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The Secret World is better than ever - and it's time to get involved

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
funcom, MMORPG, PC games, The Secret World

The Secret World is better than ever - and it's time to get involved

The Secret World is my favourite MMORPG of all time and I make no secret of it. Last April I wrote a call to arms entitled The Secret World Is The Secret MMORPG Revolution, explaining how it's the most unique and forward-thinking example of the genre we've seen in years.

Breaking from World Of Warcraft's template, it's an experience that puts the focus on storytelling, on detective work, on brainpower and fourth-wall breaking alternate reality, a classless and peerless adventure that takes you from New York to Egypt and dark dimensions beyond. A game that slows down to let you engage with its lore, to find the macabre and the terrible behind modern life, where every myth, legend and Lovecraft short story has a basis in fact and is probably hiding down the next dark alley. Its atmosphere is palpable, its pacing perfect. Also, Tuvok and The Reanimator are in it, so there's that.

However, there's also no denying that The Secret World had a few flaws; a handful of gripes holding veterans back from returning and newcomers from finding their feet.

The Secret World is better than ever - and it's time to get involved

Bugbears that have now been either fixed, removed or mitigated by one of the most important updates that The Secret World has ever received: the Enhanced Player Experience.

Meaning that it's time you finally got involved... or returned to take on the fantastic Toyko content.

It's difficult to overstate just how impressive the Enhanced Player Experience is, and how it fundamentally improves the game on a number of levels.

First off, enemies have now been rebalanced to make kill time quicker and combat less arduous. This might seem like an odd step for a traditional MMORPG to take, but The Secret World is not a traditional MMORPG. Its major draw is lengthy exploration missions that challenge you to out-think some magnificent puzzles, many of which actually require you to delve into the real world or actual websites to solve. For many, getting drawn into combat against tough and durable foes during these epic quests was an annoyance rather than an exciting encounter, and though I don't personally take that view I can still still admit that I tended to try and 'game' the mechanics and evade foes rather than fighting them. Hurting immersion in the progress.

The Secret World is better than ever - and it's time to get involved

New players, meanwhile, were slapped around the face by a fairly sizeable difficulty spike in the third zone. Again, I actually like the way The Secret World makes you think around problems using its incredible Ability Wheel to theorycraft and develop completely new builds, but even so, I hit this wall myself and remember it well. Now progression is much smoother and snappier, with the added effect that the slightly static combat is now delivered in smaller tense chunks. It's a huge change for the good.

And the first of many. Rewards have also been punched up a notch. You'll find better gear as you progress, with main missions tuned to dispense items that passively buff health and damage in order to increase your survivability, before revealing the opportunity to dabble in more specialised items. The maps have been completely overhauled, marking practically every useful point of interest and making navigation much more intuitive, while it's now possible to -- oh joy of joys! -- fast travel instantly between each zone rather than navigating the arcane recesses of Agartha, the game's hub area. Again, I'm a huge fan of how The Secret World slows down and makes you experience its universe first-hand, but this can only be a good thing especially for veterans like myself (who tend to memorise the exact places to jump off the starting platform and eventually end up somewhere near where we want to be hundreds of metres below).

These are huge upgrades. Huge. New players will discover an experience with the right level of friction, not in terms of lengthy combat encounters, difficulty spikes or backtracking, but in terms of satisfying puzzle solving and theorycrafting. Hats off to Funcom for what couldn't have been an easy decision.

But perhaps the biggest improvement isn't for new players. It's for lapsed players, those who completed the campaign and always meant to return once the Tokyo content released, but then found themselves facing a nasty barrier to entry: dozens of hours of grinding in virtual reality 'scenarios' before being allowed into the new expansion!

"At the risk of sounding arrogant, I'd urge Funcom to consider retooling the current status quo by awarding players the Council Seal for successfully completing any single scenario," I wrote in my Issue #9 - The Black Signal Review. "That way, the story remains intact and players get a chance to taste the Augment system, but can then move on or continue running Scenarios because they want to."

Now, I don't want to take credit for what you're about to read. I'm not that egotistical. But... I'll let Funcom explain.

The Secret World is better than ever - and it's time to get involved

"Players who have finished the main Story Mission in Transylvania may now continue the story for free in Venice, and then move on to Tokyo. They can travel through the Venice sewers and make their way to Tokyo via the subway before they enter the city. Any player must still own Issue #9 to continue the story in Tokyo itself though. The Council of Venice has reduced the amount of training needed to progress to Tokyo. Players now only need one mandatory training session in the virtual reality training facility."

Coincidence? Yes, probably. But whether they heeded my advice or not, it's an absolutely massive move that should finally open the floodgates.

So I'd urge you to try The Secret World. I'd beg you to get back into it. Because while The Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar tried to innovate and failed, The Secret World promised a genuine MMORPG revolution and actually delivered.

I'll keep an eye out for a deal, and I'll see you in Tokyo.

Add a comment10 comments
RanAihara  Mar. 19, 2015 at 17:51

Joel Bylos is leaving. That's all that needs to be said. They can try and cover up that loss with as many shiny new toys as they like, but the game was hit hard enough losing Ragnar. It will not survive losing Joel.

Grobbendonk  Mar. 19, 2015 at 21:04

Available on Amazon for £11.48 delivered so I'm in. Lets see what all the fuss is about.

MMORPG's are like buses to me. Nothing for years and then this week I'm all over Tamriel and now this! There goes my social life.

I'm so glad I picked up ESO (Explorer pack edition) for £7.50 a few months back and left it on the shelf!

sabin1981  Mar. 20, 2015 at 15:17

Available on Amazon for £11.48 delivered so I'm in. Lets see what all the fuss is about.


Technically it's only £11.48 for the first four "Issues", the remaining SEVEN have to be purchased separately. All told, if you want to properly play TSW right now you need to fork out nearly a hundred quid.

modernevil  Mar. 20, 2015 at 17:25

Available on Amazon for £11.48 delivered so I'm in. Lets see what all the fuss is about.


Technically it's only £11.48 for the first four "Issues", the remaining SEVEN have to be purchased separately. All told, if you want to properly play TSW right now you need to fork out nearly a hundred quid.


Wait, wait, don't order on Amazon! According to their latest marketing email, you can get the base game plus Issues 5-8 for just £16.99! They've also got a promotion going for all the Tokyo content for a bit over half off.

battlinjack  Mar. 20, 2015 at 17:32

I played for a while, but eventually gave up even though I felt it was a great game. Whenever I would get stuck or have a question, I rarely got an answer of any kind, much less a serious one.

Jugger  Mar. 20, 2015 at 18:28

I actually bought a fancy laptop to play this game ... what is the deal with crafting? I've been playing the game for like 3 months and crafting remains impermeable. I also have no idea how to craft decks so that I can quickly switch builds(assault rifles and blades and I've upgraded Blood Magic up to the first tier but never gotten to use it as I have issues switching builds in under about 25 minutes,) but my actual question is, how do I find out how many DLCs have been released? I see ads for Issue#9-12, does that mean there are 9 other stories that are available or are 1-8 contained in the initial game?

Jebal91  Mar. 20, 2015 at 18:49

Available on Amazon for £11.48 delivered so I'm in. Lets see what all the fuss is about.


Technically it's only £11.48 for the first four "Issues", the remaining SEVEN have to be purchased separately. All told, if you want to properly play TSW right now you need to fork out nearly a hundred quid.


Or you know, just subscribe and you get everything free, you get all issues then. 'Nearly a hundred quid' down to like 11 quid? I dunno, that's just my logic speaking.

BlueAlert  Mar. 20, 2015 at 18:55

I actually bought a fancy laptop to play this game ... what is the deal with crafting? I've been playing the game for like 3 months and crafting remains impermeable. I also have no idea how to craft decks so that I can quickly switch builds(assault rifles and blades and I've upgraded Blood Magic up to the first tier but never gotten to use it as I have issues switching builds in under about 25 minutes,) but my actual question is, how do I find out how many DLCs have been released? I see ads for Issue#9-12, does that mean there are 9 other stories that are available or are 1-8 contained in the initial game?


1) Crafting is covered in two quests in Kingsmouth, but the only real use it gets is the occasional consumable or to make a glyph for a weapon/talisman. Doing the missions and issues will keep you pretty well geared without touching endgame content.

2)Gear Management. Hit 'C', check out your options under Gear Management. This is how you save, update, and swap out decks you make.

3) There are currently 11 issues released. Only Issues 1 through 4 are contained in the base game, with the rest being available for small fees. Issue 12 is getting ready to release in April. There is currently a deal to get Issues 9-12 for a little over half off through Funcom directly.

Jugger  Mar. 20, 2015 at 19:35

I actually bought a fancy laptop to play this game ... what is the deal with crafting? I've been playing the game for like 3 months and crafting remains impermeable. I also have no idea how to craft decks so that I can quickly switch builds(assault rifles and blades and I've upgraded Blood Magic up to the first tier but never gotten to use it as I have issues switching builds in under about 25 minutes,) but my actual question is, how do I find out how many DLCs have been released? I see ads for Issue#9-12, does that mean there are 9 other stories that are available or are 1-8 contained in the initial game?


1) Crafting is covered in two quests in Kingsmouth, but the only real use it gets is the occasional consumable or to make a glyph for a weapon/talisman. Doing the missions and issues will keep you pretty well geared without touching endgame content.

2)Gear Management. Hit 'C', check out your options under Gear Management. This is how you save, update, and swap out decks you make.

3) There are currently 11 issues released. Only Issues 1 through 4 are contained in the base game, with the rest being available for small fees. Issue 12 is getting ready to release in April. There is currently a deal to get Issues 9-12 for a little over half off through Funcom directly.


Thank you!

RkRock  Mar. 21, 2015 at 11:19

I actually bought a fancy laptop to play this game ... what is the deal with crafting? I've been playing the game for like 3 months and crafting remains impermeable. I also have no idea how to craft decks so that I can quickly switch builds(assault rifles and blades and I've upgraded Blood Magic up to the first tier but never gotten to use it as I have issues switching builds in under about 25 minutes,) but my actual question is, how do I find out how many DLCs have been released? I see ads for Issue#9-12, does that mean there are 9 other stories that are available or are 1-8 contained in the initial game?

Edit: Ok I just noticed that this was already answered but I'll just leave the comment anyway. ^^'

1. Crafting is done in a "minecraft way" where you place items in the shape of the thing you want to craft, you can find all recipes using google.
2. If you press "c" and go to "Gear Manager" you can save, update and load your builds there. The Gear Manager lets you choose if you want to save the entire build (abilities and talismans etc) or only parts of it. So for example if you upgrade your talismans a lot you might want to only save your abilities to make sure it doesn't load (or tries to load) old talismans. If you run out of gear manger slots you can buy more of them in your faction HQ.

If you (or anyone else) have more questions you can simply go to the bank or post office in London, talk to the cashier, swap to the "mail" tab and send me (RkRock) a mail with your question. I will try to answer it as soon as I can (you will get a notification when I do). Alternatively you can try to write /tell RkRock >question< in the chat window but that only works if I'm online at the time.

Last edited by RkRock, Mar. 21, 2015 at 11:20

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