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Chaos Theory: The Secret World is getting filthy

MJ Guthrie

So apparently some of you have operatives who have successfully infiltrated the Massively secret lair because someone has gotten a peek at my master plan... I mean, to-do list... and jumped ahead to this week's topic without me! I know we've talked before about how the real-world setting of The Secret World makes it ideal for blurring lines between game and reality, but I wasn't expecting this. Well, no matter. You cannot thwart the master plan; it has already begun. *maniacal laugh*

This stage of my brilliant scheme involves taking a closer look at another little nugget found in the May Game Director's Letter. On the surface we see that The Secret World will be getting even filthier at the conclusion of Issue #7 as the nefarious filth will actually break through the Tokyo gate and begin to infect Agartha itself. But more than that, we are witnessing the implementation of a long-term event that will continue to give new content as it progresses. Could this be the harbinger of dynamic events to come that will breathe more life into the world? We can certainly hope!

Stepping into Agartha
One Agartha door opens...
So what's the scoop on our incoming extended event? The premise of it is that when A Dream To Kill wraps up, the filth will worm its wriggly tendrils into Agartha through the newly revealed Tokyo portal. I'm guessing at that point that particular portal will be hard to miss since pulsing black goo will be seeping out of it. Players will then spend the next few months trying to beat back and contain the filth so that it doesn't completely taint the world tree. Every patch (note: not every issue, but every patch!) will further the event, moving it to the next phase. Then finally if -- and yes, the letter specifically says if -- players succeed in driving the filth back, they will finally gain access to Tokyo.

One door opens...Add in the fact that here will be both solo and group content involved and that pretty much sums up what we know so far about the upcoming event slated to continue all the way until the release of Issue #9. Even with the brief introduction, we've got a pretty clear idea of the who, the what, and the when, but we really have no inkling of the how. Obviously, there are many questions left unanswered.

One question is, when it says players have done enough, does this mean Tokyo won't open at all until the playe-base collectively reaches a certain point in the event (like unlocking ARG phases), or will players individually earn the ability to use the portal? Or, as in the ARGs, will it be a bit of both? The more I think about it, the more it wonder if the game could be taking advantage of the formula used in the ARGs where the population as a whole solves things to unlock phases, but the individual must still solve each step personally before she can progress.

Alas, we can't be sure until either someone manages to weasel more information out of Director Joel Bylos (I'm totally on the case; I've got my truth serum and duct tape ready) or we get in and start experiencing it for ourselves and figure it out as we go. Given that TSW is noted for its investigative slant, I'm inclined to believe the second scenario is the more likely one.

Opportunity's knocking
In and of itself, this event sounds like just the thing for The Secret World fans. It's a dynamic event that evolves and progresses with the input of players. It offers a shot of "new and different" into the arm of gameplay. How new, how different, and just how much will the input of players really affects the event we can't say yet, but just the fact that it will be offering new content with each patch will give folks who have chewed through everything else regular servings of tasty new morsels to sink their teeth into.

The Agartha event also acknowledges that desire to actually affect the world that we players harbor; that little "if" gives us a hint that our actions will indeed matter. And who doesn't crave that? Will Tokyo be delayed because we can't solve the problem, or will it come sooner because we unlock all the answers quickly? Please, please Funcom -- don't just be teasing us with this possibility! That would be cruel and inhumane (though sadly in the realm of MMOs, not unusual) punishment. I promise, if you start adding this feature into the game, we'll be there with hands outstretched saying, "Please sir, I want some more."

Tokyo's seen better daysLeaving the door open
I admit that I am looking forward to this event and am eager to dive in and get my hands dirty. Even as I temper my enthusiasm, I have hopes that this event will deliver some of the very elements fans have been waiting and asking for, even if just on a smaller scale to start. And while I don't quite know how everything will play out, I already have one request: Please don't make this an isolated incident! Once you open that door, keep it propped and let more in. I've talked about events needing encores (most notably the holiday kind) in the past, but trumping that, we simply need more of this type of elongated dynamic event that changes the world and furthers the story.

If this all goes well -- and I am optimistic that it will -- my biggest worry is that the playerbase will suffer withdrawals if this type of event doesn't become a regular occurrence. Dynamic, interactive events are like Pringles: Once you start, you can't stop! So Funcom, don't chance having disillusioned Templars, Dragons, and Illuminati wandering the streets in a daze; keep long-term, dynamic events coming. We understand that they can't be a daily thing, but now you've gone and said that it can be done with regularity at every patch, so we know that's possible. We'll be waiting with bated breath.

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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