Monday, June 18, 2012

More Thoughts on The Secret World Beta

Here are some more assorted thoughts from this weekend's beta of The Secret World


The Secret World is heavily voiced. However, unlike SWTOR, there are no conversations. Your character stays silent. Rather it's mostly NPCs monologuing at you. It's not bad, but it's not amazing either, and it does add some ambience to the area. You can skip a lot of the talk if you prefer.


I don't really know about graphics. They look fine to me, but pretty much every game in the last two or three years has looked fine to me. I saw a couple of complaints in chat about the graphics, but really I thought they were good. I was also playing with a high resolution, but lowest quality graphics.


The Secret World is clearly aimed at adults (at least compared to most games). There's a fair bit of swearing and some sexuality. Nothing really explicit, that I saw. I'd say it would be rated somewhere between PG-13 and R. A full R seems a touch excessive.

System Requirements

TSW does not meet my standard for MMOs, which is that it should be playable on the second computer in a household. But it comes really close. Frankly, the performance is much better than I expected from Funcom.


Crafting is rather complicated, and I did not understand it in the least. That might be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your preferences.

As far as I can tell, you need to break down existing item into material components. Then arrange components in a specific shape which determines what type of item you get.


The game is pretty polished. The UI is clean and very usable. Of course, I love having separate defensive and offensive targets.

One thing I particularly like is that the outline of enemy AoEs and specials are drawn on the ground in a sort of chalk-like effect. Then a second outline expands from the enemy out to the edges of the first outline and when the two meet the effect goes off. Basically, you have to outrun the second line and get outside the first line to avoid damage. I thought it was a very neat way of displaying that information in the game world, without requiring you to watch for cast bars.


It's pretty decent, but not the best. I didn't notice any major issues, but characters don't handle quite perfectly. In particular, it feels a little too "slippery" if that makes any sense. There's not enough "weight" to moving models.

Quest Journal

Edit: I completely forgot this system, but it's worth commenting on.

The quest journal system is rather weird. You can only have 1 main storyline quest, 1 major quest, and 3 minor quests at any given time. If you pick up another major quest, your old quest is paused and you have to go back to the original questgiver to pick it up again. Thankfully, most of your progress is saved. This is an interesting system because it really forces you to concentrate on one quest at a time. Like a lot of elements in The Secret World, I expect this to be a very polarizing design.

Final Thoughts

I think The Secret World will not be for everyone. The setting, content, and character mechanics are rather different than the norm.

I would recommend giving it a try, with the expectation that you probably won't subscribe. (Maybe wait for a sale if you're on the fence.) If you go into it with the expectation that it is the best game ever, I think you'll be disappointed. But I think that the people who do like it will be very enthusiastic.

I also think that you might be surprised by your reaction to the game, both positive and negative. Some people who think they will like the game will hate it, and others who think they will hate it will end up loving it.


  1. I'd think the oral sex part of the opening sequence for the Dragon faction would definitely earn it PG-13 honors in a film all by itself.

  2. Was crafting available? I know you could disassemble stuff, but when I tried to craft something, it wouldn't take the mats in the screen. They would pop right back in to my inventory. [Yes, I had the correct element (water/fire/metal/dust) and the correct version [base/imperfect/...].

    BTW, if anyone is curious, you can place an item in the disassemble window to see what pattern is needed for that type of gear. Just don't forget to place it back in your inventory if you don't want to destroy it. =)

  3. You may loose out eventually if you skip to much dialogue. Many of the quests require actually some thinking and want you to pick up clues from the entire area.

  4. I like it that quests often require a bit of thought to solve. I also like the elements that set this game apart from most others I've played. I only hope it isn't dumbed down, but that's probably inevitable.