Things have been quiet around here, eerily quiet. Has a fog come in and taken me away? Have I been fighting a zombie uprising? Not quite, I’ve just been in a bit of a MMO funk for the past month.
In early July I entered waiting-on-Guild-Wars mode. It might be the hype, I might have been spoiled by the the GW2 beta weekend events (specifically GW2′s action bar/combat system), or it might be something completely different; but I found myself not only bored with SWTOR but also having lost the desire to return to Rift (or any other past MMO).
So what have I been playing? A little bit of World of Tanks: I finished the AMX 40 grind and unlocked the AMX 12t before the release of patch 7.5, while reconnecting with my German tier V mediums (I’ve missed you Panzer III/IV). I’ve also played some World of Warplanes beta, but can’t share anything other than it’s really fun but I’m a horrible pilot. Steam summer sale: I finally played Portal 2 and also picked up a copy of Quantum Conundrum.
But then this past weekend I broke the MMO funk. As you may have guessed from the first paragraph, I’ve joined The Secret World. I’ve been interested in TSW for quite some time but was leery for two main reasons: I’m not much of a horror fan and I kept getting flash-backs of the buggy, but fun, mess that was Age of Conan at launch. At first I wanted to take a wait-and-see approach but as more and more positive word-of-mouth crossed my Google Reader I started looked into the game more and became enticed at the thought of playing it. The class-less skill advancement, the deck system, the modern setting, investigative missions. They all called to me.
By the end of July I had decided that I was going to pick up TSW, at some point. I was all ready to buy it but one question held me back. Is it wise to buy a new subscription game only one month before the release of, an already paid-for, Guild Wars 2? I said “no, I’ll wait until that new-game-smell wears off of GW2 before jumping into TSW,” and was satisfied with my decision. That was until Funcom went ahead and threw a free-trial/celebration weekend into the mix.
I installed the client, logged in, created Chester “Cheka” Kasorski, and entered London. My first thought was that the game runs significantly better than I had expected from my experience in one of the beta weekends and AoC. I picked my starting weapon and, taking some “I wish I knew this when I started” advice from the forums, I then grabbed one of each weapon from the Crucible and headed off the Kingsmouth.
TSW has really impressed me. All of the little things that enticed me are there but what really makes the difference is the quest log/system. I enjoy the investigative missions; I didn’t think I’d like googling clues to solve puzzels but it feels very organic and natural. I’ve found that the one story, one dungeon, one active and three side mission quest log encourages exploration and makes you focus more on the mission at hand, which greatly adds to immersion. The mission system is truly new and different, it gives the game a very unique feel and I can’t but to think that this is what MMO vets must have felt when WoW was fresh and new with the great innovation of quest-based gameplay.
I was sold. While it may be a little stupid to pick up a new MMO only weeks before I’ll be starting another one, TSW is offering me a unique enough experience that I feel comfortable being able to get the most out of both TSW and GW2 at the same time. So, with my MMO funk broken, Sunday night I bought a game key and subscribed to The Secret World.
So the question left now is “what is an altoholic to do in such a single-character centric game?” Well, that’s a post for another day.