Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Getting Back To The Plot...: The Secret World

For a while I veered off the main storyline in The Secret World. It's allowed. Recommended. Funcom plug the idea repeatedly in the loading screen tips, which I've had ample time to commit to memory. I haven't seen load times this long since the glory days of Everquest, when I could sometimes read two pages of a novel between Butcherblock and Greater Faydark

Don't tempt me. No, seriously...
Don't try to do all the main story at once, they warn. As if you could. When last I was following the main plot I was supposed to find someone in Blue Mountain, which I heard as "hey, wanna come score some sulphate tonight? Someone told me there's a guy, I think he might be biker? Its over at that place where the police won't go after dark so it's like totally cool. No, I don't know exactly where. Just somewhere around there. No, I don't know what he looks like, no, nor his name neither but I bet we'll know him when we see him, right?". I mean, what could go wrong?

The colors, man!
So I left it for a while and then another while but eventually the Egyptian sun toughened me up enough that I thought I'd give it a go and it all went a lot better than I expected.

I only had to look up a couple of things, locations mostly. The fights were just right, stretching but with success rarely in doubt. The plot was twisty and hooky and the end was really very good indeed. Can't really say too much, spoilers and all that, but someone got what was coming to them and someone else I'd forgotten all about did the giving.

There was one very dodgy bit right at the end that I thought came down to poor design. I was sufficiently cagey to google before I committed myself and I found lots of other people who hadn't been so cautious bitterly regretting it. They have my sympathy. Having the game mess with the personality of your character through an unclear game mechanic isn't really on.

Handy, comic shop right next door
My non-spoiler warning? Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. No, really. Don't. Keep your hands in your pockets and walk away.

The storyline took me back to London, what with me being a Templar, where it turned very dark and nasty. I sort of enjoyed it and sort of didn't at the same time, like reading a crime novel and having to skip over the gruesome parts but not giving up on it because the characters and plot are so compelling. No, not like that. That.

It did give me the opportunity to explore London again and remind myself just what a superb rendition of the real city it is. Well, if Everything was True. I've been crediting Grant Morrison for inspiring much of The Secret World but I found evidence it may have been one of his contemporaries instead. Or more likely as well. I present my evidence in visual form. Oh, and as they say on the buses, Read Comics.

Never look in the kitchen in a place you're going to eat.
The Haitian market is a real work of art. I knew that but I hadn't come across the Rastafarian cook in the gumbo parlor before. He's a real highlight. Once I found him I couldn't stop watching him skanking around his kitchen pulling ganja out of his hat. He's how I found out the in-game video options don't work. Just a screenshot, then.

Another chat with the ever-amusing Sonnac and it was back to Egypt, on official business this time. Having already explored just about the whole zone saved a ton of time. Whenever someone mentioned something, instead of scratching my head for half an hour then giving up and googling I was able to go "oh I know exactly where/who/what you mean! I went there/talked to her/shot at them indiscriminately only the other day!"

Said at a disadvantage. Relish it.
My favorite character so far, Said the three-thousand year-old Jay McInerney wannabe turned up. Oops, sorry. That's sort of a spoiler. But you knew he had to be more than a mission terminal in a panama hat, right? Monty and his very close friend at the dig also have a hand in things it seems. Egypt is really rich on strong characters, but then where in the game isn't?

After pounding through seventeen stages of story mission almost without a hitch I finally ran into the wall on Tier 4 of Red Sun Black Sand. It's not even a difficult puzzle, just a tough mini-boss I can't beat. Can't be bothered to beat, truth be told. I know how but it's too much like hard work actually doing it so I'm going exploring again. Don't go away Mr Fire Golem, I'll be back for you when I'm all togged up in Q8 and then we'll see who leeches whom.


  1. I'm not a player, and so I've been somewhat bamboozled over the weapon ranking system...

    Just how much difference does each 'tier' of weapon make on your damage or combat ability?

    Great to hear the story content is keeping up as promised, even as you get farther from the starter areas. Honestly they should have marketed that as a bigger highlight from the outset!

  2. Good question. I wanted to farm the very start of Transylvania for Q8 or better gear to overpower my aforementioned golem problem but no matter what I did I couldn't get my weapons powerful enough to reduce the "glancing" effect enough to make any progress. I went off and read up a lot about how the weapon tiers work and the best resource I found is this:

    As far as I can tell the Tier (level of skill you have) makes a lot more difference than the Quality of your weapon.

    As for my golem problem, I bit the bullet and went back and did him the hard way - by kiting him round and round a pillar. I'm now in City of the Sun God.


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide