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Chaos Theory: Hands-on with TSW's Issue #10 before today's release

MJ Guthrie
12.04.14
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Yes, you read that right. When we told you earlier this week that The Secret World's second Tokyo expansion was coming soon, we bet you didn't think it'd be today, did you? Well, neither did we! But that's exactly what Director Joel Bylos shared with me while we we zipping around the newest area of Tokyo during a hands-on tour of Issue #10 Nightmares in the Dream Palace. If all goes according to plan, fans will be able to dig into the new content today -- much sooner than anticipated. And what's awaiting them? That's what this week's Chaos Theory reveals. Don't worry; I promise to warn you of any major spoilers.

Gallery: The Secret World Issue #10 | 38 Photos



Tokyo expands

As promised, this issue opens up a new part of Tokyo for TSW players to explore and experience. Bylos noted that the physical area of this new section is not quite as big as the first due to all the ocean, "but it's still quite large." There are docks with swan boats, a special shrine (which will play more prominently in later content), a creepy kindergarten, a train yard, The Clubhouse, and of course, a cemetery. The Love Hotel has even opened its doors.



This new area introduces some new critters (filth gorillas, anyone?) as well as creepy new characters. Although the land will be filled with the requisite filth-infected and Orochi mobs, a decent share of what players will come up against are molded after the real lore of the country. Bylos told me, "We've done a lot with Japanese lore, especially Japanese monster lore." Specifically, he noted that the specters are designed directly from a Japanese myth, and there's a train of demons circling the kindergarten leading small yellow raincoat-clad kiddos that are based on ones that punish small children. Word to the wise: These new guys can hit pretty hard, so be prepared for a fight!

Of course, to get to this new content, players have to both purchase the DLC and have reached the point in the story mission to access Tokyo. Until they complete the subway mission in the story arc, players simply cannot enter this zone. And just in case you were wondering, no, you can't use the meet up feature to sneak into dungeons and such there; the subway mission is actually a coded prerequisite (which we discovered during the hands-on!).


The story goes on

Sadly for me, any time I do one of these tours, I see a few things sooner than I'd actually like, especially since the best parts of the game are the story and solving puzzles. Luckily, Bylos never spoils the ending of a story arc; he always lets me solve the puzzles myself or bustles me past them so I can do them during the live game without spoilers. What I did see while I peeked, though, has me very excited to continue with the story!

Issue #10 starts off right where Issue #9's story mission left off (so if you haven't gotten there, I won't spoil that part), which means that players can now get through a breach in the wall into the southern area of Tokyo and embark on the quest that introduces them to a bevy of "interesting new characters." You'll get to meet the proprietor of the Love Hotel -- that's her on the screenshot you've already seen -- a well as wander through the establishment's themed not-very-kid-friendly rooms. You'll be introduced to a new Orochi-connected initiative that involves testing on and exploiting the youngest of the city's residents (big shock, right?), chat with a kid who has a really big head, rub elbows with a man in a furry suit, and listen to the fire-and-brimstone speech of a Morninglight preacher. As I said -- plenty of interesting, memorable characters. And that's just touching on the main story!


Oh, and you get to learn more about John. Who hasn't been waiting for that? Bylos told me that there are a lot of story revelations: Players get to find out more about what's behind the Fear Nothing foundation, uncover who the rabbit-hooded killer is, and actually see the bomb go off via a bit of time travel. The climax of the story in Issue #10 is, Bylos said, the coolest part... until Issue #11, that is! "We're building to something here," he teased.

Here's a special hint that's more of a reminder for long-time players of the game: Some clues as you follow the story are pretty obvious, such as items just lying on the ground or signs on walls. Others are not quite as open, and players will need to be sure they are really exploring their surroundings, looking in nooks and crannies in all directions.


UI my way

While focusing on not spoiling the story too much for myself, I turned my attention to the new -- and badly needed -- feature of the adjustable UI. While I didn't have a raid group to see if that window could be scaled, I was able to easily move all the elements around into places that better fit my personal playstyle and gaming comfort. It was a long time in coming, but I am just glad this feature is finally here. To use it, click on the small lock icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, and then just grab whatever windows you want to move with your mouse. Although I may have missed a small window or two, I didn't come across any that couldn't be moved.

Bylos does admit that this will probably break a few mods that are currently being used by some players, but the change will be beneficial. Hopefully those who designed the mods can update and make them work with the new UI.


AEGIS shields

Although I didn't focus on the new AEGIS system enhancements much, I was able to get a taste of the new shields. Bylos pointed out how this was a way to expand the AEGIS system beyond just DPS. Players will find new modules to add to their AEGIS that will buff their shields. The shield is indicated by a colored outline of the character's health bar.

First impressions

While I obviously didn't get to see and play through everything, I did get a taste of this next issue. And it was definitely a tantalizing one! The atmosphere is what I would expect from The Secret World, and there are plenty of fun new characters and their stories to get to know. I will, however, never be able to listen to Pachelbel's Canon the same again.



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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