chaos theory

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

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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Chaos Theory: Tips and tactics for The Secret World’s Manufactory dungeon

After my initial dev tour through The Secret World’s Issue #12 , I couldn’t wait to get back into the newest dungeon, The Manufactory, on my own Illuminati. Heck, I was so excited that I went ahead and poked into it without a full group — an endeavor that did not end so well, I might add. The Manufactory is no pushover by any means, especially in the Nightmare version, which leaves little margin for error during the fights. Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to go through my first time with Lead Designer Romain Amiel and Communications Manager Tor Egil Andersen, who shared tips and tactics on how to face the trouble down in the Orochi Tower’s basement — tips and tactics I am happy to pass along to you! And for those who aren’t as geared up as a dev-tour toon (like all my personal characters!), I’ve got a few tips I have gleaned from my own run-through.

In the interest of letting folks discover all tactics on their own if they prefer, I forewarn you that this little guide does contain spoilers! However, I am not providing a step-by-step walkthrough to lay out exactly how everything should go; rather I am just giving a peek so players know a bit of what to expect. If you’ve got plenty of time to kill (our run went nearly three hours) and want to see the fights through the eyes of a front-line battle photographer (me), you can check out our streamed run.

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Chaos Theory: Touring The Secret World’s Issue 12

Do you think a little thing like being in another country and having dismal internet could keep me from touring The Secret World’s Issue #12 with Lead Designer Romain Amiel and Communications Manager Tor Egil Andersen? Of course not! Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and trust me — I had the will. So even though the connection was far from ideal, I was able to poke through the new dungeon and raid, summon a world boss, and look at the new quality-of-life features to get a taste of what’s in store with today’s To the Dark Tower Below update. I also asked about TSW’s future and how the team is faring amid Funcom’s public search for investors. Read on!
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Chaos Theory: I’d fund The Secret World for Funcom if I could

Funcom is in trouble? Say it isn’t so! No, seriously — giving it words feels like personally putting a nail in the coffin, as if I am jinxing it or something. Discussing the matter feels like some sort of betrayal of my love for The Secret World. It’s just not something I relish dwelling on long-term. But going all ostrich and burying our heads in the sand really won’t help any, either. Ahh, the old darned if you do/don’t conundrum.

While no one could argue that the company hasn’t been struggling, fans of TSW have still been hoping for the best for the horror and conspiracy-laden title. How could we not? To lose a treasure like The Secret World would be a huge blow for the genre. Sure, plenty of folks would ask, “Who’s really going to notice? The game is pretty niche.” Yes, it is. But that does not negate the fact that it’s also one of the few out there that dared to really break free of the mold that has a stranglehold on the MMO genre. People demanded different, and they got it. It offers something very special that would be a tragedy to lose.

Because of that, you better believe I would buy TSW if I could. And I hope someone with the funds to do so sees it for the gem it is and snatches it up.

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Chaos Theory: A whole summer of The Secret World’s player-run events

What’s up in The Secret World? I’m glad you asked! If you’re one of those folks who are not-quite-so-patiently awaiting the launch of the next issue, you might be looking for something to help you keep busy until then. I mean, the third anniversary event was a great diversion for a spell, but it has ended, and Issue #12 is still at least a couple weeks away. Thankfully, TSW fans don’t need official events to keep them occupied; plenty of players come forward and run various activities for folks to get involved in. There are contests, dancing, music, roleplay, scavenger hunts, and more. Here’s a smattering of player-run things you can delve into this summer.

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World introduces Issue #12: To the Dark Tower Below

We’ve known for quite some time that The Secret World’s next issue would be dungeon-based. We also knew it would take place under the Orochi Tower. Today, the devs shared much more information during a livestream, everything from unveiling the Issue #12 cover to discussing the ins and outs of the dungeon, raid, and lair changes. Lead Designer Romain Amiel and Lead Systems Designer Andrew Ryker also revealed that the issue will be split into two separate releases so players can delve in sooner — as early as mid-August. It’s important to note that the cost for the issue will be a one-time thing for both parts; once you buy it you’ll have access to both halves regardless of the time between releases.

What all is in store for us TSW fans? Check out this highlight of the incoming features. And if you missed the livestream but still want to watch it for yourself, we’ve embedded it for your convenience.

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Chaos Theory: Guide to The Secret World’s third anniversary celebration

Are you ready to party? Because it’s birthday time! The Secret World is celebrating its third year, and you’re invited to a two-week bash that brings back the Guardians of Gaia event introduced the first year as well as the added Tokyo festivities from the second. That means now is the time to catch up on collecting all the lore, pets, and costumes from the earlier anniversaries that you’ve missed! It’s also the perfect time to stock up on gobs of AP from the world bosses, and it’s the only time you can score the newest loot and dance (well, at least until next year!).

The soiree lasts until July 15th, but to help players have an extra good time, Funcom has added some major buffs and bonuses for the first week; until July 8th, players can take advantage of double AP, extra black bullion, and 50% more of all the following: Aureus (the currency you earn in scenarios), Marks of Venice from PvP, and AEGIS research XP from Tokyo.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a guide to help you get the most out of the celebration, from lore locations to tips and tricks to complete your collections.

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Chaos Theory: ‘Never say never’ for The Secret World housing

I have to admit, so many dreams were shot down this past week when the news came out suggesting that personal housing would never make it into The Secret World. I felt as if my soul had been crushed a little; I know I am not alone in my desire to live more fully in that fantastic world via my own personal space. The pain was mitigated slightly when Producer Scott Junior clarified his statement to emphasize the difficulty of such a task instead of the impossibility of it. Still, I had to know just how hopeless the housing situation for TSW was, so I sat down with Junior and Lead Designer Romain Amiel to find out, bracing myself for the pain of lost hopes and unfulfilled dreams.

Their answer was music to my ears: Never say never!

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Chaos Theory: I like The Secret World’s combat

Hi. My name is MJ. And I like The Secret World’s combat.

There, I admitted it. And trust me, I am fully aware that it is not the popular prevailing attitude of TSW comment posters or even the most dedicated fans. The combat is the most-complained-about thing in relation to the game, even by those who love it. You can’t read any thread without a handful or more of “the story is so freaking amazing, but the combat sucks rocks and kills it for me” comments. To be fair, there are also a number who then reply and ask folks to elaborate on why the combat is so terrible, and a few times those folks actually do answer. Most of the vocal complainers, however, just say that the icky combat ruined their experience and leave it at that. Some go on about how other games are just so much better but still offer no actual reasons.

Well, I will buck this trend. I am here to tell you why I like TSW’s combat — with reasons! Since we already know why I love so many other features of the game like story, ambiance, and puzzles (my favorite aspects!), it is high time I address the combat element lest you think my silence on the subject infers my distaste for it. Just because combat may not be high on my list of priorities for any game, let alone a brain game like The Secret World, that doesn’t mean the topic isn’t important.

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Chaos Theory: The lowdown on The Secret World’s motorcycles

Ever since The Secret World’s debut dev livestream two weeks ago teased motorcycle mounts, players have been abuzz with anticipation. The desire for vehicles in the game stretches way back; more than two years ago I mounted a campaign to bring scooters, bicycles, and even motorcycles to the game. I just knew it could be done, and now it is happening! From the moment that first screenshot was shown in the last minutes of The Steaming Ones accompanied by the promise “This is coming to TSW,” speculation has run wild. Perhaps the mounts will be scenario-based. Maybe they will be time-based, with the motorcycles effectively running out of gas and stopping. Some suggested that the bikes will be nothing more than an advanced sprint.

Amid the excited conjecture, a number of fans have also voiced concerns about how the machines will affect the immersion and player-experience in the game. Will the scenery fly by at a rate that players can’t soak up the nuance? Will the ambiance be ruined by the revving of hundreds of engines on the streets?

Now, much of that conjecture — and hopefully the concerns — can be laid to rest. I spoke with Lead Designer Romain Amiel to learn more about these new mechanics, which aren’t actually mounts. Better yet, Amiel says that players will be able to experience the feature, currently dubbed the Custom Sprint system, for themselves next week.

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Chaos Theory: Reaping the Whirlwind in The Secret World’s Issue #11

To spoil or not to spoil; that is the question. When it comes to The Secret World, that’s a very serious question indeed! As much as I really, really hate spoilers, how could I ever decline a sneak-peek tour of much-anticipated Issue #11 with Funcom Lead Designer Romain Amiel and Communications Manager Tor Egil Andersen? The answer is, I couldn’t. After all, the secrets of the Orochi are finally at our fingertips! The chance to delve deeper into my favorite story earlier than expected is so worth the risk of a spoiler or two. And you get to reap the benefits of the experience as I share all the tantalizing tidbits with you just as the update officially launches and you can break into the Orochi Tower yourself.

Now before we go any further, you need to be aware that there are spoilers ahead. I’ll give you fair warning before anything major so you have the chance to skip that info, but the responsibility is on your shoulders. But even if you read this Chaos Theory in its entirety, there will be plenty still to discover on your own. As Amiel said, Reaping the Whirlwind has a lot of reveals, and there are some major things I simply won’t divulge at all (but I know you’ll love!). On top of that, the devs were gracious enough to end the tour before the conclusion, leaving the finale to me to discover it at my own pace.

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Chaos Theory: Six more tips for new Secret World players

You didn’t seriously think that six tips could come close to encapsulating the knowledge needed to start in The Secret World, did you? Of course not — that’s why we have 12 tips in total! Last time I gave a hodgepodge of helpful hints that ranged from skills to socializing to saving money. This week’s list, however, zeroes in on a single topic: how to get the most out of your missions.

Since some aspects of questing in TSW are slightly different from what MMO players are used to, it can cause confusion. And while some confusion while puzzling out clues is expected, unintentional overdoses are harmful to the game’s long-term health. So if you’re a new player, avoid what you can by utilizing these easy bits of advice.

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