After Funcom’s last dev stream teased some extremely interesting updates coming to The Secret World, this week Romain Amiel, Joshua Doetsch and Andy Benditt returned live for a stream filled with humor and emotion, showcasing an in-depth preview of a new lore and achievement-rich location that is opening its doors in-game very soon. To be completely fair, I decided to tune in for The Secret World Museum of the Occult preview just because of the fact that they called it a peeky-er peek… but the preview in itself was much more detailed than expected and worth every minute.
@KlausvonRichter It’s still a peek, but more…peek…ier.
— The Secret World (@TheSecretWorld) June 1, 2016
The Secret World’s Museum of the Occult will be launched on live servers on June 15, according to Amiel. It will be accessible to all players regardless of level as it is a free update, and its evolution is linked to players’ achievements, namely the number of specific creatures killed. In fact, since players were worried they would have to grind the 10,000 kill achievements, it was specifically mentioned that not all of those would be needed in order to unlock Museum features.
However, bigger and better exhibitions in the Museum of the Occult will be dependent on a certain level of progression since certain upgrades cost Ability Points. For example, upgrading the centerpiece of each room will have 3 tiers that will cost 175, 300 and 500 Ability Points respectively.
For long-time players who already have unlocked and upgraded pretty much all they need (and more) in the talent trees, this sounds like a great way to dump some of those amassed Ability Points. However, fresher characters will likely prefer to build up their ability wheels to a certain extent before investing in exhibition upgrades.
In any case, seeing that the Museum is essentially a new way to track (and flaunt) character progression, it’s only fair that unlocking and upgrading everything should take a while, of course. In fact it looks like players already felt more inclined to go finish some remaining achievements, judging from numerous forum threads and in-game groups looking to go massacre more creatures in preparation for the launch of this new, upgraded bestiary.
The Museum of the Occult will feature twelve wings, each focusing on a specific theme: some based on specific types of monsters, like the Draug or the Reanimated, others based on in-game areas such as Egypt and Transylvania. One of the wings will be dedicated to Event bosses, thus aiming to incentivize players to participate in future in-game events.
The centerpiece of each room will hold a special creature belonging to that category, in the case of the Draug wing for example that would be the Ur-Draug. This way, players can get a better look at their favorite dungeon or raid bosses and admire the concepts without worrying about getting splattered for staring too long.
As mentioned above, centerpieces are upgradeable and every tier will add an element of the creature’s natural habitat. In the Ur-Draug’s case that’s a few boulders because, well, why not!… see, this is what I meant when I said fresh players might really prefer not to go there just yet.
There’s also another surprise in the Museum in a thirteenth secret wing, however, Amiel was resolute to not say a single word about it or show it in this preview – he was convinced that players would solve the mystery and figure out how to obtain it before the update even goes live, which wouldn’t surprise anyone considering the investigative skills of The Secret World community.
If the Museum of the Occult sounds massive so far, that’s because it really is! The structure as showed on stream was really impressive and apparently even the team was surprised with its grandeur once the project started taking shape.
Further bonuses to come include numerous easter eggs for players to discover, as well as brand new pieces of lore related to the creatures housed by the Museum. To find them, players will have to decipher hints offered in already existent lore.
The stream also showed a few of the special “companions” that can assist players in battle and who can be obtained via the Museum’s Gift Shop. These guardian companions manifest as buffs that last one hour in the same vein as food or elixirs, and will periodically cause a certain type of creature (depending on the buff used) to appear while in combat.
There will be assists available for each type of gameplay – damage, support or healing – and upgrades are available, improving the value of procs. The guardians will cost in-game currency and are stackable, so players can comfortably stash a few in their inventories before leaving the Museum.
During the stream, we could see a demo of an offense-oriented golem guardian, as well as an Orochi buckler drone doing what it does best – no, not annoying the hell out of players by knocking them away repeatedly, but protecting its summone.
It’s not all fun and games though, because as correctly highlighted by players during the stream already, the visual effects that the guardians sometimes apply could potentially make combat a lot more difficult. Taking the golem guardian showed during the stream as an example, each version applied an AoE visual effect that can potentially cover up damaging effects that players should or might want to avoid.
To quote the stream audience again – Flappy’s filth pools will be one hell of a fun ride with that golem AoE everywhere. Luckily, the effects don’t last too long, however even a single second in the wrong spot can land players in trouble, so it remains to be seen how beneficial or, on the contrary, chaotic and damaging some of these buffs will be for the more difficult PvE content.
Also available in the Museum Gift Shop for in-game currency will be various pets, glamours and of course, the t-shirts featuring the winners of the monster art contest for designs created by members of the community. These will become accessible once the corresponding achievements have been unlocked.
Andy Benditt mentioned that due to the large amount of amazing art submitted by the community they would try to squeeze in a few more designs as it was difficult to choose so few winners in the first place.
Last but definitely not least, I left the “juiciest” feature of the Museum for the end of this preview. Why? It’s quite the debatable feature, to put it simply. At the very entrance of the Museum, you’ll find a giant statue of… yourself. Now, assuming you don’t have a mean streak of narcissism, or would prefer letting your (numerous) other achievements speak for themselves, especially those showcased just a bit further down the corridor in the Museum, it’s probably a feature you could have done without.
So will we be able to opt out of it? Unfortunately not. The statue’s practical scope is to let people know to whom the Museum instance belongs that they are currently in, while making players themselves chuckle with pride at the oversized version of themselves. Or not.
The appearance of the statue is just as customizable as that of the creature statues. There will be a variety of poses to unlock via achievements or drops and the clothes displayed will be whatever the player is wearing at the time of updating the appearance of this statue.
To be perfectly honest, I’d just love an Overwatch butt pose easter egg – hear me out before shouting blasphemy! A butt pose would look awesome and maybe manage to filter out some of the narcissistic vibe by pretty much hiding most of the character’s face. Add clothes vastly different than what you might be usually wearing and boom, embarrassment (almost) gone. Yes? No? Maybe? Well, it’s not like we can get out of this one either way, so might as well start preparing.
To conclude, the Museum of the Occult will be quite the update for The Secret World players, veterans and newcomers alike. It definitely looks like a feature worthy of the effort that goes into unlocking the relevant achievements, considering its size and numerous features. It is an extra reason to explore the vast in-game world and collect lore, hunt monsters or participate in events, so I can imagine it will be quite successful. Next on the list – player housing? Time will tell.
So long and thanks for all the fish, Scriv!
The dev stream, as well as the few days preceding it, was a bit bittersweet for Joshua “Scrivnomancer” Doetsch, The Secret World team, and the community, especially those involved in lore and roleplaying initiatives such as the Twitterverse Experiment, which was started by Doetsch himself.
This was the last dev stream on which Scrivnomancer appeared in his official capacity as Lead Writer for the game, as Friday was his last day with Funcom – for now at least.
He will be continuing his adventures partly in more distant lands under the flag of Re-Roll Entertainment alongside other former members of the Funcom team, as well as by pursuing his personal projects, freelancing and writing from the comfort of his own home office.
However, players beware – Scriv is not leaving The Secret World completely and will continue being involved in the community. More details about his future plans will follow via Twitter and blog, and we could even expect to see him on his own stream soon enough,
We all wish Scriv all the best and look forward to seeing what Funcom, Re-Roll Entertainment and Josh himself have in store for us next. Don’t forget – if it doesn’t involve tentacles, it’s no good.
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