I feel kind of stupid saying this, but I admit I felt like I went through those five stages of grief after the relaunch announcement. I know, I know, it’s just a game. I wasn’t even a big veteran player or a fixture in the endgame community, I didn’t have 5 years of memories and comrades and all that.
And still…I hung out in #Sanctuary, I posted on the forums and the TSW sub on Reddit, followed RPers on Twitter, joined various Discords. I felt like part of the community; a tight-knit, strange, argumentative, but ultimately welcoming community. So when the relaunch was announced I was buffeted and thrown about by the same storm of emotions as everyone else.
I didn’t know how to get a hold of that emotion so I wrote and wrote, long rants and screeds, and wrote replies to other’s long rants and screeds. For me the mania over the death of TSW hit a fever point as I tried to divine the future, to find an answer to the question “Would SWL be successful?” I scoured archived Streams and forum posts, delved into Funcom financial reports, went full crazy-wall-board obsessed for a time. The result was a good five-thousand word article talking about TSW’s past, present and future. When I tried to get my friends to read my research, they politely let me know I was becoming a crazy person. Looking around on the forums, seeing other players just howling and rending their proverbial clothes, made me realize maybe the last thing anyone needed was yet another multi-page post detailing and recounting my feelings of betrayal and my personal vision for the relaunch. So I shelved the whole project, went and played some other games for a few months, and came back to SWL at launch.
From the grips of that madness the only salient points I really discovered were that a lot of people signed up for and played the TSW beta, but almost none of them stuck around. The reasons for this were many, and thoroughly detailed and examined elsewhere. The gist of it is, TSW had many problems, some fixable and some unfixable. While Funcom attempted to change things up, repair the game’s reputation and draw new people, time and again they only managed to just keep going but never succeed enough to really shine. Hence, the relaunch.
Whether you think it is good or bad I contend that the relaunch succeeded in its aims. While it did alienate TSW players, it also brought new and old people in, it made the company money, it made people reevaluate the game, and it greenlit the creation of the fabled Season 2 content.
As a player, I wonder will Season 2 stuff be up to previous quality? Will it be fun? Will it bring people back and entice them to stay?
As always the question still remains, will there be more? Just about every game has to walk the same balance these days, between releasing content and the cost of making it. The latest investor report has those ominous words about this being the “last” major release for SWL.
Again looking back I feel a bit silly thinking about how the emotions the relaunch announcement awoke in me. It saddens me that TSW could not continue and that the community had to lose so many unique and interesting people. But between the choice of SWL or an ever dwindling TSW, well, there is no choice. And the relaunch answered a lot of criticisms of TSW, though not without generating new criticisms as well.
Was it all worth it though? All the heartache and the labor? That is a question the devs are asking themselves as well. I hope Season 2 and beyond are able to answer satisfactorily, and there continues to be this strange, argumentative but ultimately welcoming community.