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Chaos Theory: My favorite Secret World NPCs, part 1


As a sort of companion piece to my previous column covering why I consider The Secret World to be the industry's best storyteller, I wanted to elaborate on my love for the game's characters. TSW is not a game full of forgettable muggles but a place where bizarre personalities and incredible backstories collide. There was nothing, and I mean nothing, more exciting to me than to advance through the game and meet a new NPC for the first time.

So I want to share with you my favorites. I also want to mention that making this list just about wrenched me in twain because I want to list about 70% of the game's NPCs as my favorites. There are so many that are terrific for different reasons, and whether I found myself laughing with them, at them, or against them, they've been burned onto my consciousness.

Chaos Theory My favorite Secret World NPCs
Andy is a crowd favorite, it seems, and for good reason. He's not just one of the first characters you meet in Kingsmouth; he's got this strange depth to him that belays his Eagle Scout surface. I mean, Andy's a nice guy and has a soft spot for kittens. But his life has also been ringed by tragedy and horror, and he's pretty up-front about how awful the secrets of this island are to be completely innocent. So I like Andy; I just don't fully trust him. Nice guy, though. Super-nice.

On the flip-side of Andy's personality is Sam Krieg, TSW's thinly veiled Stephen King stand-in. He's got this dark, caustic personality that finds only dark irony in the fact that the current situation is much like the horror novels he writes. Sam fascinates me because he pushes the players' buttons, shaking their belief that they're the good guys. I also was pretty intrigued by the recent Spooky Stories mission chain that [slight spoiler ahead] insinuated that Sam might've gotten his writing prowess from a less-than-savory source.

Chaos Theory My favorite Secret World NPCs
Everyone loves Hayden Montag, am I right? I'd totally watch an entire TV show based around him. I would. He's the tactless headmaster of Innsmouth Academy who just reeks of occult weirdness, right from his too-large suit to his blue glove-clad hands. And he makes me laugh with just about everything he says. He is, as the game mentions, the world's revenge on sarcasm.

Carter's absolutely fascinated me since she took the starring role in the Unleashed update. She's kind of the Buffy of the TSW universe, a teen bestowed with immense power and thrown into a life-or-death struggle with demons and worse. You kind of want to fear her and protect her at the same time.

Chaos Theory My favorite Secret World NPCs
Forest God and Sophie are excellent examples of another facet of the game that I appreciate: its devotion to exploring relationships between NPCs. You get a real sense that these people (so to speak) mean something to each other, even though you're just passing through. Sophie was a local with some supernatural talents who came under the care of the animalistic Forest God when she was a kid. Now that the Forest God and his kin are retreating from attacks, it's Sophie who becomes a guardian of sorts to him. There's a not-quite-romance going on here, and I appreciate the subtlety it took to create these interactions.

Chaos Theory My favorite Secret World NPCs
There once was an old lady who lived in a tree and served you some tea. This old lady was and wasn't an old lady, but she was pretty dang funny, and you were sure that she was one of the good guys. Cucuvea is strange, no doubt, and not just because she can turn into an owl and has one of the oldest computers in her hovel. I like her because she's charming and interesting without completely giving you the full scoop as to who she is and what she does. People sure like to investigate and speculate, however!

Chaos Theory My favorite Secret World NPCs
Ah, Nassir and Said. These two are otherwise known as "the only good thing to come out of the Egypt zones." I did a double-take when I first met Said because I didn't immediately notice that he was some sort of withered mummy husk. I rolled my eyes when I first met Nassir because I thought his weird joking was off-putting.

But over the course of several separate missions and one combined one, these two proved to have major star-power. Nassir is just flat-out hilarious, spouting pop culture references as only someone distanced by location and language can. But he's a real hero, and you start to see that and forgive him for goofing off. Said, on the other hand, is initially portrayed as a mercenary businessman, but he's got a soft spot for the societies in their war against darkness. Throw the pair of them together and it's absolutely riveting. I kind of want to quote every single line from Last Train to Cairo.

I'm going to end there for today and finish up my list in a couple of weeks. I need more space to do it justice! In the meantime, who are your favorite NPCs and why?

Conspiracies, paranoia, secrets, and chaos -- the breakfast of champions! Feast on a bowlful with MJ and Justin every Monday as they infiltrate 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 or and they'll jump on the case!

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