Home > Guild Wars 2, The Secret World > “Guild Wars 2” or “The Secret World”

“Guild Wars 2” or “The Secret World”

I thought I could resist, I thought I was done with MMOs for a while. But I keep reading these amazing stories about both of these titles, on gaming websites, on peer blogs, at my local flower shop (don’t ask). The point is I am itching to play an MMO again, and I need your help to determine which one I should invest in. I only have enough time for one.

Story is paramount to me, so The Secret World is a clear winner. But I am also tired of the subscription model, and Guild Wars 2 has everyone beat in that department. Help me? And for the love of god, don’t confuse me with suggesting a third. I am looking at you Gank!

  1. October 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I have played both games. I played TSW actively for a month as my sole MMO, and then moved to GW2. I have leveled a character to 80 in GW2 and completed my personal story, as well as a fair amount of sPvP. I was in Blue Mountain (3rd zone) when I left TSW. I feel like I have a good enough grasp on both games to give you some “sage advice”.

    GW2 will entertain you for 80 levels. The fact it is buy once, play forever is certainly a draw. The sPvP is fun and engaging. But if story truly is paramount for you – then go with TSW. GW2’s story-telling, quite bluntly, is terrible. The personal story is awful. Awful. The NPCs in general are completely forgettable.

    TSW, on the other hand, has a cool skill system and really good voice acting and story-telling. The PvP, however, is awful. The crafting isn’t great, either. Dungeons are fun, though. Can’t say the same for GW2’s dungeons.

    It should certainly be noted that GW2 is far more “populated”. In the starter and ending zones, you will see lots of folks, and you’ll work with them without having to group with them. TSW in the later stages apparently requires more teamwork – so that’s something to consider if you’ll be playing alone.

    My suggestion – give the TSW free trial a shot when you have a good chunk of free time. It’s three days, but can be extended based on some parameters (30 quests or something) to five days. Try before you buy!

    I’m actually considering a return to TSW, myself, but with XCom: Enemy Unknown dropping next Tuesday (I pre-ordered), I suspect that will be eating up my gaming time for the foreseeable future.

    • October 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      This is excellent feedback Drew, thanks so much. I never actually played the original XCom (blasphemy, I know). I have my hands full with FTL, TL2 and BL2 these days, not to mention a massive backlog from the last three years…

      • October 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm

        No problem!

        I’ll let you in on a secret – I didn’t play the original XCOM either, so we can be blasphemous together. After hearing about the game and playing the demo, though, it was an instant pre-order. Sci-Fi Final Fantasy Tactics (sort of)? Yes, please!

        FYI, YMMV is Your Mileage May Vary. 😉

  2. Pitrelli
    October 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Hmm I actually think gw2 story telling is decent but more so in the open world, especially if you follow dynamic events and spend time listening to chatter in towns, villages and cities.

    Haven’t tried tsw yet due to advice from my gaming buds who warned me not to touch it with a shitty stick.

    • October 3, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      TSW has its issues as I’ve touched on above, don’t get me wrong; hence the reason I’m advising the trial. But from a pure “story” standpoint, the game is fantastic. Reminds me of a horror-version of Fallen Earth – the game with bar-none the best “world” I’ve ever played in. GW2 just feels ‘plastic’ in that regard.

      We’ll just have to agree to disagree on GW2’s storytelling – IMO, “awful” is probably too nice for it. I honestly couldn’t care less about Tyria or its characters.

      • Pitrelli
        October 4, 2012 at 2:01 am

        Aaah fallen earth, now if only they fixed combat I’d be back there….. And maybe the graphics of gw2. The rest I agree it felt like a proper world.

    • October 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      Why do you have a shitty stick to begin with. That is what I am most interested in now…

  3. October 4, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Woah! Don’t look at me. I’ve completely given up on MMO’s. The closest I come now-a-days is multi-player games like World of Tanks and the upcoming Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. There was simply too much work (grinding) in MMO’s for too little joy and since I am an avid anti-social gamer there really was little to motivate me to play them.

    What you said in your review of Torchlight II really hit home: “It doesn’t waste you time.” Torchlight II certainly doesn’t and especially now with my time focused on a new baby, I need games like that. MMO’s are designed to waste time and take your money.

    If I had to pick I’d go GW2 simply for nostalgia reasons as GW was my first ever online (MMO) game and I played the crap out of it- plus no subs is a winner imo.

    Good luck!

    • October 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      You have a new baby! Dude, congratulations! Please name it Link?!

  4. October 4, 2012 at 1:25 am

    You must play GW2 because I am a GW2 fanboy.

    • October 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      You got it man! Maybe.

  5. October 4, 2012 at 1:32 am

    I pre-ordered GW2 before pre-ordering TSW. I ended up getting the TSW lifetime sub because I feel this is an extremely good value for my money. Played both at release. GW2 didn’t stick with me and I returned to TSW after about 2 weeks. No idea if I’m ever going back but at least the option is always there.


    • October 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      What the hell is YMMV?!

      • October 5, 2012 at 2:57 am

        YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary

  6. Rob
    October 4, 2012 at 3:25 am

    I can only speak for myself but I was a big Guild Wars fan, I mean a huge fan, I played GW1 from beta right through until GW2 was released – it wasn’t my only game but I kept going back to it. GW2 was a game I waited so long for, every MMO I played was “whilst waiting for GW2” including TSW. To cut a long story short I was bitterly disappointed in GW2 primarily due to poor storytelling and its extremely monotonous ‘heart’ quests.

    If you love storytelling then you honestly can’t go far wrong with TSW. As others have said it’s by no means a perfect game (actually Drew summed it up perfectly) but from a storytelling point of view there is no stronger MMO in the market right now.

    • October 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      Sorry, dude. Do you think this happened because you built up so much anticipation for the second one? I know I did that with a few games and movies, and the result has been less than satisfactory…

      • Rob
        October 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm

        Yeah I’m sure that played a factor, I’ve thought of that myself, but I think the cusp of my bad feeling for the game is there are several underlying problems with the game design (for me personally). I’m a quester and an achiever kind of player, I love stories and the RPG elements and physically being part of a group working towards something better.

        I believe GW2 has been designed for a very different player to myself and for that kind of player it will do very well. Don’t get me wrong it’s an extremely polished game but I believe they intentionally focused more on explorers and arcade gamers than traditional RPG players. Explorers will absolutely love GW2, it has a big beautiful world with so much to see and tons of open space, but the way they have implemented their dynamic quest system failed tragically for me because you’re never actually in a ‘quest group’. Therefore while there are other people around they aren’t really ‘with you’ so it never felt like an MMO to me in the same way Rift did.

        Their dynamic quest system is also why the story lover in me was dissatisfied, most of your leveling is done through quests which essentially ‘land on you’ with very little rhyme or reason to why you are participating in them. There are NPCs which will give you more information if you talk with them but usually you are half way through the quest before even reaching them and therefore it felt much more like an arcade spam fest than an MMORPG, at least to me.

        It’s also quite possible I was spoiled by having played TSW just before-hand since that game is almost perfectly designed for me with the way questing and storytelling is done and the sheer immersion I felt whilst playing.

        As I said before TSW isn’t perfect and has its weak points, in my mind those weak points are primarily PvP and some less than inspiring combat animations, but from a pure questing standpoint there is no better game right now.

        • October 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm

          I agree with most of what you said. You summed up the same reason why I don’t feel connected to GW2 as well. But I am an explorer and not an achiever at all. There is very little to explore in GW2. Everything is marked on the map via hearts, point of interest and vista points. That is not exploring, that is ticking off a checklist. TSW is much more an explorer’s game. Although I wish there would be more unused areas there as well.

  7. October 4, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Everything Drew said. GW2 is a good game, but TSW is fantastic, and story-wise it really can’t be beat. In my opinion it’s the best written MMO out there, and this is from someone who previously thought SWTOR storytelling set the bar. But TSW just blows it away, I’m afraid.

    Be forewarned, though; TSW is very different. It’s considered a niche game, one I find people either love or hate — there isn’t much middle ground. There’s also a learning curve, a good amount of patience and time investment is required to see if ultimately it’s the kind of game for you. Personally, I didn’t “get into it” until after a few hours of play, when everything simply “clicked”. I was completely addicted to the game after that.

    But if you don’t mind something different, and you’re looking for some fun in a horror-themed story-driven MMO, I say go for it. Because of the caveats I stated above, I agree with Drew — go for the trial first.

    As for me, I’m still subscribed to TSW at the moment, though I haven’t been playing so much because I’m also juggling GW2 and WoW, but I know TSW is a keeper. My guild is having TSW nights, because every month Funcom updates the game with new content and new quests and there’s always going to be a ton of things for me to do.

    • October 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      Thank you ma’am! It seems most people are leaning towards TSW…

  8. October 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Not played GW2 but plan to try it out so I can not comment. Played TSW and loved it so much I bought the life time subscription. Try the 3 day trial first (which extends to 5 days) so you can give it a go. It is also 50% off at the moment to on Steam.

  9. October 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Get TSW! Playing TSW for just a month (before subscription kicks in) will already allow you to live out a wonderful story. And if the one month was not enough you can buy “TSW 2 – The Egypt Chronicles” next month or so for only $15!! And you can carry over the character from part 1 🙂

    • October 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      Of all things, I think for me the deciding factor will be story, and TSW, so far, seems to have far surpassed any competitor in that department…

  10. October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I’ve been playing MMOs since Ultima Online, and nothing has captured my interest and imagination like The Secret World has.

    I’m a Rank 13 Illuminati with 65% of the skill wheel completed. I’ve located every hidden lore item in the game, have several Quality Level 10+ (10.4 being the highest in the game) pieces of gear, and I have over 1,000 kills in PvP.

    Still, even in the end-game, I can recall the names and stories of NPC’s from the very first zone. I know every area like the back of my hand, not because of how frequently I’ve visited them, but because each zone I quested in was so unique and richly detailed that I couldn’t keep from exploring every inch.

    The dungeons are unlike any other. Each one features its own story, and the bosses are more like puzzles than tank-and-spank throwaways, requiring every member to pull their weight and work together. Few games have given me the same satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

    I have the lifetime mebership, and I’ve never regretted it for a second. I bought Guild Wars 2 a few weeks ago because a few of my cabal members were giving it a go, but I don’t have a single character over level 5. Compared to The Secret World, Guild Wars 2 feels so bare-bones, rudimentary, and forgettable. But the price is right.

    I tried Guild Wars 2’s PvP a few times, and it seemed like something I could get into. The Secret World’s PvP is a mess, but the devs released a plan on the forums that has the potential to make it incredible.

    The subscription model doesn’t sit right with a lot of people, but I think the monthly content updates absolutely justify it. This month’s update will add new missions, the games first raid, a theatre where players can put on shows while players in the crowd cheer them on or boo them off stage, and more.

    Try the trial. I don’t know you personally, but based on your post, I think you won’t be disappointed.

    • October 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      Excellent writeup Landiien, thank you for taking the time to do it. I think the “try it before you buy it” is also a huge selling point for the game.

    • October 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      It has certainly out-Biowared SWTOR when it comes to story and that is no mean feat.

  1. November 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm

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