The Secret World issue 10: Nightmare in the Dream Palace is live, and we recently had the chance to run around the other side of Tokyo in a look at the brand new content. When we last left issue 9, there had been a huge explosion that conveniently reduced the quarantine wall that had been blocking off one side of Tokyo from the other, to more of an inconvenience than an obstacle. Issue 9 worked to lay down the foundations of new systems and new strategies, specifically having to do with Aegis. Issue 10 does also add in a few new cool systems and options--Aegis expands in a couple of new ways, for example-- but the main focus is on story.
Players will start to get some answers to what has been happening in the isolated city, new areas open up as The Secret World presents the colorful and varied characters it specializes in. Along the way, players will find new monsters, including some more derived from the local mythology, and new Filth types. Also on the table for the first time is a customizable UI, which should make many players happy.
Funcom is looking to add depth in story content in this particular issue. If you followed issue 9 to completion, you’ll recognize several threads to follow here. Aside from the aforementioned bomb, there’s a strange killer wandering about town murdering people while wearing a rabbit mask. All while the Orochi tower stands bright in the distance. We won’t be heading there until issue 11, but the influence of Orochi has been obvious since the previous release and continues in issue 10 as well.
Aegis launched with issue 9 as a brand new layer to combat. It created a host of new strategies, since the type of Aegis each creature featured was linked with the best way to kill it. Monsters have a purple glow? Use psychic Aegis. Fighting droids? Switch over to cybernetic Aegis weapon controllers. Some creatures will switch types over the course of a battle, making active perception matter. All of this brought an injection of life into the game’s combat system. Players can complete a mission to go obtain their own Aegis Shield at the beginning of the new content. An Aegis shield wraps around your health bar in the color representing the type you’re using. In battle, it will block some of the damage of the same type (you can switch the type and color with ease as what you’re fighting. It also works in conjunction with other people, with some strategic coordination of Aegis weapons and creatures you’re fighting, other players can heal your shield. If you’re a support or tank-oriented player, this is especially relevant to you.
In addition to the shield, the game adds drops like new gadgets that can affect Aegis as well as items to fill the new Aegis headgear slot in the character sheet. This beefing up of your characters is not a coincidence. Some of the battles awaiting you in Tokyo are quite tough, and those include the creatures in the new nightmare zone. Some of the more intriguing of the new enemies are located here. Pay close attention to the setting, especially the derelict cargo ship docked nearby and spilling out more of this infestation. Several new enemies and Filth are to be found here, and in a variety of color that’s unusual may bring more questions as well as point to a future path for the game. Seeing corrupted large versions of what were apes is but one part of the dread. And they hit really hard too (ouch). Other areas include the docks, an Orochi employee village, a school ground (where you may run into some Japanese mythology-inspired enemies in your search), and a mysterious clubhouse. A large temple on an impressive scale would be a pretty incredibly set piece in any MMO, but here is used to its maximum.
Puzzle and mystery fans should be pleased at the clue and lore hunt for the masked assassin, which will take you through town and further lead to traces of the Fear Nothing Foundation. There are not only new areas to discover and play through, but some previously inaccessible places will let you enter now. The love hotel, The Dream Palace, will be the site of a final mission that promises to cap off the issue with nightmarish, illusory imagery and a distorted sense of place that takes you to the other side of the Tokyo journey so far, digging into just what the motives for setting the bomb that tore through much including the quarantine wall were. I got a brief look at the beginning of this mission, and it will definitely be a trippy one. It promises to give the flip side of events so far, all of it leading to the future in issue 11. This update should definitely pack on at least several solid hours of content for players to explore through.