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!