Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Secret World, not so secret.

I'm currently playing The Secret World and I wanted to put some of my opinions down about the game.

These are my thoughts after the first few day of actually play:

I enjoy the game.  It is graphically spectacular and the game play, for the most part, is pretty flawless.  Not having to worry about levels as you would in any other MMO makes running around doing stuff a lot more fun.  You get Ability Points via experience but I have also found that I get them randomly from completing quests or as the game calls them missions.  It has a very different feel from your typical MMO. I tend to lose track of time as I venture around in Kingsmouth.  Even repeating some of the quests is fun especially since I get to kill zombies and Cthulhu inspired creatures.  The launch for the most part, compared to Funcom's AoC, has been pretty smooth.  Lag has been spotty if at all for the first week, which is great in a newly launched online game, just ask Diablo 3 fans.  I even ventured into the PvP area where I was quickly schooled on the need to stay together as a group or you'll get eaten alive by those that do.  Still I had a lot of time there, which is very unusual for me in a newly launched game since PvP to me is secondary at best.

Now these are my thoughts a week after launch. 

I think that once the newness has worn off, people should always go back and give maybe a second opinion about a game.   Sort of a behind the looking glass kind of look because to be honest, all games have issues.  People might not put them at the forefront of any fan based blog so I wanted to at least give both sides of the coin.  Why?  Because I believe that people who love a game might over look the 10% of the bad parts of a game because they are in love with the other 90% of the game.  I'm not going to do that due to my ability to be pessimistic from time to time. I don't want to sugar coat things for those who read my blog because someone might just go out and purchase this game based on someone's glowing report and their failure to point out some issues that can completely drive people bonkers.  Yes, I am aware that games that newly launch have issues and that developers need time to fix issues, especially when they didn't anticipate the over enthusiastic reaction to their game, as is the case with The Secret World.  I know this because just about everyone on my Twitter feed is playing the game now and that is based solely on word of mouth.  However, I again, don't want to sugar coat if for people.  I want them to know that the game has issues and I'm going to list a few of them that have completely driven me batty.

1.  The chat system is currently borked.  Let me explain.  If your in a guild or as they say, Cabal and you zone, die, teleport back to your spawn point or get kicked from the game your also kicked out of the cabal chat.  You have to then go back, resubscribe to that channel, then tell the chat window that you now want to talk in the cabal channel.  Lucky for me, they had the same issue with custom channels, however they have fixed, for the most part, that part of the issue.

2.  The game has fantastic sound cues.  When you enter combat or an area with a specific monster your after the music will crescendo and you'll know that something is about to happen.  This is great except a lot of the area in Savage Coast isn't working correctly so you get a lot of broken sound cues from the game.  Also you'll hear music and then it will stop suddenly when you move to a new spot.  This is annoying and takes you out of the atmosphere of the game, which to a lot of people is one of the selling points.

3.  The graphics look fantastic, except they seem to have issues with DX11 and the lighting of the game.  Its not consistent.  If there is all this great spooky shadowing going on, but it disappears when you look up from the ground.  The zones all have a night fall but sometimes it doesn't work well because the lighting is just off.  Now this is not bad in the first zone, but in the second, Savage Coast, it gets pretty bad.  Its almost like they spend a huge amount of time getting Kingsmouth done right and then just put one coat of polish on Savage Coast. I also wanted to add that I originally had my system set on DX11 but found after the first couple of days I was getting a weird bug.  Anytime I exited a solo instance or zoned, my game would experience very bad video lag.  If I logged and came back it would go away.  A friend suggested changing from DX11 to DX9 and I have not had that issue again.  I don't think the game is optimized for video cards.  Something I feel is a must for any game that relies on its visual presentation as a selling point.

4.  Speaking of Savage Coast and the lack of detail.  Just about anywhere in Kingsmouth you can pick up a side mission.  Your allowed 3 active side missions as you work on a main mission and a story mission.  This keeps you active and keeps you from filling up your journal with a lot of missions you just won't ever get too like WoW or EQ2.  But once I moved to Savage Coast and let me say, Savage Coast is huge.  I'm not sure how much larger than Kingsmouth it really is, but its big.  Anyway, I would have expected more side missions in Savage Coast considering how big it is, but was sorely disappointed that there just wasn't a lot of side missions to do.  Yes, I can repeat the ones I already have but in Kingsmouth there are maybe 12 or more, in Savage Coast I've only seen maybe 4.  It could be that I've not found them yet or they work off a trigger, i.e finish this main mission and it unlocks all these side missions, but why use that in Savage Coast when it wasn't used in Kingsmouth.  I'm a little concerned about this moving forward.  I did hear from a guild member that the update at the end of July should add more missions to Savage Coast.  To me, it seems like a missed opportunity not having it in there at launch.  I understand not having end game content, but people want cool missions as they move through the game that is really the only thing driving people since "Levels" don't exist.

That is basically it.  Even though there are flaws in the game, I still am happy with my decision to purchase it. The game is a nice escape.  The world is fun and interesting and it can scare the crap out of you if your wearing headphones.  I did my first group instance last night and it was a blast.  Lots of interesting strategies and some very unique bosses. It helped having someone with us who was a pro at tanking and healing.  I still have lots of hope that Funcom will fix some of the issues I've listed, but they aren't game breakers for me.  I listed them because I feel people should know what they are in for when purchasing a game, good or bad.  Gamers shouldn't be blinded by their love of a game, they should tell the truth, beautiful or ugly so that other gamers can make an informed decision.  Games aren't cheap and most gamers I know aren't rich.  

Don't sugar coat it, fanboys, tell it how it really is.


  1. Well, there's "sugar coating", there's "perspective and topic", and then there's simply a desire to do what haters do, which is to focus on aspects which mean the most to you.

    I agree that mentioning the problems is important when presenting a balanced opinion, but most of the time, fans will be fans because they don't consider whatever issues there are to be gamebreakers. They can play the game with annoyances, so they want to talk about WHY they feel that they can overlook issues. On the flipside, people who dislike a game want people to know WHY they dislike it. They're not going to rant for 12 paragraphs, and then switch gears and give the benefits their due.

    Oddly enough, the issues in TSW aren't universal. Some people have the chat bug fixed, some don't. Some quests are bugged on different layers on different dimensions, but not on others. It's weird, but it seems to a crap-shoot.

  2. I would just like to comment on #4 point - The lack of sidequests in Savage Coast. There ARE just as many, if not more, sidequests in the Savage Coast, the only difference is that you have to explore to find them. Kingsmouth was the "training zone" and all the sidequests were in places that main missions sent you to. In the Savage Coast you need to go slightly off the beaten track to find most of them, which is an enormous positive for me as it feels like I'm being rewarded for exploring. Please take note of my use of "slightly off the beaten track," the sidequests are not HIDDEN, they just aren't in-your-face.

    Just wait until you get to Egypt. The investigation missions ramp up a hundredfold and the sidequests are even better hidden, even to the point where they don't show up unless your camera view is focused on the table that they are placed on.

    I really like TSW, it seems to have paid attention to the different types of personalities prevalent in MMO and has created a world that is tailored to all of them, but without the "pandering to the masses" feel of other MMOs.

  3. After reading your post, I am looking forward to this. Your post is particular useful, plz keep going. Sometimes I buy runescape accounts to enjoy more fun.

  4. I listed them because I feel people should know what they are in for when purchasing a game, good or bad. Gamers shouldn't be blinded by their love of a game, they should tell the truth, beautiful or ugly so that other gamers can make an informed decision. Games aren't cheap and most gamers I know aren't rich.
    Gold für WOW
    Gold für World of Warcraft