chaos theory

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

Chaos Theory: Speculating on The Secret World’s relaunch

Well, it wasn’t the news I was hoping for, but I’ll still take it! This week we learned about Funcom’s plan to relaunch the conspiracy-laden Secret World in late March. This March. That means this month. I’d have really liked to hear more about season two, which we know has already been written; the story is really the core of TSW, and I admit to a certain level of impatience to finally experience more of it. Knowing that seasons two and three are both written makes it that much harder to wait. But upon consideration, perhaps the idea of revitalizing the core game just before adding additional story is a wise move. Nab new players and bring back those who left before and you’ve got a bigger player base to enjoy new content — not to mention more reason to make more! Hopefully the news about the new content and next season will follow quickly on the heels of the relaunch.

So what exactly is happening with this relaunch? That’s the big question! The answers aren’t forthcoming yet; there is no official word, and we learned there won’t be until at least after PAX. (You better believe I tried!) That leaves only the bullet points offered in the quarterly financial report to go on. However, that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of ideas floating around about what specifically each could mean. So let’s do a bit of speculating.

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World predictions 2016 vs 2017

It’s no secret that The Secret World had a rough year in 2016. I just really wish I could say differently. And it’s especially sad because I had such hopes for my favorite game. Granted, I knew it wasn’t going to miraculously get the funding and staff to give me all the story and things my heart so desired, but I did anticipate a bit more than what we actually got. When 2016 dawned, I pieced together our available clues to try and draw a map of where the year was going. A cartographer I apparently am not, and Google maps won’t be hiring me anytime soon. Perhaps for this year I shall consult with the Magic Eight ball? Here’s a look at the scorecard for my 2016 predictions, and a modest list of 2017 hopes, dreams, and predicted happenings. (We’ll just have to wait to see how those ultimately pan out!).

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Chaos Theory: My Secret World 2017 goals

When the year-end Massively Overthinking asked about game resolutions, I honestly answered that I don’t really make any because I hadn’t ever done that and didn’t expect to start. Many of the goals I make as I play throughout the year are pretty specific to what is happening at that time and what I feel inclined to do right then. But the topic stuck with me, and I began thinking about what goals I did have in The Secret World.

Once I started thinking about it in concrete terms, I was able to pinpoint a few more things I’d really like to accomplish this year. It turns out there are some that are more overarching than just an in-the-moment whim. So here they are: my 2017 TSW goals. At the close of this year, you can help me gauge how well I did. (Ironically, since this column was usurped by other topics hogging the spotlight for a couple of weeks, my first goal has already been achieved. Go me!) And please, add any goals you have in the comments!

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World says sayonara to 2016

Have you ever had a year that you looked back on and all you could really say was, Hey, I made it through. I’ve had years like that, when many things either go wrong, go a totally different way than hoped/planned, or just don’t really go anywhere at all. But you know what? Not going anywhere is better than going away! It may seem sometimes like the only thing to celebrate is the fact that you are are actually still here, but that is reason enough to cheer.

The Secret World seems to have had just such a year. And by golly, it deserves three cheers just for hanging on. It may not have been the best year filled with fulfilled dreams and wishes, but it could have been worse. It could have been way, way worse: It could have not made it to 2017! So even though there were hiccups and disappointments, I am super glad I still have TSW to log into and play. And I am looking forward to 2017!

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Chaos Theory: The kink in Secret World’s Krampusnacht

The Secret World, I’m shaking my head at you. I mean, I wasn’t expecting anything really for the Krampusnacht holiday. But this?

Remember back when I stated that I would gladly give up new Christmas season content in favor of an amazing Samhain story event? Well, I didn’t say please lock the content behind a double dose of a paywall and RNG! But that’s basically what happened this Krampusnacht. The 2016 event has one single new bit of content, a new snowball fight minigame. That in itself is pretty awesome. Seriously, the game is fun. The catch is that it isn’t something that’s freely accessible to all players. Worse, the season’s achievements are tied to it. As I have ranted in years past (like when EverQuest II locked Frostfell content behind a new expansion), I firmly believe holiday content should not be available only for those who pay extra. Holidays should be something all players can participate in, be they rich or poor, vets or newbies. Everyone.

Thankfully there are a few alternatives available. However, even these have kinks making it difficult for some folks to participate. Here’s the scoop on this yea’rs event, the problem it generated, and a few solutions that could help.

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Chaos Theory: Our guide to The Secret World’s Unseen achievement

For the last couple of months, I have been focused on trying to acquire The Unseen achievement in The Secret World. Why? It isn’t anything anyone needs to do to complete the game or to even experience all the content; you can finish every associated mission even if you fail its achievement. However, it is a little extra that celebrates one of the unique offerings of TSW — the sabotage mission. It is also quite the challenge. (And by challenge, I mean something that will likely have you tearing your hair out at times.) It tests your abilities to conquer objectives through something other than brute force or a twitchy trigger finger. For that reason alone I simply must give it my full support. That, and it taunts me with its so-you-think-you-can-win-huh vibe. I must beat it; I cannot let these missions get the best of me! Also I really want the cool title and ninja face mask you get as a reward.

Since I have been running some of these missions a few times, I’ve learned a few tricks to completing them, including ways to reset them at times so you don’t have to wait out the mission cooldown to try again. These are tricks I am willing to share so maybe you can learn from my mistakes instead of making your own. You can be on your way to becoming a master of stealth. Even if you don’t want any hints per se, this guide will lead you to all the missions and those who give said missions.

Warning: This may contain spoilers! All hints and any mega spoilers will be hidden behind a spoiler alert.

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EverChaosing: Giving thanks for The Secret World and EverQuest II

I agonized all week over which of my favorite titles, The Secret World or EverQuest II, would get the honor of being the subject of my gratitude post for Thanksgiving. And then I decided I didn’t have to pick! After all, we already had one combined EverChaosing column, so why not have another? So in honor of Thanksgiving, a time when I reflect even more on those things I am thankful for, I am focusing on both games.

Some might wonder why be thankful for a MMORPG? After all, it is just a video game. When compared to family, friends, health, housing, etc, a game seems like a paltry thing to expend gratitude efforts on. Is it though? How many have developed deep, meaningful relationships through a game that have extended their circle of friendship or even family? I know it has happened for me. What about for those who have found solace, joy, and social connections living in a pixel world for a time when health prevented doing much in the real world? Again, been there, done that. What about just having a fun pastime to enjoy? But it goes much farther than that.

For me, expressing gratitude is a way of life — for small things, large things, and any thing in between. And not just because of how it changes my view of the world and how I relate with it; showing appreciation has a positive effect on everyone. When you know that your time, efforts, ideas, and work are appreciated, you are uplifted, aren’t you? Doesn’t receiving thanks and appreciation make you want to continue with what you are doing and even do better? Why wouldn’t we show appreciation to the devs of our favorite games and those features we really like. So here’s my little letter of appreciation. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

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Chaos Theory: The disappointment of The Secret World’s Samhain

The season to end all seasons has come and gone. The Secret World’s Samhain has faded back into the fog, and it will be another year before it returns. So how was the event that everyone looks forward to throughout the year? I have to say Samhain 2016 broke the mold — just not in the way I was hoping. No, the mold that broke was Funcom’s streak of topping itself every year with better and better Halloween missions. It was bound to happen. Just look at last year’s The Seven Silences; that set the bar pretty darn high. The whole year I have found it hard to believe that devs could possibly out-do that phenomenal mission, even though I still believed they could because each year, they have pulled it off. It set a precedent that was impossible to keep up indefinitely. Sometime, it had to stop.

Sadly, this is that year.

To say that 2016’s event is a disappointment to many is an understatement. The teases and lead-up that had players speculating on clues and puzzling things out were pretty cool. Then the event itself started, and the unhappiness spilled forth on the forums. What’s The Rider Cometh got — or not got — that had folks in such a huff?  Here’s the lowdown on the event.

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Chaos Theory: A guide to The Secret World’s Samhain 2016

Well, there you have it. After 12 months of anticipation, the 2016 Samhain event in The Secret World is here. And I most definitely have a few things I want to say about it… but right now is not the time. One, we have not quite reached the conclusion yet, so what happens between now and then could change things a bit. It would be fairer to reserve full judgment until the entire event unfolds. Two, the event is ending really soon, so to make sure everyone can take advantage of it, I have to get a guide out now! The Rider Cometh ends on November 8th, so you have less than a week to try to get all the loot and all the lore before it gallops off until next year.

And don’t forget during that time you can (and totally should!) do all the previous Samhain missions as well. We’ve got nifty guides to The Seven Silences, The Broadcast, Spooky Stories, and The Cat God to help you finish them up before they too are gone.

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Chaos Theory: First impressions of Funcom’s Hide and Shriek

Have you been hiding and shrieking? I have! Hide and Shriek, the 1v1 Secret World spinoff that pits the much-loved Innsmouth Academy against the newly introduced Little Springs High in a PvP scare off, is now out for players to test their spook skills. Who doesn’t love a good scare, especially this time of year?

Like The Park, Hide and Shriek was an exercise in learning to program a game on the Unreal engine, except this time it was for the US-based Funcom office. Upon completion, the fruits of those labors were offered up to us to enjoy; I’ve been playing matches all week myself. So how is it? What do I think of the game? Is it worth the price tag (currently $4.79, going up to the full price of $5.99 November 1st). I say a resounding yes! Believe it or not, it is going to be encroaching on my Samhain event play time. The game isn’t for everyone, but I am finding it fun. Want to see more of the game for yourself? Tune into OPTV tonight at 9:00 p.m. EDT as Justin and I square off. (You could also win a copy of the game!)

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Chaos Theory: Hide and Shriek in The Park of The Secret World

October is finally here. That means Halloween is this month! I can’t even describe how excited that makes me. I know I’m not alone in having been waiting with bated breath for any word about The Secret World’s Samhain holiday event. So when Romain “Titly” Amiel, game director, started teasing chunks of an image, many of us thought it would an announcement about the best Halloween celebration ever. It turns out it wasn’t, but maybe it was. The announcement is related to TSW. However, it might also be a tease for what will actually await us in TSW as well. It’s all about a new Secret World spin-off game.

Can Funcom’s upcoming Halloween title Hide and Shriek top last year’s The Park? Does it even need to? And what will it have to do with The Secret World? If these questions are floating around in your head, you’ve come to the right place for answers. They are:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Good stuff

OK, so maybe you’d like a few more details than that. Can do! Of course, we mainly have speculation at the point, but following the path that the past has laid out brings us to these very answers.

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Chaos Theory: Tips for returning to The Secret World for Halloween

It’s almost that time of year — the best time of year! It’s the most wonderful time of the year in fact, especially in The Secret World. Halloween is coming! And if there was ever a time for folks to return to the game, this is it. The Samhain missions are arguably the most looked-forward to events, and every year Funcom tops itself with a mission that’s even more awesome than the year before. While you can do all the previous Halloween missions every year, they are all are only available for about a month between October and November. That gives you about one month to prepare yourself so that you don’t miss out on the experience of the year. Because if you do, you have to wait an entire 12 months for Samhain to return! And that wait is excruciating.

To help you with that, this is a guide to prepare you to make the most of the Halloween season in TSW. The slant here is toward returning players who’ve just been gone for a (possibly very long) time. There’s definitely stuff that has changed! If you’ve been gone for many years or you are brand-spanking new, you might want to also check out our series: six tips for new players part one and part two. To ensure you don’t miss out on the holiday, keep reading!

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Chaos Theory: Is it possible to complete The Secret World’s Doomboard challenge? Maybe

When The Secret World’s devs teased the Doomboard, I was pretty excited. I was totally on board for getting that sweet ride even though I hadn’t ever actually done any challenges yet. I mean, who wouldn’t want a flaming hoverboard? All I needed to do to earn it for free was complete 70 total weekly and daily challenges on a single character before September 21st. The question is, could I actually accomplish this in the given time frame?

In a word: no. Or most likely not. Not me, anyway. For the first time, I really looked into what the challenges entailed, and I became disheartened. I can’t see how I can possibly manage it. I’m not alone, either; other folks have expressed sadness at the impossibility of it. It’s not that people don’t want a challenge to be a challenge, but this one seems aimed only at the most extreme hardcore players, and PvPers at that. Forget attempting it at all if you are newer to the game. And without graduated levels of rewards to help those who want to participate but aren’t at a level to reach the ultimate goal, it is really all or nothing. You could put in tons of effort and hours over the next month and still walk away with nothing. That is beyond a bummer.

Despite the disappointment, I am still plugging along doing whatever I can. (I have mentioned before how stubborn I can be in the face of a challenge, right?) Perhaps I will at least get close. Just maybe I will be able to squeak in a win. I’ve devised a few tips and tricks to help me check off a number of challenges, and they may help you, too. Here’s a breakdown of what all is involved and a look at some ways of getting it all done.

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