[TSW] What’s so different about The Secret World?

Due for release next month (I can say that now we’re in March)n (edited to add: in three months time, on June 19th, thanks Sephirah), The Secret World has the distinction of being the only MMO I know of that’s due to be set in the modern day real world, albeit a weird cthulhu-esque conspiracy theory version. (CCP’s World of Darkness is another urban fantasy real world setting, but that game is firmly on the back burner now.)

They recently invited press to play a preview, and one thing that came out is the genuine sense of freshness in their approach. A game in which an NPC can drop you a hint and you (ie. the player) can go do some research in google in another window and then come back into the game with a new avenue for investigation in mind. Or where clues might be hidden in the world around you, not highlighted and flashing so that even a braindead player will not fail to spot them. A game which, like GW, allows you to collect lots of skills but forces you to select only a few (7) at any time, in the same way that you’d pick a hand of cards from a deck. A game which claims to have no classes, but lets everyone pick up skills for tanking/ dps/ support if they want.

A game where modern day London is the hub city of choice.

And a game in which you can play a member of the lluminati, a group whose motto seems to be “sex, drugs, Rockefeller.” Sure, there are two other secret societies you could be a member of, but why bother when you can be on the winning team instead :)

There are a lot of ways in which this type of design could look good on paper and fail in practice. How good will those puzzles be once one person has solved them and put a guide up on the web? If groups are still based on the trinity then will it matter that they claim that there are no classes?

However, I am intrigued. Here’s a couple of writeups from the press open days. See what you think.

Rock Paper Shotgun (Templar) and Illuminati

Eurogamer

Escapist

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17 thoughts on “[TSW] What’s so different about The Secret World?

  1. It looks really interesting, but I don’t think I’ll have room for another subscription game in my life this year. Also, have to wait and see if this is another Funcom game with the Tortage syndrome. But it definitely looks intriguing. I am a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed games, and mostly because I love the whole global conspiracy theories in it.

  2. It looks like there’s going to be a showdown between GW2 and TSW, I’m expecting them to be out about the same time. Followed GW2 for the longest time, but TSW is quickly gaining ground, the dark horse so to speak. It’s exciting to have two interesting, different MMOs come along at once, and just a little annoying having to choose whch one to spend time in first. Investigation missions and deck building are a big draw to TSW for me.

    • I think I feel more interested in playing TSW than GW2 at the moment. Something about the thought of sitting down /again/ to pick a class/ spec/ role in a fantasy MMO is just tiring me even to think about.

  3. I’ve been intrigued since I first saw the premise, and I’m curious how it’ll play out. Given the AoC FP model, I wonder if they’ll roll that out with the pricing.

  4. I’ve been looking forward to this game for years now. I loved The Longest Journey and Dreamfall; I’m really excited to play through the story of TSW.

  5. Surprisingly, it’s not the gameplay that can make or break a game for me (though ‘responsiveness’ has a fit in the overall picture) – for me, a lot of the ‘fun’ that I derive comes from the animations. Age of Conan was (for me) a great game up to the mid to high thirties (when I started feeling like I was running out of content – a feeling that reached a climax part way through the 40′s, when I unsubbed).
    I really appreciated the fact that AoC used a TON of Mocap for animations. SWTOR is really very good overall, as well – in particular, the dialog scenes are extremely well animated, and this really makes the game for me – particularly when contrasted with Mass Effect 3. I played the ME3 Demo last night, and it was *horrible* on every front that I find important.

    That all said, I have really high hopes that The Secret World will have Age of Conan/SWTOR quality animation alongside the GW-style skill choices, and set in a world that I think I would really enjoy. (in that I’ve *never* been a fan of Hyboria)

  6. Hmm perhaps choice in how you want to fulfill a role might be appealing to some. I’m with you, when you say that just thinking about playing a role/class/spec can be tiring but maybe having a choice in how you fulfill that role might give you a different perception. I don’t know, have to get my hands on the game myself to see. I haven’t read a preview that involved the writer playing a tank or healer yet.

    It sucks when you are going to be pigeon-holed into something but we all can’t be GW2 now can we? :P

  7. The problem with Funcom is never their ideas or their boldness. The problem is their execution.

    Still, maybe the third time’s the charm, as they say.

  8. Had they launched as originally planned in March there’s a good chance I would have bought TSW. Launching in June looks likely to put them slap up against GW2, which means I won’t even be thinking about TSW, far elss buying it.

    I hope it’s succesful and well-done though, because I ‘d like it to be waiting for me later whenever i happen to have a window :P

  9. Does GuildWars 2 have an official release date yet? I know there’s rumours of June 30th, but if it’s still a rumour , chances are GW2 feels more like a September release at this rate.

    I did read the head dev at Funcom expresessed concern of GW2 launching within the same time as TSW, especially since TSW will be a subscription MMO where GW2 won’t….

    Personally i’m more interested in TSW simply because it’s a different setting, the mechanics might at the core end up being Guild Wars 1 ‘ish (with the pick-your-seven-skills-for-this-instance (from a big pool of skills) concept) , but the real world mixed with that stephen king kind of feeling to the towns , is definitely making me more excited than playing another fantasy based MMO with the usual forests/deserts/grasslands combined with the usual array of magic/melee ability sets.

    Either way, chances are i’ll get both, even if they release in the same month, ESPECIALLY since GW2 won’t have a sub…very easy to have it as a secondary game :)

  10. TSW is definitely my most-anticipated release of the year. I’m a bit worried for several things (FUNCOM, the fact that I know woefully little about the game and it might just fail because of personal over-expectation), but finally another chance at a good non-fantasy MMO is one huge plus.

    And you can play in a somewhat post-apocalyptic Tokyo. How can it get cooler than that anyway? :D

  11. Given the choice between GW2 and TSW, I think I’ll be trying out TSW (time is my main issue to consider). I like the idea that it’s more-or-less set in the modern world. The idea of real-world puzzle solving to apply in-game is intriguing if it works out.

  12. Classless, many skills, pick 7? Oldskool Ultima! I do like the “augmented reality game” aspect, but like you, I wonder how that’ll work out in reality when person A solves a puzzle and posts it to their website, person B googles for the answer to the puzzle and person C googles for clues to solve the puzzle themselves… Do A and B get an in-game advantage over C?

    As an aside, ‘This is not a game’ – http://www.amazon.com/This-Not-Game-Walter-Williams/dp/0316003158 – a thriller involving ARGs, was quite good.

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