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“Guild Wars 2” vs “The Secret World” – Part II

October 4, 2012 3 comments

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.”
– Drew

“The fact it is buy once, play forever is certainly a draw.”
– Drew

“The sPvP is fun and engaging. The PvP [in TSW], however, is awful.”
– Drew

“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.”
– Drew

“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.”
– Pitrelli

“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.”
– Gank

“You must play GW2 because I am a GW2 fanboy.”
– anon4ec

“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.”
– Drew

“TSW, on the other hand, has a cool skill system and really good voice acting and story-telling.”
– Drew

“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.”
– Drew

“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!”
– Drew

“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.”
– Rob

“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.”
– Rob

“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.”
– MMOGamerChick

“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.”
– MMOGamerChick

“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.”
– MMOGamerChick

“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.”
– OneShard

“Get TSW! Playing TSW for just a month (before subscription kicks in) will already allow you to live out a wonderful story. ”
– Phedre

“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.”
– Landiien

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“Guild Wars 2” or “The Secret World”

October 3, 2012 27 comments

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!

“Secret World’s Secret’s Out” or “Raging Ragnar”

August 29, 2012 2 comments

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.

“Mists of Pandaria Release Date” or “Pandas Are No Longer Extinct”

July 26, 2012 2 comments

On September 25th, 2012, Pandas will invade and the world will forever remember the day the near-extinct species rose out out of the fog, and invaded the world of mortals.

In other words, Mists of Pandaria will be out.

Will I get it?

I don’t know. I am pretty occupied with life at the moment, and the very limited time I have is consumed by the likes of DayZ. Then of course, I have to consider trying The Secret World, a title that I have been rabidly excited for, but have not invested in simply because I have no time. I suppose only time will tell!

“GW2 Information Overload” or “An MMO After My Own Heart”

February 23, 2012 1 comment

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.

“The Secret World ARG” or “33, Elder Futhark, And 1001 Interpretations”

February 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Here is something interesting that is making the rounds today. A forum user accidentally stumbled across this, and put up a thread here. Try it yourself:

  1. Go to Funcom.com
  2. Click on any part of the landing page (once fully loaded) that isn’t a link
  3. Type in 33

The screen goes blue, then this image appears. It has already generated about 8 pages of discussion on the thread. It could be an homage to Funcom IPs. It could be part of a lost ARG that was never fully realized. It could be anything. I have this strange feeling that this ARG will reveal the launch date for The Secret World.

I suppose time will tell…

Categories: The Secret World

“Se7en Reasons to Look Forward to The Secret World” or “The Stuff of Nightmares”

February 14, 2012 1 comment

Have I mentioned that I am eagerly anticipating the release of The Secret World? I think I have. On more than a few occasions I might add.

The game first caught my eye some four years ago, and it has been in development for the better part of a century decade. Much like any other upcoming MMO, the game promises to change the genre, but unlike most of the competition (with the possible exception of Guild Wars 2), The Secret World has some features and mechanics that really does set it apart.

.:: THE ATMOSPHERE ::.

"Will you be my valentine?"

There are a multitude of reason why this game has me giddy as a schoolgirl (are all schoolgirls generally giddy?), but allow me to demonstrate it with a simple example. I am not faint of the heart. I laugh through horror flicks, yawn through scary video games, and thoroughly enjoy scaring the hell out of my friends at winter bonfires with ghost stories. And herein lies my point. See the image above? For some reason, it creeps me out. And this is just one image. The Secret World is chock-full of visuals like these, and then some. This particular screengrab is from an area in the game called Blue Mountain, which is extensively detailed here.

The second CGI trailer is a great example for the atmosphere that is to be expected in The Secret World. An abandoned playground. A sinister foe that can shapeshift. A sole hero. It’s gritty, its dark and it looks delicious!

.:: THE SETTING ::.

The Secret World is set in the real world, not some high-fantasy location like Azeroth, or deep within the infinite reaches of space like New Eden. It is earth, as we know it, circa now. The game’s three factions are based in the very real cities of New York, London and Seoul. Now, granted, the game will make use of fictional towns and imaginative mythic locations where players can face off against the forces of evil, but the world is our own, the heroes ordinary human beings, the conflict very human.

Kingsmouth (Kingsport + Insmouth) is a fictional location within The Secret World. A trailer for the zone was released quite some time back, and it paints a chilling image of a picturesque, idyllic town where nothing is as it seems, and something terrifying lurks just below the surface.

.:: MENAGE-TROIS ::.

The traditional MMO features two opposing sides. Be it Alliance and Horde, Light and Dark Side, the choices, exceptions excluded, are fairly binary in nature. The Secret World, however, has three separate and distinct factions, all sworn to defend the world against the coming darkness, but at odds with each other in their separate pursuits of power.

There are the Dragons:

A whisper of a rumour of a shadow, this Asian group is the most secretive of societies. With no fixed territory or structure, the Dragon have dissolved and reformed throughout history. They believe that a closed, controlled society is a sick society. Only through collapse and rebuilding, the natural chaos of life, can the world be in harmony. Recently, they have taken root in a nameless district of Seoul, Korea.

The Templars:

Proudly tracing their royal lineage back to Babylon, the Templars are the lions of the secret world. When they roar, everyone listens. Old Europe is theirs, and the Templars’ marble hall dominates the old London borough of Ealdwic – historic capital of the secret world. It’s not just a show of strength. Nothing is just for show with the Templars.

And the Illuminati:

The Illuminati may have ancient roots, but they remain forever young and hungry. In every growing empire they have played for it all. And they play for keeps. Stealing the Americas from under the Templars’ noses, they grew with the United States to become a shadow superpower. Their corporate headquarters, the Labyrinth, is in an undisclosed location beneath Brooklyn, New York.

.:: MONSTER MADNESS ::.

To say that The Secret World is full of terrifying and unique enemies would be kind of like saying: “The Atlantic Ocean is damp.” The Secret World is designed around the idea of the stuff of nightmares, legend, and myth brought to life and running amok.

There be monsters, and they be aplenty.

Here are few examples, pilfered directly from The Secret World website.

.:: THE FOURTH PILLAR ::.

The game is the brainchild of one Ragnar Tørnquist, who has been lauded for his story-driven approach to video games such as the award-winning The Longest Journey. Featuring a complex, overarching story that weaves together the bizarre events and monster infestations around the globe, The Secret World explores the terrifying mysteries from history, myth and legend (urban or otherwise). The game won’t be a new set of dungeons, and a new global threat emerging with the latest content patch, it will be a seamless experience, rich in context, broad in scope and terrifying in detail.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying other MMOs don’t try to be story-driven. The latest entry into the foray, Star Wars: The Old Republic has established Guinness-documented world records for script with hundreds of hours of dialogue recorded. A review actually stated that from a single-player point of view, SW:TOR was 8 complex, interwoven storylines in one epic game. All I am saying is that my initial fear was that The Secret World would follow the formulaic pattern of introducing a new zone, with new threats, and new enemies every few months without regard to the larger story. It seems Mr. Tørnquist has already circumvented that by creating a story that ties everything in the world together.

.:: THE END TO CLASS WARFARE ::.

This is the big one. MMOs, by design, feature a personal progression system. Your character gains experience from questing, defeating enemies and completing tasks. This experience accumulates to the point where you graduate from your current level to the next, gaining additional abilities, specializations, talents, etc. The Secret World does away with this system altogether. There are no levels, there are no classes. You can choose your abilities as you see fit, without ever feeling the need to re-roll. There are over 500 skills to choose from, and you can slot them into your character abilities as you see fit.

But wait a second, with 500 abilities to choose from, how will you ever make an informed decision? Just yesterday, Funcom revealed the skill-deck templates. These are recommended skill-decks that you can mimic to create a particular type of archetype. To quote Massively:

The Witch Hunter focuses on big damage spikes and represents the Templars, the Warlord is your basic swordfighter from the Dragon faction, and the Thaumaturgist is the Illuminati’s answer to the gunmage archetype.

This not only gives you complete freedom over your character, but also help new players to the game (or genre) to comfortably get into a pre-determined, tried-and-tested set of abilities as they learn the ropes enough to make their own decisions. Additional details can be found here.

.:: LOCK AND LOAD … AND CAST FIREBALLS ::.

The no levels and no class system lends itself to the game’s varied arsenal. You can use melee weapons such as swords or bats, or firearms both small and large, or even use destructive magic to your advantage. The lack of class also implies that you never have to stick to one type of weapon or damage build. You can mix and match as you see fit, leveraging the wide range of havoc-inducing abilities, weapons and skills to your heart’s content and your enemy’s demise.

Additionally, your costume and look does not have to reflect your progressions through the latest content. You can wear what you want, acquiring apparel from missions, factions or shops in the main cities as you see fit. There are literally hundreds of options for you to discover.

Well there we have it folks, those are my top 7 reasons for looking forward to The Secret World. If you have any additional reasons, please feel free to share them in the comments below. Please also let me know if there are any factual errors.

Categories: Preview, The Secret World