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Chaos Theory: My crisis of faith in The Secret World

MJ Guthrie

Oh hush, all you negative Nancys! No, this isn't an article about my jumping ship and leaving The Secret World. Far from it; there's still so much to do in there that I haven't gotten to. I know, I know -- there is a horde of you who have played through all the zones, completed all the quests, and filled out the entire ability wheel (earning yourself one snazzy outfit in doing so). But not me. In fact, I have countless play sessions of new content still ahead. The problem is, I don't know whom to do everything on! In this world of secret societies, I don't know who I truly am. Hence, my crisis of faith.

I am at a crossroads with my decision about which faction to really play. I used to have one clear main character who did everything, but thanks to Choose My Adventure and streaming, my little alt is nearly caught up and my main has stagnated. Should I continue with the brash little blonde Illuminati who was voted to life during CMA, or do I return to the steady trigger finger of my red-headed Templar? Or do I revive that first soul I created, the fiery-eyed, raven-haired Dragon? Whom should I devote my time and attention to? Does it really even matter?

Perhaps you, too, have experienced this same quandary, so let's find some answers together.

The Secret World screenshot
Some of you might be shaking your heads at my getting myself into this mess in the first place. After all, The Secret World is a game that really has no need of alts. Thanks to the skill-based system, a single character can experience practically everything in game, so rolling up alternate factions is just asking for trouble. Well, don't just look at me, you shoulder some of the blame for this. That's right. You. If it hadn't been for the Choose My Adventure, I'd still be happily playing my Templar. Now, I am torn.

Eeny meeny...
I suppose one way of deciding this dilemma would be to use that one classic tool of deduction handed down for generations: eeny, meeny, miny, moe. It's quick, decisive, and could end my predicament right now. But this method opens the door for regrets riding on the tails of what ifs, so I'd rather we reason things out a bit.

The Secret World screenshotLet's start with the most important question. The answer to that is 42. Oh wait, wrong question. I asked whether it mattered which faction I chose to play. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes and no. Pffft, I am really no help, am I? But wait, I'm not being facetious, really! Choosing between the secret societies does matter -- to a degree. Just not in any ways that hold sway for me.

For one, faction dictates cabal possibilities. Since I do not play with a cabal on any of the three characters, this point is moot. (It wouldn't be if my wanderlust-infected friends didn't roam from game to game at the drop of a hat!) I actually have no intention of joining any cabals either, so I don't have that affecting my decision. And since I can group with any faction everywhere except during battlegrounds, we can declare this a non-issue for me and move on. Maybe later when faction warfare becomes more prominent in the open game world I'll have to rethink this, but it's not relevant now.

A second consideration is the PvP arena. If I had a preference for a particular side of the power struggle, whether it be for the underdog or the top dog, I might choose my faction based on that; however, I don't. And since I know populations can ebb and flow over time, changing the dynamics anyway, this aspect is also moot for me. Besides, even though I enjoy it at times, PvP accounts for very little of my overall game time, so basing my decision on that would be silly.

So what's next? How about story variations? This may be one area that actually affects me, as the story is a large part of why I enjoy playing. Or will it? Except for the initial introduction to the world of the bee-blessed, faction missions, and flavor text in some quest reports, all three share the same zones and quests throughout the game. Even so, I personally find it quite interesting to see the same events from the different points of view. Ack! That doesn't help -- that encourages me to keep playing multiple characters.

The answer my friend...
... is not really blowin' in the wind. Am I right back to where we started? So far there doesn't seem to be any pressing argument for any one faction over another. But if I keep dividing my time between the different characters, I will continue to stifle my progress and not get to see everything I want to.

I suppose I could just go with whoever has the coolest faction outfits. If that's the case, I think Templar wins. What about favorite city? That would be a toss-up between London and Seoul. Perhaps I should just pick which society better reflects my personal world view? Or do I just go with the character who has the most skills currently and is further along? At least with that option I can drop the Dragon from the running.

The Secret World screenshot
Hmm, if CMA got me into this mess, then maybe it can get me out of it as well. Since I don't have any real leanings one way or another, what do you think I should do? Should I focus all of my time -- minus livestreams, of course -- on getting my gun-toting Templar through the rest of the content? Or does taking the Illuminati (the object of our streams and groups) all the way appeal more to you? Or should I just keep going about my current business of splitting the time and not worry about the fact that I am seeing the game at a slower pace? Who am I -- you decide!%Poll-80912%
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 and she'll jump on the case!

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