Tag Archives: The Secret World

New year, more games

So 2013, eh? Guess that’s okay. Lots of stuff going on lately. I finished my book and turned it over to my beta reader. I’m hopeful the plot is more cohesive now. I’ve been trying to squeeze what gaming time I can around holiday stuff. Yesterday was my birthday, so I took the whole day off and gamed. It was bliss.

So what’s worth your gaming dollars lately? Well, Steam is still having its wallet-breaking sales, and I’ve been grabbing a few things here and there. Not as much as last summer, but I’d grabbed so many games then it’s not even easy to find something I don’t already own. Other than that, I’ve been playing Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World.

GW2 just ended its Wintersday event, and it’s just as good as the Halloween event. These guys really know how to do a seasonal activities. Snowball fights, a five-man instance, several other unique instanced events, and another jumping puzzle, which I didn’t do, because I can’t do timed jumping puzzles very well. Oh well, maybe it’ll return for next year, and I can give it another go.

GW2 was in several top 10 sales lists this holiday season, despite still being nearly $60 to buy. I’m so happy to know the game seems to be doing well. I know I still get put into overflow servers every time I go into Lion’s Arch. That’s kind of crazy.


The Secret World recently went to a buy-to-play model, making subscriptions optional. I’d said before I would have bought the game had it been B2P, so I was happy to see it did, and I bought it right away. Not only can you find it for a good price (it’s currently $22.49 on Steam and Amazon), but sometimes you can catch it even cheaper than that). All current content is available for that price, but future content will be available as mission packs in the store. I don’t particularly care for content locks, but since you get a lot of initial content for the price and no limits on bags, bank slots, or the trading post, it works.

Oh, and the game is fun, too. I played in the closed beta and thought it was pretty good, but not good enough to justify the price (full box price + subscription + cash shop). Now though, it’s quite worth it. The investigation missions are real brain-stumpers and are easily the best part of the game. Not all missions are top-notch, unfortunately. There are still too many “kill 10 rats” style quests. The crafting system is rather weird and could really use some refinements for ease-of-use. Combat is fun once you’ve gained plenty of skills so you can mix-and-match to make multiple builds but at first it’s rather dull. I do like that they provide “starter decks,” which are example builds you can follow. If you get all the skills, you can also collect the specialized outfit that goes along with the build.

Overall, if you like MMOs, want a setting that’s different from the usual fantasy/steampunk fantasy, and enjoy solving puzzles, there’s no reason not to get The Secret World. You’ll find hours of entertainment for one low price.


Saints Row: The Third (and a couple notes on other games)

First, if you haven’t heard, the release date for Guild Wars 2 has been announced: August 28, 2012. If you pre-purchased, you can begin on August 25. There’s also a final beta weekend July 20-22. Go! Buy! I haven’t been this excited for a theme park game since I played in the World of Warcraft beta back in 2004.


Next, The Secret World’s early access begins today. I was in the closed beta, but I decided against buying it. It does a lot of good things:

No classes

No levels

A unique crafting system

A modern setting

Investigation quests

Voiced quests

But something about it didn’t quite gel with me. I can’t  put my finger on it, but I figure if I’m on the fence, I shouldn’t spend $60 for a game that also has a subscription and a cash shop. I wish them the best of luck. We need more non-fantasy MMOs.


Finally, the game that’s had my attention lately is Saints Row: The Third. An open-world sandbox game about a street gang so big they have their own lines of merchandise, their own PR department, and a movie about their life in the works. Of course, when you’re king of the hill, someone’s always gunning for you. In this case, it’s a group called the Syndicate. They knock the 3rd Street Saints to their knees, and now your job is to build the gang back up while going after the people who caused you harm.


Skimpy clothes to show off the tats. Pedestrians on the street often comment on her choice of clothing (or rather the lack thereof).

If you’ve played any of the Grand Theft Auto series, you’ll recognize similarities. There’s a main storyline, side missions, cars to steal, people to rob. Cause too much trouble and you’ll get the cops on your ass. Keep causing trouble, and it’ll escalate until you’re being chased by the military in tanks and helicopters. You’ll also have to deal with rival gangs much the same way.

The game does a lot of amazing things. You can customize your character in ways that rival The Sims 3. I’m talking sliders for everything from jaw width to eye angle to, uh, package size. You can steal cars, park them in your garage, and then customize them. You can steal everything from little Emus (think SmartCars but uglier) to smooth sports cars to cement mixers and streetsweepers and everything in between. You can buy up property and then get a discount from any of your own stores.


They see me rollin’
They hatin’
Patrollin They tryin’ to catch me ridin’ dirty

You can also play the entire campaign in two-player co-op. Campaign! Co-op! We see this so rarely, and this game actually handles it quite well.  Co-op missions are varied and often interesting. They aren’t always about just fighting off hordes of enemies.

Did I mention the game is also insane? It throws reality right out the window, does a rolling dive after it, and beats it bloody. You can dive feet first into vehicles (even going through the windshield), body slam people like a WWE wrestler, beat up mascots in crazy uniforms, play your way through a bloody Running Man-style gameshow called Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax, do tank mayhem activities in which you’re tasked with causing a certain dollar amount of damage within a time limit, and my personal favorite, insurance fraud, where your job is to fling yourself in front of moving vehicles in order to collect insurance payouts.

I could go on, but the simple truth is, it’s a fantastic game full of great characters, excellent (if occasionally crude) humor, and gory, insane fun. I caught it for $17 on a Gamestop sale. It’s more than worth every penny.

Double-dipping, or the art of screwing the gamer over twice

Massively just reported that The Secret World, Funcom’s upcoming conspiracy-themed MMO, will have both a subscription and a cash shop right at launch. This from a developer who saved a title from the brink of extinction (Age of Conan) by converting it to free-to-play. So they know F2P makes money. Of course, they promise that the shop will only contain vanity items and convenience items. For now. I have yet to see a cash shop that didn’t start adding advantage items to the game, too.

You know what, though? I don’t give a damn if the only thing the shop will contain are fuzzy bunny slippers. I’m getting tired of MMOs double-dipping. If you’re going to make me pay a subscription, give me all the content you create. Yes, all of it. Including the vanity items.

If you want me to buy from your cash shop, you need to drop the subscription or give subscribers store credit each month. I’m not a perpetual money generator.

Right now I’m playing three MMOs: Perpetuum Online (subscription but no cash shop), Runes of Magic (no subscription), and APB Reloaded (subscription-optional). And you know what? I have no problem spending money in Runes of Magic’s item shop. Because the choice in how much or how little to spend is entirely up to me. You can even get all the content in the game  using only in-game gold, because the cash shop currency is tradeable (much like EVE’s PLEX). As for APB? I haven’t spent a dime yet. I won’t spend money on a beta product. But once the game is live, I’ll consider a subscription. It’s not necessary. You can still be competitive without spending money.

I’m very disappointed that MMOs are more about making money than making a quality product. I want MMOs to make money, don’t get me wrong. I want them to be profitable. But you can’t truly succeed if you think, “I’ll make an MMO. Those things are easy cash!” You need to think, “I’ll make an MMO. I love those games, and if I make a good one, other people will love it, too.”