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Archive for the category “The Secret World”

Unleashed

The official announcement came down today for Issue 1 of The Secret World and Funcom just keeps hitting the bullseye.  The content is going to be spread throughout the game world with new missions in all three zones, some continuing already established story lines and some creating new stories from newly introduced NPCs.  This Issue will also see the introduction finally of the Marketplace, TSW’s version of the auction house.  The Marketplace is going to be cross server so all players from all dimensions can buy and sell from one another, just as the chat functions.  Well, when it functions 😉

There is mention of new construction we may notice around the three Faction Cities that also ties in to some hints as to what is coming in Issue 2.  “Dr Aldini is sharpening his scalpels, the Ockham triplets are readying their scissors and razors.”  These sound like nods to the expanded character customization options that were not available at launch in the form of NPC vendors.

The other comment I saw that really inspires me and just increases my love for this game already is the following statement  “But that’s not all! Another mission awaits observant players on Solomon Island — one that explores a character that may be more than she pretends to be…”  Does this sound to anyone else like there will be more missions dropped into an area that will not be clearly marked and we will need to discover?  Perhaps missions that are uncovered thru conversations with NPCs or new missions unlocked by interacting with objects in the game world..

Of course even this news has been met with some criticism as some of these features, specifically the Marketplace, were removed before launch so can be considered new content.  Often times in MMOs there is no pleasing everyone.  If the Marketplace was in at launch but stopped working, such as the chat, some folks would have screamed Fail.  I for one prefer things be delayed a bit and working as intended then released only to break and cause more problems.  Patience is a virtue folks.

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Postcards from Hell

Just thought I would share a few more screenshots from Roknar’s adventures around The Secret World.

Why not start with a day at the amusement park?

 

This guy was not very friendly

 

Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Kingsmouth Academy Cheerleaders!

First info on the July Issue of The Secret World

This bit of information comes via rockpapershotgun.com

Adam Smith over at rockpapershotgun.com was lucky enough to get a peak at the first issue for The Secret World and what he describes has me quite excited and gives me lots of hope for the future of this game.  According to Adam’s article this content is being referred to as an Issue, such as an issue of a comic series or anthology.  The issue will add new content to already existing areas of the game, namely some new content at the Overlook Motel and Kingsmouth Academy.  Players will return to these locations and expand on the story they have already encountered.

For the exact details you can follow the link above to the article.

What excites me about this is the game is not just expanding vertically from the end content… the end content is throughout now it seems.  Places that players may have explored and completed earlier are now adding more story and in some cases new NPCs entirely.  As a player that is very slow to move from zone to zone this news signals to me that the idea is to expand the game world outward instead of just upward.   We are currently playing at a point in the time line of TSW where the foundation has been and each issue could be seen as a wave of new story expanding out from this point.

This reminds me very much of The Matrix Online.  At launch Matrix Online had a simple concept.  You enter the matrix as a newly awakened player and experience the world but as the game progressed new story lines were created that had players going back to old areas and see the changes… sometimes even to see NPCs killed off and removed entirely.

Just looking at the clock to see how long till I can get home and log back in and adventure even more!

 

 

The friendly faces of The Secret World

About to log back in for a few more hours of TSW but wanted to share a few pics of the warm folks waiting to greet you in and around Kingsmouth.

Nothing like battling a large fungus looking monster in the shallow waters

 

uh… money shot?

 

I love the detail in the monster’s back… the ridges in it’s spine

 

With tomorrow being the 4th of July I expect to get quite a few solid hours in tonite, maybe even get out of the ‘starter zone’ finally.  I think I have a few more hours of misc side quests I can do before I am 100% then I can continue the main story line mission in the Savage Coast area.

I have to comment that this is one of the only MMOs I can recall playing in recent memory that has not had this invisible pull trying to get me to rush to the next zone.  I dare say I actually care about the stories more then anything else so far in this game and my play style is reflecting that.

 

A true modern setting MMO

I have been loving my time in The Secret World the past few days for so many reasons.  A refreshing skill system, multistage quests with actual stories to follow, interesting NPCs.  One thing that has been really great has been the setting Funcom has choosen, modern day.  There is something about going places and questing that could actually exist in the world, like Kingsmouth.  Exploring that town just feels like a New England shore town to me, everything from the mentions of their clam chowder to the mining history museum.

Well one player on the forums that goes by the name Vladimir actually has taken a few photos of New York where the Illuminati are based to show just how accurate Funcom is with some of their settings.

These pictures are just amazing.  Major props to Funcom for being so accurate.. and even more points to Vladimir for getting this pics.  I choose to just post the pics as a link to the forums may stop working if they move things around… and the thread is getting lots of attention since Ragnar himself has already commented on it.

What makes a successful launch?

The Secret World early entry period started yesterday for pre-orders and I must say that thus far Funcom is doing a superb job of handing things.  I know no matter how things go with the launch of TSW there will always be those that want to point back to Age of Conan and Anarchy Online and talk about how horrible things were, but I prefer to live in the moment, and at the moment I am having a blast and enjoying my purchase 100%.

This post though is not going to focus on the game itself, I plan on doing that in segments, this is just about the launch and my experience with the process.

I did have a slight delay in processing my purchase via paypal, but once I switched to a CC the order went thru within minutes.  My name reservation was easy to set up and my beta client patched to the early access client without any major issues.  Once I got home from work I was easily able to log in to the character creation menu without any delay.  I have read that from time to time the client locks up at the character menu but by shutting down the client and restarting it will sort itself out.  I have not had to deal with this yet myself but since the forums are not on fire with anger I trust the restart works for most players.

The character creation is pretty much as simple as it was in the extended beta periods, perhaps a few new added options here and there though I did not notice anything remarkable different.  There is already an announcement on the forums that a ‘plastic surgery’ feature is being worked on for a later period that will allow players to redo their appearance once, free of charge, with the exception of changing your gender.  After the initial redo of looks you can still choose to do this in your faction hub, but it will be at the expense of PAX.  I have no issue a developer adding in more content to the character creator post launch, especially when they offer access to it for free to early players.  As it stands I was able to make a character I am happy with at this point.

Once in game I have had nothing but a smooth experience.  I am playing on Arcadia, the RP dimension.  Lag has been a non-issue for me so far even at bottle neck points such as the Sheriff’s Station in Kingsmouth where players are bouncing all over.  I should mention that the population is nothing like what I saw in some other launches, but I have no idea if that is due to me choosing the RP dimension or just low numbers.  Technically with this being early access this could all go to hell on the official launch but I really think a good portion of players are already in the game and do not think a ton of retail buyers are out there.

There has been a report of some players having a delay in getting their pre-order items via the store, but once I was settled in Kingsmouth I opened the store and clicked on my items and they were in my inventory in about 2 minutes… not an issue at all.

I have not suffered a single crash since starting to play yesterday and today I plan on getting to some heavy traffic areas, such as the PVP zones and some of the dungeons.  I am interested to see if things stay as smooth in more congested areas… and especially how things will be later this week when the official launch happens.

 

 

 

Not so Secret anymore…

This weekend was the limited beta for The Secret World letting in many eager and curious gamers to try out the newest MMO from Funcom.  I have been looking forward to this MMO now for quite a long time, I think I actually took the “which faction are you” test on the website well over a year ago so as soon as keys went out for this event I was all over it.  Thankfully I was able to secure a key for this event and spent the better part of the last three days experiencing as much as I could of the game before they close down the access, here is what I took away from it.

Funcom set out to create a very different MMO then the traditional fantasy setting and one thing I can say from the time I spent the last three days is they hit a homerun with that task.  This beta only allowed players to start in one of the three faction hubs and explore only one location, but it was the right location to use to showcase the setting of The Secret World.  The town of Kingsmouth is a traditional New England small town set along a coast line that is engulfed in a mysterious fog that has rolled in from the water… and in that fog.. lots of things that go bump in the night.

Underneath that setting those is so much more… some good and some not so good.  The much hyped skill wheel is a very unique aspect of this game and really sets it apart.  Players earn XP from completing missions and also from combat and as the XP builds AP are awarded at various milestones.  Those AP are then used to purchase skills which are located in various segments of the skill whell.  TSW does not use levels in the traditional sense but they do have a ‘ding’ moment and that is when the XP bars fills and then resets and the player is awarded a skill point, or SP.  The SP are used to purchase abilities on a separate panel that can refine your character even more.  I spent the better part of my time messing with this interface and was impressed with how it allowed me to really break a lot of the traditional MMO roles.  I started out using all my AP to purchase abilities in the two elemental groups then decided I wanted to add a sword to my style and spent some AP in blades.  Initially the wheel was not that daunting as you have to purchase abilities in ascending order in each group, but once I added a second weapon style it really started to branch out.  I should also add that this beta limited the skill wheel to only the first weapon groups and kept locked the misc abilities and outer ring of the wheel which offers up more advanced buffs and attacks.  I found the system quite involved and can only imagine how much more depth it will offer once the outer ring is unlocked.

The flip side however to the impressive skill system is that it feels almost like most of the funding went to that and the setting and whatever was leftover was spent on animations and effects.  I read for a few weeks up till this beta that the jumping animation was horrible and have to agree.  Even the basic running animations are pretty stale… it almost appears as though everyone is skating on ice.  While the skill wheel adds choice and depth to how you can approach combat, once in combat things are old school.  Like 2001 old school.  Animations are poor and repetitive.  Every hit appears like it has no impact on the target.  For a company like Funcom that has produced MMOs in the past I would have thought something as simple as animations would have been sorted out well before release, but that does not appear to be the case.

The Secret World has a lot going for it with its unique modern setting and its intensive skill system, two things that really hooked me this past weekend and have me eager to play some more.  The negatives however are weighing heavy on me.  I am hesitant to purchase at launch as I do not want my experience to be brought down with technical issues and what feels like an unfinished product as of this moment.  Of course there is still another month left before launch and I hope they can refine the game more and prove me wrong, but at this point I am thinking of allowing a month to pass and seeing how the launch goes before getting involved.

Another Secret World puzzle?

Funcom has once again unleashed to the internet another hidden page related to The Secret World, this time taking the form of a rune wall or door of sorts.  To view the page simply go to funcom.com and left click anywhere that is NOT a link and then type 33.  Shortly you will find yourself viewing the rune wall.  Or if you want to skip all the fun, just take a look at the image below.

Already the community following TSW has discovered that the runes on the wall are indeed Elder Futhark runes.  This is the oldest form of the runic alphabet and was used during the 2nd to 8th century.  The runes on the wheel are merely in ‘alphabetical’ order at this point and do not seem to have a message.

Everytime another of these ‘clues’ drops onto the web I must admit I get more and more excited for TSW.  I hope that the amount of work they have put into early clues and hidden pages is a sign of the degree of detail and content they have put into the final build of the game.

More info coming to light on The Secret World

MMORPG.com has posted a new article today that shows some examples of custom builds for the three factions in The Secret World.  These builds will be more like waypoints for players to use if they choose to pursue a specific playstyle from the beginning instead of just experimenting with the 500 skills on the skill wheel.  While I love the concept of a classless MMO with such a diverse skill selection, I think this is a great move on the part of Funcom.  Not every mmo player out there will want to experiment and learn to mix and match the skills, some just like to play a traditional class from the beginning and this will help fill that need.  Myself, I will be experimenting all around the wheel to get a feel for different abilities and actions in the game before I settle in to a role.

I must say I have been following TSW for quite some time now and the more information that they release to the public the more excited I get for this title.  The modern setting, the emphasis on lore and puzzles, a true 3 faction system and the massive open skill wheel are all things that challenge a lot of the notions that the MMO genre has seemed to accept as the norm the last 5 or so years and I for one will be there at day one to help support this new title.

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