The Secret World is one of my go-to games. Sure, it’s had a rocky road since launch in terms of finding an audience, but for people who want something different from their MMO, The Secret World has always delivered. I’ve only recently begun a return trip to the Agartha Highway, and it seems I’m just in time for Issue 8: The Venetian Agenda. Yesterday, Massively’s MJ Guthrie and I took part in a developer-led tour of some of the Issue’s big features hosted by none other than Joel Bylos and Tor Egil Andersen. Read on to find out more about the endgame addition of the Scenario System and Augmentations.
We met Joel and Tor in the Agartha transit system, fully dressed in top-end gear and the new outfits from the most recent content update. Sometimes it pays to be on the dev server, even if just for a little bit. The first thing they guys wanted us to know is that the Council of Venice can be entered at any time by any one... but that doesn’t mean you’ll be ready for its challenges. The Scenarios themselves are intended for folks wielding Quality Level 9 or 10 items, so in this way it’s meant for people more towards the “endgame”. After several issues with stories focused more on lateral progression, Joel and team felt the time was right to add something in that would work as a more vertical progression system to help prepare players for Tokyo’s challenges.
The story-based missions that tie into the Council of Venice won’t begin for you until you’ve finished the main game story, but you can go to the Sunken Library and begin doing Scenarios at any time, just bring friends if you’re going to try them when you’re under-geared because they are incredibly difficult challenges. In fact, the release of Issue 8 was supposed to happen today, but has been delayed until next week because even on the easier modes with top end gear, the devs have been having a hard time with the scenarios. They want them to be hard, but since you’re meant to successfully complete them several times to access Tokyo, they don’t want them to be that hard.
The Augments themselves work right alongside all of the other skills and abilities in TSW. You have to add skill points to the four different augment categories (Damage, Support, Healing, and Survivability) just as you would your gear and different weapons in order to use better and better augments as you loot and create them. You’ll find an augment in a scenario (and one day, other dungeons, Joel says), and attune yourself to that item. If you find another, you can craft them together to create something unique or more powerful. Once you’ve crafted an augment, it’ll be available for you to use via the wheel. For now, only active skills can have augments equipped to them, but in the future Joel hopes to add augments that work on passives as well.
You can get to the Council via Agartha, if you know the Transylvania shortcut (hopping down from on high right by the entrances to the main three faction cities), you can get there quite quickly. The story of Issue 8, again for folks who have completed the main story, will lead into Tokyo in Issue 9. The Augments might be TSW’s first vertical progression since launch, but the Aegis system (as Joel teased) will be a massive additional horizontal progression in Tokyo. More on that as Joel releases his Director’s Letter soon.