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Default The Secret World - initial impressions

May 12th, 2012, 14:57
Had a chance to play about 3 hours last night. Beta weekend is limited to just Templars and just London and Kingsmouth Maine (USA). Below are some initial impressions … very random rambling so do NOT expect an organized review at this point - will try to add some more after the weekend is over. Some screen shots attached.

TSW surprised me a little. Based on much of what I read I actually had not expected much and had my doubts. My main interest in it, really, was the current setting mixed in with magic, mysticism, swords, mythology all during modern day earth. Just so awesome. I would LOVE to be the guy I made with magic powers in the secret world … the gates of hell opening upon the planet … not so much

Anyhow the combat is rather cool. Reminds me a little of GW2 in that you have "sets" you swap out in a way. So far I like it but I did not get to far. Fairly fast paced. It has builders that result in finishers. So do X for a bit and then you can do Y which does extra damage, heal, etc. but uses up all your built up points. You have 7 active skills and 7 passive at any one time. You get two "weapons" and they can help "build" points (resources) for their respective area or even both areas. For example you could have fist weapons and chaos magic equipped. A certain fist attack might only build a fist resource or might build both. You create sets that are synergistic so they work together. LOTS of strategy options.

At first I was sword and chaos magic all the way. But they don't seem to work well together … I mean both had direct attacks so its one dozen or another … although I suppose some mobs will be immune/resistant to magic so having a back up would be good.

Then I switched to chaos magic and fists. I really love those - fists have a lot of neat healing and "nature" themed powers (Primal). EXCEPT the fists weapons, when sheathed, are HORRIBLE. They just float on your hips, a few inches in the air, and look so moronic I find it very distracting. So while fists/chaos (similar to executioner deck) is cool … not sure I can heal with the way they did the graphics.

So right now I am doing chaos magic (thats stable at least as I love that line) and elemental magic - so a pure modern day mage. Elemental gives me some ranged attacks and then when mobs come in I have the chaos for some direct fighting. Going with that for now.

Overall I like the game. Not as much as GW2 but since GW2 is free there won't be to much conflict with playing both. A lot will depend on how well I can solo in TSW. In GW2 its a non-issue because of the dynamic events and how everything encourages you to work together and cooperate. In TSW I don't know if anything like that exists.

After the freedom of GW2, and even public events in Rift, the idea of going back to worrying about kill stealing, ninja loots, or "wait in line to kill X" is very unappealing. But I don't know enough about TSW to know if any of those issues exist.

So a lot depends on how dealing with other players is dealt with in TSW. I really like the in-game google browser and the way the game ties in real world to virtual. The quest system is refreshing if only because its a little different. The interactive world is fun - jumping on cars to set off alarms, igniting gas cans, things like that.

Overall theme, atmosphere and setting gets a 10+ from me. Game play/combat is about 8. MMO aspects (grouping) is an unknown so can't score …

PS- There is a list of known issues. So my initial complaint over lack of character creation abilities should be addressed with the live version as they said there would be more options:

http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/showthread.php?t=29187

EDIT: Wanted to add a link on end-game, grouping, dungeons, etc. as its a bit different in TSW. I don't really do raiding or dungeons but if I get lucky enough to meet some easy going folks to group with I might try it. Most folks tend to be to hard-core for me but who knows.

http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/sho…&postcount=435
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg Farkas_picture002.jpg (66.3 KB, 173 views)
File Type: jpg TheSecretWorldDX11 2012-05-11 17-09-45-08.jpg (87.2 KB, 173 views)
File Type: jpg TheSecretWorldDX11 2012-05-11 17-08-03-70.jpg (69.1 KB, 168 views)
File Type: jpg Farkas_picture022.jpg (77.7 KB, 165 views)
File Type: jpg Farkas_picture011.jpg (72.9 KB, 28 views)

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Last edited by wolfgrimdark; May 12th, 2012 at 23:36.
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May 14th, 2012, 02:44
By the way … for all the folks around here who like puzzles - TSW has some tough ones. Just spent an hour doing one of them and it was very hard. Had to get a couple of hints to finish. Not use to that level of problem solving in an MMO

Very well done, super creepy, and you really get rewarded for exploring and thinking. They hold your hand in some of the stuff … but in others they rip it off your arm and throw it away.

Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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May 14th, 2012, 05:07
This game doesn't feel ready for release in one month at all.
While the skill wheel system is interesting, the combat itself is not.All weapons are the same AP type system.
You just spam your AP builder then AP spender for EVERY kind of weapon, that results in all weapons felt the same except for the range.
Animations are bad, which is funny because AoC from the same company have great char animations, this also make you feel that skill has no impacts/effect on mobs.
Investigation quests are fun, but it is an one time thing for each player, since you already knew the answer for the puzzles 2nd time around. The rest of the quests felt no differences from the other MMORPGs, except with moden settings.
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May 14th, 2012, 07:10
Imho the game was screwed the moment they decided to use the 12 year old Dreamworld engine (same as age of conan).
While the improvements made to it allows for some nice grafix age of conan clearly shows its many limitations.
They also seem to to have ignored many of the other lessons aoc should have taught them and so are once again rushing out what feels like an unfinished/unpolished game with lofty promises of things to come.
And they once again decided to do so right before the start of summer hollies to ensure they can only keep a skeleton crew around to fix the many problems that are sure to arise.
Really wish they had just stuck to singleplayer games (gimme the longest journey 3 allready dagnabbit!).
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May 14th, 2012, 11:39
Finished Beta and my opinion did get a bit more negative, even if the puzzles became a bigger positive. I actually logged out early last night … which says something I suppose. In GW2 I played up to the bitter end of beta

I would keep my atmosphere setting high - I really do like it. So 10. Combat I would move down to 6-7 as it was cool at first then got very repetitive later on. Grouping - didn't see a lot of cooperation but I am a major introvert so not a good judge, but I certainly did not see the community I saw in other betas I have done so a 6. Quests I did like so 8+ (relative to an MMO not an SRPG game). Graphics are old but meh … they were good enough for me so 7.

In regards to the follow up posts, I certainly can't argue any of those points. While not as critical (I tend to be pretty easy going on most games) the combat is spammy - although I certainly like the idea of the sandbox design and the wheel myself. The whole thing feels fairly open and flexible and I like the ability to put together your own character.

The link to the beta issues does point out that:

We are constantly tweaking and polishing player abilities, both in terms of adding more utility, changing effects and animations, and for balance purposes
Many folks I play with have said, however, the biggest concern is having it ready in one month considering the list of changes they list on their own list (the one I linked above) along with the polish and other things needed.

In regards to quests certainly once you do them .. you know them … but that can be said of *every* quest in any game … see no reason to signal it out here. At least the first time around you have the puzzle. After that it will be like any other MMO where you already know the answer .. or any SRPG for that matter. Plus it is an MMO … giving them the benefit of the doubt, and being somewhat optimistic, it could be possible they will add new puzzles or change existing ones. Granted I doubt it would be on any level that would make doing an alt a new experience.

But then the game seems less about alts considering the what the ability wheel and skills are set up. Can't see more than 3 (one for each faction).

Anyway I thought the game was okay, if lacking the spark I would like. I would consider it worth the money to play through once and then drop - pretty much what I did with SWTOR (actually I didn't even finish that game, made it to level 29 then quit, but I still got enough game play to be worth it).

Still I doubt TSW will hold me unless something changes. I have seen similar (if less harsh) statements on combat and mixed feelings on graphics. Plus I played AoC and AO and Funcom just doesn't seem to do well. Being a company with a lot of MMO experience they don't seem to learn anything, which is to bad as TSW is a great idea with much potential.

GW2 is pretty much the game for me this year and beyond. TSW is just a snack to tide me over until then.

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May 14th, 2012, 14:05
Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post
Finished Beta and my opinion did get a bit more negative, even if the puzzles became a bigger positive. I actually logged out early last night … which says something I suppose. In GW2 I played up to the bitter end of beta
Yes, I got in beta and only played it for a couple of days. Didn't like the skill wheel thing (but that's a personal problem, I know others love it). Loved the puzzles in the quests, loved the single player instances. Hated the combat. Never grouped (didn't see any group quests). Hated the crafting system. The whole game/UI felt really rough and unpolished.
Overall, it has some good features, but imho not enough for me.
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May 14th, 2012, 19:01
In addition to poor funding, Funcom unfortunately lacks a bit technical expertise to pull it off. As a result, this release will probably turn out as AoC. Too big a scope for such a small developer. The concept is killer though.

(did a little beta testing some months ago)
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May 15th, 2012, 11:18
Originally Posted by Biff The Understudy View Post
Imho the game was screwed the moment they decided to use the 12 year old Dreamworld engine (same as age of conan).
This is at least better than the current DDO engine, which looks ( ! ) even older.


By the way, what is this game (which bears a similar title like a video by Peter Gabriel) actually about ?

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 15th, 2012, 13:32
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
This is at least better than the current DDO engine, which looks ( ! ) even older.


By the way, what is this game (which bears a similar title like a video by Peter Gabriel) actually about ?
a modern world MMO (that in itself is already rare). 3 secret societies (Templars, Iluminati and Dragons). No class system (you learn skills and you select skills you want to use at will, 5 active (weapon dependant)/ 5 passive. That's it in a very small nutshell.
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May 15th, 2012, 16:02
Thank you, but I rather meant the plot.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 15th, 2012, 18:20
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Thank you, but I rather meant the plot.
Try http://www.thesecretworld.com/gameplay

The Secret World is a massively multiplayer online world with a unique modern-day setting and unparalleled freedom of character progression.
Imagine if every myth, conspiracy theory and urban legend was true. Imagine a world where you can become anything you want to be, without restrictions such as classes or levels. This is the premise for The Secret World, Funcom’s upcoming massively multiplayer online game set in the modern-day real world.

From wiki
Story

The game will feature an original setting created by Funcom, with contemporary elements as well as "magic, myths, conspiracies and dark horrors."[12] Contrary to rumors spawned by the game's second working title, it has nothing to do with, nor is it inspired by, the .hack franchise and its setting.[13] Tørnquist debunked several rumors surrounding The Secret World, stating that "there are no aliens or sci-fi elements" in it.[14] He also denied any connection of TSW to The Longest Journey.[14]
At GDC 2009, Tørnquist revealed more about the setting and the story.[2] He stressed that the game is set in the "modern day real world" but also incorporates pieces of ancient mythologies, real and false history, urban legends, and pop culture, and ties them into an original back-story. The latter is said to go back in time for 100 million years and encompass long extinct ancient civilizations. The players will assume the roles of supernatural heroes who participate in a "future war between good and evil", fighting dark monsters that threaten the modern world. Tørnquist identified the genre of the story as dark fantasy, mentioning vampires, demons, and zombies. The players will be free to travel across different locations of the world (both real, like London, New York and Seoul, and mythical, e.g. Agartha, the legendary city located within Hollow Earth[15]) and even in time, to pursue the overall plot and investigate new mysteries in connection to the dark invasion. The overall plot will have a conclusion but the designers also leave room for future expansions.

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May 15th, 2012, 21:11
I enjoyed this game quite a bit, the questing/story/puzzle seemed great, as did the atmosphere. I actually didn't have a problem with the controls or the combat, as both were much better than say….any Gothic game? There wasn't any input lag keeping me from precision and some weapons felt "weighty". The main issue, as I see it now, is animation and sound effect coordination; as well as the effects. AoC had great combat in that regard, and you wonder why it's not completely nailed in this game as well. Same engine etc… Overall I'm pretty excited, but think they may be making the same mistake they've made with every mmo release, 6 months to a year too soon.

I'm sure they don't really have a choice at this point though.
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May 16th, 2012, 03:15
Gorram NDA. I'm afraid Cthulhu will eat my goldfish if I talk.

The inspiration for the game is pretty clearly from The Illuminati Trilogy, which was also written under the supposition that every conspiracy theory was actually true. Secret World has its own ideas, though, so don't expect to run into the John Dillinger Died For You society or overcome evil rock bands by via mass orgies with ancient Greek goddesses.

(Well… maybe the latter. They haven't said much about the end game yet.)

P.S. Also, best use of a zipper in a trailer: http://www.gametrailers.com/video/ex…-secret/717043
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May 16th, 2012, 17:23
I begin to wonder how an conspiracy theory might look like in a Fantasy setting ? … Hm, interesting thought …

Thank you.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 19th, 2012, 06:57
I'm really interested in the game but whether I get it or now will depend on if there are Age of Conan sytle epic monsters that require a team of players to defeat. And if there are, how effective are the tools to find players to group with. Age of Conan is a great game but I'm so sick of never being able to find a group, so I just end up getting an 80 from my guild to run through with me to kill everything which isn't fun at all but at least you clear the quest.

Also I'm worried how it will run on my aging machine.
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May 19th, 2012, 13:09
I've been playing a little more (beta weekend again). But while the game is very good I am having trouble getting into it. I think its a mix of the genre (not a horror fan by any means) and the combat is … well… a bit repetitive, at least so far. I have heard it gets better once you get more options and get deeper into the wheel, so trying to stick it out.

I remember last night I had to get to the Lady Margaret - a boat that is part of the core mystery to what is happening in Kingsmouth. I had to work my way through some impalers. Do to positions I had to fight my way all the way down the dock and to the ship. I fell off the ship so had to then fight my way to land, and the docks were respawned and I had to do it all over again. Then I read what I had to … then had to fight my way all the way back. All the fighting was basically spamming two keys (skills) with a 3rd put in just for variety (but didn't actually need since it did the same thing as another skill) and a 4th that was on a long timer.

It is so odd though as GW2 is somewhat similar in that you are limited to certain skill sets (although its quick and easy to swamp them around) yet it doesn't feel as repetitive (although obviously there is some). Maybe the high fantasy setting and other aspects I like about GW2 makes it seem less arduous.

I wonder if TSW will be polished enough by mid-June? They seem to have a lot to do. The game is cool and I do like it just not as much as I had hoped. Last night I ended up playing for an hour and was like hmmm … guess I will play some Diablo 3 and go to bed.

The way tagging mobs and grouping work seems more old style versus the more cooperative nature of more recent MMO's (like Rift and GW2). There is no mail system and it seems to be missing some core things I am rather used to in MMO's. I haven't had any random invites to group, no one has offered to join up, only one person even bothered to jump in an help fight. I have seen people spamming chat on occasion for help with a quest so I am sure grouping is going on

Anyhow I will play some more tonight. I find I love/hate the puzzles I get frustrated sometimes as I often take things very different than the writers. Yet I also really enjoy solving them.

TL;DR - I still have VERY mixed feelings on this game.

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May 19th, 2012, 15:06
Well, it's not revealing anything to say that the powers get more fun after some time. The big claim to fame is the wheel. You get to essentially design your very own class by picking powers out of that wheel and putting the ones you want on your skill bars. When you are first starting out, though, you'll have more skill slots on your bar than skills so you just put them all in. The payoff isn't going to come until you have two or three times as many skills as the skill bar can hold. That's the point where you're going to start picking out your existing skills to handle each situation.

(This video explains it nicely.)

I expect the same thing to happen in GW2. In the first days, the whole weapon swapping thing won't be super exciting because you'll only have one or two weapons that you are trying to concentrate on. After some time, though, it will become a great feature.

In both of these games your character isn't going to be just a tank, just a healer, or just a solo specialist. They will be able to become all those things as needed. Just step back for a few seconds, swap out your skills, and your AoE specialist becomes a single target crowd control specialist.

P.S. City of Heroes had something a little like this with their shape shifting Kheldians.
Last edited by Zloth; May 19th, 2012 at 15:17.
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May 19th, 2012, 15:58
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
In both of these games your character isn't going to be just a tank, just a healer, or just a solo specialist. They will be able to become all those things as needed. Just step back for a few seconds, swap out your skills, and your AoE specialist becomes a single target crowd control specialist.
I'm colored by warcraft but I thought distinct roles was a big plus. I spent countless months learning to play my hunter, which was primarily ranged dps + crowd control, including an awesome turtle doing tanking that sometimes had infinite armour (actually capped) because of a bug . I don't know, but I think it made me more attached to my avatar than if I could redesign my character every second with a button-click. You're not really restricted anyway since you can always create a new character.
Last edited by hishadow; May 19th, 2012 at 16:42.
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May 20th, 2012, 04:08
Originally Posted by hishadow View Post
I'm colored by warcraft but I thought distinct roles was a big plus. I spent countless months learning to play my hunter, which was primarily ranged dps + crowd control, including an awesome turtle doing tanking that sometimes had infinite armour (actually capped) because of a bug . I don't know, but I think it made me more attached to my avatar than if I could redesign my character every second with a button-click. You're not really restricted anyway since you can always create a new character.
Thank you! Exactly what I think. I prefer games in which your character has a role, it is both much more immersive to me, and I feel a better attachment to characters and friends. It's like if in the Lord of the Rings, Gimli started casting fireballs and Frodo started shooting arrows like Legolas. Totally breaks my immersion.
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May 20th, 2012, 14:24
Recently found out Ragnar Tørnquist has stated in several interviews that he will be pushing for an Xbox release of the game wich would explain the limited number of buttons on the ui.
If i remember correctly a planned console release was how they justified all the loading screens in Age of conan when that came out.
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