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Default The Secret World - initial impressions

June 28th, 2013, 22:14
I found it to be a wasted opportunity. Great fresh idea for an MMO. But you really just run around and kill monsters. Don't know what the answer is, but it could have been more, IMO. It's kind of ugly, too.
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July 1st, 2013, 22:52
Can you play this game on your own or are there some dungeons and quests that require teams? I used to play Conan, another Funcom game, I loved it but I got so frustrated with so many quests and nearly all dungeons requiring a team, which would be fine (it is an MMO) but the servers were so unpopulated and the group tools so basic it was too hard to find a group. I gave up playing because of that. I really enjoyed the game, and must have played at least a couple of hundred hours but I can count on one hand the times I got into a full and effective group for any length of time, and actually got something accomplised.
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July 2nd, 2013, 00:22
You can play on your own, yes; 99% of the game is indeed solo content (which is a complaint for some). There are 10ish? dungeons that require a group scattered throughout the game, but these are optional while you run through other content.

What I wrote above covers the first 3-4 weeks of your TSW experience. Unfortunately, once you've completed your main story quest and each of the *many* side quests once, the game dumps you into a quandary:
  • Repeat your choice of side quests for the sake of experience and unlocking more skills (there's on the order of 500 skills you can unlock for different builds)
  • Run dungeons to very gradually collet tokens through which you can upgrade your equipment.

Therein lies TSW's only major fault - once you experienced its wonderful story and have come to gradually unlock the skills you prefer to use, there really isn't much to do beyond upgrading equipment simply for the sake of doing so (there's a single raid in the game that requires full upgraded characters but I don't consider it much of an impetus towards grinding tokens). The slowly evolving story and gameplay that you have come to love all comes to a sudden halt. That is not to say that TSW doesn't deserve to be played because of this - most definitely the contrary - but you'll eventually find yourself having to decide whether to abandon the game while waiting for new content or to jump into dungeon content with a different mindset.

Speaking of that new content, the latest update, Last Train to Cairo, contained some of the most fun I've ever had in a game, MMO or otherwise: leaping from boxcar to boxcar on a speeding train while music faintly reminiscent of Indiana Jones played in the background
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July 2nd, 2013, 00:40
Issue 7 is out shortly and they have their anniversary part this week. I have been playing a year and have gotten as far as Egypt … so for me this game is great. A lot depends on how much time you have to play and your approach. I don't do dungeons but I heard they also added night mare mode.

They do seem to release a lot of new content - faster than I can keep up with it but granted I also have played very little in between Skyrim. I decided to make a fresh character, Templar this time, and starting to play again.

I suspect if I ever did get caught up I would just take a break for awhile like I did with Skyrim. But then I don't think I could ever play an MMO again like I did when I was younger. I mainly treat them like a more social SRPG game these days. Something to play for a while until something else comes around.

But I do think TSW is a breath of fresh air in some ways.

Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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July 2nd, 2013, 09:03
TSW also has weak and dreadfully dull combat as one of its major problems.
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November 7th, 2013, 12:04
I picked this up (just the core game) during the Steam Halloween sale, and I have to say I can't why this was ever made as an MMO. It's got a good premise, some interesting areas and beasties, but it's got the same clunky, generic MMO gameplay that everything else has and seeing a horde of other people running around doing exactly the same quests ruins the atmosphere. I can't help but feel it could have been infinitely better if they'd just done a single-player game and gone with more appropriate controls, combat, etc.

I'll imagine I'll play around with it until I feel I've got my money's worth, but I just can't see it lasting for very long.
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November 7th, 2013, 12:27
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
I picked this up (just the core game) during the Steam Halloween sale, and I have to say I can't why this was ever made as an MMO. It's got a good premise, some interesting areas and beasties, but it's got the same clunky, generic MMO gameplay that everything else has and seeing a horde of other people running around doing exactly the same quests ruins the atmosphere. I can't help but feel it could have been infinitely better if they'd just done a single-player game and gone with more appropriate controls, combat, etc.

I'll imagine I'll play around with it until I feel I've got my money's worth, but I just can't see it lasting for very long.
It sounds like you don't like MMOs - so expecting an MMO to change just for you is a bit much, no?

That said, the game is definitely best played solo or in small groups. The stories are too personal and the flow is not well suited for multiple players standing around listening to their own thing.

SWtOR did this much better, because it allowed players to participate together during story exposition and NPC interaction.

This game is clearly designed by people who don't understand how MMOs should work - and that's unfortunate.
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November 7th, 2013, 13:03
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It sounds like you don't like MMOs - so expecting an MMO to change just for you is a bit much, no?
I'd say improving the gameplay to better fit the style of the game would be good for everyone, but maybe that's just me. It feels particularly jarring and out of place in this game.
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November 7th, 2013, 13:06
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
I'd say improving the gameplay to better fit the style of the game would be good for everyone, but maybe that's just me. It feels particularly jarring and out of place in this game.
But you said it has the usual generic crap - which I take it means you consider MMOs to have generic clunky gameplay as the norm?

MMOs are primarily about the concept of sharing experiences - and TSW has a lot of quality material to share. It's just that the sharing facilities are more of a hindrance to sharing than they should be.
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November 7th, 2013, 13:38
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
But you said it has the usual generic crap - which I take it means you consider MMOs to have generic clunky gameplay as the norm?
Pretty much, yeah. If you don't feel MMOs are stale and need to evolve and enjoy them as they are, then I won't argue it with you. At least we agree that the game doesn't quite work as it is.
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November 7th, 2013, 13:43
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
Pretty much, yeah. If you don't feel MMOs are stale and need to evolve and enjoy them as they are, then I won't argue it with you. At least we agree that the game doesn't quite work as it is.
I don't think clunky and generic gameplay is the real issue with MMOs, no. I agree that Secret World has a clunky combat system - but many MMOs don't.

But gameplay can mean different things to different people. When I talk about gameplay - I'm usually talking about moment-to-moment entertainment, and not whether something is too linear or too derivative of other games.

I think the overall design paradigm of most modern MMOs is boring - but that's another matter. Secret World is actually an example of an MMO that could have been quite wonderful without the clunky combat and poor multiplayer integration.
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November 7th, 2013, 13:43
In my opinion, it works fine as a single player game, not so much as an MMO. And its execution of the best skill system to come out since Guild Wars 1 makes a lot of other things forgivable.

Hmmm… I should load it back up one of these days, see if I sitll lag in Blue Mountain with my new computer.
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November 7th, 2013, 13:46
Personally, I think the skill system is generic and ultimately quite dull. There's way too much overlap and it suffers heavily from focusing on a handful of effects - rather than truly distinct powers and abilities.

I was excited initially, but came to learn that "builds" were ultimately not as distinct as I thought - and that most fights consisted of using 1-2 builders and then a finisher.

Actually, it's much like GW2 in that way - and that's not good.
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November 7th, 2013, 13:48
Well, yeah, the actual combat system needs help. But the plethora of available skills provides for wonderful variation; you can be anything with your very first character - no need to reroll.
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November 7th, 2013, 13:51
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Well, yeah, the actual combat system needs help. But the plethora of available skills provides for wonderful variation; you can be anything with your very first character - no need to reroll.
As I said, I don't consider a handful of effects distributed between 600 skills very satisfying.

I like the concept - but they didn't nail the sensation of distinct powers. Obviously, I don't think it's realistic to expect 600 "exciting" powers - but I don't think I could find more than 15-20 abilities that felt truly distinct.

Then again, I tend to like how classes make your character feel distinct, and I don't really enjoy being able to do everything on a single character.

I love building characters from the ground up and exploring distinct avenues of playstyles and powers.

Obviously, TSW doesn't offer me that - but it does offer the best story presentation and writing of any MMO I've ever played.
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