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The Secret World Column: Interview Gleanings

By William Murphy on June 09, 2011

We’ve recently scored a couple of great interviews with the staff at Funcom concerning The Secret World.  I’m currently writing this about a week prior to my flight to E3, so that I can do my part to make sure our site runs like normal while most of our staff is away in LA surrounded by game-hungry people, loud music and copious amounts of body odor.  If anything new pops up between the time of writing and the time of publishing which negates this info, you have my heartfelt apologies.  That said, I’d like to spend this week scouring our recent coverage and pulling out some nifty details in the best way possible: with bullet points!  Here’s a list of some things that were “news to me” from our interviews.

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  • Spoilers will be punished! - Players will receive disciplinary action for spamming the game’s puzzle answers across chat channels in an abusive way.  Love this more than I can say.  In a game that spends a great deal of time trying to get players to think, I’d hate it if one or two bad apples could spoil the whole bunch.
  • The Story is Yours – Maybe this was kind of obvious, but it looks like that as in Age of Conan TSW’s story will be a largely solo affair to tell your character’s adventure through the game’s scripted content.  Additionally, we learned that the story, while largely cinematic and therefore scripted, allows for quite a bit of exploration between scenes that drive the narrative.

  • TSW has a Voice – It was also revealed that characters (NPCs) in The Secret world will be motion captured and voiced, in an effort to give the people of TSW a real sense of personality.  Can’t argue with this.  To me, one thing that has been missing from MMOs in comparison to offline RPGs is the “life” of characters in the world. 
  • Mission Types – There are some pretty cool concepts when it comes to the missions and quests of TSW it would seem.  You’ll have your basic “action” missions which require you to go in, fight baddies, and so forth.  But then there are also the sabotage sort, which require you to employ stealth over brute force.  Breaking into buildings, bypassing security, and so forth are all a part of the equation which will require players to solve problems creatively, rather than just “collect this by killing this”.  Then there are the investigation missions which openly and earnestly send players out into the real world (or internet search engines) to find the answers to in-game problems.  Lastly are the informational sort, in which a player might have to uncover some clues in-game to progress the mission: be it a sequence of numbers, or an address, or what have you. 
  • It’s All End-Game – I never thought of it this way, but it was also mentioned in the Story & Missions interview that the classless and level-less system inherently makes TSW a game that’s all about the “end-game”.  There’s no rushing to the top to grind out sets of gear.  Sure there’s still progression, but the emphasis of TSW is on the story, the puzzles, and the factional war and much less about getting to some arbitrary cap and flouting your gearscore.

  • More on the Secret War – We know a good bit about the “minigames” for PvP, but Ragnar assured us that more info surrounding the game’s three-faction warfare is coming.  Good news, as far as I’m concerned, because TSW’s early “Hollow Earth” concept was very compelling.
  • Clothes Don’t Make the Man – Clothing is purely visual in The Secret World, though a lot of it is only earned through completing goals and tasks.  Meanwhile the game’s weapons, magic rings and talismans, and chakras are all assigned stats.  So while clothing or “armor” might not matter much in terms of a player’s power, the rest of their equipment will.  In this way, even without levels, a player who’s done more will still be more powerful than one just starting out even if the two share the exact same power loadouts.

Now I wish I could tell you I am playing TSW at E3, but alas the fine folks of Funcom have side-stepped the show this year.  I can however tell you that they’ll be in attendance at PAX Prime this August, and that all of this new information has me chomping at the bit to finally get my hands on the game.  I just hope it lives up to the hype.

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