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Five Reasons Why You Should Be Playing The Secret World

Updated Thu, Nov 15, 2012 by jeffprime

five reasons why you should be playing the secret world

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.

Lore and Setting

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.

five reasons why you should be playing the secret world
This place doesn't look creepy at all...

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.

Content Updates

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.

five reasons why you should be playing the secret world
One of the missions from Issue 1: Unleashed.

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.

Combat/Ability Wheel

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.

five reasons why you should be playing the secret world
The ability wheel in all its glory.

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!)


Not enough people are playing because the game is freaking terrible. It took an excellent premise and setting, then spent years making a game that feels like it should have come out about 7 years ago. It's clunky as all get out. It's boring. It has been another Failcom flop.

You obviously have never played this game. It freaking awesome, huge patch just landed. Truely is the best MMO out atm in my opinion. The updates come think and fast and the Developers have a cracking attitude and communication lines.

TSW is awesome.

What's this "obviously" business? If I hadn't played the game, I wouldn't be commenting on it, mate!!! The fact is, I have played it, and I hated every minute of it. Which was a damn shame, considering I'd followed it pretty closely for several years, prior to launch. Now, the fact that the game has, essentially, flopped, might show you that I'm not the Lone Ranger in thinking this. Lots of people hate it. I still don't know where you get off, telling me I "obviously" haven't played it.

Great game but my problem was that it was a really overwhelming for the very casual player that I am.
Weapons, skills, abilities were simply too much for me to handle.

Hah, yeah, the servers aren't as full as they were back then. I love TSW and I would love it even more if there were more people to play with.
I would guess that it will probably go F2P-P2P-Hybrid in a short while... :/

Game was and it is still promising. But as usually for Funcom, plagued by bugs and very bad support. I have been getting at least 3 client crashes per hour with my w7 32bit. All I got from support was suggestion to spend few houndreds of euro for new windows 7 specifically 64-bit. Which eventually I did at the end as I was planning anyway. And really on w7 64bit game experience as fluid as could be, great. But I hope they seriously do not expect making game that one will spend 5 times aprox game client cost for new windows.

Other problem was game become very fast total button masher with only 7 active buttons. And at 1/3 of levels up i have been mainly still using basic one. This was really main reason i stopped to play before even 30 free days.

About impressive number of abilities on wheel ... total bs. 95% completely useless and unappealing, just pure filler ups. Like cable tv where they advertise having 999 channels, but only 10 are really worth watching.

Funcom has some of the best CS in any MMO. I always get replies within an hour often much sooner with a GM response if required.

Very little bugs aswell to be honest. Certainly on-par with ANY MMO out there currently. There may be bugs that affect you but hardly any touch me tbh, probably Gear Manager is the one I would like sorted, but I can live with it.

He, he, ... hope you are not Funcom employee. :-) Because Funcom is not nicked Failcom without reason. It has WORST history of bad releases ever. Wondering how they still exists by rules of economy. I'm pretty sure name of maker influenced to some degree low sales, also bad timing with GW2 and MOP release, to close maybe. I have all of them but not all can afford. Many have vaged what to buy and guess decided for Gw2 or MOP.
But as I said, game is very playable with my new w7 64bit (on same computer as my disastrous 32bit experience). But then they should advertise one NEED specifically w7 and specifically 64bit version to be able to play without zillion crashes. No, they advertise game plays on xp as well. But nothing, not even lowering all setting to practically zero did not help.
Ok, after have purchased W7 64bit and spent also for new hard disk all together I guess over 300€ for my old computer, still for me main problem, button mashing remain. Reminds me of games that use 2 mouse buttons for all you can do with your avatar. Bad, just bad, uninteresting, unfun.
I guess will be at some point back to check status of game. But there are a lot of better things to try or play, mop, gw2, rift, swtor, ....

Everything you've listed is right, and a reason that I was very interested in TSW. Sadly, it has a number of overarching flaws that are severe enough to make it unpalatable for me, unless they're fixed.

First is the horrid monetization scheme. This game commands a standard monthly fee of around $15 USD. That by itself would have been great if it would have given you complete access to all the in-game content. Sadly, this is not the case. Despite the full sub fee, there is a "Cash Shop" that contains a huge amount of in-game, mostly cosmetic content. From clothing, to pets, titles and more the entire thing is exceedingly expensive. Paying $5 for a single "coat" item, in a single color is just about the norm. If you wanted that coat in other colors? $5 again. Titles and pets routinely are above $10 and break $20, as are "outfits" of multiple clothing pieces. When special in-game events and whatnot, like Halloween's update etc... arrive, much of their content is in time sensitive extra things to buy in the Cash Shop - if you wanted that special kitty cat pet, you couldn't earn it, time to take out your wallet before the chance to throw more money at the game is gone! Even worse, nearly everything on the store is on a PER CHARACTER fee, NOT account-wide! They've even done such things as removing unspent "bonus points" when October came, usable on the store in lieu of cash, given to those who purchased the game early and whatnot, which I've never seen done before in any MMO! Their store and implementation is more expensive, restrictive, and worse than even many Free-To-Play titles, and that's saying something!

Especially when one of TSW's key features is its clothing/customization system, this is totally bloody unacceptable. As a roleplayer, its even worse as huge amounts of content is gated behind an additional paywall, when you're already paying $15. Some may say you don't "have" to buy any of this, but it is in game content that many people would enjoy and it adds up to simply being a tax on people who enjoy the cosmetic aspects of the game. I could very easily say that "You don't HAVE to PVP/raid or have PVP/raid reward gear look badass" and it would be equally as viable. The greatness of a monthly subscription MMO is supposed to be the fact you pay for your "ticket to the all you can eat buffet" and choose what you wish to enjoy. TSW makes this a horribly painful process and makes you feel that your $15 monthly fee (or even your Lifetime subscription, should you have one, that doesn't even include any "free cash shop point stipends"!) is simply the first in a long series of charges. So much of the "cool stuff" is going to be gated behind yet another paywall, with such egregiously horribly policies, and that leave such a sour taste in my mouth that I can't enjoy the remainder of the game.

Not quite as bad as the above is the unfortunate cut corners that really can impact enjoyment. For instance, there are 3 general "types" of weapon skills in game, "Melee" (Swords, Hammers, and the like) "Range" (Pistols, Rifles, Shotguns) and "Magic" (Blood Magic, Chaos Magic, Elemental Magic). Your skill in these dictate what weapons you equip, abilities you have etc... Put some Ability points into the Sword skill wheel, and you'll have abilities for your action bar, and Skill Points will give you passive bonuses and generally allow you to equip better swords. Those who choose "Melee" or "Ranged" weapons and equip them, pretty much have use animations that make sense. You equip a sword, when you use the sword attacks, the graphic for your equipped sword will be used in the animation for the attack. However for Magic, this is not the case. The "Magic weapons/focus items" have no presence in the attack animations at all! For instance, all Blood Magic weapons are books - big heavy tomes. Do you hold them? Open them? Do they float around, glow or anything? No! In combat or out, Blood foci simply are stuck to your upper back, unmoving, while your character uses an empty-handed combat gesture that is unchanging from newb to max level. It looks silly as hell that there is no "ready/combat" stance versus "holstered" stance and the items aren't actually used in combat at all. Chaos Magic foci are giant discs and masks, again stuck to your upper back forever. Elemental Magic has "voodoo dolls" stuck to your hip. They could very easily make the combat experience much more fulfilling and even keep the empty handed gestures if they just made the focus items actually DO something in combat - float off the avatar etc.. but no. 1/3 of your "schools" of combat have these stunted, awkward lack of animations. Similarly, there is an issue of holstering. You are intended to always have 2 types of weapons equipped and their abilities for a normal "build", but these items simply "pop" in and out of reality; use a sword attack and BOOM, the sword is on your hip. Use a Blood Magic attack and BOOM, the book is stuck to your upper back. You will only be lucky enough to see both at once, provided you chose a pair of weapons that didn't occupy the same slots. If you have Sword and Dual Pistols, you'll never see them both on your character as they made them both "hip" holstered. Since beta people have asked for dynamic holstering, Magic weapon combat animations, and generally an upgrade to animations that work, yet these cut corners persist while users are told "We have more fun stuff you can buy on the cash shop!" With the addition of dynamic holstering (or providing a "holstering grid" for the player to choose where any items would be holstered on the body!) and providing actual combat animation for Magic class weapons, this could all be fixed for a better game experience!

Another cut-corner comes in terms of clothing. The clothing system was supposed to be the big draw of TSW. "Armor" is a selection of invisible talisman, so the emphasis on clothing and customization was huge. Clothing went into "slots" of the body which would enable such things as allowing a coat to be layered atop chest armor etc... players were told they had to give up HUGE amounts of customization at launch to make up for this system working (ie no body morphs at all, even different heights. Pretty much you could customize skin tone and facial features. Nothing else because they wanted everyone to be exactly the same to make clothing "fit" easier). Then we come to find out that they implement the "multi-slot" clothing slot and make the rewards for completing a "deck of skills", leveling up in your secret society and other "cool stuff" fall into this category. "MultiSlot" effectively gives up all those clothing slots and instead is simply a single skin/model that the player's head is glued to. If you put on a multislot outfit, it means you can't take off the Head piece, the Coat, the Chest, Legs etc.. items by themselves, but everything is binary - its either on, or off. It was infuriating to see, after they lauded their own system of "clothing socketing", that they decided it was just easier to basically drop the player's head on a fixed body instead. The boards lit up with tons of request to say "Why can't we take the gas mask off and still wear our Illuminati uniform" and all sorts of other things, but sadly so many of the major "cool" outfits, including the ones provided for the Lifetime subscribers (which is horrendous - its an outfit that obviously has discreet parts including a T-shirt, leather jacket, jeans etc... that users would easily want to mix and match as they like, and SHOULD be able to do so) these one-off horrid skins, instead of taking the time to design outfits into the pieces and slots they advertised as being a major draw of the game.

To fix this, all they'd have to do is design every "multi-slot" option to be able to broken down into its component parts and equipped piecemeal, and change "Multi-slot" to "outfit"; a setting that would quickly equip all the pieces in an entire outfit or set, but still leave the player a chance to decide after they are all equipped, which ones he wants to remove. Ie. the "Outfit" setting for the "Illuminati Initiate's Uniform" will equip "Illuminati Initiate's Jacket", "Illuminati Initiate's Shirt", "Illuminati Initiate's Pants", "Illuminati Initiate's Gas Mask" etc... and every other item the player has that is part of the Outfit (as well as displaying any missing pieces, so the player can know what they need to find). Then, the player could discretely go to the "head" slot and deactivate "Illuminati Initiate's Gas Mask" to remove that graphic, while the rest of the uniform remains. The technology to do this is all ready in game and has been there since launch! Yes, it would take a bit of work to go back and rework the "MultiSlot" catastrophes, but hey - they did them wrong and cut corners the first time. Fix the mistake and don't make it again, everyone will be much happier!

TSW has a great premise, but the implementation in several areas leaves much to be desired and falls on its face even compared to earlier Funcom entries such as Conan and Anarchy Online. I'm highly disappointed. With a bit more attention to detail and a load less cash shop greed, it could have been great. If things have/will change, I'd be willing to look back, but I'm really, really skeptical that the issues I note above will be changed sufficiently to stop blighting my experience of the game.

I am posting here to combat some of the posts above. I genuinely feel many of the comments are raging misinformation. I believe that TSW is truely one of the greatest MMO's ever. None of the best MMO's created were aclaimed at the start, remember TSW has been out just over 4 months. Yes it had a shakey start but they building and crafting an amazing game into a totally unique experience.

Just in this patch:

New missions
PVP revamp
Albion Theater
1st Raid (to be unlocked soon)
Balancing and crafting fixes.
Lots of other bits and pieces (dance emotes, pets rewards for Events)

So Ellipsys writes a massive comment on why the game is dodgy (I agree with it all too, BTW, Ellipsys), and then just because you like the game, you propose countering that long, well-thought-out post with a few bullet points on what's in the latest patch? Wow. If you want to truly "combat" (your word) these posts, why not address what's said in them? Why not address the fact Failcom takes $15 from the suckers, sorry, gamers, who are still playing TSW, but also has a cash shop?!? That's just taking the piss, on their part. Look at a game like GW2 which has a cash shop with the same cosmetic stuff in it, but DOESN'T charge a monthly fee. You're getting duped mate. And what about all the comments about how buggy the game is? Because it is! It's a terrible piece of code that they are still trying to fix, four months after release. That's just pitiful.

The game simply isn't as buggy as you say. "It's a terrible piece of code that they are still trying to fix" - ridiculous statement or perhaps one you could apply to any MMO..?

So yes I am allowed to disagree with most of his points and I certainly disagree with your attitude that is quite frankly is appalling to be honest.

Different strokes for different folks I am personally totally unimpressed with GW2 (not banged on about it all to anyone) although they may not have a monthly fee they pretty much have Pay to win in their Gold/Gems trade inflation, but that's fine if you like that or can blindly ignore it.

Hope you find a game you like and can post positively about as your only 3 posts on this site are bashing TSW.

If you're taking the trouble to cyberstalk me -- creepy, dude -- you might also note how long I've had the account, ie: several years. I didn't create it just to talk about TSW.

At the end of the day, guess what? You can say what you want, and so can I. The REAL test is how many people are playing TSW and, last I looked, it was next to none, relatively.

The game is regarded in the MMO community as a massive flop. Fact.

Oh whatever dude... sad for you and your attitude.

TSW is an awesome game from the story to the excellent community (which you are not apart of - I make no judgements whether this is a good thing or bad). The updates are top class and have a little of something for everyone.

The game is considered very favorably in MMO community and is going from strength to strength. Keep up the great work Funcom.

I don't have an attitude, mate. The problem is you like the game too much and are in serious denial that it's a flop.

Type something like, "TSW is a flop" into Google and read some of the articles. You might be surprised that, in its first two months, only 200,000 copies had been sold, for example. That's serious under-achievement, right there. And people have been leaving ever since.

Yet because you've made some friends in game, or on a forum, you seem to think everything's peachy keen and hunky dory.

Well, now it's my turn to say, "Whatever..." to you, mate. Because the game is NOT considered a winner in the wider MMO community and IS considered a flop. This isn't me telling you this, it's an opinion you can find in five seconds on Google. It's a fact.

Want to keep arguing?

"The Secret World, Funcom's ambitious MMO, has shifted just over 200,000 copies since launching at the end of June, the developer has confirmed.

Funcom has now said it will concentrate its attentions on "smaller, more focused online games" after confirming its belief that The Secret World will sell less than half what they forecast for launch year, with plans to layoff around half its employees.

Strong competition and new information from rivals WoW, Diablo 3 and Guild wars 2, and mixed review scores were cited as significant factors in Funcom's latest financial results."

http://www.nowgamer.com/news/1561886/the_secret_world_flops_funcom_focus...

People make some good points. I'm not saying that TSW is the best game ever, but it is one I am thoroughly enjoying and have been. I do agree with Ellipsys on clothing and the cash shop. I absolutely hate having a cash shop in a game where I pay a subscription for. Those items should be attainable through gameplay. As for multislot items, I agree again with Ellipsys. It would be great to break outfits down into their separate components.

If you're taking the trouble to cyberstalk me -- creepy, dude -- you might also note how long I've had the account, ie: several years. I didn't create it just to talk about TSW.

At the end of the day, guess what? You can say what you want, and so can I. The REAL test is how many people are playing TSW and, last I looked, it was next to none, relatively.

cent barter

Thanks for sheared this great informative post.

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