Jig’s Up: Secret World’s Last Beta Weekend Open To All

By Nathan Grayson on June 20th, 2012 at 8:00 am.

The stalk-o-vision camera seems to be working well.
So let’s say – speaking, of course, on entirely hypothetical terms – that there was an Illuminati. And – again, hypothetically – let’s say our own John Walker found himself exchanging super-official, deathly serious secret handshakes among their shadowy ranks. In the event that these things happened and weren’t ludicrously impossible, you might have found them intriguing – perhaps even scintillating. You might have thought “Gee, I’d like to give that a try myself – you know, if it were a real thing that existed. But it’s not, so I won’t. Ever.” And today I’m here to report that nothing has changed, secret societies don’t exist, and you’ll never have the chance to take part in one this weekend.

I will, however, just leave this here before vanishing into some foggy mists of misty fog:

“This marks the first public opening of the massive, persistent player vs. player war zone where over two hundred players clash in adrenaline-fueled battles for power and world domination! Stonehenge and Eldorado are also opening up, allowing smaller groups of players to fight for control over the power held within these legendary locations. In addition to all these exciting, new player vs. player experiences, all content from the previous Beta Weekends will be available.”

“This is the final Beta Weekend before launch on July 3rd and we are ending with a bang. Everyone who has ever registered for The Secret World beta will get access to this final Beta Weekend. This is also true for anyone who has not registered yet but still registers by Friday, June 22nd. You can sign up for the beta using the form on the right side of the page on http://thesecretworld.com.”

[You hear a gentle whisper float out from an eerily human-shaped cloud of mistfog.] It’s out on… July 3rd… woooOOOoooOOO… hypothetically.

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54 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    LTK says:

    Oh, all right then. Guess I’ll carry on with whatever I was doing.

  2. Tom OBedlam says:

    I forsee spending much of summer with this

  3. Neurotic says:

    Is it worth the 15.3 Gb dl then? I do like a bit of the old HPL, but for just 48 hours’ access, I’m not sure if I can be arsed caining my connection and spamming a hard drive with it.

    • Sroek says:

      It’s definitely worth a look. I ignored the hype for the most part, and I thought some of the footage on YouTube was sub-par and mediocre but was pleasantly surprised when I tried the game out for myself. I’m considering purchasing the game.

    • MaXimillion says:

      If you’re not tired of hotkey-MMO combat and enjoy puzzles, probably yes. Otherwise, unlikely.

  4. Xzi says:

    Really? This game is launching on July 3rd? It was pretty much a complete mess in the couple weekend betas I played not all that long ago. I don’t think anyone is going to be all that tempted to play this beyond the free month that (presumably) comes with the purchase of the game.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong. There are a number of interesting and non-standard (for an MMO) features to this game. The real problems were in the execution. When you get down to the nitty gritty, you’ll still be spending the majority of your time in TSW in combat. And the combat is some of the most boring I’ve ever experienced, bar none. I tried nearly every spec I could and none of it grabbed me for even an instant.

    I won’t even get into the technical and optimization issues. It’s possible that they were just too ambitious with this one. A trap that a lot of MMO developers fall into. That said, there were some good puzzles and story bits here and there, but at the end of the day I just don’t see this game succeeding without having to resort to an F2P model not long after launch. Probably a year, year and a half at most.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      I don’t think it’s overly ambitious. It’s just that mashing together an adventure game and an MMO is fundamentally weird and silly. I agree with your other points, particularly about combat. It just doesn’t measure up.

    • frightlever says:

      I think there’s a good chance that traditional MMO combat – cycling buttons while standing toe to toe with your foe or foes – which SWTOR also has, just isn’t interesting enough for action gamers on the one hand, and is too confusing for casuals once they’re into the second row of buttons to cycle.

      For all the criticism, Diablo is pretty compelling with only 7 potential buttons to press during combat and a lot of running around to avoid the environmental damage.

      • BillyIII says:

        There was enough of running in TSW combat. First, different abilities have different range/area type, and second, enemies were constantly trying to run away and perform a ranged attack (which also attracted other mobs if I chased them).

        • ScubaMonster says:

          What you just described happens in virtually every single mmo.

      • Xzi says:

        Diablo 3 bored the crap outta me too. But its combat was the one element that was decent, despite the extremely limited (read: one right build for every class) skill system. So it’s probably the presentation that drives it. Also the case with the Modern Warfare titles for a lot of people, though. -__-

      • Calreth says:

        You got your Diablo comment spot on. While D3 is essentially still clicking buttons, and there are still a few superior builds compared to others, it eschews the “correct rotation” of skill button pressing ever present in every current MMORPG. You’re doing things a lot reactively, rather than just hammering out to correct sequence of skills to maximize dps.

    • Sroek says:

      I’m not sure how much of a “complete mess” the first two beta weekends were, but I had a blast in the third beta weekend. I’ve played beta weekends for both GW2 and TSW and the combat is much more cerebral and satisfying in TSW than in GW2. You have to pay attention to sequencing and buffs/debuffs which are constantly changing in a fight. It feels simple at the early levels but you start to get a feel for how it works and how deep it actually is as you progress. In theory, the game’s longevity should be close to that of City of Heroes/Villains and that game has been going strong for 8+ years. For anyone who’s played both, TSW is heavily influenced by CoX.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        I’ve played beta weekends for both GW2 and TSW and the combat is much more cerebral and satisfying in TSW than in GW2.

        There’s no accounting for taste, but this is objectively crazy.

        • Xzi says:

          ^ This. You get roughly the same amount of skills to mess with at any one time in each game, but TSW is the only one of the two in which I can just spam all of them at once and be fine. If you try to do that in GW2, you die. A lot. GW2 feels more like controlling one character from a tactical RPG, ala DA:O, albeit with a lot more customization. TSW combat just felt like every other MMORPG I’ve never wanted to continue playing.

          • Sroek says:

            “TSW is the only one of the two in which I can just spam all of them at once and be fine”

            Funny, I thought it was the other way around. Buff/debuffing, condition stacking, condition mitigating and weapon resource management is changing every second in TSW, thus combos are different in every single sequence, not so with GW2. I spam every single skill in GW2 as soon as they come off cooldown because the sequence literally makes no difference.

          • Xzi says:

            Umm, the vast majority of the time, you’re limited to only a few direct damage skills in GW2. The rest are entirely situational, so spamming them would simply put skills on cooldown that you might need later in that same fight. It can only hurt you, never help.

            In TSW, there’s really no reason at all to load up your skill bar with anything but direct damage and a maybe a heal or two. So it’s as spammable as you want it to be. Which will likely be the requirement for end-game content, as people are always really anal about DPS output.

            I have no clue what “condition stacking, condition mitigating and weapon resource management” is, nor did I need to bother learning about any of it in order to breeze through every single combat encounter I came across. Which is probably a testament to the importance of these things, or the lack thereof. If you find little tiny indicator icons placed somewhere on your screen to be that interesting, good on ya. But personally, I like to actually SEE these things have an on-screen effect, as they always do in GW2, or else I might as well be playing a pen-and-paper RPG.

            I mean, I like meta-game elements just as much as the next guy, which is why I found TSW’s skill system to be pretty neat. But if all that time reading skill descriptions and finding builds with great synergy amounts to nothing more than experiencing the exact same type of inconsequential combat over and over, there’s really no motivation to progress.

          • Sroek says:

            Yeah, Xzi. Maybe you need to play past 5 minutes before criticizing the game, because it’s obvious you haven’t a clue.

          • Xzi says:

            Believe me, I played as much of it as I could stand. And then I played a little more. TSW is not on the level of failure that AoC was at launch. It just doesn’t have enough interesting or unique elements to warrant a monthly fee and a cash shop. Especially with so many enjoyable F2P MMOs on the horizon.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Funcom releasing a half finished game?! Surely you jest!

      I called this after Age of Conan. I couldn’t see how anybody could put any more faith in Funcom, but yet people were chomping at the bit over this game. They basically tossed AoC aside without even working hard to polish it up to jump headlong into this.

  5. SteamTrout says:

    I played the 1st beta of this and it was the most boring and buggiest MMO experiences I’ve had. And those animations…ugh. I mean if it followed GW2 model then maaaaaaaybe it would’ve been worth trying out. However 60$ upfront PLUS monthly 15$? Nope, never.

    • BillyIII says:

      Second beta looked fine (although I’m not an mmo fan and might have missed something).

    • malkav11 says:

      $50. I realize that doesn’t make much difference most likely.

  6. TsunamiWombat says:

    Oh look, another company destroying MMO thats about to launch and sink! How adoribad.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I think some people who fund these games only do so for sadistic reasons..

      • mondomau says:

        Masochistic, you mean? Unless there’s a particular branch of sadism that involves attempting to upset people by losing all of your own money….

  7. Milky1985 says:

    I actually enjoyed the last beta, the investigation missions were fun, its also fun to have a area where you are activly avoiding the monsters (cause you can kill them just but its a struggle) in teh way of the trees in that templar starting area. Nice and atmospheric with with everyone jumping around everywhere.

    Bit of a different MMO, and it seems ok because of it.only reason i won’t be getting it on launch (so far anyway, i get distracted easy so even after this i might ohhhh a shiny penny) is because i’m off on holiday for a few days a couple of days after release and that would be a waste of the free month :P

  8. losludvig says:

    I only played the last beta weekend, but it seemed pretty stable. Other than subtitles cutting out a few times and me not being able to figure out the crafting system it worked like a charm.
    I was very skeptic about the game from playing AoC at launch but I walked away very impressed so I’ll be picking this one up

  9. Swanny says:

    After missing the great potential of Anarchy Online, then just wrecking Conan, i’ve been eyeing this one up, but i’m probably going to pass. Funcom just always seems to miss the mark for me. AO was a great game- but it was unplayable for most of the first year. It still has the best crafting system in an mmo, imo.

  10. rustybroomhandle says:

    I’m singing my one-note tune again, but sooner they put this behind them, sooner they can get back to TLJ.

  11. Fatrat says:

    The combat reminds me of Star Wars Galaxies… after they messed everything up. You can even use an option to que skills up. It didn’t strike me as fun at all while i was playing in the closed beta last week. Some of the story stuff might appeal to those that like adventure games or plotlines, but i even thought most of that was a bit cheesily done.

    I play MMOs for the action and enjoy fluid-feeling combat. TSW just didn’t push my buttons at all. Funcom go and mess it up again, after all those hopes i had for AoC a few years ago.

    Also, my guy got a blowjob about 5 minutes from the start… has this game been rated at all? :p

  12. Premium User Badge

    fiendling says:

    I cannot comment about the previous 2 beta weekends (didn’t participate) but I really enjoyed myself in the third beta this past weekend.

    Pros:
    The story and investigative/mystery missions
    The crafting system
    Good skill system, no classes and no levels
    I enjoyed the combat (played a shotgun/blood magic hybrid)

    Cons:
    I dislike the death mechanics and the standard and tedious corpse runs afterwards
    The stock standard MMO quest staples of “kill 15 *insert mob type here*” and “find 10 *insert item name here*“, are unfortunately very much in evidence.

    Balance:
    I will definitively try it out for at least a couple of months. The story and investigation quests are great and the rest of the game is more than palatable enough to provide a good diversion until Guild Wars 2 makes its appearance.

    • malkav11 says:

      I would say that while the kill X and collect X objectives are certainly present (it’s difficult to imagine how RPGs would function without -ever- resorting to either), they were generally pretty good about dressing them up – testing wards and landmines, making you find ways to get within range of collectibles, etc.

      • Premium User Badge

        fiendling says:

        Very true and I agree that Funcom made these quests about as interesting as they can possibly be.

        My problem with them is entirely subjective. My 22+ years of RPG and 11+ years of MMORPG gaming have resulted in a mild-to-moderate aversion to “filler” quests.

        Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a deal-breaker for me, it’s just an aspect of the game I didn’t really enjoy. The positives of TSW definitely outweigh the few negatives, as I mentioned in my initial post.

      • aliksy says:

        If you can’t imagine how RPGs could work without “kill x of y” quests then your imagination is pretty bad.

        If I’m charitable and assume you mean “MMORPGs”, then even there I can imagine a game like GW2 without the renown hearts.

        • Jesus H. Christ says:

          yeah, all you need to do is put in a real money shop where you can buy x of y, bingo no more grind.

        • malkav11 says:

          No, I mean RPGs. Have you ever played an RPG that didn’t specifically task you with killing particular foes, talking to specific people, or collecting particular items? I certainly never have. Good RPGs make those basic objectives narratively interesting rather than simply stringing together quotas, but when you strip ‘em down, that’s what you’re doing.

          And FYI, Guild Wars 2 has plenty of those objectives even in the dynamic events. Again, it does a pretty good job dressing them up, but they’re there.

  13. MataDor says:

    Played this on first beta weekend and preordered right after it. Can’t wait for full game… Guess part of this summer will be eaten by TSW.. :/

  14. Noni says:

    Played during the previous beta weekend, I’m really enjoying it! The combat is kind of meh (though I’ve only tried assault rifle) and I never did figure out the crafting system….but many of the quests are really enjoyable. The world feels very big, and I think people who like adventure games will be interested. I will likely be picking up TSW.

    • Jesus H. Christ says:

      I concur, except for the fact that SWTOR is mulling over f2p. I can see many people saying to themselves “I wonder if this is going to be f2p in 6 months? should I really drop $160 on it? (60+15X6).

  15. Zepp says:

    Character creation is terrible, character models look is comparable to WoWs humans. Combat is a snoozefest and animations are oversimplified. Everything about this game besides some missions you will do once and never look back seems bad. Not worth a buy imho.

    + sub fee and item shop is a bit over the top

    I guess mmo-label is just excuse to release outdated games at full price.

    • elfbarf says:

      “character models look is comparable to WoWs humans”

      Are we playing the same game?

      • Premium User Badge

        fiendling says:

        No, clearly not.

        I think you have to have Zepp’s particular brand of Schizophrenia to think that the character models resemble WoW’s humans in any but the most obvious bipedal, humanoid characteristics.

        • Zepp says:

          They don’t look exactly the same but are in the same league of quality. Also, insanity is a gift and this game should cater to Lovecraft fans. Another fault is everyone being part of some secret society. Whats so secret about it then? I’m not special anymore.

          • pantognost says:

            So first the models look like wow, and then their quality is like wow, and then the secret societies aren’t secret enough…
            Oh FFS just tell us that you hate the guts of this game and be done with it. Just don’t bore us with attempts at logic, in which you are very poorly versed at.

    • malkav11 says:

      The missions are kind of the point. When did we get this myopic idea that only grinding endgame content and PvP was worthwhile?

  16. Calreth says:

    Also, dear Funcom, please get back to backing the sequel for Dreamfall.

  17. bunnymittens says:

    I played this game last weekend. The gameplay somehow makes me think of The Matrix Online.

  18. sinister agent says:

    Tried very hard to like this. The setting, faction attitudes, idea, presentation etc. are all great. It’s just a shame they’re stapled onto the same terrible, infuriating controls, insular lingo and clusterfuck combat as every other bloody MMO.