(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!)
Bugged (side mission)
Clearing up a couple of missions on the north side of the Black Pyramid, I get the marching orders to exterminate some locust nests with extreme prejudice. Actually, the game often presents these quests as initiative on your part instead of someone telling you, “Go here, do this.” Maybe my character just really doesn’t like bugs? Doesn’t believe in a live and let live kind of world?
Not a hard mission. A tedious one, to be sure, lots of killing bugs and hives, but nothing hard. I only got in trouble when I accidentally tagged about three hives in a row and got literally swarmed by giant locusts. I valiantly put up a fight, but there’s only so much I can do, y’know?
Ghoul, Well Done (side mission)
Out of all of The Secret World’s enemy groups, I can’t say that I’m particularly up to speed on the ghouls. I’m not even sure what they are, other than stock monsters. Did someone make them? Are they filth related? Bah, no time to google it, I have an article to write!
Our fascinating story begins with the above ghoul totem, which is apparently six third-grade art class sessions more sophisticated than one would normally expect from ghouls. Someone has been organizing and training these ghouls in deadly artcraft — but who?
Turns out, a grumpy jinn. Grumpy jinns are the cause of a lot of problems in this zone, so that’s not so much of a surprise as a, “oh, there’s another dead Orochi.” Just take it for granted.
Points of Impact (side mission)
It’s time for a little rant about one of the most frustrating aspects of TSW. We all praise the game’s storytelling, strong characters, and voice acting, and that’s all deserved — at least in my opinion. But it’s not perfect, and probably the place that it starts to come apart is in the conclusion.
Every quest is a three-act story (more or less). The cutscene — or text box — serves as the introduction, delivering the backstory, setting up the field, and giving us motivation. Then there’s the action on the part of the player to complete the mission. And then there’s the conclusion — or, more often than not, no conclusion at all. No resolution. Just interesting questions and situations that are scarcely explained. It’s lazy and frustrating and it always makes me feel like I *missed* something or that I have to go to outside sources to find that resolution.
This side mission is a good example. I find a weird meteor impact in the desert and am told to investigate other landing points for something “sinister.” The meteor in fact turns out to be a whole lot of lava golems that have crash landed. I kill about eight of them and then run off to warn the nearest statue-child about their existence. And then… the mission is over. No closing text — and no answers.
It’s a small mission, but what’s going on here? Are these lava golems from outer space? Weapons sent by the Black Pharaoh? A botched science experiment? If I’ve killed them all, why am I warning the statue-child? There’s just a big hole where explanation should be. I guess we’re supposed to fill in the blank with our own ideas and thank the game for being so magnanimous.
In all fairness, TSW has seemed to be getting better with more definite conclusions and better explanations, going so far as to occasionally including ending cutscenes. But nothing infuriates me more than a mission that shudders to an awkward halt with a form letter when you turn it in via the HUD.
OK. Enough ranting. Let’s move on.
The Dark Places (action mission)
It’s time to meet another one of the stone children: Thutmose. He’s the oldest son and, from what I can tell, a complete drip. Kind of wonder why these kids haven’t gone completely insane from a thousand or so years being trapped in statues with only their siblings to talk to. My kids can’t go 20 minutes without getting into fights if they’re in the same room.
Anyway, Thutmose is dismayed that a bunch of filth ghosts are starting to make trouble nearby and enlists my help to cut them off at the head. Guess that’s going to take a lot of bullets.
/Syp puts on the Ghostbusters theme. WHO YOU GONNA CALL?
I have to hand it to this mission: It really surprised me. I expected to just go blasting through waves of mobs, but from the start, it turned out to be very unusual. For starters, I was tasked to go to a high point and scope things out with binoculars. The second I did that, the game startled me by throwing a large bird creature at me that knocked me off the perch and down into the canyon. Follow that up with an onslaught of mobs that ended up killing me within a minute — and that’s all part of the mission progression.
I had to find help in the spirit world. Fortunately, there was a “ghostly warrior” hanging out nearby. Wonder what he does in his off days.
It doesn’t get any less surprising from here. Using portals, I hop back and forth from the land of the dead to the land of the living, winning myself a magical sword that somehow rallies a quartet of identical ghost warriors to join me in my crusade against the spirits.
Then it’s a rematch of the battle that I first lost, only this time I have a full party with me. We plow through an entire liquor cabinet worth of spirits, slicing, dicing, and shooting. It all ends with a showdown against a mini-Flappy, but by then it was ridiculously easy. Way to keep me on my toes, game!
The Eye of Horus (action mission)
With the Black Pharaoh raising an army and the statues challenged with waning power and a distinct lack of mobility, it once again rests upon me to save the world. At least Thutmose promises that if I can craft a sigil, he’ll lend me some of his power. We hope that it will be useful power and not, say, the ability to eat pop-tarts without gaining weight.
This mission took me to the Reformatory, just another ugly grey-and-tan-and-sandy temple with a lot of Atenists, filth, and nary a food court to be found. Again, this isn’t a particularly difficult mission — it is very straight-forward — but it does embrace the tedious side, as you have to assassinate a string of specific mobs all around the place. At least I’m having fun with my AoE field build that I’ve been tweaking. My kingdom for one more passive ability slot!
Afterward, Geary said that the Illuminati are supporting the statues not just because of aligned interests, but because their desperation makes for a good opportunity to gain leverage later on. They’ll owe us, big-time.