After my previous post on my excitement, I started poking around to check out more information on the game.  I then found a 3 series video walkthrough with the developers showing one of the instance spaces from early July of this year.  I’ll attach the videos below, and then pick off a few highlights after the videos.

These videos walk through the Savage Coast instance and also include some of the footage from the trailer for that instance.  I’m pretty happy to have this much in-game footage from something that’s still quite a ways off.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

One of the first things that jumped out at me was just the stunning environment and look of the game.  Even for a “beta” build, it looked stunning and some pretty cool effects for the various attacks.  I believe this instance is pretty early on in the game so they focus quite a bit on helping teach the players how things work.  I know some knock the animations and such, but for me I don’t care about that as much since I’m usually watching other areas not necessarily how I’m swinging my sword.

There’s also quite a bit of voice acting and I’m wondering how much of it will be voiced.  It is hard to tell from the little that we’ve seen, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see quest givers voiced.  What surprised me was that I hadn’t heard about that nearly as much as others are touting their implementation of voice acting.

Two things from these videos really stood out though for me that I hadn’t fully seen yet.  The first one was the skill system which I knew was going to be different then other games but I really like how this looks so far.  As you adventure you’ll gain “Skill Points” (not sure of the frequency or the requirements to get them) which you can use for the various skills.  You can pretty much put them into whatever you want however you want to and slot a combination of active and passive skills.  It also looks like you’ll be able to swap those out mid-instance (they do show that in the video) but I’m sure there will be other NPCs that can do it as well.  This takes the flexibility Rift has in its class system one step further in that you can flip around to any kind of role that’s needed.  However, the sheer amount of skills sounds almost overwhelming and I’m sure will take some time to figure out what skills are “best.”  This skill system doesn’t quite get rid of the trinity or classes but more focuses things into roles you’ll need to have in your group to succeed.  The nice part is that anyone can fulfill any role, assuming they have points in a skill that satisfies that role.  I’m expecting many will look to diversify early on such that they can survive better.  Hopefully there will be some way to re-spec your skills or some way to wipe things clean if you want to.  But they may just say “get them all” such that you don’t replace skills just add to them.

The other aspect that I thought was pretty cool was the whole real-world interactions.  First off your characters can utilize things you’d expect to have – GPS, cell phones, etc but there are also pieces of in-game puzzles that you can find outside of the game.  Not to mention that many of the plot arcs and stories are taken from our existing histories.  I’m really intrigued by what all they’re going to do with this as they’ve already started a real-life puzzle competition by snail-mailing out 100 puzzle pieces to the community to piece together.  Being able to tie this game to reality (if done well) could be a HUGE boost for the long-term viability for the Secret World.

Some other tidbits I noticed:

  • interesting quest icons (~2:34 of part 1)
  • blood magic sounds like a fun way to heal! (~40 seconds into part 2)
  • I do see XP rewards, not sure how that works as the game isn’t level based (1:25 ish into Part 2)
    • You probably need a certain amount of XP to unlock the next skill point
  • UI looks nice and un-cluttered
  • casting on the move (2:45 into Part 2)
  • some of the animations look a little off, not sure how much that will change before launch
  • item progression replaces level gain as the vertical progression (4:20ish into Part 3)
    • horizontal progression in terms of adding more available skills to increase your flexibility
  • One concern would be how many skills you can actually slot

I’m anxious to see what they release this week during Gamescom as things are looking good so far!