Welcome to a brand new monthly segment here on Are We New At This called “This Month in Gaming”, where I will discuss why this is a great time to be a gamer, the games I was privileged enough to enjoy the month prior, and what I am currently playing.
October 2012 holds the dubious honor of being the first month since at least August 2004, when I did not play an MMO. Not a single one. I even sought public opinion on whether I should play Guild Wars 2 or The Secret World, which garnered a very large number of opinions. The Secret World won in the end, but for some strange reason, even though the installer sits in my downloads folder, I cannot quite bring myself to play it just yet. It is an odd feeling. I have this inkling to get my grubby paws on whatever MMO I can find and play it, just to satisfy the itch. But then I look at the list of everything else I was able to play and enjoy this month, and I realize that maybe this is a good thing!
First, just the list:
- Faster Than Light
- Of Orcs and Men
- The Walking Dead: Episode 4
- League of Legends
- The WarZ (alpha)
- ARMA II: Army of the Czech Republic
- Mark of the Ninja
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Aside from XCOM and Mark of the Ninja, I “finished” every other game on that list. To put a long story short, October 2012 was an amazing month for gaming, with some of the best, original and refreshing titles I have had the pleasure of playing in recent years. Check after the jump to see what rocked, almost rocked and flopped altogether!
I received a ton of a comments, and although GW2 seemed to be winning earlier, TSW has seemed to creep up in the number of recommendations. The following are what some of the readers of this blog has to say about the two titles:
Guild Wars 2
“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. The PvP [in TSW], however, is awful.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“You must play GW2 because I am a GW2 fanboy.”
“I pre-ordered GW2 before pre-ordering TSW.”
- Winged Nazgul
“[After switching to TSW, no] idea if I’m ever going back but at least the option is always there.”
- Winged Nazgul
The Secret World
“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.”
“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.”
“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 ended up getting the TSW lifetime sub because I feel this is an extremely good value for my money.”
- Winged Nazgul
“GW2 didn’t stick with me and I returned to TSW after about 2 weeks.”
- Winged Nazgul
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Get TSW! Playing TSW for just a month (before subscription kicks in) will already allow you to live out a wonderful story. ”
“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. 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.”
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!
It is a sad day when an MMO, especially one that has been in development for almost a decade, that generated so much hype, and that had so much potential, seems to be in the news for all the wrong reasons.
According to Funcom’s Q2 2012 financial report, The Secret World has been purchased by over 200,000 players so far, a number far below the 700,000 sold for Age of Conan in its first months. The report claims several initiatives are being launched to attract a bigger base to the game, but the ugly truth is self-evident: The Secret World has failed to garner the following that it frankly deserved.
It is unfortunate really. I have yet to try The Secret World. This is not because I am waiting for more reviews, or because I am trying to sidestep the early adopter blues. I simply don’t have the time to invest in another MMO. I was hoping that post-summer I could clear up my schedule a little and give this and Guild Wars 2 some time and see what all the raving lunatics are scream on about. The Secret World has been given a very respectable mid-70’s overall score by critics, and a more grounded mid-80s score by players on MetaCritic.com. Clearly, years of hard work and dedication to creating something unique yet familiar, novel yet adaptable, organic yet linear has paid off. But despite everything that the studio did, somehow it was not enough. I suppose that is the nature of the business, sometimes no matter how hard you try, it simply won’t stick.
I will do a full-blown review and try to dent what I can when I try it, but as it stands, it seems that The Secret World is done for. And it is yet another nail in the paid subscription era’s coffin.
The NDA for Guild Wars 2 was lifted this week, and the information poured forth, an unending tide of opinions, impressions, videos and screenshots. Perhaps not coincidentally, The Secret World also revealed its launch date, June 19th, 2012. Smooth Mr. Tornquist, real smooth!
Since I am not in the closed beta, my impressions of what it plays like is based entirely on the plethora of online previews that popped up between the beginning of this week and now.
Kotaku’s Mike Fahey listed 10 things that he learned from the Guild Wars 2 beta. It is an interesting read, full of promise and praise, so take it with a grain of salt. Fahey’s post has no new screenshots, but there are a few interesting videos, one of which highlights the absolutely massive scale of the game’s cities. It also appears Fahey may be a little suicidal with his digital avatars. Massively’s Elizabeth Cardy and Shawn Schuster put up their own impressions of the press beta event from over the weekend. Cardy focused on marco-level concepts, such as leveling, grouping, combat and healing, whereas Schuster spent more time with the character creator, questing, classes, skills, items, look and feel of the game.
Several bloggers also had their impressions of the game:
- My dwarf brother Werit naturally only focused on the PvP aspect, and how he feels it compares to WAR.
- Spinks is prudent, and feels that we shouldn’t expect something drastically different, just the next step in the MMO evolution.
- Syncaine feels that the game will fuel the biggest e-peen measurement races in MMO history, and that may not be the worst thing!
- Keen was kind enough to rummage through the mountain of videos from the event, and come up with the most informative, entertaining and useful ones.
- Ravious might need a towel!
- Syp is glad that his feelings about the game are being reinforced though all the glowing praise from over the weekend, but he is focusing on two aspects that stand out for him: character creation, and the lack of reliance on the “holy trinity”.
Massively also put up this new piece today, detailing how crafting works in Guild Wars 2. Being able to gather everything at any time from the get go (no more collecting copper nodes in noobland for three hours before moving higher up the ladder), a lack of node competition, and salvaging all seem like great ideas on paper, and drastic improvements on the “Everything. Takes. Longer. ™.” formula every MMO is guilty of. I am excited, not as much as I am excited for The Secret World, mind you. But I am very excited! I will most certainly be trying this out when it releases.