Funcom's conspiracy-fueled, please-don't-call-it World of Lovecraft MMO The Secret World launches today, though pre-orderers have already been able to sneak in and start help putting the truth back in its little box. You get to join the scheming Illuminati, the militant Templars, or the really kinda rapey Dragon and join in, with your first mission involving zombies in the town of Kingsmouth. You should probably go Illuminati, simply because their doctor is played by Jeffrey Combs and he is great.
The Secret World definitely going to be a tricky sell, with frankly weak combat hopefully to be saved by investigations and a deeper approach to story and narrative than any other MMO out there. I've dabbled a bit in the closed beta, but mostly held off to see it when it was done - partly in the hope that it would a) magically turn into a single-player game in this excellent setting and b) that single-player game would be Alpha Protocol 2. That obviously hasn't happened. Still, I found a lot of the writing in and poking around the game really fun, and am interested to at least see what lies beyond Kingsmouth and whether the world will embrace a smarter kind of MMORPG or demand its usual raids and gearing back.
To get a flavour of the Investigations that Funcom hopes will hook people more than simply killing X Whatevers for a few experience points, here's a complete walkthrough for the first, titled The Kingsmouth Code, in all its Googling glory. Obviously, don't watch if you want to solve it yourself.
In semi-related news, Funcom's CEOs quit his post yesterday . I'm sure that doesn't bode ill at all for TSW's chances; he probably just wanted to clear up more time to play it. He's replaced by Ole Schreiner, the former COO, who apparently isn't as committed to his ancient conspiracy duties..