MMO Review – The Secret World

Better late than never! I have played TSW for about 2-3 months and have about 97% of the quests complete….SO I guess its fair to say I have a good feel for the game. If you look back a blog post or two – you will see me say this: “Also I have 2 games I am in closed beta testing for…One will be good….one I fear will fall on its face and not be what most were hoping for.” The game I feared wouldn’t fair well was The Secret World. I’m happy to say – I was WRONG.

First – Lets start with why I felt it was going to do poorly. The main thing that I hated was character generation was UGLY and the gameplay was confusing – I will admit I didn’t get beyond a few minutes in a starter area when I gave up testing. Unfortunately they didn’t do much to remedy this and I still feel like I was creating wax models for a neanderthal display at a museum. It is not very good…you can get some OK looks…but…meh. I was quite proud with what I wound up with eventually. Meet Miri.


Now to the good stuff:

NPC voice acting and animations. When you approach someone with a quest it breaks into a cut-scene with the NPC with full voice and custom animations timed with what they are saying. Not the in-game repeated animations…and the voice acting is awesome. Your character never says anything…you may nod…but you just sit and listen to the story the NPCs tell you. You may think this is odd…but it works beautifully and they aren’t forcing a voice to go with your character. Games like Star Wars the Old Republic and Guild Wars 2 both give you a voice you have to live with, even if you don’t like it or it doesn’t fit how you think your character should sound. The cut-scenes and voice acting are even better than Star Wars: TOR.

Questing. Every quest is explained to you in a cut-scene which really gets you immersed into the game. I really didn’t feel like I was doing anything useless…I had a purpose in the world, and I was helping the people or digging for answers. I didn’t feel like I was just running around looking for the next quest to get XP to level which was a nice break from many of the games in the past. One thing that helps this is that they limit how many quests you can have at any given time. 5! One story line quest – 1 action/infiltration/investigation quest – and 3 side quests. Its not like games like Everquest 2, where you try and fill your quest log with 75 quests so if you are in an area, you can try and cram in 5 or 6 quests at once. That’s all filler and I’m tired of it! They did away with the quest hubs. You can also repeat quests after their cooldowns are over a day or 3 later. You sorta need to do this or you will be too weak in skill for the next zone.

Mirinesse Chatting

Storyline quests take you through a long chain of quests spanning several zones…You aren’t meant to finish these in one go…you will slowly get them done as you explore and advance your character. Action type quest will have you go kill stuff, drop stuff off, collect things. Infiltration quests are meant to be done a but more stealthily…sneak past people, avoid alarms and cameras, hack a computer. Investigation missions are the most unique…These can take anywhere from 5 minute to hours, depending on what you know and how go you are at finding answers. Investigation quest will have you learning a new language and morse code, deciphering unknown writings and hieroglyphics, translating binary, finding hidden meanings in messages, figuring out passwords from hints or photos. I would suggest never looking at walkthrus for these until you just can’t get thru them. Use wikipedia and other sites, but avoid the spoilers at all cost. These quests are fun!

Graphics: The graphics are very good…if you can get your settings turned up.It is a graphic intensive game. I could only turn it up to Medium with a Nvidia GTX 275 and I could tell that the frame rate was getting low enough to be noticeable, but I loved the shadows and lighting. The game also has some lag in spots…so having it lower helps. The textures and lighting fit the mood perfectly in each zone. My biggest complaint is how long it takes for the transitions from zone to zone. We are talking 1-2 minutes to zone sometimes. To boot the game and get back into playing can take 6 or 7 minutes. Really needs some work in that area.

Mirinesse Skills

Combat and leveling: I really like that you don’t have a level in the game. When your XP bar fills, you get a skill point and 3 ability points (you get 1 each 1/3 you fill.) Skill points are used so you can equip better armor or weapons…and also add some bonuses. Ability points are used to pick combat abilities, heals, passives. Messing up point placement may delay you a bit but you can just quest a bit more and put the next point where you want it. Ultimately – you can get every skill to max, and fill the whole ring of abilities (though filling the ability ring takes considerably longer.) The screen above is my skill page when I was about 80% through the game…as you can see I can use all weapons and armor in the game at their highest level…you really only need to have 1 bar full in the 2 weapons you use and the bars in your armor to have the best items. You will not lack in skill points.

Mirinesse Ablitiy Wheel

Above is the ability wheel – sorta like a talent tree. You can mix and match abilities from all the weapon choices but you can only wield 2 at a time. You choose a total of 8 abilities to use at a time – and these you can switch anytime you are out of combat. You also have 8 passive abilities active at a time that effect procs, crit, heal amount, etc. The active abilities have to be from the 2 weapons you are currently using but the passives can be from any weapon. Above I have active abilities from Blades and Blood – but I have passives from Blades, Blood, Shotgun, and Elemental – might even be a Chaos in there. Your combination of skills can make you powerful or totally make you wimpy…so you cant just slap any abilities together…it does take some planing. Swaping out ONE passive for another can make a set of creatures sooo much easier to kill if say, they are extra vulnerable to being weakened. On the left of the screenshot above, you can see that the higher you go in the abilities, the more points they cost. 50 Points for top tier. The green and red circle numbers are showing me the skills I need to finish off the Magus Deck…Decks are preset builds you can use to guide you towards a set of abilities that work well together – and you get a cool outfit for completing it!

Mirinesse GUI

Only did 2 instance runs and they seemed fun…But I mostly played the game solo or with 1 other person. TSW could have been sold as a single player game…you can do it all alone (if you ignore the instances) There is crafting which you do in a sort of Minecraft way – putting pieces in a box in a certain shape or pattern, but its not a huge part of the game. There is an auction house to sell and buy items. A clothing store to change your appearance. In TSW – your armor never shows…just your social clothes – which is extra cool. As you can see in the pictures, I change my outfits a lot! There is more to the game but I will let you explore that for yourselves.


Recommendation: Without a doubt – I would tell everyone to grab this game – especially now that it is FREE TO PLAY. You can grab it for $15-$20 and you will get your money’s worth. Took me about 300 hours to get to where I am now and I still have things to go do. They will be adding content packs for like $5 each in the future and they are free if you sub to the game. I wish more games had thinking puzzles like TSW. The main website for the game is HERE.

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