Strange Sunday – grannies with shotguns and other crazy design choices

the secret world shotgun design

Get off my lawn!

One of the many reasons I love my girl is the fact that she doesn’t mind if I squeeze in some gaming while she’s over at my place. When I decide to launch a game, she either watches me play or reads up on some of that…fantastic fanfiction she’s into. Hey, she ain’t complaining about my odd hobbies, and I ain’t complaining about hers.

Anyway, as I was able to get some time on Chindividual in TSW, I started thinking about some of the odd, or maybe even strange design choices that have been made during the creation of this game. In order to keep this week’s Strange Sunday in line with March Gaming, let me run you through three, by today’s industry standards bizarre choices made during the creation of The Secret World.

Number 1: It’s set in our world’s modern time
In a genre filled with mostly fantasy and a few sci-fi titles, having a game that takes place in our world is something special. Even though many of the locations are somewhat made up (which is good, because I would have a lot of pity for the people living in Kingsmouth), many locations are real, and the amount of detail poured into those places is bizarre. Really, just compare pictures from the real NY and the in-game one. Now, to be fair, this amount of detail can’t be found in the digital version of London and Seoul, but the fact that Funcom gives us a mysterious, zombie-packed reflection of our world is cool, and something I hope upcoming titles like the World of Darkness MMO will replicate.

Number 2: Your gear doesn’t define your looks
Now, here is something I think every RPG should do: having stats be not linked to gear, giving the latter a purely visual role. TSW is of course not the first game to do this, but considering the vast amount of titles that don’t do this, I still consider it a strange design choice by industry standards. The fact that I can have my toon look as fashionable as I want, without gimping him beyond repair is awesome. I don’t have anything else to say on this subject, except that I wished every game would do this, and not in the messed-up way Warcraft’s mogging does it.

Number 3: Factions that don’t separate players
Okay, that’s a bit of a lie. Your faction still determines which cabals (read: guilds) you can join and who’s on your side in a PvP match. But next to that, you are free to cooperate and talk with anyone you want. Seriously, there’s no mysterious communication barrier, and you be in a group with members of any faction. This is a truly bizarre design choice by current standards, considering how many new titles actually force factions into their game to have some way of pitting players against each other. As I wrote before, I think that these hard divides between factions should become a thing of the past, and future games should follow TSW’s example. That being said, the Dragon is still a bunch of wacko’s. Don’t group with them.

Bonus fact: grannies with shotguns.
Seriously. More games should have them!

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