When I was considering the various topics I could cover for this week’s The Secret World column I was faced with so many options I really didn’t know where to start. First Joel announces new content, then there was Mankini-gate, and finally there has been ARG activity. How could I pick just one? I couldn’t. So we’re breaking it down into four parts.
Let’s first take a look at the most controversial topic in The Secret World at the moment. The mankini. Now, in case you’ve missed it there has been a bit of drama around the April Fools Day joke for TSW. The joke featured two new items in the store, a diving suit for women and a mankini, similar to the one made popular by Borat for men. The mankini was then removed from the game after many, many people had purchased it. The points used to purchase them were given back and everyone that bought one got a free box of stuff. But this has pleased no one. As I type this there are nearly 30 pages worth of discussion on the official thread created for the topic. Conspiracy theories are everywhere, which is somewhat amusing given the love of conspiracy theories the game fosters.
One person noted that usually Game Director, Joel Bylos would be on the forums defending a controversial choice but that there has been complete silence from him on the topic. For some this spells deeper trouble, while others point out that most of Mankini-gate (as they’re calling it) has taken place over the weekend. When Joel should be out enjoying himself. So there are hopes that more information will be given out about why the frighteningly popular mankini was removed soon. Until then though we really are wondering, why did the mankini get removed?
In Joel’s Game Director Letter of the month he showed that Funcom is listening to what the fans have to say about content not coming out often enough. So they’re fixing that! Starting this week a new mission pack containing 4 new investigation missions will be released. We don’t know yet how often these mission packs will be released, but we do know that Tokyo will be the next major release afterwards. What does this mean? Tokyo is coming. The studio plans for it to arrive on the test server sometime this month and with luck it will be able to be released in May. What it means right now though is that there is something new and exciting for everyone to run out and do. Just don’t do it all at once. You eat your ice cream too fast, you get a brain freeze. You play your new content too fast, you get boredom. The new content sounds like it will be a lot of fun. And take us back to some of my favorite areas. This wasn’t the only thing in the Director’s letter though. Joel also dropped a few details on the AEGIS system which will be released with Tokyo. It makes for an interesting bit of back story if you’re looking for a short read so I won’t really go into it in this article. The mission pack will be (if it isn’t already) available in the in game store this week so keep an eye out for it.
In the last TSW column I mentioned a new ARG that had sprung up. Some really exciting things have taken place since then. Perhaps most exciting was when one person was flown from Dallas to Montreal, had a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist, and then was escorted on some sort of crazy covert operation. I am both insanely jealous of this guy and glad it wasn’t me because I think I’d wet myself in terror. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen in real life! Oh but now it does. With luck we will be seeing a whole lot more of these kinds of things. Things I might just being willing to volunteer myself for (call me!). But let's not turn The Black Watchmen into a real organization, right guys? Guys...? Well if you never hear from me again you know why.
And the last bit of news is something a little more current. As it is taking place right now, as you read this. MMORPG.com has teamed up with Human Evolution, the folks who brought the latest ARG to bring a little pre-crowd funding crowd funding. Anyone who pledge $20 got to be part of an exclusive pledge tier that granted beta access to future ARGs, name reservation, and cool stuff for people who play The Secret World. Unfortunately by the time you’re reading this that stage will be finished with and the next phase, the public phase will have started. Of course I can’t say what that will entail because I’m not a mind reader or a time traveler, though I would greatly enjoy either ability. Either way keep an eye out on the news for more about the campaign when it starts as it'll be right here on MMORPG.com.
There has been a lot of excitement around The Secret World recently and things are going to just keep getting better the closer we get to Tokyo. What do you think about mankini-gate? Personally, I’m not too bothered. They were an eyesore. But I know a lot of people who loved them and mourn their passing. Everyone has different opinions on the matter. Would seeing Joel dressed in a mankini make up for it? Possibly yes, but Funcom can’t afford the therapy everyone would need afterwards. We love you Joel, but we don’t love you that much. (Maybe I do.)