The Secret Adventures: Not quite dead (Kingsmouth #5)

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

cellSomething Wicked (investigation mission)

  • This is a pretty neat investigation mission that was incredibly glitchy back when the game first launched.  Anyway, Norma’s second and final quest is to send me investigating a series of murders that happened in 2002 when the weather and atmosphere of the town was much like it is currently.  She said that they caught a vagrant, but she and the Sheriff believed that it wasn’t human hands that cut those girls open.
  • Since you’re just told to investigate the murders and not directed where to go, it really pays to know the town.  Going to Sheriff Bannerman would be an obvious idea, but first what I have to do is head to the town hall and rifle through the old records.  There are a LOT of records, so knowing the time frame (summer 2002) is key to narrowing it down.
  • The records contain a newspaper clipping talking about the arrest of the vagrant and the murder of three girls.  NOW I run over to Bannerman, who says she’s done with the case but invites me (why not) to look it up on her computer.
  • The file on the vagrant Larry tells of inconsistancies with his report and also that “You can ask my ghost for the truth.”  Sounds like he was taking the fall for something, but why?  And why would he kill himself?  And how did he know that he could talk from beyond the grave?
  • So here’s the cool part of the mission: I have to die.  Seriously.  This is one of several TSW missions that utilizes the ghost or anima world to solve missions.  Sometimes you see things as a dead person that aren’t there otherwise.
  • As a dead person, I can go into the now-open cell that is locked in the normal world.  Larry is standing there by an inscription about white ravens and golden girls telling secrets.  I’m also amused by the “Bannerman is hot” graffiti.  How do people get graffiti into the cell anyway?
  • The white raven outside the police station (I’m still in ghost form) leads me on a merry chase into the woods, where several ravens are lined up, each saying a particular phrase.  I have to click on them to match the phrase I just read in the cell.
  • The ravens then fly off nearby to the pumpkin tree, where they tear into a ghost man standing there.  Reality flashes back in as I’m resurrected and Jack O’Lantern — a grotesque monstrosity — emerges from the ground.  Jack runs off for now, although his story will continue over the course of the island.
  • Geary tells me that Kingsmouth is not a good place to die.  I concur.

flare A Light in the Sky (side mission)

  • Out on Pyramid Point are a couple of dead Morninglight folks, a box of flares, and instructions to shoot them off.  I love how many missions in this game are, “Why not do this/go here to see what happens?” which this is.
  • So after running all around this zone to light off six flares, do you want to know what happens?  NOTHING.  Really.  Even the mission report text is the generic response, so there’s no closure to this… nor context, really.  I think it’s just an excuse to push you to the Morninglight camp.
  • However, on my way to the church, I do run across a rare mob that I’ve been looking for for some time now: Mr. Freezie!  Was he the one tied to the wedding ring quest?  I’d like to think so.  I’m just so thrilled to have actually seen him.

freezieA Sacred Place (action mission)

  • Time for a new questgiver, this time the Rev. Henry Hawthorne at First Congregational Church.  A fun fact: I just got ordained at my Congregational church this past weekend, so now I guess I’m Rev. Syp.
  • This action mission is a good one to answer the question, “Why is the church safe from the zombie siege?”  Henry, an Illuminati wannabe, suggests that it’s from a combination of the Lord and the secret society’s doings.  Let’s check it out.
  • Pulling the zombies into the church one-shots them, which is always fun to do.  Turns out that there are wards drawn all over the side of the church, so the quest tasks me with replicating them across the graveyard.
  • When I get all of the new wards in place, something cool happens: a white light kills everything in the graveyard.  Well, kills all of the zombies.  It also summons a vengeful hulk who’s getting revenge on me waking him from his nap.

horrorVeteran’s Day (side mission)

  • The angel statue in the church graveyard is a WWII memorial, and somehow my character knows that these fallen soldiers are now zombies and deserve a special re-burial.  How my character is supposed to know this or where the zombies are located, I have no idea.  What I do know is that I have five targets to behead.
  • I will say that TSW does a fantastic job with zombie variants.  Yes, there are plenty of repeat models, but at least we have old ones, fresh ones, ones with damage, foreign ones, fire ones, etc.  Plus Mr. Freezie the Zombie!
  • This side mission has a good selection of weapons for rewards, so if you haven’t upgraded from your starter weapons, this could be taken a couple of times to gear up a bit.

Dust to Dust (action mission)

  • As someone said in Sanctuary chat, the Illuminati are probably the most “evil” faction of the bunch.  Cutthroat and ruthless would be my terminology, but in any case, this mission shows a really bad side to them.  They were responsible for… something… on Solomon Island that resulted in mass graves.  Even the pastor of the church has to bend himself in knots to try to rationalize it.
  • So yes, there are a LOT of mass graves around Kingsmouth.  I mean, one mass grave is more than enough to be disturbing, but it’s like the aftermath of a war zone here.  There are mass graves for witch hunt victims, for suffocated miners, and for cultists.  Geary says it comes with the type of place that this is and that I should be a good soldier and help keep it all buried.  I’m perturbed.

sewerThe Kingsmouth Code (investigation mission)

  • Heh, this is where the fun really begins, boys and girls!  I think that this mission was the one that really made a strong early impression on a lot of TSW players as to the potential and style of investigation missions.
  • Hawthorne reveals his fanboyish connection to the Illuminati, telling me that this town is really theirs (the whole island, really) and that there are secret paths everywhere.
  • The secret path I’m meant to follow are the points of the pyramids on the sewer manhole covers.  I doubt that before doing this quest, anyone even looked down at those covers they ran over.  The covers point to a spot on the wharf where a plaque mentions that the truth is at the seat of power (i.e. the town hall).
  • A painting of the navigator there references time (the nearby clock, stuck on 10:10) and kings.  I Kings 10:10 mentions King Solomon as well as the number 120, which points me to the Solomon Priest house (next to the church) and the code for the keypad.
  • Down in the Illuminati cellar is a vault with a few artifacts (the eye, the pyramid, and the phoenix).  Geary tells me that it was “super cute” watching me solve one of the faction’s own puzzles, which makes me wonder why all of this is set up anyway.  Is it a test for Illuminati potentials?  Does someone go around making sure that the covers are pointing the right way every day and that nobody’s tinkered with the town hall clock?

The Secret Adventures: Investigation station (Kingsmouth #4)

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

exodusThe Vision (investigation mission)

  • Our first investigation mission begins with Madame Roget admitting that she used to be a fraud, but somewhere along the path of being a fortune teller she actually developed visions of the future and the ability to see auras.
  • Roget goes into a trance and spills details of my future: of two paths leading to defeat and victory, of something rising up to devour us all, and of an event called “Exodus.”  I’ve heard of Exodus here and there from the TSW team, it’s supposed to be a major event that is coming at some point in the game.
  • Anyway, investigation missions!  These are really one of the big selling points of TSW — quests that require a lot of out-of-the-box lateral thinking and out-of-the-game researching.  You can’t just fight or stealth your way through these; you have to use your brain.  So they’re love-or-hate type of things, but I deeply appreciate the variety that they add to the game.  They’re something you don’t see often.  The web series Extra Credits specifically praised these types of missions as wonderful examples of advanced quest design.
  • The hook to this mission is to find places on the map that match up with clues.  The first references the tip of the pyramid.  On the map is “Pyramid Point” in the bay, so off we go!
  • From there it’s to a place with flickering lights (Wispwood), bees and flowers (Argartha portal entrance), an angel with a sword (graveyard), and finally a gallows (which is the hanging bridge, for reasons that are apparent when you go through it in anima form).  It’s a really quick quest when you know where everything is, just a lot of running and one final fight.
  • Geary says that I’m now qualifed to give tours of Kingsmouth.  I probably am, honestly.

ringTomb Raider (side mission)

  • Near a Mr. Freezie is a severed hand with a wedding ring from 1874 on it.  Naturally, I pocket it to sell it to the nearest… what?  That’s not how it works here?  Fah.  Fine.  I’ll go reverse-grave robbing then.
  • Back at the graveyard, I find where the body came from and put the ring back into the ground.  Interestingly enough, there’s a Mr. Freezie cap nearby (the last step of the mission is to examine it, although there’s no further explanation).  Is this implying the the Mr. Freezie guy is a graverobber?

hungerThe Hunger (side mission)

  • Hey, what’s that stench?  Why, it’s a naked mutilated corpse, of course!  Might as well follow the blood trail and see what’s at the end of it!
  • This mission is a little difficult if you’re even slightly colorblind, since you’re looking for faint red smears on green/brown grass.  I lost the trail a couple of times, but finally found a Wednigo (a large crawling humanoid) that’s been leaving body parts everywhere.  Time to meet your destructor, creep!

Book of the Bokor (side mission)

  • There’s an honest-to-goodness yard sale in Kingsmouth with the usual objects that you’d find at one in the real world… in addition to a voodoo book with a zombie-repelling powder recipe.  Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but voodoo zombies are not the same type of zombies as the George Romero versions, which all of these locals seem to be.  Why would the powder work on them?
  • I run around the block collecting ingredients and then go toss them in Norma’s bonfire.
  • The quest does give me 10 doses of zombie powder, good for stunning them.  Can’t see why I’d need it, really.  Zombies are the easiest mobs in this game.  Maybe I’ll save it for Blue Mountain.

Message in a Bottle (side mission)

  • During the “Vision” quest I came upon a note in a bottle near the bay, addressed to Norma.  Time to play mail lady and return it!

talkerDawning of an Endless Night (story mission, tier 2)

  • The side quests and story mission all push me to meet Norma, one of the few survivors of Kingsmith that’s still out on her own (armed with a shotgun and her wits, or so she says).  Her house is actually apocalyptically decked out, with added fortifications and a large bonfire for zombie burnin’.
  • Norma’s husband was one of the fishermen on the Lady Margaret that came back and brought the fog and red seaweed with it.  After her sad speech (and my speechlessness, which is made fun of here), I’m directed to go check the boat out.  I’m going to leave that until later — I’d rather do a whole bunch of the story missions in a row, but you can’t get near Norma’s place without at least doing tier 2 here.

They Never Stop Coming (action mission)

  • Norma’s been waging a one-woman war against the zombies and Draug for a while and needs a bit of a hand.  No problem, says I.  Point me at them.
  • You think that this would be a straight-forward “kill ten undead rats” quest but it’s not.  For one thing, it’s a lot longer.  The first stage has you fending off an assault, then you have to find and kill several different types of zombies across Kingsmouth.  Oh yes, there are types.  I’m sure you learned all about them in science class.
  • Tossing the body parts onto Norma’s bonfire, the flames turn blue and the mission suggests that I go see what’s up with the cultists’ fires.
  • So it turns out (as Geary explains) that there are the regular zombies caused by the Draug and then these cultist zombies that can use magic.  Since these zombies are around “reanimated warriors” that are ancient Mayans (I believe), they’re tied up with another subplot on the island about the Mayans visiting for some reason.  The Argartha portal even features the bow of one of the ships.  I’ve never been hugely clear on why the Mayans or Vikings or whatever visited Solomon Island unless the place is one gigantic crazy magnet.  I need to brush up on my lore.
  • My build is coming along nicely, thank you for asking.  I’ve upgraded weapons so that now I have a fencing sword and a sweet-looking assault rifle.  I’m almost done fleshing out the bottom tiers for both assault rifle and sword, after which I’ll start aiming for the important skills for this build.  Even so, I’m doing enough DPS and getting enough passive heals that combat is pretty easy.  Thus far.

The Secret Adventures: Ka-BOOM (Kingsmouth #3)

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

kaboomAppetite for Destruction (action mission)

  • “This is a test of character forged in fire,” Moose tells me before handing me an array of explosives and pointing me in the general direction of zombies.
  • I just want to point out that the crate from which I get Moose’s explosives is literally right next to a burning trash can.  Moose is a great guy, no doubt, but I think I see a slight flaw in his foresight.
  • I love quests where the devs give you ridiculously overpowered (temporary) weapons and tell you to go nuts.  Do we have a name for these kinds of quests?  WildStar has a lot of them and most are awesome.  This one is no exception, as I get to toss out mines, napalm, and IEDs to make kibbles ‘n bits out of zombies.
  • The big finale has me diving into a sewer (why not) and setting up an explosive ambush for a huge wave of undead.  It’s dang fun.
  • It does make me wish that I could keep one or two big bombs for later.  Or wish that the game had a grenade-flinging class.

morningThe Coming Dawn (side mission)

  • In the sewers from the previous mission is a brouchure for the Morninglight, The Secret World’s answer to the desire for an ultra-creepy cult to be mucking things up even further for the good folks of the world.  It’s basically a pointer to the Morninglight camp so that you’ll go there and pick up those quests, but hey, easy XP!
  • As we’ll find out, the Morninglight, the Aten sun cult, and the Tokyo Fear Nothing foundation have very similar roots and goals…
  • For all of the grief that we give TSW and TSW gives us over its difficulty, I’ll say that I deeply appreciate the on-screen HUD pointing the way to the next mission step.  I am glad I don’t have to keep consulting the map every two seconds.
  • At the Morninglight camp, I find an application form by gas station attendant Walter Barry.  Huh… wonder what happened to him?

tomTrespassers (side mission)

  • Speaking of the Morninglight, there’s a complaint form at the sheriff’s station about them, as a farmer is upset that these “hippies” are camping out on his land.
  • Finding Tom isn’t hard — he apparently got killed (zombies or cultists, take your pick) near the Morninglight camp.  There’s no fight here, it’s just another pointer to the camp.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

  • This here is a sneaky little tutorial for the crafting/assembly interface.  Even if one does not craft (as I do not), one will end up using this interface quite a few times in this game for various missions, so it’s good to understand how to break and build items.

limpyThat’ll Leave a Mark (side mission)

  • By the big scary pumpkin tree is a “trapped survivor” who looks relatively calm for a guy with a foot stuck in a bear trap.  Ho-hum, these metal teeth have cut my calf to the bone.  Help a chap out?  That’s a lass.
  • I am not a fan of this quest.  For starters, it’s an escort mission (of which TSW has relatively few, thank goodness).  It’s an escort mission that’s timed with an NPC who complains the whole way (“Are we there yet?” is an actual quote) and keeps drawing zombies to him.  They can kill him (and fail the quest) pretty quickly, so I end up walking backward the entire way to watch him.
  • It also doesn’t help that the zombies put bleeds on me.  With some other builds, I couldn’t get my health back up in time for the next assault.
  • I did this in one try, although I only had 18 seconds left on the clock as the dude limped into the sheriff’s station.

The Occultist’s Cookbook (side mission)

  • It’s time to fly from the Sheriff’s station to new mission NPCs.  The nearest one is Madame Roget, that nutty fortune teller she.  Before tackling her real quests, I take up this one that’s on a bookshelf.  It’s just another tutorial, this one on how to make and equip glyphs using the assembly interface.  Easy enough.

ravenThe Raven (action mission)

  • Roget escaped the lure of the fog by being handcuffed to a bed (don’t ask).  She’s actually less worried about what’s going on outside and far more concerned with her dreams — her nightmares.  She says they’re always about ravens, “a black, timeless malice descending on Kingsmouth like a funeral shroud.”  Well, call me RAVEN-BUSTER!  I ain’t scared of no bird.
  • …but I can be creeped out by them, that’s for sure.  So the quest asks me to run around following ravens, which start with just one and then slowly grow in number every time I reach a new milestone.  Every once in a while I have an aborted fight with a Revenant, TSW’s answer to Silent Hill’s Pyramidhead.  They’re actually wonderfully done, these creatures that are drawn to death and can explode into a flock of birds.
  • Ultimately I track the revenant down to a playground fountain, where I use feathers to bind it in a pentagram and then destroy it (with my sword, not with feathers).

The Secret Adventures: Drive them back into the sea! (Kingsmouth #2)

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

beforeElm Street Blues (action mission)

  • Andy!  Who doesn’t love Deputy Andy?  He’s just so loveable, kind of a puppy dog character who’s seen and known about some pretty terrible stuff.
  • “Every town has a dark side.”  Yeah, but I think Kingsmouth takes the cake here, bud.
  • Other than Andy’s ominous intro, the quest is exceedingly straight-forward: Kill a lot of zombies around the station, then run down the street and kill a big ol’ Draug.  Simple.
  • I get enough AP from this mission to buff up my Martial Discipline skill with a passive that gives me another HoT.  I’ll take all the heals I can get in this game, thanks.

draugDraugnet (action mission)

  • Andy’s follow-up quest is a little tougher, sending me out to the shore to meet the Draug (think “mutated sea zombies”) and cut down some of their eggs.  Andy also gives his famous speech about his dad drowning Andy’s kittens, a story that will come back a couple of times in this game.
  • I’m pleased to see that I can hold my own against three Draug at a time, although it does come down to the wire.
  • I’ve been using my ferocious wolf pet, which I just now noticed gives me a 5% damage buff and a chance to throw a DoT on enemies.  Have pets always had bonuses, or just this one?
  • I’m glad I had that bonus, because this is the hardest mission yet for my lowbie.  I take it slow and careful, and die only once because I pulled too many.  Good thing this harbor is at low tide so that we can conveniently wade out a half-mile from the shore!
  • Geary asks a good question, which is what, exactly, drew all of the townsfolk out to sea to be drowned?

missingMissing Persons (side mission)

  • On a bulletin board in the sheriff’s station is a list of several missing folks in the town, so I take it and go people hunting.  Of course, this is all pretty futile as 98% of the town is “missing” right now.  But XP is XP!
  • I’m constantly amazed at the level of detail in The Secret World for its locales.  The team obviously went to great lengths to get everything just right, down to the parking signs and style of New England architecture.
  • This is another “let us show you around the town” mission.  It’s nothing hard — you don’t even have to kill the zombies, just ID them.  Out of the entire list, only one guy is alive; Christopher is holed up in the church.  It’s funny that another missing person is the fire chief… who is in the fire station.  How is it that he’s missing?

saboHorror Show (sabotage mission)

  • Sheriff Bannerman gives my character her very first sabotage mission.  Oh, you poor, poor lowbie.  You don’t even know yet how awful these are.  If you’re new to Bio Break and my history with TSW, let’s just say that I hate sabotage missions with the fiery passion of a sun going supernova and leave it at that.  It’s good to have mission variety, but some of these are bang-your-head-against-the-wall frustrating.
  • Bannerman wants me to go find some surveilance equipment so she can keep an eye on the zombies.  Fair enough.
  • Sabotage missions usually aren’t about fighting, but navigating the environment and being stealthy as to not get one-shotted.  The first part of this quest is easy, since you just have to climb up on roofs to get cameras.
  • But then it sends you down into the basement of the mining museum, where an “Insane Survivalist” infected by the Filth has set up a truly impressive array of booby-traps.  Where did he get all of the laser tripwires and explosives?  No idea.
  • At the end, after I kill him, I find a box with a Filth pod in it and a nearby lore entry that suggests a trucker might have brought the Filth into town.  In Kingsmouth, it’s really hard to figure out how everything went so bad, since there are numerous sources of evil and numerous problems.  The sea had the fog, the Draug, and the Lady Margaret.  This box had the Filth.  How did the zombies arise?  Not exactly sure.

blowingDeath, and the Instruments Thereof (action mission)

  • The sheriff’s station is a great little quest “hub” in early TSW, and I recommend that new players do all the quests they can here before moving on.  The game doesn’t really cluster its questgiver NPCs like this together very often, and it’s certainly nice to run down them while getting one’s bearings and solidifying a build.
  • This is the first of Moose’s missions.  Moose is a biker who came to help out during lobster season but found himself on the front lines of battling the dead.  Naturally, he’s an expert with explosives and a semi-philosopher, and I find myself respecting his laconic nature as he preps devices four feet away from the undead.
  • Moose has a giant shopping list but claims that going out into the town is kicking his butt.  So… me then?  OK.  Cool.  I can come back from the dead, I can see why I’m more expendible for this type of thing.
  • As I’m running around grabbing random items for Moose, I’m more than a little disturbed at how this quest is kinda saying, “Hey kids!  Here are common, everyday components that could be turned into bombs!”  At least it doesn’t give you step-by-step directions as to how to do it, but in any other context grabbing ball bearings from a kid’s tricycle to make explosives would be unsettling to the max.

endSuicide Note (side mission)

  • I always thought that this was one of the sadder missions on Solomon Island.  At the front door of Jack & Wendy’s Bed and Breakfast — a Kingsmouth staple — there’s a suicide note.  It basically says that Jack got called into the sea but Wendy was left behind.  She can’t live without him, so she’s going to the end of the pier to find him or kill herself.  It’s kind of a setup where you instantly don’t WANT to do the next part, because you know nothing good is going to come of this.
  • Also, suicide in MMOs?  Not a topic often covered in quests.  It’s even a little cringe-inducing.  I guess it goes to show you that TSW is willing to get dark, really dark, when it wants to.
  • The mission itself is really quick — I run down to the end of the pier and find a hanging corpse (Wendy).  Clicking on her summons one of TSW’s creepy spectres.  After defeating the ghost, I pick up an amulet and realize that it was this trinket that protected Wendy from the call of the fog.  And yet she still died.

The Secret Adventures: The long zombie road (Kingsmouth #1)

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

boone1Dawning of an Endless Night (story mission, tier 1)

  • Right out of the Argartha portal, I meet Boone, the so-called last of the cowboys.  He’s the first quest giver in the area, and I always thought it was disappointing that you don’t really interact with him more than these first two quests.  Seems like a cool guy.  Never learn much about him.
  • The first stage of this story mission is easy: To reach the sheriff’s office.
  • “Find out why those people died.  And you bring a reckoning.”  Will do, Boone.
  • Arriving at the station, I meet Sheriff Helen Bannerman.  She’s an interesting character (as are they all) — clueless about the large problem, but calm and competant.  She’s kept as much of the town as safe as she can, admitting that Kingsmouth might have had this coming.  Then she mentions a few of the survivors not at the station, including Norma and her shotgun.  Off to Norma for the next step!

boone2For a Fistful of Zombies (action mission)

  • Since I’m heading down the road to the sheriff’s station anyway, Boone tasks me to kill a whole bunch of zombies along the way.  And that’s pretty much what the quest is — a lot of zombie killing.  It’s actually really easy to die here since you’ve got all beginner gear and virtually no skills.
  • I’m trying out blades for the first time.  I know it’s super-popular, and while I’ve never been a huge fan, if it can dish out AOE damage and get some healing going on, I’m all for it.
  • This short quest ends with a fight against a giant zombie gorger.  I love how the camera shakes when huge things hit in this game — it really lends a feeling of seriousness and intensity.
  • Best part of this quest?  It rewards a green quality weapon, which makes it perfect for a starter replacement.

outfitBullets for Andy (side mission)

  • One of the easiest quests of the game — I just have to pick up some ammo and drop it off to Andy.  It’s a good quest to repeat along with Fistful of Zombies early on.
  • While the rewards are paltry, I am treated to full access to the item store when I arrive.  This allows me to both retrieve some odds and ends from my account unlocks, as well as buy a new outfit (a military ballistic getup, above).

suziesSupply Run (action mission)

  • Sheriff Bannerman says that the station’s survivors might outlast what supplies there are, and so asks me to head out to see what I can scrounge up.  Essentially, this mission is to get a quick lay of the land.
  • The phonebook has several not-so-subtle references to other horror classics and authors, including Stephen King, Flagg from the Stand, HP Lovecraft, and Dunwich.  I just think it’s a shame that we can’t visit Pam the Clam, ’cause that place sounds like the bee’s knees.
  • Probably the toughest part of the mission is when it sends you into the fire department.  For a fresh new character, this place can be a wee bit of a deathtrap if you’re not careful, as the mobs are pretty tough and have some telegraphs going on.
  • Geary tells me that the town’s population was 1,547 and they expect that 98% of them were converted into zombies or whatever.  That number seems awfully high for the few houses actually seen.

cleaningDirty Laundry (side mission)

  • A dead “cleaning lady” on the side of the road has a cell phone that tells of a secret cache, the code to which is the first song that the church was going to sing on Sunday.
  • This is pretty easy, as the church has a list of songs up front in the sanctuary.  I actually work at a Congregational church, much like the one here in Kingsmouth, although the whole song sign thing is a relic of an older era.
  • Since nobody is playing the organ in the church, it’s a little creepy that there’s music playing.  Maybe the pastor has a boombox somewhere?  Anyway, the mission complete notice informs me that the cleaning lady was a member of the Illuminati sent to keep an eye on the pastor there.

notesThe Curious Case of Joe Slater (side mission)

  • Near the station is a psyche report on Joe Slater, one of the sailors to come back on the Lady Margaret (a ship that features heavily in the Kingsmouth storyline).  There are several pages missing from the report, which means that I gotta trot all over the place to find them.
  • I am NOT a fan of this mission.  Those pages are teeny-tiny and so easy to overlook, even after I’ve done this mission several times.
  • Reading the final report about Slater is a little unnerving.  He’s mentioned of having spoken in “Old Icelandic,” a detail I don’t remember from past experiences with this mission.
  • I’m really liking blades/assault rifle so far!  I have a bit of healing going on almost constantly, and against groups I mow them down.

TSW: RICKYYYYY PAGAAAAAN!

pagan1Last night Massively’s MJ and I livestreamed one of the new Tokyo missions featuring a new instant favorite character, Ricky Pagan.  It only took us an hour and a half to bumble our way through it, but I gotta say that it was totally worth it.  The Secret World almost never fails to make me say two things:

  • “That’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen/heard in an MMO!”
  • “Well… you don’t see that every day in a game!”

And this mission did both.  Without spoiling it too much, it was about a rockabilly-loving gang in infected Tokyo and your efforts to reunite them.

Using music.

pagan2Yup, that’s us strutting down the street with boomboxes on our shoulder, blasting out tunes in hopes of making one of the Filth guys dance.  It’s so ridiculous and sublime that I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing throughout this entire quest.  There are even five new tunes just for this mission alone.

pagan3And why not cap off the mission with a dance party among ghosts?

Bravo, TSW.  That right there alone made the price of this mission pack totally worth paying.

The Secret Adventures: Tutorial

me1While I am certainly full on gaming as of late, I’ve begun to keenly miss The Secret World.  Over the past several months, our regular group has dwindled in both size and focus, popping up only to tackle the new missions and then disappearing until the next ones came again.  While this is fine for what it is, I’ve had a strong desire to go back into the game and see if I could do it again but better.

Thus, the idea for a new project called The Secret Adventures was born.  The concept here is that I’ll be creating a brand-new character, an Illumanti (mostly for the flavor text I haven’t fully experienced) who will use blades and assault rifle based on this Wolverine regen build.  I chose that because I want something that can handle the game’s many packs of mobs while keeping survivability high.  This character will then be going through the entire solo game in an attempt to finish every main mission and side mission.

I won’t be doing full reviews of each mission or walkthroughs (as others have covered those in far more detail), but simply taking notes, observations, and screenshots to relay back to you.  If you’ve never played TSW or gotten through all of the zones, this series could be a way to experience it vicariously.  I want to keep it entertaining and observational, not necessarily informative.  Hopefully the combination of a new build, a fresh character, and the allure of documenting this journey will overcome The Secret World’s alt-adversive nature.

Let’s get started!

me3Opening cutscene

  • I forgot how awesomely creepy this opening sequence is.  Knowing what I know now about the game, hearing the two sides try to woo you and seeing the bee go into my mouth for the first time gives me goosebumps.
  • The TV offscreen talks about the infection in Tokyo and the Orochi tower… which we’re just now starting to get to in the game.
  • So my character is infected by the bees and turned into one of the anima people (I’m still not sure how or why I’m chosen for this).  The opening scene shows a week of time passing while my character (Syppi) gets used to her new powers.  It’s always troubled me that she doesn’t bother to clean up her place, even after a week.
  • I like the nod to The Longest Journey with “Arcadia / Stark” on the poster.
  • And a recruiter for the Illuminati comes by to pull me in.  Well girl, time to go face down nightmares and incredibly frustrating quests!

me4No Sleep Til Brooklyn (story quest, tutorial)

  • This mission is nice to get bearings in NYC, but as I’m trying to get to Kingsmouth as fast as possible to really begin this series, I’m going to blitz through it.
  • A lot of UI elements are disabled at the start and slowly introduced over the tutorial’s progress.  I can’t access the item store yet, which is a bummer since I want to give her a new outfit.
  • This is about the easiest mission in the game right here.  Follow some security cameras to underground tunnels, follow signs to the Illuminati’s Labyrinth, and then get knocked out by the “pink noise.”
  • Syppi wakes up in a medical chair, freaking out as the bees rewrite her body.  Then Zurn (a wacked-out Illuminati doc) tells her that she’s going to have an out-of-body experience to complete the process and experience what happened in Tokyo.

tokyoGround Zero (story quest, tutorial)

  • Ground Zero is fully skippable, but I’ll go through it for the story elements and because it’s more relevant as of late.
  • Hey it’s Sarah before she went fully insane!  Hi Sarah!
  • Apart from teaching the bare basics of combat, this mission does a great job to introduce the Filth during the opening days of the Tokyo epidemic.  It’s a series of subway station set pieces that have pretty cool fights.
  • Hilariously — when compared to the rest of this game — you can’t actually die during these fights.  If your health goes below 375 it bumps right back up.  TSW giving you false hope that the game will be easy.
  • Sarah gets separated from the group and then encounters a platform that extends into the cosmos.  She faints.  Still don’t know exactly what that was about.

trainingTraining Day (story quest, tutorial)

  • The last tutorial mission gets you prepped for your incursion into Kingsmouth.  It’s nothing special, just choosing your first (and second) weapons, getting your phone, and meeting Kirsten Geary.  She’s awesome, in a foul-mouthed sort of way.
  • It’s kind of funny how my starter set of gear puts me at pretty much the same exact health that my endgame character has (~2000 health).  TSW doesn’t really do the typical stat progression.
  • The Labyrinth is an incredibly fascinating place — I really wish we got to see more of it.  It’s all weird angles and suggestions of massive rooms and long passageways and all sorts of secrets.
  • Geary is a fan favorite and it’s easy to see why.  She’s fast-talking with lots of vivid metaphors and a business-bottom-line attitude.  Just watching her character move about as she talks shows you how great TSW does natural body movement and gestures (less so with natural-looking faces).  I like when she walks her fingers across the desk.
  • From Geary’s office, it’s a hop, skip, and a jump into Argartha and then through a portal to Kingsmouth.  Time to begin the real game!