(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!)
The Madness of Men (action mission)
Amparo — the Council of Venice operative — is waxing philisophical on all of the “plagues of Egypt” that are happening in the area. There certainly is a theme going on, I must admit. Darkness, locusts, fire from heaven, the works. But she attributes these events as man-made rather than supernatural.
Anyway, the order of the day is to look into the fire fissures that have erupted in the desert, and since you can’t really kill fire, there are conveniently located fire-related mobs wandering nearby. Fire-guys, fire sprites, lava golems, and one big dude that pops out of a portal. Oh? And in case you were wondering if the lava — as in many MMOs — is there just for show, no, it will really hurt you. Don’t step in the lava, folks.
Signal Effect (side mission)
This is one truly annoying little squib of a mission. You might think not, at first, since it’s all in al-Meryah and contains no fighting, but no, it’s a time-sucker. Basically, you have to locate four satellite dishes on the rooftops around the town and realign them to pick up a signal that the Council of Venice reported. Lots of platforming here, with me getting frustrated trying to figure out (a) where exactly each dish was and (b) how to get up on any given roof. Not every building has a front door and stairs, because why make it easy?
And because this mission doesn’t know when to quit, after all of this you still have to head out into the desert to hunt down the signal box. Don’t really know what it is, in the end, but the Templar leader Richard sends me a recruitment notice in the mission debriefing.
A Lion in the Streets (action mission)
Amparo as a character wasn’t done any favors by Funcom in the hair department. I don’t know what they were going for, but “spiky afro” probably wasn’t exactly it. It’s so very bad that makes me a little ashamed for whoever designed her. Plus, as a person, she’s rather tepid.
She talks about how the town is dying — people are being abducted at night and turned into cultists, and at this point you’d think everyone would get together and post guards or something. Guess not. This intro somehow leads me to the Hotel Wahid, although nobody said anything about the place before. I’m operating on the theory that my character has a full script of the game and can read ahead to know where to go.
This is Said’s HQ, but for the most part it’s the stomping ground for a whole lot of ghouls. Not sure how ghouls — and jinn — entered into the picture, but straight-up monsters is a refreshing change of pace from cultists. From here on out, it’s a two-pronged endeavor: free the captives and kill with extreme prejudice.
I don’t mind the action, as the ghouls are pretty easy to take out. The mission even leads me into the hotel basement, a rather nondescript place that does have one semi-creepy moment when the lights flicker from on to emergency red.
Scorched Earth (side mission)
Very easy quest to take out some cultists and their scattered camps. Nothing to write home about, truly.
The High Cost of Dying (action mission)
With all of the al-Merayah quests out of the way, it’s time to give some more attention to our favorite mummy, Said. I head back to the hotel, where Said mentions that there’s a small-g god nearby, a locust god named Arbeh. Want to take him out? Sure, my expression says. I don’t say a lot with my mouth. I still think the bees have my tongue.
Instead of going toe-to-toe with Arbeh, instead I have to go tomb robbing to assemble an artifact that will somehow banish him. This means a trip into a nearby Egyptian ruin, which is all sorts of neat. Lots of golems and locusts to fight, but nothing too tough. I found myself taking a lot of the pictures of the place like the super-powered tourist I am.
The Eighth Plague (side mission)
Near the locust temple is a shell of a dead bug which grants this mission. If you’re the type that likes to make a list of the easiest-to-complete missions in the game for later farming, then add this one — all you have to do is kill 15 nearby locusts and the quest automatically completes. Easy peasy.
A Shadow over Egypt (action mission)
The second (and last, I assume) part of the Arbeh mission chain, Said sends me scuttling off to the Temple of Aten, which he calls a “gauche tourist trap.” I do so love this guy. Could listen to him talking for hours. We really need to get him and Montag in the same room at some point.
The Temple is, indeed, more tourist trap than serious den of evil, but that hasn’t stopped locust cultists from sealing it up with barriers and empowering Arbeh within. This is an action mission that requires a little thought, since you have to figure out how to get past the barriers. That takes killing four specific mobs to get their buffs — nothing too difficult.
The interior of the temple is nice, but I kind of expected a little more detail from the devs here. Then again, this whole set piece is for a single mission, so I can understand not wanting to blow a month’s budget on the place. Arbeh ended up being a tricky fight, especially when I went in with guns blazing before reading his buffs. After getting smacked to the ground, I decided to fight smart and use that temple artifact to strip him of his magical protection. Took a bit of frantic running around, debuffing, and lots of attacks (the dude packs one heck of a shield), but he went down on the second try without much trouble.
Geary gave me one of her sardonic pats on the back, saying that all I really did was swat an Old Testament bug. Thanks, boss. Remind me why I work for you again? Oh yeah, the amusement factor.