but a smooth experience. I am playing on Arcadia, the RP dimension. Lag has been a non-issue for me so far even at bottle neck points such as the Sheriff’s Station in Kingsmouth where players are bouncing all over. I should mention that the population is nothing like what I saw in some other launches, but I have no idea if that is due to me choosing the RP dimension or just low numbers. Technically with this being early access this could all go to hell on the official launch but I really think a good portion of players are already in the game and do not think a ton of retail buyers are out there.
There has been a report of some players having a delay in getting their pre-order items via the store, but once I was settled in Kingsmouth I opened the store and clicked on my items and they were in my inventory in about 2 minutes… not an issue at all.
I have not suffered a single crash since starting to play yesterday and today I plan on getting to some heavy traffic areas, such as the PVP zones and some of the dungeons. I am interested to see if things stay as smooth in more congested areas… and especially how things will be later this week when the official launch happens.