The Secret World: A stealthy approach

vialMuch has been said about The Secret World’s excellent investigation quests, as well should be.  They’re (almost) always a pleasure to encounter and unravel, requiring more brainpower than brawn.  But I haven’t seen a lot of folks talk about the game’s stealth missions.

Maybe there’s a reason for that.  Maybe stealth missions are of the devil and should be shunned.  That’s how I feel sometimes when I run them, but then I acknowledge that they’re giving my brain a workout in a different way too.

Stealth missions are the exact opposite of action missions; they downplay combat immensely by either (a) giving you no enemies at all, (b) placing groups of enemies who will overrun you, or (c) placing super-mobs who will one-shot you.  Instead, you have to be careful in planning your approach to objectives, dodge security cameras, find ways around laser wiring, set off diversions, and so on.  They can be exceedingly tricky and sometimes frustrating, usually because a single mistake means almost certain death.  However, the game does take pity on us by providing checkpoints through the mission so we don’t have to start all over again.

Last night I was running a stealth mission in Transylvania, Sins of the Father.  Story-wise, it’s a good chapter in the story of a disgraced doctor whose dad was some sort of mad scientist/super-scientist.  The goal was to head into a spooky Soviet bunker and find a prototype vampire or somesuch.

It was an exhausting mission, taking place over numerous stages.  You first had to skirt around giant mobs while repairing a door to open to the next section.  Then you had to jumpstart four reactors in a certain order within a time limit — all while dodging more giant mobs.  Then a hide-and-go-seek session with a patroling mob in a corridor (plus security cameras attached to turrets that will shred you).  Then not one, but two separate rooms full of crazy laser wiring and hard-to-reach switches.  Finally, there was a fight with the prototype itself.

I think I died about three times, all in all, which isn’t too bad for a stealth mission.  I had to tamp down on my impatience, because there’s just no way to rush through these missions.  It’s a lot of waiting, timing, and careful jumps.  I guess for some people that’s a refreshing change, but I was so dang antsy by the end that I welcomed a final boss fight instead of all of this sneaking around stuff.

Then again, I certainly won’t forget the mission or the gloomy bunker with its cold war sensibilities.  Maybe the game making me take my time to notice everything is a blessing in a cruel disguise.

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8 thoughts on “The Secret World: A stealthy approach

  1. Some of the “sabotage” missions I love, others I can’t stand. The one called “The Castle” I actually despised when I was doing it the 1st time, but now that I “know the pattern” it’s a 10-minute xp farm anymore. As much as a quest on a 3-day timer can be called an xp farm, anyway. There’s one where you have to sneak around a lair in CF too that’s similar. I usually die once during that one, but just run back to my body in anima form and pick up where I left off. It’s another 800K xp in about 5 minutes, after all.

    Have you tried “The Cost of Magic” yet?

  2. I think the stealth missions are actually my favourite part of the game as it stands now. Nothing shows off the atmosphere of the game quite so well. They’re a nice middle ground between action and investigation missions, too. You need to use your head more than your brawn, but not to the “OMGWTFBBQ hard” extent that you do with investigation missions.

    Of course, it depends on the mission. Some are more frustrating than anything. The parking garage mission took years off my life.

    Although in a horror game, that might be a compliment, too…

  3. Given the battlecry of the stereotypical MMO gamer is “Go! Go! Go!”, is it any wonder they don’t like any type of puzzle that cannot be defeated via brute force?

  4. Yea, that’s sad but in some way true. Even investigation missions can be force-rushed by using internet guides. The same is not true for infiltration missions, or at least i wouldn’t have seen similar guides for them yet. Thus they are the ones where your brain (and patience in some cases) are really tested.

    On the other hand, when you’ve once found your way to do those infiltration missions, most of them can be done without any death and yield very high XP for the time it takes to do them. (While repeatable investigation quests give very little XP, for good reason. Once you figured out a riddle, you know the solution so repeating them is no actual challenge. )

  5. I think I prefer the stealth missions to the investigation missions, myself. As has been said, they require brain power and patience, but not obscure references to strange corners of the Internet. Not that playing whack-a-zombie isn’t fun, too.

  6. I quite enjoy the sabotage missions, although I postpone running them if I do not have much time to play – they can take quite a bit of time, sometimes.

    However – there has been more than once that I have been rushing through some parts even though I know I will be killed, so I can get a good spot to resurrect from – instead of sneaking though some deadly area all the way.

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