The Secret Adventures: Ak’absolutely fabulous (Savage Coast #2)

(You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page!)

burnFourth Degree (side mission)

  • Time to leave hell behind for a few and head down to the closest thing Savage Coast has for a main street.  There are a few houses, a school, and a gas station, but it’s far less populated than Kingsmouth.
  • When you don’t blink an eye at quest objectives that say things like, “burn corpses,” then MMOs have definitely trained you to treat the macabre as ordinary.  But hey, this is for a good cause, which is to stop the zombies from eating dead friends and neighbors.
  • I don’t even want to think of what’s involved in casually setting a corpse on fire.  Next mission, please!

leagueThe League of Monster Slayers (action mission)

  • Readers, meet John Wolf.  John Wolf, readers.  He’s Jack Boon’s counterpart, a faction-free good guy who’s sitting in front of a haunted kindergarten that has even more corpses draped over mailboxes.
  • Wolf introduces me to the concept of the League of Monster Slayers, an ongoing club of kids who fight against the things that slip in through a crack onto the island.  He also mentions that the Ak’ab are camping around the League’s treehouse, which is all manner of bad news for me.
  • If the word “Ak’ab” doesn’t trigger a psychological reaction in you, then you haven’t played TSW.  They’re giant ground moths that are so dang annoying to fight, mostly because they constantly charge and are found in mob-dense regions.  They are easily my most-hated mob in this game.  Well, I’m sure there might be a few outliers, but when I first went through this zone, I learned to loathe the moths deeply.
  • Well, no sense fretting about it.  I dive into the murky woods behind the town and make a beeline for the treehouse.  It’s a truly impressive structure, 40 to 50 feet off the ground and comprised of two levels.  I have a hard time believing mere kids constructed this, but it’s cool no matter what.  Seriously, if I had a place like this when I was a kid, I would’ve never gone home.  It even has some sort of slingshot cannon on the roof.
  • The book “The ABC of Monsters” is *well* worth a read if you’re up there.  It’s a hilarious examination of many of Solomon Island’s monsters from a kid’s perspective, each done with funny doodles and little notes.  “E is for Eldritch Zoidberg.”  I’m kind of curious who finished the book since the kids weren’t here when the fog happened and that’s when a lot of the monsters started popping out.  Huge props to whoever at Funcom took the time to draw all of this up.
  • Speaking of doodles, it’s time to join the League of Monster Slayers myself, although I’m a little mystified as to why.  At least there are convenient instructions on the table detailing five rites that must be performed as kids would do them.  Alrighty then.
  • The actions demanded are pretty amusing, such as “poke a dead body” and “spit into the black pool,” but the reality usually ends up summoning a strong mob to fight.  No wonder there aren’t many League kids around.
  • At the black pool are a lot of filth infected people who babble crazed nonsense that is seriously creepy to listen to, especially if you have a headset on or the volume way up.  Some beg.  Some weep.
  • The initiation ends at the “God cave,” aka the entrance to Agartha.  There’s another funny doodle sheet-slash-certificate as well as the combination to the League’s safe.  Hmm.

weaponsWeapons of Minor Destruction (side mission)

  • I jogged back to the League’s treehouse and climb up to the second story to crack open the safe.  Inside is a dossier on weapons that the League has stashed around town, which also activates this side mission to go find them.  The mission doesn’t show up if you didn’t know the code from the previous mission.
  • The “weapons” are scattered around town, and really are just triggers for four different types of golems to appear (sand, insect, concrete, and mud).
  • What’s interesting to me is that this is a clever way of telling without telling us more about the League.  These places were important to the kids, such as the fishing hole and the baseball field.  Even though we don’t get to know any of the League outside of Danny, we do get to know a little about them and their lives through these missions.  That’s good storytelling.

The Exterminator (side mission)

  • There’s no story here; this is just a “kill a bunch of Ak’ab and their burrows” mission.  Gladly done, but unfortunately the Ak’ab refuse to stay dead.

phTaking the Purple (sabotage mission)

  • John Wolf is a very mouthy man, in a philosophical sort of way.  I guess he’s not just giving us missions, he’s cluing us into the overall situation on Solomon Island and Savage Coast in particular.  Next up is a trip to the local amusement part, which Wolf says is a bad, bad place.  I shall take him at his word.
  • We’ll talk about the park later, because before I can even get in, I find a corpse propped up against a tree.  There’s a string of corpses leading me down the road and toward a safehouse, around which men in purple patrol.  Phoenicians.  Time to play ball, fish-lovers!
  • The safehouse basement is fortunately empty, although it does have a few simple booby traps to avoid.  The computer down there has a few short but illuminating field reports from the Phoenecian squad leader.  Apparently, they came to the island before the fog looking for plans to the amusement park that the owner or his son might have.  They haven’t found them yet, but have set up cameras around the place to spy on them.
  • Again, I’m not going to talk about the park in detail yet, even though the rest of this mission has me running around in it using a tracking device to locate and take out the cameras.  When I do all four, the squad leader shows up and I take him out even after he throws a dozen or so grenades my way.

blackThe Black House (sabotage mission)

  • So fun story.  Back when The Secret World first launched and all of this was really new to me, the bulk of our guild had leveled up faster than me and was feeding me back terrifying references to this “black house” that I’d be encountering in Savage Coast and how it nearly made them pee their pants.  The more they talked about it, the more I was genuinely freaked out about seeing it, because the unknown and skimpy reports will do that to a person.  Anyway, I think I mentally and emotionally over-prepared for this encounter, because while it is not the most pleasant place in the game, it wasn’t TOO scary either.
  • “You look for evil in a person, you’ll find it,” Wolf tells me.  “Even when it wasn’t there in the first place.”
  • But hey, why not go check out this haunted house anyway!  The story behind the Black House is (to trim it up) that the locals got themselves worked up that a “witch” was living there, and after being influenced by who knows what, a mob torched the house with this lady inside and then claimed she suicided.  Now her spirit guards the house angrily and the townspeople have yet to bulldoze it down.  Good times.
  • What freaked a lot of people out initially is that when you try to run in the front door, you’re thrown back violently.  Returning to the house in anima (dead) form shows you that the lady’s spirit is on the porch, pacing back and forth.  Gotta find another way inside.
  • The Black House is small but really big on atmospherics.  It grows, the walls bleed, and every so often you can catch a glimpse the ghost blowing through.  It’s unsettling, to say the least, even though it’s a stone’s throw from the main road and other players routinely jog through it.
  • The quest has you piecing together the story of what happened to this lady by finding clues around the house.  Upstairs in the bathroom is one such clue, although the door slams shut on you when you try to leave and you have to bash it down as toxic fumes threaten to kill you.
  • Down in the basement is her will, which states that she wanted to be cremated and buried at sea — which is exactly what the town didn’t do.  There’s also a “strange candle” here that doesn’t do anything when clicked.  According to the forums, “Back in beta the candle was a false clue and when you clicked it there was this evil laugh and then the cellar caught fire. I think that entire mission was way more creepy before release.”  The candle-fire effect was removed most likely because it was causing players to kill/grief each other far past what the mission demanded.
  • After deactivating a few wards around her grave, I pick up Carrie’s ashes and take them to the river that flows out to the sea.  Godspeed, ya nutty ghost.  Go find your Patrick Swayze.

The Secret Adventures: Bach to the future (Savage Coast #1)

(You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page!)

johnDear John (side mission)

  • We’re in it now!  Our second mission zone in the game: Savage Coast.  SC is a shift from Kingsmouth, away from a more urbanized village and to several thematic areas.  It’s cool but also more than a little nuts to realize that an island of this size has a major academy, a gigantic lighthouse, and an amusement park all together.
  • The first mission is bestowed by a dead courier who has a package for John Wolf.  That’s easy enough, since he’s a mission NPC down the road.
  • An interesting — and unanswered — question is what is the Orochi sending to Wolf?  And why?

copsSend More Cops (side mission)

  • A few steps beyond the Dear John mission is this one, the title of which is another sly call-out to Return of the Living Dead.  Picking this quest up triggers several waves of running zombies, all of which I put down with extreme prejudice.
  • My character is advancing nicely, thank you for asking.  I’m in all QL3s and ready to advance to QL4 when I find them.  I’ve been slowly but surely picking up the skills I need for this particular build, assisted by the double-AP boost from this weekend.
  • I’m going to skip past the Overlook for now, even though the quest sends me there, and stop in with John Wolf real quick to complete the top quest.

overlookHellscape (side mission)

  • And back to the Overlook.  In addition to being a not-so-subtle reference to Stephen King’s famous hotel, the Overlook is at some hell-crossover epicenter.  As if this island needed more supernatural weirdness.  Room 13 even has a doorway to hell in it, although it’s going to be a while before I step through there.
  • TSW’s hell isn’t exactly the stereotypical Christian hell, but superficially it fits the bill — even this foyer of sorts is spot-on with brimstone and lava and swarming… things.  It’s not a vacation spot, let’s just leave it at that.  And my faction wants me to take readings from it.  Oki-dokie.

monstersHell Hath No Vacancy (action mission)

  • The lobby adjacent to the Overlook’s Room 13 holds Daniel Bach, your visiting photojournalist-gone-mad.  Well, at least slightly mad.  He’s taking the whole “hell invasion” angle pretty well, all things considering.
  • “The best thing is,” he says, “we do this to ourselves.  But they cannot wait to show us how to do it properly.”  OK, the world is messed up, I get that.  But at least I’m trying to help instead of getting darkly philosophical while watching the world go to hell.
  • Time to go on a kill-o-quest!  Lots of mobs to fight while closing portals left and right.  Let me say that Funcom really did a bang-up job on hell’s denziens.  They are both terrifying and project an aura of power.  And even though the female demons are effectively nude, it’s so the opposite of sexy.  That’s a mean trick to pull off.  Altogether, these guys look like mobs you’d find at the end of a raid dungeon, not in a relatively early zone of an MMO.
  • The area around and behind the hotel is wrecked — charred beyond recognition, with ash and fire everywhere.  Pleasant.  I’m pleased that my build is growing into a powerhouse, as I’m taking out two, three at-level mobs at a time and crushing their spirits before I crush their bones.

Infernal Vibrations (side mission)

  • There’s yet another side mission near the Overlook, this one giving me the radar again and tasking me with sealing special hellrifts.  Man, let me tell you, the beeping of that radar is like Chinese water torture to me.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  You end up hating that thing.  It mocks you with every beep.  It knows your weakness.  And never goes away until you succeed.
  • At least finding and shutting down the portals goes quickly, as they’re close together and only require a few fights.

cameraBring it Bach (side mission)

  • Another Overlook mission, I find one of Bach’s cameras on the ground, and decide not only to return it, but to take snapshots of these terrifying demons before doing so.  Why?  Because shut up and do as you’re told, that’s why.
  • The action mission plus these side missions overlap nicely and are great to stock up to do all at once.  Because of this, I’d recommend the Overlook as a decent low-level place to run a quick succession of these four missions for AP on repeat.
  • Has anyone at Funcom actually taken a picture with a camera?  Because you don’t usually stick your arm out while holding the camera from the top like it’s a dead animal.

doorHell and Bach (investigation mission)

  • Ugh.  Double ugh.  I hate this mission so much… so much.  First of all, stop it already with the “Bach = back” puns.  You can’t keep doing that for every quest title here.  Second, this investigation mission has a really tedious puzzle sequence that must be done three times in three locales.  It’s incredibly time-consuming.  Well, might as well get it over with.
  • Bach talks about bumping into this guy, Theodore Wicker, who’s been traveling the world looking for hell.  Why?  Well, since every NPC you meet in this game is off his or her rocker, is there a sane answer to that question?  So it’s time to go on a hunt for Mr. Wicker, starting with dreaded Room 13.
  • The first seance circle is hidden under a carpet in this room.  Wicker’s journal provides both the Latin phrase needed to activate it as well as the symbol key.  So the trick here is to not only decode the circle, but to click on it in a very specific order.  It’s.  A.  Pain.  And, I might remind you, it must be done several times.
  • The cool part is that Wicker appears when you do it right.  He talks about the sacrifices made in this room and how the Illuminati cover it up (of course).  And then he offers his heart to the demon.  Well, we all gotta have a hobby, I guess.
  • Now it’s off to the next circle, which is located somewhere in the NYC sewers.  Before I head down there, I treat myself to some plastic surgery at Modern Prometheus.  I accidentally chose a really bad lip option at character creation that gave my character a huge underbite (which wasn’t apparent until I looked at her from the side).  That was driving me crazy, so, yes, I’m this vain.  But it had to be fixed.
  • Back to the sewers, because I live a charmed life!  Oh you, in your fancy MMOs fighting dragons.  Here in TSW, we go sewer diving and we say “thank you!” and “seconds please!”
  • This phrase is a lot harder to do, because Wicker’s journal doesn’t have all of the letter-symbol matches.  So it’s trial-and-error until one figures out which letter doesn’t scrap the whole sequence.  It’s.  A.  Major.  Pain.
  • Then Wicker pops out, presumably earlier in the time frame, talking about his physical issues as he goes on this quest and how he’s having a hard time finding something “fresh” (a heart, I presume) to offer the demon.
  • The next stop is in London, where I get a haircut because, as I’ve said before, I’m vain.  This puzzle is pretty much the same as the last two, and afterward I find a journal page from Wicker in code that suggests he took a room out at Tabula Rasa.  No, not the video game, the extremely odd establishment in London that has several floating cube dimension rooms.  I don’t know much more about the place.
  • Wicker had a little hotel room in one of these cubes that also contains a cassette tape and a briefcase.  It pretty much just confirms that he’s obsessed with demonkind and their history and helping them out.  I’m just as confused as anyone else in regard to Wicker, even after running the hell dungeons dozens of times.
  • A flyer in his briefcase leads me to the now-closed Occult Museum, where a sign mentions that it’s closed.  There’s a scribbled footnote to check out Wicker’s last lecture, which can indeed be found on YouTube.  It’s more sympathy and understanding for demons, which truly is where all of our focus should be.
  • Well that is one “never again” mission for the books.  Glad it’s over!

The Secret Adventures: The Lady Margaret (Kingsmouth #10)

(You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page!)

margaretDawning of an Endless Night (story mission, tiers 3-6)

  • With all of Kingsmouth’s missions done (yayyy!) I’m finally freed up to concentrate on the main story mission.  Let’s go take a look at this famous ship, the Lady Margaret!
  • This is the fishing boat that brought the fog back to the town, so it’s key to unraveling the mystery of what happened here.  I find the vessel covered in red seaweed and listing in the low tide of the harbor.  On board, a zombie captain attacks me (because of course he does, what, is he going to invite me to tea?).  Silly zombie captain, brains are for kids!
  • He drops a log that mentions talking to Doc Bannerman (the sheriff’s husband), so I head over to the station and have a little chat.  He mentions that he left his files in his clinic, so that’s my next step.
  • While nothing bad happens in this house, can I just say that Bannerman’s clinic creeps me the heck out?  It’s one of my most hated places in this game and I can’t tell you why.  Just got a bad feeling about it.  It could have something to do with the smears of blood, the medical instruments everywhere, and the zombie corpses.
  • I hack into his computer (the password hint is pretty obvious if you know anything about classical music) and read his files.  The report on Danny mentions the Mr. Rosen underwear incident, which netted me a chuckle.
  • The computer also talks about three of the sailors that came back and the Doc tried to treat.  Since we already know that one is in the station, I’m off to find the other two!
  • Bad news, doc.  The one guy is zombie food, while the other…  Hm.  His house is empty but there’s a trail of green slime leading to a sewer.  Time to call in the Ghostbusters!
  • Sewers and secret tunnels underneath an island… how low or high is the water table here?  This place is larger than the London Underground.  Why aren’t all of these places flooded?


  • After a little exploration and a fight against a “broodmother,” I find Joe Slater.  Poor Joe is far, far worse for wear.  He’s still somewhat human, but he’s definitely being transformed into a Draug.
  • Joe dumps a lot of backstory on me about how the ship got stuck in this red sargasso sea, how they never thought they’d get out until he grabbed a “blade of pure light” and followed the siren song out of there.  Of course, their escape meant Kingsmouth’s doom, so that was a bad move on everyone’s part.
  • I leave Joe to his misery — poor guy, I do feel for him — and follow the siren song myself.  This is the eerie little melody that sticks with you long after this quest is done.  I think it’s pretty, even if it is a little creeptastic.
  • The song — represented visually as well as aurally — leads me back to the same tunnels that Cassie took me through a while back.


  • Speaking of Cassie, I find a back room and hide in it, only to hear Cassie and a guy named Beaumont come in, expositing all over the place.  Beaumont (an “evil sorcerer,” as per Cassie) has a “magic sword” and is in control over the undead on the island.  But he’s missing something, something about a lock, and he’s angry about it.  There’s some talk about “rebooting the world” and Tokyo and an endless night, and then they leave me to poke around some more.
  • The mission tells me to investigate what Beaumont was looking for, and since his notes mention taking a scenic flight over the island looking for a “black heart” or somesuch, the airport is our next destination.  There I find a map with a circle around a house in the Savage Coast, and Geary chimes in that Beaumont has been around for a long time.  The 1600s-sort-of-long-time.
  • And that is officially it for Kingsmouth!  Next time we’ll be taking our first steps into the Savage Coast.

The Secret Adventures: Purple imposter (Kingsmouth #9)

(You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page!)

ellisRunaway Lights (action mission)

  • Wow, are we to our final Kingsmouth mission NPC already?  I guess so!  This one here is Ellis Hill, who is (spoiler) not Ellis Hill at all.  The shovel-and-dirt trail leading into the airport hanger is one clue about this purple imposter.
  • “Ellis” is concerened that the airport generator is starting to fail, and even though my character refuses to shake his hand, I guess I’m the best one of the job.
  • Said job involves running through the various tunnels under the runway to check on the wiring and then knock out the mechanical golem that’s guarding the generator.  Doing this proves a little challenging, as some of these rooms are almost sabotage-like with environmental hazards.  The toxic water room and its narrow passage is the worst.

genThere’s Something About Ellis Hill (side mission)

  • A dead body by the airport generator clutches a note suggesting that “Ellis” isn’t who he says he is.  Now, I know the truth, but let’s pretend otherwise and go on a morbid scavenger hunt for clues!
  • The shovel in the hanger has a trail of dirt leading from it… and that dirt goes to the truck parked outside.  Inside is a plot-convenient GPS that traces a route back to the bike track.  Dunno why this guy needed a GPS to guide him all of a quarter of a mile, but oh well.
  • At the track, I find a semi-buried body of the real Ellis Hill.  Poor guy, and an Iraqi War vet too.  Geary suggests that this imposter is one of the Phoenicians, and I’m inclined to agree.  I really wish I could confront him about it, but nothing doing.

golden Dead Air (investigation mission)

  • Man this “Ellis” guy creeps me out, especially how he’s always poised to attack me when I come in the room.  I’m kind of wondering how such a huge guy was able to fit into the smaller real Ellis’ coveralls, but I should stop asking questions.
  • “Ellis” talks a bit about reception and moans about how it’s all static… when the radio starts chattering.  He switches it off in a hurry and rushes me from the room, which is all the invitation I need to go Scooby Doo mystery solving on his butt.
  • I take a quick break to join the rest of the server as they pile on one of the golden golems nearby.  Nice AP reward and it gets me a pair of fiery eyes.  Noice!
  • After checking out the radio mast at the airport, it looks as though it’s a little broken and in need of some “McGuyvering.”  There are a lot of parts lying around, so I pick them all up (I only need three, but I like picking stuff up in MMOs), go back to the mast, and fix ‘er up real good.
  • That’s when this investigation mission gets interesting.  The antenna receives a message in Morse Code, which contains the location of the next part.  Figuring this out either requires (a) abnormally good Morse Code skills, as the code goes by quick, (b) an app to hear and translate the message, or (c) a weak will that leads one to a guide solution.  I think I did it honorably the first time around, so you’ll forgive me if I was a little weak here.
  • The drop site that the coordinates lead me features a large box with a very ticked-off creature inside and two Phoenician troops trying to contain it.  Kill kill, dead dead, mission over.

copBadge of Honor (side mission)

  • With all of the Kingsmouth main quests out of the way, let’s wrap up the side missions before we return to the central storyline!
  • This mission was always a little disturbing to me, mostly because it’s about piecing together a story from its aftermath.  A short, gory story involving a busted-up police car, a blood trail, and some Draug down by the water.
  • After getting the dead cop’s badge back, I have to run it alllll the way back to the sherriff’s.  Man, I haven’t been here in a while!

mailNeither Snow nor Rain nor Zombies (side mission)

  • I should have done this one a while ago!  It’s almost, almost literally a FedEx mission — I find a post office truck and decide that, hey, everyone might be dead, but that’s no reason that I can’t impersonate my favorite Kevin Costner movie!
  • You can actually do this quest three times in a row, delivering packages to three different locations.  No sweat.

bodyThe Body (side mission)

  • There’s an “unfortunate corpse” underneath one of the bridges.  All corpses are unfortunate, in my opinion, although this one looks to have been murdered prior to the fog — he’s been chained to an engine block and thrown in the river.
  • A clue on his corpse leads me back to Edgar’s Scrapyard, where I poke around in trunks until I find a photo showing the man and a whole lotta money.  I’m not really sure what went down here, and I kind of would like to know.  Oh well.

The Slaying of Dixie Bull (side mission)

  • Another mission I missed that I should have gotten a while back.  There’s a black gravestone on top of a hill that belongs to a very dead pirate… well, he used to be dead, and then Kingsmouth happened.  So now he’s roaming around and as the duly self-appointed Pirate Patrol Posse, I need to put him back in the grave.
  • If you didn’t catch that, it’s Syp vs. an undead pirate from the 1600s.  Taking any and all bets!
  • Okay, yes, that was the easiest fight ever.  He didn’t even look very piratey!  /disappoint

Trapped (side mission)

  • There’s a dead Draug on the beach, which is always a cause for celebration, although it’s odd that it died from apparent bear trap wounds.  Well, my interest is sufficiently piqued as to who not only has access to a large collection of bear traps but is deploying them against sea zombies.
  • It’s time for another follow-the-trail mission (TSW has a lot of mission sub-types).  The traps lead me to the fake Ellis, which all gives me another reason why not to invite him to my Christmas party this year.

The Secret Adventures: Edgar and the Trash Can of Fire (Kingsmouth #8)

(You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page!)

heliBlack Helicopters (sabotage mission)

  • As Blake Harrison walks out of earshot, Ann Radcliffe pulls me aside to say that Orochi’s been operating black helicopters out of the area and that, ahem, I should go investigate.  She’s one of the few Orochi with a conscience, I guess.  Good for her.
  • So guess where we’re going?  Yup, that’s right, back to the airport.  It’s pretty much ATC part II.  In fact, you get back into the same prohibited Orochi area by stealing the same uniform and using the same code (739241 will forever be burned into my mind because of these quests).
  • From there, it’s more sneaking around to access three laptops.  The last one is really tricky, since it’s inside one of the side rooms where an Orochi is looking.  Fortunately, I find a fire alarm, pull it, and watch her run out.
  • The big revelation of this quest is that the Orochi are experimenting on the draug corpses, but then, we kind of already knew that.

squidThe Tentacle Trail (side mission)

  • Before heading to the next mission NPC, I do a quick suicide port back to town and sell off my inventory.  Oh hey, somewhere along the line I got a cool Illiminati gas mask!  Gotta put that into an outfit.
  • I begin the jog to the scrapyard when I find a squid truck (a truck carrying boxes of squid, not a truck made out of squid nor a squid that fused with a truck) that’s been vendalized.  Time to follow the box trail!
  • TSW doesn’t always hold your hand — sometimes it expects you to use your brain and observational skills.  So with a quest like this, you aren’t given an on-screen pointer, but told to follow the boxes visually.  Kind of like the Hunger earlier on.  The boxes lead to a giant Blodugr Lord (a mini-C’thulu, as I call them) and an easy fight.

I Phone Home (side mission)

  • Right across the bridge from the tentacle monster fight is a damaged tablet that belongs to Danny’s dad.  Well, he’s dead, but I still have to jog over to his home anyway to fulfill that quest requirement.
  • Oh hey, he’s not home.  Guess I need to go to the skate park to Danny I COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT FROM THE BEGINNING, QUEST!

defScrapyard Defence (action mission)

  • We’ve got a lot to do at Edgar’s Scrapyard.  Edgar may be somewhat slow in the head, but he’s a brilliant mechanic who — and this is always important in Kingsmouth — is still alive.
  • Edgar’s a hoot, all rough around the edges but plenty lively.  He’s working on turning a school bus into a “Zombi-Waster” to get out of town.  You know, out of all of the survivors in Kingsmouth, I’d put my money on him.  I would love to see a cutscene of him crashing this bus through the Orochi barricade and laughing all the while.
  • Edgar wants me to set up some defenses around the scrapyard in the form of explosive barrels. I love this mission!  It’s three rounds of picking up and putting down various types of barrels, then taking out waves of zombies as they come in.  There’s some setup strategy, but it’s not that hard to do.
  • Some of the zombies are called “Tar Man,” which is a nice call-out to the famous zombie from Return of the Living Dead.

golemFull Metal Golem (action mission)

  • Edgar laughs derisively at the thought of me being a hero.  I get that a lot in these cutscenes, people mocking me as a hero even though I do help anyone I can and I don’t get to say a word in my defense.  It’s like the game wants me to feel defensive about having such notions.
  • He mentions how work on the bus is not going well now that piles of scrap metal have started up and walking around to become fearsome golems.  Out of all of the weirdness in Kingsmouth, I’m at a loss to explain the golems.  Is there any reason given?  Is it related to the mechano-organic nature of the bees?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
  • Getting parts from four separate golems isn’t particularly hard, but it does make for interesting encounters.  First of all, the golems have a lot of broad telegraphs (albeit slow ones) that require some footwork.  Second, once you down them to about 75% of their health, the big golems shut down and several small ones attack.  You have to kill the small ones and then extract the part from the big guy before he powers back up again.  No sweat, though.

notebookIt Takes Two to Tango (side mission)

  • The highlight of this rather boring escort mission (in which you’re escorting a dog from the scrapyard to the airport) is a peek inside of Edgar’s notebook.  I love that he chronicles that the one night’s growling noise was his belly and not the fearesome creatures of the dark.

 Tango & Cash (side mission)

  • I’m really, really kicking myself for not remembering to do this side mission at the same time as Scrapyard Defense.  It’s basically free AP for killing the mobs during the assault, and if there isn’t anyone running that quest, you have to start it up to finish this side mission.  So, oh well, might as well do both like I should have in the first place.

floaterFloater (side mission)

  • What?  Whaaaat?  You’re reading this on Bio Break, might I remind you!
  • This innoculous toilet coughs up an Orochi drone that requires a little escortin’ back to the bridge.  No sweat.  Just make sure you wipe properly afterwards, little drone.

The Secret Adventures: Monster slaying with Danny (Kingsmouth #7)

(You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page!)

eyeInto Darkness (Illuminati sabotage mission)

  • Around this time, I get a call from The Eye summoning me back to the Illuminati Labyrinth.  I take it and port back to NYC, then muddle my way back into the HQ.
  • The Eye tells me that a meeting at a parking lot nearby went bad and, hey, I should go investigate.  Another good TSW tip: If a mission ever sends you into a parking garage, bring a change of underwear with you because you will pee yourself.
  • Having done this one before, I know to fear no night but blitz through it while screaming at the top of my lungs.  It’s still hard not to be freaked out by the combination of oppressive darkness, the confinement of the parking structure, and bad guys popping out at you.
  • There’s a big fight with a super-wednigo and a macabre discovery of my fellow Illuminati agents.  I’m sure there’s a story behind this, but I just wanted to get out of there as fast as possible.  My “run like a chicken” strategy worked really well and I only had to fight a couple of times.
  • I gotta say that The Eye is one of my new favorite characters, even if he is just a disembodied voice with a penchant for memes.  “Who’s awesome?  You’re awesome.”  Yes I am.
  • I take a well-deserved break to jaunt over to London and buy a ton of clothes.  Who looks awesome?  I look awesome.

Men in Black Vans (investigation mission)

  • I have this weird relationship with Danny.  On one hand, I really love the League of Monster Slayers in this game — a group of teens who are fighting against the forces of darkness that their parents are ignoring (like the novel IT).  And Danny is the current last living member.  But on the other hand, Funcom cannot seem to make teen or kid models in this game that aren’t 100% creepy and off-model.  Danny just looks weird.
  • I’m also curious how he’s still alive.  Danny doesn’t have any firearms and his flamethrower is busted, yet he’s set up camp inside a skate park with very few natural defenses.
  • Danny mentions seeing “men in black vans” rounding up the draug, which is our cue to meet the Orochi — the organization that specializes in dying horribly all over the world.
  • The black van in question is crashed off of the side of the road and the laptop inside requires a password.  This is where some out-of-game sleuthing is required, as players have to poke around the Orochi website to figure it out.  It’s actually a clever way to get players to read up on Orochi without shoving lore in their faces.  Someone put a LOT of work into this website, and many of the Orochi subsidiaries are seen in the background of the game (such as Sycoil gasoline).
  • That password nets me a tracking device for the doohickey that Orochi is using on the draug.  This tracking device is another TSW mission staple — it’s basically a “hot or cold” minigame where you listen to the frequency of the radar pulses and figure out where the object is.
  • From there, it’s just a matter of deactivating the device.  Even though I know the correct sequence, every time I do this mission it always screws up once or twice, sending a monster my way.

dragATC (sabotage mission)

  • When he isn’t using his remote controlled spy plane to check on Cassie, Danny’s been trying to see into the airport where the Orochi have set up a perimeter.  Their EMPs or whatever keep taking the plane out, so he wants me to go in there and disable the tech-tech.
  • I like his mention of his history teacher: “Of course, he’s a zombie now.  But he’s still Mr. Rosen.  And still wearing those way-too-tight underpants.”
  • After doing a flyby of my own and confirming that, yes, the EMP generators will down a tiny plane, it’s time to covertly run in like an idiot, get zapped a thousand times, all in an attempt to shut them down.
  • This is impossible to do if you don’t steal an Orochi uniform off of one of the dead guys’ bodies.  Trust me, it’s not as if there are a shortage of Orochi corpses in this game.  That uniform has a longer lifespan of your average corporate employee.
  • Even with the uniform, going into the guarded airport section requires keeping as wide a berth as possible from the drones and guards.  Get too close and you get zapped, requiring you to start all over again.  Yup, this is exactly the sort of mechanic that drove me to frustration in later missions in the game.  This one isn’t simple, but it’s mostly a learning exercise.
  • Long story short, Danny gets his pictures.  So long, Danny.  We’ll be in touch.
  • So why doesn’t Danny just go to his clubhouse?  Or to the Academy?  Maybe he just really, really likes to skate.

gasEvolution of the Species (action mission)

  • Now that I’ve finished infiltrating the Orochi and helping Danny to spy on them, it’s time to head over to their temporary HQ and offer my services.  My position as a hero is very ambiguous in this game; I’m more like a mercenary for hire with a boss that’s cool with me doing whatever.
  • The two Orochi leaders, Ann and Harrison, are actually pretty neat to listen to.  Just go up to them and hang out for a while — they have several conversations back and forth.  Ann is a hoot, especially when she gushes over me being a “superhero.”  Also, catch their “confirm or deny” game.  I think that they’re a cute couple.
  • Harrison Blake is voiced by Star Trek Voyager’s Tim Russ (Tuvok), which makes his later “red shirts” comment all that much more hilarious.  Ann is voiced by Tara Strong, AKA Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony (among many other things).
  • The Orochi want me to help shore up their perimeter, which sounds pretty standard until you really think about it.  First of all, Harrison makes a big deal out of the company being there to observe and not intervene — in other words, they’re not there to help the civilians from being slaughtered.  Second, the Orochi are blocking the only bridge back to the mainland, which effectively cuts off an overland escape route.  Now, they may be doing that to contain the situation and because the fog would kill anyone going over the bridge, but to me it still seems heartless.
  • I go to my work of diassembling the draug, piece by piece.  It’s nothing special, although after a while the mission tells me to assemble a homemade bomb (gasoline), which made me wonder why I can’t just go to the Orochi and ask for a grenade or something.  Man, I would love grenades in this game.

redshirtsHulk Smash (action mission)

  • Ann is worried that the Condition 17s — the zombies — are mutating inexplicably in the location of the nearby Priest Island.  Since I’m a willing red shirt, to the island I go!  Once again, I’m grateful for the low tide.
  • So weird thing that I sometimes do is to stop and watch the NPC idle animations.  You’d be surprised what devs do with these.  I got a chuckle out of this one zombie who just kept kicking this tree half-heartedly.  Stupid tree.  Always getting in the way.
  • ANYWAY… Priest Island is full of three things: zombies, hulking zombies, and Filth pools.  Guess we know why there are mutations.
  • I have a somewhat enjoyable time running around killing zombies and plugging up holes with boulders.  That’s how professionals deal with dire world-ending threats: plug them with rocks.

What the Tide Brought In (side mission)

  • This side mission is a good one to run parallel to Hulk Smash, as it asks me to pick up and return five Orochi cannisters on Priest Island.
  • It’s easiest to just stick to the beach, since I can find all five relatively quickly this way.  Easy AP!

journeyThe Captain’s Playlist (side mission)

  • This is probably the first side mission that woke me up to the fact that side missions in TSW can be as involved as main missions and as challenging.  This one is like a mini-investigation quest — I find a note telling of a captain’s buried treasure, but the coordinates are certain lengths of 1980s pop music hits (Safety Dance and Don’t Stop Believin’).
  • I’m so willing to bet that this was some older designer’s attempt to get the younger generation to at least listen to some of these classic tunes.  In any case, it’s a neat real world-secret world crossover.
  • The treasure box is alllll the way on the other side of the map, and after finding it (it’s in shallow water), I was really let down when the quest didn’t even tell me what was inside.  Fiddlesticks!

The Secret Adventures: Hippies go home (Kingsmouth #6)

(You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page!)

tunnelsDigging Deeper (investigation mission)

  • Henry Hawthorne’s newest and last mission is to investigate the tunnels that he claims “riddles” the island.  His weird urge to keep digging deeper, “always deeper,” makes me think of the folly of the Blue Mountain mine and the Ankh excavation.  There’s bad things in this here earth, y’understand?
  • The trapdoor to the underground tunnels is under the sidewalk in front of the town hall (walking over it makes a hollow sound).  I like how clicking on the sidewalk makes it magically vanish, perhaps representing the off-screen work of my characters hereto-unseen jackhammer in the midst of a zombie outbreak.  “DON’T MIND ME!” she bellows, concrete chips flying everywhere.  “JUST PASSING THE TIME BY FOLLOWING THE NUTTY ADVICE OF AN ILLUMINATI FANBOY!”
  • The key to the tunnel is upstairs in town hall, so no sweat there.
  • Down here are the tunnels that Solomon Priest and his pal made.  There are locked rooms requiring the items you get at the end of Kingsmouth Code, although for some reason this time I got stuck.  I needed the phoenix symbol, but it said I didn’t have it.  Instead, it was already in the slot at one of the other doors.
  • The first door leads to Priest’s tomb… which is empty, save for another artifact and a note saying that the body was moved.  Because that’s what you do with corpses, right?  Take them for a stroll!
  • Past the second door is a series of elaborate room puzzles, each with their own hook.  The first room has letter tiles you have to jump on to spell a specific word — in this case, one of the words from Psalms.  Of course, the clue refers to the Latin version of the Bible, so you need to find the original Latin word here.  Clever.
  • Anytime I see gorgeous hidden rooms like these, I always think that it’s such a waste nobody really uses them.  Lots of books here, too!
  • The second room has probably the hardest puzzle of the bunch, especially if you’re musically ignorant like me.  The third room is a simpler emote puzzle, although you have to find the clue back early on in the tunnels.
  • All of this puzzle-solving ultimately leads to the new (and less ornate) tomb of Solomon Priest and his killer, Isaac Fletcher.  Fletcher penned a confession of poisoning him, and mentions something of a “Third” that Geary advises me to forget.

Idol of Nergal (side mission)

  • Some missions and side missions in TSW are locked until you do prerequisite ones, such as this idol that’s tucked away in a cave.  It becomes available once I finish the Kingsmouth Code.
  • It’s a simple FedEx quest, just run the idol over to Henry at the church.  Geary says that the warded church should keep the idol’s habit of attracting hell gods at bay.  Good to know!

harryRolls Downhill (action mission)

  • With all of the main mission givers in the town done, I jogged up north to the hippie camp, AKA Morninglight.  Here’s a quick tip for this game: If you encounter anyone or any group that uses sun imagery or worships the sun, they are bad, bad news.
  • The hippie leader, Che, hands off a package to what looks like a muscular Harry Potter to deliver.  My character overhears this (along with Che’s pot-infused rantings) and heads after Harry.  Maybe it’s a pack of every flavor beans!
  • About two steps outside of the camp and I see Harry mauled by a very frisky wendigo.  You’d think someone from the camp would have heard this, but no.  So it’s up to me to follow the blood trail and retrieve the package.
  • This entire mission, start to finish, is incredibly quick.  You just have to kill the one wendigo, get the package, and drop it off at a door in the nearby tunnel.  Harry would do it, but, y’know, he’s bleeding out on the ground nearby.  Man, I can’t catch a break.

pickup The Pick-Up (sabotage mission)

  • Che’s second and final mission is one of the easier sabotage missions in the game (we are, after all, still in the first zone).  He introduces me to Cassie, a camp floozie who isn’t quite what she first appears to be.  Cassie’s doing some sort of pick-up for a guy named “B” and Che asks me to escort her.  There’s some funny bantering between the two and I always get a kick out of Cassie’s wink to me at the end of the intro scene.
  • I head through the door where I dropped Harry’s package off from before.  It’s a series of maintenance tunnels, and like everywhere else in TSW, it’s booby-trapped to the extreme.  Hard-to-see laser tripwires, motion sensors, C4 all over the place.  Good times.
  • We round the corner to spot our first sighting of another one of the game’s factions: the purple-clad Phoenicians.  By rewiring the nearby control box, I blow their butts up and we proceed.
  • The next environmental puzzles include picking a door (the wrong one — and it’s random — delivers an enemy), crossing an electrified floor grid, and throwing switches to deactivate security around the mysterious package.
  • When I finally do all of this, Cassie reveals that she isn’t with the Morninglight, but has infiltrated them and wants to keep the package from them.  She then stuns me with a debuff called “Black Kiss” and takes off.  We don’t see much more of Cassie past this other than a scene in the main storyline, but both she and the Geary suggest that I’ll bump into her again.  Sometime.  There are a lot of theories about her but nothing definite yet.

Bringing Sexy Back (side mission)

  • The only thing left to do at the hippie camp is to check out a broken R.C. plane on the picnic table.  Cassie’s left a note on it addressed to a teenage boy, teasing him with pictures she’s left on the plane’s webcam.  Well then.  Time to go FedEx this across the water to the skate park, where the town’s last Leage of Monster Hunters member resides.
  • You actually do get to see the webcam pics, and no, I’m not going to share them.  They’re pretty tame, although Cassie hugging the giant teddy bear in the last picture makes me think of a certain teddy bear in Transylvania…

Flame Away (side mission)

  • On the picnic table at the skate park is a “half-finished flamethrower” — alas, not the one we get to keep as an auxilary weapon.  The mission is to repair and test it, which I can definitely get behind.
  • To fix it, I dash over to nearby Edgar’s scrapyard and root around in the trash to find parts for it.  Then, all I have to do is equip it and let out a fun burst of napalm at nothing in particular.
  • I actually do get to keep the flamethrower, but since it only has two charges remaining, it’s not going to be useful to me unless I find more fuel.  So, something I just learned: once you get this, you can click on fuel cans all over Kingsmouth to get more charges.  I honestly did not know that before looking it up now.  That’s kind of neat!  I’ve noticed cans at the sherriff’s office and the hippie camp, and I’m sure there are more.