I found out about The Secret World beta yesterday and figured I would give it a shot. I had listened to a couple of podcasts over at MMO Reporter that had talked about the game and it sounded intriguing, so I signed up for the GameSpot beta key and went to check it out.
Install was not going to take long, but while I waited, I thought I would look into the details of what this game was about by looking at the wiki set up over at CGN.
Set in a modern day world, this game looks to set itself apart from others by promoting a classless and level free character progression system. Players can play as one of three factions, or secret societies, that vie to rule the world – the Templars, the Illuminati, and the Dragon. While each faction can have characters of any ability, the organizations seem to follow some general guidelines in their methods – The Illuminati follow a ‘survival of the fittest’ attitude, the Templars are trying to rid the world of evil, and the Dragon just seem to want to watch the world burn.
The beta only allowed me to try out one of the three factions, so I created my Templar. I am not one who fusses over character creation much. I know I am not very artistic in the real world, and trying to make a character that looks nice in game really is a stretch for me, so I pretty much hit the random generator, tweeked a few colors and clothes, and called it a success.
Entering the game, I ran around the world, starting in London, learning about the Templars and the other secret societies. I explored the Crucible where I chose my first skills and abilities – I chose elemental magic since throwing fireballs seemed more cool than shooting a shotgun. Eventually I went through a portal and ended up in America fighting my way through wave after wave of zombies to get to town.
While I did not get to spend much time in the beta, I enjoyed what I saw. The combination of magic, swords, and guns in a world not so different than our own has potential to be fun and interesting. I was also glad to see the Illuminati and Templars in an MMO since I loved both the book The Illuminatus! Trilogy and the game Illuminati: New World Order and the concept of secret societies behind the scenes of world events has an allure for me.
I did notice a couple of things that I wanted to take special note of.
1) your character name is his or her Nickname. While you also get to assign a first and last name, it seems that the primary identifier of your character is the nickname.
2) during discussions with NPCs, make sure to keep clicking the dialog options until a green checkmark appears. This checkmark indicates that you have cycled through the entire conversation on that topic.
3) I really liked that you can pull creatures (zombies) through environmental effects such as fire and they would ignite. While I also caught fire a number of times, it was fun to watch the zombies die without even lifting a finger.
On the whole, I enjoyed my time in The Secret World. The ambiance of Cthulhu meets Hellboy meets Dresden Files interests me enough to seriously consider purchase, and while the quests seem to be more of the same for MMOs, I look forward to seeing a bit more in the upcoming betas.
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