Updated Thu, Nov 15, 2012 by jeffprime
While there are a number of different mission types in The Secret World, the investigation missions stand apart and really make the game unique. Rather than relying on mindless killing or skulking around to achieve your objective, they require a serious amount of effort and patience-testing fortitude to complete. To put it bluntly, most investigation missions are ball-busters and I honestly wouldn't want them any other way. While most can be frustratingly difficult to complete, you do get an incredible sense of accomplishment for finally figuring them out.
To give you a taste of what to expect in an investigation mission, here is a breakdown on one called Crime and Punishment. In this mission, your goal is to go over some files from a rabid fan of a somewhat crazy author. To find the files, you'll have to backtrack the activities of the author back to the time he met the fan. To begin, you'll have to find the author's abandoned car after he mentions he had to leave it when the road got too narrow. Once you find the car, you'll access the GPS of the car and listen to its driving instructions. This is done in voice so you better have a pencil ready! You will then have to backtrack the car's route. Once you've done that, you'll find yourself at a gas station where you'll find a photo of the fan and the author thrown in the trash. Looking at the picture, you'll have to find the house shown on the photo. Once at the house, you will then need to discover the access code to enter the basement. To find the code, you'll have to use the game's in-game web browser to surf the fan's web page. (Yes, The Secret World has a ton of web pages created to back up the lore and missions found within the game.) You can click on the images of the books on the web site and, after some trial and error, you'll find that the code is part of the ISBN number for one of the books. Once inside, you'll have to use the browser again to find the password to the computer. The hint given on the computer is a specific book. You'll have to Google it and get the ISBN number of that particular edition. Easy, huh?
I won't bother telling you about the missions that require you to decipher Morse code or figure out mathematical sequences. Luckily for me, my buddy is an ex-Army Ranger who was able to decode the Morse code in one mission, which flashed from an abandoned van's headlights.
As you can see from the reasons given above, The Secret World isn't a WoW clone. While I understand the game might not be for everybody, it deserves a look because it didn't follow the same old cookie-cutter template that we're all used to. Funcom took quite a few design risks with The Secret World, such as going classless with abilities chosen from the ability wheel. Some of the missions are incredibly brutal, from either an execution standpoint or figuring out the clues standpoint, and that's refreshing. Plus, you have a great deal of choice in the game. If you don't like investigation missions, you don't have to do them. All of the missions are clearly marked as to what type they are. Since missions are repeatable (after a time delay), you can just play the missions you wish.
Every year, gamers moan that they're looking for a game that isn't WoW. A new game comes out with some minor differences, players check it out, but then go back to the same old thing. The Secret World really doesn't hold your hand. A friend of mine and I joined a group to play in the first dungeon after we had played for a bit. We were stunned that we kept wiping over and over again until we finally became part of a competent group that fully realized the mechanics of the boss fights in that dungeon. While we eventually realized that the mechanics weren't the hardest ever, we did have to discover them for ourselves and the entire group had to stay on their toes. However, the good thing is that when we succeeded, we felt like we were kings of the world.
I hope that the five reasons cited above piques your interest in checking out The Secret World. It's a unique and fun game that is definitely worth visiting. I wouldn't want to live in that horror-filled world, but I do love gaming there.