Great moments in PC gaming: Joining the Illuminati in The Secret World

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.

The Secret World

Developer: Funcom
Year: 2012

Here's a bad morning for you. You wake up in a start, realizing you've swallowed a bee. It turns out it was a magic bee. Your hands now throw lightning, your room is trashed, and your old life is over. You're almost immediately conscripted into a secret war against the supernatural, and that is the best outcome. Later you meet fellow bee-swallowers who weren't lucky enough to be claimed by one of three variably evil secret societies, whose days now mostly consist of being carved up in a prolonged test of how painful immortality can, if you'll pardon the pun, be.

If you're lucky, you're picked up by the Illuminati, the best secret society. Never mind what those stuck-up Templars think, or what the nutcases of the Dragon like to babble, between giving their new recruits blowjobs. (This actually happens.) When you're Illuminati you're true blue, proving yourself by solving puzzles simply to find your new base of operations and then undergoing a cheery but psychotic introduction courtesy of a mad scientist and your new boss, hip-hop lover Kirsten Geary. Top tip: If your doctor is voiced by Re-Animator star Jeffrey Combs, it's probably a good idea to run away. Unless he's working for the Illuminati. Which is great.

It's such a wonderful introduction to the world, from the fact that the Illuminati are based in a real district of New York that's recreated for your exploration, to the quick introduction to a group of world-conquering middle-managers straight out of a snarky comic book. It's a wonderful mix of your first day on the job and induction into something greater, with some of The Secret World's most enjoyable and self-aware characters all lined up to offer a less than warm welcome. Why would you join any other secret society? The Illuminati probably even has a dental plan.