Updated Thu, Nov 15, 2012 by jeffprime
The Secret World has been out for five months now, allowing players to adventure in a world filled with feuding secret societies and horrific creatures bent on subjugating mankind, all wrapped in a paranoid conspiracies bow. While horror-based games have always been more of a niche, I am surprised that more people aren't playing Funcom's newest title. Personally, I love The Secret World and offer the following five reasons why you should be playing.
A good horror game is hard to make, and a horror based MMO even more so. Funcom has succeeded with The Secret World. The background details and lore that make up the game's setting are the most detailed and well-crafted that I've experienced. Meshing together the components of H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, urban myths, secret societies, ancient history, alternative history, conspiracy theories, and everything in between is an amazing accomplishment. What really makes the game click is that all these disparate components fit together into a natural, cohesive whole.
There are so many details and layers to what is going on inside the world of TSW, and it's sometimes the little things that grab you. I actually enjoy talking to NPCs to unearth more of their personal stories, or details about the setting. While fantastic, the world feels alive and the situations found therein, while horrific, feel realistic in this crazy, paranoid world that Funcom has concocted.
Another reason to play The Secret World is that there has been a steady release of new content. Already there have been three new content updates (and the game has only been out five months), with a fourth one recently announced.
In my opinion, you can never have too much content in a game. Issue 1: Unleashed added seven new missions and two nightmare mode dungeons. Issue 2: Digging Deeper adds more missions, lairs, and rocket launchers. Issue 3: The Cat God added more lair missions and seasonal Halloween content. While Funcom initially promised monthly content updates, I'm not going to fault them for lagging a bit. Putting out three updates in the span of four months is a lot better than most MMOs achieve. Plus, you can replay the content if you find the missions interesting.
What is fascinating in The Secret World is that the player does not choose a class. Instead, he purchases abilities using the ability wheel. The wheel is broken down into three major components: ranged weapons, magic weapons, and melee weapons. Each of these three groups has three weapons as a subset. The basic mechanic is that you spend points to buy the various abilities. Some abilities are passive while others are active. You have to purchase the preceding lower ranked abilities to get to the meatier ones.
The easiest way to explain the ability wheel is that it's similar to trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering. You buy the abilities you want, but there's a catch. You can only have seven active and seven passive abilities in play at one time. Therefore, you'll have to choose which abilities work best together to fit the play style you wish to pursue. The system is flexible and provides a lot of freedom of choice for the player.
Having so many abilities on hand makes your combat decisions very flexible (if somewhat agonizing as you have to limit yourself). Combat itself is intuitive and fun. Plus, it's great to be able to shoot while you're running. (I'm looking at you, Star Wars: The Old Republic!)