The Secret World
(TSW) is an MMORPG created by Funcom (Age of Conan
) which launched July 3rd, 2012. It is currently in a buy-to-play model (purchase the game itself, subscription is optional). Having a subscription does entitle you to certain perks and benefits but they are not necessary to enjoy the game, and unlike other models of this nature, not having a subscription doesn’t impose limitations on your account (such as a smaller inventory space).
So- just what is The Secret World?
TSW is set in the modern day, with the following premise: “Everything is true.” Things that we normally associate with urban legends or fairytales and scary stories are real, though the reality is usually darker and/or more twisted than the stories they inspired. Everything from vampires and werewolves to giant spiders and fairies live in our world, but they are not common knowledge.
You are what’s called a “bee” or a “Chosen of Gaia.” Events are unfolding which require the Earth Mother to initiate countermeasures, and turning you into a bee is one of them.
What does this mean for you? You get a crash course in handling anima- life energy- and channeling it through various foci into many different effects- from the ability to shoot elemental energy from your eyes to curving the bullet fired from your pistol so it hits five targets, and many more besides.
Neophyte bees are in demand, and upon creating your character you will be asked to choose one of the factions available. They are:
(This section lovingly stolen from Axen’s original OP.)
"They lost me at 'Harmony'. Harmony is terribly boring."- Mary Stuart
A whisper of a rumor of a shadow, this Asian group is the most secretive of societies. With no fixed territory or structure, the Dragon have dissolved and reformed throughout history. They believe that a closed, controlled society is a sick society. Only through collapse and rebuilding, the natural chaos of life, can the world be in harmony. Recently, they have taken root in a nameless district of Seoul, Korea. To an outsider, their strategies are incomprehensible. Fractal patterns, chaos theory, random numbers, unrelated events. The Dragon understand that there is no pattern, only acts of great change to be committed. From a whisper to an explosion, they divine that an incident here, a disappearance there, can change the course of everything; acupuncture applied to a paralyzed planet. In the order of the Dragon, you are given the entire cosmos in potential. They have practiced martial and mental arts attuned to the true harmony of the world. The most dangerous and unpredictable of magics bend to the wills of those who are dangerous and unpredictable. In the approaching dark times, things will never be the same again. You are in the Dragon's element.
"The Roman Empire II: Rome Harder."- Mary Stuart
The Illuminati may have ancient roots, but they remain forever young and hungry. In every growing empire they have played for it all. And they play for keeps. Stealing the Americas from under the Templars' noses, they grew with the United States to become a shadow superpower. Their corporate headquarters, the Labyrinth, is in an undisclosed location beneath Brooklyn, New York. Acting silently, unless the occasion calls for a gunshot, the Illuminati push for a New World Order. It will be empowering and ruthless. Failure is not an option. Complacency is worse than not an option. Their arsenal is the ambition of a new media startup, the rhetoric of a congressman and a mogul's business sense. Working hard, playing hard and fighting dirty. The Illuminati's golden agents enjoy power, money and glamour – but the real power they offer you goes beyond that. Information worked from every civilian, government and clandestine organization in the world. Advances in modern magics, in the 'New Magic', that the secret world has never seen. They can give you everything...and they can take it all away.
"The noble art of 'Gotta Catch 'em All'."- Mary Stuart
Proudly tracing their royal lineage back to Babylon, the Templars are the lions of the secret world. When they roar, everyone listens. Old Europe is theirs, and the Templars' marble hall dominates the old London borough of Ealdwic - historic capital of the secret world. It's not just a show of strength. Nothing is just for show with the Templars. At the forefront of the war against darkness, they decide for themselves what counts as darkness. Never backing down from a fight. Never forgetting a grudge. They have tradition to uphold. For thousands of years they have been single-minded in their mission to obliterate evil in all its forms. Where angels fear to tread, the Templars kick down doors. As a soldier of the Templars, you will benefit from their military might. They have hoarded vast occult libraries and the hard-won knowledge of battles throughout time. Their traditional magics, the old mysticism of sorcerers and priests, of life and death, are powerful still. And the loyalty between Templars may be old-fashioned, but it is absolute. You will not stand alone.
Faction plays a role in how your experience in TSW plays out. Each one has a different take on the goings-on, which you’ll see as you interact with your handlers and read mission debriefings. Note that you can create up to three characters (without paying for more character slots), so if you really want to experience the game from all three societies, you can.
Also note that faction does not limit what you can do and with whom, outside of PvP. A Dragon can walk around Ealdwic, London (Templar territory) and talk to people there, just as the Illuminati agent in Kingsmouth can group up with a Templar to tackle a mission or three. The only places that are off-limits are the faction headquarters.
As far as playing with friends goes, you can be of any faction. However, cabals
(TSW’s equivalent of guilds) are faction-specific, so if you want to be in a cabal together, you must all be from the same faction.
What is the gameplay like?
Unlike many other MMO’s, TSW does away with the concept of “experience levels.” You still earn experience, but there is no such thing as a “level 50 player.”
Instead, as you gain experience, you earn Ability Points (AP)
and Skill Points (SP)
is what you use to purchase your abilities from the Ability Wheel
These represent the actual abilities you have learned during your adventure. The ring is divided into an inner
and an outer
section, and then divided like pie into three slices, each with three subslices:
The red “Ranged
” section represents the (nonmagical) ranged weapons available to you: assault rifle, (dual) pistols, and shotgun.
The orange “Melee
” section represents the close-combat weapons: blades (swords), hammers (which includes axes and polearms), and fist (claws).
The blue “Magic
” section represents the three ranged magical types: elementalism, chaos, and blood.
is what you use to purchase skills from the skills menu:
This represents your, well, skill with each weapon. Each weapon has two skill lines: one for damage, one for their other role, which varies per weapon. In the image above, you can see that this player has put in one skill point in fist’s damage line, and two points in its healing line. Skill also determines the Quality Level
(QL) of gear you can equip. The game uses whichever line you have more points in to determine this, plus one. So in this same example, this player can equip a fist weapon of up to QL3 (healing line is the one with more points, 2. 2+1 = 3). QL ranges from 0 to 10.5 (higher QL is better).
At the bottom are your lines for your talismans. Also unlike most MMO’s, TSW does not have “armor.” Instead, you have things like dice, rings, amulets- gear that does not show up on your character. The talismans house the vast majority of your actual statistics, and knowing what you need and when is part of the fun.
Finally, since gear does not equate to appearance, fashion tends to be a major part of TSW. You can obtain clothing from various sources: the in-game shops (biggest one being Pangaea, in London), the Item Store (AKA cash shop), or via achievements. There have also been other vendors added since launch that sell clothing.
Okay… What’s the gameplay like, outside of my character?
TSW uses missions (quests) that are either given to you by interacting with someone (or something) in the game. Sometimes you’ll even get them called in to your cell phone (modern day game, remember?). Upon completing a mission, you don’t need to return to the NPC/item that gave it to you- you just click the “Send Report” button that appears every time you complete one, and you can do this anywhere- even in a dungeon, right after defeating the final boss.
TSW has several mission types:
Story (icon is a film reel, on a blue background): These missions denote the ones that progress the “main” storyline of TSW.
So, what’s the PA presence like in TSW?
Action (a running man wielding a weapon, on a brown background): These are your generic quests, such as “Kill ten zombies” or “Take these items, find a way to combine them, and use the finished product at this location.”
Investigation (a laptop computer, on a green background): These missions are more puzzle-like and require you to figure something out. Unlike other missions, which typically tell you exactly what you need to do and where (with a helpful marker on your map), Investigations give you some information to start, and that’s it. You’re on your own, but you do have the resources of the Internet at your disposal (TSW even has an in-game browser, default hotkey is “B”.)
Sabotage (AKA Stealth- a time bomb, on a yellow background): These missions require you to get from point A to point B, and/or retrieve some item, all without being spotted or caught. Some people complain about missions with mobs too difficult for them to fight; chances are, they’re doing one of these, and fighting is not the “right” way to approach these missions.
Side missions (a package/box, on a teal-ish background): These are smaller missions you ideally pick up while doing one of the other types. For example, an Action mission might require you to kill 20 zombies. A side mission may require you to take some zombie parts back to the NPC for research.
PvP missions (crossed swords, on a brown background): Only available in PvP arenas. Typically follow the Action mission template.
Dungeon missions (group of people, on a purple background): These indicate content meant for groups, such as the game’s eight main dungeons: Polaris, Hell Raised, The Darkness War, The Ankh, Hell Fallen, The Facility, Hell Eternal, and The Slaughterhouse.
In TSW, you can have the following active at the same time: one Story mission, one “main” mission (one Action, one Investigation, or one Sabotage), one Dungeon mission, and up to three Side missions. PvP missions count as “main” missions as well.
Most of us are on the dimension named Arcadia. It is an RP server- consider yourselves warned.
However, you can roll on another dimension and still play with the PA crew. Most game functions (such as chatting) are cross-dimension, and you can group with anyone from any dimension (the game will temporarily move you to the party leader’s dimension). The only limitation is in PvP- if you’re not on Arcadia, you won’t be fighting alongside the PA folks (of the same faction).
Way back when TSW was still popular with PA, we had three(!) cabals set up, one for each faction. Sadly, our numbers have dwindled, and the cabals are defunct. However, because of the chat system, we are still able to connect with each other in-game.
In your chat window, type /chat join PA Wang
and you will see a channel called [#PA] pop up. You can then type /chat list
to see who’s online and in the channel. Feel free to say hi or ask questions!
Short list of folks still playing:
ringswraith: Daisuke "Makidai" Maki
amnesiasoft: Rose "RoseQ" Quixotic
Spoit: Professor "Spoit" Professorson
Antithesis: Bedford "Cheston" Manchester
Antecantelope: Keren "Ante2" Happuch
kafziel: Mirabelle "Wiggly" Wigglesworth
Stragint: Chad "BrofessorChaz" Brodyington
Alegis: Cate "Alegis" Colt
Dayne "feldorn-308" mortumen
Regina Fong: Franklin "Apocryphal-D" Dunning
DarkPrimus: Paul "P-Dubs" Weston
If I am missing you, please PM me and I will add you to this list!