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.
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.
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.
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.
Now that Blingzilla is no longer roaming the lands tempting everyone with goodies galore (or turning movement into a stroll through a mire of molasses), players can get back to the business of experiencing all that The Secret World has to offer. And with the recent tweaks and enhancements, not to mention the incredible sales, there are definitely more folks getting in on the conspiracy-laden action. For those who absolutely love the game, it’s awesome to see so many new faces wandering the streets of Solomon Island. We know that these new players are definitely in for a real treat — if they can stick with it!
Even knowing that TSW is unlike the other MMOs out there doesn’t insulate newbies from how jarring it can be when playing for the first time; the sheer unfamiliarity of it all can leave folks floundering and feed frustration. That’s where players throw in the towel, thereby missing out on all that is great about the game. No one wants that! So here are the first six of my 12 total tips — ranging from hints to help shift the way you think about this MMO to practical tricks during gameplay — to ease your transition to becoming a TSW player and maximize the beginner experience.
Those of you who know me know that ranting is not exactly my forte. Although I have dabbled in it a bit here and there over the years, it’s certainly not something that happens often. But some of the arguments that have sprung up from the events surrounding The Secret World this past week just rankled me. Sometimes even the most easygoing have to speak up, and so I am.
Quitcher grumping about TSW sales and just pay for the content you consume before we lose the game!
Amazing story, awesome cutscenes, phenomenal atmosphere, compelling missions, incredible NPCs… The Secret World definitely has a lot of good things going for it. It is an MMO in a class by itself, unlike so many of the MMOs we’re all used to. But that last positive is also a negative: There are some former players who never got far enough into the game to really experience all it has to offer. Some of the unfamiliar aspects of the game were too unfamiliar to get used to, and some things were just plain difficult (Ak’abs, anyone?). The learning curve was steep enough to put many players off, players who might otherwise have loved the setting and uniqueness of the world.
That’s where the newly released “Enhanced Player Experience” comes to the rescue. I sat down with Lead Designer Romain Amiel and Communications Manager Tor Egil Andersen to talk about these quality-of-life improvements and get a few behind-the-scenes details about this patch. Of course, you know I had to ask about Issue #11 and beyond as well!
When Funcom recently teased an upcoming forum-only event for The Secret World, my interest was immediately piqued. Though we have scant details right now, said announcement was met with equal enthusiasm by many other fans. There were those, however, who questioned why time and effort isn’t being directed toward more in-game activities and content to enhance the game itself. The reason is that this is TSW!
What I think those folks are missing is that this particular title is in fact an experience, not just a game. The Secret World draws you in like nothing else can. No where is the suspension of disbelief so masterfully created as in this game that is literally set in our world, using our very customs, myths, and folklore to weave a tale. Blurring the lines between the game and reality is what TSW is all about. That’s why things like ARGs are so perfect for it: The game is quite literally brought to life, and you are left questioning what is real and what isn’t.
Funcom wants to offer more play out of the game? Bring it on! To do anything less would be to waste one of the game’s biggest strengths.
It’s been said that The Secret World is more like a single-player game. And it’s true: You can definitely enjoy many aspects of the game solo or with just a friend or two. But there may also come a time when you want to be a part of a larger group, especially when trying to run nightmare-mode dungeons or crawl through the lairs. In that case, a cabal becomes pretty desirable. Just like guilds in other games, TSW’s cabals are a conglomeration of fans who usually have a common thread that ties them together, be it play times, playstyles, or whatever else. (It wouldn’t surprise me to see a cabal of just fashionistas!) The trick is actually finding folks who have those commonalities.
That’s where the player-run Cabal Pride event on February 21st comes in. Starting at 2:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, this event is all about matching unguilded players with potential cabals.