The Secret Adventures: Last train to Awesome Town (Scorched Desert #4)

time2

(Join Syp as he attempts to document a complete playthrough of The Secret World from start to finish. What will The Secret Adventures discover next? Find out in this exciting installment! WARNING: Spoilers and stories ahead!)

monster

The City Beneath Us (action mission)

  • The long mission chain continues here, as Said is off investigating the Class One device that’s being slated to bomb Cairo and I’m to find an “ark” to contain said device if we can capture it.
  • The owner of Cafe Giza, Zhara, points me in the direction of the foundations of the town. Since the whole place is built on a mesa of sorts, the foundations are easier to access than would be otherwise. Door in the side of the cliff. Simple.
  • There’s an excavation going on deep inside this place, with what looks to be another time tomb smack in the middle of it. When I discover that, Said shows up and asks to be escorted down, saying that he doesn’t remember what he used to be a prince of.
  • We get to the time tomb and I got a little behind it, fight a big beastie, and recover a (broken) ark. Well, it’s broken NOW, but it didn’t always used to be broken, eh? And that means more time travel!
  • The mission wrap-up screen from Said features a sobering confession in which he admits to helping the bad guys smuggle out the first Filth bomb from Egypt — an act that he’s trying to make up for with all of this. I like Said, but considering what that bomb did to Tokyo, I can’t quite like him as much as I used to.

time1

Know Them By Their Works (side mission)

  • Bring on the Bible quotes (TSW loves these for mission titles, I’ve noticed). A scroll in the excavation under the city points to hints of Third Age relics. Got to track those down and make a rubbing of one.

run

The City Before Us (sabotage mission)

  • And it’s back to ancient Egypt — really ancient this time, 1897 BC. Less Roman than before.
  • This isn’t a sneaky-sabotage mission, but more of a puzzle-solving one with some light action and platforming. I think TSW should reclassify its mission categories — there is often some bleed-through from other areas — but oh well.
  • This whole mission chain contains quite a few homages/references to Indiana Jones (down to the issue cover), although it isn’t as obnoxiously overt as the devs could’ve made it. I don’t mind, in any case; exploring through this structure while avoiding traps and unlocking secrets gave a great Indy vibe.
  • It’s in this mission that you can get the whip auxiliary weapon. It’s easy to miss it, if you’re not paying attention. You first need a whip from one of the guards from the previous mission, then you put it in an anima-infusing device here in the distant past (but the room is off the tour, so you have to pay attention). Then you retrieve it in the present and voila!
  • I swap out a brand-new ark for the ruined one, but that’s not enough to avoid retribution. In classic Indiana Jones style, the place starts self-destructing all around me. Run, Syp, run!
  • And yes, there’s even a boulder that drops down behind you as you run down a stairwell. I suspect thousands of TSW players have died because they tried to grab screenshots of this moment.
  • There’s a neat moment when you encounter pre-mummy Said, who jabbers at you for a bit and then steals the little doodad that he gave you when you first went into the time tomb. Don’t know what that’s about. I kind of have a suspicion it’s what’s kept him alive all these years.
  • I hide the undamaged ark, pop back to the present, retrieve the ark, and then go to find the best and boldest driver in all of Egypt to catch up with the train carrying the second Filth bomb. Go, Syp, go!
  • Great mission overall, I must say.

train

Last Train to Cairo (action mission)

  • Every MMO has a handful of quests that rise above the rest in quality and memorableness — and this mission is easily one of The Secret World’s finest. Seriously. So dang good.
  • The stakes couldn’t be higher: The Atenists have possession of a Filth bomb that they’re taking to Cairo to be loaded onto a Phoenician ship to… somewhere. Our only chance of stopping it is to take control of the train that’s barreling through Egypt. And for that, we’re going to need the combined efforts of Nassir and Said, the original odd couple.
  • The opening snark between these two is priceless. Really, we need a movie starring them.
  • Naturally, the heavy lifting of the mission is left to me — Nassir and Said ride it out in their comfy jeep. Me, on the other hand, is made to leap onto a moving train, then gradually work my way up to the front. This is a lot harder than it sounds.
  • The fact that this mission takes place on a moving train start to end gives it a dynamic that you don’t get in most quests. It’s genuinely exciting.
  • I love looking in at the enemy soldiers doing goofy dances and push-ups. Y’know, before I kill them.
  • I actually got really stuck on this mission. My gear is still pretty low for this sort of thing, and no matter what build I used, I got flattened by the waves of bad guys that came in tier 2. Happily, IronWeakness came to my rescue to duo this mission to the end. And yes, we both died many silly deaths along the way.
  • Favorite part? Getting to the tank and using it to blow up bad guys AND doors. Can I keep the tank, please?
  • Finally I’m able to take down Mr. Beardy with an oh-so-satisfying kick off the train. Geary chides me that I didn’t confirm the kill. Hey, I die every time I drop off this train, I think it’s safe to assume he’s desert food.
  • The end scene has a neat background easter egg where you can see Emma sitting down and reaching up. It’s easy to miss since Nassir and Said are quipping at each other.
  • The best part? A free QL 10 purple head talisman for the whole chain. Last time I grabbed the health one, but this time I know a little better and went with the attack version.
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3 thoughts on “The Secret Adventures: Last train to Awesome Town (Scorched Desert #4)

  1. Sylow March 2, 2016 / 10:17 am

    “There’s a neat moment when you encounter pre-mummy Said, who jabbers at you for a bit and then steals the little doodad that he gave you when you first went into the time tomb. Don’t know what that’s about. I kind of have a suspicion it’s what’s kept him alive all these years.”

    An interesting new theory. I never saw it like that and i still think it’s more the game playing with the twists of time.

    I mean, in “A Time to Every Purpose” you make a copy of a device in the past and smuggle it to the present, just to then be told that you stole a copy of the original. This even is boosted by Saids analysis that “one of you had to luck out”. Basically the game breaks the fourth wall here. While the mission is “specific to you”, it’s a fact that many other players already did this mission. As there were only a few (five?) originals, it’s quite logical that after a while only duplicates still can be found there.

    Now here we have that token and the broken ark. For the ark there are two variants of the story.

    Version 1: The original ark stood at its place and for some reason was broken in the last two millennia. So the player travels back, replaces the good ark with the broken one from present times, hides the good one behind some rocks, where for whatever reasons is neither found nor broken for over 2000 years, so he can recover it in the present time.

    Version 2: The ark was not broken by just standing there for over 2000 years. It can survive between some rocks, so why couldn’t it on its normal position? So the whole timetravel is basically about beating other timetravelers to it? But then, where did the broken ark come from, if the original one never broke?

    The token from Said is about the same thing, but more obvious. He tells you he had it forever but has no idea at all where he got it from. Now we know where he got it from, from the very same person he gave it to in the present day, sending it off to the past. He acquired it by pickpocketing, and considering the complete circle, i consider it unlikely that he actually forgot how he got it. At the same time, it’s very understandable that he doesn’t want to tell the truth, as it just puts him into more bad light. He just tries to Redeem himself, claiming that he had no idea that the ancient power source was to be used as a weapon and wants to make up for it. Disregarding how likely it is that he really had no idea, it’s very logical that he doesn’t want to come up with more non-legal activities he was involved in, including pickpocketing.

    The amusing question here is: where did the token he handed out and 2000 years earlier stole originally come from? The game shows a closed loop, both how he got the thing and how he gave it away. But at least in one timeline he must’ve gotten it from somewhere else as no player turned up before he gave it to him 2000 years later. Unlike with the Ark, there is no version given, where it might actually have originated from. Say hello to this nice little Paradoxon. 🙂

    “The fact that this mission takes place on a moving train start to end gives it a dynamic that you don’t get in most quests. It’s genuinely exciting.”

    Very true. I mean, in fact the train never will arrive anywhere, the driving animation will just go on forever.

    Legend has it that one player shortly after launch stayed in the mission for twelve hours, waiting for the train to arrive, so he’d see where the bomb would be delivered to. The legend includes that the developers spotted the oddity of the instance being open for 12 hours, thought it was a bug and decided to check out, just to find the player waiting there and not even being AFK. I have no idea how much of that is true, though.

    “Finally I’m able to take down Mr. Beardy with an oh-so-satisfying kick off the train. Geary chides me that I didn’t confirm the kill. Hey, I die every time I drop off this train, I think it’s safe to assume he’s desert food.”

    Argh! Now you jinxed it!

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NoOneCouldSurviveThat

    After you wrote this, be sure that we’ll be facing the same guy again in Issue 14 or 15. But this time the fight will be on a shaking and speeding motorboat on the Nile, in Crocodile infested waters! And it’s all your fault! *grin*

  2. Tyler F.M. Edwards March 2, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    That story is partially true, Sylow, but it’s actually a bit more interesting.

    The player was Moiren, a friend of mine. She stayed on the train for thirteen hours (the time frame the game gives you for how long it would take to reach its destination) while livestreaming the whole thing. It was a well-publicized event, and Joel Bylos accompanied her for the final hours of it.

    Of course, the train never went anywhere, but when thirteen hours had elapsed, Joel ominously declared it was time she face “the consequences of her actions” and proceeded to use his GM powers to port her to Tokyo. This was the first glimpse of Tokyo the public ever got — it was very obviously unfinished, but still impressive.

    Moiren still livestreams games, but not TSW, unfortunately.

  3. Sylow March 2, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    Thanks. I never caught that in detail and on a quick google search also didn’t get what you wrote. It’s interesting though, how little of it and how garbled up the story arrived to me. 😀

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