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    Old 05-14-2012, 07:52 AM
    zaldar zaldar is offline
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    Default A weekend with the secret world and why I am sold

    First, do not go buy the pcgamer vid it isn't nearly long enough and doesn't show the game off well at all. It doesn't highlight the best part of the game the quests and the difficulty. I hope they will be posting something after playing farther in for the whole weekend but the gamespot three hour play is a much better way to get a feel for it.

    My thoughts and why this game rocks:
    Stepping into the secret world you are introduced to one of the most entertaining cut scenes in recent memory. A bee flys into your mouth and suddenly you erupt your clothes into fire then pretty much your whole apartment. Given time you learn to control your powers and once that is done you receive a visitor. A visitor that tells you she comes from an organization and that all those conspiracy theories are true. As she leaves she tells you the name of her organization and that you may have heard of it...the Templars. This sets the stage wonderfully for what is a game based on a dark version of the real world where the secret societies vie for control and fight "together" a common darkness.

    Then you arrive in London and are told to find a "mad" puppeteer. He starts by saying all the things you might expect, but then that he will show you through the instrument of unreliable narration (emphasis mine) that's right he uses a high level English term and he uses it correctly. This emphasizes one of the best things in the game the writing. In case you don't know these are the people that did dreamfall and its predecessor. They know their way around an engaging story. If you thought (as I did) that the story in the old republic was good...you haven't seen anything yet.

    As the puppeteer talks, you fall into a swoon and are taken back in time to an event that has been talked about around you since you clicked play. They make it very obvious you are inhabiting another player...and here you step into one of the best survival horror bits in recent memory. How many mmo's in what is really a tutorial make you feel like you could actually die...and actually make you feel like you are in so deep that you are making a real difference in the world? I can't think of one...but this one did.

    If you have ever read any lovecraft (or seen any bad japanese horror movies probably) you will feel right at home. Tentacle monsters abound and you better learn quick how to use the gun skills the game gives you. Soon you are separated from the npcs that start with you and for an intro that had me going "oh *&^" several times the ending well...suffice it to say it let you know quite well the stakes...and they are not low.

    You wake up and can continue learning about your new secret society and get ready to travel to New England. I choose however to wander around London looking for hidden lore about my faction...something I enjoy doing generally but after reading the first few you find easily was massively hooked on. My first three hours of play I didn't kill a single thing or even use a skill.

    As I was wandering around looking for lore and reading a fascinating historical description of the Templars, I stopped to talk to npcs...not to pick up quests...but just to talk...and it was worth it. Showing again there experience with adventure games talking to NPC's is rewarding simply for entertainment but it also tells you more about the world around you. One of the most memorable was a guy named Galahad who sat in a park underneath a tree with a girl beside him. Evidently he thought of himself as THE Galahad from King Arthur but he was not like the Galahad I remembered. Having a rather lustful version of courtly love, he is either crazy..or perhaps not. The game lets you decide. The girl who sits beside him is also interesting to talk to and made me laugh several times.

    After wandering around London I made my way to New Hampshire and Kingsmouth and was introduced more thoroughly to the questing and combat system. With no classes I was afraid it would be to difficult to figure out what worked and what didn't and be to overwhelming. A good bit was not unlocked during the beta but what was there was somewhat overwhelming but it was actually quite enjoyable finding things that worked well together, and the possibilities were rather limitless. I stuck to elementalism but added some choas magic passives that upped my damage over time. Mixing in some shotguns also looked like it might have worked as you could have hindered creatures to keep them away from you, and then used your spells to more effect. Hammers would have allowed you to knock them down...then move back and hit with elemental spells, while swords had an interesting flash step like move that would allow you to move away again and hit with elemental spells. As you can see the possibilities with just one primary skill (elementalism) are very open..and this was with only about 30% of the skill tree available.

    Read the above again. See how range is so very important? This is what makes the combat different. In every other MMO I have played I just walk up to something and string attacks. Not here...back pedaling, strafing, and JUMPING (I again haven't played an mmo where jumping is important not only to get to places but in combat is important) are all incredibly important. This isn't Terra (which I haven't played but only read about and honestly don't have any interest in) but avoiding attacks is incredibly important and works well.

    Lets talk about quests. Unlike in other games you can't hold many but that lets you focus on the story of the quest you are doing..and that story is excellent. Mixed in with very well done cut scenes you always feel like you are doing something for a larger reason than just to kill creatures. You are solving mysteries, helping a town invaded by lovecraftian creatures (the fact that one of the towns streets is named lovecraft way is not unintentional). And the quests are NOT simple. Not only are the creatures tough and many require groups (this is NOT a game conducive to soloing AT ALL) completing your objectives is actually hard. One example. The quest in the eight minute vid here. You are looking for sheets of paper that will finish a report and you do have arrows pointing you in a direction...but only a very general direction. When you get into the area, there is a circle on the ground (a fairly large circle) and what you are looking is somewhere in this circle. Ok you say so just go around and look for something that is highlighted...nope won't work..remember these people did adventure games before. What you are looking for ISN'T HIGHLIGHTED. That's right..welcome to actually using your eyes to find a piece of paper on the ground...just as you would have to do if this was real. And this is one of the easier beginning quests.

    Other quests have environmental puzzles where you have to avoid instant death traps (horror show being a great example) that are VERY much a change from go here kill this, go here and pick this up and deliver it. Certainly some of these quests exist but the writing and the involvement with the world make even these quests much better than average.

    And these are not even the quest highlights, those are the investigation quests. Here you are given only very general clues and you have to use your brain and research outside of the game (google is very much your friend but not simply for looking for spoilers). You might be given a painters name obliquely, and a hint of a location in town again obliquely (it reads like a normal commemorative plaque...but we are dealing with secret societies here the Illuminati...nothing is as it seems) you have to do the research find out this is a real painter look at his pictures and find in the location one that looks exactly like one he painted which will have an inscription sending you on your next clue (see all the clocks in town...hmm they all say the same time...and it did mention king Solomon earlier when you talked to the priest). If the above hasn't sold you....I don't see how this can't. I was enjoying myself immensely and then I found this...and all most immediately reached for my credit card to preorder.

    Lets also talk a bit about difficulty. This is not a game where you will be racing to the top of the level cap. As I said before creatures are hard to kill and stay that way as you level up. You can go anywhere, and are given only tiny references to which area is best for you. With no levels quests are either normal, hard, or very hard. Do you group up and go after a hard quest in the beginning, or do you stick to normal ones? Choice is yours their are no limitations. I did the latter but as the harder quests got to be normal as I gained access to more powers...I still had to group up to complete them. This was a beginning area really, word on the street is that after this the difficulty of combat ramps up even more.

    Corpse runs also make a return, increasing the difficulty. You die you have to run back to where you died and pick up your corpse..and hope the creatures have moved on...if not you start running and probably die again but hopefully this time in an area where the creatures will leave. This makes death once again something to fear and avoid, no other penalty is necessary. Going someplace where you are going to die a lot, because the experience will be high...yeah I suppose you could do it...but I won't be.

    I hope this gives you a better idea of the game. If I had to find something bad it would be the memory leaks and the crashes but I was playing it with windows seven and 2 gigs of ram which is one gig less than required. Still the game ran smoothly with very little lag and the crashes only happened after about two hours of continuous play.
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    Old 05-14-2012, 07:55 AM
    zaldar zaldar is offline
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    Default a final note

    As only one faction was available I didn't get to try zone pvp but I did look at it and it looks very interesting and varied, AND it also means something. The faction that is winning in the zone pvp gets pretty substantial bonuses reflecting their control of the world.
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    Old 05-14-2012, 08:53 AM
    Bendito Bendito is offline
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    hmm, although I didn't play it for as long as yourself, I'd have to disagree with a few points you seem to rave about.

    I didn't find it particularly challenging (though I didn't expect it to be so early on) as I did most quests I picked up on my own and although you could run around and jump during attacks it didn't really affect whether an enemy hit me or not except in once instance, when a zombie fireman would attack with an axe. This would produce a large cone in front of him and as two lines met in the middle, the attack would happen. If you moved outside of the cone in this time then it missed you (about 3/4 seconds), needless to say this felt rather stupid.

    I chose to use melee claws, and stuck to this only and found no difficulty in defeating any of the creatures I came across so again I didn't notice any need for 'range' as you put it.

    As for the mission where you're collecting information for a medical report, unless your playing with two eye patches then I despair as to how you can miss the pieces of paper. a couple of these pages were highlighted for me, the rest you could just stand still and move the mouse around until the icon changed which would then indicate you could interact with it.

    Also, you talk about how jumping and how it helps, but I did not find it help much at all, I was unable to jump onto a garbage can and then over a fence.

    Anyway, I'm not trying to put the game down and dismiss it, it just didn't feel very different to other mmorpg's I've tried and can't help but feel you're over blowing it because you really want to like it, which is fair enough.

    The setting and idea of the game I like but it's the same old story. I'll keep an eye on it and possibly see if I get access to another Beta but for the time being no money shall be leaving my account.
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    Old 05-14-2012, 08:56 AM
    The Living End The Living End is offline
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    The video piece here on PC Gamer did this game a massive disservice, I played the beta almost non stop, tried out blades, shotguns, assault rifles, blood and chaos magic. With all of them you quickly start thinking about which complement each other. By the time I was nearly finished I felt mighty, brushing aside zombies in the early area's of town with ease. At this point I must disagree with the OP though, there was nothing I didn't solo fairly easily.

    I finished to the best of my knowledge every quest in kingsmouth and every single one was a pleasure. The strictly limited number of quests you can have at any one time makes you feel like you are part of the town for a while. The beta community were excellent as well, i saw many requests for help on some of the hard investigation stuff in general chat, and all spoilers were kept to private tells. I think a lot of us apreciated just how special a thing funcom created here and it was nice to see the players respect that.

    The writing and voice acting of the main quests put Old Republic to shame even if they did come across more like speeches as a result of your character being without voice (i don't know if this is how it is meant to be or just a beta limitation). And the town has continuity, everyone knows each other, like a small town would, they have their skeletons in the closet which you can learn about if you want to dig a little. Its all tied together nicely.

    If I was going to be concerned about anything it would be just how much content can they actually have made with this level of quality. But I guess time will tell, I said to a friend yesterday while playing that this one town we were shown could have made a very decent stand alone game on its own.

    Wow that was pretty rambly I guess.

    TLR Ignore PC Gamers video of this, everything else in the beta was great
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    Old 05-14-2012, 09:22 AM
    Marleigh Marleigh is offline
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    OP doesn't sell the game to me, forced grouping and corpse runs is so 2006 (which is where it seems they found the games animations.

    Is there any form of crafting system/auction house?

    Whats 'endgame' ? raiding/instances ad infinitum?
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    Old 05-14-2012, 11:14 AM
    zaldar zaldar is offline
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marleigh View Post
    OP doesn't sell the game to me, forced grouping and corpse runs is so 2006 (which is where it seems they found the games animations.

    Is there any form of crafting system/auction house?

    Whats 'endgame' ? raiding/instances ad infinitum?
    Hmm well the difficulty of the game is supposed to be a throw back. To the other posters if you were using claws then yes you would want to be close. As an elementalist I wanted to be far away so that my attacks would hit and theirs wouldn't. Most were mele in their attacks, until later when some were ranged.

    All I can say about grouping is that it was requiered for me and I found jumping and moving around to be useful in combat *shrug* ymmv.

    there is crafting but I didn't get to try it out...it is VERY complicated which I like but until full game and a lot more time to look at it I can't say much about it.

    For endgame I would say the pvp which doesn't seem to be limited by level aka all levels fight each other at the same time. There are group dungeons but I didn't get to try them out...but you will not be getting to endgame fast at all even if you play all day every day I expect.

    A couple other things I saw, one that may change one that I know won't. You couldn't buy healing pots....and they dropped very little. So you can't depend on them to keep you healed. This may change I don't know but right now it looks like a design decision.

    What I know that won't change because they have said so, in the 500+ skills that exist in the game....there is no rez...let me repeat that...no where is there a rez. You want to survive..damage...and play well...and have a healer but know he can't rez you if you die. Your skill and your skill only will be the best thing to keep you alive.
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    Old 05-14-2012, 07:14 PM
    Hypernetic Hypernetic is offline
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    You should NEVER be sold on an MMO after playing it for 2 days. Most MMOs are designed to hook you in this way with the early content and then fall short shortly after. I would highly suggest never buying an MMO at launch unless you have EXTENSIVE beta experience with it.
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    Old 05-14-2012, 07:47 PM
    The Living End The Living End is offline
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    Solid point Hypernetic, but consider this, if I buy this game, based on the beta weekend, and I get twice as much enjoyment out of it than I did this weekend but i'm done with it before the end of the included 30 days gametime, I will still get comparable play out of it to a single player title costing the same.

    Often I will take a chance on a new MMO under this premise, play it as a one or at best two month game, if it turns out better thats great, if after my included time I don't resubscribe as long as i've enjoyed the time I was playing then I consider it time and money well spent
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    Old 05-14-2012, 09:11 PM
    Klatu Klatu is offline
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    You should NEVER be sold on an MMO after playing it for 2 days. Most MMOs are designed to hook you in this way with the early content and then fall short shortly after. I would highly suggest never buying an MMO at launch unless you have EXTENSIVE beta experience with it.
    I agree with your point about not judging an mmo based on a couple of days play, if only those who have pre-judged Secret World based on a few minutes of very early gameplay would do the same.

    Like the OP I too had a lot of fun in the game and will probably buy the game when it goes live. Personally I feel that by the time I've reached level 30ish (or the equivalent in TSW) in an mmo I can tell whether or not it will be worth me taking out a sub.
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    Old 05-14-2012, 10:36 PM
    Cartoon Head Cartoon Head is offline
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    The best part about most MMO's is the first month. They naturally tail off after that, and a lot never recover (cough cough ToR cough cough).

    Tera is starting to grate on me now, But thats probably burn out cause I been on it for like 8 hours a day for a week and a half. But yeah, once the novely of the combat wears off it is standard MMO fare. Probably wont sub again for a while.
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