The lesson here is that when you are going up a stairwell and you turn the corner to see a flaming boulder rolling down on you, you’ve got to both run away and frantically hit the screenshot key without peeing your pants in fear.
So last night our Secret World group started digging into Tokyo proper. Man, it’s great to be in a new zone — urbanized and crawling with Filth even so. I didn’t have time to really poke around, but I’ve seen enough to know that there’s been a good deal of attention paid to it much like the other regions.
Ten Tentacles and I teamed up to run a couple of side missions while we got the hang of the new AEGIS system. Basically, all of the new mobs now have a second health bar in the form of a specific shield (demonic, psychic, or cybernetic) that you have to wear down by flipping through a new specific buff that allows you to target one of these three shield types. Oh, and you have to level these buffs up by grinding mobs.
Truly, AEGIS sucks and is there to be nothing more than a time sink — busy work for those who blow through the Tokyo quests too fast. The devs have made noise about how this adds another layer of complexity and challenge to fights, but it doesn’t. It just makes fights longer and more annoying, not more strategic and interesting. As much as I love TSW, I am concerned how Funcom seems to love bloating the combat system with useless systems (augments, anyone?). I’d trade it all for a traditional MMO combat system/class setup in a heartbeat.
Fortunately, we play despite the combat system, not because of it. After the side missions were done, we got into the main story mission that had us tracking down a many-toed demon through a sewer system that was apparently designed by Lucifer himself. This was an interesting misson, balancing combat with platforming, trap evasion, and a cool mechanic that had us flipping between the regular world and a “red” world, kind of like Silent Hill or A Link to the Past. The portal hopping was smooth and offered up a lot of memorable moments, such as the aforementioned flaming boulder run.
It was certainly a lot better to run it as a group than solo, just to keep the combat portion short. I got to say that between WildStar, Guild Wars 2, and The Secret World, I am becoming the master of telegraphs. I just wish TSW and WildStar had an auto-attack going on while I am doing all of the fancy footwork.