• Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The End of The End of Days - How the latest ARG for The Secret World played out

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So, the latest ARG (Alternate Reality Game) based on The Secret World has finally finished. Thousands of players have been actively involved on the forums trying to figure out where all the clues lead, with some incredible ideas and discussions along the way. Even as someone who didn't receive the ARG calls or initial emails I found it a really interesting exercise and got involved in a few of the discussions.

Here's how it all played out as far as I could see... (beware, this is a very long post, but hopefully a fascinating read). If the Situation Room remains up after the ARG is finished then note that this run through will contain spoilers. I offer my thoughts on the whole event at the end.

I've tried to give credit for discoveries where I can, but if anyone feels I've missed someone out please contact me and I'll be only too happy to add in the details.
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Masks of Nyarlathotep Campaign Journal: Chapter 10 - Back to the Big Smoke

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Mission accomplished (kind of) the investigators decided to head back to London to continue their investigations, following the excitement of the previous session. Not before an odd detour involving a dog and a syringe though...

Hubert was about to discover that dogs and syringes are not a good mix

Leaving Castle Plum in the early hours of the morning the group took a lift back to the village courtesy of the Vane's butler. All except Cutter, who decided he could not accept the help of such vile people and decided to walk back through a storm just to prove a point. He didn't receive much sympathy.

The investigators rested for the remainder of the morning before catching a bus back to Derby in the early afternoon. Hubert had decided to join them on the trip back to London.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Issue #5 is out!

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Full patch notes for the latest update to The Secret World are here.

As the video below explains the latest patch adds a new storyline, new missions, a new auxiliary weapon, a new nightclub in London, a new hotbar for hotkeying items, and the End of Days event.


The Secret World has won its first end-of-year awards too. TenTonHammer gave it the best RPG of 2012, whilst The Inquisitr awarded it the best online storyline and best online developer awards, as well as the writers' choice for most innovative online game. Well deserved!

Update: TSW has also come as runner up in Massively's MMO of 2012 (second to GW2, no mean feat), and also won their Most Underrated MMO award.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Issue #5 and the End of Days event

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The Secret World doesn't do Christmas events. Instead the entire in-game event this holiday is based around the impending apocalypse.

As well as the currently running ARG (I'm still working through it and compiling my thoughts, but it is epic! There have been tens of thousands of people helping out with it so far) Funcom have now released details on the actual in-game event.
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Welcome to The Secret World - A primer for new players

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With the recent move to a buy-to-play business model, The Secret World has seen a huge influx of new players. It won't take them long to realise that this game is a little different to most MMOs, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a brief primer for the game that would answer some of the questions I had when I first started playing. These are the kind of questions that the tutorials won't answer.

There is a short but steep learning curve for the game, and whilst the tutorials have been improved a little there is still a lot that is left unexplained. Hopefully some of this information may prove useful. It may also be worth referring to my old post "The Secret World Hints and Tips", that I made when the game first launched, though some of the information therein is a little out of date.

So, lets get started with the first question I had when I started playing the game...
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Masks of Nyarlathotep Campaign Journal: Chapter 9 - How to trash a car

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The last session finished on a bit of a cliffhanger. Whilst sitting in the car during the storm, waiting to see if their trap would be sprung the investigators were shocked when there was a loud crunch and the roof of the car started to cave in...

Unfortunately the player behind Cutter was not able to join this session until near the end, which is why he took little action in the following chaos, other than becoming temporarily blinded and deafened.

I decided to leave the group in suspense a while longer at the start of this session, and so we began with Hubert and his vigil over half a lamb and a mantrap. After several hours lurking in his makeshift hide, with the cold wind and rain beating down around him, the fog parted to reveal a large, lurching figure approaching the trap.

Hello, is someone there?

Unfortunately Hubert did not fall into my trap. Showing uncommon hesitancy he decided to observe rather than shoot at the figure, which was for the best. The figure hunched down over the lamb, inspected it, then stood up and shouted something into the gale. He then loped off back into the fog. Hubert was able to make out that it was Lawrence Vane.

He decided to leave his trap and successfully managed to follow Lawrence's tracks.

Which brought us back to the rest of the group, trapped in a car beneath a raving monster...
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Secret World is Free to Play - NOW!!! (and shows EA/Bioware how FTP should be done)

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Wow! Ok, so I was kind of expecting an announcement about the game moving towards a free-to-play option in the near future following Joel's recent (very amusing) video. What I wasn't expecting was that it would go completely free to play today. And I mean completely - you buy the game once and ALL of the existing content is free to play. Ok, so strictly it's Buy-to-Play rather than Free-to-Play, but with the newly lowered box price this is still an amazing deal.

That means no excuses for those of you who were thinking of getting this amazing game (I'm lookin' at you bro!).

Even the draug were shocked!

There is a full description of what the move means over on the official site announcement. In summary though, the entire game as it exists now (with all the four major content updates to date), plus the new Issue 5 content due shortly is completely free to play once you purchase a game key.

There is no restriction on the number of hotkeys, clothing slots, chat channels, inventory slots, bank use, or number of dungeons you can run (are you watching Bioware?). This is how free to play should work, the Guild Wars 2 model, not the miserly EA/Bioware way of doing things.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

The Secret World Game Director officially goes bonkers!

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I mean officially. Really. Funcom issued a statement saying so.

The Secret World has never played by the book. It's always been dogged in its determination to be different, either in game mechanics (setting, ability system, quest system), subscription model (remaining subscription based in the face of a free-to-play movement) or indeed marketing.

One example of different marketing is the current alternate reality game, The End of Days (which I am having a real blast getting involved in). I've not seen anything like it before in the MMO gamespace. I'll be doing a full write up on the ARG later, but for now back to Joel Bylos and his nervous breakdown.

So, things started this morning when I noticed a tweet from Joel Bylos, TSW Game Director in my twitter feed. It read:

Rough weekend... End of the world a literal truth. Hard to go to work today. What is the point?
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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Agent Msika needs my help!

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I found an email in my spam folder this morning with a most intriguing subject: "WARNING".

I'm a little paranoid about spam emails, but I opened it up anyway. It was a short email, and simply said:

"Agent ,

We have located the latest communication from Target 29.
http://bit.ly/2012-12-07

Regards,
- Msika"


The email was from agent.msika@gmail.com
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Friday, December 07, 2012

Masks of Nyarlathotep Campaign Journal: Chapter 8 - Country Pursuits

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"There is only one I in team"
"Shoot him in the knee!"
"I'll have some salts and some whiskey please. And some cake. And do you stock mantraps?"
"Do you have a goat we can borrow?"

The above quotes were all uttered by the player characters during this session, and it just goes to show that despite a change of scenery and a new adventure, my players still manage to come up with some way of throwing me.

This session a terrifying beast threatens the investigators... this isn't it.

The last session ended with the Yoo brothers transported back in time thanks to a mystical painting, and our party resting after their encounter with a mad artist and his frail old mother, who just happened to also be an eight-foot-tall intelligent and murderous lizard.
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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Secret World "End of Days" ARG kicks off

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It's started...

Yesterday I posted with the discovery that the creepy voice heard on the sign-up page was a Spanish spell of exorcism. See here for the translation.

Today the ARG seems to have started for real. Several of those who signed up to take part received a creepy (and I mean creepy) phone call. The embedded video below was a recording someone made.


The call has been traced to New York, to "a number registered to Sprint Sepulcrum LP. It was first activated on 04/10/2007. The phone is registered to an address between w 15th street, w 16th street, 7th and 8th avenues in NYC".

Interesting stuff! Glad I didn't receive that call in the middle of the night, it would have freaked me out!

Monday, December 03, 2012

I was right! New ARG for The Secret World

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It looks like my earlier guess was correct.

Funcom have announced a new Alternate Reality Game for The Secret World. The game leads up to a new event marking the end of the world (according to the Mayan calender anyway) due to take place on December 21st 2012.

"Mankind has been warned. On December 21st there will be a cataclysmic event that marks the end of time as we know it. It is time to prepare."

You can sign up to take part in the event here. You can optionally add your mobile number, email and twitter account, so expect to be contacted by mysterious agents with strange messages if you do so!

You don't have to be a current subscriber to take part, but if you do you could receive prizes including an exclusive in-game monk outfit, experience potions, an end-of-the-world survival outfit and an invitation to a special event with the developers.

The ARG seems to kick off right on the start up page, which shows a sinister green light bulb as a creepy-as-hell voice mutters things in a strange language (it sounds like Latin to me).

Make sure you don't miss out by signing up, and keep an eye on the forums to see how the game progresses!

Updates below.
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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Return of the Bard and LoTRO Epic Fail

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There are a couple of things I just wanted to highlight that have happened this weekend. First up my brother has returned to the world of blogging after a year off. Having re-charged his batteries he is back up and running. You can read his thoughts on gaming and life in general at Le'bard Connection.

The second thing is something that has annoyed me a little. I recently returned to Lord of the Rings Online, and have been singing it's praises to anyone who would listen, especially with regard to the way it handled it's move to a free to play model. However a post by Syp over at Bio Break really made me sit up and take notice.

I won't go over it all here, just head on over to Syp's post to read about it. I thought it was an early April Fool's joke, but it seems all to real. The main issue I have with Turbine charging £50 for a mount that looks like a hobby horse isn't the immersion breaking (though I do have issues with that too in a game like LoTRO), or the aggressive tone of the developers, but that it signals a change in direction for what Turbine want to do with their store. I doubt I will be returning to the game if this makes it to live as is.

As for myself I have been busy playing The Secret World and have now finalised my tank build and got my gear to a good place to start doing elite dungeons. I've also just purchased Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition (I loved the game first time round), so expect some of my impressions on the update soon.

Loss of community in modern MMOs - Is it the players' fault?

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Why does it seem that most of the players I come across in MMOs nowadays prefer to play the game solo? Outside of guilds very few games seem to engender the feeling of a larger community any more.

I wrote about how important a community could be to the feel of an MMO two years ago. I still most fondly remember those games where the server community as a whole was active and friendly. It's something I feel we are losing in many modern MMOs, to the detriment of the genre. I think the Arcadia community in The Secret World is bucking that trend somewhat (just look at all the regular server events that the community hosts, such as all the recent Halloween events).

Why is this happening though? Why are more and more players seemingly happy, and in fact prefer, to play these games as solo experiences, despite them supposedly being massively multiplayer? I think that a good proportion of the blame lies on our shoulders, and by that I mean the players. The players are constantly demanding new quality of life features from modern MMOs, that whilst making the game more convenient to play, go some way to destroying the sense of community these games should be nurturing. It is after all what makes them special.
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