Chaos Theory: Hoppin' TSW's train to Cairo

Chaos Theory  Hoppin' that train to Cairo in TSW
It doesn't matter one iota what I had planned to talk about today, regardless of how phenomenal it may have been. The fact that The Last Train to Cairo has pulled into the station means I'm hopping on it! Yes, The Secret World's latest update hit this week with barely a day's warning and (thanks to my lifetime membership), I've been sinking my teeth into it since last Thursday.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I have not boarded the actual train part of the adventure. I had no interest in blowing through the new content in just a couple of days; I prefer to savor the new goodies. But I have delved pretty deeply into it and have a experienced a fair share of Issue #6. So how's the ride so far? Keep reading for a test drive, then come watch as Creative Director Joel Bylos joins me for a livestream tour on Thursday, March 21st at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Massively TV.

TSW screenshotRoach Motel
First things first. Although we all know that in the world of MMOs fixing one thing often tends to break something else, the very first thing I did when servers came back online after the update was check out status of the Egypt infestation. I made a beeline (pun possibly intended) for those quests that were bugged out before to see if I could complete them. The result? Hallelujah! Both my paused missions finished up smooth as warm butter melting down a cob of corn in the desert... mmm. I'm even looking forward to doing From Carthage to Cairo again. You might even say I really had a blast using the mortar to blow mobs to smithereens.

Of course, we already covered that some things were bound to be off somewhere, so let's just get this out of the way. While I haven't retraced my steps to see whether anything else might be broken or bugged throughout The Secret World, I have come upon one issue, along with the requisite "This is bugged... oh wait, I'm not doing it right" experience (which I'll discuss later).

SW screenshot
It threw me off for a moment when the new quests displayed the red error message that I needed to have Issue #6 when I did, in fact, have the DLC. But even with the message, I had only to accept the mission and it popped right into my journal. That happened again the second day, but appears to be gone now. However, the new content quests aren't the only ones experiencing inaccurate warning messages; it indicates I've not completed missions I have, showing that a mission is locked until I complete the preceding one (which plainly shows I have already finished). However, again, if I just click the mission, it allows me to take it, so it's not anything that interferes with the game.

A one-way ticket to adventure
Enough about bugs. I know you want to hear about the actual adventure, so let's take Issue #6 for a spin. This adventure is a one-way ticket only because, like the locomotive for which it's named, this update is on rails. You can't pick and choose the new main missions randomly when you stumble across them; they are part of a distinct chain. This story actually proceeds in order, the next mission in the line appearing only after you complete the previous.

TSW screenshotPersonally, I liked this. I was pleasantly surprised when new missions suddenly appeared with questgivers, making the conversations feel more organic. Just be sure to keep paying attention to your screen when you turn your missions in; at some points, just turning in one quest in the line automatically starts you on the next, without your having to select it. While this certainly actually helps the story flow better, the cutscenes caught me off-guard.

So back to our trip. Your journey begins with a roadmap, literally. It's put in your inventory when you purchase the DLC (I mention this specifically because plenty of people didn't know how to start accessing the content once they made the purchase. Me? I knew because my bags were full and it dropped it on the ground!) Take a look at the map and it directs you to the beginning of the adventure.

The joyride
If you do not want to have any hints whatsoever about what you will find once you embark on the experience for yourself, you might just want to skip to the final section at the end. There will be a few spoilers throughout this section.

Once you cruise your way up the dry riverbed to chat with the eternally disco-fevered Nassir, you'll find he has a new sabotage mission for you (we'll discuss sabotage missions in-depth in a future Chaos Theory). There is also a new NPC behind him, Envoy of Ca' d'Oro, who will offer side quests as well as some nifty things like QL 10.1 weapons and a new outfit for purchase with the new tokens earned through Issue #6 content. Point of interest: Contrary to the predictions of some, female avatars do get to the same adventuring ensemble as the guys, from slacks to jacket to modest shirt... all the way down to the boots and up to fedora. Score!

TSW screenshotWhile I am not going to walk you through any of the quests, I am going to offer some hints and highlights. Hint number one: If a quest has you pick up explosives, use them! If you reach the point that you are cussing up a storm because the mobs are taking forever to kill and hitting you like a freight train, that might be the time to lay down a charge. Hint two: See above when you see an Overseer of Change.

Another bit of first hand advice is that when you are visiting ancient Roman times, don't be bent on finishing the side mission before continuing the main. The two are quite harmonious. Basically, don't keep running face-first into the guards' swords. While it is possible for one in the group distract the guards a moment while others grab the goods, it's infinitely easier to find a way to blend in as the sabotage mission suggests. You still need to skirt the guards, but you can move about more freely. Oh, and while you are there, might I kindly suggest you finish the side mission before the main one; if you leave, you have to start the side mission from the beginning once you return.

My favorite part of this journey so far? Resorting to fisticuffs during the quest The Prisoner when my powers were stripped from me. It was a new (and incredible cool) experience to be boxing the mobs, tossing right hooks, blocking, and delivering a K.O with nothing but my knuckles. I also really liked the born monstrosities, a new mob found in ancient Rome.

My one disappointment came when it appeared that Said's sabotage quest could not be repeated. In fact, it wasn't even visible. Whether this is working as intended or is a bug, I don't know. My current mission with Said isn't even showing, although it is on my tracker! I suspect that since the mission revealed itself only after I completed the Mean Streets line from Nassir, it might reappear when I can embark on that adventure again. But that still won't be for another... 55 hours and counting. Yes folks, some of these missions have quite the cooldown timer.

TSW screenshotWorth the wait
I have quite enjoyed the story line so far and am eager to experience the rest of it. I have more to do. I haven't yet discovered how to acquire the whip, and as I am unwilling to look it up, I have that adventure still ahead of me. I also have more to do for Said, and I know I ultimately will get to dance with death atop a speeding train. At least, I really hope to! There are also the PvP changes to explore.

So would I recommend The Last Train to Cairo? Yes, I would, with one caveat: If you truly have an aversion to Indiana Jones references, don't bother with this DLC. There aren't just subtle allusions; different aspects of the plot line mirror various Indy exploits quite blatantly. But that's OK with me because I really like that adventuring archaeologist. Living his adventures are a total win for me!

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 mj@massively.com and she'll jump on the case!
This article was originally published on Massively.