Archive for the ‘Funcom’ Tag
So, these new Issue #8 scenarios, they are something else, huh?
On the day of release, I, like a great number of my Secret World brethren entered the next step of the game’s evolution. And, like a great many other players, got my virtual behind handed to me in a sling. The first night I played the only scenario, Seek and Preserve, and the only one I didn’t fail was the Hotel, with only one survivor left. Despite going in with my all blue, QL 10 DPS, elite-level gear. I couldn’t keep the mobs from rushing the survivor groups and I couldn’t keep myself alive long enough to stop them, but my gear was of high enough quality to do so. So, it was me. Totally me.
Something needed to change, and that change was an entirely new build. A build that would allow me to survive longer, be able to heal myself, and grab the mobs attention quicker.
Here is the build that I was using, a very fun DPS Elementalism/Pistol build, a build that didn’t need a lot of survivability as mobs would fall quicker. Only one health talisman was necessary to stay comfortably alive:
Active: Hair Trigger, Shootout, Anima Charge, Blaze, Lightning Manifestation, Ice Manifestation, Overload (Elite), and Dragon’s Breath (Flamethrower)
Passive: High Voltage, Increased Focus, Mad Skills, Elemental Precision, Mind Over Matter, Aidelon, Big Bang (Elite), and Searing Magnesium
This is a fun build that piles on the critical hits, and is good for groups and single targets. For single targets, the high damage from Shootout, mixed with the high critical chance of Blaze, caused them to not last long. For groups, Ice Manifestation and Overload cause hinder, which keeps the mobs out of arm’s length, and then Lightning Manifestation and Big Bang bring them low very quick. But it’s a terrible build for these scenarios.
So, I started with TenTentacles advice, and then took a look at the Illuminati Goon tank deck (Blade/Hammer) that I already had unlocked. I find that, in this game, you should at least unlock a build of each style, DPS/Tank/Healer, as you never know when those would come in handy. It worked, it had the survivability, and mobs jumped off the groups easier, but it’s AoE damage output just wasn’t up to snuff. I could do better. So, I switched out the Hammer and replaced it with Elementalism, something I already enjoy and have experience with, and started rolling with this Blade / Elementalism build:
Active: Forking Paths, Steel Palace, Lightning Manifestation, Fire Manifestation, Martial Discipline, Point of Harmony, Silver Streak (Elite), and Dragon’s Breath (Flamethrower)
Passive: Perseverance, Enervate, Regeneration, Agitator, Riposte, Chain Reaction, Sixth Sense (Elite), and Assiduous Burn
This build has a lot of defense in damage reduction and glancing, and then punishes the attacker for glancing as well. It draws AoE damage with Lightning Manifestation, Steel Palace, and Forking Paths, with the Fire Manifestation adding a bit of burst on single targets. Every attack heals, and Point of Harmony gives a dedicated self-heal, too.
So far, my success with this build, with 4 damage talismans, 2 health, and 1 heal, has given me a Gold rating in both the Hotel and Mansion scenarios, and a Silver in the Castle scenario. Booyah. It also has started allowing me to crank out these Hard missions in Transylvania I’ve been avoiding, too. I’m still not a fan of using the Sword (personal preference), but boy does it work.
So my big suggestion is if you are having trouble, take a tank deck of your choice, and then tweak it to your liking. It’ll work wonders, at least for the first Seek and Preserve scenario. I’m sure the other scenarios are going to require different tactics, though.
As you can see, this is one of The Secret World’s strengths. If you want to only use one character and tank, heal or deal damage, you can. And that’s awesome. But with the ridiculous grind necessary to create these new augments that drop in the scenarios, having multiple characters and making progress on all of them is quite a tall order.
Rowan… I don’t know how you do it.
P.S. – Have any fun builds you designed yourself? Go ahead and post them! Share! (I really think there should be a way to view and vote on builds INSIDE the game, as any reason to check a wiki or look outside the game can be better designed, but I don’t think that’ll happen anytime soon).
When I was a kid, I was totally into Halloween. I’d dress up in some costume, and my parents would take me and my sister out trick or treating, and, like any other kids, we’d go from door to door and collect a big haul of bite-sized candy. And life was good. But then I grew up…
In college, Halloween took on a whole new meaning, it went from being about dressing up and candy, to getting hammered and hooking up with cuties in costume. There was one time, the student house I was living in, which was affectionately called the Love Shack, had a Halloween party so big that it not only encompassed our house, but our neighbors house as well and although we weren’t in any fraternities, we had many offers to join some that night. We turned them down, of course. Our parties at the Shack were more legendary than anything they could muster up. But then I grew up again…
These days I spend my days working, and my nights in hobbies and hanging out with my wife. When Halloween comes around, we generally grab a drink, have some traditional White Castle, put on a movie, and kick back and wait for trick-or-treaters to come to the door. Our tastes have changed over the years.
So what does this have to do with MMO’s? Well, you see, my gaming tastes have also changed since I was a kid, too. Now, I could be playing World of Warcraft, and go trick or treating. Or I could go play Guild Wars 2 and get dressed up in costume and brawl. And this is fun! It takes me back to those times when I was a kid, and dressed up, and went from house to house trick-or-treating.
But as an adult, I want more. I want something that doesn’t feel like it’s aimed at a much younger demographic. I mean, these are MMO’s, they not only take a time investment, but they also take a significant monetary investment, too, and so MMOs naturally have more adults playing them. According to this site, and this doesn’t sound that off, the average age of MMO players is 26 with a third of players married, and half working full-time. We’re not kids anymore.
I played the Guild Wars 2 Halloween content. I zerged and attacked giant monsters made from candycorn, because that made sense. I climbed the clocktower, and helped smack down the whiny Prince Edrick. I even opened trick-or-treat bag after trick-or-treat bag. I carved pumpkins. It was pretty much everything one would expect for Halloween… and yet it didn’t really scratch that Halloween itch.
Then I played The Secret World, and my Halloween itch has been thoroughly scratched. Finally, here is a game that doesn’t just treat us like kids. The Cat God mission, the main event of the holiday, is a tough investigative mission involving possessed cats, family crypts, creating pungent incense, performing ancient rituals, and defeating none other than Baron Samedi himself at the home of Halloween, Stonehenge, as he attempts to rend the veil between worlds.
Then this year, they topped it by adding the amazing Stories of Soloman Island, a collection of horror short stories, penned by Joel Bylos and Joshua Doetsch, that are pretty amazing reads. Here’s a quick sample:
So, the winner of Halloween 2013, in my own humble opinion, of course, is easily The Secret World. Instead of playing with the commercial versions of Halloween, of costumes, candy, and decorations, it shows the more mature meaning behind Halloween: that we enjoy exploring our disturbing side. We like the macabre, we enjoy the chills down our spine. We celebrate the unknown and embrace the supernatural. But you can already tell that Funcom gets this, the supernatural runs through the very blood and fabric of The Secret World.
So, MMOs take note: the bar has been raised. We’ll see what they come out with to top themselves next year.
The past week in gaming for me was quite interesting. Starting with an unheard of full-noob guild run of Ascalon Catacombs in Guild Wars 2, and culminating with fighting back the filth with members of the Beyond the Veil Podcast! The events going on with The Filth in The Secret World really took center-stage, though.
We were aware at the conclusion of Issue 7 that business was certainly left unfinished. The latest revealed antagonist Lilith was launched through the Tokyo portal, which the Filth, a black oozing substance intent on madness and destruction, was seeping out of.
The Filth, all things considered, is the real true menace of The Secret World. It is everywhere, in every zone, and seemingly unstoppable. How does one stop the ocean? Especially an ocean, controlled by a maleficence, intent on destruction. In-game Lore points to the Gaia Engines. These enigmatic, powerful devices that have seemed to be keeping The Filth in check, are failing. Their failure, possibly brought about by the Tokyo Incident, in which a Third-Age device was detonated, is allowing the Filth to move. … or at least that’s what I THINK is going on. In The Secret World, you can never be sure. Things are rarely what they seem.
Starting last Friday, September 20th, (which I totally called, by the way) the Filth decided to make it’s move and corrupted one of the portals leading into Agartha, the heart of the world used for instant transportation to many other locations around the globe. The corruption was instantly repelled by the forces of Gaia, and had the players collecting the crafting material Pure Metal (great band name, by the way) to get it done, turning it into something, which turned into a new currency. This lasted until the playerbase gathered enough Pure Metal to open the portal, which took, oh, all of 3 days.
Funcom’s newest CM, Sezmra, announcing the end of Part 1.
I have no idea if this was an expected timeframe to Funcom or not, but I’d hazard a guess on ‘Not’. It seemed ridiculously quick. But really, a great majority of players are at “level cap”, either running dungeons, farming or being bored, and have been doing nothing but hoarding these materials, so a fast turnaround from something based on crafting mats is kinda to be expected.
So on Monday, September 23rd, the next round of the defense of Agartha commenced. The guardians of Agartha cleaned the entrance to the portal, and players were able to step through, onto a branch of Agartha that had already fallen. The instance is not that tricky to complete, and comprises essentially trash mobs, an endurance fight, more trash mobs, a mini-boss, even more trash mobs, and then fighting the big boss, a bird/spider looking Filth monster, all to get a more special piece of currency.
Rowan had the thought, and I agree, that Funcom may have learned from the sheer speed of the first part, and put this mission on a 30 minute cooldown timer. Not a long cooldown, but long enough where you can’t complete it over and over and over again and to give the rest of the community a shot at earning some of the new currency. So, it may be a few more days until we see the next part, which is fine by me.
I just hope these currencies don’t disappear on us. I’m all for specific currencies for specific rewards. I do this one special thing, I get special coins to spend on special items to show others that I did this specific special thing. Awesome. However, if you’re going to have a ridiculous amount of currencies, then PLEASE make a way to transfer them back into a the standard currency. Any of these leftover Extant Third Age Fragments, for example, I’d like to convert into PAX somehow. Not saying it has to be a lot of PAX, but the same way I don’t carry around Yen or Euros in my pocket, I don’t want to be stuck with leftover fragments that can’t be used post-event.
So, what do you think the next step is? If we beat back this bad guy over and over again, is the next step going to be going on the offensive and prepping for Tokyo? Or do you think we haven’t seen the last of the Filth invasion into Agartha and it’s only going to get worse? (My money: worse)
Either way, it looks like TSW has pulled my attention back into it’s grip. Which is alright by me because it’s such a fantastic game. So if you’re not playing it yet, the real question is:
Really, why not?
P.S. – The fine folks over at Holosuite Media, the Beyond the Veil podcast team, Funcom, and WeLoveFine.com even have a contest running: Send in a screenshot of the fight against the Filth and the best ones win in-game prizes! Click HERE to see details. All you need is a good screenshot (so please don’t steal mine )!
P.P.S. – Are you reading this, do not own Secret World, and it’s before 1 PM EDT on September 28th, 2013? Yes?! THEN GO PICK UP THE GAME WHILE IT’S STILL ON SALE ON STEAM!
Okay. I won’t lie. I’m not the most sociable when I play MMOs. I never really adhere to a set gaming schedule because, as summer is fast approaching, my schedule becomes more and more hectic and my gaming time takes a back seat to real life. Then on top of that I like playing the new games, or a sudden craving might hit to play a game I’ve never played before. And I’m not one to let my cravings go unheeded. So, I’m not the most consistent gamer in the world and as such I make an absolutely terrible guild-mate. Recently I found I was even kicked out of my fleet in Star Trek Online for not playing the game on a regular basis. So sue me. I enjoy that I can play with other gamers playing all around me, like going to the movies and experiencing a film as a collective group, but I’m definitely more the solo player.
So, it even shocked me to an extent that last Monday I joined along with the Knights of Mercy gaming crew, who I consider myself a fringe member of, and joined them in their pursuit of the “phat lootz”. I popped my Secret World dungeon cherry, running my very first dungeon ever in the game: Elite Polaris. Yes, my first dungeon was one of the hardest 5-man dungeons in the game and takes experienced and coordinated players to accomplish. I was neither.
This is why I appreciate the Mercy crew. Their gaming perspective is one of pure camaraderie. They didn’t demand to see accomplishments that I had previously run the dungeon. They didn’t demand that I must be fully geared. They didn’t demand that I even remotely know much about the game. They just demanded that I join them and have fun. This… I could do.
Thankfully, I was in one of the easiest positions: a damage dealer. In my old World of Warcraft days, I was the tank for every dungeon I ran, and let me tell you that is some stress right there. Wipe? Tank’s fault. Can’t keep aggro? Tank’s fault. Going too slow? Tank’s fault. So, whenever I run any group content the LAST person I ever blame for anything is the tank. I know what that job is like, and I give tanks out there a lot of credit.
So how did it all end?
WITH THAT BIG OL’ TENTACLED CTHULHU MOFO FACE DOWN IN THE SHALLOW END OF THE POOL!
How did it happen? Really… I have no idea. I give all the credit to my fantastic group-mates, MMO Gamerchick, Husband-to-Gamerchick, TenTentacles, and Pid, as their experience and awesomeness won the day. Since this was my first TSW dungeon ever, I could not judge to what effect my support/damage did. I could’ve been helping a lot or I could’ve been helping very little. No clue.
So, heady from this big win, we delved into the next dungeon, Elite Hell Raised, and…
WIPED THE FLOOR WITH THOSE BOSSES SO HARD THAT THE DEVIL HIMSELF WAS IMPRESSED!
So not only was my first dungeon run a huge success. My second dungeon run, also Elite, was a huge success.
Maybe I’m not as bad a dungeon runner or as anti-social as I think I am…
P.S. – Sadly, my TSW character, Ocholivis, is unguilded (uncabaled?). I joined the Knights of Mercy for the run, but since they are all Templars and I am Illuminati, I can’t join in their guild. How sad is that? Funcom, seriously, work on that.
P.P.S. – Also, my STO character, @Ambrose99 is also unguilded (unfleeted?). If there are any STO fleets looking for an off-again, on-again member who doesn’t mind donating a great majority of his lifetime-membership resources, hit me up. I’ll definitely be looking for a new fleet once Legacy of Romulus drops in 9 DAYS!
P.P.P.S. – If you’re not hovering your mouse over my images yet, you’re missing out…
There is a saying: MMO’s would be so much better if it wasn’t for the other people. It’s funny because without other people, it wouldn’t be an MMO… and yet, it’s true in so many ways. It’s because other people can do simple innocuous actions that won’t benefit and actually hinder other players, even if their intention is good. This is what happens when multiple players play the same game but have different reason for playing, or different goals in the same game. So here are a few suggestions to make The Secret World much better for everyone.
Open Mob Tagging
I mean, really. This is essentially the future of MMOs and needs to really be here now. Guild Wars 2 has this, and people who aren’t grouped together can tag and get loot and experience from the same mobs, and here’s why The Secret World needs it, too.
Scenario 1: The other night I was playing The Secret World and ran across a guy taking down a few mobs. He wasn’t having any trouble, but I was nearby and could’ve easily helped out. I didn’t. I ran right past like I didn’t even care. And I hate myself for it. My helping him would not help me in any way, as once a mob is tagged by a player, and they are not grouped, that mob becomes theirs. Any loot or experience gained from it would only benefit the first player to tag it. I would receive nothing for helping him out and still cost me my time. Also, there is the chance that helping them out angers the other player, like my interference is a judgement against them. I have received this numerous times in numerous games, and so, when I see another player fighting mobs, my first instinct is just to pass on by.
Here was also a lost chance at loose grouping, meeting someone new, and essentially taking advantage of the sociable side of the game. With the standard tagging rules in place, though, there’s the chance I would be hindering them, interfering, by helping out. And if there’s even a chance at causing more harm than good, it’s better to pass on by.
Scenario 2: Then, not more than a few minutes later I encountered another player. I was doing a quest where I had to take down a lot of mobs in a small area. Another player showed up and I assumed they were on the same quest, so out of courtesy I threw them an invite. They accepted and sweet, we took down the mobs together. Loot dropped, as it does, and the Need/Greed randomized system came up. Since all the items were dropping wouldn’t help me directly, I was rolling “Greed”. The other player, obviously better geared than I was, and obviously didn’t need the gear either, was rolling “Need”. They were acquiring every piece of gear and there was nothing I could do about it except to roll Need too, despite not actually “Needing” it. They could’ve been collecting crafting materials, or just looking for fodder for lower alts or something, but in either way, I was annoyed. They weren’t playing by friendly social conventions and yet they were entirely playing within the rules.
So, although the system is “fair”, unless I were to essentially lie that I needed every item, it really isn’t fair. So, what is? How about ALL loot being individual to the player, not just basic normal quality stuff, but everything. This would be the way for all items that are Bind-On-Equip. The system in place already chooses items for the players to get, and they can still be traded back and forth without barrier, so why still have this other layer for people to essentially grief on each other?
Flavor of the Month Builds In-Game
One of the hallmarks of a good system with multiple skills but few skill slots is in the creation of builds. The Secret World has these and has some suggestions with their decks, but the decks are far from perfect. So, players create their own builds and some of these builds are so efficient, due to a skew in balance, that others pick up on them and use them as well. This leads to websites designed to help people who want to use the strongest and most efficient builds. When certain skills are nerfed or buffed to make them balanced, this process starts over again as the theorycrafters search for and make the best builds. The elite then turn to those who don’t use these builds and claim them to be lesser players.
So, why not cut out the middle man? Have an in-game system where players can submit their builds under different categories, and others can pick and choose to use them along with the multitude of decks created by the developers. This one is more of a stretch as I don’t believe it’s been done before, but where the “Flavor of the month” builds essentially defined Guild Wars 1 and it’s hardcore players, having player-submitted decks could make The Secret World more of an elite deck-building game, like it seems like it was intended to be.
This one wasn’t on my list originally, but after reading Rowan’s excellent post on cross-faction cabals, I totally agree.
Scenario 3: I’m an Illuminati character. My gear is almost to all QL 10 greens and I’ve been working on the same character for a long time now. I only recently found that most other people I know playing The Secret World are all Templar. I know, I can group with them and run dungeons with them, and communicate with them, and everything else in the world I can still do with them… but I can’t join their guild. So, my choice is either to just put them on my friends list and try to join up with them when I can, if I remember to look, or to give up on my character and roll a Templar. Both options aren’t that enticing, or making me really excited to keep playing.
I think Rowan sums it up the best when he says:
“I understand the importance of separate factions in PvP—or different servers in the case of GW2. However, in most cases, limiting cross-faction cooperation only fragments a playerbase that could not care less about interfaction rivalries.”
It’s true. Right now, I could care less about PvP, and the only time I care about the different factions is when it comes to the storyline between them.
Essentially, Funcom, your game can be so much more than it is. Your storylines and missions are some of the greatest from any game I’ve ever played. Your settings are fascinating and your attention to detail is top-notch. But by holding to old MMO conventions that keep the casual playerbase apart from each other, you’re holding yourself back.
Make these changes, and I can guarantee you’ll see an increase to not only your playerbase, but their overall enjoyment of the game.
So how behind am I on this? A month? That’s not so bad. The first fully paid content pack for The Secret World was released on March 14th, and only over the past week or so have I been able to check it out. Let’s just say that I still wasn’t ready for it.
My Illuminati character, Ocholivis, finally reached the level where the quest ratings for the expansion turned from “Devastating” to “Normal”. But I think they lied… in playing through the missions, I’ve just had my behind handed to me again and again and again. Quality level 10 items are dropping, fully replacing my current QL 7 items, which I’m happy about, but making my way through the content has been arduous.
So, since the bevy of players have already worked well past this content pack, allow me to give you my belated thoughts on it.
Simply, it’s awesome.
It’s based off of Indiana freaking Jones!
Indiana! Nazi-beating, tomb-spelunking, Ark-opening Indiana! And I don’t mean it’s based like the uber-cheesy way that World of Warcraft sprinkles pop culture in every other sentence. I mean in that you-experience-the-adventure kind of way. Time travel? Check! Infiltration? Check! Fisticuffs? Check! Taking an ancient artifact from an old Egyptian tomb? Check! Stopping a train carrying a bomb set to explode in a major metropolitan area?! Check! Holy hell, even the music during the final mission takes its cue from the movies. The tropes you see in the fantastic Indiana Jones movies (except the last one, which I refuse to acknowledge even exists) become viable in The Secret World’s setting, even down to picking up a whip to use as an auxiliary weapon.
And of course, busting out the classic fedora.
Story, Story, Story, Story, Story
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times, I’m a fan of story. Whether it’s a short 90-minute story found in movies, a long drawn-out story found in novels and serialized TV shows, or an interactive story found in video games and MMOs, story is the driving factor of the medium. There are those who disagree (and with good reasons), but why I play these games is to experience the storylines behind them. Not just small, colorful, localized vignettes, but a full over-arcing complete storyline. I’m not here to be a plain citizen (a really overpowered super-citizen) of a fantasy world, I’m here to experience the story of why my character is heroic and how that changes his or her society.
And The Last Train to Cairo is chock full of delicious, delicious story. From fleshing out Said and the villainous Abdel Daoud to the pop-culture loving Nassir, the first full content package for The Secret World is well worth the $10 pricetag.
Most of the Missions Can Be Played Under-Level (But not the final mission, apparently…)
Now, my progress in The Secret World has been, compared to most players, very slow. So far, I’ve only been to 4 zones in total and haven’t left the Scorched Desert yet. So, seeing as how this content pack is supposed to be for players at “max level”, I entered the missions way below recommendation (not actually true, the mission’s description said I would probably be okay, but the reality was far from the truth… one of the downsides of not having levels, I guess). To that end, the first 5 missions in the 6 mission quest chain are all completely doable with little trouble, and max QL 10 items drop to boot, very quickly boosting your abilities.
However, I have not yet finished the final climactic mission yet as the mobs just whoop me left, right, and sideways. But, maybe with a little tweaking of my build I may be able to push through it. The Secret World is more about flexibility and skill than it is your straight-up level. Similar to Guild Wars 1, it’s about building your character horizontally. The more tools you have to play with, the better off you’ll be.
So, in closing, the first true paid content pack in The Secret World sets a very high bar for any future updates. Heck, even on top of all the story missions, they even threw in a 10-player raid and a new PvP zone!
All in all, impressive as heck, Funcom, and I can’t wait to see what’s up your sleeve next. … Also, try to keep EA as far away as possible.
P.S. – The Buzzing has pointed, to those that will listen, sweetlings, a couple creative character blogs based on The Secret World. Check them out!
Conduit – Tales from the Other Side of the World
Through a Lens – Facing the World From Behind a Camera
Think you have what it takes to beat the puzzles in The Secret World?
Currently, I’m back into playing The Secret World and the game once more reminded me why it’s hands-down awesome. The way it mixes gameplay styles going from pure combat to defense, to mind-bending puzzles to platforming and stealth and then has a gripping setting and compelling storyline backing it up, I wonder sometimes why I ever leave the game.
And then I remember.
In The Secret World, it is entirely possible to spend an entire gaming session bashing your head up against one of their devious puzzles and not make any progress. It’s frustrating, as you know when you finally have time again and you decide to go back into the game, that puzzle will still be there taunting you.
Signal Effect seems like a good litmus test to show their deviousness. So here I will present to you the research part of the puzzle Signal Effect (without giving the answer away, of course). See if you can figure it out.
Down the rabbit hole…
An odd transmission has been picked up. However, it’s not that strong. You are sent to find satellite dishes around the town and alter them so that they all point to the source of this transmission. You platform jump to find all 4 satellite dishes and point them in the right direction. However, each dish tells you different things when you search for the signal…
Satellite Dish #1:
29 21 68 6f 24 28 23 23 2c 20 63 28 23 20 5f bf
23 20 68 24 21 29 20 24 23 3f 20 43 26 3d 2a 28
25 20 40 2b 72 20 29 5e 78 20 24 21 79 24 20 40
28 21 20 23 24 2a 25 6e 20 21 2a 67 23 29 23 2e
20 21 63 21 28 23 73 20 74 26 24 20 25 5e 26 40
20 6f 2a 20 24 69 2b 40 2e 20 46 5f 24 2a 21 79
2d 28 5e 75 29 20 21 65 61 23 2b 23 20 5e 26 5e
76 21 20 21 68 5f 25 20 2a 20 21 28 40 23 79 2c
20 62 40 25 20 2a 20 63 24 69 29 40 20 28 2b 20
69 40 20 5e 2a 20 23 28 65 20 5e 2a 26 21 65 20
2b 7e 20 21 65 21 5f 24 21 20 48 25 2a 40 20 6d
2a 20 5f 6f 3d 24 40 21
Satellite Dish #2:
83 33 61 42 108 97 35 35 44 32 33 40 110 32 95
61 35 32 64 101 33 41 32 109 35 63 32 64 104 61
42 40 100 32 102 43 37 32 41 94 40 32 100 33 42
36 32 97 40 33 32 115 101 42 37 35 32 110 105 36
35 41 35 46 32 65 41 33 40 35 61 32 64 104 36 32
37 94 38 115 32 33 42 32 36 94 114 64 46 32 64
45 117 114 33 42 45 40 94 40 114 32 98 38 42 35
43 35 32 94 38 94 64 101 32 33 64 97 37 32 42 32
99 40 64 114 94 44 32 42 117 37 32 42 32 33 36
37 110 64 32 40 111 32 36 64 32 94 110 32 35 40
36 32 104 42 38 33 42 32 43 102 32 33 42 97 95
36 33 32 40 37 42 100 32 36 42 32 119 33 61 36
Satellite Dish #3:
Satellite Dish #4:
00101001 00100001 00111101 00101010 01101100
00101000 00100011 01110011 00101100 00100000
00100001 00101000 00100011 00100000 01111001
00111101 00100011 00100000 01000000 00100100
01100001 00101001 00100000 00100100 01100101
00111111 00100000 01000000 00101011 00111101
01110011 01100101 00100101 00100000 01000000
01101111 00100101 00100000 00101001 01101001
00101000 00100000 00100100 01100001 00101010
00100100 00100000 01000000 00101000 01100100
00100000 00100011 00100100 00101010 01100101
00100011 00100000 00100001 00101010 00100100
00100011 01110100 01110011 00101110 00100000
00100001 00101001 01110010 01101111 00100011
00111101 00100000 01000000 00101011 00100100
00100000 01110000 01101001 00100110 01000000
00100000 00100001 00101010 00100000 01100110
01011110 00101011 01000000 00101110 00100000
01000000 01011111 00100100 00101010 01110100
00101010 00101101 00100001 01101111 00101000
00101001 00100000 00100001
00100110 00101010 01110011 00101011 00100011
00100000 01100011 01110010 01011110 01000000
00100001 00100000 00100001 01000000 01011111
01110100 00100000 00101010 00100000 00101100
00100000 00101010 01000000 00100101 00100000
01001001 00100000 00100001 00100100 00100101
00101001 01000000 00100000 01110100 00101011
00100000 00100100 01110100 00100000 01011110
00101010 00100000 00100011 01101000 00100100
00100000 01011110 00101010 00100110 01110011
00101010 00100000 01101111 01111110 00100000
00100001 00101010 00100001 01011111 01101000
00100001 00100000 00101000 01100101 00101010
01000000 00100000 00100100 00101010 00100000
01011111 00100001 00111101 01100100 01000000
Got it? Okay. All the quest log states now is that in these transmissions is the answer on where to go next. So, let’s say you find the answer and head to the location given. There you find a box. This box needs a 4-digit code to open.
To finish the mission, what is this 4-digit code?
Space. The final frontier.
If you’ve solved it without looking up the answer (here), Congratulations! You’re a better person than I.
But… a SIDE-MISSION?! Really?! Compared to the big investigative missions that have multiple steps, this one is relatively short, but I still wouldn’t have called it a side-mission.
Up until this point I’ve enjoyed and have taken pride of the fact that I have not cheated or looked up any solution on any of the investigative missions so far, and the rush you get when you solve one is wicked and makes you crave more. I’ve even gone so far as when I’m researching to use the ‘-”secret world”‘ command in search engines to keep any spoilers from showing up.
But then I hit “Signal Effect”. In other missions, I’ve researched Bible translations going back to the 16th century, read full websites dedicated to fake authors, translated latin, used ISBN numbers as passcodes, and used children’s nursery rhymes to summon dark spirits. And the Morse code. Oh god the Morse code! The mission Signal Effect finally stumped me, though, and I had to look up the answer. It could be that the mission was misclassified, and was listed in-game as just a “side mission”, meant to only take up a few minutes, and so when I hit it near the tail end of the night I didn’t have the fortitude to solve it and, in a moment of weakness, looked up the solution.
So sue me.
I won’t lie, this past week I’ve been a little obsessed. Sometimes when a new game comes along that really piques my curiosity, I get like that (kinda what defines us as gamers). My recent obsession: The Cave.
The Cave was released on January 23rd, 2013 as the recent offering from Tim Schafer, Ron Gilbert, and Double Fine Productions and is fantastic. Presented in a 2D/3D platformer, the graphics are beautiful, the iconic Schafer & Gilbert branded humor throughout the game mixes puns and bad jokes as only the duo can, and the game drops significant doses of nostalgia throughout. In a surprise twist on the adventure genre, though, the game can be fully completed in about 3 hours.
The format goes a little like this: You choose 3 different characters at the start of the game and then lead them through 7 different puzzles. Every playthrough has 4 puzzles that are the same: The Introduction, the Miner, the Zoo, and the Island. On top of that, each character from the Knight to the Twins to the Time Traveler has their own individual puzzle. The purpose of each puzzle is to tell the story of how each character acquires their greatest desire and how acquiring these desires changes you. So underneath all the funny one-liners and puns are the very morbid acts you have these far-from-lovable characters commit to acquire these desires.
Launching nuclear missiles. Burning down a carnival. Poisoning your parents. Committing Stone-Age murder. Good times.
At the nominal price of $15, and a completion time of 3 hours, this game is a straight up appetizer. A delicious appetizer, but an appetizer nonetheless for the yet-to-be-officially-announced Double Fine Adventure. Having successfully completed it’s KickStarter last March, and seeing how the unofficial initial timeline was estimated at October of 2012, The Cave has only whetted my appetite for the final product. The vaulted herald of the return of the adventure genre.
I do worry, though. On my multi-playthroughs of The Cave (3 times as of this writing), the difficulty level didn’t even register on my scale. I’m not meaning this as a brag, but a true concern. If the modern version of adventure games is a game that is so easy that it’s filled with only elementary-level puzzles, maybe the adventure genre is gone for a reason. A difficulty of “Hard” is only at the will of the player to not scour the internet for a walk-through, which appear barely minutes after a game’s release. And what true value does a point-and-click adventure game have aside from it’s difficulty of puzzles? The draw of cheating is very strong if the puzzles end up being too devious. However, deviousness is a part of why I buy these games in the first place. Without the difficulty, is it even a game?
I don’t envy Gilbert, Shafer, and the entire crew at Double Fine one bit. Walking the line between what is too easy and what is so difficult that it’ll immediately send people scouring the internet for a solution is very tricky. But if there is a team that can accomplish it, it is them.
And If I may impart some advice as the casual adult gamer I am: err on the side of devious. Like The Secret World does with it’s investigative missions, expect a percentage of people to look up the puzzle answers, but know that a decent percentage of players aren’t ponying up money and expecting a walk in the park. We’re paying for a challenge. Maybe not Gabriel Knight 3 “impersonate a man without a mustache by adhering cat fur with maple syrup to your face” type challenge, but please amp it up a little more than this.
Please take your time on the Double Fine Adventure, guys and gals. Polish is good. But realize that The Cave has us now salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs for the main course.