RPS-o-Chat: Playing The Secret World

By John Walker on May 11th, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

Ballet is optional.

Adam and John have been playing The Secret World all week. So it only made sense for the pair of them to chat about it. Which they did. Find out how they’ve found their time in Kingsmouth, what’s made them laugh, what’s made them scratch their heads, and learn about tripping jaguars.

John: How much have you played now?
Adam: I’m pottering around in Kingsmouth, trying to see what’s new there. There are quite a few mission givers who were locked off in the press event I went to, so I’m concentrating on them. Trying to find all the investigation ones, so I can avoid fighting as much as possible.
John: You have to fight, Adam. Fight to investigate!
Adam: It is nigh on impossible to avoid fights. There are so many zombies and drowned things and wendigoes. The streets are busier than the cheap side of Manchester on a Saturday night. But I just run by them all. And the same with the monsters.
John: My Chaos abilities are good enough now that dispatching the annoying Townie zombies is just a couple of clicks. But I’m going to start investing back in Assault Rifles too.
Adam: Assault rifles are my poison. That and a good sword. Because of the modern day setting and in spite of the overabundance of supernatural goings on, I refuse to use ACTUAL magic. Even though my gun seems to shoot magic quite a lot anyway.
John: I picked rifles by mistake when I was leaving the Illuminati training room, thinking I’d picked up Chaos. I don’t want guns in a Secret World!
Adam: I’m the other way around! I want guns!
John: Well, that’s because a weapon isn’t actually a weapon – it’s an object through which you channel your magic. Cuh, I mean, come on, follow the lore!
Adam: I like to think I am mostly channelling bullets, but somehow the bullets have personalities and jobs of their own. Some are doctors and some are angry drunks. I think I just prefer the look of a character with weaponry slung across his back.

John: What’s surprised you most about the game?
Adam: Exactly what has surprised me since I first played it – humour. The subject matter, the exploration of pop culture, mythology and horror, is dealt with in such a self aware manner – there are brilliant lines sprinkled all the way through it.
John: I just heard references to Silent Hill and YouTube in the same conversation.
Adam: Amazing. It works though, at least for me. I understand people might find it annoying, constantly winking and nodding toward the wings, but it can almost be seen as a coping mechanism.
John: I don’t see it as wing-nodding. I see it as people existing in the real world. References to being possessed/controlled would get tired quickly, however. I’ve only seen one so far.
Adam: Exactly. These are people who live in a world gone mad, but they are quite often the few who have always understood that. Pop culture and its borrowings from their world becomes something that they can’t help but acknowledge.
John: I know from interviewing Ragnar that he’s as sick as everyone else with fiction being unaware of all other fiction. It’s great to see it so well addressed.
Adam: Yeah, I talked about the same thing with him. I think I asked something inane about how central that was, the awareness of the fiction within the fiction, and he said it was ‘totally central’.
John: For me, the most surprising thing is that I need to take notes. I was frustrated with a clue for one of the quests being incredibly opaque, and nagged someone at Funcom about it. It was then that I realised I should have been writing stuff down, marking things on the map, and remembering.
Adam: Yeah, that’s such a good feeling.
John: Those quests – they’re meant to be incredibly difficult, and perhaps not possible to solve for you. Which is such an unusual thing. But when they’re amongst the other 290 billion quests in Kingsmouth alone, you’re not lacking for something else to do. Like, right now, I’m trying to figure out what “The white ravens whisper, golden girls sorrowful, stories are never told” means. I mean, seriously.
Adam: It means kill 20 zombies and collect their feet.
John: And yet it doesn’t!
Adam: EXCEPT IT DOESN’T and that’s why it works!
John: Hehe. Those notes on the final postcard in the other piece – those are all real notes from my pad.

Adam: How are you finding skill selection?
John: I’m finding it mystifying. How about you?
Adam: Very mystifying. I sometimes feel like I’ve unlocked an ability that’s incredibly similar to something I already have, and then chide myself for not being more careful. I’m not entirely sure how effective some things are, but I’m enjoying exploring the possibilities. I think that side of things will make a lot more sense when I start ploughing through dungeons and having to recognise my specialities in a group.
John: Yeah – the descriptions are a giant mess, designed for MMO experts wot I am not. They need a significant overhaul, which hopefully they’ll get before release.
Adam: Yeah, they’re almost like equations sometimes, at least to my tiny mind. I look at them and think ‘but will it kill things like wot I want it to?’ Usually it does, so that’s good. You’re Illuminati and I am Templar, which makes us enemies of a sort. What are you making of the style over substance that your American infidels stand for? If they can ever put down their lattes and bother to stand at all.
John: It seems to be a sect/philosophy entirely focused on sarcasm. Every time I phone in a quest result, I get this scathing, sarcastic response. Which are great. I have an example here:

“Ugh, Orochi. Trace the life cycle of any product or service and it’ll eventually lead to an Orachi subsidiary. They’ve infiltrated ever sector, including ours. It’s pretty much impossible to piss without getting some on them.

And they so overreact when you piss on them.

So what are they doing in Kingsmouth? More importantly, how do we find out without them knowing?

Fly-by surveillance posing as a teenage science project isn’t bad. If push comes to shove and shove comes to pinning everything on a scapegoat, we’ll just use the kid.

Feel free to pretend I’m kidding.”

John: I mean – that says everything about the game for me.
Adam: Brilliant. And the personality of the factions is strong enough to colour so much of the experience, I reckon. The Templar feel like they might be super-earnest and at times they fall into that, but there’s a weariness about them too. They’re fed up and tired of carrying the ball and believing, rightly or wrongly, that they’ve had to do all the dirty work throughout history. And now they’re a bit bloated, concerned by the amount of middle management and paperwork needed to keep a lid on things. It’s a much more dictatorial and bureaucratic existence. And I don’t have an example because I’m disorganised.

John: Heh. So, what have you looked up in the real world as a result of playing?
Adam: Without giving too much away: artists, Latin translations, lists of esoteric symbols. My browser history is part ‘art history major’ and part ‘potentially dangerous cult member with terrorist tendencies’.
John: Have you checked out any tripping jaguars?
Adam: No!
John: Someone mentioned them in passing to me. They’re real.
Adam: This is good news.
John: I’ve also been reading newspaper archives for Kingsmouth’s local rag on their website. I just keep thinking, in reaction to all these things: World Of Warcraft never made me do that. It’s actually trying to be something different, isn’t it?
Adam: It really is, althoug not necessarily in the ways that people might expect. The combat, the lack of levelling, the classlessness – that’s not, to me, what’s really different. It’s the setting. Because it’s not just a visual design or a script, it’s a constant presence through everything that’s happening. It’s not just associated with our world because of how it’s dressed up.

John: Yeah. Although I do still worry about that level-less-ness, because I haven’t the faintest whether I’m going to win some fights before I run screaming from them.
Adam: I don’t mind that. I wandered into the woods, knowing that it was probably a bad idea because of how creepy and lonely they were, and when it turned out that it really WAS a bad idea and I had to run screaming back to town, I felt like I’d learned something. I wasn’t running away from a number that was higher than me and I liked that.
John: It does of course guide you as to how tough a quest is going to be for you. Which is helpful. I just tend to avoid anything green.
Adam: I have a terrible habit, or at least a habit which would be terrible if I was playing with a group, of getting distracted and running around just looking at things. I sometimes forget I’ve got a couple of quests on the go.
John: This is why playing in a group sucks.
Adam: And it’s great that all that exploration and inquisitiveness actually pays off sometimes. I’m told something by a character and I think, ‘hang on, I’ve been to that place’ or ‘I know what he’s referring to. I read it!’
John: Yes – you’d likely have noticed the thing by the bridge. I didn’t.

__________________

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85 Comments »

  1. Calneon says:

    Hey that’s pretty cool but where’s the post on CoH2!?

    • sneetch says:

      Here’s a post:

      Relic and THQ have announced that they’re making CoH2!

      It’s set in the eastern front in the second WW. There are Germans and Russians. Bars are apparently going to be raised.

      The end.

      (There’s not a whole lot more to say at the moment. RPS, send my freelancer paycheque to the usual place)

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      Hey that’s pretty cool but why are you talking about CoH2 in an article about The Secret World!?

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        • MD says:

          Hey that’s pretty cool! I still need a variety of equipment for the games you like trouble! I need it!

    • Electric0Eye says:

      Oh screw you guys when you said CoH2 I was sure you meant City of Heroes 2. XD

  2. Eraysor says:

    Actually tempted to get a lifetime sub to this…even though it may die before I get my money’s worth I feel the developers should be commended for trying something new. And I love the setting!

    • Choca says:

      I used to think that too before getting in the beta.

      My advice : try it before you decide to go lifetime.

      • Ignorant Texan says:

        Choca,

        Tis a funny world. I thought the opposite, but I am now thinking of getting a lifetime sub because of the BETA.

        • Choca says:

          All the more reason to try it before deciding to go lifetime or not.

          I’m getting the feeling that people will either love or hate this game with no room for compromise inbetween.

          • John Walker says:

            I’m fairly certain all of you signed an NDA before you started playing that beta, too.

          • Ignorant Texan says:

            Yes, I think the same. At least FunCom has the decency to give people an opportunity to decide before they commit. After all these years of people saying they want a “not WoW”, my fear is that this is too ‘not WoW” for most people.

          • Choca says:

            @ Mr Passive Agressive : What, you mean the press NDA that expired three hours ago, yeah I signed it.

          • lhzr says:

            Hey, don’t break the NDA here, you don’t want Funcom to force UK ISPs to block RPS, do you?

        • wodin says:

          Touche

      • RakeShark says:

        Aye, I had a few friends feel burned by the lifetime subs they bought for Cryptic’s CO and STO.

    • codename_bloodfist says:

      Careful, this is from the same guys who made Age of Conan, which was absolutely terrible on launch and, if you ask me, never really recovered.

      • sharkh20 says:

        While it had lots of problems, damn did I have fun with that game. Running around ganking people was hilarious and I loved that you could stand a chance pvp against someone 10 levels higher than you. Think it was the most fun I had with an mmo ever unless you count Guild Wars 1 as an mmo.

        That said, the pve experience was pretty awful.

    • innociv says:

      It will likely go F2P like all of Funcoms other games, anyway.
      This “Start out $50 box+$15 a month, then go F2P in 3-12 months” business model is really awful. The publisherer hopes to sucker a few hundred thousand people into wasting money on a box when they’re already thinking about the F2P model they’re going to update the game to. It is not worth the bad image they give.
      They’re also delaying the huge player base and hype they’d get from being an AAA F2P game from the start(Like Tribes:Ascend, DOTA2).

      The game is so much like Guild Wars. Why don’t they have the “Buy once, play forever” like Guild Wars too?

      It’s actually the best “MMORPG” I’ve played since Guild Wars (Yes, better than Guild Wars2), but I’m not buying it because it has a monthly fee.
      And I probably won’t play it when it goes F2P either because it’ll probably have worse grind added, pay2win and so on added, as well as no longer being fresh so I’ll have other things I’m interested in. Like, I might have been interested in AION if it was F2P from the start, or $50 for the game and no monthly fee like GW, but a year later when it was updated to be F2P I didn’t care anymore.

  3. andytizer says:

    Seems interesting that this game has genuine ‘puzzles’ – I wonder how much people will tolerate them without referring to a FAQ or a wiki all the time.

    • Slaadfax says:

      It really depends upon what market this game can capture, I’d suppose.

      I mean, it is true that a lot of people play MMOs to fill up experience bars (which of course this game completely lacks). On the other hand, if elements of games like this can appeal to audiences currently outside of MMO communities, then well…

      Should be interesting, regardless.

  4. sinister agent says:

    This is the first time I’ve payed any attention to this game, what with my psychotic aversion to anything MMO and all. And you’ve made me really want to play it. You bastards.

  5. Reefpirate says:

    I don’t really understand how Google works, but when I typed in ‘tripping jaguars’ this article came up as item #3. Good work, John.

    • westyfield says:

      It’s this video of a jaguar eating some plants and getting high.

    • Balm says:

      This will likely become a problem on release when every interesting refference will have game’s forum or wiki as first result.

      • alseT says:

        Well that’s why they want to have an in-game browser that filters that stuff out of the searches. I don’t know if they have it in the beta.

  6. Phantoon says:

    Well clearly that clue is relating to The Golden Girls, and stories never told could be a sequel they never made with a fifth character (or sixth, hell if I know anything about that show).

  7. Phantoon says:

    So does this follow the trinity pattern common in so many other MMOs? I heard it did, so that turned me off it.

    • sneetch says:

      I think the roles are there, but the way you can configure your character means that you can switch to fill them as needed, you can obtain and select abilities to allow you to tank, then next night you can switch to be the healer and so on.

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  9. sonofsanta says:

    Adam: I have a terrible habit, or at least a habit which would be terrible if I was playing with a group, of getting distracted and running around just looking at things. I sometimes forget I’ve got a couple of quests on the go.
    John: This is why playing in a group sucks.

    So how much is this possible for solo-ing then? I’ve had happy times playing as part of a large group before (I’m not sure Eve is possible any other way) but I have sufficient real life commitments to keep me happy now and no longer wish to feel beholden to People On The Internet In A Game.

    • Adam Smith says:

      I’ve played a couple of dungeons at press events, which you can find my views on looking through The Secret World tag, and you definitely need a team for those. Other than that, I’ve not had any difficulties working through by myself, although it’s been fun exchanging thoughts on obscure clues with people.

  10. Betamax says:

    This successfully made me more interested in this computer game. Sadly I simply have no time to play it alongside all the other great stuff coming out this year.

    I also secretly hope that once this is out Ragnar will finally get around to doing TLJ3.

  11. BloatedGuppy says:

    I’m torn. Part of me doesn’t even WANT this game to be good on any level. The double dipping cash shop + sub fee thing they’ve got going on is so odious I want nothing to do with it, and I’d rather miss out on a crap game than a good one.

    • alseT says:

      Triple dipping! Full 50$ price.

    • ShrikeMalakim says:

      This is basically where I am, too, though I don’t care about it being a good or crap game. I don’t want it to be successful because I don’t want that kind of shameless triple-dipping to be encouraged in any way whatsoever.

  12. Bremze says:

    Seeing as how SWTOR tried coasting on atmosphere and story, I’d like to know more about the gameplay-ish part of things. Is the combat made up of standing in place and trading blows? How grindy is it? How do quests and instances work? How’s pvp?

    Basically, I’d like to know where this game stands on a scale from WoW to GW2.

    • neurosisxeno says:

      After playing for a couple days, I assure you, it’s much better than SWTOR. SWTOR had a good story, but it definitely didn’t have good atmosphere. Every planet felt like it’s own little walled off area, and were too cramped and desolate–even at launch. In TSW, Kingsmouth actually feels like a real town. You can imagine it being a real place caught in the middle of a huge disaster. The other major selling point is the amazing attention to detail TSW has to have by design (for missions), and how well Funcom pulls it off. The most surprising thing is exactly how well TSW manages to build atmosphere. Between the lighting effects, shadows, fog effects, and amazing soundtrack, it feels like you stepped right into Silent Hill.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        Which is interesting, but Bremze specifically asked about gameplay, not the setting, story or atmosphere, which is all RPS seems willing to talk about. When a game is asking for a subscription and long term players, it needs something more than a setting.

        • zergrush says:

          Every time I read about the game I get pretty psyched, but the gameplay videos take away all of that enthusiasm.

          The setting, lore and all of that seem awesome but what I’ve seen of the game looks like the regular sluggish wow style combat.

      • Ultra-Humanite says:

        It’s quite astonishing that in your entire answer, you didn’t address a single point he asked.

    • Ragnar says:

      Here’s my experience with the gameplay from 20 min at PAX:
      I was with a group of NPCs, being swarmed by zombies ala Left 4 Dead. I had a shotgun, several skills with cooldowns to chose from, and could shoot while moving. So I would use my “shoot at knees” ability to slow them down while backing up to maintain my distance. Or, alternatively, I would run in and blast them in the face with the shotgun, which does more damage the closer you are to the target. When a big monster got onto the scene, I’d blast him at close range with my powerful attack, then dodge and run to avoid his attacks while it was on cooldown. Thus you’re moving around to gain / maintain / close the distance, much like TERA, but you’re also cycling through different skills that recharge quickly, much like SWTOR. It was the very beginning, and definitely an MMO, but more exciting than other MMOs, and more like an action game than TERA.

      • Bremze says:

        With dodging around I’m guessing you mean kiting, right? That sounds much better than what I expected and similar to GW2. While I’m not too keen on subscription fees, I’ll see how the launch goes and might get it if there aren’t too many issues.

    • methodology says:

      I’ll need more time but from what i’ve experienced so far, the gameplay seems pretty boring, hidden under a fresh coat of slick paint.

      The atmosphere is definitely amazing though.

  13. marach says:

    Theres a HUGE bug in the open beta weekend btw don’t log out of the game and try to reload the character it will crash everytime. Right now the only work around is to create a new char each login and go through the london start area again…

    • elfbarf says:

      This issue is the reason as to why I probably wont be buying this, Funcom can’t even handle a beta weekend correctly. That combined with the fact that they expect you to pay $50, a $15 subscription fee, as well as having a cash shop is absurd.

      • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

        This issue and issues like it are why they are doing beta weekends in the first place, in order to find them and weed them out.

        Also, are you forced to use the cash shop in this game? I was under the perhaps mistaken impression that it was entirely optional and cosmetic.

        • elfbarf says:

          It still isn’t a good sign when something as simple as accessing your characters is completely broken in the first real “open” (well, open if you knew about it) beta weekend. AoC didn’t have a very smooth launch and this isn’t looking to be much better, the game is being released next month.

          As far as the cash shop goes, I imagine it’s mostly cosmetic but it shouldn’t exist as this is a subscription-based MMO. I’m already paying them a monthly fee, I don’t feel as if it’s right to have certain outfits/benefits only available for an additional fee. This is fine in games like Guild Wars 2 because there is no subscription fee, you pay for the game a single time.

          • Ragnar says:

            /shrug I had a problem with the Diablo 3 beta installer on two separate computers, it lost the connection and then froze when you tried to resume the download. The solution was to manually find all the files, delete them, and start it over. I don’t know how you screw up the downloader for your game, but this is why you have betas.

        • ShrikeMalakim says:

          “optional and cosmetic”

          Funcom was very careful to make this implication. What they actually said was “convenience and cosmetic”. The pre-order bonuses have made it clear what they consider “convenience”: combat-buff pets that may continue to be relevant at high levels, very good low-level gear, XP potions, and so on… Which is basically everything that an F2P MMO has, too, except they want $60 for the game and another $15 for subs (and another +$15 to +$150 for preorder bonuses).

      • marach says:

        Out of interest which part of BETA did you not understand?

        • elfbarf says:

          Personally I’d consider being able to access your character to be a pretty basic feature, not something that should need fixing a month before the game is released.

    • yoggesothothe says:

      Oh good lord, that’s hair-pullingly shoddy even for beta. So that’s why i kept crashing. UGH.

      I wouldn’t be so upset if it wasn’t for the utterly ridiculous 24 gig download. I mean seriously, some of us have monthly data caps. At least put a warning on that sh_t somewhere.

    • zerosociety says:

      I’ve been in and out all morning and haven’t experienced this. Re-loaded 7 times so far. Same character, no crashes.

  14. trjp says:

    I’d like to pass my opinions on their game but in true FunCom style, my login and password (which work AOK for billing login and confirm I’m registered for TSW) do NOT work in the game itself.

    Funcom – you are fucking clueless, why are you still in business, HOW are you still in business???

    • elfbarf says:

      I’m pretty sure your TSW login is different than your normal Funcom account, I remember having to set up a separate login name/password.

      After entering my key there was some sort of TSW account creation button if I remember correctly.

      • marach says:

        yup game and forum accounts are seperate

        • trjp says:

          Nothing to do with forum accounts – this is the account I registered the beta key on (the same account I have my AOC characters on).

          I just tried again – same login, same password and it worked – well – it got past the login part and crashed at game startup and when I re-ran the launcher I’m back to “authorisation failed” so it IS just their kit melting under the weight of expectations I guess…

          Hey ho

          • trjp says:

            p.s. Funcom’s account system is bonkers – no matter which site you login from, it ‘remembers’ the last game you supposedly linked the account to – so my AOC login now takes me to a TSW account page.

            Not that I’ll be needing the AOC account again but it’s quite bizarre. If I login with my old AO account it will probably switch me back to that *shudders*

            It takes real talent to make managing your accounts this difficult (see also IGN, EA and so on).

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      Sounds like user error to me.

      • trjp says:

        You sound like a dullard to me – there we go, we’ve balanced that out.

        Changed password on the billing site – logged out – logged back in (old password doesn’t work – new password does) – tried game again, still “Authorisation failed”.

        I suspect that message actually means “overloaded” or “not working at the moment” – I’ll later maybe – or then maybe not, I remember Anarchy Online, if I’d not been able to login to that it’s 2 years of my life I’d have saved…

        • elfbarf says:

          Nice edit.

          As far as the actual issue goes, your TSW login is separate from your main Funcom billing account. When you entered the beta key there was a button you had to click to set up your game account. I set my account up at that time so I’m not too sure about how you can get back to it.

          • trjp says:

            I remembered the rule about being nice to people.

            If the poster above me could have remembered the rule about posting something with a point we’d never have gotten to this point at all…

  15. vee41 says:

    My absolute judgement of truth after 3 hours of play: can’t wait for monday to get my GW2 fix. Have to play TSW some more but this game did not really do anything special to me.

  16. Xzi says:

    Is anybody else having in-game text problems? It’s only for the hovering monster names and quest text, but it flickers in and out or half the letters don’t appear. Nearly unreadable. I’ve got all ultra settings and FXAA on. EDIT: Apparently an issue with Crossfire.

    Game seems okay so far…pretty much what I expected from EA publishing. All the attention has gone into presentation. Lots of cutscenes and voice acting. Might as well have been a single player game, and then the combat could have been improved on.

    Don’t really feel it’s worth a sub fee, so it’s probably a good thing that they’ve already got microtransaction stuff in place for when it inevitably goes F2P. Would probably be worth playing for a bit when that happens.

  17. lociash says:

    12gb of downloading on my Australian internet, an hour of playing and it’s time to uninstall.

  18. Gilmir says:

    Sad, sad, sad…
    The only good thing about this game is lore / athmosphere.
    It looks awful (jerky animations, NPCs standing around like lifeless dolls etc)
    The combat is awful. No noticeable difference between close combat / ranged weapons. A completely overwhelming system of states, numbers, resources and whatnots that get thrown at you. But in the end you run around mashing buttons trying to make sense out of numbers and symbols that flash up for short moments but don’t really mean anything – because (at least as far as I got) it’s enough to mash two abilities to kill anything. I died three times in roughly four hours of playing. Two times because the game crashed during combat (I have a really decent rig and no problems with 99% of games). The third time I went into the fire station and just ran through picking up like six of the fireman zombies. That was too much. Btw, strangely enough, all the “big ass monsters” that you encounter are not even half as dangerous as a fireman zombie. Where’s the scale?
    Oh (minor thing, but still) – the game throws TONS of lore at you. Which is great. But WHY is there no possibility to skip the voiceovers? I can read about five times as fast as they talk, so if I want to know every piece of info about someone I waste several minutes listening to the (decent) voiceover work. It’s great that it’s there, but no skipping option would be reason enough for me not to play it…

    • trjp says:

      Having finally convinced it I can login, I have to agree with a lot of this.

      First-off, it’s talking at you far, far too much – taking someone through a tonne of lore is not a great way to start any game and definately not an MMO – if you don’t skip stuff (and the game then makes no sense) you’ll spend a good 15 mins not playing this from the off.

      The London locations feel like Hellgate – with graphics consumate with that era – loads of pop-in textures, staggering loading times, NPCs straight from the Uncanny Valley etc. etc.

      The combat feels dreadful – why flash damage numbers onto the screen for less time than anyone could probably need to read them – why put actions on number keys and require circle strafing (how many fingers do the designers have?)

      AOC was a stand-out MMO in it’s day – this feels like a backwards step even from AO, let alone that.

      I would disagree with one thing tho – the little I’ve seen of it, I think the lore/locations are cliched junk too. Oh I’m in a subway station with ‘zombies’ infected by ‘darkness’ and then I’m suddenly looking out into space and I’m flashing between stuff and – oh purleeeez….

  19. Angrah says:

    I caution you all to either get into the beta with a free key or preorder from someone other than Funcom so you can cancel it if you don’t like it.

    Direct Funcom preorders are unrefundable because they believe access to a beta is the same as playing the game at release.

    I do encourage you if you’re considering the game preorder from a 3rd party and try the beta weekends.
    Some people are raving about it and others are bitterly disappointed.

    The above hopefully comes across as an even view of the game. The rest isn’t.

    I personally find the graphics to look dated and the animations a decade old. the combat has the same feel as EQ did but you are required to spam one or two spellsactions thrice to cast/use another better spell/sction. It becomes very repetitive.

    Quests have some very good points like the investigation quests where you need to be observant and work out the puzzle. the down side is you will end up having to go to the same fire station 4-5 times for different quests because you are severly limited on how many you can have at a time. At one point I had the main story quest and one other. found a body with a phone that had a quest icon… couldn’t pick that quest up without discarding the current non story quest.

    The ui has its supporters and detractors, unfortunately I found it clunky and missing standard features like being able to assign party chat and say to another window unless your in a party; at which time you can then do so. Unless you log out then that window no longer exists.

    Crafting has some good points but you have to remember to write down any patterns for weapons ect as there is no way in game to record these. you may have seen the video by funcom showing the hammer being constructed and the patter that the materials had to be laid out? Well you have to remember that for all the weapons and talismans.

    TLDR? Get into the beta via a non Funcom preorder and see if you like it before fully committing.

    Angrah

    • Arglebargle says:

      If you have to skip to the TLDR because of a few paragraphs, I don’t think that Secret World is the game for you. ;)

      I have already run across folks turning up their nose on this game, before they even got to London. Now I guess there could be issues that might make you that unhappy, you really need to get to Kingsmouth and wander around a bit to get the full feel of things. Also think Funcom screwed up by not putting up a banner saying that character creation assets were being limited: If they released with just those choices, I would be counting that as a serious strike against it.

      But some good advice about checking the game out, especially if you are on the fence.

  20. Morte66 says:

    I have a fundamental problem with there being other players.

    I’m walking down the street in London, member of a secret society and all that, and I’m thinking “walk on the pavement, blend in with the mundanes, act like a member of a secret society”. And all around me, I see that (a) 20% of the female characters are naked in the street, and (b) there are people bouncing down the street on invisible pogo sticks spewing gouts of flame.

    Or I’m in this small town in New England, having a quiet conversation with a shellshocked woman about how she didn’t end up as a zombie. It’s quite interesting and well written/spoken. And there are 8 other PCs stood in the room with her, with axes and shotguns on their backs, all having the same quiet conversation and ignoring each other as one can only ignore an elephant in the room.

    Then there are those other people, my fellow delvers into the secret world, those sources of support and emnity, the ones saying “anybody know where Old Tom’s body is, need to finish this quest”.

    I think the whole atmosphere/immersion thing would be so much better as a single player RPG (or three of them). I can’t see any compensatory advantage to it being multiplayer. There’s no persistent sandbox like EVE to birth real empires/politics/betrayals/spying. The multiplayer combat might be decent but AFAICT it’s certainly not special.

    • trjp says:

      I had this concern from the off – their whole premise isn’t an MMO, it’s a single player (perhaps co-op) RPG and I cannot see how this could work as a proper MMO (and if it’s not a proper MMO and they try to charge a subscription, they’ll pretty soon discover they have no customers).

      MMOs put limitations on story telling and atmosphere because you’re sharing the experience with 1000s of others. You can’t really be “the chosen one” when you know EVERYONE else is – you have to play to the prescence of ‘massive’ amounts of players, not pretend they don’t exist.

      AO was ruined by Funcom’s obsession with ‘story arcs’ and other bullshit they never really delivered – but despite this they were happy to screw-over the players to make changes that they deemed necessary (despite the players being really happy as-was).

      The first hour of this demo reinforces my concerns in spades – they’re trying to tell a story but it’s crass and clashing with the game it’s set within. It’s like taking part in amateur dramatics – there’s a director with no idea of how to direct yelling at people who just want to pretend to be a soldier…

    • Archipelagos says:

      Sadly, I have to agree with the general sentiment. Don’t get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in TSW this weekend, there is a lot for me to like, but here’s the moment when I realised I couldn’t love it: my character is in Kingsmouth town, knee-deep in the dead and the genuine horror of what has happened to these people, and surrounding the quest giver is a bunch of female avatars dressed in bright cowgirl outfits.

      All that careful work in regards to atmosphere just nuked into oblivion. At least in Tortage the outfits were thematically appropriate. Cowgirl shirts and hotpants in the middle of an apocalypse? Not so much. I’m all for giving people choice and a wide variety of customisation options but you can do that within the realms of the theme you’re shooting for.

      I know that sounds like you’re forcing RP onto your playerbase but if you go to such great lengths with every other aspects of selling a world and a theme, you need to go that extra mile.

  21. absolofdoom says:

    I don’t really have a thing against mmo’s, but I haven’t liked most of them that I’ve tried so far. Rusty Hearts was pretty awesome, I was in the beta for that and I might get into it some day. But the ones with combat like this game just don’t do it for me, sadly. Well, I gave it a fair shake, and that can only be a good thing.