Funcom will host a number of special offers this week to celebrate the first birthday of modern-day MMO The Secret World.
A special event called The Guardians of Gaia will see huge monsters spawning throughout the game world.
Everything in the item store except for membership packs will be 30% off, and there will be a special bonus evevery day of the birthday week, including double XP, double AP, and double skill points. Finally, everyone who logs in during the event will get a flare gun, and all members and grandmasters will score a unique t-shirt with the number one on it. Funcom’s latest addition to an already competent MMO lineup, The Secret World, officially launched on July 3rd, 2012. Cody (The Dragon): Not having played in the Closed Beta events, I didn’t know a lot about The Secret World going in.
Daniel (The Templar): Having had the chance to play a Dragon character in the final beta, I was looking forward to seeing the differences between the factions.
TSW seems to contain a little bit of everything that has ever existed in any way and crammed it into the game. With these materials in hand, players are given a grid-based UI that asks them to arrange the required materials in a specific pattern – each pattern creates a new type of weapon or modification, and experimenting has the potential to make new discoveries. Daniel (The Templar): While Cody and Tob were screwing around with sea monsters and crafting, I focused my time on an aspect that interests me the most and stands to be one of the main pillars of The Secret World, PvP. I was very lucky with the server we chose, The Templars seem to be dominating the persistent map, although only by circle zerging. I am sounding a bit negative again, but honestly, unless there are more places to fight and control, I don’t see any long term retention for the PvP system, which is meant to be a major focus. I realise that this subject can be fairly divisive, but giving players nothing but gear score to judge each other by is essentially a hate-crime in my book. At first glance they appear a lot more complex and rewarding than they feel a few hours later, and personally, I feel that speaks for The Secret World as a whole: at first glance, it seems new and exciting, but the shine soon wears off the apple, and thus far, it hasn’t returned. We’ll be back next week with another roundtable, after we’ve had a chance to play some more and answer some of these questions.
Cody 'NerA' Hargreaves has been writing cross-platform reviews and articles in the games industry for over five years across various websites and publications, including MMOGames, MMOhub, MMOHut, MMOsite, HYPER Magazine, Pixel Hunt and Thirteen1 E-Zines. Top MMO News: April 29, 2016 includes the latest World of Warships patch, Worlds Adrift island creator, and updates to Supernova and Uncharted Waters Online.
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The Secret World designer Ragnar Tornquist is adamant in his belief that it's a mistake for MMO creators to continue trying to copy World of Warcraft.
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GamesRadar+ is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. The MMORPG game The Secret World has been out for a bit and I’ve decided to give it a try in stereoscopic 3D mode with 3D Vision (thanks to Craylon for sending in a Buddy key).
The game still did look Ok in stereo 3D mode, there were no serious issues in graphics or effects rendering (reflections in glass for example could be a bit of an issue in S3D). Now, a bit about the game, I personally liked the storyline, the gameplay and the graphics, although you can really stress your high-end PC with it if you push for the best level of quality with tessellation and use extra filtering like FXAA (or TXAA if you have a Kepler-based GPU) and then on top of that add stereoscopic 3D rendering. What you should be well aware of before deciding if you want to play this game or not is the fact that like other popular MMORPG games when you purchase The Secret World you’ll be getting 30 days of gametime and then you need to pay subscription fees (there is an option to get The Grand Master Pack and get a Life-time Subscription for the game which may not sound that bad if you plan to spend more than a year playing the game).
Now if only the temperature would come down so I’m not sweating just sitting in front of my PC!! For this second date with Funcom’s new promising title The Secret World, I decided to see how the other two secret societies butter their bread in this tri-faction game. After swallowing a bee and acquiring your magical powers the same as any other player would with your crazy, crazy nightmares, the faction recruiter turns up to admire the way you wrecked your apartment. The Illuminati Recruiter could not be more different from the lip-sewn monk and dirty alley routine of Dragon. Should you have chosen the Templars, a surprisingly attractive, accommodating and matter of fact young woman recruits you with little fuss or muss, and further npcs are helpful and lightheartedly funny. The areas in which your hero learns to walk, talk, and click on things are the hub cities and seats of power for your faction. Whether via drugs injected by Doctor Creep, or a bum of particular oratory skill, or a mystical sex worker’s night magic the player will temporarily step into the body of an NPC as it was during the supernatural Tokyo subway disaster to learn the combat controls. After you witness the beginning of the End and  return to your own character, your primary faction representative  then brings you up to speed on how great your faction is and how incompetent and unsustainable the two rivals are.
Allow me to build up a description of a problem not so easily described by starting with another game company.
When Squaresoft came to be ruled by the Artists around the time of Final Fantasy 7,  the quality of their games went into decline while the graphics of their games just kept getting better. Both companies squandered a cachet of goodwill and trust built over years of success, because both companies forgot they were making videogames, not interactive novels. Everything you do outside of those wonderful, atmospheric and brilliant dialogue sequences or cutscenes is more important than any of that writing.
Just like the companies mentioned before, Funcom seemed to lose sight of this most crucial thing.
In an otherwise brilliant and refreshing game the combat and general world interaction does  not just fall flat, it is so downright bad that is presents a meaningful barrier to wanting to play the game at all.
Characters steer like tanks, hotkeys are mashed in the 1,1,1,1,2,1,1,1,1,1,3 style so heavily belittled by the 2012 mass of the Warcraft-weary. I mentioned in my first Blind Date piece that something you love, or want to love, cuts more deeply back into you when that very same thing makes it hard or impossible to love it. If the player can overcome that barrier in the way of fun, there’s a lot to love in the first questing hub, the Maine city of Kingsmouth, now a zombie hellhole where monsters come in the fog to use your corpse as a hatchery to breed. The MMO Gamer is your source for independent, in-depth coverage of the online gaming industry. The Secret World is a new horror-themed MMORPG developed by Funcom, the creators of Age of Conan and the lesser known Anarchy Online.
Although the setting reinforces it, character creation borders on bland due to a lack of races and noticeable facial features.

Before you can start uncovering the mysterious and horrifying secrets of The Secret World, you’ll need to choose one of three factions to join. Immediately my character was tasked with following a hooded child through a series of alleys until my character reached an eerie looking hotel. With my fine selection of chaos magic and blade mastery, I was prepared to slay the forces of evil. Sufficient understanding of my surroundings and spells made quick work of my enemies, but managing my quests was another matter. After a few hours of questing and perfecting my skill tree as best I could, I decided it was time to test some PvP. When it comes down to it, one word rings true when it comes to The Secret World, and that word is average. This also defeats the purpose of puzzle and riddle based missions since people will often be shouting the answers out over general chat. A single-player party-based RPG set in the TSW-verse is something that I would actually be interested in. In 11 years, The Secret World is the MMO that has given me the biggest rush, only beaten by Anarchy Online on 1st and World of Warcraft on 3rd.
I sweared after SWTOR that I would never ever Pre Order an MMO again (bought Collectors Edition with pre acces, cost me nearly ?140! This Sunday I teamed up with my sister and we had tons of fun, jumping on tough mobs that would have extreminated if tried killing them solo. Also there already is a cash shop, you can even click the button in the beta, although it’s disabled. If this is anything like the Mayan Apocalypse event, you’ll want to bring a friend or two if you want the best loot from these random encounters. The Secret World does not require a subscription so if you purchased the client at any time you are good to go.
Though, after about 15 minutes, it was over, marked by my characters’ ‘joining the real world’ – a zombie-infested town scenario filled with hundreds of other players.
Choosing Templar I was expecting a completely different experience, however as quickly as your personal story begins, it phases into generic quests and story that all factions share.
Whether it be searching for a clue in the surrounding area, or researching real world history through the in-game browser.
It’s an interesting approach, if a little over-ambitious, that works surprisingly well. One quest goes to great lengths to explain the details of how these creatures are reproducing (by drowning sailors and transforming them into sea-things) and you’re limited to finding the monsters with the red names and mashing your hotkeys at them. Crafting, unlike most MMOs, isn’t a simple matter of mining ore and picking herbs; instead, players are asked to dismantle all of the crap they find in their travels, which provides a variety of different materials. Currently, I haven’t noticed any open world PvP, although I have only been to the first zone, so that could obviously (and hopefully) change at later levels.
The three way PvP is definitely fun, but for how long is a question that sticks to the front of my mind.
That’s all I have had the chance to see so far, and the few days I have spent with the game have been both exciting, and disappointing, but I will leave my final judgement for when I have had more time to play and experience what the world has to offer. It caters specifically to elitists and ends up with the more casual players excluded in a typically nasty fashion. Anima surges through the sharp points, unlocking something primal -- hereditary memories of natural armaments. You can unsubscribe at any time and we'll never share your details without your permission. Hoever even with tessellation enabled I’ve noticed that in closeups some of the models of the game characters may get a bit blocky.
They could have just shown you rolling dice, and the combat would not be less engaging than it already is. As the saying goes, third time’s the charm, and this time around Funcom hopes to entice players with strong Lovecraftian themes in addition to a truly unique free-form skill system.
Unless you’re willing to go for a comedic appearance, it’s more than likely you’ll be stuck looking the same as everyone else.
The zealous Templar are an ancient organization honor bound to protecting the world from evil, the deceptive Illuminati aim to control civilization through mystical and technological wonders, and the anarchic Dragon harness the power of chaos to reshape the world to their liking. Still in pursuit of the child, I followed the sound of crying up a set of stairs and found the only accessible doorway blocked by a half-naked man covered in tattoos. Tasked with the destruction of amassing zombie forces in the fictional town of Kingsmouth, I leapt into action.
Limited to five quests at a time, players must choose three area quests, one daily quest, and one story mission before embarking beyond the safe boundaries of the town.
This would turn out to be the worst decision I would make over the course of my time playing The Secret World, as PvP is a complete and utter joke.
The only outstanding feature is the skill tree system, but it’s hardly reason enough to buy and subscribe to a horribly unbalanced MMO focused on a story the player isn’t allowed to be a part of, with a needlessly inefficient questing system that forces players to waste their time and skip content.
They don’t care how many subscriptions they have or retain because their game was so cheap to develop and produce. These are a few basic things that all went completely over your head, or you’re just oblivious to. The developers of this game invited you to *beta test* their game, and you’ve gone off and wrote and incredibly uninformed review about many things that were temporary place holders and subject to change based on player feedback like they were set in stone and have likely turned off many people from getting interested in this game. It turns the interesting concept into a typical mob-grind and completely kills the Silent Hill style atmosphere that had been built up beforehand. The map is just endless capping, with no limit or finish, and after a while it can get very dull.
We wouldn't expect the creator behind cult hits Dreamfall and The Longest Journey to push out another mundane orcs versus elves game. There are also some other issues like character bars that are rendered in stereo 3D mode, however their depth info seems to be a bit off from what it should be considering the level of depth of the character they should be attached to.
The character creation menu at the start is quite limited in character customization for example (you need to buy option packs for some extras), and you may need some time to get used to properly controlling your character’s movements along with the camera movement in the game. I’m personally not a big fan of this business model, though it is quite profitable for the companies making the games if they manage to get a large enough user base. They are all populated with idle npcs going about their lives and having occasionally amusing chats in one-liners as well.
Intrigued by the prospect of a spooky MMO set in modern times, I signed myself up for the The Secret World’s beta test and started creating my character.

One supplementary feature of character creation is the option of customizing your default outfit. A cutscene depicted the trouserless man allowing my character passage through the doorway, where I was confronted by an Asian woman who promptly explained to me that the world is being invaded by darkness, and that only I can harness the power of “anima” to stop everything from going to hell, literally.
Practically every NPC has something long-winded to say to you, and it’s almost always done in a cutscene.
Players are given nine passive skill slots to use in conjunction with nine active skill slots.
The Secret World takes the standard MMO approach to questing in that most of your time spent leveling will consist of killing monsters and collecting items scattered about the world.
Area quests generally consist of unimportant fetch quests designed to give players something to do while they go from place to place. There’s a chance The Secret World could thrive under a free to play model, but I doubt this will ever come to pass under the supervision of EA and Funcom.
Whether they buy a new MMO is not dependent on the content of the MMO–it is simply a certainty. It’s well known that character creation is a temporary feature and is being overhauled for release.
That had me fairly excited; I was expecting to enter a world where nothing made sense anymore.
Simple, shiny, effective, the three words I would use to describe the UI of The Secret World. One is the persistent battleground in which players must capture and control points for faction buffs, while the other two are battlefields for quick fights between the three factions.
The level of convergence you get by default may not be the best one for your personal preferences and the good thing is that is not locked, so you can actually play with it.
You are comfortable asking me to google verses on king Solomon but not to make sure I have fun battling the fifteen wet zombies that come after? Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with this, but while these NPC’s are explaining all the horrible things happening around you, your character sits perfectly still watching the paint dry in the background. Passive skills generally consist of buffs applied under certain conditions, while active skills have a wide range of effects. Though this isn’t anything new to those familiar with the MMO genre, players will find themselves constantly adapting their strategies to combat new foes. Players receive in-game reputation with various factions for completing daily quests every twenty-four hours. What this means is that a level fifty character fighting a level ten character is a common occurrence in The Secret World, and I can’t begin to imagine who thought this was a good idea. Everything happens in-game, whether interacting with an object or accepting a quest, pop-up windows are kept to a minimum and the quest windows have a real AR feel. If you’ve tried The Secret World or are already playing it actively you are welcome to share your feedback from the game n the comments below.
As you progress, additional articles of clothing can be acquired through in-game currency and achievements.
Each enemy I faced in The Secret World presented new mechanics, prompting me to change my strategy or face certain defeat.
Finally, story missions reward special loot for defeating boss monsters and uncovering the secrets surrounding them. Under this system, equipment only changes your character’s stats and has no cosmetic ramifications. While it’s nice to see Funcom try to inject some intrigue into the plot, it amounts to nothing when your character isn’t given the option of responding to the environment they’re disconnected from.
Zombie firemen would smash the ground in front of them, killing me almost instantaneously unless hastily dodged. It doesn’t take a college degree to figure out the player with no crowd control will beat the player with it.
But the trick according to Tornquist is that this vast size need not be measured in virtual miles.
Being able to control what my character dressed in more than made up for the lackluster character creation, but I fear this feature will practically beg Funcom to tack on a cash shop after launch. Players may choose to take spells from any of the nine skill trees when they obtain skill points, but can only generate two resources at a time. Aquatic necromancers used bursts of water to propel my character into the air, disabling my skills for a short time afterwards.
I often found myself unable to accept the far more interesting quests located outside of town without discarding the progress I’d made on quests I already had. Under this system, players may create any number of unique builds using the five hundred active and passive spells at their disposal. Questing could be made so much more efficient if this was changed, but sadly it doesn’t seem to be one of Funcom’s priorities. Each team in the Secret World has a maximum of six players from one faction, but one possibly overlooked issue is the minimum amount of players each team may be composed of. Though it takes place in current times, the plot begins in 1923 with the discovery of an ancient temple covered in ice.
The vast majority of my time in the beta was spent experimenting with new builds and I’ve no doubt that players will continue to find ways to improve upon existing builds when The Secret World launches.
Concept art shows off jungle and Oriental settings, and tons of words begin flashing across the screen with increasing speed - phrases that reference vampires, Atlantis, the New World Order, Pandora's Box, and practically any other myth, urban legend, or conspiracy theory you can think of.
Combined with the aforementioned lack of level brackets, I was unable to play a single balanced match over my three days of play. On the off-chance the teams weren’t unbalanced, you could be sure a higher level player would single-handedly win the game for their team.
Players will begin as regular people who slowly come to realize that they have special powers, which puts them into the middle of a supernatural conflict.Since these are real people in the real world, you can also say goodbye to MMO mainstays like classes and weapons, even character levels. I understand that unbalanced teams aren’t all that unlikely in a beta due to the small playerbase, but it’s absurd that games of two versus five are allowed to start in the first place.
Everything in the game will be skill-based, including guns, swords, voodoo, illusionism, investigation, and more. Hybrids will be possible, and you should never find your character stuck down a single progression path.

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