The Secret World: Teaser, Ragnar Speaks

Where do you go after Conan The Barbarian? To a contemporary conspiratorial supernatural setting with a cute girl and a horrific monster, of course! “A world where magic is real and monsters roam…” Funcom’s next MMO is The Secret World, and it is revealed in a whirl of internet magic beyond the jump. Not revealed by us, of course, because we’re too wee, but by the all-seeing eye of GameTrailers. There’s two bits, so watch the first one first, as it’s got the beautiful Ragnar “Dreamfall” Tornquist talking about his creation. “Fight rising darkness!” Anything for you, Ragnar. “This is an MMORPG without classes, without levels, this is completely skill-based,” Ragnar, now you are teasing us! You naughty beast!

That looks fucking awesome.

Obligatory cinematic:


  1. jackflash says:

    Looks intriguing.

  2. William DeVine says:

    Here’s hoping it won’t crash and burn upon release like the other Funcom MMOs.

  3. Viconius says:

    Looks promising! Finally a skill based MMORPG, there has not been many major releases since Ultima Online that did this.

  4. cyrenic says:

    Skill based characters sound pretty good, but nothing else jumped out at me. Hopefully they have some cool gameplay ideas they’ll reveal later.

  5. clovus says:

    This is an MMORPG without classes, without levels, this is completely skill-based

    So it’s TF2?

    Does an RPG “without levels” just mean that you have a bunch of other stats that increase over time? If not, how is this an RPG? Don’t tell me that it involves playing roles…

  6. Larington says:

    Count down to someone judging TSW based purely on a certain previous game release…

    In before those posts: There is such a thing as learning lessons from your mistakes and applying those lessons to the next piece of work. Funcom are too small to not learn from its mistakes.

  7. aquazombie says:

    how did the monster get into her house

    Also, sounds awesome, but anything can sound awesome if described right

  8. JohnArr says:

    Stalking Tornquist and Walker on Twitter reveals information recently changed hands between them; Secret World interview? TLJ/Dreamfall nuggets? Or were they just cybering? Tell us dammit!

    Also: excited for this!

  9. Tei says:

    Man, the talkative video is too long. It has boobs? I will buy it. He is like overdoing it. It will be a MMORPG, and since is another funcom one, It will be sort-of-unplayable for like 4 years. And after these 4 years it will be lilke the best MMORPG, but with outdated graphics.

    and now, a private email:

    From: Tei
    To: Funcom

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me

  10. Wulf says:


    Wot? …wot? Wot?

    Sorry for my Who-ish bout of surprise, but after quoting something that claims ‘without classes’, the last thing you want to go and say is ‘So it’s TF2?’. Since, yanno, TF2 is a purely class based game, gaming is rarely more class based than TF2.

    To answer your question though, you should really play Ultima Online sometime, or… well, a huge per centage of PC single-player RPGs.

    Basically, it works like this:

    – You have a skill point pool, that caps out at say… 1,000.
    – You have a number of skills that can rise in points, say… between 0 and 100.
    – If you spend time cooking, your cooking skill goes up, after a long time spent cooking, you might have a cooking skill of 25.

    This is an amazingly basic explanation of the system that Ultima Online had, but it should be enough, it has plenty of numbers, more than most level-based RPGs, I’d say.

    Want a contemporary example of a skill-based, single-player RPG that RPS has even spoken about recently? See: Bloodlines.

    There are loads of ’em out there, wot, have you only been playing Japanese RPGs and MMOs, man?

    So yes, looking forward to this.

  11. William DeVine says:

    I am looking forward to this game a lot since the whole world of mythology integrated into the modern world is something that could be really, really awesome.

  12. ...hmm... says:

    aww the supwise of the teaser was ruined by the unnecessarily merged in clips from the teaser in the interview thing. :( shaaame. should’ve posted the trailer above the interview… not that i would have had the foresight to have implemented such a design choice :o

  13. Larington says:

    Yeah, I saw the twitter exchange too, naughty stalker that I am (In shadow of chernobyl, or do I see clear skies, umm, yeah, less bad puns Larington, for the children)… I think thats just a friend talking to a friend rather than official business. Though if something came out of it I certainly wouldn’t complain. ;-)

  14. Wurzel says:

    Hmm, I’m getting quite a tabletop game vibe from what he’s saying (specifically World of Darkness and Unknown Armies) and it makes me wonder how well that fluidity and breadth of action could be translated to an MMO. He’s hoping it’ll do well, though I’d prefer he finished his adventure games first :)

  15. Valentine says:

    Uhm, so let’s see here: modern day, cool, no elves, nice, uhm, katana wielding fire mages awesome, New York and London and Seoul, sweet !!!
    I really hopes this turns out great, I loved TLJ and Dreamfall and this just sounds a lot like it’s going to be the next big thing!!! I’ve been waiting for a decent modern-day RPG since Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, man did that game ROCK!!!

  16. Chris R says:

    Well it certainly sounds intriguing…. but sounds almost too good to be true. Hope that they can deliver on all their promises!

  17. Larington says:

    Also: “Dark days are coming” I get a sense that Ragnar LOVES that phrase, as in, wants its children, or something.

    All of the The End is Nigh street speakers should be paid to switch their signs to read Dark Days are Coming. :-)

  18. Jockie says:

    Sounds very World of Darkness . I think the backlash from Aoc players may hurt this title quite a lot, i can see forums and comments logs being filled with venemous “you should fix Aoc before you start working on new games!!!1” posts (though not on RPS hopefully).

    For me the concept and skill based system sound pretty solid so i’ll keep an eye on it.

  19. DK says:

    Why an MMO? It has the Dreamfall aesthetic – make it singleplayer and adventure! They left us hanging at the end of Dreamfall, which means we deserve a proper sequel.
    Don’t pull another Bioware Shattered Steel bait-and-switch.

  20. Inglorion says:

    I wish this wasn’t an MMO. I’m a recovering WoW addict, and I intend to never return unless it’s a game that strays heavily away from the meticulous, number-focused standard.

    My most fond memories of WoW was actually just exploring the world, but I compulsively came back for the stupid loot and minor upgrades to my characters: :(

  21. jalf says:

    There is such a thing as learning lessons from your mistakes and applying those lessons to the next piece of work. Funcom are too small to not learn from its mistakes.

    So why didn’t they learn from AO? ;)
    AoC’s flaws at launch could have been prevented if they’d learned the lesson from AO. :)

    Still, you’re right, we can’t judge TSW purely based on that. Maybe they *have* learned the lesson this time. And regardless of all the technical flaws that may or may not carry over from their previous games, there’s still a lot about TSW that sounds cool. But I really do wish they’d ditch their silly proprietary server technology. Other companies are capable of so much more, and many of them make their server technology available for licensing.

    Anyway, I’m with DK. Funcom is better at singleplayer storytelling than they are at MMO’s. And TSW seems like a setting begging for a proper story-based game…

  22. grey_painter says:

    The concept of modern day setting with mythical creatures and what boil down to super heroes has me interested already. Dependant on how the combat system and such actually turns out this is one of the few MMO ideas that might convince me to part with money.

  23. Marcin says:

    What am I missing? Why are we excited about an overly enthusiastic guy talking about ideas and a CGI trailer in which it is shown just HOW secret a world can be when you’re blowing up apartments (gas leak or swamp gas, eh?) and messing with an entire building’s electric grid? :P

    Or is it still an elongated April 1st thing?

  24. Larington says:

    I know what you mean Jalf, I think what bothers me is people posting things relating to AoC in a way thats irrational, as in they are so busy feeling mentally injured by their experiences with AoC that they can’t look beyond that.

    I don’t really know enough about AO to know what lessons could’ve been applied to AoC, I’m kind of hoping that because the time between AoC and TSW are fairly short in game development terms (As opposed to say, Duke Nukem Forever or StarCraft 2 or Diablo 3, etc) the mistakes will be more fresh in the minds of the design team. One thing is clear, they are going for a much more community mindset by steering clear of a levelling system, a system which actually pushes friends away from eachother by making certain locations near unplayable when theres signficant level gaps (Even with mentor systems or whatever built in to try and adjust for that problem).

    @Marcin: Well, for starters, in a world where everyone seems to want to copy World of Warcrafts levelling system, its nice to see an MMO developer actually saying “You know what, levelling systems can shove it, they stop the playerbase from getting straight into the action”. Then theres talk of a combat system thats more dynamic and fun instead of what amounts to (In my opinion) a lame button pressing contest which is essentially what most MMO combat systems tend to devolve into.

  25. DigitalSignalX says:

    When does she start vaulting building tops and wall rebound-kicking into baddies? lol. Anyway, if words were gameplay, he’d have me sold. But talk unfortunately is very cheap these days.
    I’m curious how any pvp will play out .. assault rifle vs. sword realism/balance issues etc. This is for sure worth keeping an eye on.

  26. Azhrarn says:

    “This is an MMORPG without classes, without levels, this is completely skill-based

    So it’s TF2?
    Does an RPG “without levels” just mean that you have a bunch of other stats that increase over time? If not, how is this an RPG? Don’t tell me that it involves playing roles…”

    Not really, but think EVE online’s skill system, which essentially is level-less too and skill-based. My guess is they’re copying that.

  27. ruaidhri k says:

    Ragnar presents: Joss Whedons Buffy Online

  28. Griffinheart says:

    I was excited at the beginning of the first trailer, but that faded pretty quickly. It really sounds like just about every other MMO. I’ll keep an eye on to see how it goes, but I wouldn’t pre-order yet.

  29. Larington says:

    Its difficult to be sure, but I’m suspecting theres something like a cross between Planetsides certification system and EVEs skill system. Looking forward to seeing tangible information that can be analysed properly.

  30. ack says:

    Really love the world concept, but it seems pretty much stolen through and through. There was an old pen and paper RPG “Kult” that had the same premise. But I guess there was that movie too… hmmmm whatsitsface? the Matrix? Some old greek fart probably had some nice ideas in that direction as well. Oh, and Destartes. Originality seems to be a matter of public mindshare.

    Always a cool setting though.

  31. Explosive Coot says:

    It’s very nice to see a new MMO that isn’t trying to be WoW. I love the opportunity to customize my character that skill-based progression offers, and setting the game in the modern world is a wonderful breath of fresh air. Definitely a game to watch.

    As an aside, are there any MMOs outside of UO and Meridian 59 that use entirely skill-based progression?

  32. Vincent Avatar says:

    Dirk dehss ar comink.

  33. ack says:

    Descartes of course, not Destartes.

  34. ChampionHyena says:

    @Larington: I think what frightens me most is that the core problem with Age of Conan was the same core problem with Anarchy Online. Both were tragically, embarrassingly broken with an agonizingly long repair schedule. Like Tei said, a lot of things eventually get fixed, but… geez, Anarchy Online still bugs (WAH-HEY) me.

    I think a short dev time would be horrid. Rest assured, given the vocal objections of their former playerbase, Funcom is not gonna forget about Age of Conan’s mistakes. What they need more than anything is a little bit more thorough testing… not just to iron out your average everyday bugs, but also to make sure that these vaunted unique gameplay mechanics that everyone thrills over in the interviews and preview videos actually WORK.

    Yes, I played a lot of AoC. Yes, I had a pretty big problem with the ineffectual stats, abominable performance, unfordable pit of player-killing, and the disappointing drought of upper-(and sometimes even mid-) level content. Yes, I canceled my account over it. Am I jaded about this new experience? Perhaps, but only because so many familiar things stick out at me.

    You’re right, it is not necessarily fair to completely and immediately judge this game just because Funcom’s name is on it, and the last MMO Funcom made was under par. It IS, in my opinion, wise to be a little bit worried about yet another MMO from Funcom that leaps onto the public scene with talk of amazing graphics and astounding new gameplay mechanics, just like the last one.

    Remember that MMOs are a significant investment over your average game both in time and ESPECIALLY in money. After buying the Collector’s Edition of Age of Conan and a bunch of game time, you bet I’m smarting after I really got to experience it. And you bet I’m casting a suspicious eye on this’un. I’m not passing judgment solely based on Age of Conan, but can you blame me for my sentiments? I’m not trying to be shortsighted and stubborn, but I am trying to be pragmatic after the hype ended up kicking me in the head last time.

    It sure is pretty. Who knows? Maybe they’ll surprise me.

  35. ale says:

    is that one Crow?

  36. Stupoider says:

    For the Xbox 360 and PC?


    Well, if it was cross platform, that would be interesting.. but I’d hate it if they had to dumb down the PC side of the game.

  37. Jeremy says:

    It’s a pity this is an MMO, it’d make a beautiful RPG or adventure game.

  38. roBurky says:

    I thought “skill-based” was talking about player skill until I read the comments, and realised how naive I was being.

  39. ChampionHyena says:

    @Stupoider: Wasn’t AoC supposed to hit the 360 at some point too? I recall it being in the plans, but I never heard about it actually going down.

  40. qrter says:

    Why is this an MMO? I mean, what’s the multiplayer part? Or is it just an anti-piracy thing?

  41. Reverend Speed says:

    God, I hate The Longest Journey. Like, three good ideas in a sea of mediocrity. Dreamfall was about as bad.


    Lovecraftian MMO set in modern world?

    Why, why yes, please.

  42. Larington says:

    I must confess, I was dissapointed by AoC myself to some degree, all I can really do is hope (Me = Optimist). One thing I’d love to know is how much development time AoC and TSW will have had prior to release of the game… If TSW has been in development for an extra year over AoC then I can feel that my hope isn’t misplaced… If the development time is about the same, well, I guess I can’t be overly confident. One of the saving graces of this site is that there doesn’t tend to be as much irrational posting as at some other sites, partly thats the reason why I love coming here so much.

    As always, we’ve just gotta wait for the Beta & reviews and hope things don’t look horribly broke or malformed when these come around. You can be sure the beta testers will raise hell (Or raise the secret world, whichever is easier) if they are particularly dissatisfied with what they see… And word would get out FAST if that turned out to be the case.

    Funcom/Ragnar will have to be very cautious about rolling out the Beta, considering the history with AoC, word of mouth is going to be a very powerful force – People looking to see if their judgements based on AoC are valid or not. It could get ugly.

  43. An Innocuous Coin says:

    Sounds great! But a lot of terrible, broken games sounded great. So lets see some gameplay. :D

  44. Jeff says:

    From what I’ve read, a great deal of the game will focus more on exploring, on unraveling the story, and on puzzle solving, besides just combat. Which would really make it unlike most MMO games.

    Now many online games have made this claim. But Ragnar’s strongsuit is storytelling, world creation, and characterization, so I believe him.

    What I’m interested though is how you can tell a compelling story in an online game without instances, which supposedly TSW will have none of.

    Anyways, I’m cautiously optimistic. This looks like a MMO that might actually hold my attention.

  45. Gap Gen says:

    Yeah, I don’t know whether I have the time to leap into an MMO. I have enough single-player games stacked up as it is without investing in a monthly-fee for a never-ending experience. Even if he gets rid of grind and sends free pizza to your door.

  46. Dave says:

    So many amateur designers thing “no levels or classes, only skills” automatically means “excellent gameplay and no grinding and you can do anything you want.”

    These are people who don’t remember Ultima Online.

  47. Dave says:

    (Note that I am not calling the Funcom team amateurs, I am just saying that though classless/levelless is a potentially valid design decision, it is not the I Win button of game design.)

  48. -Spooky- says:

    FunCom? No go for me .. AoC was rough enough.

  49. Frank says:

    The setting sounds MegaTen. I’ve always meant to play one of those through

  50. apnea says:

    haha, Destartes. Nicely done.