Monday, June 25, 2012

Long, dark teatime of the soul

It has been a while since I blogged. Feels pretty awkward, to be honest. But in all honesty's sake, I have to write again.

For I have been bitten.

I thought it would not happen. In fact, I fought pretty hard to find all the negatives and did not let myself go easily. But some things just happen, they are bound to happen. No amount of planning, cunning or deviations can help it.

Even though I have next to sold my soul - again - I still have this nagging feeling, this fear. What if it fails, what if this is all but the rush which has taken me time and again and forced me to do silly things in hopes it would get better eventually. And it hasn't.

This time I took my time. I tried to bend it, break it, even abandon it. And boy, did it try it's best to do the same.

But in the end, after two almost failures, after three periods of improvement and expansion, I swallowed it all: hook, sinker and line. 

The Secret World.

I still have gripes with the button mashing combat system. I still haven't got the grasp of the huge amount of abilities, and to be honest, the ability wheel makes my head spin. And do not start with the clunky animations: realistic modern day genre could use more fluid motion capture animations.

What really got me was the depth of intrigue in the storylines. The way you can find sidequests here and there just by exploring. The way you are ushered onwards by giving winks, nudges and hints which make you WANT to go where the story is taking you. It's not hand holding like in the 300lb behemoth we all know and relate to, it's a 'kind of' freedom of doing what you will and not worry about if it's right or not.

I can already tell you that the power gamer in you will cry each time you find a new side quest along the road, only to notice that you cannot take that one additional because your three side quests are running already. Which one to pause, which one to put on hold?

Like Ardua said in his review, The Secret World is not your regular WoW copy: it's a mature MMO for a thinking player. It will be hard to grasp to the hardened WoW/Rift veteran, because you cannot push through the encounters only by pushing buttons and getting better gear. 

Well, that wasn't completely true. Gearing will be the achilles heel in the game, even though there are no levels.

In the last Beta Weekend all but the investigation quests were open, and there was plenty enough to do in the starter area of Kingsmouth. So much that I barely touched the adjacent area of Savage Coast, and I didn't get the chance to run the first group instance of Poseidon. But the amount of quests, side quests, lore (yeah, shinies!!!) and exploration in those small areas were enough to convince me that there is more beneath the surface of this game.

I won't be placing a pre-order, nor will I be in the launch, but I definitely want to have this game in my active games. It's kind of heavy in it's tone and stories, so I couldn't play more than 2-3 hours in a row (where WoW and Rift I could go on for 5-10 hours at a time).

I will play World of Tanks in the meanwhile. Until the Dark Days return.

C out