Unfair Impressions: TSW, Day 2

[Preface: I wrote the below before yesterday’s post went up, so I hadn’t yet incorporated any of the feedback given. My current mood is less bleak than the below suggests.]

I am seriously considering the fact that The Secret World may not be for me.

After some rather meticulous research, my plan for weapons is going to be Blades/Assault Rifle with Pistols thrown in – I have been assured that this covers all the relevant bases. After that was nailed down, I started towards Kingsmouth and chopping down zombies, Kill Bill-style.

My brow furrowed almost immediately. One of the first side-quests you get in this area is how to construct and deconstruct weapons. In a Minecraft-esque grid. Er… what? Why is this a thing? Is there a particular reason to go with this crafting system beyond intentional obfuscation? A little while later, I was shown how to construct glyphs in a similar fashion, which are sort of like gems you slot into weapons, except you can’t actually just slot them in. In fact, I had to watch a Youtube video of this quest because following the given instructions wasn’t helping. “Oh. You gave me TWO glyph toolboxes, and I’m not supposed to use the one called glyph toolbox, but the sort of quest item version.”

Oh, silly me. Of COURSE that makes sense!

Oh, silly me. Of COURSE that makes sense!

After a shake of the head, I accept the quest from the fortune-teller nearby and am asked to find some ravens. I find one outside, watch it fly away, and am then told to follow it. I do so… only to see it clip out of existence in mid-air. Er… okay. Oh, by the way, you have 60 seconds to figure this out. After aggroing some zombies, I restart this portion and try again. Nope, that raven definitely disappears in mid-air. I walk the entire length of the road in the direction the raven was traveling in, not even sure what the hell the quest designer was expecting me to do.

Spoiler alert: they wanted me to ignore the flying raven and look for another bird on the ground. Brilliant. I do this a few times, fight some spawned enemies, grab two side-quests I run past on the way, redo a section of the raven quest because, you know, it’s timed but they thought it was cute to leave side-quests along the path just to fuck with people, complete the quest finally and then loot my text message of an item I can’t even equip because I’ve already spent my Skill Points.

Are we having fun yet?

Spoiler alert: No.

My mood was not improved by the next quest, which involved checking out the Illuminati runes inscribed on the church that causes zombies who tread inside to be instantly killed. “Find the first set of runes.” Okay, sure, I saw them near the door. “Find the second set of runes.” Okay then. I’ll give you two guesses as to what I ended up doing for the next five minutes.



If you guessed “searching the inside of the church, then spam clicking everywhere like I was trying to find that secret wooden pixel in Planescape: Torment, before furiously Googling the answer to a goddamn ‘click item’ quest,” then you are correct.

Now, I am more than willing to take some, if not most, blame for this quest-fail. The first set of runes were outside the front doors, the zombies were being prevented from coming inside, so it doesn’t actually make all that much sense for the other sets of runes to be inside. Logically – at least #GameLogic and #AnimeLogic-wise – protective runes go on the outside of the thing they’re protecting. But more than anything, my experiences on Day 2 of playing The Secret World is confirming my post earlier this month about the tenuous balancing act of difficulty vs hand-holding. This MMO does not hold your hand, gives you the cold shoulder, and by all rights actively dislikes you.

And… that’s good, I guess. It’s definitely an under-served niche. Personally, I don’t think the flavors of hotkey, active-dodging, respawning mobs really meshes with the more glacial, adventure-game schtick, but what do I know? Well, other than the small spark of my interest is being smothered by alt-tabbing to the equivalent of Thottbot for every other quest. I could tough it out, perhaps rationing my attention span a bit more judiciously. The setting is certainly interesting, at least, and I’ve heard good things about the horror elements later on.

Or I could, hypothetically, start playing a fully NDA’d, unreleased MMO in a manner more deserving of the beta key I received.

Posted on January 30, 2014, in Impressions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. If you stick with it, I’m interested in seeing how you go in the longer term. I love TSW. The setting is so different, the story is fantastic, and I love the builds and flexibility. However! It has serious flaws. I love it in spite of them. If you can stick it out long enough to familiarise yourself with the skill wheel you’ll go nuts putting together all sorts of builds.

    The best, best, best tip I can give you: hit rating is the only stat you care about in the levelling game. If you have room for a second stat then it’s penetration rating. (Pro tip: think of pens as crits, and crits as way too much effort for too little gain.)


  2. On hit and penetration: i mostly agree. For non-dungeoning solo play, those two glyphs are the way to go. But it’s clearly not the only stat you want. Attack rating for more damage is self-explanatory. As long as you use green gear, you’ll have enough health automatically, but if you ever switch to blue, you might want to include one dedicated to health.

    And don’t completely forget heal rating. Most commonly used setups have either active or passive healing included. It might be as cheap as Immortal Spirit (1 AP from blades) and Lick Your Wounds (1 AP from fist) as two slotted passives, and still it profits a lot from having at least a bit of heal rating in your setup.

    “This MMO does not hold your hand, gives you the cold shoulder, and by all rights actively dislikes you.”
    You just see this from the wrong side. In my eyes, this game is one of the few which actually respects you as sentient being.

    Of course it can be seen negatively, that TSW does not hold the players hands on every step. On the other hand, in many games i feel like i have an invisible chain attached to my nose and being dragged along a predefined path. For best enjoyment of some of those games, a lobotomy is well advised. In contrast to this, TSW expects the player to be active, find solutions for himself and think out of the box.

    Also be aware that the game is aware of you being aware of the presence of the internet. Thus it also has its own internet browser included. (Default key is “b” i think. ) You will need that for some missions, the game sometimes requires knowledge which no “normal” person has available, but still usually can be acquired by a bit of websearching. [Sorry to all people with knowledge in music, morse code, latin, rumanian, hebrew and archeology, but you are outside of the scope of a “normal” skillset. ]

    And in case you totally can’t get ahead, which will sometimes happen to everybody (i for example had “cheat” at several of the music related missions, i couldn’t say if a tone played is a C or a D if my life would depend on it) there’s unfair.co to find all the hints you might want to look at. But just like many other players, i also would advise to use it sparingly. You can get AP/SP easy enough in that game, from missions which you can do without needing any mission spoilers. In contrast to this it feels very rewarding if you solve a challenging mission without any spoilering. So, for better enjoyment, it’s advised to cut down on outside sources. Don’t play TSW like your ordinary WoW-lookalike.

    Action missions (red symbols) usually just require action, if you don’t feel like challenging your brain at that moment, go for one of those missions. Keep investigation missions (green symbol, unfortunately very similar to side missions for the new player) for when you are up for a mental challenge.

    I actually “solved” several investigation missions when not being at the computer, but commuting to or from work, where i just had time to ponder about those missions. And yes, some investigation missions were on my list for several weeks, till it suddenly “clicked” and i knew what i had to do. I yet have to find another game which presented me challenges like that, and i hope that Tokyo (the next expansion) brings a number of new investigation missions.


  3. I loved the refreshing setting and story. However, I hated everything else. I did not last long.


%d bloggers like this: