Average User Score: 8.2Jul 30, 2012Equal parts enjoyable and frustrating, but at the end of the day the questing and combat system made me move on.
The first few hours of theEqual parts enjoyable and frustrating, but at the end of the day the questing and combat system made me move on.
The first few hours of the Secret World are so distinct from anything else I've played in the MMORPG world that it kept my attention for a while. Unfortunately, the punishing combat system, frustrating questing and limited gear options lost my interest over time.
The game itself is not as open ended or "level-less" as advertised. You will follow quest chains that send you across zones, and while you do have a diverse amount of options for what weapons you invest in, the abilities are still broken down into the traditional MMO categories (tanking, damage, healing, CC and hybrid). I created three characters and did not feel I developed a competent character until my third. While you are "free" to invest in anything, if you choose not to focus on a particular skill set early on you will find it difficult to push past your current zone. So really, at least initially, you need to pick a skill set and stay with it, or you will be forced to redo quests gaining back experience to compensate for your lack of focus. This is made easier by having "decks" which you can choose from, which provide general (although not necessarily the best for early leveling) guidelines.
The quests are intriguing, especially initially. The voice acting is fine, the writing is fine, no real complaints there. The quests can be tricky and the puzzles will often force you to use Google, unless you want to punish yourself for hours attempting to figure it out. They provide an in game browser for such purposes.
The instances are very linear, involve little trash, and can be cleared relatively quickly. I had a few wipes here and there, but usually could clear the instances in under half an hour. They were enjoyable the first time through, but became increasingly repetitive with each subsequent run through. There was nothing really fun or dynamic about them, but nothing fundamentally flawed either.
As for PvP, I did not try it, which is odd since I almost always play games for PvP over anything else. This is a testament to the interesting world created in TSW.
All that said, I did not continue my subscription and I don't see myself playing TSW any longer, and here is why:
The combat is not very fun to me. As you progress through zones, even if you chose to focus on a deck, you're likely to find yourself having to intently focus on every battle or risk death. I don't mind a challenge, but TSW makes it frustrating, not challenging. This is coupled with the frustration of the questing system, which while narrated well, has mechanics that require mundane and repetitious tasks. So, you have mobs that can take a good thirty seconds or more to kill and involve either significant kiting or downtime between fights, and quests that will send you across half the map, with hundreds of said enemies, all so you can grab something. You're basically faced with running and hoping nothing catches you, or investing a tremendous amount of time into fighting everything. Once you get there, even if you turn in the quest via the mobile turn-in, you will have to make the run back to get the rest of the quest givers' tasks.
Also, several quests are broken. I will say that Funcom GM's have been terrific about responding and fixing problems, but they are broken nonetheless. It ruins the immersion and frankly I don't like having to petition a GM multiple times to complete a zones quests, especially since there are so few of them in a zone. While there is an open ended style to the investment of skill points, the skills themselves are starkly similar to one another and share much of the same mechanics. This makes the variety of abilities feel less diverse. Granted there are differences between each tree, but they are not distinct ability sets so much as part of a mold that is reused across all the skills. The voice acting is done well, but I do feel they used the same three actors to voice each character. That does not diminish their acting ability, but when the Templar quest giver voices are the same as the Dragon quest giver voices, it once again ruins the immersion. Also, while the story aspect is well done, I can see it becoming repetitive, especially if you plan on playing the game for months or years. Overall, TSW is a fun diversion for a couple weeks, but the ultimate failure by Funcom is that while they made an interesting world paired with intriguing game mechanics, the game does not remain fun past the first few zones. Unnecessarily tedious combat scaling and poorly designed quests sucked the fun out of it for me, and I eventually lost interest.… Expand