Thursday, May 24, 2012

Scattershot: The Secret World

A few random observations on The Secret World that I felt moved to jot down during the recent beta weekend. Bullet points seem oddly appropriate...
  • That Templar intro sequence sets a great mood. The guy that did the arm movements probably needs to stop watching those old Thunderbirds videos, though.
  • Having to choose three names for your character but only getting to use one in-game is a masterstroke. Will the other two names ever be mentioned again? Part of me hopes they stay My Secret. Part of me hopes they Mean Something.
  • Jumping is very convincing. There's a real feeling of momentum and direction. It's not like I can levitate. Although now I ate that bee...
  • The fade from grey to color on the loading screens between zones is a beautiful touch.
Susie's - Good Lobster, Great Jukebox
  • Music sounds great coming out of radios and jukeboxes. It even has its own volume setting in the Options. I hope we get to find out what songs are playing.
  • The ultra-small quest mission allowance is going to take some getting used to, but Funcom might just be on to something. At first I was swearing at the screen when I had to keep putting Missions on hold but I have to admit it helped me focus and I need all the help I can get with that.
Go on Mavis! Move about a bit!
  • Making a lot of missions repeatable on a cooldown needs to be done with care. It's fine for "kill more zombies" but not for natural one-time story arcs and I wasn't sure that line was always respected.
  • NPCs don't move. Oh, they wave their arms and scratch their heads and shuffle and do all the other "I'm not a statue" things that NPCs always do in MMOs, but I never saw one step a pace away from the spot he started on. Once I noticed this I couldn't stop noticing it. Very distracting. It would feel more real if they walked from one room to another once in a while, like NPCs do in every other MMO ever made.
  • Someone likes Keanu Reeves. A lot.
Whoa, Dude! I totally smoked that zombie!
  • The glaring red outline around any interactable object is a clunky device. There must be a more immersive way of showing us where we're supposed to be clicking.
  • I like the ladders but the climbing mechanic could use an iteration or three.
  •  Collects! Better the less-obtrusive shinies or sparklies of EQ2 or Rift than these honking great DCUO-style tablets but I'll take what I can get. Collects are an MMO must-have.
  • Delivering Lore via Collects is a clever twist but making the Lore worth reading, that's a real break with tradition, unless you're playing Echo Bazaar. That The Secret World could give even Echo Bazaar a run for its money in the Lore stakes is high praise indeed.
That's all I got. Until next time.


  1. The first thing I noticed about jumping is how ridiculously HIGH you can jump.
    You can jump so high you could vault clean over a compact car. (Fiat 500 is 59")
    I wish that the jumping were a little more realistic, actually. Standing vertical jumps of over 24" are considered "excellent", and the world record standing jump (the kind where you land on your feet, not the olympic 'land in a pillow' kind) is 56" (onto a stack of three tractor tires).

    I was a little disappointed by that, but overall, I agree with your assessments, and am looking forward to playing it with my GF.

  2. I nearly always take a run-up before I jump so I didn't particularly notice the vertical take-off. I thought the jumping had more physicality than MMO jumping generally does.

    If I had to choose between overpowered or underpowered jumping I'd plump for over though.


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