chaos theory

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

Chaos Theory: The Secret World really needs player music

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man. Except, you can’t — not in The Secret World. That’s because there is no player music system in this conspiracy-rich horror game. How can that be? A world that is top-notch for ambiance and using sound doesn’t have a robust system in place to celebrate the awesomeness that is music? I’m here to say, it really does need one. We know it is possible to some degree: We already have some missions that utilize flute and organ playing in the game. So let’s expand it a la Lord of the Rings Online, or even ArcheAge.

Now, I can fully appreciate the argument that listening to the players pounding out out-of-tune pieces could very well ruin the ambiance the game has carefully cultivated. That’s true. But I believe there are ways that instrumental abuse can be mitigated.

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Chaos Theory: In The Secret World, membership has its benefits

By now, you’ve probably heard me mention a time or three that The Secret World overhauled its membership benefits and loyalty rewards. As a TSW fan, I was very excited to see these changes heading our way; I am totally in favor of getting more bang for your buck, and the new system is meant to deliver just that. As a Grandmaster myself, I couldn’t wait to log in and get my hands on all my cool new goodies. Bring on the bling! It all sounded pretty dang cool on paper, and anything that brings in more players and makes current ones happier is a total win/win. But we all know things don’t always go as planned. Now that the new system has launched, how did it play out in practice? Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the golden.

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Chaos Theory: Figuring out The Secret World in 2016

Behind you, it’s totally dark and the way has closed off. There’s simply no going back. Up ahead, everything is in shadows. You creep forward. If only you could see what’s up around the corner; if only you knew what was there, awaiting The Secret World in 2016.

If the answer as to what to expect were as easy and obvious as poking your head around a corner, it wouldn’t be The Secret World, now would it? In a game steeped in mystery, discovery, and revelations, answers are never just handed to you. Knowing exactly what is going to happen in the next 12 months is about as likely as making it through The Cost of Magic perfectly the very first time. But we do have clues! And those clues point us in certain directions. It’s just a matter of piecing them together and solving them. And that, my friends, is very Secret World-y
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Chaos Theory: Looking over your shoulder at The Secret World’s 2015

We’ve finally left 2015 behind. And while it is perfectly natural to want to glance back in the rearview mirror over the last 12 months, in the case of The Secret World you can’t help yourself; there’s that odd sensation of something following you. While peering back, I half expect some shadowy figure to materialize in the corner of my vision and make my heart skip a beat. This is, after all, the king of creepy MMOs that we’re talking about.

Paranoia aside, the year was not a bad one for our favorite horror game. Sure, it had some downs tossed in with the ups, but that’s how life goes. And I think the year ended positive overall, with new content, new kinds of content, and the promise of even more content to come.

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Chaos Theory: Inside The Secret World’s Issue #13 before launch

It never fails. I am too weak to resist a Secret World dev tour! Even knowing that spoilers will abound, I cannot help myself — I must see what’s in store. I call it my civic duty; after all, I need to report it to you, yes? Of course, you could just wait a smidgen and see for yourself when Issue #13 releases this week, but why torture yourself needlessly? I already tortured myself for you! I sat down with Lead Designer Romain Amiel and Community Manager Andy Benditt to play through parts of the new story, check out the holiday clothing, and (obviously) take tons of screenshots. I did manage to avoid reading the lore I collected at least.

So do you want to see what’s in Trail of Shadows? You are in the right place. Warning! Some spoilers lie ahead, but I try to avoid anything too major.

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Massively OP’s holiday gift guide for The Secret World and Funcom fan

It’s the holidays, and in the spirit of giving, I am going I’m going to give you ideas — for gifts! Instead of waxing poetic about the awesomeness of The Secret World or explaining the amazing things about it to folks who may not have tried it (yet), I’ll be highlighting awesome and amazing things you can get for your friends and family who already love the game! That’s right, today is a special gift guide edition of Chaos Theory, where discerning shoppers  — or those who just need to be hit with the +10 sword of inspiration — can search for that perfect something that says I get you.

But I won’t stop at just TSW: Funcom has other titles that also have dedicated fans. I’ll share a few gifts that might please the Age of Conan and Anarchy Online devotees in your life. And don’t think just because there is no more LEGO Minifigures Online to play that I have forgotten about those fans. Besides, we are talking LEGOs!

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World’s Issue #13 Trail of Shadows reveal

Following in the reveal footsteps of the second half of Issue #12, the details of The Secret World’s Issue #13 Trail of Shadows came by way of the official dev livestream, The Streaming Ones. And that’s not a bad thing. I have long loved my dev tours through the newest content — even though it always meant a spoiler or three. That’s because the devs’ enthusiasm for the game just can’t come through in a text announcement as it does in person. With the recent trend of livestream reveals, everyone has the chance to experience that  — dare I say, infectious — excitement.

We’ve already had a few teases about the upcoming content; today, the devs dished out even more details. So here’s the run down on Issue #13’s story, features, cover art, and collectors edition goodies as well as the upcoming PvP updates. On top of that, we got a peek at the new Christmas event rewards. Oh, and Lead Designer Romain Amiel also threw out a few tidbits about Issue #14!

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Chaos Theory: Seven reasons I am thankful for The Secret World

It is definitely no secret that I like The Secret  World. I mean, I really like it. OK, so I adore it in a hug it, and love it, and squeeze it, and call it George kind of way. Personally, I just find there are many things to like about it (and have said as much in plenty of Chaos Theory columns and Stream Team episodes). But today isn’t about my esteem for the conspiracy-filled, horror-laden title. On this day of Thanksgiving, I want to reflect on why I am thankful for TSW. It’s more than just liking the game, it’s really appreciating what the game does for me and what it means in a grander scale.

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Chaos Theory: How my walk in The Park gave me hope for The Secret World

In the beginning, there was surprise. Funcom is making a single-player experience based on The Secret World?! After a few seconds that shock melted away into excitement. Oh heck yeah — sign me up! Who hasn’t thought that TSW could make a killer single-player game (if not already be one, heh)? Then came the eagerness and anticipation as I waited for The Park, compounded even more by getting a taste of the game during my tour, then made nearly unbearable as I stared at the game on my Steam list while waiting to stream it. Finally, Halloween came and I was able to dive headfirst into the experience, full of hope, excitement, and even a little nervousness. And why not? It felt like a first date with TSW’s future. If things went well, the studio would be in a better place, which would mean more security for my favorite MMO. Success could mean good things for TSW, from more exposure to more development resources. First impressions were important.

I’m not normally one to kiss and tell, but The Park was not a disappointment. Everything about that date was awesome. I spent three full hours alternating between running and tiptoeing while exploring every nook and cranny, examining every single scrap of paper. (How I missed one achievement, I still have no clue!) It was a roller coaster ride — at one point literally — of emotions that was worth every second. And everything about the game tells me it is a portent of good things to come.

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World’s Halloween event haunts our dreams

It’s finally here! This is truly the holiday I wait for all year, and The Secret World has the MMO event I anticipate all 12 months! And now through the 17th of November I can immerse myself in Halloween done right with an all-new mission that brings together many parts of the past in a whole new way. And it ups the creepy factor of my holiday a few notches.

Called The Seven Silences, this year’s mission is tied to Funcom’s TSW offshoot, The Park. Now, as much as you may want to jump in and experience the new content ASAP, Lead Designer Romain Amiel issued me this warning: “You should really play The Park before you play the Halloween event; storywise, it’ll link better.” He went as far to tease that he’d suspend my account so I didn’t peek! Luckily, there are the previous year’s events to tide me over. If you can resist the urge to jump in, or if you are new to TSW (or simply missed events in previous years due to illness, travel, or not being able to access certain zones), you have the chance to complete The Broadcast, Spooky Stories, and The Cat God now for all the thrills, achievements, and goodies.

Oh man, whom am I kidding: I can’t wait! Holding out until Halloween night to stream The Park is hard enough. I am not going to deprive myself of The Seven Silences as well. So in I go! Here’s a slightly-spoilerish-but-not-a-full-walkthrough guide to get you going. For full spoilers, watch our Stream Scream Team mission walk through on Thursday, October 29th, at 8:00 p.m. on OPTV.

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Chaos Theory: Sneaking into The Park with Joel Bylos

Decisions, decisions. When you are invited to a special sneak peek of The Park, the upcoming single-player game based on The Secret World’s own Atlantic Island Amusement Park, guided by Joel Bylos, the very guy who created said park, it is hard to say no! On one hand, you really want to be completely surprised by every little detail when you get to play the horror game for yourself. On the other, you get to pick the brains of the man behind that amazing park and learn all sorts of juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits that aren’t available during a personal playthrough. In the end, it wasn’t much of a choice: Talking with Bylos totally won out. The result? I learned the origin story of The Park, tasted the atmosphere, and experienced a few fun moments in the game. Now I am even more excited to play it than before!

Thankfully, Bylos promised to not reveal many spoilers (though one accidentally popped in), and I in turn will avoid them here as much as possible. Instead, I’ll focus on the story behind the story, the goals of this thriller, and the possibility of more projects in the future.

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World’s Carter and Issue 12.5

It’s pretty common knowledge by now that Lead Designer Romain Amiel really likes to give teasers and spoilers for The Secret World. Unlike Twitter, which limits these little peeks to only a short sentence and an image or video clip, the official dev livestream can pack in the information. And this week’s The Streaming Ones definitely delivered! During this ninth AMA, Amiel and the team showed of some incoming Halloween items, dished out secret information on Carter, and talked about a few of the features coming in the second half of Issue #12. Oh, and Funcom also announced that Issue #12.5 was being released next week! (And on a totally unrelated note, the livestream also showed that Amiel’s inventory is worse than mine.)

If you missed the stream, you can can watch the replay on Twitch, though it is broken into a few parts, but we’ve also got the highlights right here for you. We also have the proof saved for all posterity that developer Joshua Doetsch has committed to naming a his first child MassivelyOP! (We probably won’t hold him to that, though.)

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Chaos Theory: Small steps – The Secret World’s progress

It’s certainly been a week of expansion news! More than one game that had sworn off expansions in the past has circled back to them. That isn’t a bad thing in and of itself because expansions are pretty awesome! Not everyone, however, is celebrating: Such news has some Secret World fans feeling left out (and maybe even a bit jealous) as they, too, would like a big, meaty expansion to fill their favorite game with oodles of additional goodness. But even without expansions, TSW is still steadily moving ahead. In fact, this past week has delivered a few more small steps along the road of progress. Between soliciting player opinions to new cosmetic mounts to new currency, Funcom shows that you don’t have to have mega expansions to keep delivering — and that’s not even counting the latest DLC issue.
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