The Secret World
- Release Date: 2012
- Publisher: Funcom
- Developer: Funcom
- Genre: MMO
The Secret World is a Survival horror MMORPG made by the famous developer Funcom, which publishes Age of Conan Unchained, and Bloodline Champions. It will be also co-published by EA. Containing copious violence, and bloody horror, the game puts you in the world of darkness where you start your jouney from the real location: New York City car park.
Everything you read in magazines is described as “Unexplainable”. Everything you hear on radios is proclaimed as “Mysterious”. In The Secret World, the biggest conspiracy of all times is being brewed by some unknown evil forces. Do you dare to plunge into such a dangerous world and banish the bad guys away?
This MMO, developed by Norway-based Funcom, will tell you a captivating history with a myriad of thrilling adventures.. In the fantasy world, every myth, belief, conspiracy and superstition are true. Monsters are haunting ancient swamps; zombies are invading a small town on the shore of New England; all citizens are being tormented both mentally and physically. All we know is that some secret societies are pulling the strings behind the scenes.
The factions in Secret World are three major intelligence organizations that strive to capture the chief culprit and restore peace to the land. The Illuminati are those who know how to quickly adapt to the modern times; as a result, they are all technocrats and accumulate mammoth wealth and power. The Dragons are called the “unknown catalysts for change”, and they believe that the most insignificant act can have incalculable consequences. Finally, the Templars are the “old guards” who have no mercy to those who are on the opposite side of them.
The full story of the game is not known yet, but the slogan reads as follows: “Dark days are coming.” Judging from this sentence, we speculate that there will be hordes of monsters, dark secrets and strange events. And to repel the befalling darkness, the three factions will have to cooperate with each other. All the three races will be involved in an ongoing conflict that is known as “The Secret War”, a battle which is conducted in the shadow and can never be perceived by ordinary people.
In this part, you will be invited to create a character with a system that does not restrict classes and levels. Instead, we can equip our characters with various abilities from the following options: seven active abilities, which do not need to be activated, and seven passive abilities, which have to be assigned with keys 1-7. There is indeed a wide variety of abilities to choose for our characters. The selected abilities will determine what weapons the avatars can use. And according to one’s playing style, the character can follow a unique path.
The control of the game, in essence, is not particularly different from other MMOs, but the content is really what makes the game stand out. For example, as a member of the Illuminati, you will be assigned a mission to come to a deserted underground parking lot in order to scramble for an important item from the local mafia before you completely lose track of it. In fact, everything is enveloped in unfathomable darkness, so you are advised to wear a helmet with a flashlight which can be obtained from a nearby office. The gameplay of this part is reminiscent of various action adventure games that ask us to fulfill one objective after another.
“We add this task to show you how well we handle the dynamic effects of light as well as to show how they affect the gameplay,” explained Joel Bylos, Lead Content Designer of The Secret World. As you blindly wander through the lonely darkness, the dim beam from the flashlight shows you the way. Sometimes you will run across the silhouette of a horrific creature that is infuriated by the light and wages attack against you. And “some monsters in the game will be attracted by light to approach nearer,” said Bylos, “and some will be repelled by it.” You will soon realize that many of confrontations can be avoided if you do not shine light on them. As you reach a final level, you will suddenly be confronted with a gigantic monster face to face. Under the dim light, you will see the corpses of your partners scattered around the parking lot, forecasting a blood-spattering fight ahead.
In fact, as you explore the scenarios, you will encounter lots of story-oriented quests which are not only stimulating but also compelling. This laudable specificity is, of course, totally justified when you consider that the game designer behind the scenarios is Ragnar Tornquist, the creator of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, one of the best video games with elements of action and adventure.
However, The Secret World does not feature story-based missions only. The Secret War among different factions contributes to the game’s PvP combat which takes place in specific locations around the world. They vie for places of power which are ancient relics that can boost up their owner’s strength greatly and generate various bonuses and benefits. In this game, you can travel to the Stonehenge, the Shambala and the El Dorado, all of which are places connected with legends and traditions. The persistent war zones can accommodate more than one hundred players at a time, so the battles will be utterly arousing and magnificent.
The demo of the game shows a collision between the Dragon and the Illuminati that are competing for the control of a Chinese temple. The PvP battles are not limited to killing members of opposing factions; on the contrary, there are also various objectives to achieve. In this case, the gate of the temple can be breached by the Dragon with explosive mental energies called Anima which can be obtained by players from anima wells. The defenders of the temple, however, can resort to all means to repel rounds of overwhelming invasions.
At the height of the competition, the Dragon will successfully invade the church, where they must enter into a more demanding boss battle against Automaton Guardian, that is, a huge steampunk robot that has assumed stewardship of the holy church. Having defeated it, the Dragon will finally conquer the area and be rewarded with appropriate bonuses. As players climb the ranks, they will unlock new missions, weapons and secrets, which further diversify the game.
During the battles, different classes can be easily distinguished, thanks to great details in various aspects, such as armors, clothes, weapons, etc. It is also crystal clear to figure out each role’s specific profession. The best part is that no one will be forced to constantly play a single role. When you have gathered up a certain amount of experience, you can embellish your avatar or even switch to a new profession.
The Secret World is certainly an interesting and innovative MMO of its kind, and it seems that Funcom is trying to create a totally different MMO that is attractive to the general public. The Secret World is slated for an official release in April 2012 for the PC, but the initial registration for the beta has already been available on the official site of the game.
Look around the communal world we are living in every second in life. Does it look the same in the eyes of different people? Definitely not. The world has its countless layers; or rather it is a huge kaleidoscope, see through which everyone perceives a unique world of one’s own inscrutable to others as enigma. So hold your surprise and welcome to The Secret World.
Players will enter a contemporary world of modern times; yet it is a secret world where mysterious stories from ancient mythologies, unofficial history, urban rumors of legend and country folklore are all true. It is a world of overlapping reality and illusion where vampires and zombies are walking in the shadow, white and black magic is spelled, and plots and tricks are brewing on the sly.
In the dark-fantasy world, players will take up the role of heroes with superpower and take part in the war between good and evil to foil the greatest conspiracy of the times. Players’ avatars will not be limited to any class, nor will they have any level. Instead, all characters are created based on skills and specialization. Such a design spares players from time-consuming, energy-draining level-grinding; while at the same time allows new comers to blend in at a faster rate. Just like its fusing setting, The Secret World supports free, open character customization which allows players to create roles of blending features. For instance, an in-game avatar may wear ancient attire, equip with modern firearms and use dark magic such as voodoo doll at the same time.
It may look a little bizarre and weird, but if only it is what one desires and favors, the player can satisfy himself/herself by creating such a character. While players can delve into single-player mode at will, they can also team up by creating their own “cabals” meaning guilds or joining divided “secret societies”. Now there are three playable factions, which are London-based Templars, the New York-based Illuminati Machiavellian Pragmatists and the Seoul-based Dragon. Each society worships special belief and players can even find out their personal inclination through a Personality Test before they making their mind to take side.
Besides, the game offers players different regions to travel and explore, which include real cities like London, NY and Seoul and fictional Agartha, a legendary city in Hollow Earth. Thus, in this story-driven world, with eyes open and imagination activated, you will see a secret world beyond masks.
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