Posted Thu, Mar 15, 2012 by Ethec
The Funcom team was on hand at GDC 2012 to demo The Secret World, including a look at the highly salacious Dragon starting experience (with video), clarification on the Ability Wheel and Weapon Abilities, achievements, lore, and a first ever look at transcribing (The Secret World’s crafting system) and the Transylvania region.
Suffice it to say that we’ve never had to contemplate putting an intro behind an age gate before. Funcom was the first developer to bare the female breast in a mainstream MMORPG with Age of Conan, and I’ll leave it to you to decide if this goes a step further.
Dragon Starting Experience video (NSFW):
We’ve seen the Tokyo Flashback before but Lead Content Designer Joel Bylos took the opportunity to point out that each faction would approach this event from a different perspective. He also noted the “filth” creeping in everywhere – black, tentacular, moldy material that would become important, he explained, as time went on.
Martin van Bruusgaard, Lead Designer, whisked us off to Egypt to explain a bit about how ability and skill points are gained in a level-less play experience. Players have an XP bar of sorts running across the bottom of the screen. The bar is divided into three segments, and completing each segment earns the player an Ability Point. Complete all three and you’ll get a Skill Point.
These points may be spent in the Ability wheel (below), which provides over 500 abilities spread out over 9 weapon types (3 each for ranged, melee, and magic). Abilities come in passive (for example, buffs to damage resistance) and active (e.g. sword attack, sniper shot) varieties. Each small box on the wheel is referred to as a cell, and offers 7 different abilities. These abilities must be bought sequentially and lead up to an elite ability. Players can equip one elite passive and one elite active at a time plus 6 normal passives and 6 normal actives.
The Secret World's ability wheel holds over 500 unique abilties to mix and match.
The point of all this complexity is that players can build unique combinations of abilities and weapons. Each weapon type has a unique resource, and players can build these resources on themselves or on their party. Building these resources allows for extra effectiveness in the damage dealing capacity of your weapons, but each weapon also has a secondary ability. Shotguns, for example, do area-of-effect damage, and assault rifles leech a portion of the damage you do back to the player as health. Blood magic, on the other hand, does damage over time, but also creates barriers to absorb damage.