Thursday, June 21, 2012

A New World?

This website is normally reserved for only Guild Wars 2 specific content.  However, if I may, I wanted to provide you something a little different.  If you haven't heard, a certain infamous company, is releasing a new MMO in July.  That game is called The Secret World and is produced by Funcom.  What makes this newsworthy, is that they are opening their last beta event for anyone who registers on their site by some designated time today that I cannot recall.  So this weekend, I'll be in a new world of sorts.

I have watched several gameplay videos and let me first clarify, my heart still belongs to Guild Wars 2. If you follow MMO development, you probably have heard of some of the negatives to this game. The combat, the animation, the 'stiffness', and the fact that this game was made by Funcom seem to all be questionable at this point in time. However, there are some important and even revolutionary additions to The Secret World that I find attractive or at the very least, interesting.

1.  This is an MMO that is based in modern-day society.  At the moment 90% of mainsteam MMOs are fantasy, and the other 10% are somewhere in space, so the fact that this is a new environment is nice and fresh.   (These numbers are rough, very late at night estimates. So don't quote me.)

2.  Investigation quests. One of the coolest additions to the MMO space, is the need to think.  Simple gear and skill will only get you so far.  You need to think.  There will be clues provided that link you further in quests, and there's even an in-game browser to do research.  While this could be potentially overwhelming and frustrating, it might just be a really fun feature.  If you like puzzles, you may want to check this game out.

3.  No classes or levels.  Yeah, I'm not really sure about this one.  I'll let you know how it feels after the weekend.

4.  ARGs.  Alternate-Reality games.  Funcom and the Secret World was advertised to great effect through ARGs.  These were basically chains of clues that lead from one step to the next, that I believe rewarded a player if completed.  As a person who doesn't even plan to play the game at launch, I found these really fun and sometimes frustrating hard to think through.

5.  For the first time in recent memory, there's horror in MMOs.  Mind-blowing, right?

Again, Guild Wars 2 is well worth our attention, but it's nice to see other companies breaking the conventions that have plagued the MMO environment for years.  I wonder if any of these additions will become the new 'standards' of the industry as we progress.  Will these innovations work out well together?  Well, I think I'll have to play to see, but I'll be sure to let you know!

1 comment:

  1. I hope you have a better experience with TSW than I did...

    The incredible atmosphere of the setting, and all of the great story elements could not rescue it from the extremely poor combat mechanics and lackluster gameplay.

    There was clearly some really excellent work put into the game from a writing standpoint, and it's just a shame that despite the "classless" system they still managed to capture all of the horrible flaws of a "trinity-based" class system game.

    The moment that ended my beta experience in TSW was when I ran up against "gated" content which required /LFG and folks calling for the stereotypcial "tanks" and "healers" (which were in short supply) so they could put together a group that had a chance of success in the instanced area.

    I could have maybe overlooked the less than stellar combat so I could get more of the fantastic setting and writing, but the second they cut me off from that story and writing, and forced me to wait around doing /LFG and delayed for the most obvious reasons... that ended my interest, but after 10+ years of that sort of thing in other MMOs my tolerance is VERY low... perhaps yours is better, and you'll be able to enjoy the good parts of the game.