The Secret World – Preview

First, let’s all get our own vision of the secret world. It happens to all of us: we get bored out of our socks with daily chores, problems and co. And we start dreaming. Dreaming of a better and more interesting place. A place where it all happens. This is the secret world. My idea of a secret world would be a place of mystery. A place of mysticism. Where danger lurks behind every corner. Obviously, Norwegian developer Funcom, shares the same vision. Or at least it’s close. The newest MMORPG from the creators of Age Of Conan, Anarchy Online and The Longest Journey definitely deserves a peak.

Defining the setting of The Secret World is very hard. It mixes real world with dark fantasy, cults and conspiracy. The game is directed by Ragnar Tornquist, creator of The Longest Journey. You can expect the same level of mysticism and great story. But the difference between a MMORPG and an adventure game is miles high.

The Secret World will have no levels or classes whatsoever. The game will be more like a “Action-Adventure-MMORPG” with fast and dynamic combat. The other element the designers wanted removed is the “grind” element. According to Tornquist, the game will start where other MMO’s end. The game world will also be very open. It will be mostly based around a post-apocalyptic version of real world cities(London, New York, Seoul, New England and Egypt will be the starting zones).

Character customization is at a very high level and entirely up to the players. You can select between several development paths which include dark magic, voodoo, witchcraft, martial arts, ancient weapons and modern firearms. You also mix and match and for example be a voodoo priest with a shotgun, or a dark magician that fights using his fists. If this idea doesn’t get screwed up by imbalance, The Secret World could revolutionize the way we develop our characters. Of course, you will be able to acquire new skills through visiting new areas. Ragnar Tornquist says “we’ll never have to create a second character”. Group dynamics will also play a large role in the game. Some areas will be impossible to survive alone and you’ll have to come prepared with a group of friends. But how will this be possible, if players are not separated by classes? According to the developers, chances are, each player will have his very own role and will follow it. There will be guidelines for those intimidated by the freeform character development, too. The character customization is also very open – you are free to restyle your character however you want and whenever you want. You will equip your character with weapons, skills and artifacts rather than armor. We’ve seen some examples of how advanced the character customization is in trailers, but nothing in particular.

But The Secret World won’t be that much different than other MMORPG’s in some aspects such as the looting system, the progression system. As we said, armor won’t play a factor other than changing the look of your character. We saw that idea in action in another MMORPG, The Chronicles Of Spellborn, which failed miserably. Fortunately, the team behind The Secret World consists of veterans who have worked on hit MMORPG’s like Anarchy Online and Age Of Conan. In other words: these guys know how to make MMO’s and have proven it more than once.

What Funcom want to concentrate on, is the battle system of the game. It will be more action than role playing like in Age Of Conan, but statistics will play a great deal as well. More info hasn’t been revealed other than what you’ll be fighting – monsters. But the game won’t be only battle. After all, it was made by the people behind The Longest Journey. You can expect a good deal of puzzle solving and logical tasks. Don’t expect brainstorms, though. The game’s an MMO. Funcom also promise a great deal of explorations and mystery in their newest title.

The lore of The Secret World promises to be one of it’s strongest sides. Hidden mysteries, factions, evil, forgotten years ago, rising again. The game promises three secret societies –  the Illuminati, the Templars or the Dragon. The choice is yours. There isn’t much info about the story of the game, though.

The developers promise us amazing “Next-generation graphics” and “an audiovisual experience unlike anything seen before”. Looking at the screenshots, this may very well turn out to be true. But what of the optimization of the game? I don’t wanna be playing a slideshow.

The Secret World could be the missing link between your average grindfest and the ultimate MMORPG©. The game looks big. Let’s hope it’s not too big.

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  1. I’m a huge fan of The Longest Journey. I also like dark fantasy. Not sure how this MMORPG is gonna work out, but I’m looking forward to it!

    Great work Funcom! Never afraid to try something new. You guys kick ass.

  2. Two things I like are Modern Fantasy when done right, and Dark Fantasy in general. One thing I hate is grind and levels in MMOs.

    This is going to be fricken gold, I’m telling you. Fricken gold.

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