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

    
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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.

Christmas clothing

I’ll start with the most spoiler-free information, just in case you wandered here accidentally.  As with the most recent holidays, players will have the chance to collect a new outfit from the reward bags, whether they get the bags from the item store or after completing the holiday missions. On top of the festive red coats, gloves, and boots, there is also a pendant and antler accessory to acquire. A black holiday outfit is also available on the Lucky Coin vendors, who will now be available in Seoul and New York as well as London. The one piece I absolutely must have is a bright red onesie! Knowing that many others might feel the same, and because many fans have expressed the desire to be able to just get the outfit they want without the random element, Amiel said the team is testing out putting this one item exclusively in the item shop so players who want it can just outright buy it. Boy, am I glad I have some points left.

Amiel revealed that there has been one change in the items available with the collectors edition of Trail of Shadows; due to some animation difficulties with the oven mitt, players will get Yuichi’s funky hat instead. All other items remain the same. I have to tell you, strutting down the street in Ricky Pagan’s jacket and jeans while rocking out to the boombox was pretty sweet. Almost as sweet as racing through the streets of Tokyo on his bike!  Speaking of Pagan’s bike…

Tell me (a little) story

So this is the section that will be mildly spoilerrific, so flee away if you must. But I promise I will not divulge too much, just as I made Amiel avoid giving away too many clues! Still here?  Well then, let’s dive in.

First off, let’s discuss Ricky Pagan. He’s a character, in every sense of the word. Sadly, players who don’t have Sidestories: The Last Pagan have not had the pleasure of interacting with him yet. (A fact that seriously should be remedied!) Once issue #13 launches, ayone who has purchsed the issue and can get to Tokyo will now get to run a mission for him. The mission is a more lighthearted one, separate from the issue’s main mission line, involving cruising the streets of Kaidan on his beloved chrome steed. If you enjoyed the snowmobile mission of Issue #7 in Transylvania, you’ll have fun with this one. And there is an achievement in this mission that will grant you a replica of Pagan’s bike for yourself. Boo-yah!

As for the main story chain (not to be confused with the actual main story mission), we already know that this one is introduced by Yuichi and Harumi, the addled brother and hacker sister duo. I am not going to give away too much, but if you are observant in the cutscene, you’ll already get a major clue as to what is really happening, even before the obvious comes up and smacks you in the face. Harumi sends you out on a task that involves figuring out how to get to certain places. Sorry, but I cannot offer you any hints because we just ported to the spot — the result of my begging to not have too many spoilers! What I can say is that if you’ve never been knocked off of a roof by a Flappy, be prepared for that now. Thank heavens for no fall damage!

Further along in the mission chain you meet the new NPC. You’ve already caught a glimpse of her.

Click to reveal spoiler!
The NPC turns out to be a benevolent security mech named Security Five. Why do I call it a her? Let’s just say all the pink and the feminine voice lend to assigning that particular pronoun. Who it is should be pretty obvious the moment you meet her, but I am not going to spoil that, even in this spoiler!

You begin running missions for and with this NPC, downloading programs, infiltrating a hospital (this is a new — and might I add pretty gruesome — instance in Tokyo), and learning more about the nature of Cyborgs. There are both sabotage and investigation aspects of these missions, but since they are necessary to progress they are not as elaborate is full missions of that kind would be. The sabotage itself is pretty small and easy to maneuver through. Well, I got through on my first try, so that’s saying something! The investigation is meant to look very intimidating, but remember all my hints to have a notebook with you when you play? Use that now to write down the clues and the answer will be much more obvious. In all, Amiel says the mission is slightly more difficult than The Kingsmouth code.

A fun aspect is a new type of gameplay. I keep wondered how the team can continue coming up with new gameplay elements, yet it always does. This time there is an ability-based puzzle.

Click to reveal another spoiler!
The gist of it is that you have a security droid that you control that can in turn actually control other droids; this is a major necessity to complete the mission. One of the abilities is a built in hint feature that will pinpoint interactable objects you haven’t found yet. Only one person in the group can actually utilize the droid, however, so it is definitely worth repeating to have your turn at the controls!

While playing through the missions, you might think things seem more lighthearted than the back-to-spooky feel Amiel promised. True, there really are some amusing elements (robo-spam wins as one of my new favorite quotes), but the sinister comes out as well as you dive deeper. Those creepier elements return when players get to delve into the inner workings of their own minds. As a hint, if you don’t have a psychology degree (man I knew that would come in handy someday!), you may want to read up on Jung a little ahead of time to better appreciate where you will be headed. And funny side note: Dragons are explicitly told where to go, but Illuminati and Templars must suss it out for themselves from references made throughout the missions.

To start this self-discovery journey, you get to enter a place sure to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up:

Click to reveal spoiler!
It’s the kindergarten.

Here is also where roleplayers will squeal a bit with delight. You see, as a part of this mission, players delve into their backstory and have to make decisions about their character’s past. These choices do indeed affect the mission! For those who want to see various outcomes, you can make different choices each time you do the mission so you can follow where each path leads.

On the subject of story, there is also more story to be found in the two new lore categories. The issue itself has one category, and the final mission actually has its own set of lore. I can’t tell you any more than that as I did refrain from reading any so that I could save them for launch.

Stay tuned

Players who make it through the entire chain might feel a disappointment in the amount of missions in this issue. Besides the Pagan mission and the main chain, there are only three to four side missions linked to the main chain. Amiel assures that this is not a permanent condition; the team wanted to get the issue out to fans ASAP along with the holiday event, so there was a time crunch. However, there are plans for a bunch more side missions to be added to Issue #13 — for free — early next year.

At the conclusion of the tour, Amiel reiterated that the future issues will be back in other zones, tying up stories that have been left hanging elsewhere. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any more stories to be told in Tokyo; there are, but that before the next big main story of Season 2 commences, things need to be wrapped up in the earlier zones.

Other incoming changes include a revamp of the boxes on the docks of Tokyo. In a later patch, there will be new keys granted for completing Issue #13 that will let players face new bosses. New gadgets and new rewards will also be available from those boxes.

Is it real? In The Secret World, rarely is it not. Conspiracies, ancient legends, paranoia, secret societies, chaos — they all swirl together in a cacophony of reality. In Chaos Theory, MJ Guthrie infiltrates this secret world, exposing the truths that lurk beneath the surface. The big question is, can you handle the truth?
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Kaaz
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Kaaz

You can get nassirs dance ^^

Zardoz1972
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Zardoz1972

You make good points. We lack the element of “Pride”. Creating a Cross Factional Scenario diminishes Faction/Realm pride even further. I am a Templar. It means something to me. But I am in a very small minority. Most “PVP just to PVP”. I was hoping that Issue 13, our supposed “PVP Issue” was going to build a story around the Factional Conflict and move that forward. I was hoping to make use of TSW’s immersion storytelling to give PVP more context and meaning. But they dropped the ball. They basically lied to the PVP Community. Less than 2 months ago Issue 13 was still referred to as “The PVP Issue” in a Livestream. Now that is gone. Some of us know what they did. They finished up an incomplete/unreleased Side Stories mission pack and they are passing it off as aneeded entire Issue. It’seems frustrating to be lied to. We waited for our “PVP Issue” for almost 2 years.

deeggale
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deeggale

Zardoz1972 I think that is why I consider it so lackluster.  From a functional perspective, it has a lot going for it.  The flexible ability/skill system.  The lore and atmosphere lend itself well to player conflict.  For me to enjoy pvp, I personally really need some immersive meta play to connect the dots.  In its current state, it feels like pvp for the sake of having pvp – a far cry from DAoC or even Shadowbane which would inspire players to indulge in pvp for a variety of reasons (political, pride, etc..)

Granted, I have always hoped Funcom would find the time to truly pump some resources into pvp, because I simply want to “enjoy” pvp in TSW

Zardoz1972
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Zardoz1972

People who consider TSW PVP lackluster do not take the time to get into it. The number one thing that TSW PVP has over all other games (except EVE) is versatility. You can heal one game, DPS another then tank a 3rd. There are over 500 skills that can be swapped in or out to create a unique spec. I never play FOTM builds and I create what works for me. PVP just lacks content and incentive. Content-wise we are getting one Scenario and it’s Cross Faction. That does not push the Factional Conflict. I would like more story reasons to fight for your Faction. Let the narrative push the PVP meta. Then reward us with more unique titles, uniforms, pets, weapon skins, etc.

deeggale
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deeggale

Zardoz1972 According to this article, some of the pvp changes are being applied to the base game, correct?  I think that makes sense as you wouldn’t want the pvp community to be gated by specific DLC and what not.  Granted, it sucks that it also seems some changes will be deployed over a series of updates rather than all at once.

TSW pvp has always been kind of lackluster, and I do hope that achieve some of that potential that TSW has always had in regards to this type of gameplay.  The atmosphere and lore just lend themselves very well to stories that would put players in conflict with each other.

Apologies for any oversights on my end.

Zardoz1972
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Zardoz1972

What you say is 100% true. But every issue for 12 issues has been primarily story content. That group gets their content. The Dungeon Runners just got two new Dungeons. The Raiders got 3 Nightmare Raids. The PVP’ERS are getting one PVP Scenario, while we were promised an entire Issue devoted to our content. There is no equity here. We waited so long and what is in Issue 13? Mostly story missions, unacceptable.

deeggale
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deeggale

Zardoz1972 MJ Guthrie I understand the frustration.  What I do appreciate about Funcom and the devs, is that they clearly want to do right by the game and its community.  Unfortunately, with their limited size and resources – they can only get so much done.  It’s a balancing act that I wouldn’t want to be responsible for because you want to appeal to your audience which also just so happens to be made up of it’s own niches, each with its own wants and needs.  It the same time, they have to appeal to Funcom’s pocket book which could at times conflict with the wants and needs of various members of their audience.

Wandris
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Wandris

MJ Guthrie Wandris Wratts Hah if anything it was a humbling experience for me. One of the reasons I think TSW is one of the best games out there is it can take you to pretty interesting places.

MJ Guthrie
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MJ Guthrie

Wyattearp1989 MJ Guthrie Kaaz You are welcome!  I LOVE that feature with this site.  Man, how that would have helped so much before…

Wyattearp1989
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Wyattearp1989

MJ Guthrie Kaaz Just wanted to thank you for putting the major spoilers behind those “spoiler tags”. :D I was able to rad the article without feeling like the whole story was revealed. ^_^