Chaos Theory: Rushing Secret World Legends’ main story mission is a bad idea

If there is one thing this past week has emphasized to me, it’s that powering through just the main story missions of Secret World Legends is bad. Heed my warning and learn from my mistakes — don’t do it! It is definitely not an ideal way to experience the game. Why? Because although it is awesome to see the story arc play through in large, seamless blocks, you really so miss so much. You miss a great deal of the story, flavor, and atmosphere. And by missing chunks of the rest of the story in the game, you’ve cheated yourself of a richer — and longer — experience. When it ends all too soon, you are left wanting more… more you could have had.

Even though I have experienced 99% of the mission content before (thanks to completing the story through Tokyo in TSW), I seriously wish I could take back my sprinting to the Season 2 content. I don’t regret having the opportunity to show South Africa off to everyone on OPTV, but I do regret cheating myself of the chance to really savor the journey. I felt rushed, less patient with figuring out puzzles (my favorite part of the game!), and I had no time to appreciate the small changes in story that made it seem new again.

I am not about to make that mistake in South Africa! And I hope you won’t either. Barrelling through the main story will only rob you in the end.

The rest of the story

Let’s start with the big reason to not skip everything else in favor of the main story: You miss that story! If you really are in Secret World Legends for the story, why on earth would you want to skip over the best part? Newer players who didn’t experience everything in TSW may not realize that the other missions scattered about —  the action, sabotage, investigation, and even the side missions — all add more to the story of the world. No, it won’t be the main story line, but this world is about many stories, some short and some long. Case in point: Although Issues #6 (The Last Train to Cairo) and #7 (A Dream to Kill) were incorporated into the main story line, others were not. If you don’t delve into the other missions you will completely miss Issues #5 (The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn) and #14 (Call of the Nameless). The Tyler Freeborn mission chain is still considered one of the very best experiences in game! Do you really want to miss that?

The important thing to realize is that missions in SWL are not there as just busywork; everything fits into the world, bringing it to life that much more. They help connect some dots and enrich the experience. You don’t have to grind any missions over and over, but it is worthwhile to do each one once.

Besides missing out on meeting characters you don’t know, skipping over other missions in your rush through the main story means you also miss getting to better know characters who are a part of the main story (or even just barely mentioned). You miss out on knowing Ricky Pagan. Travesty! You don’t have the understanding of the joke regarding the sausage makers in Transylvania when you’re prowling through Orochi Tower. And that Freddy Kruegar look-alike in Transylvania has more to him than the few moments you see in the main story line. The main story arc takes on a slightly different feel when you have a deeper understanding of the lives of those you are interacting with.

Let’s not forget the lore! The lore (or legends if you must) are little story morsels hiding through out the game. Perhaps no single one is a treasure in and of itself, but the culmination of a whole set really does give you some story insights. And you sure as heck aren’t going to find them all if you aren’t poking through the entirety of the zones, which just so happens to happen when you are completing all the other missions.

Even vets could benefit from brakes

If you are a returning TSW player, I can understand wanting to just get the stuff you’ve already done over with. But even to you I’d say don’t feel rushed to see the new content. It will be there when you get there. Take the time to enjoy the nuances of the streamlined main story. This is especially relevant if you didn’t have all the issues before. Even if you did everything previously, there are differences in the experience that I wish I appreciated a bit more. One of the big ones for me was making all of Orochi Tower a part of the main story! No matter how many times I ran it in TSW, I still only saw a few of the floors. (RNG was never a friend to me.) I am disappointed that I was rushing through those floors so much trying to knock them out of the way just so I could reach Season 2. I fully intend to go back and go through each a bit slower, finding that last lore and completing the achievements.

Savor South Africa

If you are already to the South Africa story or close to reaching it, please consider not barreling through it! It will end soon enough as it is, and you really will have cheated yourself out of the richer, longer experience that you could have had. If there was one thing I could recommend to all you folks it would be to feel free to take your time working through this content. Explore, eavesdrop on NPC conversations, do bounties, complete the side missions, and talk to the notable NPCs. True, the additional main missions that will be added to those NPCs aren’t there yet, but why not get to know a bit about them and their stories now? Again, there’s lore to consider. Spend time searching out those golden story bites. I hear there is quite a stack of bestiary lore to get!

I know not everyone is the same, but to me there is something missing when I finish up the story of the area and then go back and fill in the little blanks by doing the extra missions and tasks. The atmosphere of trying to figure it all out is gone, so instead of building upon the tension to the story climax, the additions feel disjointed and out of sequence. They don’t have as powerful of an impact after the fact.

Let’s get practical, practical!

OK, so putting the deeper story tidbits aside, there is a practical reason to not just steamroll through the main story. By skipping the other missions, the bounties, and lore, you cheat yourself out of power for your character to take on the main story. Fewer missions mean fewer mission rewards, which in turn means less gear to wear, less feeder gear to upgrade the gear you wear, less anima shards to upgrade equipment, and less XP. Less SP and AP mean fewer abilities. All of that means your character will be weaker — possibly to the point you will be unable to do the main story and become frustrated. Save yourself the headache and stock up on power with the other missions and tasks before tackling the full main story. You’ll be thankful you did.

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Geoffrey Smith

Totally agree. It is really important to take your time with it.

My favorite part of South Africa was some background dialogue where some NPCs in the fields were comparing the treatment of low levels to college hazing, and he said the higher levels were enjoying “beer, pizza, and pussy”. Considering Che…. I mean… he’s not wrong! The little things like that always make me smile in this game.

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Greaterdivinity

Finished the story and man…it’s so bloody short even with doing all the side missions and some exploration. I’m glad we finally have new story, but I sure hope that they can keep releasing content at a reasonable pace. I don’t expect them to be able to churn out stuff to keep me constantly busy with new content, and I have little desire to grind old content and the like, but I sure hope we get more than 1-2 drops a year.

Wasn’t mind blowingly good content for the first release in years, but it was solid enough given what SWL is. Looking forward to more.

Oh well, now that I’ve finished this content and tinkered around a bit more with the agent system I’m probably done until the next update. Hope Funcom delivers sooner rather than later and that this release is a success for them.

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Geoffrey Smith

Yeah, I feel that, it was certainly good, especially the first half. And there were lots of little things in the story and dialogue I enjoyed. But it kinda tapered off at the end.

There is clearly room to expand, and you can see where they will likely go with it. But the concern is, how long will it take to do that? And what else will we do in the meantime?

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Yes I do every single little extra in each zone that I can before moving on. The side stuff here is far deeper than most games and adds much learning of lore, story, and flavor to the game.

As a side note, we love you MJ! Woo!

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Bruno Brito

Uh, MJ…let’s not pretend there’s anything else to do.

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Castagere Shaikura

Its like beating a dead horse with this topic. You are always going to have those players that want to be the first to claim they finished it. Then the first thing they do is go online and complain they have nothing to do.

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Toy Clown

The people writing these topics aren’t thinking from those angles. They’re coming from the angle of people who enjoy doing the content for the content’s sake, which is to languish in the excellent storytelling.

It is hard to resist the urge to plow through the content in order to get to the brand-new shiny stuff, and the warning to put the brakes on when you feel yourself heading toward the hill is very appreciated!

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A Dad Supreme

Another reason not to rush is that given the historically slow, snail’s paced track record of Funcom of putting out new content for TSW, you’ll probably have a good six months before SWL’s next release of stories.

That means you can log in, do one quest a day, log out, then come back and probably still be on time for installments, so no reason to rush through South Africa.

After all, past is prologue.

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Greaterdivinity

I’m taking it really slow so far and I have to say that I’m liking it so far. It’s nothing mind blowing, but given my low expectations I’m pretty happy with at least the first batch of missions to get to the second level. Cutscenes definitely “feel” different so far, and it’s pretty obvious that this the most produced content in the world, but I’m just glad we’re finally getting more story.

Planning to finish it up this weekend, then SWL will likely go back on the back-burner while I work on other projects.

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BalsBigBrother

My problem is that I didn’t feel like I rushed any of my gameplay in SWL but I still completed it way quicker than I ever did while playing TSW. Part of that is some streamlining in the SWL release but a big part is I have just done the content so many times that its kind of just muscle memory now, even knowing and saying lines for NPC’s before they say them.

Even with the new South Africa content release it took me about 4 hours due to the linear nature of that story quest then throw in about another hour for the few small item side quest and that was done too.

Again I don’t feel I rushed it though certainly I could have artificially extended the game play by spreading it over a few days but I had the time that day so what is the point of that. I enjoyed it but there just isn’t a lot there at this point in time /shrugs

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Geoffrey Smith

This was more or less my feeling as well. It was very good for what was there, but it felt limited, and the ending felt a bit…..lacking? I dunno.

But part of me wonders if I feel that way because I am comparing it to past content and areas that are now fully fleshed out. Tokyo was limited as well at launch, and not nearly as full as it is now. My feeling is, we will do the same, and there are clearly areas where they will expand the content in South Africa. The question, of course, is “when?”