Choose My Adventure Investigations steal the show
Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't... I hope!

Sometimes you just have to go with what the director says, not because that's who's in charge but because that's who can see the performance as a whole. We mere actors must trust that the director knows what s/he is doing. That said, I had my doubts about your last set of directions for this next act of Choose My Adventure.

Although some of you cautioned me to beef up before moving along to the Savage Coast in The Secret World, the actual vote steered me otherwise. The Savage Coast? That sounds so... well, savage! So after biding my time with missions, exploration, and Polaris while waiting for the final vote, I hoofed it on over to the edge of Kingsmouth and into the tunnel once the polls closed. Boy, it's a good thing you also voted for me to group up because those bugs can bite!

Between my adventures in Kingsmouth and those in the new region, I gained a deeper appreciation for the intricacies and uniqueness of TSW. And I learned that I am not, in fact, the star of this show! Let's shine a spotlight on this week's adventures and see who really is.

The Secret Worlld screenshot
TSW would challenge you to a battle of wits

Hopefully, I am not unarmed! It is not truly a who that upstaged me but a what. Although the voice acting and cutscenes are stunning, the stories compelling, and the atmosphere palpable, investigation missions truly are the crown jewel in The Secret World's features. They're unique, interesting, and even brain-cramping. I'd play this game for life just to keep doing these missions.

I appreciate that the investigation missions are an integral part of the story, not just something thrown in as an afterthought or for busywork. And while I squeal with delight at finally having an option in a game to use my wits to advance, I can understand that other folks may not find this such an exciting use of their time. (In fact, I know a few who would rather gouge their eyes out than solve puzzles!) Players harboring those sentiments can take advantage of the option to look up the answer in full spoiler fashion, while those who relish this type of challenge can eschew hints of any kind and puzzle the entire thing out themselves. Of course, folks falling anywhere in between these two extremes can go to the community and request help in the form of hints and stuff to help nudge them along toward the answer.

So I love the investigation missions! Love, love, love them! As much of a puzzle purist that I am, however, I am going to admit to looking up a couple of hints (I cannot decipher Morse code on my own). I also admit to being stubborn when it comes to figuring things out, so I try not to have anything on the docket when starting one so that I am not rushed. Now, cooperative puzzle-solving is quite all right; I love doing puzzles with a partner or two, so I am doubly excited to hear that there will actually be group investigation missions.

What is better than investigation missions? More investigation missions! And not only are more investigations added in each monthly update, but some missions are continuing the story of old ones, like the new one following The Kingsmouth Code. (I will be doing this specific second investigation mission during this week's Choose my Adventure Live! So join in with me to tackle this new puzzle; just leave spoilers at the door.)

The Secret World screenshot
Fare thee well Polaris, most foul, most fair!

As I awaited the final verdict on votes, I busied myself with competing quests in Kingsmouth and even had the chance to dive into the first group dungeon, Polaris. Thanks to a couple of our readers, I was invited to join a group for my first trip. I found the dungeon interesting and fun, with boss fights that utilized different tactics. Believe it or not, I even liked that players are forced to stay in a boss fight until the end instead of being locked out of the fight if they die; it forces folks to think and play smarter. And although that run didn't use it, the camera feature that allows you watch your companions as they carry on the fight after you die is pretty nifty.

I also liked the use of the environment in the boss fights (hello, electroshock!). The bosses also consistently dropped that blue Quality Level 3 gear you folks suggested I acquire. I scored a couple of accessories during that very smooth run and a really sweet blade from the final boss! Although I'd like to think I contributed to our success maybe just a wee bit, it may be more because I was with a couple of QL 10 folks (meaning their gear was maxed) who knew the place well. I definitely want to go back. But for now, I must follow my cue and venture forth to the Savage Coast.

The Secret World screenshot
An Ak'ab! an Ak'ab! my kingdom for an Ak'ab!

Said no one ever. If you dislike zombies and Draug, you might be heartened to know that the Savage Coast introduces something you can detest even more: the Ak'ab. Giant, flightless bugs that like to knock you on your keister and are slow to die, they are truly the bane of this region. And they are everywhere. Of course, if you are a zombie fan, you needn't worry as the flesh-dripping undead are still a large part of the supporting cast. *cue the introduction of the Innsmouth Academy track and field team*

Now here is where it gets interesting. You see, I have been to the Savage Coast in another incarnation, and I have seen the dreaded Ak'ab. And yes, I dreaded to meet them again. But this time, things were different. While setting up for this production, I mentioned that I was familiar with shotgun, hence its absence from the first official TSW poll. If twinges of doubt plagued me before, you reaffirmed my trust in you again here. How could I have doubted!

My last venture into this region of bugland was done with a shotgun at my side. This time, you sent me in packing a rifle and a blade. Let me tell you, the blade made a huge difference. It wasn't my imagination; those pesky bugs died much more quickly this time around. Some of that might be because of the spiffy new sword (see above), but the fact is even in Kingsmouth I was slicing through zombies like a hot knife through honey butter. As much as I love the look of the shotgun and thought it was pretty spiffy, for outright damage, the blade seems to be a very worthy companion. And I just barely have the inner circle of abilities. See? I told you that I would learn many new things during this CMA run. Even though I am not a melee fan, this weapon is winning me over.

The Secret World screenshot
Cry "Havok!" and let slip the Lumies of war

We've explored pretty much every aspect of The Secret World during our previous acts. However, one area is still tucked backstage, waiting for its grand entrance: PvP. Granted, I have popped into Fusang and completed the quests a couple of times and then hopped right back out, but that doesn't really give much of an experience. Not only that, but Fusang Projects is not the only PvP zone. So the next question is this: Which PvP zone shall I toss myself into this week --the warzone or one of the battlefields?

The only persistent warzone, Fusang Projects, is open at all times for players to come and go at their leisure. The idea is that the three factions fight for control of specific points on the map in a never-ending battle.

Alphabetically, the first battleground is El Dorado. I have never even seen this battleground; all I know about it is that it is set in South America and is a 30-man (10 per faction) capture-the-flag contest.

The last PvP zone is the Stonehenge battleground. I have set foot in this one once, so I at least know what it looks like. Not so surprisingly, it is a mini-Stonehenge. As for play, each faction gets a team of five, and it plays out like king of the hill.

So what say you, my illustrious directors? Shall we queue up to join teams in one of the battlegrounds or lose ourselves in on the streets of Fusang? It's your call!
CMA: Where to find victory (else a grave) in PvP?
Who could pass up a city of gold? Check out El Dorodo.112 (37.2%)
Be a part of the never-ending story -- head to Fusang Projects.99 (32.9%)
Old world mysteries win out; Stonehenge is the place to be.90 (29.9%)

And so the lights dim for the last intermission before the final act begins. Be sure to cast your votes by Saturday night, October 6th, at 11:59 p.m. EDT in order to sway the direction of the final scene. And don't forget to watch this Friday night at 7:00 p.m. EDT for two hours of The Secret World goodness on Massively TV!

Strap yourself in for the ride of (six weeks of) your life! Where are you going? Well, that's entirely up to you, the Massively readers, to decide -- the where, the what, and the how are all directed by you. The who is MJ Guthrie! For the duration of Choose My Adventure, her virtual life is in your hands! Join MJ in-game, on-site, and live on Massively TV to be a part of the adventure and watch the story unfold.

This article was originally published on Massively.