The Secret World column

The Secret World: Finally, Something for Everyone?

The Secret World: Finally, Something for Everyone?

Published on: Nov 29, 2012 at 15:28
Updated on: Jan 17, 2013 at 15:48
By TJSonntag | More infos about the MMORPG The Secret World

When The Secret World first launched back in July 2012, it spawned a rather large divide in the MMO gaming community. Some thought that the combat was lacking, others complained about a dearth of raids, still others said that the PvP wasn’t challenging or entertaining. To all of these players, I would say that if you’re not playing The Secret World purely for the atmosphere and story, you’re playing the wrong game.

It would appear that Funcom doesn’t completely agree with me as they’ve made huge strides over the four “issues” released since the launch. The character creation includes far more options now, and you can make your character look drastically different from others. There have also been improvements made to the animation, combat, modeling and other graphical components, so the game now looks just as beautiful as you could ever want. Funcom also introduced “reticule targeting,” if you’re into that sort of thing, and that gives the combat-focused players a little something to toy with.

Next, Funcom did a little re-working of Lairs. Now, I played The Secret World from the very first beta test, and I had no idea that Lairs even existed. Of course some areas were more difficult than others, and I would typically grab a couple of other players in the area to finish a particularly challenging quest, but I didn’t know that these areas had a name.

The mobs and bosses in these Lairs drop ritual fragments; combine enough of those fragments, and you can summon a Nightmare-dungeon-equivalent boss in that area. Lairs are intended to provide more casual players with one-off bosses, much easier to accomplish with minimal time and contacts or a less-active Cabal.

With casual players taken care of, the developers are free to keep Nightmare Mode dungeons very difficult. Elite and Nightmare dungeons require a lot more skill and coordination, along with better gear, and they also allow you to gear up quicker than farming Lairs. If these aren’t hard core enough for you, Issue #4 introduced the first large-scale raid: Big Trouble in the Big Apple. Luckily, the raid requires the same level of gear as Nightmare Mode dungeons, so you don’t have to grind your way through all the NMs before you can head off to New York City.

Okay, on to PvP. I’ve said it from the beginning: The Secret World, while heavily reliant on a three-warring-faction system, isn’t really about PvP. Most of the time when you’re out and about in the world completing missions, your faction doesn’t really matter. You get a different flavor text when you turn in certain missions, and that’s fun, but it’s still really a non-issue. The missions required to move up in faction rank, however, vary from the Dragon to the Templar to the Illuminati.

As you’re roaming the streets, forests and sand dunes, you’ll notice members of the other two factions running along right beside you, and strangely, we’re all okay with that. So how do we mesh this concept with the PvP warzones, especially Fusang Projects? We’re supposed to believe that we’re willing to kill–okay, so we’re all immortal, but whatever–members of the other factions in order to hold some base in China? Unless there’s something else planned for Fusang, I’m still not sure why any one faction even cares about this location.

Finally, The Secret World has released some content especially designed for the role-playing gamer for whom this MMO was created. The Albion Theatre in London will let you and your friends or Cabal-mates create plays, musicals, standup comedy shows, or just about any other type of entertainment you can think of. The Theatre offers backdrops, set pieces, sound and lighting effects, and the whole thing can be specifically scheduled for you so you don’t have to worry about those other two pesky factions showing up and ruining your art.

The Secret World truly does hold a little something for everyone at this stage, and the future of the game looks bright. My biggest complaint for the game is that there simply weren’t enough missions at launch, and with only eight questing areas, I ran out of content very quickly. I’m not really concerned about gear, and while I enjoy seeing the inside of dungeons and raids, they are far from my favorite part of any MMO. The Secret World continues to give good lore, and a great story will keep me interested far longer than anything else.

In The Secret World column, our writers ...

About the author:
TJ Sonntag has owned various Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Microsoft consoles, most of which were purchased for an exclusive survival horror game or RPG. She has been playing World of Warcraft since July of 2006, as well as dabbling in several other MMOs such as Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings: Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. TJ has participated in the closed and open betas for Aion, Rift, and several WoW expansions. She also participates in several FTP MMO betas, and has been leveling a member of each Secret Society in The Secret World.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of

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