As many of you know, I’ve been playing World of Warcraft a hefty amount these past few months and I finally hit the dreaded wall of Burnout. No longer could I stand farming Tempest Keep for Ashes of Al’ar, Trial of Valor for loot and World quests for reputation gains, I needed a break. Which is why I picked up the latest Humble Bundle and The Secret World is its crown jewel. Imagine every HP Lovecraft novel comes to fruition at once, every story becomes the reality of 2016, That’s what The Secret World is. This Modern day MMO is a breath of strange air and I love it so much. I’m about 15 hours into this demented, horror filled world and let’s just say, I don’t plan on renewing my WoW subscription this month.
You play as someone who swallowed a bee in their sleep. That bee was “special” and it gave you special powers. In the initial cutscene you are exposed to your powers and introduced to your faction. In the Secret World there are three factions you can choose from, you can be a part of the secretive and devious Illuminati, you can join the righteous Templars and mete out justice across the land, or you can be the hand that causes Chaos and join the Dragons. The factions don’t change too much other than your starting city and your PvP match ups. I joined the Illuminati because I’ve seen the back of a 1 dollar bill and I know the truth dammit! Each faction has their own vibe and own base of operations, but that’s where the impact seems to stop.
The coolest and most unique thing about The Secret World is that there are no levels or classes. You earn XP and gain skill points and action points which then can be spent for abilities, skills and proficiencies. You can use guns, blades, magic or fist weapons and you can have two of these equipped at any given time. I personally went with blades and fist weapons. The more missions you complete, the more XP you get, the more skills you can get and the better gear you can use (if you do skill points right).
This game will NOT hold your hand. I’ve spent more than a few hours on r/TheSecretWorld, Forums, and in the game chat trying to figure out all the different things that go on. While there are side missions that will teach you certain things like making glyphs, you will not be pointed towards them. The game also hits a rather large difficulty spike when you go from Kingstown to The Savage Coast. In order to progress through the game and not die to a single enemy, I was forced to do side missions and activities to earn more skill points to be able to wear better gear. I will admit it was frustrating at first, but now I’m glad it worked out that way. Doing these side missions introduced me to the characters of the game better than any cutscene, which brings me to this game’s biggest strength, its narrative. The best advice I can offer is that you type/chat join Sanctuary, this will be your greatest resource.
At 15 hours in, I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of the story in this game. This is the first MMO I’ve played with a linear story and it pulls it off surprisingly well. Funcom purposely dispersed the players so you wouldn’t have 400 people on the same map because let’s face it, the game would lose its horror appeal and it pays off in the long run. It’s a nice surprise when you’re fighting a really powerful enemy and someone helps you out of nowhere. The characters you meet throughout the game are each unique and don’t just say the same voice lines over and over again. They each have their own back story, their own reactions and their own lives. No two are the same
Obviously I’m going to suggest you give this game a try. It’s refreshing, even if it was launched in 2012. While the graphics aren’t groundbreaking, the audio is phenomenal, the voice acting is spot on and the atmosphere is too. The best part about this game is that it’s not pay to play and it’s not pay to win. While there are microtransactions and an optional monthly membership for extra perks, they aren’t necessary and they don’t give a huge advantage. I highly suggest you look into this Lovecraftian horror based MMO.