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Archive for the ‘TSW’ Category

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.

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I was offered a gift

Last time we talked, I was playing The Secret World and making my way through the Blue mountain area. Well… I think I’ve finally been hooked to TSW and I spent most of the weekend playing and ended up tearing through the zone and finishing up the first act of the story. So now, years after buying the game, I’ve finally saved Solomon’s Island and probably the world along with it. This meant of course that my Illuminati bosses knocked me out and submitted me to a one way interrogation but such is life in secret societies.

Overall I really loved how they ended the story of the first act, especially the “Gift” part. In most games, the obvious “join the dark side” part is trying to be all subtle with your character realizing the truth and nobly refusing. Here, the big evil makes it plain as day. Join it and get tons of power but you’re working for something that is likely even more evil than the devil itself or you can refuse and get yourself a really powerful enemy.  Again it would seem an obvious choice but in the universe of TSW, it’s not so clear cut. You are after all working for a secret society than often has a very loose definition of morals.

I ended up by refusing the Gift because after seeing what the Filth did to people I didn’t want to spend a few eternities as a tentacle monster.

Kudos to TSW team for having such a good story. I now have questions that I want the answer to and the only way to do that is for me to keep playing. Well played Funcom.

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The one where I accidently healed

Lots of MMO happened since last time I wrote about my adventures. I think this is due in part to Divinity: Original Sin having trouble grabbing my attention but I’m not complaining since I’ve been really digging into The Secret World as a result. I still did a bit of Lotro on the side but that game is moving along much slowly.

In Secret World however I managed to get myself caught up with previous characters and with the exception of the Franklin mansion, I’m now firmly in new content territory for me!. I’ve been mostly working on the Wabanaki quests and clearing side missions the past two days which leads me to the main topic of today’s post.

Into Darkness

Darkness Wars is the dungeon of the Blue Mountain zone and is a retelling of an old Wabanaki tale involving Mayan invading Native American soil only to be thwarted by the Vikings themselves. It doesn’t make much sense but it’s pretty awesome.

I went in yesterday with a group mostly made up of new players or returning ones with the exception of the healer and we happily herped and derped through the dungeon. The fourth boss gave us a bit of trouble but we killed it and there was much rejoicing. Except for the healer who threw a tantrum and quit the group, fed up with our derping. I was pretty disappointed since I could already see the group disband but I really wanted to finish the dungeon… what to do?

Well, I didn’t know it when I created my character but it seems that my weapons of choice, Pistol and Fists can make a good healing build and recently I had been picking up a few healing talents here and there to help with questing. With us short a healer I figured I could try my hand at healing, it would beat disbanding the group for sure.

Lo and behold, despite not knowing the dungeon and not being geared for it, I managed to heal the last two bosses and we saved the world for the evil mayans. I credit my healing not abjectly failing to FFXIV healing but it TSW dungeons intimidated me so much I was sure you needed top gear and builds to heal or tank them. Turns out it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Which leads me to question whether or not I should pursue a healer build and start gathering healing gear for future dungeon runs. It’s also throwing me off a bit as far as how I see myself in MMOs. For the longest time I’ve been a melee dps or tank and FFXIV healing was an experiment that became my main role in that game. Now, I started TSW with dps in mind and without even planning for it I stumbled into healing.

It could be that I am now corrupted by the heals, doomed to roam the earth and heal butts until the end of times.

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Hello old friend, been a while since I wrote anything here but this place has always been a good one to sort my thoughts so today I’m breaking the silence to write about that joyous mess that is my MMO life at the moment.

2015 has been a very insightful year for me as far as MMOs goes. First I learned that the old hardcore guild still existed out there and that it wasn’t for me anymore. Then I rediscovered thanks to the Greysky Armada crew that a great group of people makes any game a thousand times better. I was also reminded that I’m in a weird place when it comes to raiding. On one hand I love to raid with those people but on the other I can’t really commit a lot of time to it.

Lately, the Greysky gang is split up over a multitude of games since FFXIV is having trouble at keeping our interest and I find myself without really a game to latch onto. I tried going back to WoW for a whole 20 minutes before deciding that I’m truly done with the game, Swtor failed to hold my interest past Dromund Kas, I just can’t seem to latch onto Wildstar and now I find myself enjoying short sessions of The Secret World here and there and I’ve started anew in Lotro just to enjoy a good dose of Middle-Earth lore.

So to start off the New Year and stealing from Belghast style, here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

FFXIV

That game is currently on hold despite being pretty much my favorite MMO out there at the moment. The simple truth is that I’ve run out of content to do and right now I’m faced with either leveling classes, grinding dailies, grinding for the new anima weapon or finding a raid group to do savage content with. All time consuming tasks that frankly don’t motivate me to log in at the moment. So I’ve put the sub on hold until the flame is lit again and I feel like diving back in.

LOTRO

That one is a bit of a surprise but here I am. Every so often the urge to explore Middle-Earth strikes and I find myself back in Lotro, a game that’s incredibly slow paced, has clunky mechanics and overall has aged pretty terribly. Still, it does the two things I love the most incredibly well, exploration and lore. This time around though, I’m playing without any particular goal other than enjoying the lore and it’s been a pretty enjoyable experience.

I’m currently sitting at level 12 and finishing up quests around Combe, the first area outside the human starter zone. The Blackwold gang is still messing up things after all these years and yet again brave adventurers must put an end to them.

The secret world

Speaking of playing games for the lore, I’m back again in the secret world and I’ve been having a great time, so much so that I’m real hopeful to make it past the Blue mountains this time around. I’ve even been doing the Investigation quests without cheating! It may have taken me 2 hours to decipher a bit of morse code but the feeling of doing it was awesome! Speaking of morse code, I now have a profound respect for anyone who can do it live without having to listen to the same part over and over again.

I’m progressing fast in the zones because I’m spending all that time going after lore but I’m not in a hurry so it’s all good. I’m working on finishing up the haunted amusement park of the savage coast and should move to the school pretty soon.

And the rest…

Remember at the beginning of this post when I talked about loving to raid but not having time for it? That’s still the big unknown for me. With Lotro and TSW it’s pretty clear I’m not going to be raiding anytime soon and the bug might back to bite me anytime. The best case scenario would be Greysky starting up again in FFXIV but when is another topic entirely.

I also played quite a bit of single-player games over the holidays, one of which was Undertale, a game I’m reserving a post for tomorrow.

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So I don’t know exactly how to tag the business model of The Secret World now so I’ll steal the idea that I saw somewhere else and tag it Buy to play. Buy the game and then play for free as long as you want. It’s not exactly free to play since you do have to buy something but it’s pretty damn close and in my opinion, even better because you do get way more out of the game than normal free to play games.

So what do you get for free? Everything! After the initial purchase you have full access to the game without any restriction just as if you had subscribed before. You can do dungeons, raids and pvp to your heart content, you have access to all the character creation options and all the weapons. F2P games tend to have serious restrictions for the free players but not Secret World and I think that’s a really smart move. There’s still a cash shop for you if you want more fashion, pets and xp boosts but there’s no need to buy anything . If I’m not mistaken the only weapons available are upgraded starter stuff so nothing game breaking.

In my case I had paid for lifetime so I’m not really affected (I do get free money in the store and a discount) but I love it because a few friends are trying out the game now and any mmo is better with friends. During the weekend you could hear a lot of new players trying out the game and the most recurring comment was along the lines of “can’t believe I missed this one”.

So, I really wish this will help out Funcom and help push forward TSW. I remember hearing about a Louisiana style zone a while back in a dev interview and I want to see that happen.

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If you’re paying attention to MMO news at large which is likely if you are reading this blog, you know that The Secret world from Funcom is suffering right now. While we don’t know the exact details, the gist of it is that TSW is not selling enough and has not enough subscribers leading to dire consequences like Funcom stock taking a huge drop.

If news of this sort continues to surface, I wouldn’t be surprised to see TSW join the list of MMOs that got cancelled soon after their launch. It’s a tragedy.

Reviews at launch were mixed and TSW reviews scored poorly in classic MMO areas like combat, pvp and endgame. However, a lot of critics and blogs praised the game for it’s very innovative storytelling, atmosphere and quest flow. In short, if what you’re interested in is storytelling and a coherent world, TSW is probably one the best games out there. Not only that but they did it while avoiding the classic medieval fantasy world.

The message

I’m going to address a few specific people here. All those who ever said that MMOs need to be about world first and not systems, all those who lament the fact that there’s too few MMOs who break out of the classic fantasy tropes. I’m talking to everyone who says MMOs never innovate and those who keep complaining about WoW, Rift, GW and their clones.

Are you playing TSW right now?

Are you encouraging new ideas by supporting them when they do appear?

Look at the current MMO industry, the most succesful games all emulate WoW to some degree and are all fantasy based MMOs. MMOs that are trying different either disappear or quickly become niche games.

What message do you think we’re sending to the industry? To the ones who pay for developing MMOs?

We’re saying: Guys! Don’t bother innovating too much or giving us anything other than swords, elves and dragons. Don’t change too much the formula either. We want our ability bars, our kill ten rats quests and our raids. We’re going to scream we want different so just switch the furniture around enough so we think we’re getting something new.

That’s what we are saying. So if you’re one of those people I addressed earlier, I ask again, why not pick up a game like Secret world and support a company that had the guts to do things differently and tell the investors that yes, we also want something else than fantasy MMOs.

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I think I’m might be insane

I’m struggling to put into words what I’m thinking about my current MMO situation.  I’m raiding in Swtor, I’m exploring Secret World, I’m not caring in WoW and I’m curious about Gw2. I’m pretty much playing four MMOs at the same time and so far I’m managing well just by spending a bit of time here and there. How I got to this point I don’t know for sure but when I think about it I think it’s simply because no MMO seems to be able to satisfy my all on its own.

Let me start off with the Secret World. It’s a great exploration MMO, right up there with Lotro (which I need to get back to…) and every time I play it I come away with that great feeling you get after seeing a good movie. The downside though is that I’m pretty much the only one playing it in my circle of friends and as far as endgame goes I don’t think it would be a good fit.

Guild Wars 2 is really more of a curiosity thing on my part. Normaly I wouldn’t have considered it but I was curious and since there’s no sub I felt like I wasn’t losing anything.  So far I don’t think it’s a bad game but it just doesn’t click… I’m giving it more time to see if it gets better later on.

Swtor… well… Swtor is where the people I love raiding with are. That’s pretty much it. The more I think about it and the more I think this should have been a single player game and not an MMO. The game is great when you level the first time around but the endgame is atrocious. Dailies are a pain, game performance is poor and I just don’t feel like logging in unless there’s something going on. The raids themselves are okay but by themselves they wouldn’t get me to subscribe.

Why am I still playing? Because as I said so often, that’s where my friends are and playing with these people is enough to keep me playing and enduring dailies.

And we come to WoW, the game I never thought I’d play again. When I resubed it was mostly to get rid of the nostalgia bug and also to keep in touch with some people. And then I’m finding myself playing more than I thought I would. I don’t know exactly how to explain it but there’s something about WoW that’s relaxing. I don’t have to over think anything, I can just go out and kill mobs, get a cute pet and call it a day. I think I was missing this simplicity.

So that’s pretty much me right now. Anyone else stuck like me? I’m thinking of making something like Altholics anymous but instead call it Gameaolics anonymous.

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