The Secret World launched its Christmas event for 2015 on Thursday, December 17th. The event will run approximately two and a half weeks; until January 4th, 2016. With Christmas hot on the heels of the release of Issue 13, there are no new Christmas missions available, but the developers have provided the players with a plethora of new items from two new bags including, but not limited to: a snowboard mount, new costumes, and two new companion pets–mini-Hel and Krampus.
While some fans are disappointed that there will not be any new content for this years’ Holiday season, there are still three events from prior years to go back to, and for newer players to devour.
The End of Days
In 2012, the world was going to end, according to the Mayan calendar–or at least our interpretation of it. Who wouldn’t decide to capitalize on such an event? Luckily, The Secret World did just that.
While the current version of “End of Days” is a series of quests, there are stories of various events that took place during 2012: hoards of undead shambling about and three giant harbingers of destruction that roamed the world. Now, players get a trail of quests to lead them to the final boss–Bolon Yokte’ K’uh, along with in-depth lore, and a tinfoil hat.
Completing these for the first time was exciting but a tad difficult. The quest location isn’t made obvious by a starting breadcrumb, and each consecutive step was slightly irksome to figure out. Amongst the group of new players I’m a part of, the consensus was that while the final boss is fun, and a tad difficult, the overall design of the missions and their lack of information definitely show how much the game has improved in both providing breadcrumbs and leaving enough open space to allow for exploration and puzzle solving.
Meet the Krampus
In 2013, The Secret World introduced a new event titled “A Mother of a Season,” which most players lovingly refer to as “the Krampus event”. The Secret World excels at taking real-world events, and mythology, and turning them into something new within the world the game inhabits. In this instance, they combined Krampusnacht with Niflheim and Hel.
Krampusnacht, also known as Krampus Night, is the night before the Feast of St. Nicholas when a wicked devil appears in the streets to cart away evil children to either drown them, eat them, or drag them off to Hell. There are variations to the tale and the way Krampus looks, but he is always a devil with cloven hooves, horns, and black or brown hair.
Throughout the world, players will find Krampus wandering about. After attacking them, the Krampus will attempt to run away back to Niflheim–an icy dimension of Hell within the game. In Norse Mythology, Niflheim is one of two primordial realms, the second being Muspelheim, a dimension of fire. Within Niflheim, players need to destroy multiple Krampus to discover the secrets to summoning Hel herself, whom in Norse mythology is a daughter of the trickster god, Loki.
These missions, as before, are lacking in breadcrumbs. It was difficult to figure out what to do first, especially considering there aren’t many missions outside of completing Niflheim and summoning Hel. The group consensus within the new players group was that it was too difficult to complete coming in with an average QL of 7.5 among us. After multiple tries, the group decided to go back to completing missions unrelated to the Holidays at hand, to possibly come back to later with some help from Sanctuary to complete as two groups instead of one.
A Magical Flute
Upon logging in, one receives a text message to head to the London theatre to partake in a viewing of Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute. Things go awry, however, and players are sent to Venice to discover clues within Saint Nicholas’ masonic tomb to stop an evil plot that is afoot.
This mission from 2014 capitalizes on what The Secret World is best at–connecting real-world objects to those within The Secret World. The opera in question, The Magic Flute, was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and premiered in September of 1791 in Vienna. The plot revolves around a young man, Tamino, who is given a magical flute by the Queen of Night who turns sorrow into joy. The Queen’s servants send Tamino on a mission to rescue the Queen’s daughter, Pamina, from capture. Tamino and Pamina must then undergo various trials and challenges before they are able to escape and to bring about a new age of brotherhood to man.
The opera itself has ties to the Freemasons, Mozart himself being one. The opera is also influenced by the Enlightenment philosophy of liberty, progress, reason, tolerance, and fraternity, with large allegorical inferences within the smaller plot details. These influences scream to be used within an environment such as one developed in The Secret World.
This quest is not for the faint of heart, or those of lower QL gear. This warning has kept the rest of the newer players away from the Holiday event, knowing that if Hel was difficult, the Flute would be even more so.
As a newer player to The Secret World, there is still so much I am discovering in the game, and I am always excited to learn more of the lore. As I have mentioned before, the biggest selling point that brought me back to the game is the story-driven content that the game excels at. Knowing that I have all of the prior Holiday events available to me is an appealing thing, however, it is also sad that Christmas events don’t seem to hit a stride like the Halloween events do until the Magic Flute.
I can understand gating content, however, I would love to see these missions be adjusted to be a tad more new-player friendly. Whether it be lowering the QL level required to be more in-line with the QL 6-7 available in The Blue Mountains or making content more desirable. It feels as though something should be done to make things more accessible.
While the Halloween events were by no-means easy, they were something a group of newer players were able to complete without trouble, aside from being content-gated by not having started Kaidan. The Secret World can learn from itself by taking a look at its Halloween events, emulating what makes these great for new and old players alike, and then copying this formula into their Winter Holiday events.Related: Christmas, Column, Funcom, Holidays, MMORPG, The Secret World