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The Secret World first impressions

My wife and I have been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic since its early start last November.  She’s never been an MMO fan but combination of Star Wars and Bioware was too much to resist.

We play an Imperial Agent and Bounty Hunter together and the four Republic classes with each of ourbrothers in a group of four.

Lately, we’ve been getting a little disenchanted with it.  Mainly because the reason we love the game is the story, and that seem to be getting fewer and farther in between as well go on.

Enter The Secret World. I’d heard interesting things about the game a while back and it recently came back on my radar with their three day free trial.

My wife and I played as Illuminati characters for the 3 days.  We played through enough missions to get the bonus 2 days by completing 30+ missions.  That should say something about how much we enjoyed it.  I’ll cover a handful of the unique things about the game.

Theme

As the title may suggest, The Secret World takes place in the hidden world behind the one you and I inhabit.  You are a member of one of three clandestine organizations fighting for power in the shadows.  This is a theme I love in everything from The Dresden Files to the Matrix to Indiana Jones.  I love the idea that these hidden events are transpiring that none of us know about.  It’s a fun world to play in and the organizations are unique.

“Classes”

The quotes are because there aren’t really classes.  There are 3 categories of weapons(Melee, Ranged, and Magic) each with 3 weapon types(Blades, Hammers, Fists, Assault Rifles, Pistols, Shotguns, Blood Magic, Elementalism, Chaos Magic).  There are multiple “skill trees” within each weapon, and you are free to put the experience points you gain into any of them.  You can only have two equipped weapons at a time, so you’ll usually start only putting points into 2 skills.  But you are free to mix and match however you want.

Since you get points and can put them into whichever skills you want, there aren’t really levels either.  In our limited experience, it seemed that the high level skills aren’t that much more powerful than the lower level skills, just a different option on how your character will play, so the concept of “level” also gets a little fuzzy.

The game mechanics also encourage you to use two skills instead of just one by having your base attacks build resources for each of your equipped weapons. So if you don’t use those, it’s almost a waste.

Story

While the overarching story wasn’t as huge as it could have been, the individual little stories really get you into the world.  It could be as little as finding a crashed delivery truck and having to investigate what attacked it and began eating the seafood delivery.  Or it could be investigating how much the local priest knows about your secret organization.  Even the “Collect this stuff” quests become more interesting when you have to raid abandoned shops to find it.  The story is more sandbox than directed, but it really gets you into the world.

If you can’t already tell, I’m hooked. My wife and I are already considering switching from SWTOR. We were looking into getting a laptop and whether or not it would play The Secret World became one of her priorities. I’d definitely recommend that if this sounds interesting, you should check out the trial. I’ll let you know how it goes as we play more.

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