The monsters of The Secret World may be fearsome foes from our nightmares, but the Drăculești? They’re the ones the monsters fear. And in last night’s adventures through Trials of the Dragon, the final “sidestories” mission for our TSW group, we found out why this group of Romanian fighters are so hardcore.
The mission starts out with the two camp kids being trained to fight. I both love and am creeped out by these kids; Funcom did a great job with their personalities and voice acting, but those models are so off that you have to wonder if the devs actually know what kids look like or if they created these characters based on vague descriptions. The boy is hesitant to fight the girl, because girl, but as he’s reminded, “Monsters come in girl as well.”
It turns out that they got off rather easy. The rest of us are tasked — for some reason — with going through the full trials of the Drăculești. It’s an investigation mission, so there’s less hand-holding, but it’s actually more of a mish-mash of several mission types. It also quickly landed on my list of “missions from this game that I never want to run again and will do my very best to purge from memory.” Each of the five tiers was apparently in some sort of one-up contest with each other to be as frustrating as possible. Oh, the inner rage was in full-force that night.
The first part is a boxing match with one of the Drăculești, reusing the boxing interface from Last Train to Cairo. It wasn’t too hard, although it took me about three or four tries to get through.
Then we moved on to, y’know, hell, because the Drăculești are not messing around. You actually have to go into one of the hell dungeons (you don’t have to fight anything, so you can go in solo). This glitched hard for us last week, but resetting the mission and going in separate helped. In here, you have to slowly walk over a series of grates and coals, gradually burning alive as you unlock the path to the end. There’s a very specific pattern you need to walk and since you can’t heal or use skills, it’s in your best interest to put on as much health gear as possible just to survive. I loathed this puzzle. Must’ve done it 20 times.
Then — why not — we got a stealth portion of the mission through the zone’s lair (which is super-elite content that will kick your butt). This part just suuuuuucked. It was so hard to see mobs and you had to avoid all of them to get to a glowing column. Some of the mobs were dark shades that would just pop up out of the ground and tag you, which definitely did not feel fair.
Finally, we were challenged to go on a scavenger hunt through the old Drăculești town, which is fully populated with bad guys. So lots of fighting and running past mobs as you’re trying to find the next clue which is, of course, written in Romanian. Some of the clues made sense but others were just… bizarre. The last one that said some gibberish about the moon was downright impossible to figure out, especially as the game was currently in the day cycle. I’ll admit that I broke down and used a walkthrough at that point just to finish things up.
Finishing this mission also finished up all four sidestories, which netted each of us a free mystery box (I got a lot of currency) and the Inspector’s Gadget, a really neat elite gadget that gives you a good heal/health boost on a two-minute timer.
Nice rewards, but there is just no way I’m ever doing this again. Never ever ever. Ever.
On the upside, it looks like Tokyo’s coming in May, probably toward the back end of the month! My gear still has a few blues in it, but overall I’ve got a good set and a couple of good builds, so I’m ready to go. Between Tokyo and WildStar’s launch, I’ll have my hands busy around my birthday (May 31st, get your shopping done early!).