Posts tagged Lore

Joel Bylos Talks Issue 5 of The Secret World

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The initial patch for this update hits the servers tomorrow, but the specifics of it won’t be turned on for another week, I’m assuming to coincide with the ARG event raging on.  We will get patch notes tomorrow too, so I’ll be curious to see what is split out and what isn’t.  And a quick ARG teaser, I’d keep your eyes peeled tomorrow as I expect stuff to get VERY interesting!

And before you head over to the article, if you haven’t seen Joel’s video that kicked off all this and allows you to better understand all the hints he drops, I’ve included it below:

In an interview over at MMORPG.com Joel gives us quite a few tidbits on what’s coming with this update, in addition to the as yet to be discovered End of the World Event.

  • All sorts of new missions are on the way
    • A new Story Arc that starts in Solomon Island
    • Each region also gets a new mission
  • We’re also getting a new auxiliary weapon called the Quantum Brace.
    • Essentially your abilities will change based on what you’ve done previously
    • This sounds kinda like a combo system but I’ll be curious to see how deep this really is
      • For instance, is it just a binary system or can you create all sorts of combinations?

I like the new missions as I do enjoy checking out areas I haven’t seen in a while and this new weapon sounds VERY intriguing, but I’m still pretty early on in the game and as such probably won’t get it for a while.  I’m also loving how they’re rolling things out for this batch of updates as it is more then just the standard interviews and such!

 

The Secret World ARG Event Kicks into High Gear

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Email announcement of Event

For those of you looking to flex your mental muscles, there’s no reason not to pop over and check into this event.  There will be tie-ins to the game, but you don’t have to play the game to participate.  They announced it a couple days ago and have since released some more pieces of the overall puzzle.  It is still yet to be determined if the event has actually started or if this is just the pre-event buildup.  I followed some of the pre-launch ARG events, but I am seriously following this one and am actually trying to figure some of the pieces out.  The ability of the Funcom team to tie real-world events and technologies into this event (like the others), as well as hook into the actual game, is highly addictive.  I wanted to toss up a quick post to not only explain what’s going on but give people a feel for what kinds of things Funcom is capable of in these events, as these same kinds of things are also in-game.  I’m not going to do too much speculation here, as there’s already 1000+ posts on this subject on the forums :)

The event started with a video that was later determined to be a Spanish reading of a traditional Christian prayer.  Luckily the TSW community is world-wide so there were a number of people who quickly were able to recognize and translate the prayer.  Then the speculation began as to what this prayer means and how it ties in to not only the December 21st date (announced event start) but also the game itself.  There are already lots of ties to all sorts of religions in TSW so it really isn’t a surprise that it started in this fashion.  This was a bit of a community softball at least to figure out the message, but they only get tougher.

When you signed up for the event, you had the option to provide an email address, twitter account, and a phone number.  I thought about giving them all three, thinking that might improve my chances for something good – but I’m now happy I didn’t supply my number.  After the video was released, a series of phone calls have gone out to a bunch of people.  Some were during the day, but the first batch was a creepy child voice that came out relatively late at night.  I tweeted this earlier, but if I received this call late at night it would totally freak me out and I would have some serious issues sleeping, even once I realized what was going on.  This is also where the ARG events really start to shine, in my opinion.  A whole host of things have to happen in order to understand the meaning of these calls:

  • What is the “person” actually saying?
    • We still don’t have agreement on what any of these calls are actually saying, and depending on how you hear them, your interpretation can be QUITE different.
  • What (if anything) does the nature of the person mean?
    • The first two were “children” with the later ones male voices.  Are the male voices historical in nature, or just random Funcom employees?
  • Are there noises in the background?
    • And if so, what do they mean?  One of the calls has a series of clicks in it – is it Morse Code, which has already been used in-game for a mission, or is it just a red-herring?
  • Where is the call coming from?
    • These calls do show up on caller ID, so people can do reverse look-ups to figure out where they came from
    • This then leads down another path trying to figure out what’s near these locations and what that might mean.

If you want to catch up, here are some links for you:

I think the really cool part of these events is the diversity of the skillset needed to figure things out.  There are all sorts of ways to help out with some specific skillset you might have and no piece of the puzzle is small.  If you’re not a religious expert, no worries you might be really good at finding things in audio or image files.  You may walk by said location in New York (where the calls originated from) every day and know something specific about the surroundings.  There’s so much depth in these events that its impossible for one person to figure everything out, it is quite the community event.

The last thing I wanted to point out about this event, all these kinds of details and twists and turns can also be found in the game’s Investigation missions.  I have never played any game that has made me think as much as TSW has.  Nor have I experienced such personal reward for finishing those quests or hurdles.  No doubt about it, TSW is a challenging game not only mentally, but in gameplay and game strategy.  This aspect of the game certainly turns some people off but it has proven to be an incredibly addictive aspect as well.  And these ARG puzzles are HARD, the in-game missions are not quite as hard and since they’ve already been solved, there are ways to get hints IF you want them.  If you haven’t looked at TSW for whatever reason, check out the ARG thread and see if puzzles or challenges like that would be appealing to you.   If so, you might want to give TSW a shot.

 

Latest Secret World ARG Launches

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The End of Days is coming as this is the next Alternate Reality Game (ARG) launching for The Secret World.  We saw many of these kinds of things prior to launch (when there was nothing else to play) and I was curious to see how often they would do events like this.  It makes perfect sense as there’s the whole Mayan calendar thing and we had heard rumblings about the new content coming this month wouldn’t be holiday themed.  For now, all that’s up is a sign-up with a very creepy voice-over in what I believe is Spanish.  The forum thread does have the English translation for those like me with rusty Spanish.  That same thread also confirms you won’t get any email confirmation, until it is time to act.  They also did announce the perks for those who also play the game (you don’t have to play to be a part of the ARG):

  • in-game Monk outfit
  • faster progress in-game
  • Special items tied in with Issue 6
    • Outfit
    • “Powerful” Items
  • Online event with the Development team

I’m never very good at these kinds of things, but I still love following them!  I have no clue what all they’re planning, but it does seem like a pretty lengthy event, or at least ties to quite a bit of content since the in-game rewards aren’t coming for 2 updates.  If you want to keep in touch, I’d suggest subscribing to he forum thread as it is already 10 pages long!

 

Clarification on the New LOTRO Instances

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The announcement earlier today about the new Instance Cluster caused quite a bit of confusion amongst many, and I’ll admit I’m still not 100% sure I see how this will work out.  However, I will give them a little wiggle room here, but I’m still getting a shameless Hobbit plug vibe here and not something that moves our story forward.  Anyway, the details Rowan revealed today are that:

  •  The instances happen during our current timeline, no time-travel necessary
  • The 12-mans are more or less connected into something similar to wings of the same instance
  • We’re not fighting Smaug, but something else they have up their sleeve
  • No new landscapes, just the instance areas will be added

I’m still not totally sold on the idea, but at least this makes a little more sense.

 

 

What’s new in The Secret World?

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Downtown London

The short answer is LOTS!  I know many have enjoyed taking all sorts of shots at Funcom and TSW but along the way the TSW team has been able to put together a pretty solid (and profitable) product while putting out not only content updates but system updates too.

To recap, after a near flawless launch, many people complained about the lack of customization of the character models.  Sure enough, Issue 2 brought us more options and ways to change you appearance.  Also with this update came the rocket launcher which brings new options for combat.  Issue 3 was pretty calm with just quests and more content added and not just the high levels, every update has content for zones all across the world such that there’s always reasons to go back to other areas.

And then there’s the quickly approaching Issue 4 which not only addresses end-game content but those who have issues with their combat system.  Issue 4 not only brings us a story based raid in New York, but also a whole new option for combat.  If you don’t like tab-targeted combat you can chose to use the reticule for a more realistic system.  Mind you the combat system already is pretty dynamic with the ability to dodge and use skills while moving, but not quite a system like Tera (yet).

Oh and those poking fun at their PvP system and the lack of interaction between the societies?  Yeah, Joel’s interview touches on those too and based on what they’ve already shown they can do I expect to be seeing tangible changes soon enough.  They’ve also publically announced back end engine revamps to help with character animations.  How long have people been complaining about LOTRO’s animations without a change?

My final part I wanted to touch on is the whole quest system.  Some people claim quest hubs are dinosaurs that should’ve gone extinct with Everquest but they serve a real purpose in helping tell the story of what’s going on.  I don’t want to wander in somewhere and have something randomly pop up on my screen, I want to actually see the face of the person telling me to go do something.  Now what I do hate is quest turn-ins, and TSW has a cool lore appropriate way of doing that via an email report from your smart phone.  To me that’s the best of both worlds, I keep the story but gain the quality of life improvement of not having to return to get my loot.

That’s quite a bit of content for a game that’s only been out for three and a half months. I can’t think of any game that has put out that much content AND system changes as quickly as the Funcom team.  I can’t stress enough how impressive this is to not only include new content but big picture system changes too.  It does take time to test and polish content, but then each zone and region then has to be checked again for all the system wide changes.  This is exactly why you don’t see system changes all that often, but the TSW team has been rolling them out consistently.

As for my progress in the game, I’m incredibly hooked in the storylines.  I’m about half way through the Blue Mountain zone and I actually think it is my favorite since I feel like I’m getting deeper involved in what’s really going on.  There’s some really great quest lines in there and moments that have literally put me on the edge of my seat.  The whole secret society stuff isn’t blatantly obvious, but it is there and when it comes through it really gets you thinking.  I don’t want to spoil anything but I’d be very curious how the other faction rank missions work as well as the transition between the 2 storyline arcs work for the different factions.  I may have to poke around on Youtube for videos of the other factions to check out their stories as I just don’t have time to roll alts.

I also still really appreciate that some of these quests and areas are actually hard, not just from a gaming complexity and challenge but also from an intellectual level as you have to look around and think about how to progress.  I will admit, some of them I’ve had to google to figure out, but sometimes I do figure them out myself and either way I appreciate what needed to get done in order to progress.  This combination of gaming and intellectual complexity and great story lines is something that I don’t think exists in any other game out there.

Even at launch, this was a pretty solid game and it has only gotten better since then.  They’ve teased a new trial system for people to get their hands on it (in addition to the existing 3-day trial) and I’d highly suggest people check it out.  Sure it might not be a game for everyone but it still is a quality product and you’ve got nothing to lose.

 
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