Among the other hooplah over the supposed end of the world last month, The Secret World fans were participating in the game's latest Alternate Reality Game (ARG). Set out in the real world, the ARG let anyone -- player or not -- experience the ambiance of TSW investigation missions by solving a set of conspiracy-laden tasks and receiving in-game rewards. While the first ARG was via Facebook, this one utilized email, a special website, and even text messages and tweets. Some missions were solo events, while others required the world-wide community to band together to complete. And there's nothing like a common goal to bring folks together (even in some unexpected ways!).
Didn't have a chance to play all the way through? It's not too late; the situation room is still open. Go ahead and put your thinking cap on and prepare to be drawn into a world of conspiracies, whether you play TSW or not.
This latest ARG included six different missions with varying difficulties and -- at times -- multiple tiers. The missions tested your knowledge, reflexes, even your math skills. Each mission was preceded by an image taking over most of the screens: a man in sunglasses spouting a little monologue. This intro can actually be skipped by clicking down in the bottom right screen, but his remarks are worth listening to at least the first time through. Each time a mission was completed for the very first time, those participating would receive a new message (via email, text, or twitter) from Agent Msika directing, directing them on to the next mission. Although I never personally received any, other clues were disseminated via these methods as well.
In mission three, folks had six hours to to complete three different tests. The first two tests were comprised of two images each that needed to be labeled. At least there was a hint in the actual number of letters for each word in the answer. The final one was deciphering a key out of a huge table of data. After completing all three tests, you could move on to mission four, which just so happened to be another image! Ditto for the three steps of mission five. Mission four granted you two hours to complete; mission five allowed three.
Mission six didn't appear until the infamous End of Days date. Then participants were given the ominous 6:66 time frame to find the answer. To start, folks had to figure out a place somewhere out in the world from photographs. I've got to tell you, it was pretty intense in the chat room as people from all over the world scrambled to discover where the image was pointing! Then more clues followed.
While I cannot answer for anyone who had never signed up (as the link only shows my version of the situation room to me), I do know that the situation room is still available for anyone who started the ARG. I personally am very glad for this, as I had little time over the holidays to participate and I didn't want to use any cheats to get through. Sadly, mission three was inadvertently spoiled for me when Funcom sent Massively a little teaser about the ARG, including these images and the answers! Such is the life of a journalist.
Working and problem-solving, however, wasn't the only way people came together through the ARGs. On January 18th, TSW tweeted a picture of a postcard sent to the devs telling how two participants in the first ARG, The Secret War, met and fell in love.
I'll admit, I am curious to know if there is a count for how many participate in the ARG. I'd also love to know how long each mission took the community to solve. And even more, I would love to hear who came up with the idea of combining ARGs with The Secret World as well as what new ones might be in the works! I sincerely hope there are plenty more where this came from.
So tell me, did you participate in either ARG? Share your impressions in the comments below.
Conspiracies, paranoia, secrets, and chaos -- the breakfast of champions! Feast on a bowlful with MJ every Monday as she infiltrates The Secret World to bring you the latest word on the streets of Gaia in Chaos Theory. Heard some juicy whispers or have a few leads you want followed? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll jump on the case!