TSW: a bank heist

We spent the over two hours on a particular, infamous it seems, sabotage mission in Tokyo last night – The Bank Heist (wiki guide here). The mission highlights the best and worst of The Secret World’s gameplay I think. Since I’ll be discussing some of the details of the mission, some light spoilers will follow…

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This yellow, sabotage mission starts with a small slice of investigation as we pieced together an amateur spy kit to identify and make use of an ex-employees finger-print for gaining entry to the titular bank vault. I’ve noticed that a seemingly larger number of the action and sabotage missions in Kaidan (issues 9-11) feature investigation characteristics or segments, we’ve seen this occasionally before in earlier zones but it seems more frequent in Tokyo.

Once we were inside the real mission began, which centres around a mini-game of robot control and avoidance using a disconnected robotic arm that gives your character a small set of hack and command abilities.

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“Wifi connection” indicator above a character’s head

Beyond hacking open locked doors the main aim of these abilities is to confuse and divert patrolling or sentry robots so that they don’t see you. As with other Orochi missions stretching back through to the early zones, if you get caught you’re ejected back to the start of the mission or put in a prison near the entrance (which you can conveniently hack your way out of naturally). It’s a necessary conceit for this platformer-esque style gameplay, punishment is via lost time not the more usual character death and gear damage upon reviving.

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You’re occasionally given a hint of what to do by the mission giver, Daimon, over the phone. A few early challenges involve some rather active emote-movements to get past safely. Sadly one in particular takes rather a long time to animate, it’s funny the first few times, but after you’re on your umpteenth reset having been caught by yet another guard robot, having to shuffle slowly backwards across the alarm plates, yet again, loses its charm.

Dance game anyone?

Dance game anyone?

The most difficult parts of the mission relate to carefully placing a few key robots, it was easier playing as a trio if we could coordinate well since we could reboot (i.e. stun) three at once. But the mission is pretty unforgiving for multiplayer in the sense that any accidental alarm triggering will endanger all characters – you can all end up sent back for one slight slip.

CLOSE THE DOOR, NOW!!!!!

CLOSE THE DOOR, NOW!!!!!

Despite the generally annoying nature of the mission’s “reset to start” mechanism, we did have some fun as well. The nature of the control abilities means you can have some ‘fun’ with the robots, it also means they can bug out quite badly as well. At one point we almost broke the lift because a misplaced robot was practically stuck in the doorway. We also worked the whole thing out as a trio, an example of social gaming at its best I might add; it may have taken us a lot longer than if we’d simply read the wiki guide but it was satisfying to work it out together.

Team work

Team work

This particular location was a real nightmare to get past, it took the longest time for us to work this out. In the end after the other two were clear, and I was deeply fed-up with moonwalking, we struck it somewhat lucky with another bugged robot. The sentry in question stopped resetting to his normal position and stood as shown above near the doorway. That allow me to pass the pressure-plate in safety and for a team-mate to reboot the sentry at the right moment for me to skip past.

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The final segment of the mission is much easier, at this stage I was happy that the actions of one of the team counted for all so I could sit safely in a corner. The game is somewhat inconsistent here – sometimes mission steps update for all group members, sometimes you have to all individually click on everything. In the worst instances there are long respawn timers on the items that you all have to individually click (e.g. the graveyard items in the mission The Korinto-kai).

All in all it was a pretty intense session of the game, but I continue to be very impressed by the quality and depth of the missions the developers have produced. That’s encouraging, some MMORPGs have a marked decline in content quality over time or a very noticeable change in the nature or feel of that content. We’re now into the most current issues of the game and there’s a consistency and a similar level of quality throughout everything we’ve seen.

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6 Responses to TSW: a bank heist

  1. Sylow says:

    I know your experience very well. Doing this mission the first time, and especially doing it with a teammate (my girl) who just doesn’t have the “feeling” for stealth missions and ultra-precise movement in games (unlike me, who doesn’t have that out of game), was quite a rough experience. But i also can say, just like the Cost of Magic or the Castle missions, it can be a breeze after doing it a few times.

    And on being so slow with the moonwalk: lucky me i re-did this mission a few times till i got the moonwalk_pro emote. It is the very same thing, but the animation is much smoother and you move faster. This helps me in later content. Some of the same mechanics of this mission is being used later on, but there it doesn’t come with somebody holding your hands any more. The game simply expects you to have remembered the mechanics of the traps, so you can apply the knowledge when you encounter them again.

    Oh, and btw, if you run into any mission step which doesn’t update for the whole party, bug-report it. The design philosophy is “everything is groupable” since a while. This thread is an example, when the game launched all infiltration-missions were solo-only, many of them (but still not all) were changed to also be accessable as group and even the storyline newer parts of the storyline are more group-friendly than the older ones. (Although if you again have to make some choices, which i won’t go into more detail here due to spoilers, i expect some solo passages will remain unavoidable. ) So i think that all content which does not work well in group should be reported.
    (And yes, there’s another infiltration mission ahead of you in the storyline of the second part of Kaidan, which i experienced to be badly broken in group. My girl and me did that one separately due to being stuck on different steps in there. I did report it, it might’ve been fixed, but i didn’t see anything about it in the patch notes, so that’s just an early warning. )

    • Telwyn says:

      Honestly I couldn’t attempt it again for a while. I was very close to a rage-quit when that robot bugged out (in a good way).

      Thanks for the tip on bug reports – we should have thought to do that before!

  2. pkudude99 says:

    Yours shows the robot’s areas of detection? Mine never did. Made it interesting to guess where to stand and whatnot to avoid them. Wonder if they added that in to help later on or something?

    I did this solo the 1st time, and failed a lot. A lot a lot, as in I eventually gave up in frustration after an hour or so and came back later. And blew right through it. Then I ran it with a friend and he got caught several times, but I made it through without incident that time. Had he not been a long I would have gotten that moonwalk-pro emote that Sylow mentioned. But there was a point where I was wishing that I was either alone again or we had 3 players. 2 was simultaneously too many and too few. Odd that.

    Even so… I’ve not been back to try again. Maybe someday….

    • Telwyn says:

      The area of detection is the 5th ability. While it’s active you can’t do anything else so you can’t keep it up for long.

      Not sure we’ll be doing it again anytime soon for the emote – maybe that’s better as a solo challenge…

    • Sylow says:

      Aye, if a mission feels frustrationg, it’s usually the best to skip it for the moment and return later. Sometimes some mechanics just need to “sink in” for a day, and then you suddenly find it easy.

      My most recent example was Hell Fallen at nightmare difficulty. The first time at the third boss, we wiped for hours. After we did it, we decided not to go on, but go for the dungeon one week later. Last Sunday we went for it again, and the third boss, which first time was “iiiiiimpossible….” died at third try. (To make up for that, we spent some hours to kill #6, but we’re also quite certain that we could now do it again much quicker. )

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