The Secret World: Recovering from Issue #7

dollsIt took me a few days to fully go through Issue #7′s new storyline, mostly due to a sick child cutting my playtime short (which was fine — important things first, after all).  I started out with my normal TSW Monday night group, did a large portion of it by myself on Tuesday evening, and the finished up on Wednesday with the help of Rowan and Dex-y (I bumped into them doing the same chain).

I’m truly glad I had company for the Nursery mission, because playing at night in the dark does not help when you’re facing pure nightmare fuel.  And if you thought Virgula Divinia was scary, well, welcome to the big brother of that mission.  Or big sister.

So I’m absolutely knocked back on my heels as to how fantastic this new storyline is.  Funcom’s been producing stellar Issue mini-story arcs as of late, from Tyler Freeborn to the Last Train to Cairo, but this takes the cake.  My only complaint is that the wait between these issues is far too long compared to how quickly we go through them, but the actual content itself is top-notch.

Issue #7 was portrayed as a James Bond homage, which is both true and a little misleading.  There are certainly elements that those familiar with the James Bond franchise will recognize (being strapped to a table as a laser cuts into you is one), but the overall tone isn’t high spy thriller fantasy.  Instead, it’s actually a very dark tale concerning the Orochi and their Virgula Divinia experiments on children.  And because the Orochi are the red shirts of TSW, a vast majority of the ones you encounter in this issue are carved up like Thanksgiving turkeys.

I’m always surprised how The Secret World is able to evoke strong emotions in me.  As a parent and, well, a human being with a soul, I was genuinely angry at the thought of kids being kidnapped, experimented upon, and used as weapons.  My motivation for completing the quest arc wasn’t material rewards but justice and salvation.  If I ever had sympathy for the Orochi before, and I don’t think I did, it’s completely gone now.

hallwayLooking back at the four or five missions that make up this chain, I have to give high praise to Funcom for a good sense of balance.  There are solo missions and group-friendly missions.  It makes good use of the entire landscape of Transylvania.  There are several side quests incorporated with the main one, and sabotage, action, and investigation mission types are all represented.  It’s also not as frustratingly difficult at all; I don’t think I struggled on any part of it.  It’s no “last boss of the Cairo train” difficult, that’s for sure.

And the snowmobile quest was just perfect.  We haven’t had any controllable mounts in TSW to date, and even though this was a temporary one, it felt so natural in the context of the game.  Handled great and the weapons were pretty enjoyable to use.  And turning the Carpathian Fangs into a race course?  Genius.  I even had to laugh as I was run over by snowmobiles while on foot at one point.

The mission through the Nursery was just… wow.  Creepy and intriguing at the same time.  The Nanny Bots gave me a chuckle, especially when their happy emoticon faces turned into angry emoticons when they attacked.  But that song… that song.  There’s a lullaby that plays for a while, and doing some homework this morning, I found that it’s called Sleepless Lullaby by Bright September.  It gets in your head and is so very unnerving, especially when you’re in a room with a corpse surrounded by a small army of dolls.

I was also overjoyed to finish up my Magus deck (and get a new outfit from it) and power up my flamethrower.  I don’t know if I’ll be using this as my main aux weapon — my cabal mates know that I’m particularly attached to my chainsaw — but it is pretty cool to have.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Issue 7.  I thought the ending was pretty surprising and definitely made me salivate for the future of the game.

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9 thoughts on “The Secret World: Recovering from Issue #7

  1. I just got done writing a nicely detailed comment, and then WordPress ate it.

    Sigh.

    Short version: Awesome story, snowmobile was fun, good mix of mission types, a little too easy, one twist was painfully predictable. Mostly an excellent issue. Possibly my favourite to date.

  2. On the Sleepless Lullaby, you only did your research halfway through. :D Else you would’ve also mentioned that Bright September also is the winner of Funcoms contest for the games music. Only at that time, when the contest was done, all we knew was that the winners music would be played on radios in the game. Alas, it is a radio you get that song from, no? :D
    [The winning song was another one, though. This one nobody had on the radar till Issue 7 was released. ]

    On the topic of the flame thrower: indeed for solo play, the chainsaw probably is the most useful Aux-Weapon available. But still, the flamethrower took over for me, it might be less “utility”, but i love the style.

    @Tyler F.M. Edwards: Indeed, i think which twist you refer to, and of course this twist was a necessity, just to stick to traditions of spy movies, wasn’t it? And at the same time, the scope of this twist and what follows, was again a nasty twist, so i still consider it well done.

    @Tsuhelm: I understand your problem. What i fail to understand is why people still prefer LotRO over TSW, but i guess that’s a matter of taste and preference.

  3. Addendum (feel free to merge this into my previous posting to clean up the postings):

    @Winged Nazgul: I agree that Issue 7 is awesome. But i for myself also hope that they go a little more easy on Tokyo again. Compared to a Dream to Kill Virgula Divinia was Kindergarden and Taylor Freeborn a relaxing walk in the park. The desparation woven into all of Issue 7 was awesome for the length it had, but a complete zone ín such style can get quite hard to handle.

  4. I couldn’t finish Tyler Freeborn. The fight in the instance was too much for me. I tired it several times and gave up. The one thing I really dislike about TSW is the combat, which seems to combine tedium with difficulty in a way I’ve never experienced in any other MMO.

    Does the new chain have any of those enormously long fights where you have to dodge and dodge for what seems like hours? Those are the ones I really can’t stand. That would make it a no-no for me. Otherwise it sounds well worth getting.

  5. My buddy Xander at Beyond the Veil commented that it is far more Silent Hill than it is James Bond. I’d have to agree. The action/spy stuff was well done, but felt a bit tacked on to the horror plot so they could make the connection between Issue 7 and 007. That’s not a criticism, just an observation.

  6. @Bhagpuss I can’t recall any major fights that require a lot of dodging. Bring along a couple friends and you’ll breeze through it.

  7. Dito. Outside of dungeons, i wouldn’t know anything where dodging is required to the extreme. And even in dungeons, only at nightmare difficulty it gets really essential, in Elite you usually can compensate by just putting on one more health piece to give the healer the time to save you.

    Also, if Tyler Freeborn is giving you troubles in QL10 green gear, you should take a very close look at your setup. Any decent setup, read as “with either some healing or some damage mitigation, ideally a comfortable mix”, with gear of that quality can complete the mission well enough. If you enter in QL6 to QL8, you might need a really good setup or have to play very well, though.

    If you need a hand on your setup, you can give me a holler in game, my characters name is Slad. My advise is no better than what you can find at places around the net. (Although there are also plenty of guides around which indeed are inferior to what i can provide, but that’s another topic. )
    Still, great guides on the web are one thing but sometimes just speaking about a setup and having another player take a look at it gives more insight than reading a dozen guides.

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