While many of my friends are already in The Secret World’s third act, I’m still a hardcore resident of Solomon Island, mostly because I’m too stubborn to leave before I’ve done all the quests.
Now granted, part of this is due to the limited time I have to game, but it’s also because I’ve hit the speedbump known as Blue Mountain. I think every MMO has a zone like this: One that is less interesting than the others, with a poorer quest design and flow, annoying mobs, and janky difficulty levels. It’s a zone that you can’t wait to leave, and after the fun of Kingsmouth and Savage Coast, it’s a letdown.
From talking with people, sentiment seems to be near-universal on this zone. I’ve had people recommend that I just skip it entirely, go to Egypt and then perhaps come back another day. But that would bug me so much, so I’m putting my head down and plowing through this as gamely as possible.
Blue Mountain’s greatest sins are that it really ramps up the difficulty level when it comes to mobs and the sheer density of them. I still see combat as some sort of side activity in TSW, so I don’t want to be stopping every two seconds for yet another battle with a winged insect. Oh, speaking of the Ak’abs, can we agree that these are proof that there’s a disgruntled Funcom employee in a basement who hates all of mankind and wants to see us suffer? Geez, I hate these mobs, with their constant charging attacks (which gets exponentially worse if you fight more than one), their aggro radius and wide leash.
In my opinion, Egypt should’ve been a gear check for players, not Blue Mountain, as many folks are still trying to get a handle on their builds and gear up at this point. The zone also needs a little more pop to it. I hate traveling off-road there, since there are so many ups and downs and maze-like crags to navigate, and little is there to capture my imagination.
And while I’m on a somewhat negative streak, I want to talk about something that’s nagging my brain lately. I’m starting to wonder if there’s too much in the way of horror themes vs. the game’s supposed core, conspiracy theories come to life. Yes, there’s some crossover between the two, but after a while the entirety of Solomon Island feels like a big survival horror game and far less of conspiracies and secret societies and whatnot. Within these three zones, we get multiple haunted houses, a gateway to hell, zombies, c’thulu, evil fog, nasty serial killers, a haunted amusement park, and so on. All of which, don’t get me wrong, are quite cool. But it’s so much horror and so little conspiracy anything that I’m often wondering if I’ve stumbled into the wrong game.
The horror should be a supporting member of the cast, not the main attraction. By midway through Solomon Island, I feel completely disconnected with the Templars and anything that has to do with them — except when I get called back for special missions, of course. Maybe this will change in the next two areas, but considering that the third is Transylvania, I’m not holding out hope.
Anyway, right now those are my two biggest complaints about this otherwise engaging title, and it’s nothing insurmountable in my mind.