Interview - The Secret World Warzone Details and More from gamescom 2011

At gamescom 2011, Ten Ton Hammer took a break from the crazy announcements and million dollar tournaments to sit down with the creative direct of Funcom's The Secret World, Ragnar Tørnquist. In the process, we learned more about elder game PvP, the pervasiveness of Internet lore in the game, fast travel, and much more!

At gamescom 2011, Ten Ton Hammer took a break from the crazy announcements and million dollar tournaments to sit down with the creative direct of Funcom's The Secret World, Ragnar Tørnquist. In the process, we learned more about elder game PvP, the pervasiveness of Internet lore in the game, fast travel, and much more!

Ten Ton Hammer : Today we got a quick look at 'warzones' - The Secret World's large scale PvP encounter pitting dozens of players against each other. Numbers alone are greater than in the previously discussed battlegrounds of Stonehenge, El Dorado, Cimbala, and warzones are exclusively focused on endgame players. Given the size and scope of these encounters, what happens when a player dies in a warzone? What happens when an entire faction is put out of action?

Ragnar Tørnquist : Well, of course you still respawn and we have a variety of respawn points, but those can be captured.   But you are going to get sessions where people gang up and a faction gets kicked off the table temporarily.  I think the question that should be asked is – isn’t one faction going to dominate while the other two try to take their throne?   And hopefully the answer to that is no, because dynamic play is what everyone enjoys in PvP.

If you're looking for less orcs and trolls in your MMO, The Secret World will deliver.

TTH : When can players enter Warzones, and what rewards are associated with conquering and holding these areas? 

RT : It’s not the first thing you’re going to do when you jump into the game, you’ll probably head into the battlefields and get an understanding of PvP.  You’ll see the more experienced players competing there for certain.  As long as you have something to add, via specialization in a weapon type or the like, you can compete there.  Even after 40-60 hours, you’ll be a force and a benefit to your faction.

Also, the buffs from these warzone capture points are faction-wide, giving players all the more reason to pitch in to the fight.

TTH : In the presentation, Lead Designer Martin Bruusgard used the word 'persistent' to describe Warzones.

RT : They are not instanced and they are always active.  On each server, that warzone is persistent and possibly filled up.  As for how many we have, we’ve announced the one we have here – it's a city in China.  We don’t have a name for it just yet, and we’re not ready to reveal how many there are in the final product just yet.

You’ll also be gaining ranks within your secret society via missions in PvE and PvP.  Your relationship to your faction and your war against the other factions’ secret societies will be the focal point of the game to some players.  Each society will have its own story.  You will go to some of the same locations, and see what even seems like the exact same story—but different results and things will happen.  You’ll have to see it to believe it.  The full story can only be gleaned from talking to those of other factions who have seen the events unfold from another angle.

TTH : Will any of these missions that unfold differently have a PvP element to them?

RT : That’s something we’re still discussing.  It’s always dangerous to make some content PvP only.  A lot of players don’t want anything to do with that.  We’d like to do something with that though, so we’re still seeing if we can come up with some mechanics to make it work.

TTH : Moving away from PvP, let’s talk story.  We’ve known you’re going to be hiding little fragments of it all over the internet.  No doubt the in-game browser you guys are integrating will be great for that.  But just how integral are these storyline bits going to be to the game?  Just how much can we expect to search outside of the game as opposed to inside?

RT: I don’t want to downplay these cool little bits you’ll find online, but you really don’t have to if you’re not interested in that.  With all of the different mission types, you’ll find enough to engross you from gameplay or story.    We’ve created an amazing world though, and these optional side things will help you explore it.

A lot of you might be confused and think this is a different MMO from the screenshot on page 1.  Rest assured, they are one and the same.

TTH : So how deep are these investigations?

RT : Some will have an answer you can just look up like most players would these days.  Others will be more dynamic.  All of them will have experience rewards as an incentive.  We also have the capability of changing the answer to these, which means make things fresh whenever we want.   We can also put the answer on one of these websites to keep providing incentive to diving into the story of The Secret World.

Don’t worry, we’re working on some that will be near impossible to crack.

TTH : Some really cool locations were on display today – Stonehenge, el dorado…. How exactly are we traveling to these places.

RT : There are these persistent rifts that link each culture, we call them Agartha.  The idea of a second earth -a spirit world that exists in the hollow of the earth we know about- is very pervasive in myth; the Buddhist idea of Shambhala, for example.  The portals to Agartha link cultures together, and in the story, hint at a more evolved being or beings watching over us.  When people enter Agartha via any of the entrance ways in the play fields, there will be a place where time and space change considerably. 

Agartha will play an increasingly bigger role in the game as we expand the game.  You’ll be exploring Agartha itself.  You’ll ask yourself questions such as who built this city, why is it here… those won’t be answered at launch, but we will reveal the answers soon enough.

TTH : As far as content at launch goes, how long do you think people are going to be able to sit down and play nonstop? 

RT : It’s hard to put a number on that, but in terms of pure PvE content, we have several hundred hours.  The experience differs between the factions as well, and then you add dungeons and PvP and you’ve got a complete game.  New content will be added after launch, and most missions will be repeatable so you can check out your favorite missions after a patch change.

TTH : How close are we to actually getting our hands on this?

RT : We started our first beta phase in May, and we just started our second one.  We’re adding more players all the time.  We’ll let you know when it’s ready!

Remember that we are making this first and foremost for our role-players.  When the story and the respective events are ready to show off, we are going to blow your minds. 

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