chaos theory

Chaos Theory is a Secret World column by MJ Guthrie. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Chaos Theory: Farewell Samhain, hello Secret World Legends Season 2 hype!

Do I love Halloween? Yes, yes I do. And while the season was in full swing, my mind was fully focused there. This season is a great diversion, especially in Secret World Legends. But with the awesomeness that is Halloween winding down and with Samhain now over, my mind can finally settle on other matters. Now I know for some, that means Christmastime and Krampusnacht. (One staffer here even declared/warned us of all out Christmas festivities starting November 1st!)

As cool as Krampusnacht is, my mind has turned instead to Season 2. Without my favorite holiday to distract me, I am keen on embracing the big awesome that we’ve all been waiting a long, long time for. New content! New stories! All new zone! Yes, Season 2, I am waiting for you. And the latest little teases coming from Funcom give me hope that we can get it sooner rather than later; the devs’ flaunting it more openly and allowing us to focus on it really has revved up my hype train. It’s almost like there is nothing else in the way and this is their complete focus. Oh yeah! *insert Kool-Aid Man here*

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Chaos Theory: A guide to Secret World Legends’ first Halloween

Hello Samhain my old friend! It’s so good to see you again. It’s been such a long year, and so much has… wait, where is the rest of you?!

Break out your pumpkin masks and vampire fangs: Samhain has started! My favorite time of the year has arrived in my favorite game. It’s a bit of a mixed good news/bad news thing, however. With the conversion to Secret World Legends, I didn’t doubt that the Halloween festival would take place this year, but I was unsure whether we could get new content for the holiday. After all, much had to be reworked for the relaunch, and some things would likely need to be (and were!) reworked on the various Samhain missions. What I didn’t quite expect was not getting all the previous content!

Still, it is Samhain, so amid my disappointment over what is missing, I am glad over what we do have. I am happy new folks can get a small taste of Halloween in SWL (even as I mourn what a tiny taste it is). And I can definitely appreciate that this taste was made more readily available to everyone in game, allowing all the chance to fully participate. And participate you should! Samhain is here for only a limited time, so jump in and enjoy it before it poofs into the night on October 31st. Without getting too spoiler-y with step-by-step instructions, I hereby present a look at this year’s event, the first ever for SWL.

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Chaos Theory: What we want out of the Secret World Legends TV show

Wow. So I had no intention of crafting another Chaos Theory this week. I had plans. Other plans. But then the Secret World Legends announcement hit the airwaves on Monday and all other thoughts left my head as I sat there, stunned. I just couldn’t think of anything else. Could it be real? Was SWL really going to be made into a television series? Holy guacamole, it is! A pipe dream I have wished for five years is actually announced and in the works.

I’ve been pretty vocal about how much I want more story from SWL. Story is what this game does so right, and I just can’t get enough. I’ll probably never get enough! There are so many characters I want to know more about, so much history in locations that I’d love to delve deeper into, and so many fascinating events that we know only know the aftermath of that I’d love to witness firsthand. The IP is so rich with possibilities. I knew that the game would never, ever be able to sate my appetite for more, so I had wished long and hard that other avenues might present themselves: short stories, graphic novels, movies, and yes, television series. I can’t even describe how excited I am for the development of more story from this world. Is there risk? Yes, I get that. But the possibility of so much greatness is there! I seriously can’t wait. Imagine it, 30 to 50 minute cut scenes!

With so many possibilities, what could/should the TV show focus on? I have my opinions. Here are some specifics I’d love to see developed further for our viewing pleasure.

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Chaos Theory: Guide to Secret World Legends’ Whispering Tide event

Have you met Flappy? If you haven’t yet, you might want to do so very soon else you’ll miss your chance. That dirty bird has made its appearance in Secret World Legends as the star of the much-anticipated The Whispering Tide event, but unlike its Secret World counterpart, this event lasts only two weeks. And like any event, it also brings exclusive loot! But with such a condensed time frame to participate, if you want to get your hands on the loot and the lore you’ve got to jump in ASAP. This guide will help you make the most of your time.

What is The Whispering Tide, and why does it matter? More than just an excuse to get goodies, the appearance of Flappy — technically named Bird of the Zero-Point Pathogen — heralds the imminent opening of the Tokyo portal in Agartha. And sometime after Tokyo comes the next season of story! Veterans of the previous event will be familiar with the Flappy raid, but folks who’ve never played The Secret World are at a disadvantage in knowing what is going on. Even those who’ve participated in the original will find that there are some significant changes to The Whispering Tide. Some of these changes, most notably how the loot is dispersed, are much improved from the TSW version; some aspects, unfortunately, are not.

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Chaos Theory: To Steam or not to Steam your Secret World Legends account

To Steam or not to Steam, that is the Secret World Legends question — now that the horror game has relaunched on that platform, that is. For those who have never played this game or The Secret World before, that could be an easier question to answer. However, anyone who has a TSW account or who has played SWL already will have to make some decisions as to which platform to utilize going forward. There’s a chance that the choice might also have an time limit on it, though none has been expressly stated, so putting it off too long may become a problem in and of itself.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of each choice, and what is the process to switch if desired? We’ve got some answers right here to help you untangle that web. Speaking of the Steam launch, how has that gone? We’ll discuss that here along with our Secret World Legends Steam/No Steam guide.

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Chaos Theory: Are levels good for Secret World Legends?

We’d heard about (and stressed over!) various Secret World Legends changes for a while, but you just can’t know how those changes will affect the game until you experience them. Now we have. We’ve had three and a half weeks to dive in and play around, getting a feel for the Secret World reboot. So how do some of those changes play out in practice? I’ve already noted a few initial pros and cons, but some topics — like levels — needed more time.

Moving to a level-based system was one of the changes I was personally most unsure about with this reboot. I have never been a fan of levels, preferring skill-based systems. Luckily, the ability to personalize your build with the weapon skill trees was retained. And I get that levels are more universally recognized. But after nearly a month, I have found that although levels do have some benefits, as currently implemented they are causing issues within Secret World Legends that are affecting gameplay — but mostly only for patrons! The good news is there is a fix.

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Chaos Theory: Week one impressions of Secret World Legends

It’s been a week since Funcom threw open the doors of Secret World Legends’ headstart to everyone and removed the NDA. That’s seven days of choosing factions, meeting handlers, blasting zombies, dodging traps, upgrading weapons, and learning about the Filth — and getting to share those experiences! And share I shall.

So what do I think of the “new” game after a week of non-testing play added atop my beta adventures? Knowing that I am quite the fan of the original, some folks might expect me to sing unending praises of everything. For that same reason, others might expect me to decry that this version has obliterated what I held dear. In truth, this Chaos Theory will be neither extreme (sorry if that disappoints!). In Secret World Legends, there are some things I really like, some things I will tolerate for the good of the game, and then there are those things I do not like.

How would I answer the burning questions on many folks’ minds: How much has the game changed, are those changes actually worth it, and is SWL worth playing (again)? My short answer is that’s a very personal decision depending on your personal  tastes. But since the game is free-to-play, why not give it a go? I think it is definitely worth it.

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Chaos Theory: Guide to The Secret World’s Templars faction

It’s Templar Time! After looking at the Illuminati and delving into the Dragon, it’s now time to tie up this trio of guides and talk about the final faction in The Secret World: the Templars. I could fall back on that old adage of “saving the best for last,” but this secret society may not be the best for everyone. That’s the whole reason behind these faction guides — so folks can get a feel for what they may want to play. And with Secret World Legends launching its early access tomorrow, the time to pick is close at hand.

As much as I have been tempted to roll a different faction for SWL, it’s going to be very hard to pass up being a Templar. I can’t deny that it has been my my favorite faction; the philosophy jells better with me, I prefer the deck costumes, and I enjoy the wit of Richard Sonnac’s messages. But what really cemented this society’s place at the top was the final story mission, Virgula Divina. Doing the Illuminati story mission felt like a let down by comparison! If you’ve never visited the playroom, you are truly missing out. Could this become your favorite faction, too? Let’s take a (spoiler-free) look-see at what it has to offer.

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Chaos Theory: Guide to Secret World’s Dragon faction

When it comes to chaos, do you tend to run away (possibly screaming), or run toward it? If you lean toward the latter, you might be a Dragon at heart. In that case, this next installment in our The Secret World faction guides may be of particular interest. Today we look into that mysterious green-clad faction that calls Seoul its home base in game. What sets this home-grown secret society apart from the others? Who is a part of this network and what are its goals? And how much information can I spill before I reveal spoilers?

Unlike the Templars and the Illuminati, who are quite present in the real world, the Dragons were specifically developed for TSW. (Or maybe they do exist and are much better at being a secret society!) My very first character I made and played was actually a Dragon. Unfortunately, I found the faction less interesting to me than the others, and I abandoned her to play a Templar, then livestream a Lumie. Now that I have delved deeper into the intricacies of the Dragon, however, I realized I may have ducked out too soon and I am seriously contemplating rolling one in Secret World Legends!

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Chaos Theory: Interview and impressions of Secret World Legends, part II

Last time, I told you my Secret World Legends tour with Creative Director Romain Amiel was too big to fit in just one Chaos Theory. Luckily, we aren’t restricted to just that one! After talking about the monetization and lockboxes, customization, and a bit about combat, we can focus on other facets of the revamp. Specifically, I’m delving into the accessibility of the new game. We’re told a big push for the revamp and relaunch was the fact that The Secret World had barriers to entry and retention that led to the loss of too many players for the conspiracy-laden game to remain viable. So SWL needs to hit that nail on the head. Does it? Honestly, I think it takes a mighty swing and lands fairly true. As much as I love TSW, this title does appear to be more accessible.

On top of accessibility, we take a long look at the new Agartha as well as touch on lairs, scenarios, open beta and launch. Grab a conduit and join us for the second half of the highlights of my tour and talk with Amiel.

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Chaos Theory: Interview and impressions of Secret World Legends

I may or may not be in that secretive NDA-locked closed beta of Secret World Legends — I’m not telling. But there is something I can tell you. A number of somethings in fact. Thanks to an open tour with Creative Director Romain Amiel, I was able to ask questions while gallivanting around, checking out the revamp of my favorite game ever. We talked about combat and dungeons, monetization and the patron system, and customization and the dressing room as well as open beta and launch. I didn’t get all the info I set out to, but there’s a good bit to chew on — enough that I have to split this report in two!

Even though the game isn’t finished, my first impressions are definitely favorable. As a five-year veteran and ardent supporter of the original Secret World, I do think this version is more accessible, both in gameplay and in entry (well, once it leaves closed beta at least). Here is the first half of the highlights of my tour and talk with Amiel.

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Chaos Theory: Guide to Secret World’s Illuminati faction

Kirsten Geary. That is almost all you have to say when talking about the Illuminati faction in The Secret World. That’s because the infamous KG (as she signs her memos) is practically the personality of the organization — at least as far as players are concerned. As the player handler, she is the main contact point for everyone putting on the blue. However, there is more to the faction than her. Lots more! Not that I can tell you all of it; that would spoil the game! But I can tell you some, in case you are considering rolling one when Secret World Legends hits the scene.

After laying out the gist of factions last week, I’m shifting my efforts to looking at each one individually. Today we’ll peek behind the curtains of the Illuminati so you can get a look at the inner workings. Don’t worry: I promise to make this as spoiler-free as absolutely possible.

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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?

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