chaos theory

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

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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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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