In our continuing look at The Secret World, we send Gazimoff to Kingsmouth, a quiet costal town with a severe case of zombies.
Last weekend saw the first beta weekend for The Secret World. While we've previously had small glimpses of the alternate reality that Funcom has created, this was the first time we could fully immerse ourselves in the mixture of new lore and old legends.
But would all the stories and legends turn out to be true? Would Funcom be able to create an MMO that felt different to everything we had played before? Would we have an alternative to the high fantasy heroics that have dominated MMOs for so many years? Would we be able to dive into a deep, dark mirror world, or would we be left splashing in a shallow, superficial experience?
Answering these questions will take time, which is why we will report in each week with our continuing adventures. So far, our experience in The Secret World has been limited to the Templar starter area in London and Kingsmouth, the first of three zones in New England. Later we'll update you on our adventure, as we progress through to The Savage Coast and onward to the Blue Mountain.
The Secret Agent
Joining the Templar, the Dragon or the Illuminati is more than just learning a coded knock and secret handshake. It's about gaining power that lifts the shroud covering the world and revealing all the horrors that lie beneath. It's about being able to see and wield Anima, the magical force that all Secret Society members can harness. And it's about trashing your apartment and going solitary until one of them knocks at your door with an invitation.
Once we’d selected which society to join, creating our new initiate was more than coming up with a single name. In a gift to role players, The Secret World asks for a first and last name, plus a unique nickname that’s visible to all. There’re also the usual choices for facial type, eye color, and hairstyle, although we’re told that further options are being added.
Instead of being provided with a set of default starting armor, we were asked to choose some threads from a limited wardrobe. Most clothing is a choice of style rather than stats, with power gained through a combination of weapons, rings and trinkets. This makes the choice between trench coat and slacks, or jacket and jeans, purely down to your own style. Although starting clothes are limited, more are available through in-game shops and through the Secret War browser-based game. As a bonus, clothing doesn't eat up precious inventory space.
As a Templar you start out in the Borough of Ealdwic, a fictional part of central London that's loosely based on Aldwych. While the street names might not be familiar, this alternate "almost London" is a close representation. There’re a couple of things that will stick out to natives (such as the posters advertising 'English Football'), but even details such as road markings and litter bins are accurate.
Our induction into the ranks of the Templars provided us with some basic weapon practice before sending us out on our first mission. It's worth spending some time getting the feel of the different combat skills available before picking favorites, as you'll be using them a lot. It's also worth taking a look at the Ability Wheel, as many weapon skills complement each other. Although it's possible to build almost any class style out of the abilities on offer, the Deck system also helps to guide ability choices. We ended up choosing the Magus, offering a subtle blend of shotgun skills and elemental magic.