THE SECRET is How in the WORLD to Play it

I’ve been trying to pop into The Secret World a few times a week to see if the game has anything that’s going to draw me in. I kept hearing about how ‘different’ the game was from other MMO’s and luckily was able to pick up a copy for $10 during the Steam holiday sales. I had to find out for myself what ‘different’ meant, and whether it was ‘different good’ or just ‘different’.

I guess when I heard ‘different’, I had a certain picture in my mind of how it would be different. I figured the quests might be more puzzle-like, perhaps more story-progression oriented and less grindy. So far in my experience, this has turned out to be true. I also thought that perhaps just the environment itself: the shadowy, underhanded modern-day setting. This has also turned out to be true. Both of these I consider good things, and a reason that I feel like this game has a lot of promise.

However, there are still a few differences that I haven’t made up my mind about. Number one, the quest tracker. I didn’t realize this when I started playing, but there are a limited number of quests that you can track at a time, and it varies by type of quest how many you can track. For example, you can track only one story quest, but up to three side quests. If you try to accept another quest when your tracker is already full, one of the quests being tracked gets ‘paused’. I assume that means that your progress within that quest is not lost, but I honestly have no idea how to jump back into a paused quest. So, I probably have some paused quests hanging out there somewhere. Questing in general is also somewhat of a mystery. There is no indication if you should do any of the side quests in a certain order, or prior to the main quest, or when. Since there are no character levels in TSW, there is also no indication in the quests themselves of when you should actually try to accomplish them. They are marked with a level of difficulty, (medium, hard, very hard), but isn’t that somewhat relative based on how your character has progressed? When am I ready to take on a “very hard” quest (the answer, apparently, is not yet)? How do I even know when my character has progressed enough to be in a certain area of the map? That leads me to my 2nd “the jury is still out” difference: character progression.

Progression is pretty mysterious, as well. Instead of leveling your character, you level their skills with a certain weapon, and gain health through talismans and armour  (I think….again, mysterious) Funcom has tried to make this game as sandbox-y as possible, which is a cool theory, but again, how do I know when I’m ‘good enough’. I suppose the aficionados would tell me that I just have to try a quest to find out if I’m ready for it or not. That does make some sense, but since I’m on a limited time budget I hate to spend too many nights failing quests and not progressing. Perhaps it’s the sandbox nature that makes this game difficult for me. Maybe it’s the fact that their server drops my connection about twice per night when every other MMO runs just fine. Maybe I’m just struggling with starting a new game from the beginning after being comfortable with LOTRO for so many years. At any rate, to this point the ‘different’ has just been: ‘meh, different’.

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4 thoughts on “THE SECRET is How in the WORLD to Play it

  1. seth January 23, 2014 / 10:56 am

    I think I can answer a few of your questions!

    1. To pick up paused quests, you have to go back and talk to the NPC who starts it. Kind of a hassle, but at least you don’t lose progress!

    2. The difficulty levels for quests actually change as you boost your skills and equip better gear. So the quest that’s listed as Very Hard now will be Normal after a new new talismans!

    3. For initial leveling, I would highly recommend going after one of Funcom’s preconstructed “decks” to get a feel for how active and passive abilities build off one another. Plus, you get a sweet outfit for each you complete! Once you’re comfortable in one, start checking out other skill sections to see which new actives and passives will complement your build.

    Oh, and your skills levels affect how likely you are to hit with weapons. So if you have a skill level of 1 or 2 with your weapons, that’s fine for lower level enemies, but you’ll start missing and glancing higher levels. I recommend just leveling up one of the 2 paths for each weapon at a time, until you max it out.

    Hope any of this helps! Feel free to hit me up if you have any specific questions.

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  2. Pasduil January 23, 2014 / 12:50 pm

    Yes, there is a lot to figure out. You are not alone in your confusions, I wondered about every one of the things you did and more besides. I did find out the answers mostly, but it was a lot harder to do than it needed to be.

    It’s probably easier to think that you do have a character level but the game doesn’t come right out and tell you what it is. If all your gear is QL3, you are effectively level 3. And the quests that the game expects you to be doing at that point will accordingly be tagged “Normal”, i.e. same level as you, aka level 3 quests in a level 3 zone.

    Btw the mobs have a little symbol to the left of their name, often a dot or group of dots. The color of the symbol is to do with the level of the mob relative to you. (Like whether a mob is yellow, red etc in LOTRO). If that symbol is a dot, it is a normal mob. A group of three dots is a “swarm”, a mob that is weak but runs in packs. Some other symbol and it is something out of the ordinary and prob much harder.

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  3. Elahecor January 23, 2014 / 1:41 pm

    I tried TSW, but had serious problem interacting with the world. At first, I could barely open doors or pick stuff up.

    Then I got into the training room, where I was supposed to choose a weapon and learn how to use it, and simply couldn’t pick up anything. I clicked, I double-clicked, I right-clicked – I tried ever type of mouse maneuver I knew – I even tried to find a keyboard shortcut – but nothing would allow me to pick up any type of weapon. Worse, my character ended up stuck in the training room, because I couldn’t even open the door. I finally gave up. If they make it that difficult just to use things, then I’m not interested in playing.

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  4. tsuhelm February 6, 2014 / 4:16 am

    TSW is the one MMO I wish I was playing but probably never will…

    Just read your POST on FUN and I think it applies to your experience with TSW…it may not be that much fun at the moment but after ironing out some stuff could be FUN in the future… point being it can’t be too unFUN making that transition between the 2 stages…

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