The Secret World Devs

The Secret World Second Anniversary

Eleven Days Are Missing

Two years ago Funcom released The Secret World.

It hasn’t always been an easy journey from then to now, but you can’t say it hasn’t been stylish.

A modern world MMORPG unlike any other out there. A bold attempt at something different in the MMORPG genre. As people continue to make their way into Tokyo, we look back at the times passed and reflect.

 

Signals Disrupt Our Thoughts

There’s no denying there have been ups and downs for The Secret World. All indications early on were that Funcom had a big hit on their hands. Between the amount of people beta testing and the passionate and committed fan base they had helped found with their clever use of Alternate Reality Games, things were looking bright more than two years ago.

Sometimes though the stars that appear to be in conjunction aren’t quite right for the dark mysteries of your world. The Secret World launched with a subscription model practically next to Guild Wars 2 which embraced a Buy to Play model. Add to that the fact that we gamers are fickle creatures and that the true strengths of the Secret Worlds aren’t mob grinding and loot bashing, but are in fact the atmosphere and the complexity of the journey. Ephemeral things sadly when you consider they’re hardly bullet points for the back of the box but they’re the sort of things that have kept this game in my heart.

The Secret World Second Anniversary

The Host Was Here Before Us

It’s not all doom and gloom. Well… okay in the game it is because apocalyptic transitions of the ages are rarely parties and supplied with cake and joy. As for the game? Things are continuing along the dark and twisted path imagined for it. Content for most games is easy, here’s a sack of hitpoints. Wail on it. The Secret World? That’s where I go when I want to stretch my mind as well as my hotkeys.

If you’ve never played, you really are missing out on something quite unique. If you have played and didn’t like it, well it’s not for everyone sadly though that’s not a bad thing. Two years on and Agartha is irredeemably shamelessly still itself. Investigations still wait for people to pierce and puzzle them out. Lairs wait the hardy or the foolish to step inside. Wonderful characters and actors are always poised to bring you into the world.

We are currently in Issue 9 of the Secret World and have access to Tokyo. I remember seeing the concept art for it in a meeting many moons ago. Most people probably wouldn’t believe me if I told them how long I personally have been waiting for Kaidan and its horrors. Could the pacing be quicker? Possibly. Would the quality remain? That I couldn’t guess at and don’t want to risk. This game is something special to me and I’d hate to see it become an uninspired slog. Say what you want about the Secret World, you can’t say it’s generic.

 

There Is A City On The Moon

The Secret World Second Anniversary

Two years on, what has changed?

If I am completely honest, physically not a vast amount has. Solomon Island, Egypt and Transylvania are all still there and waiting. The raid in New York was added over the last two years, as was the Venetian Councils Sunken Library and now Tokyo.

Physically, in terms of raw game additions, there’ve been few new systems. AEGIS and Aux weapons spring readily to mind. Want to whip people or rocket jump into combat? They’ve got you covered.

What has never changed is the passion people have for the game. Community is the one key feature of any online game that is implied to be present in all things but not always delivered. Sometimes they’re even a bad idea if League of Legends chat rooms closure is anything to go by. Community is something again intangible that you can’t really base a marketing strategy on.

What has never changed is the amount of guts it must take for the developers and creators to push on with what is clearly a game styled differently to any of its competition. Funcom walks a lonely path and you know what, we’re lucky they walked it at all.

 

The Tower Of Babel Never Fell

Two years on and I still remember the moment I fell in love. I still remember the first time I was scared. I remember finishing a quick session in the beta, where everything was new and the forest of Kingsmouth held terrors….

Two years since we have gotten our hands on The Secret World and I remember sitting there momentarily paralyzed because I had forgotten to turn on the lights in the house. The hour had grown late, the house dark…. And there is terror in the dark. There are horrors in the unknown.

That is what Funcom and team brought to my life. For some people it is just a game, for others they’d probably call it a niche entry in the MMO landscape. Quickly discussed, soon forgotten. It’ll never be that to me. In years to come I hope to come back to this, I hope to be sitting here writing of the tenth anniversary of the Secret World. Writing of the systems they tested and brought in, talking in depth about the new regions of the world and the delights to be found in them.

The Secret World Second Anniversary

Nothing would please me more than to write those articles and celebrate those achievements for Funcom, for Ragnar Tornquist, for the team and for the players.

I know though that that’s not what I am going to do. Two years down, eight to go. I’ll have more stories by then, I’ll have more places in the game I will have been. I’ll know though that my heart was won long before it all. Not by a tricky alternate reality game. Not by a clever game system or particular build. Not even by a sexy outfit.

My heart was won long ago when I sat in my chair, afraid of the dark. Two years on and that still is fresh in my mind. There is a Secret World out there. Dark Demons Cry Gaia. There could be monsters in the kitchen. That’s the journey I started, that’s the journey I will report. If nothing else…always remember.

Everything Is True

About Jonathan Doyle

Once long ago Westwood made a space game. Earth And Beyond was the start of the journey. From there, through Paragon City and to the fields of Altdorf, there were battles. Westwood brought me to MMOs. City of Heroes refined my love for them. Warhammer brought me to writing about them. He loves all things space, sci fi, Warhammer or heroic.