Previews: The Secret Appeal of The Secret World

The Secret Appeal of The Secret World

Funcom designed the quests of The Secret World to be less about killing rats and more about unraveling a global mystery.

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Funcom's previous MMO - Anarchy Online, was absolutely brilliant. So Hell To The YES.

this is good news. it always was a bit of a turn-off for me that mmos had little in the way of storytelling. in Cataclysm, world of warcraft fixed this... a bit. still not enough to keep me interested.

i understand that some people care little for story, but in an mmorpg, the RPG aspect feels incomplete without a good story to tell, without good characters. otherwise, its not so much like real role-play.

the more i hear about the secret world, the more i anticipate it.

I won't lie, part of me is hoping this entire thing is a complete flop that no one buys into and they stop developing 6 months down the line, moving everyone who is on the project across to making the long awaited sequel to The Longest Journey and Dreamfall.

The other part of me is quite intrigued by the whole thing and hopefully if it is successful they'll still make Dreamfall Chapters, whilst I play this to pass the time...

One can hope, I guess!

I am so looking forward to this game. If Funcom manage to pull off half of what they're planning this is going to be amazing. Finally an MMO that is actually fun and interesting rather than just a boring grind fest like every other goddamn MMO out there. I just wish I had the time at the moment to try out the beta.

Personally, I'm really looking forward to this MMO. It's going to seem like a breath of fresh air after I quit WoW in January.
I'm also a big lore freak, so this is music to my ears.

So the main story is grinding for rare items and having to collection a million different ones to finish the main quest?

Fascinating.

This sounds like a pretty interesting game, but I'll admit that all I really want to do is make a character named Alex Mack and see how many people pick up on the connection.

Seriously though, I like story driven games as much as the next guy, but I worry that the quest limitation would limit how I could interact with friends. It's nothing special to be in an MMO world if I can fight the bad guys with a buddy or two.

I gotta say I like the look of this game. Depending on how hooked on swtor I become I might give it a go.

After reading the preview Susan did I have been narrowly following the development of this game, and it looks good. Only ~5 months to go (release april 2012).

Mmmm, I wonder if they are going to do some kind of server-wide special event on December 21, 2012.

Marketing article ... sadly.

Funcom controlled write ups sadly will not cut it any more to anyone with memory. Their previous releases had one thing in common: A lot of money spent on marketing, very little on QA and tech. Remember how they had DX10 written on Age of Conan box? Remember when it was actually released?

This project is apparently run in same fashion. Marketing gloss with no substance, based on same tech as Age of Conan. For example, they keep claiming the main trick to their new game is mystery solving.

How do you keep it a mystery after it was posted on the interwebz? Do they intend to generate content for every unique user to avoid that? Unlikely.

Sounds great to me, and it's the sort of thing I've been sad that more MMO developers haven't attempted since, well, The Matrix Online. Creating quests in this fashion not only provides a narrative that's more compelling to play through, but it also provides a background to the one that that most MMORPGs are sorely lacking, the actual RPG part. Having a complete advancing story where everything is told from varying perspectives and actually impacts the game world encourages the sort of random water cooler moment type RP that keeps people interested in an MMO far better than constant cap rushing and raiding.

Istvan:
So the main story is grinding for rare items and having to collection a million different ones to finish the main quest?

Fascinating.

Grinding for rare items? I don't understand. The lore you acquire comes from all sorts of sources - dialog, environment, journals, item descriptions. You're not grinding for items in order to learn the bits of lore...or did I misunderstand what you meant?

Susan Arendt:
The Secret Appeal of The Secret World

Funcom designed the quests of The Secret World to be less about killing rats and more about unraveling a global mystery.

Read Full Article

This line is the most telling: "Some players will undoubtedly feel uncomfortably restricted by the game's limit on active quests, but Bylos believes the narrow focus actually works in the player's favor, turning the NPCs from quest dispensers into actual people."

Creator-as-teacher, man that's a tough truth of gaming. You basically have to create ways to slow your players down sometimes. Like students reading a story, they often feel the goal is "Get done fast! The end is where you want to be!" As a result, they only skim the surface of the content, and then complain that the story was "boring" or "too short" or what-have-you.

It sounds awful to say it, but gamers are like those students. If you don't give them reasons to slow down -- "quiz" them on whether or not they read/listened to the quest introduction, give them "homework" during which they practice the skills necessary for the next step -- they'll breeze through the content, thinking that surely the best part is at the end. Then they get there and say, "That's all?"

Other games choose, instead, to throw in filler. Let the players move as fast as they want, you can always introduce a new widget to collect ten of, or a new breed of rat to cut down by the dozen... It's a shallow experience that has a whole lot of movement, but not a lot of motion. But it keeps the developer from having to visit a hard truth among the players -- sometimes, a game has to tell you, "No. Take your time and do it right."

The Secret World you say, beta you say.... signed up I have.

Ok I wont talk like that again.

For; Interesting world, against; Funcom.

If they ever make a game that isn't shit broken in some way I will be impressed.

1600 quests in Age of Conan at launch meant I was stuck at L50 having to grind mobs, and they want to put less in?

Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... oh wait they are serious, let me laugh harder! AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Susan Arendt:

Grinding for rare items? I don't understand. The lore you acquire comes from all sorts of sources - dialog, environment, journals, item descriptions. You're not grinding for items in order to learn the bits of lore...or did I misunderstand what you meant?

As I see it the lore becomes keycards. They might be shaped differently than they were in Doom but you're still hunting for an unspecified "massive" amount of them. Bearing this in mind it looks no different than what we've seen before dozens and dozens of times.

I liked the Secret World a hell lot more when it had this WoD, Supernatural vibe.

Now that they're color coding and branding their factions... I'll pass. Who wants to be joiner? I thought the whole point of the classless, level-less system was to foster unique characters.

Disappointing.

I hope this is success. And I hope it will be as interesting as it sounds. Never has been that interesting in MMORPGs just because they are mostly about killing stuff, and that really doesn't hold my interest for that long.

On the other hand, where is dreamfall chronicles funcom? Seriously?

Dastardly:

Susan Arendt:
The Secret Appeal of The Secret World

Funcom designed the quests of The Secret World to be less about killing rats and more about unraveling a global mystery.

Read Full Article

This line is the most telling: "Some players will undoubtedly feel uncomfortably restricted by the game's limit on active quests, but Bylos believes the narrow focus actually works in the player's favor, turning the NPCs from quest dispensers into actual people."

Creator-as-teacher, man that's a tough truth of gaming. You basically have to create ways to slow your players down sometimes. Like students reading a story, they often feel the goal is "Get done fast! The end is where you want to be!" As a result, they only skim the surface of the content, and then complain that the story was "boring" or "too short" or what-have-you.

It sounds awful to say it, but gamers are like those students. If you don't give them reasons to slow down -- "quiz" them on whether or not they read/listened to the quest introduction, give them "homework" during which they practice the skills necessary for the next step -- they'll breeze through the content, thinking that surely the best part is at the end. Then they get there and say, "That's all?"

Other games choose, instead, to throw in filler. Let the players move as fast as they want, you can always introduce a new widget to collect ten of, or a new breed of rat to cut down by the dozen... It's a shallow experience that has a whole lot of movement, but not a lot of motion. But it keeps the developer from having to visit a hard truth among the players -- sometimes, a game has to tell you, "No. Take your time and do it right."

You know, I came in here wanting to say the exact same thing. Salute.

On a slightly different note, though they are focusing a lot of their marketing towards the story, the game also has some fantastic ideas and systems for PvP, as well as (as they showed with Rise of the Godslayer) some of the very best dungeon/level designers in the MMORPG business, and so unlike SW:ToR, there is something to keep players going even outside the story (even if story is seeped in everything, dungeons/raids and PvP as well)

Ok Age of Conan was broken at launch and very shallow at the end but it was innovative for some elements like combat, guild wars and Aesthetic (the artbook and soundtrack in the limited edition are pure awesome).

The Secret World is a gamble: it appeals much to a very specific type of gamer and sounds strange to most. FunCom position is tricky: on one side they must deliver the game to the wider audience possible (it won't going to repay itself), on the other "generalizing" it too much could alienate their core audience (WoD-like gamers are easy to disappoint; i know well because i'm one).

We can only hope that the slice of market TSW will gather will be enough; MMORPGs need new ideas and new public to evolve from the safe WOW nest.

If we're really lucky, all this magic and technology in one place will turn out to be a Dreamfall prequel.

 

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