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Chaos Theory: Exploring the Halloween that almost wasn't in The Secret World

MJ Guthrie
10.31.14
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Funcom just about blew it. I have cut The Secret World plenty of slack for hiccups and bumps over the years (and I am willing to do so in the future because it just doesn't have an equal in the MMOverse and it does what it does so well), but this last one can't be brushed off. This latest misstep could have cost TSW dearly in good will, patience, and even players. You don't take the holiday that the game is essentially based on and not celebrate it!

Luckily, TSW's much-anticipated Halloween event did finally show up, albeit 10 days late -- barely in time for the holiday. I am betting that the delay has cost the company some cash. The build-up to this holiday is a huge part of the excitement; the weeks preceding All Hallows' Eve is the perfect time to get people who are in the Halloween mood to return to the game or dive in and try it for the first time> Not to mention it's the time when folks are more apt to buy costumes! Funcom squandered that. And why the delay, anyway? During my Issue #8 tour last year, Creative Director Joel Bylos teased, "Our Halloween next year is going to be amazing! I wrote it for this year, but we didn't get done in enough time." Wasn't 12 more months enough time? We've been waiting with bated breath!

So after all that wait, and then even more, is the event worth it? My answer is...



Yes!


All year long I look forward to the new Halloween mission in The Secret World, and I was not disappointed. I love that it is a complete departure from past events, bringing a very unique experience to players. And I especially love how it incorporated one of my favorite things highlighted this past year: radios.

Important spoiler note: I'm not doing an all-out guide to avoid having too many spoilers, but there are definitely a few sprinkled about, so if you want to be completely surprised, you might want to skip on down to the treats section.

Halloween 2014 -- also known as Samhain 2014 -- is all about the airwaves. Called The Broadcast, this year's event is centered on conspiracies in shortwave frequencies and features old-fashioned radio shows (something I absolutely adore IRL). That latter point obviously stole my heart! But I'm getting ahead of myself; let's start at the beginning.

Remember Dave Screed? Maybe you've forgotten his name, but his mannerisms are certainly unforgettable: He's the man with the conspiracy mag who hangs out in the laundromat. Well, he's the point guy for this intriguing mission. And the voice acting for him is superb, really starting things off in the right spirit.

To get the mission, you need to open the voicemail/text message from Screed in the lower right hang corner of your screen. (Let me just add that I really appreciate the fact that you get to choose when to listen to the call now, not have it just pop up and possibly miss the whole thing!) Screed wants your help to look into something because frankly, he's way too frightened to.

Here's where it got exiting for me: TSW nailed it in the ambiance department again. As I approached the first area I thought would fulfill my object, the screen bled out into a sepia tone, instantly invoking an old fashioned feel. That complemented the creepy old radio shows that were playing perfectly! This mission is one that is best done when you take your sweet time. It's not because the objectives are difficult to figure out but because the full experience is in sitting down to listen to the entire shows. Trust me, that's where the awesome is at. I practically forgot about the quest at the first radio because I just sat, soaking it all in.

After hearing the story, I moved on. Not every place I checked had a radio, but it wasn't long before I had the three needed to fulfill the quest requirements. Honestly, I was expecting to have to find one in each zone, but luckily that isn't the case and all players have the chance to participate fully. However, I have theorized that there is a radio in every zone, and I am on a mission to find and listen to them all! If you want to see some of this adventure, take a look at the recent Stream Team show.

Bonus hint: If you make it through everything without dying, you are definitely missing out! Remember, there's a whole world that only the dead see...

Of course, it isn't Halloween without treats! And TSW is giving liberally of the goodies this year, even rewarding players for handing some out themselves. After completing each of the themed holiday missions, players can collect a loot bag that contains one common item plus one item that is either uncommon, rare, or epic. There are clothing items galore (including colored Morninglight robes and faction-colored Baron Samedi outfits), face masks, and even the new pets. These bags are also available in the item store for purchase with Funcom points or bonus points.

The limited-edition halloween shirt in TSWIn addition to the personal Rucksack of Grotesque Garbs, players can get bags to give away called Parcel of Macabre Friendship. Another item you can purchase is the Super Party Bag. For one price, players can not only get a bag for themselves but also give a bag to up to 20 people immediately around them. That's what's going on in that mosh pit mob you see in Agartha; folks are huddled up trying to give and get gifts. If you happen to hit at least 10 other players with your Super Party Bag explosion, you earn a new Thriller dance emote! Oh yah, so worth it.

To be honest, I have to say that these loot bags and the promise of the Thriller dance were a smart move on Funcom's part. In my desire to have the costume pieces (a desire many other TSW player's share), I have a worthy bonus point sink.

There is also a gift that you don't have to do any missions or buy any bags to acquire. For a limited time, just redeem the code HALLOWEEN2014TEE on the official site for a special clothing item! Be sure to click upgrade and confirm it, or you won't see it appear in your claim window of the item store. It's true: "When you solo no one can hear you scream." The monthly subscriber gift is also holiday themed (though technically everything in game feels like it is!). Anyone with an active sub or who has a lifetime membership gets a skeleton sweat suit.

If you are like me, you want ALL THE LORE! And if time is running out for completing the collection, you might not be able to seek it all out on your own. So here's a handy list of the locations:
  • #1 -- Kingsmouth (234, 483)
  • #2 -- Savage Coast (445, 770)
  • #3 -- Blue Mountain (182, 770)
  • #4 -- Scorched Desert (655, 1070)
  • #5 -- City of the Sun God (765, 475)
  • #6 -- Shadowy Forest (850, 610)
  • #7 -- Carpathian Fangs (635, 360)
  • #8 -- Kaiden (835, 610)
  • #9 -- New York (365, 365)
  • #10 -- Besieged Farmlands; available only in the instance that finishes the mission.
Sadly, players who cannot currently get to Tokyo -- because they have not purchased Issue #9 The Black Signal or haven't progressed far enough in the story mission -- will be unable to complete the lore collection this year.

Just as before, players have the opportunity to participate in previous years' events, running the missions, collecting the lore, and hoarding the goodies. Delve into the Spooky Stories for a deeper look at the lives and histories of many TSW characters, and solve the mystery of the cats gone crazy in order to face The Cat God himself. You can still summon and defeat Super Jack. For a run down of previous events and a cheat sheet on the lore locations of the previous two Samhain celebrations, check out last year's guide. But don't delay: This year's event runs until the 13th of November, and then it slips back into the shadows until next Halloween.

Conspiracies, paranoia, secrets, and chaos -- the breakfast of champions! Feast on a bowlful with MJ on Thursdays 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!

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