It’s time to both finish up Secret World’s Shadowy Forest and meet back up with Octavian. Despite only being a small part of the story in this zone, he still manages to make up a large footprint. He’s the “eagle,” one of three key figures destined to stand against the vampiress Mara and her boss Lilith. But he ain’t doing so hot…
There are many reasons to admire Octavian, but let’s start with his character model. MAN, I love this model. It drives me so crazy that Secret World doesn’t let you craft characters that look like this — heavyset, old, bearded, scarred — because if I could make this type of guy, I would play him to the end of days. That right there is my ideal male avatar. But it is sadly not to be.
I do think that Funcom stumbled a little bit with Octavian, mostly because the story abruptly throws him into the proceedings and then yanks him out of it almost as quickly. He would have been a great guy to get to know over the course of this entire zone, but no, his whole character arc here has to be squished into two cutscenes. You don’t even do any missions for him, for Pete’s sake!
Still, it’s not a waste. We meet Octavian lying on his couch like a psyche patient, snapping for us to go away. He’s a Roman centurian who was blessed/cursed with immortality by Lilith and has now lived for 2,000 years. As a 70-year-old man who limps around the place. He’s haunted by his failures, by the perceived uselessness of fighting and struggling. He just wants it to be all over.
So how do you get him to change his mind?
Why, that’s simple, my dears. You literally bait his sort-of girlfriend so that wolves try to eat her, prompting him to shake off his apathy and realize that there is something worth fighting for. And if there is one something, then perhaps there are a lot of somethings.
I want it on the record that this whole baiting segment is a complete jerk move and I kind of resent the devs making me do it without any other option. Geez, Secret World, take a cue from modern adventure games and allow us different solutions for the same problem! You don’t have to call in the wolves every time something isn’t going your way, just saying.
Always liked this moment. It’s soft and tender, a contrast between young and old, beautiful and aged, optimistic and defeatist. The decision to frame the hands in this shot shows — not tells — us of their relationship. That it’s something more than casual friendship but not necessarily romantic love. There’s a bond here, a deep one, and it’s what ultimately drives Octavian to doing the right thing. Not for me or what I stand for, he says, but for her.
And that’s it for Shadowy Forest! On to the final stretch of Transylvania, the Carpathian Fangs. I took a few moments to look at the map and marvel once again at the sheer detail that the artists put into these maps. Have you ever noticed that each region has its own map style? And each dungeon as well? It’s the only MMO I know that does this.
One thing I’m doing with this playthrough is giving my character a new outfit every time she enters a new zone. So it’s out with the hotpants and leather jacket, and in with something a little more appropriate for the snowy weather! Nothing original, but it looks warmer and cozy.