Wait, it’s almost Easter? It doesn’t look like that around here, considering the fact that we still have snow and a biting cold at night. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that March is almost over, and so is my time with The Secret World. My final week in Funcom’s little gem was all about getting my pretty butt handed to me in PvP, and looking back at my time in this monster-infested world. So, read on to find out my final verdict of this game (or check out the previous weeks)!
Well, March is already over, which means that my time with The Secret World is also drawing to an end. Of course, I’ll surely return to this game in the future, but I’m afraid it will have to take a backseat to some of my other games. Anyway, what have I been up to this past week? Well, it involves vanished cargo vessels and university sweaters!
Focusing my gaming time on one title has shown me once again how much I suffer of a condition referred to as “gaming ADD”. Just like regular ADD, patients of this affliction suffer from an inability to play one and the same game for a longer time, being distracted by the beauty and “shiny factor” of new titles. To a degree, all gamers know this: when a new game hits the stores, you want to have it and play with it. However, many of my fellow button-bashers are able to focus on one title for some time, while I’m already knee-deep in another game.
I haven’t been always like this, and for a time, this gaming ADD was driving me mad. However, I learned that it isn’t bad, and that you actually get more out of your gaming life when your attention span is similar to that of a hyperactive dog. This is my story (cue epic intro music).
Reading isn’t all that fun. Well okay, I consider it fun, but I know that some of you pretty guys and gals like to look at some pictures from time to time. That’s why this week’s report on my activities in The Secret World will be mostly a visual one. Even though a picture says more than a thousand words, I still have some words to say without any visual aid:
- I’m still baffled by how immersive the world of TSW is. Everything works so well together to draw you into this creepy and monster-infested version of our world, and I feel like all this atmosphere and style is seriously underrated by fans of the MMO genre. Also, why do I see so much hate for the character design? Next to the fact that so damn many of the characters you meet have blue eyes (really, it’s crazy!), I find the design cool and well done. Maybe I just use another definition of “beautiful”?
- If you play the game for the first time, make sure to do most missions in Kingsmouth before moving on to the Savage Coast. The lethality of the zones increases in large steps, so if you leave the safety (as far as a town overrun by zombies can be considered safe) of the little fishing village, check if you have some good gear and your weapon skills at level 3. Otherwise, those demons around Daniel Bach will drag you right into Hell.
- Nope, the Siren’s Song will never leave your head. Sorry.
- Ever wanted to know what Hogwarts would be like if it was ransacked by a guy with a magic sword, leaving the students dead and their familiars running around in a berserk, bloodthirsty state? Well, you’ll find your answers to this really specific question right in Innsmouth Academy. I really love that hub. All the NPC’s there are fun and cool, and it’s packed with action missions. Slaughtering familiars and sending ghosts of dead teachers back to their grave is a lot of fun, and Hayden Montag is so delightfully awkward.
I won’t have that much time to play next week, but I’ll try to get into a few runs of the Polaris and Hell Raised, just to see how much fun tanking is in TSW. Hope you’ll enjoy the pictures, and if you want to share anything concerning The Secret World, feel free to hit me up in the comments!
Well, the first week of my March Gaming has gone by, and boy, did I have fun getting back into The Secret World. Even though I know Kingsmouth like the back of my hand by now, it still has its own kind of allure. The mist in the streets, the sun breaking through the fog in the morning, the smell of daffodils and rotting corpse, creating a unique boquet when the wind blows west…alright, considering the zombies and draugr, Kingsmouth is not such a nice place to be, but TSW is such a nice game to play!
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.
In order to give you a clearer look on what I play, why I play it and how I play it, I’ve decided to focus my entire gaming time every month on one title. To start with this monthly gaming madness, I decided to pick a game that actually motivated me to start this blog. My very first post was about it, and I have been brainstorming about how to translate it to a tabletop environment. You know that I’m talking of no other game but The Secret World.
The entire month of March, I will use all the gaming time I have (which is not that much) on this title. Every week, I will fill you in on my adventures in this mysterious world, filled with zombies, Cthulhu-wannabes and mummies in slick suits. Everything can happen! The only thing that is set in stone is that I’ll be playing that brand-new character in the picture above, who happens to be a Templar and who has chosen Blades as his starting weapon. Anything next to that is not set in stone, and I would really love to hear from you, dear readers, what you want me to do with my month in The Secret World.
If you want to play with me, I’ll be playing the character “Chindividual” on the Huldra server. You will find me online in the weekends and late in the evening throughout the week. Don’t be shy, and hit me up in-game or here on this blog.
I gotta sharpen my sword and wits now, for this secret world is filled with terrors I don’t dare to speak of!
Earlier this week, Ghostcrawler (the well-known CM of WoW, acronyms ftw!) teased us with a very interesting tweet about adding an unannounced feature during Mists of Pandaria’s run. The entire community has been thinking and writing about this, and some of the ideas that have been proposed actually sound interesting. One thing that I haven’t read or heard yet, however, is a feature that had been discussed a while back, and that I would love to be inserted into the game: races not restricted to one faction.
You see, I can understand the idea behind implementing different factions in a multiplayer game. It’s cool to be part of a team, and having these teams compete against each other is something many players enjoy. But what I don’t get, from a rather logical point-of-view, is why membership of a faction should be limited to a handful of races, and why I shouldn’t be able to join forces with my enemy to take down a greater threat. It defies logic, and it also takes away some great storytelling opportunities. However, since Blizzard has given the Pandaren the possibility to join both factions, I wonder if the same thing shouldn’t be offered to all races, in a way identical to that of the fluffy bears: you finish your starting zone, and then you pick which faction you want to swear allegiance to. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Instead of just having you choose your faction freely, it would also be great to group with members of the oppossite faction for PvE content. RIFT has added this possibility shortly before launching its first expansion Storm Legion, and in The Secret World, the only thing you can’t do alongside other factions is PvP (which I guess is kinda logical). Cross-faction communication and gameplay would add an additional layer of gameplay, and I can already hear thousand roleplayers cry out in joy when they could finally talk with Orcs or Worgen.
Bottom line, thinking “in a box” is nice and well, and also important for any kind of PvP, but if Blizzard would join other titles in opening those boxes a bit, I would be more than pleased. I would even be so damn pleased that I would give them another expansion to implement player and / or guild housing. Seriously, Blizz, what’s keeping you from that?!
As I ventured forth into the continent of Pandaria, curious to see what this new land had to hold for my warrior, I noticed that Blizzard decided to change the way quest achievements were tracked. Instead of rewarding you with some e-peen points after finishing a certain number of quests in a zone, you work off a list of quest “storylines”, and are notified as soon as you finish one. Once you have rounded up every storyline in the zone, you get a nice achievement, showing everyone that you helped all those in need in a part of Pandaria. It’s a nice change from the old way, but next to giving you an easier way to tracking your quest process, it also shows how even the behemoth company of Blizzard has laid their focus on storytelling in their flagship title.
Of course, this way of tracking quest achievements is just a minor part of their new focus on the story of Pandaria. The use of many cutscenes and spoken dialogue helps to immerse the player into the setting, making him a part of the story. I’m a big fan of this focus on the plot that many contemporary MMORPG’s show. Considering the roots of role-playing games, story is a big part of the role-playing experience, but for years, it was taking the backseat in most online titles.
A cynic might claim that this is nothing but a simple reaction to the demands of the market. While struggling with many other issues, the storylines of Star Wars: The Old Republic are considered the best in any MMORPG, and Guild Wars 2 also puts the personal story of your character into the center of the game. My favourite The Secret World almost drowns the player in symbolic and enigmatic storytelling, and looking at the positive reactions all these games get for their attempts at being more than just a grindfest, it seems like the people simply demand a good story.
I mean, who can blame them? Years of simply hacking away at monsters with but a notion of lore and motivation have dulled us, and we want to know why our digital alter egos venture forth to be heroes. We want to the stories we know from offline games online, to share them with our friends. We want to form our own band of daring knights and sorcerers, and fight against evil out of a strong, personal motivation. In the end, we want to know why we had to kill those ten rats, and how that helped achieving our character’s goals. This focus on story and the narrative aspects gives us the means to do just that, and I hope that it will be a part of MMORPG’s that will receive lots of love in the future.