For our first session of The Secret World on Saturday since the long break we decided to give another dungeon a go, our second since we started playing the game. We were in our usual trio and didn’t really have any expectations about finishing it – we picked the second dungeon in the game, called Hell Raised and located in the Savage Coast.
I’ll confess up front that all the lovely screenshots I thought I was taking weren’t saved, I’d forgotten the game uses non-standard key bindings for taking pictures of the action – it’s F11 by default not the customary Print Screen. I did know this of course but the two weeks of warm sunshine seemed to blank my memory of a lot!
The zone is pretty linear but very atmospheric as you would expect. We found a lot of lore objects scattered about, I think the log was telling me there were 29 in the one dungeon, that’s a lot of hunting to do in between the fights.
The fights overall were enjoyable, the boss fights not too hard although we wiped at least once on each as we learned the mechanics. This is the kind of MMO combat we enjoy as a team though, the games skill system allows you to easily try out different individual and team combos so it’s particularly well suited for groups that want to ‘puzzle it out’ themselves. As per the previous run on Polaris the trash mobs are interesting and not too numerous – you move along at a good pace through the zone.
The theme of a lot of the dungeon was environmental dangers. Flaming lava floors, weird devilish lightning conductor statues and several boss fights with steadily advancing walls of flame. These flame wall ‘dps checks’ had us worried, we play with only one instead of the normal three damage-focused characters, so we expected each time that’d we’d hit that brick wall to progression because we couldn’t take down the boss quick enough. That proved no issue on the second and fourth bosses (Corroder and Traumadriver), though for the latter fight I switched from sword/hammer to sword/assault rifle so I could self-heal a bit while our healer also switched to a hybrid healing/damage build.
In the end we ran out of time rather than luck, no doubt having only three players means such a run takes longer than it would for a full party. We got the fifth and penultimate boss down to very low health (lower than pictured above, about 10% I believe) but we didn’t manage to finish her. The fight’s main challenge is a very large number of adds, all of which need killing before they reach the boss – it proved too difficult for us to take them all down and inevitably we started taking heavy damage as the phases of the fight progressed.
Beyond the fun we had playing the dungeon, unlocking lore and getting a few upgrades, the experience also highlighted two other aspects of the game. Firstly the game’s UI still has some very rough edges. It is far too easy when trying to position the inventory window so you can drag a weapon to your secondary/off-hand slot that you don’t align it very precisely over the box – if you misplace it by even a couple of millimeters the game assumes you want to destroy the item. I stupidly thought it was asking if I wanted to bind the item and clicked yes, and promptly deleted a brand new blue quality assault rifle.
Secondly as a consequence of the above I actually contacted Funcom for direct support for the first time since starting the game. I petitioned to have the item restored since I’d deleted it by mistake. I was *very* pleasantly surprised that they answered in only 15 minutes and how quick and easy the item restoration was. It wasn’t that big an upgrade and I’m not playing with AR that often but I was very happy with the way it was handled by their support team!