I suppose one doesn't hear much about The Secret World [official site] nowadays. The idea of a supernatural RPG where our modern-day world is filled with all sorts of ghosts, ghouls, cryptozoological oddities, and unspeakable horrors from beyond the stars is fantastic, but it's a shame it's an MMORPG.
Still, Funcom have steadily expanded the story with mini expansions called 'Issues' and brought it all to a head with the launch of Issue 11. 'Reaping the Whirlwind' wraps up season 1 (a mixed metaphor, there), showing consequences to decisions throughout the game. It visits a fine setting: the headquarters of a sinister megacorp whose supernatural experiments went awry.
Issue 11 ventures into the headquarters of the Orochi Group, a sinister lot you meet all through the game - often after they've tried to control something supernatural but had it turn them into oozing puppets. It's set across 21 floors, each filled with different odd things. "See what sort of bizarre virtual world Anansi Technologies employees have created," say Funcom, "or what Zagan is trying to create a new type of meat from." Oh, I'm sure it's unpleasant.
Funcom also explain that this'll shed a little light on everything you've done so far, and net you a new 'Ultimate Ability' based on your decisions in the main plot:
"Since launch you have visited three important locations, New England, Egypt and Transylvania and have made three important choices. This story is continued in Tokyo, and at the end of Issue #11 you learn some of the consequences of your choices. Many secrets are finally revealed and you get to understand the true power struggle which is happening behind the scenes. You also get a taste of the ultimate power, and a realize the cost of crossing someone who is eternal."
Ayup, that sounds pretty good to me. As a latecomer to The Secret World I've been hesitant to start buying the expansions, hoping they'd all be bundled up cheap at some point. As such, I balk a bit at seeing it costs £24.99 for a bundle of issues 9-11 (you need all three to play 11). Still, TSW dropped subscription fees long ago, and evidently this model (plus optional subs and selling pretty clothes with microtransactions) keeps the lights on, so good-o.
Actually, while I'm writing about The Secret World, did you see Richard Cobbett recently revisited it for his RPG column?