Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs, part 2

Last week we began our exploration of the value of The Secret World's DLCs by looking at the cost of the additional content relative to those who subscribe, those who don't, and those who are lifetime member grandmasters. But money isn't everything to everyone. As noted previously, value is a subjective judgment determined by whatever factors are most important to the individual making the assessment. So making the call on value will depend on which category/categories are used in the judging process.

With that in mind, this week we're going to delve into the content aspect of the various DLCs. Specifically, we'll look at quantity, quality, and type of content in each issue and sidestories pack. Other key factors that are of equal -- if not paramount -- importance to some players are whether or not the additional pack is necessary to further TSW's story (who wants to miss some important tidbit?) and how fun playing through it actually is.

Is there enough content to justify the price?

Each additional pack over and above the base game has a varied amount of content. These can include missions, story arcs, clothing, purple gear rewards, and more. (Using the cost scenario mentioned last week, I can already tell you that no, there isn't twice the game's worth of content added.)
  • Issue #5 The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn
    - Auxiliary weapon: Quantum Brace
    - New story arc with four missions (one sabotage, three action)
    - Two new missions (one sabotage and one investigation)
    - Clothing items: necklace and respirator
    - New lore
  • Issue #6 The Last Train to Cairo
    - Auxiliary weapon: Whip
    - New story arc with with six missions (four sabotage, two action)
    - Six side missions
    - QL 10.1 purple head talisman reward
    - New mechanic: Fist-fighting (during mission only)
    - Vendor selling QL 10 purple signets for new Credits of Ca' d'Oro currency
    - Clothing items: Indiana Jones outfit pieces
    - New lore
  • Issue #7 A Dream to Kill
    - Auxiliary weapon: Flamethrower
    - New story arc with six missions (one sabotage, four action, and one investigation)
    - Eight side missions
    - New mechanic: Snowmobile riding (during mission only)
    - QL 10.1 purple neck talisman reward
    - Pet teddy bear (black)
    - New lore
  • Issue #8 The Venetian Agenda (Important note: everything in this issue is accessible to all players even without purchasing the pack with the exception of full access to the scenarios; those who haven't purchased it can only do the Hotel scenario, and even then cannot access the Nightmare version.)
    - New small area
    - Continuation of story mission
    - New mechanic: Scenarios (access to all three venues and all levels )
    - Vendors selling QL 10 purple items for new Aureus currency
    - New lore
  • Issue #9 The Black SignalDr Aldini
    - First brand new zone
    - Continuation of story mission (all replayable)
    - New mechanic: AEGIS system
    - New missions (one action, 13 side)
    - Vendors selling QL 10 purple items for new Sequins of Sunrise currency
    - Clothing: oriental-style items for chest, legs, and feet
    - QL 10.1 purple ring reward
    - New lore
    - Gated anniversary content/loot
  • Issue #9 Collectors Edition
    - Everything in Issue #9
    - Epic purple Orochi Damage Inhibitor trinket
    - Sensei title
    - Clothing items: Mask of Zeami and Japanese School Uniform
  • Sidestories: Further Analysis
    - Four new missions (all investigation)
    - Epic item: The Inspector's Gadget (offers a single heal every 2 minutes)
  • Sidestories: Love and Loathing
    - Five new missions (four action, one investigation)
    - Clothing item: Cracked Noh mask
  • Scenario packs
    - Access to that specific scenario location, including nightmare mode
Is there enough of the content I prefer to justify the price?

Say you like only a specific type of the content, or perhaps you just prefer certain content over other content. It could be the well-acted cutscenes, investigation missions, or PvP. Then using the above listing of what is included in each DLC, you can decide which ones have the content you feel is worth buying. For example, someone who loathes investigation missions with a passion might easily pass up Sidestories: Further Analysis, whereas someone who lives for those experiences probably can't live without it! Note: If all you want is updated PvP, then you can skip all the DLCs altogether.

Is the content itself good enough to justify the price?

In all cases, extra missions mean extra cutscenes, and this is never a bad thing in TSW. Many players consider the voice acting and the stories some the game's best assets. There isn't really a case where any of the cutscenes is subpar, but there are times when they are top notch!
  • Issue #5: Although this is subjective, most agree that this issue offers what is one of the best storylines in the entire game and embodies the suspenseful thriller side of TSW.
  • Issue #6: If you really like Indiana Jones, you will most likely really enjoy this adventure, which includes many Indy-esqe situations. It also features arguably the two best NPCs in all of Egypt: Saiid and Nassir.
  • Issue #7: Again, it is subjective, but this issue contains the other best story in the game and also embodies the suspenseful thriller side of TSW. Be prepared for some revelations and plenty of creepiness.
  • Issue #8: If you enjoy testing your skills and builds in randomly changing environments, you'll enjoy scenarios.
  • Issue #9: If the story missions are your favorite thing, you can't pass up continuing the arc here. Additionally, if you are really into more horizontal progression, you really like all things East Asian, or you just want to see all areas of the game, this issue is a must have.
  • Sidestories: Further Analysis: Be prepared to really have your brain worked with these missions! Personally, I know they were the first ones tempting me to cheat with hints!
  • Sidestories: Love and Loathing: How many games teach you how to do origami? If you want more missions with East Asian flavor and more to do in Tokyo, this is the pack for you.
  • Scenario packs: If you want one only scenario location, these will work well. However, each location and group size has a cooldown timer, so the more you have access, to the better, making Issue #8 a far better deal.
Is the content relevant enough and needed for the story to justify the price?

One question that some players feel important is whether or not the content is integral to understanding the main story or if it's just extraneous fluff. Certainly no one wants to miss out on information or clues vital to things making sense, but some could do without the filler content while others couldn't live without ever tiny morsel of fluff. So while all the standard issues do add depth to the main storyline and the history of what is going on, some may not feel as crucial to basic understanding moving forward.
  • Issue #5: Delves deeper into the story of a character that players met peripherally but is not integral to understanding other parts of the game.
  • Issue #6: Offers deeper insights into favorite NPCs but not integral to storyline.
  • Issue #7: Delves deeper into a character that players have become invested in and is connected to the storyline for Tokyo in Issue #9.
  • Issue #8: Because players can do the storyline without purchasing this issue, this issue is not necessary.
  • Issue #9: Completely necessary to continue the story; the story cannot progress without this issue.
  • Sidestories: Further Analysis: Additional context for minor NPCs.
  • Sidestories: Love and Loathing: Additional context for minor NPCs.
  • Scenario packs: No.
Will I have enough fun playing this content to justify the price?

There is simply no way to look at this one objectively, but if you have fun with the type of content that is available within each DLC, then you will most likely enjoy the DLC to the same degree. If you are passionate about the style of the game, then the DLCs give you more of that. If you are ambivalent about or dislike the content in other areas of the game, then the DLCs would just be more of the same.

Issue #9 presents a unique problem when it comes to determining value. For as long as we've all been following and anticipating the release of this content with eager hearts, we've thought of it as an expansion. After all, it is expanding the playable zones! To that effect, many -- myself included -- assumed that the area would be large and brimming with missions like any of the other zones. The fact that Tokyo would be broken into three full issues helped foster that belief. Unfortunately, the reality is that very few missions are available in Kaidan compared to the others, a fact that completely took players by surprise. When you hold up Kaidan's 14 missions to Kingsmouth's 65+, its definitely disappointing.

I will tell you that for me, the DLCs are definitely worth it. Each one furthers some aspect of the stories of this world; each one enhances the game and is most definitely worth experiencing for me. It doesn't hurt that my grandmaster-since-launch status affords me the best cost value by far, but my decision is based on a combination of these aspects with enjoyment and being the top consideration. Sure, I'd certainly like if the packs had more content, but I've always rated quality higher than quantity anyway. Can I say whether it will be a good value for you? No. But hopefully with these facts you can feel you are making a more informed decision based on what is most important to you. So what do you think? Are the DLCs a good value? Let me hear you in the comments below.

Conspiracies, paranoia, secrets, and chaos -- the breakfast of champions! Feast on a bowlful with MJ on Thursdays as she infiltrates The Secret World to bring you the latest word on the streets of Gaia in Chaos Theory. Heard some juicy whispers or have a few leads you want followed? Send them to mj@massively.com and she'll jump on the case!
This article was originally published on Massively.