Next Secret World Beta Weekend Returns To Kingsmouth

By Nathan Grayson on May 15th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

Omigosh, where did you get that jacket? WE MUST KNOW.
I love weekends. They’re rife with potential – for adventure. Granted, that usually means a concert, bar-hopping, or sleeping through both of those things, but I don’t live in New England. John, however, is trapped there, and he seems to be having a pleasant enough time “joining the Illuminati,” “staving off a demonic invasion,” and whatever other crazy slang lingo drips from this apparently endless faucet of cool. Fortunately, you will once again have the opportunity to take an all-too-brief tour this weekend – but with even more locations in which to perform wholesome activities like “investigating what lies behind the rising darkness.” That means, like, braiding each others’ hair, right?

The Secret World blog explains precisely what’s new in Kingsmouth this weekend:

“Several characters, storylines and missions have been added since the previous Beta Weekend. You can head over to the scrapyard and talk to Edgar. Apart from his two mean dogs, Tango and Cash, Edgar hasn’t seen many friendly faces lately. Not only has the scrap he has collected over the years come alive, and risen as powerful golems, but he is also neck deep in zombies. Edgar could really use your help to rid himself of some barrels of highly flammable gasoline – and some zombies.

“Over at the airport the veteran mechanic Ellis Hill is holding out against an onslaught of Draug from the sea. These corrupted and ancient creatures are getting bolder and bolder, but seem to be weary of light. Though Ellis is handy with a gun, he could really use some assistance getting the generator going again. The enigmatic and powerful Orochi Corporation is keeping a watchful eye on the dark happenings in Kingsmouth… They are in need of someone with special powers to investigate what lies behind the rising darkness, but perhaps it is smart to do a little investigation into Orochi itself as well?”

Ominous. It also sounds like a potential excuse for some more brain-taxing, real-world-referencing investigation missions, which John and Adam seem quite enamored with. I really, really want to sink my teeth into this one some more, but my time has been pulled in many different directions as of late, as though by some diabolical business kraken.

Among other things, though, I did get pretty substantial access to the skill system during an event late last year, and – while the explanations were actually a bit more understandable after I switched my in-game language to “ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic” – I really got to dig into its experimental side. There’s potential for some utterly absurd builds in there – for instance, I came up with a sword/assault rifle build that held its own in PVE and a knockdown-heavy hammer/shotgun build that existed solely for the purpose of making everyone else ragequit PVP – and I love that.

Granted, I haven’t really gotten to see how that side of Secret World’s evolved since the beta kicked off, but I think trading-card-game-like deck-building possibilities have me a bit more excited than the rest of the Hivemind. That said, most of the PVE areas I fought through didn’t leverage those abilities in any unique way at all, so it’s a toss-up. Regardless, I can’t help but maintain interest in Secret World simply because it looks to raise its hand in victory or faceplant into the depths of utter failure interestingly. It may be rooted in traditional MMO mechanics, but sometimes, baby steps end up being the most exciting.

__________________

« | »

, , .

70 Comments »

  1. magnus says:

    Kingsmouth? Sounds suspiciously like Innsmouth to me

    • f1x says:

      I think that was the intention, pretty much like an homage

      On the other hand I’ve played the beta this last weekend and I have mixed feelings about it,
      investigation, dialogues and the setup are awesome but the combat + art direction… hummm I dont know

      • elfbarf says:

        Edit: derp

      • Screwie says:

        Aye it’s pretty much a mash-up between Kingsport and Innsmouth, two of Lovecraft’s most famous fictional places.

      • Lagwolf says:

        Mixed feelings would sum it up for me too. Combat is clunky & unresponsive, game mechanics can be weak, the non-leveling system is out-of-whack, the dialogue/accents are painful at times and from what I saw it was all rather boring whack-a-mole/collect things.

        The story-line is terribly cliche too. Granted I am well versed in “conspiracies” and Lovecraftian mythos as both a reader/writer of dark fantasy, but I was expecting a tad more on the story-writing side. Then again it might be a problem I know London & the Coast of Maine (I live/lived in both places) v. well.

  2. fionny says:

    Well from what my buddies who looked in on this last week this is just another wow clone, different world sure but shite graphics and same old same old mechanics. Gonna save myself money and skip this one over.

    • Milky1985 says:

      I hate to inform you that your boddies are massivly uninformed.

      Mechanics are different (read any previews to avoid breaking NDA, which btw they have done to give you that information), graphics are impressive and combat system different (which i beleive i can say without breaking NDA because its been writeen about on this site)

      In fact the only thing it has that makes it even close to wow is that its an mmo with buttons, but the way they work is very different.

      • sneetch says:

        The NDA is over now.

      • Lord of the Fungi says:

        While combat mechanics are different, the combat itself is still quite boring. The way decks works most time you will use one builder and some two spenders, keeping the rest for buffs/cc/situational. Graphics is nowhere near impressive, it’s decent for a MMO and that’s all.

        • elfbarf says:

          The combat was like this, but apparently that’s because the outer skill trees are what contain the more interesting abilities. The developers made a thread on Monday about how they wanted every tree to share some similarities so people wouldn’t get too confused early on dealing with a bunch of different mechanics. Unfortunately, they had these locked in the first beta, no clue if they’re planning on unlocking them this time.

    • fionny says:

      I think ill trust the 3 individual players who have played the majority of recent mmo’s most whom still play SWTOR and if they think TSW is crap compared to SWTOR then there is a big problem as SWTOR was rubbish once you hit end game.

      • D3xter says:

        You could as well try it yourself, I was quite disappointed too at first, but after playing in Kingsmouth for a while it does have its charm (going to wait for inevitable Free2Play though).
        GameSpot was handing out Keys for last Weekend, dno if they are still valid for the next but here goes: http://www.gamespot.com/event/codes/secret-world-pc/

    • bglamb says:

      I’m pretty sure they’re not selling this as a combat MMO. Nor as the next big thing in graphics. If these are what you want in a game, then this game is likely not for you. If you’re interested in what the game has to offer though, then these are not the strengths or weaknesses that you should be judging it on.

    • Choca says:

      There are many problems with The Secret World, but if your friends think it’s just another WoW clone then there are much many more problems with your friends.

  3. sneetch says:

    I loved the start bit, laughed at some of the dialogue, chuckled at a lot of it, went through the flashback/tutorial instance and enjoyed it, then I went through to Kingsmouth and saw 5 people standing right where I was and my heart sank a little. Running down the road, I saw loads of players, players fighting zombies, players running around, players bunny hopping as they ran around, players just… getting in the way of my investigation and I decided that if ever a game needed GW/DDO style private instances it’s this one. I’d pay extra for private instances (not much more, mind you).

    I played for about 15 more minutes but my enthusiasm was waning as I played, it lost its appeal for me completely when I “found” a missing “townsperson” (Repeatedly. With a sword) and some guy came round the corner and stood there looking at me. His blank face turned right at me. What? Waiting for a respawn? Just lonely? I don’t know.

    Maybe in a few months when the newbie areas are empty. I do not want to play this when everyone else is, “levelling on the curve” will be painful.

    • The Dark One says:

      I had the opposite problem on my server. There were so few people that it was hard to find anyone willing to team up for the quests that weren’t soloable.

      • elfbarf says:

        I played through nearly all of the content that was available for the beta and don’t recall running into any group quests. Everything that I played was intended to be soloed and you shouldn’t have been having issues unless you were pulling multiple big enemies.

        • The Dark One says:

          Well, yes, like the quest where you had to defend the injured townie from multiple, large enemies, the cleanse-the-mass-graves mission, or the find-the-fire-chief mission.

          • Neurook says:

            Those are perfectly doable, they just show off the avoidance/stealth aspect of the game. You’re supposed to run around the mass graves and pick off your targets. Not attack the draug overseer or jump into the middle of the grave and start slinging spells. You’re supposed to weave your way through the other firemen without alerting them. Many of the quests (Recover the RC plane) are about NOT getting into fights, which is true to the source material (lovecraft).

    • DestructibleEnvironments says:

      The worries and moanings of a hermit trying to fit in with a broken world. But honestly, this is not like your atmospheric stalker games. EM EM OH.

      • sneetch says:

        Moaning? Hermit? Yeah, whatever. I’ve played a few MMOs, I am aware of the type of game that it is (it’s all over the site after all).

        Of course you’re right, it’s not a Stalker type of game, I just don’t think the style and tone of the game fits very well in the MMO frame, for example, I was playing GW2 last night and that game fits very well as an MMO, a Call of Cthulu-esque, conspiracies everywhere, investigative game should be played in smaller groups. That’s EYE EM HAYCH OH.

        • dreadguacamole says:

          I agree – I loved how adventure-y the game felt (following flocks of ravens to summon a demon! weee!) but other people running all over the place kept pulling me out of the experience; I can’t help but to wish it had been a single player game or, as you say, heavily instanced.
          It’s not just being antisocial; having people running and jumping around you (and sometimes fighting the same monster you’ll get to fight in a moment) while you’re exploring and unraveling mysteries has a definite negative effect.
          One can hope that the final game will feel a lot less crowded,

  4. wodin says:

    Firs time I played an MMO. God that combat mechanic stunk. Having to click the icons to do the shot, also no aim just face direction. Hated it. Not for me at all.

    Spent 16hours downloading and 30 mins playing, before I wiped it.

    • ArtVandelay says:

      Same feeling I had. Never played an MMO, are they all controlled like this? I played through the first couple waves of enemies and the combat was just awful.

      • bigdeadbug says:

        I don’t know many people who play MMORPGs for the combat and yes most of them follow this hotkey style of combat (with good reason a lot of the time). They mostly make up for it in other aspects of their gameplay, but like everything in life its not a genre for everyone.

      • Contrafibularity says:

        Yes all MMO(RPG)s have this horrible system where you just do a combo of several hotkey actions or “abilities” depending on the situation. I’d never played an MMO(RPG) before last month and now I’m playing SWTOR (mainly to try out the whole concept and because it beats boredom and/or trying to get modern games to work on my computer and failing most of the time – or otherwise wanting to “save up” proper games like Portal 2 for my new computer sometime next year). Like people say MMOs aren’t played for combat, but paradoxically combat equals roughly 75%+ of the game’s content. Basically 9 out of 10 times you will have to grind stuff to progress “the story” (or well, the MMO equivalent thereof). If you’ve never played an MMO I can only convey the feeling like this: imagine you’re watching a horrible/mediocre yet mildly entertaining TV series, and every 5 minutes there’s a 15 minute commercial break which you can not skip. That’s basically MMORPGs in a nutshell. Sure, you’ll keep watching if you’re in extreme boredom and don’t know there are real games out there, but at the end of the day you’re wasting away your brain on seriously substandard (and endlessly diluted) entertainment, and I’m not talking figuratively. If WoW is anything like SWTOR, then I’m somewhat genuinely scared FOR the people that have been playing them for years on end. I’m serious.

        Once I reach level 50 (very soon) on this character I’m out of there (I’m poor enough that I feel I need to play it through having spent some 50€ on it and a timecard – if a subscription was required I wouldn’t even have tried it). Also for the record SWTOR is decidedly NOT the “KOTOR 3-9″ that people are/were calling it (nor indeed KOTOR 3). If you liked KOTOR 1&2 and think this might be a spiritual sequel of sorts; it’s not, don’t make the same mistake as me in thinking MMOs are anything other than legit scams. That’s strong wording but essentially anything that makes games worth playing and fun, interesting, challenging or whatever – is all but completely absent.

        It’s funny because when you tell people in-game that once you’re done with the main quest and most sidequests and l50 that you’ll quit they are all like “What? WHY!?”. It takes some amount of self-control not to give them an answer like Because now that I’ve tried heroine and it was absolutely crap and I still have some sanity left, I’d like to quit before my brain turns to a mushy suspension of grind jelly paste. Actually that’s precisely what I should say, but who am I to tell other people their game sucks, right?

        That said TSW might well be different (given it’s Funcom it probably is – TLJ fan here) but I don’t think it will (or even can) escape its MMO trappings. It’s ultimately a massive shame, because I still remember the 90s reading about the promise of MMOs and virtual worlds and so on, and it’s pretty much gone completely wrong in every way imaginable. In my opinion (!) MMOs in their current state are pretty much anathema to gaming.

        If Funcom would offer a trial or go F2P I might still try it out (anyone who made TLJ deserves the benefit of the doubt) to see if there’s something there, once I buy a new computer that can play it, but it’ll have to prove to me it’s a GAME and not a cash-cow in under 6 hours. From the videos the environments look pretty good and atmospheric actually, but the voice acting is fairly atrocious and suggests it might just be another random quest-generator designed to keep you playing’n'paying, only with a Funcom badge instead of Blizzard or BioWare. I hope that’s not the case (although I guess if TSW becomes a success we’ll never, ever see TLJ 3, sigh).

        TL;DR MMORPGs are not for me. If you’re deciding to try it out, keep in mind that MMOs will hide their hideousness behind walls and walls of grinding (repetitive tasks, combat, copypasta questing etc.). So essentially, if you’ve been playing for a week (or two, or month, or two) and you’re still undecided if it’s bad or not, then you’re probably dealing with some HORRIBLE and ATROCIOUS, which through some form of modern magic, manages to hide its true nature from players.

        tl;dr² imo MMORPGs are the Rickrolls of videogames, except you’ll spend a lot of money (and worse, time) to find out it’s a Rickroll.

        • Contrafibularity says:

          Addendum: also whatever you do NEVER trust players who say “wait till you reach level 20/40/whatever, it gets good” because it really, REALLY doesn’t. And that just translates as “get a monthly subscription, play a few more weeks”.

          Newsflash to MMO-players: words have actual meanings, when you say something is good, I’m not expecting you to use a relativistic scale with regards to how mind-bogglingly crap MMOs like WoW are. So please, don’t advise others to keep on wasting time playing when really people are better off getting the hell out of there. Not all of us have chosen the blue pill, you know, let alone involuntary suicide-by-mediocrity.

    • elfbarf says:

      You CLICKED the icons? That’s a MAJOR problem, you need to use a combination of your mouse and strafing to move, not wasd and CLICKING your abilities. For the record, holding down both mouse buttons at the same time will move you forward.

      Also, some abilities are directional (shotgun’s first ability for example).

  5. Gibari says:

    The beginning of the game gave me a nice “The Longest Journey” – feeling, but that’s about the best thing I can say about it.

    It sure looks interesting, but to me it fails due to the same reason all the other MMOs of the last few years failed: It feels like a single player game with pvp.

    Why are all new MMOs trying to make the player capable of doing almost everything on his/her own?
    Why is it so bad to have classes with determined roles?

    I still think, that really good pve and pvp in a single game are not possible.

  6. empty_other says:

    As far as i got in the game this weekend, i have this to say:
    Its a WOW-MMORPG game. You move into a very close range, press 1 for each attack, 2 occasionally, and sometimes 3 (and so forth up to 8). Occasionally you have to move when someone does a special attack, but that is as far as they have gotten in innovation.

    They claimed it is “level-free”. Partly true. You still have an XP bar to count towards “next level”. They just dont count the levels. So its level free if you cant count.

    All and all, i am disappointed.

    • Bahoxu says:

      I dont wanna be a fanboy or anything, but that is a description of combat at the basic levels. The advanced skills are much more diverse.

    • Screwie says:

      “They claimed it is “level-free”. Partly true. You still have an XP bar to count towards “next level”. They just dont count the levels. So its level free if you cant count.”

      That was always how it was always going to work, given how much else of the game has been cribbed from Guild Wars 1′s design already. But it isn’t the problem.

      The point of a “level-free” system is to avoid level-gating of content and other barriers between friends of different experience playing together. Those are the problems a levelling system introduces and what may or may not have been fixed in TSW (I don’t know either way, as I couldn’t play it at the weekend).

  7. goettel says:

    I found the voice acting to be several cuts above the MMO I’m really, really looking forward to (no prices for guessing which one it is), and as a long term fan of Lovecraft, (not so) secret societies and general weirdness I liked the setting a lot. I’m just not sure yet it makes sense as an MMO, co-op with a nice big player pool to make both quick games and more structured play possible seems a more natural form to me. Also, I haven’t forgotten how AoC became my introduction to a longish list of post-WoW failed MMO’s.

    But they did have some great ideas on AoC, and with AO on their CV they’re surely worthy of attention, and I hope they do well, even though my treasured off-hours might be spent elsewhere.

  8. tumbleworld says:

    I’m now officially very scared that TSW is going to do a SW:TOR, and sink itself with lazy WoW-cloning. Given all the incredible work that’s gone into the setting and the ARG-like elements, it would be genuinely tragic if they destroy it like that. Surely even Funcom’s producers can see that WoW-like has become a toxic quality?

    • bigdeadbug says:

      I don’t see how you can justify SWTOR as “lazy WoW-cloning” or why you have a fear of TSW suffering from that. Each one picks areas to innovate in while largely leaving the rest at a standard set by WoW.

      Being WoW-like in certain areas is actually a strength for a theme-park MMORPG at the moment as it gives the game a solid and accessible base to build the game upon.

      It’l be a long long time before theme-park MMORPGs don’t have a WoW feel to them, but that doesn’t mean they all suffer from lazy WoW-cloning.

      • elfbarf says:

        SWTOR is far more similar to WoW in both the combat and content. One thing that sets TSW apart is that a lot of the quests in the game involve investigations/puzzles as opposed to a ton of generic kill quests (most of SWTOR’s content).

        Even WoW has stepped back on the kill quests over the years, now they at least try to make it seem like you’re doing something else (by requiring you to use special items and whatnot). That and generally every quest chain leads up to something special.

        • f1x says:

          Yep, exactly, pretty much since the last part of TBC, WoW stepped away from kill 10 bandits, pick 10 apples, at least partially,
          and introduced phasing, one of the most interesting concepts lately

          but then all of this “wow-clones” usually forget to clone this and they seem to be cloning Vanilla WoW

          • Contrafibularity says:

            Listen to yourselves. I know mainstream videogaming isn’t exactly bristling with ideas and innovation right now but still, that’s pitiful even by “AAA videogame”-standards.

  9. brat-sampson says:

    So wait, there’s another free weekend again this coming weekend? Not bad. I liked some of the more puzzley quests but anything combat-based I was too weak to really deal with. Sometimes there were other people jumping around nearby but I never felt any cohesion with a group or anything. Also all quests seemed ranked as Hard or Very Hard and my spamming of lightning bolts didn’t get me very far in those…

  10. trjp says:

    I played TSW and was – at best – confused by it.

    The combat was dreadful – everything about it sucked. Silly damage numbers appeared for milliseconds, loads of sidekicks running around making it hard to see what’s going on, ‘spells’ which seem of random/dubious value, daft controls (you need to strafe AND use the whole number bar – that means you need REALLY big hands or their designer needs a kick in the head).

    Graphics are poor – the London bits felt like Hellgate (not a compliment) – NPCs all come from the ‘standing stock still and not blinking’ part of the uncanny valley etc.

    The story/plot etc. seems contrived and – far worse – the fact you’re in an MMO, surrounded by loads of other people (leaping around, naked, generally being dickheads) kills any chance of immersion anyway.

    Summary: it’s a “you are the chosen one” game where you know every single other player is also the chosen one – doing the same things etc.

    It was – frankly – a mess…

    • elfbarf says:

      “Silly damage numbers” appearing is a standard feature of MMOs.

      I’m not really sure of what you’re referring to when you say “sidekicks” running around considering there isn’t any sort of follower/companion system. I’m pretty sure what you were seeing were other players as this is an open-world MMORPG.

      You’re capable of changing keybinds, most MMOs tend to keep the standard number keys as default but most people rebind anything past #5.

      Graphics aren’t going to be incredible as it is an MMO but I felt as if atmosphere was one of the areas where the game excelled. Kingsmouth was definitely better than London though (as there was actually something going on).

      It isn’t a “chosen one” game at all. Hell, the man who you talk to when you arrive at the Templar headquarters immediately tells you that you aren’t. There are many members of the Templars (same goes for the other factions), you’re just a cog in the machine.

      It seems as if you have a problem with MMORPGs in general, not just this game.

      • Gilmir says:

        ““Silly damage numbers” appearing is a standard feature of MMOs.” Not at this speed and with that many additional icons popping up alongside of them. In the end it felt for me like bashing some hotkeys without getting any useful feedback to WHAT I’m doing and especially WHY something happens.
        If you like it – great. The thing is – for an MMO to be “MM” it has to be n00b friendly or it’s bye bye after two months max.

        Graphics suck. Period. Just look at Tera for example. Or AION, or Rift. (I’m not comparing the games, just the graphic engines) – TSW looks like it’s about five years old compared to them. NPCs have animations that might have been out of the first “Deus EX…”

        And – yes, definitely NOT a “chosen one” game. Which exactly makes it totally uninteresting. Playing in a “Secret World” would be interesting, if there would be ANY feeling of “secret”. Like this, it’s just another MASSIVE online game.
        Probably would have worked way better with most of the content instanced for groups. But then… Why not make it into a SP game?

  11. Radiant says:

    I played this during the Gamespot beta weekend.

    Everything I read about the world, the stories, the setting made this the only mmo I have ever had even a passing interest in playing.

    Unfortunately It’s absolutely abysmal.

    Camera’s shit, controls are shit, combat is shit.

    If, like me, you don’t ‘get’ MMOs but thought this one sounded different; don’t do it.

    Jesus christ what a waste of my time.

  12. Kryopsis says:

    I am not particularly surprised that every person who posted so far has negative impressions, I actually considered uninstalling the game after the first 10 minutes of gameplay. This said, a lot of the criticism is unfair.

    Just because it does not use stylized, overly colourful characters doesn’t mean the visuals are shit. Whoever said that must’ve completely missed the graphics configuration screen and played using the default settings. In terms of visuals, The Secret World is superior to every MMO out there save, perhaps EVE Online. The lighting and particle effects are particularly well done but the characters are no worse than Dragon Age or Mass Effect.

    The ‘WoW combat’ criticism is something I thought as well until I figured out how it actually works. The three staples of traditional MMO combat (Everquest, WoW etc) are static combat, auto-attacking and target selection. The mechanics of TSW are different. Given that all but a small number of skills can be used on the move, I used my Razer drivers to bind the 1 and 2 keys to mouse buttons 4 and 5 and played the game like a console shooter. There is no auto-attacking and targeting is unnecessary. In fact, if you use the shotgun, your cone can affect multiple enemies at once (the damage is also based on your distance to your foe).

    In terms of the actual system, it is not ‘only level-less if you can’t count’. You are forgetting what levels are all about in C-RPGs/MMOs. In TSW, items have no level restrictions, the deal and take is not increased or decreased based on the level difference between you and your foe and you gain no additional stats. There is XP, yes, and you gain action points and skill points but ‘level-less’ does not mean ‘no character progession’. TSW is Storyteller to WoW’s Dungeons & Dragons.

    The early missions are admittedly standard, perhaps to ease the transition for people coming from different games. This said, the meat of the game is, well, secrets. Once you get to the more advanced missions that do not tell you where to go, TSW comes across as a completely different game.

    A particularly memorable experience I had in last week’s beta was when a fortune teller gave me some cryptic clues involving ‘buzzing bees’ and ‘blooming flowers’. I wondered if the ‘bees’ were those black helicopters circling around the island. The local airfield seemed like a good place to start so after sneaking past hordes of shambling undead, I climbed the fence and found myself on a deserted air strip. After looking around, I found several helicopters surrounded by men in black suits however when I tried to get through the shimmering barrier, I got electrocuted and the screen went black. When I came to, I found myself in a locked area with a zombie munching on a corpse not far from me. After dispatching the zombie, I searched the corpse to find a note with the key code to the door out. “734231,” the note said, “DO NOT PRINT, it’s bad enough that we send these via plaintext emails”. After punching in the numbers and sneaking out of the paramilitary compound, I resumed my search for the ‘buzzing bees’. I wondered if the fortune teller meant moaning zom-bies but the beta ended and I could not verify that theory.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      The mechanics of TSW are different. Given that all but a small number of skills can be used on the move, I used my Razer drivers to bind the 1 and 2 keys to mouse buttons 4 and 5 and played the game like a console shooter.

      Is this supposed to be appealing? The combat in this game involves circle strafing (when it works properly and you don’t keep losing your target), and tapping 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2. Occasionally 3. For just about every weapon, combat is about building a resource and then blowing it with a finisher, just like umpteen MMOs before it. Having 500 skills doesn’t mean much when they all amount to the same thing.

      • Kryopsis says:

        To be honest, I do not like the combat either. I’ve been playing DC Universe Online for a month or so and while the social interface is pure garbage and the end-game is a joke, the combat system was actually quite interesting and more involving than the usual 1-2-3-4-5 of standard MMOs. The combat in TSW is probably the lowest point and I felt like uninstalling the game about 10 minutes into the beta. I expected something more involving; the previews and Funcom PR speak lead me to believe TSW would be more action-y… This said, the combat mechanics are sufficiently different. I don’t find them appealing but that doesn’t mean “it’s like WoW”. I mean, it’s still MMO combat and I was hoping for something more like Kingdoms of Amalur and less like Dragon Age but Funcom did expand on the basic idea, if not as much as I hoped.

    • elfbarf says:

      The bees clue you’re referring to is probably one of the more vague hints I came across and personally I couldn’t figure it out until I asked for help.

    • Gilmir says:

      I tried to give it a fair chance and maybe I’ll come back next week just to check if anything changed as I REALLY like the setting / mood. Unfortunately just this ;(

      The graphics are bad. Sorry, but I don’t know which MMOs you played, but anything I tried out in the last months looks better. It’s not about particle effects / textures. It’s about characters and animations. Every PC / NPC behaves like a robot without any fluidity in the animations. And most NPCs just stand around like lifeless dolls.

      The combat feels the same for any kind of weapon. Sure, you can use your abilities while moving, but why bother if any zombie closes the range of an assault rifle in the time you can use a maximum of two abilities. And then you can’t outrun them. So what’s the difference between a long range assault rifle and claws?

      There are some nice ideas for the quests etc. but the problem is – if you won’t turn off general chat (making it effectively a single player / coop game), any mystery will be spoiled for you by hundreds of people spamming “Where is… ” Etc.

      Also, what effectively killed a lot of the fun for me, too is the limit of quests you can take on – WHY? Why does picking up a note from a dead body have to cancel a quest of running around town, picking up supplies? So you have to first go back and then return to the spot? To force you to “enjoy the scenery”?
      Another killer is the lack of dialogue skipping. While the voice acting is really good, I can still read about three to five times as fast as they talk. If they at least hat decent character animation (Mass Effect as an example), it might be not as painful. Like it is now, you have to calculate at least five minutes for every bigger NPC to get all info out of them. Which could be one if you had the option to skip the audio…

      • Kryopsis says:

        “The graphics are bad. Sorry, but I don’t know which MMOs you played, but anything I tried out in the last months looks better. It’s not about particle effects / textures. It’s about characters and animations. Every PC / NPC behaves like a robot without any fluidity in the animations. And most NPCs just stand around like lifeless dolls.”
        I am sorry but is it the graphics that are bad or the animations? Or is it the NPCs standing around. I didn’t find the animations to be as bad as you claim and are you honestly complaining about animations in an MMO? I played Anarchy Online, Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, RIFT, DC Universe Online and a few more MMOs that I can’t recall. Are you seriously saying that TSW looks awful because NPCs stand in their respective spots?

        • Gilmir says:

          Graphics look sterile to me. It’s definitely a question of personal taste, but I think if a MMO tries to be too “realistic” it ends up looking artificial. I prefer more stylized game designs of most current fantasy MMOs. They feel more “organic” to me, despite being cartoonish, sometimes.
          But the animations are bad. It looks old if you have NPCs “just standing in their spots”. Because you don’t have people “just standing” in real life (except “doll” street performers). So in most games it’s already standard to have NPCs “fidget” around in some way. And if they you do it well enough, they look MUCH more “alive”. in TSW they look dead.
          That’s also a problem with practically all the cutscenes. I would prefer not to have these “dramatic” intermissions because they show all shortcomings of the animation system of this game. I think it would make much more sense to make proper cutscenes (doesn’t have to be all animated – that would be probably too expensive – just “comic strips” would work much better and fit pretty well with the mood of the game eg.).
          Anyway, this game will kill itself with the obscure and overly complicated combat system anyway. No way to attract big numbers of players with that.
          Oh – and as an answer to your mandatory: “I’m glad there’ll be only the “right” players in the game, then”: Then the game will follow the gazillions of failed projects and die of natural causes in two to three months without any additional content. It kinda reminds me of “Tabula Rasa” – hyped and died…

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          I didn’t find the animations to be as bad as you claim and are you honestly complaining about animations in an MMO?

          TSW’s animations do look really awful, even by the standards of older MMOs. Look at what your character does while circle-strafing, for example: the legs point out to the side like you’re running along the circle’s tangent, while the upper body rotates around to face enemies in the most absurd and unnatural way. I used pistols in the beta, and so it actually reminded me a little of Max Payne 1 (i.e. an 11 year old game).

          Compare the animations in TSW to Guild Wars 2 and you’ll see a massive difference. (Granted, GW2 isn’t released yet, but then neither is TSW.)

  13. Runs With Foxes says:

    Based on the beta weekend, this is probably the worst MMO I’ve played. I haven’t played all that many, but enough to know The Secret World is awful even in this genre full of awful games.

    Interesting concept, but that’s all, and it won’t carry it. Maybe as a single player game, the adventure fans would get something out of it — but even then, the writing is cliched, stereotyped and derivative, appealing only to Whedonites perhaps.

    As an MMO, this is going to flop hard.

  14. Tom OBedlam says:

    I had a ton of reservations going into the beta, but I preordered after 5 hours play. Really looking forward to next weekend.

  15. Tom OBedlam says:

    I had a ton of reservations going into the beta, but I preordered after 5 hours play. Really looking forward to next weekend.

    There’s a lot to recommend it but the main thing is that it really feels like a funcom game, thats one of the best recommendations I’ve got.

    • Kryopsis says:

      You know, I think that’s pretty much it. I know a lot of people dislike Funcom and their games definitely have their share of bugs and technical issues. Nonetheless, Age of Conan was the MMO I played the longest (3 months, that’s 30 whole days longer than I could endure WoW!) and I just liked the understated atmosphere. Funcom games feel a little more mature than the rest of the pack and the community seems to be different. I am fine with The Secret World not getting chart-toppling numbers and industry recognition as long as it is sufficiently profitable to pay for itself. I know I sound elitist when I say that, but an MMO that does not attract ‘typical’ MMO players is an MMO I’d be happy to play.

  16. Tacroy says:

    Apparently unlike most of the other commentariat, I really liked the beta weekend; sure the combat was simplistic, but it’s low-level MMO combat so what do you expect? The atmosphere was great, the graphics were good (maybe I’m the only person who turned them up to high and changed to a resolution with a native aspect ratio?), the voice acting and dialog were great (though they need a skip option), the quests I played were fun though somehow I managed to miss out on the research quests people keep talking about.

    The only problem is that I can play games like that for maybe four hours total a week if I’m lucky, so I really can’t justify paying a monthly subscription of more than maybe $5/month (and it’s unlikely to be that low). Since Funcom hasn’t announced how much it’s going to be per month, I’m not going to pre-order.

  17. Lagwolf says:

    I think if they spent a bit more time on the game & a little less on the OTT hype people might be a bit more forgiving. To me it reminds me of Hellgate: London in both good & bad ways.

  18. zerosociety says:

    Some of the most fun I’ve had in an MMO. I just wish the combat wasn’t horrible. Because it kind of is. I mean it’s more active than WoW’s but attacks don’t have weight and sometimes it’s just a strafe-a-thon. Hands down the best MMO writing I’ve ever seen, though. (And yeah, I played SWTOR.) Graphics are great, if a bit un-optimized, and it’s worth nothing that all the advanced graphics options were turned off in the beta.

    The biggest cons were combat and the immersion breaking waves of dudes in trenchcoats with shotguns. It looked like a bad Vampire LARP.

    • Lagwolf says:

      Zerosociety: guilty as charged. I was one of those dudes in a black trenchcoat, black leather trousers, sunglasses and a shotgun/sword combo.

      I agree with you on the combat though ugh.

    • katinkabot says:

      Haha. Yeah. I saw a guy in a trench coat and sun glasses with a shotgun and i was like “christ. Neo-much”. It’s consistent with the aesthetic at least. Im hopeful we get more choice in the regular game. One thing i was really happy about was that the female models werent hyper sexualized. Kind of sick if looking at toons with 7 foot long legs and giant boobs. Other than that and the combat i had a lot of fun. The thing is, im not too worried about the combat. It is something that be tweaked and overhauled in a patch. The core game is fun and i think thay have a great base to build off of.

  19. Yargh says:

    But have they fixed the horrible horrible controls? It doesn’t look like it.

    My better half is a huge fan of Ragnar Tornqvist’s story telling so I’ve been selling her this game over the last year or so. She tried the beta and bounced right off the control system. She won’t even try the game again unless there are some assurances that the controls have been tremendously improved.

    I expect we’ll be playing Guild Wars 2 instead.

  20. floweringmind says:

    I am rather surprised by the number of negative comments as this game is actually quite good. It is beta so there are issues and if you have been in the Guildwars 2 beta you can see that there are more bugs.

    One of the main issues that people complained about were the graphics. I found issues with the graphics but it was due to using DirectX11. They are using very advanced DX11 and so even newer video cards won’t work well unless you have a high end DX11 card. Mine is a GeForce 550ti which was not powerful enough. I had lag and trouble playing. Once I switched to DX9 it was smooth as silk. I am actually going to buy a GeForce 580 to play this game with all the amazing graphics that it has. I believe most people complain about the graphics did not have a powerful enough card to get the visuals that you see in these screenshots: http://www.ea.com/uk/the-secret-world/images

    Personally I loved the stories and the writing of the quests. They made me laugh quite a bit. Once you move further into the game I found that the depth of the questing increased quite a bit and the mix of puzzles was very refreshing.

    People who say there are levels are confused about how it really works. Each bar is a certain amount of experience and when you fill it up you gain skill points. TO FILL EACH BAR REQUIRES THE SAME AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE EVERY TIME. Levels require more experience to fill each bar each level. In SW the time sink increase is how many skill points it requires to get the next skill. So basically you have lots of skills quickly that require 1-3 skill points or you can save up for 4-7 point skills. 2nd ring skills are even higher.

    Combat is the one area I have no idea why people don’t like it. There is nothing really strange about it or hard. It is far better than WOW combat and many times I was able to run out of the range of a creature attack and attack them from behind. I thought that was pretty awesome. If you like to mash the keys it might make it a little harder, but overall the combat is no worse than other MMOs. In many cases I found it less boring than other MMOs.

    What I thought they could improve is more character models. There was not enough character creation models and styles. I was running around and saw other characters who looked like me. Also I felt like there should have been more models for common zombies in the town. I think they had like 4. More encouragement to group might have been nice. Also a beginning story to choose one of the 3 factions would have been nice. Yes this beta could have been smoother if they had given the game another month before launch.

    Yet I feel this game will be quite successful as there are almost no modern horror MMOs. Those are unhappy with this game I believe have not given it enough play time. My only suggestion to those that hate the game is that your expectations are too high and you should go play GuildWars 2 as that game is amazing and is light years beyond any other MMO today. It is revolutionary. Secret World is not, but it is a great MMO and very fun to play.

  21. trjp says:

    Just read the email for this and nowhere does it say that this weekend is a public free weekend.

    It talks, at the end, about needing to pre-order to take part in the beta weekends – it doesn’t specifically say one way or the other if this weekend (or any other) will be a public open event or limited to paid-up pre-orderererererers…

  22. Harlander says:

    Like many seem to, I found the combat pretty rubbish and something that only got in the way of scurrying around finding clues and whatnot.

    I also didn’t much like the memory leak which caused the game to progressively grind to a halt before finally crashing.