The Secret World is host to the scariest places ever created in the MMO industry, and it might be the ONLY game that really has them. Down below are several creepy, freaky, and downright haunting places that I can say really got my panties in a bunch. There are a lot of places that break the creep-o-meter, but only a few really impacted me. Egypt, Transylvania, and other areas have greatly scary places, but those that are truly frightening are those that we can possibly encounter in our real, waking moments.
From houses to parks, and dull structures to innocent-looking areas, it is always the mundane and the humdrum that really make our imaginations run wild. For example, as scary as it is, the laboratories in the Virgula Divina mission aren’t exactly the kinds of places I often go to in my regular life so it simply appears to me as a regular old fantastic setting where I know something is going to go down. But I do often hear about outlandish urban legends concerning a creepy looking house a few blocks away from my home and that intrigues me and percolates a number of crackpot theories and conspiracies in my head. This is what The Secret World does; it makes the very real commonplace things into a festival of screams.
1. The Amusement Park
This freaky amusement park is the first thing that scared the bejeebers out of me. In my youth, I’ve seen a lot of horror movies that revolve around cursed carnivals or killer circus clowns, so the mere sight of this place put my knickers in a twist. There’s nothing creepier than abandoned amusement park rides in a heavy fog with far-out, wobbly, metaphysical visuals, surrounded by dead trees, all the while being surrounded by flesh eating zombies, golems, and ghosts that can jump scare the pants off from even the most manly men. What makes it worse is that when you aggro something here, you wouldn’t normally notice until the creature actually starts hitting you, causing me much knee-bumping on my computer table.
But let’s take out the baddies in this area and just consider the creep factor of the amusement park for what it is. After the first step you take into the park, you know immediately that it’s a really bad idea. It takes me back to Silent Hill 3 and its own bloody amusement park with our heroine, unsuspecting and unknowing, treading ever forward into certain death. Even if it was for AP and SP, I was incredibly hesitant to enter the park and wanted to skip the missions for it entirely.
2. The Anima World
When you die in The Secret World, you become a ghost that spawns on a resurrection point in order to run back to find your mangled body. Not really the most unique concept and I was so used to it from other MMOs, so I first thought nothing about it. Boy, I was wrong.
In a startling twist, when you explore the Anima version of the real world, you tend to see more than the black and white or sepia-toned landscaping of the real world. Shadowy figures and the fleeting images of the deceased roam this metaphysical world, some located even in the most innocent of places. It made me think that while I was rummaging for clues in a dirty dumpster, there was a spectral entity floating about and around me. When I was fixing up my inventory, there were vengeful spirits looking right at me, biding their time.
This ghost world that The Secret World developed pulls out the very old and ancient fear that we aren’t ever really alone. Even now, as I type out this sentence, I keep thinking that there’s something under my bed at the other side of my room just watching me… waiting.
3. The Hanging Bridge
This bridge is one that you will often pass through as you deal with the happenings in Kingsmouth. More often than not, you won’t notice that the bridge has something “special” about it if you are too focused on your mission at hand. Take your time the next time you pass by the hanging bridge and you’ll notice moans, groans, screams, and laughing that definitely do not belong to any of the surrounding creatures, but originate from something far more sinister.
You won’t ever find the cause of those disturbing noises in the fleshy, real world, but in the Anima world, you’ll be greeted by several bodies hanging from the wooden beams, along with a shadowy figure. With its grisly smile and nonchalantly skipping as if celebrating the scene of death, this visage is a thing of nightmares. What makes things worse is that there’s a similar-looking bridge in my area. Now I keep imagining that if I ever stop my car in the middle of it, I’ll see that demon face staring at me through the window.
4. The Black House
Near my home, there’s a house that look almost exactly like the Black House in the Savage Coast. Dilapidated, damaged, and abandoned, that house spawned so many urban legends of folks suddenly disappearing. Many believe this is due to the ghost of a widow or with it supposedly being a portal to hell with all the witchcraft performed within its walls in the past. As a kid, I avoided the street that house was on, and whenever I was forced to pass by it I always had this chill run down my spine, as if someone was watching me.
Imagine the state of my pants when The Secret World actually has a quest that makes you explore the Black House. Never mind the walls leaking blood, what really scared me in this place were the intermittent, strange noises that go bump, often making me pan the camera around just to see if anything was behind me. On top of that, the disembodied groaning and shrill laughter give me goosebumps every damned time. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve done that quest, I still can never get used to it because it strikes just so close to home. If I ever found myself in the haunted house in my neighborhood, I can imagine the experience to be exactly the same as exploring The Secret World’s infamous Black House.
5. League of Monster Slayers Mission Forest
If there’s anything that combines my fear of fog/mist, Silent Hill style, and the darkened forests of the first Resident Evil, it would be the location of the League of Monster Slayers. Ever been in a situation where some of your drinking buddies would go, “Hey! Let’s go in the forest with a gruesome history for no apparent reason cuz we’re drunk!” but you’re over there, despite the massive amounts of alcohol running through your veins, instantly snapped into sobriety because of the incredibly stupid suggestion that was just mentioned? Yeah, this is that kind of place. Tall and towering trees surround this large patch of land, obscuring your sight of the sky or even any way out. Who knows what lurks behind every tree or what snapped the twig you just heard? This place evokes a crazy mix of paranoia and claustrophobia, more frightening than any sort of creature you could ever possibly encounter.
The sense of dread in this forest is just too unreal. Even with my chosen-one superpowers or arsenal of weaponry and badass skills, I still don’t feel secure in this forest. The fear of the unknown is powerful here as if getting lost would mean my most untimely demise or a wrong turn would lead me face-to-face with an unfathomable creature that can drive me insane.
6. ANY Solo Instance
It’s a bit of a cheat to include one on the list that encompasses a whole slew of instances rather than picking a singular one. But, frankly, it’s impossible to do so. Each solo instance in The Secret World is frightening enough to spur your imagination into thinking that there’s a creepy-crawly right around the corner, even when the instance is nothing more than a computer hacking job.
The game trains players to keep expecting the unexpected because it happens, well, all the damned time. We’re trained to know that pulling too much can mean certain death and that we aren’t invincible against the hordes of monsters and paranormal entities. While we can fall back to our buddies to help us fight back, these solo instances force us to face the dangers of this secret world alone. Whatever the instance, you’ll always end up exploring some dank underground or very dark areas that challenge your very sanity. Flickering lights, random noises, and puzzles block your path in these instances, serving only to fuel your ever-growing paranoia.
If you don’t believe me, try out a Parking Garage mission with any faction. Good luck and good night.
BONUS: Freaky Gangster
Bonus freakout! While not necessarily a “place,” it is one of the most frightening encounters I’ve ever had in The Secret World: The half-naked Korean gangster. I mean, look at the guy! He could kill anybody! Or worse! Through the sheer creep factor of his existence, any place he’s located in becomes instantly frightening. This guy is definitely someone I don’t ever want to be alone with in a public restroom.Related: Buy to Play, Column, Funcom, MMORPG, The Secret World