Chaos Theory: Tomb-raiding The Secret World’s Issue #14 with Funcom

Remember that Indiana Jones-inspired outfit from The Secret World’s Issue #6? Today is a great day to dust it off and slip it on because Issue #14’s release returns us to the tomb-raiding life, complete with temples and doom!

Called Call of the Nameless, this newest adventure not only returns to Egypt but returns to the epic self-contained story line style found in Issues #5 through 7. There is little argument that those issues are some of the best storytelling in TSW and encapsulate the heart of the game, and it is precisely this that Game Director Romain Amiel wanted to return to.

So how does Call of the Nameless measure up to to the likes of The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn? Is it dark? Oh, yes — it is quite literally dark. Does it have story? Yes — it even has a literal story. Although I haven’t experienced the full thing (that’s saved for my OPTV stream series starting tonight at 9:00 p.m. EDT!), I did get a decent taste of the story, the atmosphere, and the mechanics during yesterday’s tour with Amiel and Community Manager Andy Benditt. And yes, I am hungry for more. Read on for my impressions of Issue #14 before it launches today, sans significant spoilers.

The Secret WorldArabian Nights

Like the other three issues it is modeled after, #14 is one continuous story apart from the main story line that is introduced and resolved during the mission chain. One difference is that this time, the story is based on an actual story that will even be read at some point. The theme of Call of the Nameless is loosely based on Arabian Nights (called One Thousand and One Nights in its original form), and more particularly the story of Aladdin contained within it. Of course, this story has a special Secret World spin to it; instead of a retelling of the story itself, players get to delve into the history that brought the story about.

Wait, you might be asking, why would an Arabic/Persian story be set in Egypt? It wasn’t to deprive you of a new zone. In fact, Amiel pointed out that in the age that the story focuses on, the Persian Empire did indeed cover Egypt. Leave it to TSW to include literature and history to your gaming. (Be grateful that learning to read and translate hieroglyphics was left out!) Egypt was also a good choice because of all the areas in the game, Amiel felt it was the least utilized. The land is rich with archeological possibilities; The Last Train to Cairo introduced a tomb-raiding aspect, but there just wasn’t enough of it. Issue #14 offers much more exploration and puzzle-solving for those who want to live the Indiana Jones persona. There’s even a requisite The Last Crusade-esque walk of faith! The issue also contains more Persian elements, including the outfit included in the collectors edition and a cosmetic item you gain through an achievement with secret steps (which is one of the things I can’t reveal.)

Amiel called this issue one of the longest, estimating it would take players 30-40 minutes just to work their way through the pyramid on their first run. In total, there are six missions in the chain, starting and ending with investigation missions, and five side missions, one in every mission except for the final one. There are also six achievements, including the hidden ones, and two cosmetic items that can be obtained from the achievements.

The Secret World“You are such a mud doll”

While I can’t discuss much of the story at all without giving too many spoilers (heck, I’m even sad I had to have some spoilers just in the tour instead of discovering it all myself), I can give you some impressions along with a few tidbits of info. To start, I will say that I absolutely loved the quote, “You are such a mud doll.” I’ve been called many things in my TSW travels, and that is a new one! Yes, it is spoken with as much disdain as you might think, by one who would like nothing more than your demise.

The Secret WorldAlthough I skipped around, watching various cut scenes and even seeing the ending, what I have experienced gives me the feeling that this issue captures some of the essence of the most beloved issues. Even though Egypt is known as the brightest of all the zones, the issue is sufficiently dark — in some cases quite literally. The pyramid relies quite a bit on atmosphere to give you the creeps as you creep along. I am very grateful that I only experienced a short part of the pyramid and labyrinth before the tour moved on ahead so I could savor it more fully on my own time. The story also has some of those darker undercurrents and twists that give that special TSW-flair to well-known folklore and tales.

Knowing that the story relates to the tale of Aladdin, you can guess that there are genies — or more appropriately, Djinn — involved. You know how much they like humans (NOT!), and now you get to learn some history about them, their relationship to Gaia, and how it all intertwines with a popular tale. There are puzzles to solve, but they shouldn’t leave those who hate puzzles with a passion overly frustrated. It’s set up so that players will actually encounter an easier puzzle to learn the mechanic before being faced with the more elaborate version. Also, if you already completed Issue #6, some of them are very reminiscent of the puzzles you already solved there. Your memory about the lore and locations of Egypt in-game is also tested a bit.

Speaking of puzzles, a new mechanic is introduced: the investigation fight. I can’t tell you much more than that; although I experienced it briefly, I didn’t have the chance to solve it yet myself. Besides, I was sworn to secrecy so I didn’t spoil it! I can say it will be a memorable boss fight and will shed some light on the story of a figure players have encountered previously.

The Secret World

Back on the topic of locations: While you have a trap-infested labyrinth to work your way through (and likely get lost in — it has walls that move depending on your actions), moving through City of the Sun God is actually actually less of a maze. Thanks to a slight redesign of the environment, from better passes to new cultist encampments, the lay of the land is easier to navigate for everyone, regardless if they purchase the issue or not. The other bit that is available to all players besides the CotSG revamp is the new portal interface, which removes portal items from the inventory and gives a window to select destination.

Better accessibility and beetles

The Secret WorldBesides a return to the self-contained spooky story, I really like that Call of the Nameless can be enjoyed by any player without needing previous issues. As in the other one-offs, players should be in Quality Level 10.0 gear, but even that isn’t required. In fact, the final boss encounter doesn’t even take gear into account; it focuses solely on build and how you use your skills. You need only get the issue and try to trudge through it without any other prerequisites other than owning the base game itself. The issue is also balanced for solo play, although a group can do it together, including the final boss fight.

What else do I really like? It has many legs and scurries around after you! If you are a pet collector as I am, you will find the collector’s edition hard to resist. The scarab, which randomly changes between red, black and brown each time you call it, is the most adorable little flesh-ripping beetle. Of course, the Arabian-style outfit is also included.

As the tour wrapped up, I tried to get Amiel to spill something about where Issue #15 will go, but he wouldn’t divulge anything. He said only that there’s another story he really wants to tell, but whether it will be now or if the next issue goes into season 2 of the main story is still undecided. Ah well, so we don’t know where we go next, but we can jump in and enjoy this adventure today. And that’s exactly what I plan to do!

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32 Comments on "Chaos Theory: Tomb-raiding The Secret World’s Issue #14 with Funcom"

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SwobyJ
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SwobyJ

Xyggy Mostly the same. You don’t respec – you keep gaining skill ranks and abilities.

Xyggy
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Xyggy

Always loved the story telling and creepy atmosphere of TSW, but the combat system killed the game for me ( I got past Egypt, but between Egypt and the combat system, I couldn’t take anymore). It’s been a couple of years since I logged in, but I am itching to come back and check it out. So, big question – is the combat system still the same and is there a way to respec a character?

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

korsobar Super helpful in the blue mountains’ nonsense combination of maze-like mountain paths + ak’ab totems slowing you everywhere.

ihatevnecks
Guest
ihatevnecks

kimowar ihatevnecks Oh I’m not concerned about having enough credits for this issue, I’ve only done a few of the past issues so I’m not rushing to buy this one. I’m just irritated I wasted those credits on 3-day AP/SP boosts when I got probably 12 hours of use out of them. Those things are clearly a trap since they count down while you’re offline; better off just buying in 2-hour increments.

MJ Guthrie
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MJ Guthrie

SwobyJ MJ Guthrie No need or point in doing Tokyo before this!

korsobar
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korsobar

I have been playing this game a bit after a very long break.  For anyone who might be in the same situation, one thing that they changed that really makes the game a lot better is that you can now teleport to the anima wells once you find them.  That makes things go much, much quicker with less tedious clearing of mobs to get to mission givers.

kimowar
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kimowar

ihatevnecks I didnt spend last monthes stipend for once….I’m on auto buy and had enough left over for the CE:)

ihatevnecks
Guest
ihatevnecks

Wish I wouldn’t have wasted credits on the multi-day AP and SP potions over the bonus AP event, didn’t have nearly as much time to play as I’d hoped. All those wasted hours counted down while offline.

luxundae
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luxundae

Looking forwards to this one!

tylercles
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tylercles

ThirteenBlackbirds tylercles Greaterdivinity Well, I can’t find the post, but I remember it quite clearly. I was very surprised because it does feel so much like there was originally meant to be three zones.

It’s remotely possible we could both be right. If the third zone was cut very early in development, with no substantive work done on it, then I could see one of the other devs having forgotten about it and then, years later, saying it never existed.

SwobyJ
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SwobyJ

ThirteenBlackbirds SwobyJ Yeah. I’m just annoyed at the progress so far, and at this rate. But still happy about most of the progress that has actually happened! I don’t like being technically still in Act 1 of this … up to 3 or so Act story?.. in 4 years now instead of 2-3. I’d like to feel that this game’s main plot can or will be done by around 2020-22 while the game can still be remotely relevant to the industry (even if I’d prefer it to still exist through the 2020s).
The more secondary Issues are not something I object to – I just go “Ughhh” briefly when I see them announced because it means more months where the big stuff doesn’t MOVE. If there was instead 4-6 issues a year, and at least a couple of them moving main plot, instead of ~3 issues and only a chance of 1+ moving plot, I’d feel better about it all.
But then again, I’m also just happy with every year this TSW and/or Funcom isn’t shut down.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

Anyway, cool! My main is still pre-Tokyo and my alt is in Savage Coast, but I’m glad that they took the time to polish and add to City of the Sun God before probably mostly leaving it alone (at least as a development focus, I’d guess).

SwobyJ
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SwobyJ

Greaterdivinity I think they finally don’t want people standing or running around in Agartha but instead in the zones, spread through the cities, and playing content.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

MJ Guthrie SwobyJ Okay yeah. I understood that it was likely set up to not require Tokyo to be entered, but I wanted to specify whether it still should be done before or after it. I assume any Issue assumes you’ve done all the base content, especially the main plot of it – I consider doing this content to basically be our Bee taking some time to Agartha time travel back to the old regions in order to do something for themselves, then running into these Issue NPCs.
Mainly I just want to know if this story assumes you’ve done Tokyo or not, and I’m leaning towards not. Its very ‘Act 1’ but I doubt it is ‘post-Tokyo’ necessarily, though personally I may do that anyway because my Bees require something to do in the meantime.

MJ Guthrie
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MJ Guthrie

ThirteenBlackbirds MJ Guthrie SwobyJ someone with 0 time would not get who the characters are at all, and wouldnt have the skills or gear to do anything.  But yes, te story can still be followed.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

ThirteenBlackbirds SwobyJ I actually like advancement of the main plot more. Personally I’d have preferred Tokyo’s plot done by end of 2013 in a sub version of game or 2014 otherwise (so this B2P version), and us well onto ‘Act 2’ by now.
But I’m not against this.

MJ Guthrie
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MJ Guthrie

SwobyJ It really is a stand alone, but it works better if you have done all of Egypt, ad there’s something you wont appreciate as much if you haven”t reached a specific place in Transylvania yet.  I cannot spoil any more than that though!

tylercles
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tylercles

ThirteenBlackbirds Greaterdivinity Actually, no, there was never another zone in Egypt. It’s just a common fan theory based on the poor transition between them, but one of the devs (wanna say Joel, but not sure) confirmed aways back it was always supposed to just be SD and CotSG.

Also I always find it surprising people hate on CotSG. For me, it’s SD that’s dragging things down. CotSG is a breath of fresh air afterward.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

CastagereShaikura That’s why they’re polishing it up more. COTSG is most players’ least favorite zone. While Blue Mountain is tough and maybe drags on the region, and parts of Transylvania get criticized, COTSG gets the most negative reaction overall. I don’t have a problem with Funcom doing some things to address that – its not like they can or will remove it.

MJ Guthrie
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MJ Guthrie

SwobyJ I think doing it pre-Tokyo but after Issue #6 is good.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

ThirteenBlackbirds Yeah its been almost a year since Tokyo’s main story ended and approx two years since the last non-Tokyo story pack! Seems this year is wrapping up some ends before hopefully (I won’t count on it but it’d be nice to see it happen by the end of the year) moving into something clearly Act 2. Best hope is for a zone, albeit smaller than Kaidan.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

Chronologically, would you/anyone say that this fits in better:After Tokyo as part of ‘Pre Act 2 Interlude’ (like the last couple Issues, just not Tokyo related)?Before Tokyo as part of ‘Pre Tokyo Interlude’ (like Issue #5-7, maybe post-#6)?Really anything QL10ish and a side adventure at some point during the latter end of Act 1?
I’m leaning to the third. This looks like a very very secondary adventure but at the same time ‘bigger’ than Issue #5-7 in order to compensate. So players can get it before or after they do Tokyo and it works?
I don’t need big spoilers but if anyone knows, I’d like to learn. I want to do things as plot-fluid as possible, like how Issue #7 ‘NEEDED’ to be done before Tokyo/its ending.

Greaterdivinity
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Greaterdivinity

BalsBigBrother Ah, I haven’t made it far into Tokyo yet, need to get some gear/proper build before doing that. Keep meaning to but each time I dive into the game I always either get distracted with something else or have little time to devote to it -_-

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

Greaterdivinity BalsBigBrother  While they are ok they don’t save it for me. For the record my two favourite npc’s in TSW are  Harumi and Yuichi  :-)

CastagereShaikura
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CastagereShaikura

Funny though Egypt made me quit the game. I really hated that zone more than any zone in any mmo.

Greaterdivinity
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Greaterdivinity

ThirteenBlackbirds Yeah, the two zones felt a bit disjointed, and i know I wasn’t much of a fan of the second at all (though the first was alright).
I only have one character so I’ll only go back if I want to replay a few specific missions like the Last Train missions which I did over teh weekend for since it gives a ton of experience : )

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

BalsBigBrother But it’s got two of the best characters! Said and Nassir!
I’m not much of a fan of Egypt as a whole, but those two made it worth it.

Syco_at_Twitch
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Syco_at_Twitch

even tho, i don’t like the game for various reasons im still secretly rooting for it

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

Want to support TSW can’t stand Egypt #dilemma

brixbee
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brixbee

I am excite!

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

Wait…teleport window? Furreal?

Kaaz
Guest
Kaaz

Ooh a labyrinth! Ive wanted one of those for so long in tsw ^^

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