Chaos Theory: Which faction should you choose in Secret World?

While a spring launch of Secret World Legends is not a guarantee it’s still a hope, so it’s not too soon to be thinking about creating your character. Anyone who is remotely like me could use as much lead time as possible to make important decisions! And one of those decisions is what faction to play when the game releases.

Why would faction choice matter? Although Creative Director Romain Amiel told me in our interview that faction PvP is something the new game was hoping to move away from, factions are still a thing. Beyond determining the hue of faction-colored armor (if that ends up being a thing in SWL as well), factions really flavor a good chunk of your game experience. So picking the right one for you could affect your level of enjoyment. If you played The Secret World, you have already faced the quandary that new players will face: which one? You might already have a favorite faction that you will automatically choose. However, maybe you are interested in experiencing the story from a slightly different perspective. The question then becomes which secret society should you pledge to this time? If you’ve never played before and will be starting fresh in Secret World Legends, you may not know anything about the differences in the three organizations. So how do you choose?

With SWL coming soon™, now is the perfect time to deploy this faction guide project that has been percolating for the past year. Today’s Chaos Theory is the beginning of a short series of guides that will explain why factions matter, and then delve deeper into each faction to give you a feel for each in order to help you make that decision a little easier come character creation. (Note: Although this guide can be useful in preparing for Secret World Legends, there is a chance some of it guide may change when the game launches. The info provided here is all gleaned from the The Secret World itself.)

The factions

It makes sense that a game about secret societies, myths, and legends would have players be a part of a secret society. While players will be introduced to four factions in game, only three are playable. There’s the London-based Templars, the New York City-residing Illuminati, and the Seoul-headquartered Dragon. If you were to Google Templars and Illuminati, you’d get a pretty good glimpse at the attitudes behind those organizations as the ones in game are lifted right from our own reality. The Dragon, however, is more of an ideal embodied into a third faction for the game. (The premise, if you want a hint before the main Dragon article, is the that chaos is more than a theory.)

OK, so there’s the list. Three secret societies, each one hoping to nab you for their ranks. But other than fitting the philosophy to what you want to embody or even roleplay in game, or picking your favorite color (Templars = red, Illuminati = blue, Dragon = green), does it matter which one? Yes, it does!

Why factions matter

The importance of faction is demonstrated from the get go. Which one you select is your very first choice in character customization. (No, server selection doesn’t count!) That says something: It alerts you to the fact that this choice is meaningful. Why is it meaningful? You actually get a hint in the introduction videos offered right there at selection.

No matter what you know — or think you know — from before about secret societies, I urge you to click and play all three faction videos. They show that each faction has a story. And it is well-known that TSW is all about the story! The videos offer the first taste of the story you’ll be heading into once you start playing. Maybe it won’t give away any specific plot, but it will give you a little backstory by introducing you to the main players of the story arc (the secret societies) as well as giving glimpses of defining characters within them.

More than the fact that factions have their own story, they influence your story! And since TSW is all about story, it stands to reason that your faction will impact the story. Each faction’s story weaves throughout the entire plot of the game, and which faction you choose determines whose story you hear as you play. That’s the key. How you view what is happening around you and what info you have available is dependent on your faction. This is done through faction-specific missions as well as regular missions.

In The Secret World, the faction missions may have similarities, such as where you go, but objectives are different (as is who is to blame!). You learn more about the overarching story, but the knowledge is filtered through your faction handler; your cutscenes with your handler will share information about you and your factions’ role in the world and the issues at hand. You’ll also learn tidbits from your handler in the form of communication with your handler after completing many of the main missions. You glean information from these, which are provided in the voice and personality of that specific handler.

What might not matter

Currently, in The Secret World faction matters when it comes to PvP, except in the case of Shambala. Stonehenge, El Diablo, and Fusang Projects all are faction-based PvP battlegrounds; you will only ever fight the other factions. Shambala, however, is a random mixing of all factions fighting together on teams. Will this be the case in Secret World Legends? We have Amiel’s comment that the team is hoping that faction won’t be much of a player in PvP, but other than that we’ll just have to wait and see.

Another place where faction matters in TSW but may or may not in SWL is in cabals. Currently, players can only form faction-specific cabals. That means when your friends all chose to play Dragon at launch, you had to play Dragon in order to be guilded together and enjoy those benefits. Want to share stuff via a convenient cabal bank? Yup, you’ve got to be the same faction. There’s some hope that this won’t be a factor when Legends goes live. This hope is fueled by the comment during a dev livestream that it might be possible.

One thing I wouldn’t mind not mattering in SWL involves the special faction outfit rewards for completing decks. In The Secret World, each faction has special decks with corresponding outfits for completing them, and other factions do not have access to those outfits. Will these be available in Secret World Legends? We don’t know yet. We just know that, according to Amiel, your starter class will give you your first “deck outfit” and you can earn the others by acquiring all the skills of weapons. I don’t necessarily mind if the faction deck outfits become accessible to all factions, but I definitely do want those outfits available! My all-time favorite outfit is from the Templars’ Puritan deck. I must have the outfit in SWL! Faction outfits for faction rank, however, are free to stay faction-specific.

Eeny, meany, miney, mo

As legitimate of a selection philosophy eeny, meany, miny, mo is, that may not result in the game experience you want. Don’t resort to just blindly picking if you don’t want to! Stay tuned for the rest of the series where we look at each faction and introduce you to some main characters so you can get a better idea of which might be the best fit for you.

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59 Comments on "Chaos Theory: Which faction should you choose in Secret World?"

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shazanti
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shazanti

I’ve played through Illuminati and Dragon. I dabbled in Templar. I loved each of them, but…

The Pyramidion has my devotion. And Kirsten. But mostly Pyramidion.

Don’t know if I’ll enjoy SWL. I play TSW for the story, memorable characters, and the variety of missions. I do not like what I’ve heard about the changes, particularly to combat. I won’t discount it before I even try it, but I’m leery.

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Tanek

I’d say if you play TSW for the story, characters, and missions, you may still be in luck with SWL. I play for the same reasons and have dealt with not liking the TSW combat for many years now. ;)

shazanti
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shazanti

That’s what I’m hoping! But, see, I didn’t mind TSW’s combat. Not to say it was my favorite, but I didn’t really have a problem with it. I typically despise action combat, however, which is why I’m leery of SWL’s changes. Will wait and see, though.

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Zen Dadaist

Having played all three inside and out, if I were to migrate over to the new game (as yet I am unconvinced I like its direction and initial reactions from the potential new playerbase saying us older players deserved to lose everything because we were propping up a game no one wanted to play), I would still be a Dragon main. I picked Dragon in the earliest days of the pre-release ARGs and the facebook game based on everything I could find out about the factions. Always fitted me best then, still does now. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate some of the epic factor of the Templars or the Illuminati (and much love for my Lumie character), but I am at heart primarily a Dragon.

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enamel

While Dragon is the objectively correct choice, I have played as Dragon for years and feel like I should try a different faction.

Who am I kidding, I am rolling Dragon again.

veldara
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veldara

Whichever is the most popular and dominant in terms of where the players gravitate to. I strongly dislike joining mmos and playing a faction that is underrepresented.

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Bryan Correll

The Templars are like a rock trying to fight back the tide. The rock may keep standing, but the tide takes no notice.
The Illuminati are children who see the world as a playground. But there is no real import to being King of the monkey bars.
We of the Dragon care nothing for the rigidity of the Templar or the petty games of the Illuminati. Knowledge is the only true power and understanding the only goal worth pursuing.

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Nick Smith

Illuminati all the way <——

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Melissa McDonald

Templar, of course. I’m a holy warrior woman :)

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Tanek

I’ll probably be going with Templar off the bat again. I never did much on the Dragon side in TSW, though, so that may come into play with SWL at some point.

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Brother Maynard

It has to be Templars. We have nice red uniforms. Nice red uniforms beat everything. Preferably with righteous fury.

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hurbster
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hurbster

Templar ‘fo life, blud.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Illuminati again. Considering the limited content at first, I’d go for a Dragon run if I like what I see, then finally Templar. If my boyfriend joins, he may go Dragon like last time (I expected Templar), or maybe not. I almost completed all the release content before (save for 1/3-1/2 the Transylvania stuff), and he only got towards the end of Solomon Island. Hope this works out…

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Robert Mann

I’ll play the elf butts faction… aka the one that is “Not playing their reduced version of an MMO.”

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Greaterdivinity

I’m inclined to roll Templar again because I quite like them thematically and the old lady that runs the orgnaization being bad with technology and shit is continually hilarious to me.

Though still considering trying out Illuminati, is it them that gets the Peter Stormare cutscenes? I remember seeing he was in the game some time back but never did come across him on my Templar character (got to Tokyo but not far into Tokyo itself). Because if he’s Illuminati exclusive, then I guess I’ll bit the bullet and roll there for a bit of a different experience…AND PETER STORMARE (I love that man as an actor, Jeffrey Combs too!)

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Bryan Correll

Dr. Aldini (Stormare’s character) and his missions are accessible by all the factions. One of his missions unlocks the chainsaw auxiliary weapon, but I’ve no idea how that might change in SWL.

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Sleepy

“Templars for the win, innit?”

Crow
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Crow

I feel like this same marketing campaign was done in 2012. Oh wait, it was.

luxundae
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luxundae

Breaking: In SWL, Kirsten Geary has taken an oath to never text a single sarcastic sentence!

Ciao ciao

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BalsBigBrother

Green armour best armour :-)

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Jeff

I only played Illuminati. Perhaps I will use having to start all over again from the beginning as an opportunity to try a different one. I will miss Kirsten Geary though.

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mistressbrazen

It matters not.

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Tobasco da Gama

I love Dragon’s theme and their super weird mission completion messages. Their faction costumes are kind of bleh, though.

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ogged451

Templar. Least insane of the three factions & the Tank PvP uniform is just awesome.

Crow
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Crow

Most TSW players picked a faction at least 3-5 years ago.

Did I fall through a portal to 2012?

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Schmidt.Capela

And why not use the forced restart to try another faction? Specially if, as it appears, the game is moving away from factional PvP and cross-faction restrictions, making the silly notion of factional pride even less important?

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Nordavind

Read the first sentence.

Crow
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Crow

The first sentence is: “While a spring launch of Secret World Legends is not a guarantee it’s still a hope, so it’s not too soon to be thinking about creating your character.”

What is even your point?

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Nordavind

That SWL is coming, and SWL is a reboot. It’s a new game (albeit in a old wrapping). You will have to make a new character. People may want to make new choices. People may be returning from a long time away. New people may play for the first time. That you don’t see it that way does not make it less true.

———

Listen, I understand that you are disgruntled and unhappy that Funcom has (more or less) axed TSW, but you have a severe case of “fallen fan” syndrome. Funcom is the devil, they took away your game so now you’re hating on what you used to love, and everyone who disagrees with you are stupid for not seeing how evil Funcom is. And on top of that you’re in a generally pissy mood taking it out on completely unrelated people and topics.

Let it go :)

*boop on the nose*

~Nord

Crow
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Crow

Four people have repped your comment for me to “read the first sentence”. I did and even quoted that same first sentence.

What am I missing?

Crow
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Crow

While a spring launch of Secret World Legends is not a guarantee it’s still a hope, so it’s not too soon to be thinking about creating your character.

Okay?

Edit: my point is that treating SW:L as a “new” game isn’t at all realistic. They’re asking people to reaffirm things they thought they, the players, had moved past in most cases years ago.

And with the elimination of faction-based PvP why does it even matter anymore?

Right. Because SW:L is the same content from TSW… just even less advanced.

How did Funcom think moving their game BACKWARD in dev would be a good move?

I’m gonna bookmark this comment because in six months when SW:L gets shut down or ends up in a not-even-at-Kaiden maintenance mode I’ll just link back here.

Who seriously thinks rebooting a struggling game works if you aren’t Bioware or Square? They seem to think they can pull a Squeenex without actually needing to do work.

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Sally Bowls

IMO, it had better be a new game. We know there are not sufficient TSW customers to support a game or TSW at least. If they were looking at TSW as the linchpin of the customers, they would have spent more money on features for transitioning old players. IMO, SWL could be successful without a lot of TSW players but can not be successful without new players.

You’re right though, shutting down TSW and not doing SWL would have been safer. But if they can do the opposite of FF14 and keep the budget quite low, it could still turn a profit. I hope they succeed.

Crow
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Crow

As much as I want it to be different… it isn’t. It is TSW at launch form. They’re talking a year+ to get to Tokyo again. For the second time.

Everything you said is why I’m saying what I am. They can’t pull a FFXIV nor can they actually stretch a twenty-year-old engine further than it can go.

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Sally Bowls

I am not really disagreeing with you, just saying that if you sell basically the same thing, with less annoying combat wheel, and you can sell to new people and get 25% of TSW’s revenue for 10% of its cost, then it might be worth it. Not an artistic success, not moving MMOs forward, but a cash positive H1Z1/Conan Exiles. Seems like low costs will be key.

Crow
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Crow

I was a shill for TSW for YEARS. I defended the game and wanted it to succeed,

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Greaterdivinity

Yeah, what the heck, Massively? Why are they writing articles aimed at potential new/returning players for the SWL relaunch?

We all know that the only thing they should be covering is TSW, and not SWL. Sheesh, what’s wrong with them.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I know you’re kidding, but this is a good place to pipe up: Justin is slated to interview Funcom (on video, if it all works out) next week, so we’ll be trying to dig into some things the studio hasn’t addressed yet.

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Sally Bowls

Justin will obviously be asking about Mankinigate and whether this tragedy will be rectified in SWL.

If it is going to be on video, shouldn’t Justin be dressed appropriately for the question? I submit a Choose Justin’s Outfit series could even rival Choose My Adventure.

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Crow
Reader
Crow

Is Roman even the EP anymore?

Crow
Reader
Crow

My argument is that this is a dead game being Frankensteined back to life.

TSW was amazing. But it is done. All SW:L will do is make our memories bitter. This is a game that, IMHO, shouldn’t get coverage. Chaos Theory should go away.

Mostly because Funcom fucked up and they’re not into MMORPGs anymore. That’s it. We need to accept and understand that instead of being convinced that we should revert to 2012 (which is where the content starts… literally this is reverting by five years).

Nothing about cost-of-content has been addressed. The VO and cinematographic were the majority of cost in TSW content. FC’s cinematographer is a great guy, but he was pulled from TSW years ago.

I was really hoping that the “re-launch” would be a swap to text-based missions. That made sense from a “how can they keep paying for new content” mentality.

I hope you can understand that by resetting the clock to 2012 they’re just beginning to run through the same issues as before… because they refuse to learn the lessons from 2015-2016.

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Greaterdivinity

I’ll take a dead game being frankensteined back to live that some folks may still enjoy (and others will start and fall in love with) over a dead game any day of the week.

If it bombs? Well, that’s life, it’ll suck for the folks that are left but it won’t change for the salty vets that have no interest in it anyways. If it succeeds? That’s rad, and hopefully they can release more of the story that will both please existing players and hopefully be good enough to get some of the saltier vets to give it a spin.

And dear god no, please no text based missions. They already have them via the secondary missions and that’s fine, but a huge part of the appeal of TSW has always been its incredible cutscenes. They may not have tons of polish, but the writing, voicework, and cutscene direction is phenomenal, and they do an incredible job of establishing the setting and tone for a particular zone/part of a zone/storyline and creating interesting NPC characters within the world.

I agree that they need to find ways to reduce the cost of content to make sure they can afford to consistently be putting out new content, but there are other avenues to do that that don’t involve abandoning what is one of the key selling points for the game.

Crow
Reader
Crow

So you want TSW to be what was promised, but even after that model failed you want them to double down on it?

Your position has no basis in reality and is completely a fantasy. Sorry.

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Blaaznar

And you repeating what countless people said already will do what exactly?
We are all aware of it, they are aware of it, their marketing team is aware of it but they will still do it regardless – might as well focus on things that can change and provide useful feedback they can act upon.

Crow
Reader
Crow

How the hell do two other people think this position-less statement is worthy of repping?

Crow
Reader
Crow

Which is insane. They had legions of feedback on TSW for years before it became a boondoggle for FC.

It made no difference.

Nothing will change. Their plan is to repeat, with acceleration, what TSW was at launch. That seems a losing proposition.

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Koshelkin

Dragon.

/thread

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Nordavind

Templar.

/thread

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dm_jim80

PARKING GARAGE FACTION

Crow
Reader
Crow

Parking garage isn’t in game. Won’t be for another year at least.

Reader
dm_jim80

Didn’t realize the early faction mission “Into Darkness” had been pulled as well. http://wiki.crygaia.org/view/Into_Darkness

Crow
Reader
Crow

No faction stuffs. I assume this isn’t a troll response.
Like… I’m pissed because we treating this like a new release when it doesn’t even include Tokyo content by design.

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Tanek

I would not go blaming anyone else for your being pissed. It is a conscious choice at this point and has nothing to do with anyone but yourself.

If people want to take a look at SWL with fresh eyes? Why not let them?
If people are coming back with a renewed interest after not playing TSW for a while? Great!
If people want to try having fun with a game? That is the point! :)

Crow
Reader
Crow

Five years.
Five years.

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Tanek

If that is the length of time you have been reciting your AryaStark-like list of Funcom employees before bed, maybe it is time for you to have a new start, too.

Join us. :)

SWL may not be a new game, but it is what we have. And, while I will not be blind to any flaws it has when it launches, I hope it succeeds and will try to make any criticism I have constructive rather than antagonistic.

Crow
Reader
Crow

Man, when you put it that way… It makes sense! Thanks!

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Tobasco da Gama

NO! NOOO!!!!!!

wpDiscuz