So how’s January treating everyone? I know some of you got snowed in or maybe like me work has been insane and you’re trying to catch up. It’s definitively not helping my blogging but I’m allowing myself a short break to type this and unclog the brain some.
I’ve been alternating my playtime between The Secret World and Darkest dungeon lately. Slower progress in TSW but I’ve been making slow but steady progress in Darkest Dungeon which is awesome. But it’s TSW I want to talk about so let’s get to it. Warning, minor Egypt spoilers coming.
When I got to Egypt in TSW I was rapidly involved in a plot revolving around cultists trying to bring forth their dark god Aten and resurrect their Black pharaoh, Akhenaten. I thought until yesterday that this was simply another variation on various tales of ancient Egypt. I figured that the Dark Pharaoh of TSW was a nod to Nephren-Ka, the Dark Pharaoh of Lovecrat’s Chtulhu mythos. I wasn’t entirely wrong but I learned that Funcom is way more clever than I gave them credit for.
Yesterday I stumbled upon The Terrible Picture, an investigation quest sending you investigate tales of the origins of Akhenaten. Since I try really hard to do these without cheating, a good part of my evening was spent deciphering cyphers and trying to figure out cryptic meanings behind hieroglyphs. Through trial and error, I ended up on the Wikipedia page of Akhenaten which I learned is an actual historical figure. Wait what???
Turns out the story I thought was purely fictional is rooted in very real facts. Akhenaten and the cult of the Aten actually happened in ancient Egypt. The Aten was an attempt by the pharaoh Akhenaten to change traditional polytheist Egyptian religion with something approaching monotheism with Aten, a solar deity, as its sole true god. The symbol the cultists use in the game for Aten is even historically correct. After Akhenaten death, the following pharaohs restored the old religion and Akhenaten was branded a traitor, a heretic and a follower of evil.
So the whole story of the conflict in TSW is based on the idea that Akhenaten was in fact evil and that Aten was not a benevolent force. It’s simple yet brilliant to be able to tie in an historical figure like this. Conspiracies are always best when they mix facts and fiction and TSW Egypt does it so well. I’m now curious to see if the storylines from Solomon Island concerning the native tribes as the same sort of historical roots.
The moral of the story? Don’t cheat on investigation missions, you’ll miss some of the best lore the game has to offer.