I 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.