I was blown away by the quality of the missions we ran last night in Secret World. As usual there was heaps of atmosphere, excellent use of lighting (and darkness), great dialogue from NPCs and some notably superb zone design towards the end.
We were getting tired of Ak’abs and zombies, so spent the session playing the last main story mission from steps 13 to 18 (out of 18 for New England). What follows may have some mild spoilers, at least in the screenshots.
Finishing the zone missions for the most part didn’t surprise me much in terms of the building story. The part in the deep mine shaft was extremely atmospheric; that is to say claustrophobic, scary in parts and moderately challenging despite the missions now ‘easy’ designation. As a side note, we spent time in London prior to running these missions re-gearing all of us and changing a few abilities or passives, the excellent advice given by other bloggers really made a world of difference to the team’s damage output and consequently made the solo instance missions in the chain a *lot* less painfully slow for my tank and my partner’s healer.
Then we had some nice dialogue scenes tying up some of the back story for NPCs in the zone and a “revisit all the zones” task.
Finishing the zone story involved a moderately challenging fight (no spoilers for this), I think it would have been much harder before we re-geared. As per usual with the NPC dialogues Funcom gives and takes away at the same time, you’re left knowing a bit more but with more questions as well.
What followed was both trippy (in the psychedelic sense) and also extremely cool zone design. I won’t go into spoilerish details but having Norwegian dialogue read out while you read diary entries was extremely cool for this language-obsessed blogger!
The zone for this section was very atmospheric both the visuals and the clever use of triggered sounds or ghostly speech.
My only criticism of the entire evening was a ‘choice’ that wasn’t presented as such in a clear way. All three of us, playing solo, made the same obvious mistake of just clicking the object – having a confirm dialogue would have been a very good idea here to make it clearer what was happening. I won’t go into further details here but I’m sure veterans of the game will know what I’m referring to.
A closing note is that despite playing some solo missions again it was fun being on voice chat and having the atmosphere of friends enjoying and discussing the missions as we played them. It also really helped for the deep mine mission to have the odd friendly hint available as the others played through the darkness…