Friday, 27 July 2012

I like my subscription.

I just wanted to get a few things of my chest.

I like my MMO to have a subscription model. I like the comfort in going where I like in the game and not having to check if I have already purchased the content. I like the fact I have to make a commitment to purchase the game and pay each month. This means the people around me had to do the same, so like me are invested and want to see the game evolve.

Also I like that I can stop paying the subscription when the game stops being fun, like a miniature protest.

I like to watch the game introduced smaller patches of content in an effort to keep their customer base. Then when the game has matured add paid expansions to further enhance the world.

I actually like that Funcom have also added a cosmetic cash shop to TSW. To me it just gives me choice. I don't have to spend money, but if they produce clothing which entices me enough I am happy to spend it.

What would be cool if I could buy real clothing and get the equivalent item in game as an extra.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Latest Secret World Screenshots

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Secret World, a set on Flickr.
I try to take plenty of screen shots as I play and post my favourites to flickr.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Savage Coast

If I had to describe the Savage Coast it would be a ball of your favourite chewing gum you have saved over time. Slowly collecting flavours and sticking them in one hardened clump.

Kingsmouth felt more cohesive, but I enjoyed the collection of stories in Savage Coast. A town with a haunted house, the occupants all keep a dark guilty secret. An amusement park with possessed rides and scarecrow clown (although real clowns are more frightening). An academy, holds terrifying creatures and 3 charismatic NPC’s. The league of monster slayers is a classic kids and creatures that go bump in the night story that oozed charm.

The north of the map with the native Indian’s felt a little out of place, but I loved the relationship between Kyra and her uncle.

One of my favourite areas was the light house. The fog and the atmosphere took me back to Fang Rock, an episode of Doctor Who call ‘The Horror of Fang Rock’ with Tom Baker. Inside a writer with a Steven King resemblance seems to tie all the individual stories throughout area up, as if you just ran through a set of his novels.

There was plenty to do throughout the zone but I couldn't quite shake the feeling there were a lot more stories to be told.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Secret World Podcasts

As I have an hours commute to work I listen to plenty of podcasts. I have been a long time listener to the Uncovered Podcast and over the past few weeks we have two new Secret World related casts to listen too.

Check out the links below:

Friday, 13 July 2012

Blogger's guide to The Secret World

Here is the scenario, you have around 3 hours to play ‘The Secret World’ and you want to form an opinion to tell your friends and write about the game. It is easy to get lost in the world and find your time fly out the window. Only to return with school boy comments about clunky combat and kill ten rat issues. So here is where this blog fits, advice on where to visit in a short amount of time.

The start is cut scene heavy, but they set the tone of the game so I would not recommend skipping them. The first area you find yourself in depends on your faction. These areas are not massive but you can waste a lot of time in them, soaking in the atmosphere. I would recommend for our 3 hours you move through this area quickly.

No matter what faction you select everyone goes through the Tokyo flash back. This will give your character some background on the world you inhabit, but can be left for a future character, as you don’t gain experience and it is quite standard as regards to linear story driven scenes. Once in Tokyo you can skip the area by going up the staircase.

At some point you will come across a training area. The idea is to play with the weapons and select your starting one. This too can take a lot of time, so to fast track I would recommend pressing ‘N’ then on the right hand side select the decks tab. Scroll through the decks and read each summary and pick a weapon from a deck you like. You will leave the room with a builder and finisher ability as well as a weapon. Playing around, you will quickly realise you build up points with one and do large amounts of damage with the other.

You should now be able to leave your home city and head to Kingsmouth, the meat of the starting game. The first character you meet is Jack, once you finish the first cut scene don’t forget to pickup his quest ‘A fist full of Zombies’.

At this point you might inwardly sigh (10 years of MMO’s and I am still killing 10 things). Do the short series of quests and think about what just happened. Yes you had to kill groups of zombies, but the real lesson here is what you had to do to complete the tasks. Jump on cars, drag them through fire and fight the miniature zombie boss with an area of attack ability which gave you chalk lined clues. This is a small taster of how the environment can alter missions and combat, as the game progresses this gets even more diverse and important.

Also don’t spend your AP or SP points yet, wait till you reach the sheriff’s office. By this time you should have enough spare points to purchase a builder and finisher for your second weapon. Also select your second weapon from the list of weapons you get given from completing the quests once you reach the office. This means very early on you will have 4 active abilities, 2 from each weapon you carry. Also notice as you activate any of your two weapons, points build on both finisher abilities, this will increases your DPS.

To keep things moving quickly I recommend selecting 'Supply Run' from sheriff Bannerman. This is a combat quest and will introduce you to the area and is needed to unlock 'Horror Show'.

Once back at the sheriff’s office the sabotage mission should be unlocked. Sabotage missions usually consist of sneaking around and this one is no different and takes about 15 minutes.

Our last stop is an investigation quest indicated by a green laptop icon. You have two possible choices which are close by. ‘Something Wicked’ situated here or ‘Kingsmouth Code’ at the church. I have left these till last, as they could possible take the most time. Personally I found ‘Something Wicked’ the easier out of the two.

After the investigation mission if you have some spare time I would do 'Draugnet' from deputy Andy on the roof of the sheriff’s office. This takes you to the beach and shows off how creatures in the game can be linked in a miniature mob life cycle. I also found it fun to complete this area as part of a group.

Another quick quest is from Sandy and he gives you a brief introduction to crafting.

Finally if you have flown through the content and now feel like a puzzle god you should be able to take a look at the main quest line called 'Dawning of an Endless Night'. Interestingly this series is an amalgamation of all types of quests and will have you solving puzzles, sneaking and fighting in one glorious series of dark tasks.

There you have it ‘The Secret World’ in a few hours. You can clap your hands together in the safe knowledge you have gotten at least a glimpse of what the game has to offer.

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Secret World: First Week

It has been a great few days for The Secret World. The launch has gone very smooth, and the reviews by the gaming press are very positive. Twitter #TSW, has been bouncing with excited players enjoying the game.

I have managed to get in a few 3 hour play sessions and I am coming to the end of Kingsmouth. My character Jeniveve, a dragon initiate, is using an element/blade build. Because I have enjoyed the past few days so much it is quite hard to capture it all in a blog post. So I’ll just cover my favourite point up to now.


The Polaris is a beached cargo ship. Its containers litter the shore like massive metal slabs. Shambling around the structures are Draug, think zombie and Invasion of the Body Snatchers rolled into one.  The player’s purpose is to explore and uncover the secrets around the metal carcass.
The dungeon holds true to Funcom’s design view, to minimize trash, and instead provide interesting boss fights. Each fight teaches you something about the end boss encounter and the whole dungeon feels real and natural. Well a far as plant like sea zombies can.

The last boss fight caught my imagination the most.  Not to give too much of the story away the players find themselves in a rocky enclosure. Knee deep water with monolithic stone structures dotted around the pool and at the centre a massive Cthulhu like dragon.

I have seen my far share of end dungeon encounters and this is one of the few, were I actually felt a little frightened. The beast goes into a trance like state in parts of the fight, and fog descends limiting your view distance. Its eyes glow and if you don’t hide from its gaze you will quickly die. So that is what the group has to do, use the pillars around the pool to hide from the monster as it lumbers around the location the whole scene feels eerie. You can hear the watery clump of its massive claws and occasionally catch a glimpse of it wings.

Throughout the fight this happened a few times. It also sent monsters out to look for you so you end up having to fight them and stay hidden. Then comes the awful moment it starts to tear down the pillar you are using to hide from it.

It was one of the few dungeons once I had finished I immediately want to go back and try again.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Secret World Early Access Positivity

I love it when players are positive about a game. I noticed a surprising amount of positive posts on Twitter regarding the Secret World early access. So I picked a lot (not all) of them and put them in one image.