| || Hands-on with TSW's character creator |
The creation of our character says so much about us, so it is extremely important that western RPGs and especially MMORPGs allow us to express ourselves. The Secret World's character creator has its good elements and its bad, but the most important part is how much Funcom's version allows us to express our personalities.
| || Hands-on with TSW's press beta Illuminati |
Dark days are upon us, and I, for one, couldn't be more pleased. For the past few days I've had the pleasure of exploring the dark corners of the press beta for Funcom's upcoming horror-fantasy MMO, The Secret World, and now the embargo is up and I'm finally able to share my impressions with all of you.
| || Hands-on with TSW's press beta Templars |
The Secret World is also quite heretical when it comes to gameplay. It eschews the tried and true class-based approach for a complex grimoire of a skill system featuring an ability wheel made of hieroglyphs and higher math (or so it first appears).
| || Another PAX 2012 point of view |
Of course, I'd be lying if I said I'm not at least a bit cautious myself, regardless of my enthusiasm for the game. So how is the game shaping up? Well, sit down, grab yourself a drink, and let me tell you what I think.
| || Massively plays TSW at PAX 2012 |
My ears tend to perk up when the game gets mentioned, so of course I was all but falling over myself to hop into the playable demo this weekend. Walking away from that experience, though, I'm unconvinced.
| || Massively goes to Hell to play TSW |
Remember the movie Constantine with Keanu Reeves? Remember what Hell looked like there, when he stared into the cat eyes and moved to that realm? Well, this version of Hell is just like that -- with you in the middle.
| || TSW skills and abilities explained |
You'll probably want a couple of caffeinated beverages for this one because Bruusgaard has a lot to say about The Secret World's abilities, skills, gear, progression, and crafting systems.
| || Free-form progression video |
Regardless of what your character has unlocked, you'll be limited to seven active abilities and seven passive abilities at any given time, thereby ensuring that more experienced characters will have more options rather than more raw power.
| || Watch Funcom's full GDC presentation |
Senior Producer Ragnar Tørnquist, Lead Designer Martin Bruusgaard, and Lead Content Designer Joel Bylos take turns showing off in-game footage and discussing the game mechanics at play.
| || Is TSW a sandbox? |
I'm more excited than I thought I would be for The Secret World. After playing it at last week's Game Developer's Conference and getting a preview of the game's crafting system, I think it's safe to say my anticipation went up a few notches.
| || Our TSW impressions from GDC 2012 |
The Secret World creative director Ragnar Tornquist kicked things off with a brief introduction, which was followed by a look at the game's character creation as experienced by a female Dragon-faction avatar.
| || Massively's second TSW hands-on |
I'll say that this second visit managed to convince me that this game is on the right track to impress gamers with fresh gameplay, vicious puzzles, an ability wheel full of synergies, and new elite abilities at the top tiers of weapon specializations.
| || Skill deck templates released |
It's The Secret World's answer to the how-do-you-make-a-level-free-MMORPG question, and it allows players to select from 500 abilities to create "exactly the type of character they want."
| || TSW skill deck interview |
Bruusgaard says the system was designed to offer players a way to get their heads around the game's 500-plus abilities. While there are some recommended decks and combos for newer players, Bruusgaard says the intent behind the The Secret World's classless progression system lies is adaptability and plenty of customization options.
| || Blue Mountain location reveal |
Presently, the mountain is home to the Wabanaki native American tribe, which has fallen on hard times due to the greed and machinations of the modern age. Funcom says that an ancient evil is sleeping beneath the rock, and draugs, wendigo, and golems are overrunning the surrounding areas as a result.
| || Illuminati trailer released |
The video serves as a pretty effective recruitment ad for the faction, as the narrator opines that the Illuminati may not have all the answers, just "most of them." He goes on to talk about how knowledge is not only power, but currency, and if that doesn't make you want to roll an Illuminati, well, you're probably one of those silly Templars.
| || TSW uses Age of Conan's Dreamworld engine |
A recent interview with lead programmer Øystein Eftevaag discusses the way that the engine interacts with the newer game, how the unified engine helps both games, and what special features the game is using in a technical sense.
| || TSW designer talks deck, outfit customization |
One of the aspects of The Secret World that sets it apart from your typical MMORPG is the huge amount of character customization available through the game's clothing items. Bruusgaard says that some of these items are purchased from in-game vendors, some from the cash shop, and some of them are reward-based.
| || Scorched Desert video revealed |
The Secret World is expanding its territory today with a new video revealing the Scorched Desert. The new zone is set in -- where else -- the sands of Egypt, where a dark corruption is taking over the land.
| || TSW designers talk progression, hand-holding |
Those of you wondering how the game's classless skill-based advancement system is going to work will definitely want to read through the piece, as there is a lot of information in terms of both how the The Secret World feels and how it directs players in comparison to more traditional themepark titles.
| || Templar trailer released |
Rose is also the star of Funcom's Templar trailer, which gives us a brief overview of the faction's philosophy and focus. Loyalty, tradition, brotherhood, and discipline are the cornerstones of what makes the Templars so effective in combating the evil that we fail to see all around us.
| || Templar Week sketches revealed |
The rest of the concept art focuses on Templar-related areas, such as a "Camelot" castle in a park, a fighting pit, and a lounge where off-duty Templars can knock back a drink or unload a few dozen rounds at the adjacent firing range.
| || Tornquist interviewed, Milkshake Girl video released |
Dragon Week is in full swing over at The Secret World, and today players get a double dose of Dragon with a new video and an interview with Ragnar Tørnquist. The video highlights a previous trailer's character -- referred to hereafter as Milkshake Girl -- and her initiation into the Dragon.
| || Dragon Week gallery revealed |
As part of the focus on The Secret World's least-understood faction, Funcom's released a quartet of artwork pieces to help give us an insight into the organization.
| || Tokyo flashback revealed |
This introductory instance is known as Tokyo Flashback, and not only does it serve to introduce players to the mechanics of combat within The Secret World, but it also sets up the game's conspiracy-laden storyline by introducing players to four key characters of The Secret World's universe.