Isabelle Parsley touched on this a while back with Faction Fractions, but I want to explore it a bit more. The Secret World is quickly becoming all about these warring factions to me. Even more than the notion of conspiracies which players must uncover. More than the 500+ skills to obtain. More than the modern setting and all the other cool little things Funcom are bringing back to their next MMORPG. What’s really starting to get me going about The Secret World is simply the type of energy I’m seeing swirl around the three factions. I hate to be redundant, as I’ve said it before, but it’s starting to feel a bit like Dark Age of Camelot’s golden days, and we’re 7 months out from launch.
Players of DAOC will always remember the game, not because it was necessarily the best of its class, but because its three-faction warfare made you truly care about your character, you guild, and your entire Realm. It didn’t matter if you had quests to do or dungeons to crawl… if the other realms were threatening yours, you dropped everything and charged into battle against them. Alliances were made, broken, and abused in the name of “Realm Pride.” I’m getting this feeling once more with the recent Secret War beta campaign for The Secret World.
The factions of Illuminati, Dragon, and Templar are getting at each others’ throats already. Facebook pages, fansites, and all sorts of user groups in general are being created to stake your claim to one or the other. You’re seeing people put badges of their preferred faction on their profile pictures, and forums are heating up with people calling one another out already. Mind you folks, this game is not even out yet. Obviously there must be a desire to feel connected to a faction in these games, or a group of people. With Funcom making it all a gray area as each one represents different ideals that are neither evil or good, it makes choosing one over the other merely a matter of preference and not moral code (though each has their own “ends justifies the means” creedo).
There’s a whole meta-game being built around this very thing. I suspect it’ll be only a matter of time before we see people create campaigns with video and other media against the other factions. Given the way in which TSW’s entire game is built around the present day and having access to the web is a key part of puzzle solving, I’m also willing to bed there will be plenty of spying, subterfuge and covert operations between factions both in and out of the game.
That said, Ragnar recently stated in an interview that the team is toying with the idea of not allowing players to make an alt in the other factions. Now, as long as this is on a per-server basis, that’s perfectly fine. World of Warcraft used to be this way, and the prevalence towards meaningful PVP is far less instituted there. It would be a mistake in my mind to allow folks to switch between alternate factions on the same server when there is land being fought over and a war at stake. My personal opinion is that alts should only be made of the same faction on each server, even though the game’s skill system basically means you won’t really need alts from a gameplay standpoint.
Either way, I’m happily signed up and enlisted as Illuminati. They seem douche-y, and that’s a turn off. But I love their technological slant and progressive nature, even if the Fantasy geek in me identifies with the Dragon or Templar more. I was tempted to go with Dragon, as they’re very “whatever will be, will be”, and the Templar seem righteous and true (though complete zealots as well). In the end, I’m pretty sure I’ll get an iPod 5 on my Illuminati while the Dragon use a Ouija board and the Templar are stuck on dial-up.
Yes, I’m kidding. Which side did you choose, and will you be ready when the Secret War really starts?