The Secret World: Mopping the floor with my face

b1I hate ever saying anything bad about The Secret World due to my completely biased opinion that it’s one of the most unique and captivating MMOs on the market.  I don’t want to warn people away.  But in the interest of being fair, let me get this off my chest: This game can be just stupid-hard for no good reason.

“It’s challenging!” you’ll hear people reply to this sentiment.  “I love that TSW challenges instead of coddles us!”

Challenge is good, I agree.  And for the most part, there’s a good balance of challenge in the game.  But Funcom also realizes that TSW doesn’t have the largest game world or the most missions, and so this “challenge” becomes a useful speed bump from players running slipshod through the content too quickly.  My problem is when the devs tweak this up too high, giving us missions that usually end with my fist going through a monitor.

The reason I rant today is because Issue 8 finally dropped yesterday.  This was pretty anticipated, although not as much as Issue 9’s Tokyo is.  People need more stuff to do, and a repeatable skirmish-like system seemed like a great addition of content for those who are bored of or don’t care to constantly run dungeons.

And there’s a lot of praise I can dole out here.  The introduction and setting of the Sunken Library in Venice is pretty cool, and I love how the “holodeck” rooms function.  Even with just three scenarios out there right now, there are at least multiple group sizes and difficulty levels available, so you can adjust it as needed.  And the vendors are really attractive — not physically, just in what they offer.  In addition to the 80-token certificate you need to earn to get into Tokyo, there are purple QL10 weapons and cosmetic gear and all sorts of other goodies.

But this is where the stupid hard begins, because these scenarios are it.  I don’t know what Funcom used to tune the solo standard difficulty scenario, but it must’ve been some Rambo in QL12s because it quickly mopped the floor with my face.  I got through the first wave and boss fine, but egads these scenarios start throwing huge mobs of enemies at the survivors you’re supposed to protect to the point where your only defense is just to laugh at the absurdity of it all.  In my opinion, a little challenge for the smallest, easiest scenario level is acceptable, but TSW just said, “Nuts to that!” and threw a monster party.

To make matters even more fun, scenarios have inexplicable cooldowns.  If you fail, you have to wait an hour before retrying.  Why?  Beats me.  If you succeed, you’ve got to wait 18 hours before attempting the same run.  So Funcom made a repeatable content system that’s explicitly designed to be used as often as possible, and then time-locked it.  This is frustratingly dumb.

So maybe it was just me and trying out scenarios for the first time.  Our first-responders in our cabal logged on to tackle a scenario together, and we queued up a group scenario on the easiest difficulty.  Mind you, this team is made up of folks that have no problem running elite dungeons and have been making good inroads into nightmares.  So yeah, we got owned and hard.  Strategy was pointless in the face of a stampede of bad guys.  It was more a question of “in which spot do you want to die, here or there?”

We only succeeded by doing a four-man run of a duo scenario on the basic difficulty.  So I will lend my voices to those on the forums questioning the “challenge” of these scenarios.  So far I see Funcom devs sticking up for the way it’s set up and acting a little affronted that we dare to question.

Our group wrapped up the night by doing a few cat god nightmare runs (no shotgun drop for me, alas).  I happened to see a rare zombie bear spawn on the way to the instance, and after dropping its shield we tackled it together.  It didn’t give any great reward or an achievement, but I thought it was kind of thrilling to see a new monster model that looked so unique.

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9 thoughts on “The Secret World: Mopping the floor with my face

  1. I did a “normal solo” Hotel mission last night, and while it was rougher than I expected, I didn’t think it was too awful either. I killed the Juggernaut and saved 6 of the survivors, so I got a bronze rating out of it. And now that I know where the survivors spawn and hole up and the best paths between their spots for shortest run-times, I think I’ll improve going forward. 1st time’s always the headrest, after all. I’ll see if I can’t get into a group version tonight or over the weekend and see how that goes.

    FWIW, the build I used is in my chronicle right now (though I’m not sure if I logged out on it so not sure how long it will stay). Clarisse I want to tweak it a bit, I think — putting in the Rocket Jump skill for slightly faster movement would be a big help, and maybe dropping out Out for a Kill in favor of Surging Blades. I’ve also copied an Assault Rifle/Blade build that makes use of runspeed passives and a bit more self healing out of the forums that I’ll give a try to as well.

  2. I must’ve missed you guys. I did the three solo, and with elite-level gear, got my face slammed into the ground over and over. Hotel I survived, with 1 survivor left. Mansion – failed. Castle – failed.

    After Hotel, I attempted only covering one group, instead of bouncing in-between multiple, and this led to even more slaughter, with mob groups I couldn’t keep up with, couldn’t aggro fast enough, and just wave after never-ending wave. Mansion, I tried to bounce back and forth, but every time I went to help out the other group, I’d run into mobs running for the group I was already defending.

    Methinks ele/pistol is a terrible build for this. Ele was good for when the mobs are grouped and standing still, but this is when they’re already attacking the groups (most seemed immune to hinder), pistol was just useless. Bad news is I don’t HAVE any other weapon builds… I might have to go grind AP so that I can… grind scenarios? Ugh.

    On the only group I did, we succeeded with Silver, so that was awesome. But it seemed significantly easier, even if it was still running like chickens with our heads cut off.

    I am afraid to post anything, though, in fear of elitist retribution of people demanding the problem is me, even though this level of difficulty (designed for QL10 greens?! Yeah right.) doesn’t make me want to keep playing . Spend two hours having my face smashed in to get a measly 8 credits? Ugh. No thank you.

    Also, I saw the bear in one of the scenarios. Really sweet model. Glad they threw it in other places, too. :)

  3. Ocho — That makes me happy to know I’m not alone! I really want to like this system, but from my initial perspective, it needs to be nerfed a bit.

  4. Oops! Nice to see other MMO’s have game diff balance issues…now lets see how the company[Funcom] handles it…

    Re: the Bear…looks cool…cool monster there for no other reason than being there, reminds me of the Thread on LOTRO Forums asking for more RARE elites to be included in the game https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?517866-Bring-back-Rare-Elites
    (supposedly after ROR there were no more…)

    I think it’s great to see a new mob completely out of the blue, it breaks up the tedium and adds to the novelty!

  5. I’ve tried both group and solo versions of the hotel (on normal), and I didn’t find it terribly difficult. Challenging for sure, but not brutal. I got silver on my solo run (7/15) and platinum in the group run (15/15).

    For the record, my gear isn’t great. A motley of basic epics and QL10 blues.

    I think people just need to adjust to the demands of scenarios. I am finding they do need a specific kind of build, like everything else in the game. I strongly recommend a soloing build with a lot of survivability. Even if you’re in a group, you will need to split up on occasion, and you won’t always have a tank or healer to protect you.

    Seems like an AoE-heavy build is also advisable.

    I do agree the cooldowns are silly, though. And the rewards are kind of underwhelming. I’ve gotten a grand total of one augment so far — a green support one that I have little use for.

  6. I’ve got my writeup of my own impressions posted now.

    And FWIW, this guy seems to have a decent idea for some basic build ideas, though why he’d say Contortionist for the elite passive is beyond me. I don’t recall getting impaired or hindered except in the filth bomb and that was my own fault. The improved heals from it would be nice, I suppose, but I’m a big believer in the “if you kill it faster you take less damage yourself” school of thought . . . .

  7. Pingback: Switching Builds #TSW | Casual Aggro

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