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Default The Secret World - initial impressions

July 2nd, 2012, 16:43
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
How are you doing with teaming? I've hardly ever teamed in this game. Seems like it makes everything too easy.

P.S. Looks like we're both into the green!
Attachment 1484
Green happens to be my favorite color … plus my main is a dragon so it works I really enjoy the skill system. I am slowly working towards the Martial Arts deck but only because its natural to do so since I like Chaos magic and Blade. But I am also going to work on an Executioner build (from the Templar) which is Chaos and Fist and the Ninja (think that is the Dragon one) which is Blade and Elemental. Then I plan on making my own pure occultist from Chaos and Elemental. Once nice is they all build off each other. Magic, Hands and Swords are my favorite in any game. Plus I can do it all on my main character, Kveldulfr "Ulfr" Thanor as I gather more skill points.

I have teamed up and have found it very useful for certain quests. Early on doing Draugnet can be difficult, for example (well for someone casual like myself) and having a teammate is really nice. I have never grouped with more than one person so far though. But having a partner is really nice and helps out a lot.

I tend to agree with much of what @Dart said in his more detailed review. I don't do PvP, Instances or the like so can't comment there. But clearly we have different play styles :-) It was almost 4 hours before I even left Seoul with my first character as I perfected his look. Then as soon as I was in Kingsmouth it was close to another two hours before I did my first quest as I was to busy shopping.

I am super casual - I tend to go very slow. Explore all the corners, read all the dialogue, take my time, constantly chat with friends and guild folks (that is where I get my social fix). There is so much to see and do.

However, as @Dart mentioned, I doubt I would want to do that all again. Redoing all the detailed quests a second time would have far less appeal since you know the puzzles and the story line. On the other hand you might pick up on a lot of things a second time through.

During beta I met F.A.T.E and was able to get all the skills. I didn't have more than 2 hours to play with them but I think the combat picks up a lot in complexity as you get further into the game. Choices can almost be overwhelming when you try to select what you want. But I really don't know what the more advanced combat is like, especially in a full group or PvP.

I do, however, miss my stealth - its my favorite game style in most games.

Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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July 3rd, 2012, 06:40
The whole build-resources-then-spend-on-big-skills thing is new to me, maybe that's why I'm enjoying the combat more.

What's this about having two builder skills? Why? Each skill seems to build for both weapons. They have different affects but that's what I use different builds… errr…. decks for.

Are either of you having troubles swapping between skills? I've been finding gear and even powers not getting reloaded right. I expect that to happen with gear that I've sold off but not gear I still have!

By the way, this and Batman: Arkham City are the only games where I've really been able to notice tesselation. The stoney shores look great! I tried to take a screenshot but the shot didn't save for some reason.
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July 3rd, 2012, 11:47
What's this about having two builder skills? Why? Each skill seems to build for both weapons. They have different affects but that's what I use different builds… errr…. decks for.
Yeah, I don't really know why I felt that was universally necessary.

It's just that for Blade/Elemental builders - one is instant melee, and the other is delayed ranged. That is, so far - they're all like that.

So, unless I have 2 builders - I'll have to do without useful spammable abilities covering all scenarios. Elemental builders are ideal for pulling and PvP when you're trying to maintain a safe distance. Blade builders are useful when you're in a hurry to build resources - because they're instant - and they tend to hurt more.

But, obviously, it depends on your combination of weapons - and I'm sure 1 builder is fine for a lot of builds.
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July 8th, 2012, 23:42
Having a lot of fun with this "thinking persons" game. Combat is pretty involved from the strategy side. Was reading up on bridge passives and thought I would share a great article that explains it:

It explains how you can use bridge passives to create synergy between any two weapons, even if they don't appear to have connections up front.

Bridge passive - Any passive ability from a non-equipped weapon that synergizes between one attribute from equipped weapon A and one attribute from equipped weapon B.
The example given is Blood and Pistols

The article explains it and provides a cool example, which I will quote below:
http://blackrabbit2999.blogspot.com/…o-weapons.html

Next, lets assume you wanted Pistols as one of your weapons in part because you want your playstyle to revolve around crits, hindering (snares/roots), and weaken (debuffs). Blood is there primarily for heals, but you know that various healing abilities from Blood are likely to also induce Impairment effects, Affliction effects, and to improve the likelyhood of Penetrating hits. So you want to look for ways to synergize your Pistols when such things happen as a result of your chosen Blood abilities.

The green boxes in the chart show you exactly where to look for bridge passives that can create this type of synergy between Blood and Pistols. The weapons containing such bridge passives in this case are Shotgun, Elemental Magic, Hammers, and Chaos Magic.

So, since crits and hindering are two key elements of the playstyle you're going for (i.e., a "crit-hindering build"), the chart above tells you that the best places to look for bridge passives that will suit your build are in Elemental Magic and Hammers. Elemental shows a bridge between Affliction and both Crit and Hindering. Hammer shows a bridge between Impair and Crit.

So we go poking around in the ability wheel cells for Elemental Magic, and what do we find as a cheap, easy to acquire passive bridge in one of the inner "basic" rings for Elemental Magic? Why, this little gem:

Mind over Matter (passive)
Your critical hits cause the target to be Afflicted with a damage over time effect which deals 7 magical damage every second for 5 seconds.

Even better, this passive ability is the very first ability in the cell, so you can buy it for practically nothing. Just a minor blip in your AP that you're mostly spending on Pistol and Blood abilities at first. So for a simple, cheap investment in one single ability from Elemental Magic, you now have a bridge passive that will apply an Affliction DOT every time you make a critical hit from your Pistols. And there are sure to be some Blood Actives and passives that will do many nice things when used on an Afflicted target.
They also have an excellent crafting guide:
http://blackrabbit2999.blogspot.com/…rehensive.html

At the bottom of each article they link to other guides that are, for now, current. Lots of useful information.

Weapon Synergy and Build Guide:
http://blackrabbit2999.blogspot.com/…and-build.html

The Secret World Build Mechanics and Philosophy Tips Guide
http://blackrabbit2999.blogspot.com/…anics-and.html

I am finding the building of abilities to be a puzzle itself. I normally dislike focusing to much on builds but there are so many cool layers to this that it can be fun to really create interesting builds. More importantly I am finding that my builds to NOT interfere with my role playing or the character I am building. I have always hated going with a "cookie-cutter" builds because it was "in" or because you had to be built a certain way to do a group. Heck its why I almost never group in games. But I am finding I have enough freedom to build, and dress, my character the way I like but also be very effective in combat if I take the time to build my "deck" correctly.

Often times I will be working on a quest or exploring and get my ass handed to me. To use to games that just let you run around playing whack-a-mole. If I spend a little time thinking about things and tweak my build I can often go back and win the battle. I am enjoying tweaking AOE style builds, single boss builds, and builds that revolve around certain styles (crits and hinder or impair and AoE or weaken and frenzy for example).

The quests just get better and better. Did some really cool ones last night, one had a "James bond" feel to it.

I doubt I would want to ever replay the game again if it was exactly the same, which is the only down side I can see, but at my rate it will hold me for awhile.

I wonder how you get around this? The more time developers spend on great content the harder it is to have multiple starting areas and origins … which means making alts is harder. Not to mention you can try out many builds on the same character. I guess we wait and see if they come up with anything clever.

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July 10th, 2012, 03:11
You can equip a passive ability from ANY weapon, not just from your two equipped weapons.
WHAT!?!? OMG, I need to change my builds!

I actually stopped playing for just a bit. I was about half way done with Mass Effect 3 and I need to get that game finished before I completely forget what was going on. That will give Funcom time to fix up some more bugs.
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July 11th, 2012, 06:49
They've got a website up to view game characters now. It doesn't actually show the character but it ain't bad.

http://chronicle.thesecretworld.com/character/Tesslah
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July 11th, 2012, 14:31
They also released a state of the game address that had some interesting stuff in it:

http://forums.thesecretworld.com/showthread.php?t=42532

Some cool stuff in the works for July and August and down the road. Looks really good.

Quote from the begining:

#1 Old Today, 05:28 PM
Ragnar
Producer/Director
FuncomState of the Game, July 10th 2012
Hi all,

Welcome to the inaugural The Secret World State of the Game update!

(Right, so that's a mouthful. In the future, I think I'll shorten it to TSWSotG, because that's a LOT easier to remember.)

We've had an exciting first week, and we're thrilled to see that everything has gone incredibly smooth so far. There have been some bugs and issues, of course, and we're fixing those as quickly as we can, but things are really stable and our players — you guys! — are very, very happy with the game. And that makes us very happy, too!

Now that players are progressing further and further into the game, uncovering all those things we've managed to keep secret for years and years, we're starting to see a lot of questions about what's next. What does the future hold for The Secret World, for our players and subscribers?

Well, I'm finally allowed to reveal a FEW of the things we're working on, and I'm really excited to be talking about what's ahead for The Secret World.

We're going to be releasing fresh and tasty new content FREE to our subscribers on a regular, monthly basis. The first update is due on Tuesday, July 31st, and we will be releasing more details about that particular update later this week — including a couple of fun surprises. (You're going to love it.)

So what will these updates contain? I'm glad you asked! I won't spoil too much, but here's an overview of some of the things we have in the pipelines:

* Mission packs on a monthly basis! The first few packs will contain new investigations for every adventure zone in the game — but we also have more action and sabotage missions planned for the near future. These missions will feature fully voiced cut-scenes and new media pop-ups, and will match the quality of the missions currently in the game. Oh, and like everything else in our monthly updates, these packs are FREE for our subscribers!

* New weapons! We will be announcing our first auxiliary weapon soon (one clue: bigger, slower, more explosions) and new auxiliary weapons will be released on a regular basis. Combat in The Secret World will continue to evolve, and it will pay to expand your character in multiple directions!

* Raids! We're well into production on our first raid, and there will be more information about that in August! But as a teaser: The Big Apple will never be the same

* We've already announced our plans for expanding and improving character customisation: The Modern Prometheus and Ockham's Razor are opening in New York and London respectively in August, Execution later this year in Seoul. Pangaea in London will receive new stock, and we will add more accessories and clothing as rewards for both achievements and missions

….

Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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July 12th, 2012, 03:03
one clue: bigger, slower, more explosions
Mystical bazookas!?
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July 14th, 2012, 12:49
Having a blast leveling through this aswell.
Story, writing, setting and general ambiance is all top notch and way beyond what i was expecting after Age of Conan but i dont see myself subscribing two reasons.
1st and formost is the fact that endgame is shaping up to be yet another hamsterwheel geargrind ala wow and all the rest.
The 2nd glaring issue is that inspite of having tons of skill combinations you only have 5 clickable buttons ensuring that combat will get boring and repetative regardelss of what you specc.
Dodging out of the giant white circles mobs put down really is not challenging and certainly not enough to make up for the lack of options in combat.
It is definetly worth the price of the game for the initial 30 days but unless grinding gear for its own sake is your thing i dont see it being worth a monthly fee.
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July 14th, 2012, 14:58
Originally Posted by Biff The Understudy View Post
It is definetly worth the price of the game for the initial 30 days but unless grinding gear for its own sake is your thing i dont see it being worth a monthly fee.
I hear people complain about this, but never offer a solution. How would you do an 'end game' that doesn't involve repetition? (and that keeps customers paying $15/month)
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July 14th, 2012, 15:24
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
I hear people complain about this, but never offer a solution. How would you do an 'end game' that doesn't involve repetition? (and that keeps customers paying $15/month)

Repetition is probably unavoidable but chasing virtual treasure more or less exclusively is something that gets old very fast, and im guessing after wow it is also something the majority of the mmo community is sick of.
There are other ways to keep people playing and you dont even have to re-invent the wheel as many have been done sucsessfully.
The easyest to impliment im guessing is a completly player run economy where the players themselves craft and sell everything and instances/dungeons are mostly done for the challenge of it and perhaps some hard to get recipe or material (wich should not be exclusive to that instance).
Guildwars 2 is doing something similar with only cosmetic item drops from dungeons and players crafting the best items. Their endgame is prettymuch the entire world being a ton of dynamic events and quests anyone can join regardless of level.
The best way to keep people playing tho i would think is to do what the upcomming Arche Age is attempting to do by simply giving the players a gigantic sandbox with lots and lots of toys and just let them do whatever they want since any story driven content will be consumed many times faster then it can be produced.
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July 14th, 2012, 16:29
What does '5 clickable buttons' mean? You've got 7 active powers.

I agree on the long term thing but, honestly, I don't see any way a game can possibly keep long term interest by itself. It must tap in to the community aspect to get that. The game itself will just become an excuse to play with your friends. There are some things a game can do to help that happen (basically, make itself into an internet friend finder and facilitator) but, as far as features in the end game content? I don't think they will matter much.
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July 14th, 2012, 20:02
Combat is pretty different than how you described it. You can really rotate a lot. I have builds for AoE, Solo Bosses, general adventure, ranged, self-heal, etc. I am always switching things around with the gear manager as needed. I have also had a chance to do some of the bosses and there are more things to watch out for than a white circle at your feet.

Pretty much anything can be over simplified to sound remarkably easy and simple. I found combat pretty boring at first but as I start to advance and dig deeper into it I am having a lot of fun making builds that have a lot of synergy and also provide different things to do.

I have played a lot of MMO's where you could have rows and rows of abilities … but in the end I still only used a basic set … so I don't see any difference in button mashing in TSW from other MMO's.

As for long term interest … thats an issue for an MMO not just TSW. Different games try different things. GW2 is going to grind cosmetic outfits for endgame. I am not keen on the gear influence myself … but then I don't raid either.

Lately it seems like MMO's just die faster but that could just be me. I like the phrase content locusts. People just burn through things so fast. I have no idea what a company could possibly provide for end-game content these days that would help hold people on. Funcom did post a state of the game and some of their plans. Whether any of it works remains to be seem. But I would hardly single out TSW for end-game issues since thats pretty much a global issue with any MMO. I do see TSW having an issue with the puzzle aspect. While that is a major plus right now … later on it won't be. But all that means is playing a second time around will be closer to any MMO on the market - quest, combat, and repetition is still there. The puzzles, cinematics, and story just make the first time around more enjoyable.

A lot really comes down to community, fun factor, content release, and peoples general reaction.

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July 16th, 2012, 02:42
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
What does '5 clickable buttons' mean? You've got 7 active powers.

I agree on the long term thing but, honestly, I don't see any way a game can possibly keep long term interest by itself. It must tap in to the community aspect to get that. The game itself will just become an excuse to play with your friends. There are some things a game can do to help that happen (basically, make itself into an internet friend finder and facilitator) but, as far as features in the end game content? I don't think they will matter much.
Can't agree more Zloth! But how about player created content to extend long term interest in a game?
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July 16th, 2012, 18:57
Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post
Lately it seems like MMO's just die faster but that could just be me. I like the phrase content locusts. People just burn through things so fast. I have no idea what a company could possibly provide for end-game content these days that would help hold people on. Funcom did post a state of the game and some of their plans. Whether any of it works remains to be seem. But I would hardly single out TSW for end-game issues since thats pretty much a global issue with any MMO. I do see TSW having an issue with the puzzle aspect. While that is a major plus right now … later on it won't be. But all that means is playing a second time around will be closer to any MMO on the market - quest, combat, and repetition is still there. The puzzles, cinematics, and story just make the first time around more enjoyable.
I agree, MMOs are being consumed way too fast these days, and I don't see what anyone could do to prevent that right now. A solid, lasting PvP system might hold some players, but far from everyone cares about PvP.

I feel this development is a bit of a shame - it means a lot of MMOs don't get enough resources to realize their full potential. Age of Conan had lots of potential, as does The Old Republic. I haven't tried TSW, but it wouldn't surprise me if it shared a similar fate.
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July 17th, 2012, 02:49
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
Can't agree more Zloth! But how about player created content to extend long term interest in a game?
That definitely helps. City of Heroes did a nice job of that, though it was pretty rocky at first.

There is one big thing missing from player made content, though: it's not official. If the devs were to make a CoH mission where it was revealed that Sister Psyche was actually working for the Rikti it would be a spectacular plot twist. If you try it in your own player-made content, people are going to assume you don't know what you're doing. You pretty much need to make your own characters - and doing that can take quite a bit of time.
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July 17th, 2012, 10:49
The content-driven MMO is not the only viable approach to designing these games. There are other ways to keep people interested.

It's all about the underpinning of systems and gameplay.

For instance, a solid economy and a rich and interesting crafting system is one way to sustain interest for a long, long time - without actually having to create content as a developer.

The obvious route is to let players create their own content - and I'm surprised so few developers have attempted to do that in a meaningful way. But it all comes down to the design of the systems that need to be in place to create a stable server community and let people interact without breaking the game or the experience for each other.

EvE online is a good example of an MMO that actually succeeded in doing this sufficiently well to make the game last for a significant amount of people. Unfortunately, I think the game is way too sterile and bland in terms of the moment-to-moment gameplay - and the sense of identity is just too weak for my part.

ArcheAge looks to be the only major MMO on the horizon really interested in trying to do something like this - and it's also doing the smart thing and adding a lot of themepark elements to the mix. It's supposedly a very rich and varied world with a lot of content on the side.

However, I think it's unrealistic to expect such games to maintain a very large population. Perhaps it's feasible to maintain 500K - if you do a REALLY good job, but most people are simply not interested in a long-term experience demanding a large investment on their part. They just want to relax and kick back after getting home from work.
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July 18th, 2012, 20:17
I think, that for some people, blandness in game world can be a strength rather then a weakness. A lot of old school EQ players used to complain that they miss the days when there was nothing to do except sit around talking to each other and creating back stories for their characters while they waited for goblin #2025 to spawn. Then they got to WoW where everyone was too busy doing quests and exploring dungeons, to create a virtual tavern, or discuss their life history.

Eve may work so well with player generated content because there isn't that much to do. Nobody is distracted doing quests or saving the universe from alien overlords (or at least they were not when I played, I'm sure a lot has changed). It definitely was not my thing, but it seems to work really well for some.
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July 19th, 2012, 00:32
I seldom have time to chat anymore in games … although voice chat does help you get over that a little. Still I often use crafting and exploring time to chat. Sometimes I may login and not move for an hour if a good chat is going on.

It does seem a little harder to form relationships with people online when there is little time, or incentive, to just sit around and talk about things.

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July 19th, 2012, 03:06
Yeah it was very different in a game like Eve, where you could spend an hour or more just traveling from point A to point B. Some people even did nothing but fly a giant transport ship that did nothing but sit there while other players mined astroids and brought the ore back to the ship. They didn't even press buttons, they just sat there. For hours. When that's going on, you have nothing to do, but talk to people.


Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post
I seldom have time to chat anymore in games … although voice chat does help you get over that a little. Still I often use crafting and exploring time to chat. Sometimes I may login and not move for an hour if a good chat is going on.

It does seem a little harder to form relationships with people online when there is little time, or incentive, to just sit around and talk about things.
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