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Customer Review

136 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, Unique, and Entertaining, July 7, 2012
This review is from: The Secret World - PC (Video Game)
This is a complex game to review. It has many different elements that appeal to different types of people, but if you're one of those whose tastes fall right in the center, you will absolutely love it.

The world is an amalgamation of conspiracy theories and horror themes. It's a very bleak world and this is very much apparent once you're out of the three primary cities (London, New York, and Seoul), which are very detailed and well-constructed (London being my favorite by far). If you're a fan of Stephen King, HP Lovecraft, or Supernatural, you will probably enjoy the atmosphere. It will be even more enjoyable if you collect and read the hundreds (thousands?) of lore items scattered throughout the world that offer greater insight into specific events or groups.

There are three factions, the Dragon, the Illuminati, and the Templars. They are united in their fight against the darkness, but often very much at odds over historical events. They each have their own storyline, and many of the responses to different quests are unique to the faction. The Dragon have a more eastern/philosophical outlook on things, the Templars are a bit more mystical and militaristic, and the Illuminati are very business-like and technical. The stories you encounter reflect this, as the Templar story often feels very mystical while the Illuminati story has more of a conspiracy feel to it.

The dialogue is particularly entertaining. You do not get to make responses, as in SWTOR, but I found the NPCs much more interesting to listen to in TSW. They often seem like real people and make amusing or enlightening analogies. You can talk to many about a variety of topics that do not directly apply to a quest, and I've spent several hours doing so without realizing how much time had passed.

The mechanics initially seem to be typical of MMOs, but differences become more apparent the further you get into the game. Instead of each quest being about killing 10 goblins, quests can have you trying to investigate the origins of the town, setting up defenses and fighting off attacks, or tracking down and stopping a supernatural killer (and killing 10 draug...). If the quest is fairly straightforward (kill 10 draug), you will see markers on your map and on your screen indicating where to go. However, if you're expected to figure something out this is often not the case. For instance, you may be given a vague idea of what you're looking for and through the use of google (there's an in-game browser and a website for various groups in the game, such as the Kingsmouth newspaper) and in-game clues (hidden in or behind paintings, in architecture, or just about anywhere you can think of), you're expected to figure out where you need to go and get there. Once you've arrived, the quest progresses to the next stage.

You're allowed to equip 7 active and 7 passive skills of hundreds purchasable using rewards for gaining experience. Some build resources, some use them. Some set certain states on the enemy (weakened, hindered, etc.), while others will exploit those states. You mix and match the 7 active and 7 passive skills to create a "build" that you enjoy and feel is effective. This can be done on the fly as long as you're out of combat (lose a fight? swap skills and try again). The states can also be exploited by other players, so you could theoretically get with friends and work together to create builds where you exploit each others' actions to greater effect.

As for the combat, again, the mechanics initially seem typical button-mashing. The states and skills mentioned in the previous paragraph add greater variety, but there are also indicators that appear when an enemy is about to use a particularly punishing attack that allow you the opportunity to either run out of the way to avoid being hit or to use an active dodge button for the same purpose. Although avoiding these attacks can be helpful in solo-play, it becomes imperative to avoid as many as possible in instances (dungeons) where one such hit may well kill you or put anyone healing on their toes to try to keep everyone alive. Fortunately, you do not sacrifice much damage or many actions by avoiding attacks, as all combat skills are usable while moving (and many situations will leave you dead if you do not use them while moving).

Armor is in the form of talismans, whether they're rings or belts or other items that do not alter your character's appearance. Clothing is separate and only alters appearance. There is a large clothing store in London where you can customize your character after you've earned some money.

Although there are many servers ("dimensions"), you can play with friends on any of them. If you join a group with someone from another server, you will be asked if you want to be transported to their dimension. When you leave the group, you are returned to your own. You cannot PVP on any server but your own.

PVP is restricted to one of two battlegrounds and one warzone. The battlegrounds only allow around 10 people per faction. The warzone allows 75 per faction and is persistent. Controlling various areas in the warzone provides a server-wide buff to the controlling faction (so people in dungeons or just out questing benefit). The power of the buff depends on the number of areas your faction controls.

There are still bugs (as there always will be in games), but generally you can either skip them or ask for an invite to a server where a particular quest isn't bugged. There aren't too many, but the ones that are there can be frustrating because it's often difficult to know whether or not you are stuck because of a bug or stuck because you just haven't figured something out. Except in a few cases (which often pop up in the help chat), most of the time it's the latter. Fortunately Funcom seems to be working quickly to fix the quests that are actually bugged, and reporting it to a GM will get them to bump the quest so that the bugged part is completed.

If you like solving puzzles, learning about the background of the game world, or building "decks" out of hundreds of different skills, this is probably the game for you. If you're looking for something light that you can breeze through without much thought (and there are days when that's the sort of thing I want), you're better off looking elsewhere.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 13, 2012 7:51:06 AM PDT
Is it a pay-to-play system like World of Warcraft or is it based just on the price of the game?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2012 6:14:14 AM PDT
The game is subscription based. There is an additional 14.95 (USD) charge to play the game.

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 1:57:01 AM PST
candy says:
The game is pay to play 15 dollars a month for subscription but there are even more subscriptions available but this is the cheapest so far 15 bucks a mth gets you 30 days of game play :) you can spend about two hundred bucks and get the grand master pack i believe it is called and that gives you alot of nice extras including extra character slots - right now you can have 3 slots to start off , the grand master pack / lifetimer pack as people have nicknamed it is just that a lifetime subscription for 200 bucks - we plan on upgrading it when we can , as we spend 30 bucks a mth for two subscriptions , the GM's are pretty good with handling bug reports ... currently as of this time today actually right now 12/12/12 they are doing a major patch and issue 1.5 is being put in and supposedly another auxilary weapon :D so far there is a rocket launcher , and chainsaw , I myself really enjoy the game and so does the person i play with we have been playing since beta and have seen the game grow majorly since we first started ... they at one point in time were doing a trial on the offical site for thesecretworld , they may still be doing it , this by far has to be my fav mmo that i have played in a long time , like the one previous reviewer said there are a few bugs here and there but it is still a great game they are constantly working on trying to make the game better and they actually are listening to the players unlike some games , i have had a few bugs myself , either a quest didnt roll right or something didnt show in my inventory or i couldnt pick it up but as soon as i sent in a petition ( in game support ticket ) i had a GM sending me a /tell ( private message ) working to solve my problem :D definately planning on becoming a lifetimer when we get the money :D

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 11:14:33 AM PST
candy says:
need to revise my post - as of today 12/12/12 they made it so all u have to do now is buy the game - game subscription is no longer required but is nice if you pay for a subscription u now get 1200 bonus funcom points for item store ( cash shop ) and you also get an experience boost and a few other bonus ' this is so awesome :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 1:34:29 AM PST
30% discount on game time for the month of December now! I went for the 6 month on top of the recent 3 month I had about a week ago. I figure in 9 months I'll be past end game and the xp boosts and bonus points will all be spent up for me by then.

Posted on May 24, 2013 3:45:32 AM PDT
Jon says:
For anyone unclear the game has gone free to play now (buy the game, play at your own pace) with - probably(?) cosmetic and XP boosters in-store (can't vouch for that since I haven't bought any).

There's a lot of content here - a whole MMO world with fully-voiced missions, cut-scenes, missions galore (and you will be expected to do nearly all of them to advance), etc. set in a very unique Lovecraftian, conspiracy-oriented world. There's still ongoing development too, with new missions etc. so it's not a wasted investment even beyond the initial price.

Seriously, if you're a conspiracy buff or like dark RPGs you should stop reading what I've wrote here and bought the game already. I'm a harsh critic and the game is far from perfect - especially in its combat - but it's definitely worth $25-$30 or whatever it's going for now. That's like half the price of a game that probably doesn't have as much content.

Posted on Dec 30, 2013 11:14:21 PM PST
Rustypipes says:
Just wanted to update this a little, unsure if these aspects were added later since i haven't been playing that long, but you can dodge enemies attacks and see when they are casting and where its going to hit, i.e if they are about to do an attack that hits all targets around it within a certain range there will be a colored circle under him which shows u how far u need to get away to not get hit, it goes pretty fast so its not ez mode, takes fast reaction but to dodge u double tap the direction key u want to go and u will jump and roll there. The game does not feel like a button smasher compared to most mmos out there, certain abilities synergize with other abilities etc and once you get out of the noob areas the game becomes a challenge.
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