The Secret Adventures: Mummies and mystery (Scorched Desert #1)

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(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!)

Questions and Answers (main story mission)

  • As instructed, I went back to Geary’s office for a little debrief. My sarcastic boss was in full swing, saying that I needed to sit on the news of the Engine and that lumies were out trying to recruit Cassie to the cause.
  • I love how she gives me a compliment, says “high-five,” and I raise my hand as if to get one for real.
  • The second I leave the office, I’m knocked out and transported somewhere else in the Labyrinth. Crap, am I in trouble?
  • It’s a room with a chair, a desk, and a large monitor. When I sit down, a severe-looking lady walks in and tells me that i’m Questions and Answers, which I kind of assumed was the torture department of the Illuminati. She says I failed, but so did everyone else, and that to avoid the room again I needed to remain vigilant.
  • Seriously lady? I succeeded at EVERYTHING. I had practically zero ground support from the Illuminati. By my calculations, I should’ve been promoted to boss by now.
  • She leaves behind a report — on purpose, I assume — that points to an agent in the organization who is under suspicion. Maybe this was a sly way of sending me on assignment? I head out to investigate.
  • This is cool, I always wanted to see more of the Labyrinth (RIP Bowie!). Don’t mind me, fellas, Secret Agent Syp is on the case!
  • Place is a little sterile for my tastes but sharp-looking even so.
  • Poking around on the poor sod’s computer, I find a mention to a delivery van and something heading off to Cairo.
  • The van (parked outside) takes me to a warehouse, another one of those Indiana Jones places filled with box mazes, dead Illuminati agents, and, oh yeah, mummies. When the lights go out, the mummies come out to playyyyy…
  • After that nonsense, I head back to Illuminati HQ to report. There’s a lot of delivery traffic going into Cairo and the group doesn’t like that. It wants me to head into that mess, see what to make of it. Also need to talk to the Council of Venice. If I must.
  • Little segue here as we head into Egypt. Particularly for your first time playing the game, this is a big moment. New England is really neat but by the time you head to Egypt, you’ve been on Solomon Island for hours and hours and it seems like it will never end. Emerging from the foggy gloom of the island to the harsh light of the Egyptian desert is almost a relief. Doesn’t seem quite as spooky, either.

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The Siege of al-Merayah (action mission)

  • Of course, this being TSW and all, Egypt isn’t some sort of relaxing resort. Coming up out of Agartha, I hear the sounds of gunfire as the good guys are fighting against waves of cultists. Hey, at least there are more good guys with weapons here than there were in New England!
  • Shani is there to greet me and lay out the situation. The Marya are the equivalent of the Wabinaki, I guess, the long-standing warriors that have held off evil (in this case, the Atenists) for centuries. Now, there is open war.
  • In the background of Shani’s cutscene, you can see Nassir joking it up with other soldiers. Missed that the first time through!
  • Nothing too complex here; this mission is all about killing, killing, and more killing of the cultists and the villagers that they brought over to their side.
  • It’s more than a little creepy to be out in the broad daylight and see cultists kneeling in worship before flaming human torches. Feel bad for all those people.

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Supply Run, Too

  • I guess I’m starting to see a lot more similarities between Egypt and New England now that I think about it. Here’s yet another quest to round up much-needed supplies for the survivors who are under siege by the forces of the night. Well, the forces of the sun, but it’s an evil, black sun, so that doesn’t quite count as happy daylight.
  • One thing I like about TSW as an adventure game is that a lot of the time it uses straight-forward, sensible logic. For example, I have to pick up a lot of gas, food, and water in this mission. So instead of looking under rocks and in weird, out-of-the way places that some devs like to stash stuff, I head to the gas station and houses, and they’re there in plenty.
  • This mission is a good excuse to poke around the suburbs a little. Not that the houses are that interesting, especially compared to New England, but it’s something.
  • Another thing I miss from New England? Filth zombies with their larger vocabularies. All of these bad guys just shout “ATEN!” and then lunge at you with sledgehammers. Or they stand on rooftops shouting “ATEN!” like Aten was slightly deaf and elderly. “ATEN, WOULD YOU LIKE CRACKERS WITH YOUR SOUP?”

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Headhunter (side mission)

  • The Marya need to replenish their ranks, and as a newly arrived stranger from God-knows-where, I’m in the best position to do just that.
  • My recruitment drive goes bad: one guy is already infected by the Filth, one is burned on a stake, one is found hanging in a room, and one — finally — is alive and agrees to join up.
  • In the room with the hanged guy, there’s a box of expired dates. From 1942. Indiana Jones reference, I’m guessing (“bad dates”). What’s funny is that you can eat one and then you’ll get a food poisoning debuff that will eventually kill you. Oh, you can cancel the debuff but where’s the fun in that?

The Traitor (sabotage mission)

  • Egypt, you want me to hate you so soon? A sabotage mission right out of the literal gate? Ugh. Fine. Whatever.
  • Anyway, Shani is understandably upset that someone’s betrayed the Marya and fed intel to the cultists. I’m to root them out. Maybe by moonwalking across pressure plates? Nah, that comes later.
  • Shani: “He told me that if I wanted to understand humanity, I need only to read the comments section on YouTube.” So wise. So true.
  • So one of the first tasks here is to find a way into a locked-up building. I’m doing all of these flips and tricky jumps to get on top of walls to get on canopies to make my way to the building… and when I get there I see a ladder that goes right down to the ground on the side. I’m such a dope.
  • After switching off some cameras — nice to have that option — I find a polaroid of Said the mummy.
  • Two more houses to negotiate entrance. One requires reaching through a window to turn off laser fencing, the other has me running to the roof to take a sniper shot of the traitor. Got the guy dead to rights.

The Secret Adventures: The sword in the stone (Blue Mountain #9)

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(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!)

Signs and Symbols (side mission)

  • I’m pushing hard to clean up the remainder of the quests in Blue Mountain so I can jump back into the main storyline and then head off to Egypt. Stick with me here!
  • Near the Blue Mountain mine is a stone jutting out with strange Wabinaki symbols on it, and it’s not the only one. Time to go check them all out!
  • Finding all of the symbols (not hard) leads me back — once again — to the Wabinaki settlement. Man this game must really, really want players to go there. A little light reading in the library here reveals that the symbols are signs of high-risk areas — not quite as powerful as Illuminati symbols, Geary dryly notes.

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Treasure Hunt (side mission)

  • We start out by seeing an Orochi soldier in his natural state: Stone-cold dead after having done something really stupid. In this case, going treasure hunting on a beach filled with zombies and creatures from the black lagoon.
  • A developer got really carried away with this mission, because it’s pretty much Beeping: The Epic Quest. Yes, you have to use that radar/beeping mechanic, and yes, it goes on forever. I had to find 10 different objects all over the beach, and by the end my head was quite throbbing with a headache by all of those beeps.
  • BEEP BEEP BEEPBEEPBEEP
  • This is another one of what I’m going to term an “elevated side mission” — one that really should’ve been a main mission of a sort. It’s somewhat long and ends with a pretty cool battle with you and an earth golem fighting against the sea creatures.
  • And that’s it! All done with the standard Blue Mountain quests, save for the Tyler Freeborn series (which I cannot do since it’s QL10). I’ll have to come back for those at a later date.
  • To celebrate, I jetted off to London to buy myself a new outfit and drop off some of my inventory. Also — taco stocking! Can’t have enough tacos in TSW, no sirree.

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Dawning of an Endless Night (tiers 12-18)

  • Back to the Franklin Manor, where a painting, when touched, opens a secret door to Edward’s private study. It’s your typical “crazy man” den: lots of notes all of the walls, scrawled messages that refer to “honeyed ancestors,” and a ghost — Ed — who likes to hang out in here. Feeling bad for himself, no doubt.
  • Ed’s notes are all about the Blue Ridge Mine, so I jog over and reaquaint myself with this lovely place. This time I’m using the elevator to go down into the deep shaft, presumably where they drilled where Man Was Not Meant To Tread.
  • It’s really, really dark down here, so the mining helmet comes in useful once again (seriously, once you get this item never, ever ditch it!). Gradually I make my way through the inky corridors, past some nasty shades, and into a cavern where…

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  • …Loki/Beaumout is already waiting. With Excalibur. And a chip on his shoulder.
  • Loki monologues a bit, but the important thing that he mentions is that we’re standing in the middle of an Engine — one of the devices that makes the world spin and does other amazing stuff. Then he stabs it and ushers in the start of the end of the world.
  • The Filth takes over me, I black out, and then… I’m on the ridge above the mine (uh, how?) where Ami and her daughter are trying to revive me. Ami can feel the world unraveling but doesn’t know what to do — only Old Joe does, and that family rift between the two is going to keep either party from teaming up without some intervention.
  • Me. I’m the intervention. Syp, professional family therapist and world-saver.
  • Old Joe seems pretty open to reconciliation. He explains how the tribe split when some stood up to the mining corporation back in the 60s or 70s, how Ami grew up in the shadow of a broken family. He also said that the wards that both the Wabinaki and the Vikings put into place 1,000 years ago have been broken, that the tribe failed to maintain them, and that they must be repaired.
  • Me. I’m the repairman. Syp, professional warder. Also, I do gutters.
  • That means it’s fun trip time through all of the Solomon Island zones to find and activate the wards. At least this time the game gives me allies, as undead thanes pop up to help me fight off waves of draug.
  • The only downside to doing the three wards is that the ensuing fights take freaking for…ever. There are multiple waves and way too much downtime between each wave.

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  • The wards are repaired but the main threat needs to be neutralized or else it’s all for naught. I meet back up with the Wabinaki in their secret club cave, where they’re patching up their relationships and filling the pool full of Ancestor Power(tm) for me to drink.
  • Kyra ends the whole meeting with a hearty “Go team!” which cracked me up.
  • The showdown with Beaumont went a lot more smoothly than the first time I got here. This encounter can kind of kick your butt if you don’t pay attention (and kill) the adds, but this time I whittled him down easily. I’m loving my pistol/elem build.
  • Right as I’m about to claim Excalibur and presumably sit on the throne of Camelot, a portal sucks me away. Cassie shows up in the room afterward, strutting by Beaumont to take the sword for herself. “It’s not you, it’s me,” she says, kicking Beaumont in the face. Who or what Cassie is has always been a deep mystery to the game, and while there are many theories I’m not sure if one has been proven yet to be the definitive answer.
  • Anyway, I wake up in the Dreaming Prison, which initially looks like a mountain expedition camp.
  • Notes lying scattered around tell of the expedition, of which “Belmont” was a part, climbing the mountains and finding something called “Shambala.”
  • The cavern is then littered with little “memories” — ghosts and buildings. A voice tells me that it wants to grant me a gift, and that some people have used that gift for wealth, language, or beauty. I can be so much more than that, of course.

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  • For the record, when the moment came to choose — one of the genuinely few branching choices in this game — I rejected the gift. The first time through I did mixed (accepted once, rejected twice). The voice wasn’t that happy with me and spat me back out into Blue Mountain.
  • Geary called, a little upset that I went totally AWOL for a bit there, and tells me to get back to NYC.

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The Uncertainty Principle (action mission)

  • One last Solomon Island mission (for now). I double back to Moose and pick up the quest to get my first auxiliary weapon.
  • Moose has been tinkering about with weapons (apparently his former life as a financial analyst helped him with this, numbers and all) but doesn’t quite know what to do with a “quantum core” that Edgar sent to him.
  • At first I get to experiment with creating some of Moose’s weird weapons using Edgar’s quantum core. My favorite is the battery acid rocket launcher and why can’t I play the rest of the game using this weapon already?
  • I like how the quest keeps telling you to kill 50 enemies with each weapon, which is way too many, but then each weapon ends up breaking down after the 4th or 5th fire. It’s a nice little psyche-out.
  • The quest eventually leads to Edgar, who is shown being some sort of instinctive mechanical genius even as his mind isn’t quite all there. His ending rant, where he quotes schoolkids that made fun of him and calls himself a “retard” in order to rob the word of its sting, is one of the more poignant moments in the game. You can sense the sadness, the anger, and the vindication that lurks in this man.
  • The mission concludes in a series of battles with super-charged golems and one inexplicable blue dude (Tobias Funke?) who keeps showing up. Who’s the blue dude? What’s his story? Pshaw, this game never feels like it owes you an explanation. If you’re lucky, maybe one day it’ll give you one.
  • And after all that, I can’t equip the quantum bracer that I just won, as I need 10 quantum skill for it. Well, that’ll be a while. Into the bank you go!

The Secret Adventures: Literal FedEx quests (Blue Mountain #8)

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(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!)

A Delivery for the Departed (side mission)

  • There’s a painting in the back of a truck that was apparently on its way to the Franklin Manor to fall under the care of Elizabeth. Probably a good idea, since it’s haunted and all. She’s used to that sort of thing.
  • Yes, it’s a literal FedEx quest to bring a package from point A to B. Whether or not you enjoy the irony, you’re going to do it anyway.
  • The catch here is that every so often (three times in total) a “jilted bride” shows up to attack. She’s not tough, but she places a crippling speed debuff on you so you can’t just outrun her. Yanks you right out of sprint, too.

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Echoes in Eternity (side mission)

  • If you wade out into TSW’s uniformly hip-deep ocean to Skull Island — because why wouldn’t you want to? — you’ll find a military radio. Guess this was leftovers of a failed military mission, because special ops doesn’t usually include training courses dealing with c’thulu wannabes.
  • Time to go round up all of the other survivors of the team, and by survivors I of course mean “corpses.” You never, ever find people alive in these missions. So how are we going to find them? Oh yes, it’s time for the wonderful beeping radar minigame! BEEP BEEP BEEP!
  • Also, BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!
  • BEEP!
  • I like how the sea monsters are hanging out on the fishing boat as if they’re considering a change of career from “murder” to “blue-collar fisherman.” Maybe they just want to kick back with a beer like us normal folks!
  • True story: I was trying so hard to get a first-person screenshot of a zombie mob I hadn’t seen before that I got killed before realizing how low my health was.
  • Between all of the killing and finding the dead soldiers, this could’ve been a full mission in its own right if it had a full cutscene before it.

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Out of Our League (action mission)

  • You know what’s something I like about TSW’s setup? You can mount (sprint) while you’re moving. Most MMOs make you come to a stop while you “cast” your mount. I appreciate that here.
  • So whoops, I missed one quest in the Wabinaki village. Paul Gamelin talks about how there’s some… thing out in the fog that is huge and way beyond his abilities to kill. So go kill it, me!
  • What’s there to say about this mission? It’s pretty much just killing stuff on a beach until you work your way up the chain of command to the big c’thulu dude. It would’ve been more impressive had I never seen that model before, but since I’ve been fighting these guys since the early missions of Kingsmouth, it’s somewhat lost its ability to impress from its visuals.

Points of Interest (side mission)

  • There’s a ratty brochure on the coast that talks about the Wabinaki tribe and their various structures around Blue Mountain, which is all the excuse my character needs to take a break from saving the world and play tourist. Even though I’ve seen all of these sites. Several times.
  • Really, it’s kind of a weird place to put a breadcrumb quest, since it’s far to the north of these areas and presumably most characters would have visited them already. Oh well, easy XP is easy XP.

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Postmarked Atlanta (side mission)

  • Ack, one last trip back into that accursed bog. Nothing like the fun of shades force-dragging you into Filth-infested water over and over again!
  • This mission, like so many others, is one where the original people died trying to do something important, so it’s up to me to continue their quest/experiment/folly. In this case, it’s killing a bunch of Filth dudes for samples.
  • Gotta say, as much as I hate the bog, that Ender Thing model above is so well done. That’s like a nightmare come to life.
  • I love how this mission ends with you taking a cleansing shower at the CDC camp. Like washing off the stink of those bog trips!

11 tips I’d suggest when starting out in The Secret World

Jacob on Twitter just asked me, “Just got The Secret World. I don’t know anyone that plays it. Sounds interesting from hearing you talk about it. Got any tips?”

Sure. I have tips. I’m sure I even posted some on this blog at some point, but in the interest of helping out anyone who is picking up TSW and feeling a little overwhelmed at the get-go, here’s a few pointers off of the top of my head:

  1. Right after the tutorial you’ll get the chance to try out weapons and pick your starting set. Make sure you pick up two weapons (you can have two different ones at any given time for two strong finisher skills). Worry about synergy later, but make sure you at least have two.
  2. Need a newbie friendly weapon? It’s hard to go wrong with assault rifle or blades. They’re pretty popular.
  3. Sprint is your mount — hotkey it and make sure you head back to your HQ every once in a while to pay to upgrade it for its speed bonus.
  4. A good starting rotation will have a “builder” (an attack that builds resources for ALL weapons equipped), an AOE attack (because there are a lot of packs), a finisher for your first weapon (that uses up resources), and a finisher for your second weapon (ditto).
  5. Pick up all side quests you find and methodically work through hubs. Pay attention to quest difficulty (it’ll be announced relative to your level next to the title when you pick it up). In Kingsmouth you’ll want to do the quests that lead you to the police station and then do all of the quests there from Moose, Andy, and the sheriff.
  6. You can only have one main quest, one overarching story quest (blue icon), and three side quests at any given time. Grabbing a new one to replace will put the previous one on hold (and “bookmark” your location).
  7. Focus AP initially on filling out the inner ring of your two weapons. You can create solid builds with inner ring skills. Focus SP on leveling up equally your two weapons and all of your talisman slots.
  8. Quests can be repeatable (on a timer), so make note of easy ones or ones with good rewards you want to do later.
  9. If you get stuck on a mission — and you will, especially investigation ones — there are several websites and forums out there that can walk you through. It’s up to you to decide how much you want to lean on others vs. yourself for problem-solving.
  10. Be flexible. TSW keeps throwing you curveballs and challenges how you play and experience MMOs. It’s very much not a typical game. It’s sometimes incredibly hard but you can get through it.
  11. Type “/chat join sanctuary” every time you log in to join Sanctuary chat — this has great people and advice.

The Secret Adventures: CDC vs. Orochi (Blue Mountain #7)

(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!)

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The Filth (action mission)

  • I kind of feel bad for Marianne Chen, the sole CDC survivor. Her entire team’s been wiped out, she’s stick in the middle of Filth central, and she’s not part of any organization that’s really in the know. Out of all of the characters on Solomon Island, I’d vote to airlift her out first. And because of the suit, we don’t even know what she really looks like.
  • She could use a hug. D’AWWW.
  • Time to head back into the Moon Bog, one of my least favorite areas of the game, to find Chen’s colleagues. All of the water is Filth-infected (and gives you a mighty debuff) so you have to avoid it, and there are mobs that lasso you in left and right. It’s a lot of annoying packed into one space.
  • One of Chen’s now-deceased coworkers had the bright idea of stopping up the outflow pipes in the bog with drum lids, because that’s government science at work. Why not? Plug away, Syp!
  • So we do learn a couple of things from this mission. The first is that the CDC was sent in to assist Orochi because of “government cooperation,” but the CDC was in over its head from the get-go. The second is that the Filth came from the quarry, which is owned by the Orochi.
  • It’s really hard to put together a timeline of how everyone terrible happened on this island all at once — the fog, the Filth, and the other various supernatural uprisings. Separately I can roll with it, but all together it’s almost comical how nutty apocalyptic everything has gotten on this small patch of land. Oh well, for the good of the game!

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The Orochi Group (sabotage mission)

  • CDC’s Chen is downright miffed at how Orochi has used her team as cover and then not even bothered to help them when the Filth went down. I find it interesting how these intro cutscenes seldom actually ask our characters to do anything — to assign them a mission. It’s more a story vignette to which our character responds by making up their own quest. So she’s upset with Orochi and I go, huh, I’m going to break into their compound! Just because!
  • Like pretty much every sabotage mission in this game, this quest is pretty annoying — especially the first time through. The Orochi compound is full of drones and troops, all of which will one-shot you into unconsciousness after which your body will be dragged into a nearby steel shipping crate. It used to be a lot worse before Funcom added a visual to the front of the drones showing where they were facing and how far their vision goes.
  • You can putz around with the front gate lock by getting a code, but I much prefer getting on top of a nearby van and then jumping — with my motorcycle — right over the fence. It’s a little movie moment, right there.
  • The CDC hazmat suit I got a few missions earlier comes in handy here. To get the scientists to vacate the lab, I gas them from the outside, then stroll in with my awesome suit. Inside I find a holding cell that’s been broken, presumably by whatever Filth-infected being was inside.
  • There’s more dodging and at least one more tricky spot where you have to lure a lady out of a van so you can go inside and use her satellite connection (what — you already have a phone and are in constant contact with your faction? Pshaw to that logic!).
  • Geary notes that the Orochi here are trying to weaponize the Filth, which is silly because that’s like putting a chainsaw on a nuclear bomb. It’s already plenty deadly on its own, thank you.
  • And we’re not done with the camp, because in one of the Orochi’s vans is not one but two additional quests. Get used to jumping that fence, Syp!

The Filth Amendment (action mission)

  • I love me a good quest title pun, and this one is sublime.
  • Let’s wrap up the two quests in the Orochi van, shall we? The first one kicks off with a faceless call across the internet to some muckity-muck in Orochi command (Samael?). He makes some vague threats and condescension, but seriously, you’re in charge of an organization staffed by non-mobile corpses. I don’t have a lot of respect for that.
  • The voice wants me to track down Subject Zero, the Filth guy that escaped from that holding cell up above.
  • This is much easier said than done. Subject Zero is somewhere right in the middle of Filth central — the quarry — and that place is downright nasty. Mobs just everywhere.
  • After a lot of fighting, I lure Zero out and we have a civil talk. With guns. And elemental Thor hammers. And lots of blood. Good news is that I walked away from it and he did not.

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Win Win (investigation mission)

  • Orochi voice is happy that I took care of Zero but is downright curious who let him go and if that someone was on the inside or outside of the camp. He suggests I dig into it and see what I can find, forwarding the data to both him and the Illuminati. Everyone wins except me, I guess. I got to stay in this stupid camp for a little bit longer.
  • Do you feel like a hacker? Well, you probably won’t after this mission but it will stretch your brain some. The goal here is to dig some info out of the computers, which means solving a string of number logic puzzles. You know, “guess which number is next in this sequence” sort of things. I don’t mind these but they’re not my favorite.
  • There’s a whole series of those puzzles, so you can either spend an hour figuring them out or ten seconds looking them up on the internet. Your call. The latter isn’t as personally fulfilling, but oh well.
  • Story-wise, it looks as though there was a mole who was trying to pass along info about Third Age objects to a “she” in Egypt. Man, I need to get to Egypt soon!

The Secret Adventures: I’m dead and that’s a good thing (Blue Mountain #6)

(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!)

Funeral Crasher (investigation mission)

  • OK, how great is that title? I love me a good quest title.
  • So our third and final mission at the Franklin Manor is an investigation one. Eleanor is a little concerned for the ghosts, as they (and the cats) have been spooked since a recent storm. Time to dig out the Ouija board to talk to (pause for dramatic effect) THE OTHER SIIIIIIDE.
  • The board spits out a bunch of letters and numbers that point to an Orochi van down the road. Orochi. Never going to end well with these folks. Wonder how many corpses I’ll stumble over today?
  • The van mentions that Orochi was somehow trying to test the Filth on the spirits. Because THAT’S a good idea that shouldn’t have gotten laughed out of the room. Dude, the Orochi deserve every corpse they get. Idiots.
  • Then the ghosts get even cleverer by using the van’s headlights to blink morse code at me. Oh yes, this mission is a little famous for the morse code bit. Don’t ghosts know how to text?
  • So doing a little deduction and decrypting, the code mentions a lady’s path, and next to the mansion is a path with a girl’s name. The tricky part here — and what hung me up the first time through — is that you have to be dead to progress to the next part (since you’re dealing with spirits and all). TSW loves to create excuses for you to kill yourself.
  • From there it’s a relatively easy task to head over to the Franklin Manor’s masuleum and banish the angry spirit.
  • Instead of jumping back into my body, I explore around a bit as a ghost. Never did that before, and boy, Franklin Manor is the place that you want to visit as a spectral tourist. You can find all of the ghosts of the people killed, from the kid hobbling around in the yard to the servant locked in the cellar to the hippie near the graves. Can’t believe this was my first time noticing all of this.

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Detritus Prime (side mission)

  • This side mission, near to the Franklin Manor, looks to involve completing a gadget that will allow the user to control those filth golems. Man, wouldn’t that be handy for the rest of the game?
  • Instantly I am attacked by one of the filth-controlled people. Instead of fighting back, I just listened to her rambling for a while because I haven’t fully done that before. She keeps apologizing for attacking me while going off on the price of milk and eggs. “I’m so sorrEEEEE” It’s still dang eerie.
  • After gathering a couple of parts, I turn on the remote and gain access to my very own golem — Detritus Prime. Honestly, it’s not as cool as you might hope. For one thing, you don’t control him so much as follow him through the swamp and keep him from getting killed. So… an escort mission.
  • And what do you get for all of this? The golem ends up going haywire and you have to kill it anyway. Well, that was a bust.

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Breaking News (side mission)

  • See, it’s not that I go out of my way to pick on the Orochi for being dead, it’s just that you can’t go 20 feet in The Secret World without tripping over another one of their corpses. I still feel that Funcom unintentionally made them out to be such a joke that even the visit to their HQ in Tokyo wasn’t enough to restore their status as a serious player.
  • So, another corpse, this one in the middle of the road. Apparently the Orochi were trying to chase down a news van because of some sort of media breach. Gee, what could the news be reporting on in this small quiet island?
  • The goal of the mission is to retrieve datacard chips from three of the news crew’s bodies. One’s been eaten by a wendigo, one’s in the middle of Ak’ab territory, and one’s become corrupted by the filth. Feel really bad for the news crew, I do.
  • Turns out that the Buzzing had something to do with the “media breach.” On the one undamaged card it reads, “The Buzzing appreciates all you do. The world is dying, it’s true!”

Maine Chainsaw Massacre (side mission)

  • Everyone has to do this mission at least once because it is such a joy. Basically, you find a chainsawed zombie on a truck and think, “Why not?”
  • From there you run around with a chainsaw one-shotting zombies left and right. It’s a thing of beauty, that chainsaw — and it’s a crying shame that the auxiliary weapon you get later on isn’t as powerful.
  • COME GET SOME.

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Up in Flames (side mission)

  • Another nearby side mission that’s really easy to check off the list. This one has you investigating a burning tunnel, which is the game’s way of explaining why it’s not letting you do a full loop around Solomon Island back to the start.
  • The fun thing here is that you get to find, equip, and keep a full CDC hazmat suit, which is one of my most favorite costumes in the game. Even better, it comes in handy for missions that require a gas mask of some kind!

The Secret Adventures: Ghostbusting (Blue Mountain #5)

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(You can follow my complete playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page! WARNING: Spoilers and stories ahead!)

The Ghosts and the Darkness (sabotage mission)

  • I know, I know, it’s been a long, LONG time since I’ve worked on this playthrough series. Nothing against TSW, just got out of the habit of it. So I’m going to try to complete a mission here and there to work up these posts.
  • So where did I leave off? Blue Mountain somewhere. Might as well head to the Franklin Manor and start knocking off those quests! First up is the Ghosts and the Darkness, in which Eleanor asks me to do something about those sad ghosts that got killed in the mine all those years ago. She’s so matter-of-fact about the ghosts, pitying them more than fearing them. It makes for a great story.
  • One thing I like about The Secret World is that it doesn’t hold your hand through the story and march you through it all linear-like. Going into this mission we know that something bad happened in the mine, that people died, and that Eleanor’s husband was involved somehow, but past that the details are vague. Going through these missions is a way to fill in the blanks and resolve the cutscenes that kick them off.
  • Getting to the mine is a little tricky, although it’s fun to ride a motorcycle through the abandoned factory and watch the golems go “GUH?!?”
  • The Blue Ridge Mine was one of the scariest locations in my first playthrough of the game, definitely. I never like dark underground locales with unknown evils lurking inside. And boy does this place have them.
  • So what do you have to look forward to in the mine? For starters, it’s dark but not quiet — there’s some generators running and a few unkillable, one-hit-death golems wandering around. Then the generators explode and it gets really dark, which must be dealt with on top of red rune rings that will nearly kill you, unstable dynamite, no map, and filth pods.
  • The goal here is to creep around and locate the four ghosts hanging out by their skeletons, then make them happy (get a picture, some whiskey, etc.). The common refrain they say is that Ed (Eleanor’s husband) took the fall for Jimmy’s temper. So Jimmy did something terrible here.
  • Ultimately, I mollify the ghosts and track down Jimmy’s spirit, who is quite the vengeful dude. Fortunately, the good ghosts help me out in what must be the first such time this game’s sent ghosts to bat for my side.

The Haunting (action mission)

  • Franklin Manor is as stereotypical of a haunted house as you’re going to get in this game — a game chock-full of haunted houses. And yet it’s not quite what you’d expect, especially as its sole living person is completely unafraid of the dozen or so ghosts, even the one of her husband. Eleanor asks me to check in on the ghosts, starting with a broken mirror up in the attic. And here we go with one of my favorite missions in the game!
  • I bump into Ed on the second floor, who tells me that he was ready for death. “I thought it would solve everything,” he said.
  • A flyer on the second floor talks about the various tragedies and deaths that took place in the mansion during the past hundred or so years. This is what we in the biz call “foreshadowing.” Why? Because this is a freaking TIME TRAVEL MISSION. A time travel haunted house mission. Perhaps the first such ever quest in an MMO.
  • The portal for our time travel is the attic mirror, which first takes us back to 1904. I was playing with headphones on for this mission and was really taken by the many sound effects, such as the eerie whispering that happens when you transition into this time period.
  • This quest must’ve taken the designers some time, as every time period features a different arrangement and type of furniture and decorations. Then again, the manor as a whole kind of remains the same since it has a timeless quality to it and Eleanor isn’t really the high-tech type of gal.
  • In 1904, the manor is rich and tastefully done, albeit with older furniture. Now, this is an action mission, so there are plenty of ghosts to kill (bitter servants). The goal of this time period is to find the servant girl who’s been locked in the cellar.
  • It’s a little unclear what I’m doing here. Am I actually changing the timeline? Because I don’t think that’s shown to be the case. So I guess I’m popping back to help the ghosts get revenge and soothe their souls or something. Maybe just some spectral sightseeing.
  • Next up is the winter of 1918. The mansion is definitely cheerier and more inhabited, and a kid is running around in the back yard. The goal here is to find the kid (there are a lot of decoys that transform into nightmares) and protect him and his mom from his axe-wielding maniac of a father.
  • 1966, and according to the calendar, Orochi’s Bingo soda is available to purchase. The mansion is more decrepit and is occupied by a ton of hippies. Dead hippies, as this is in the middle of a massacre. The corpses start rising — they always do — and one is called an “ungrateful dead.” Heh.
  • I’m tasked with (sigh) saving hippies from the murderous Billy. It’s not really that hard, although this is one of those missions where it’s like take two steps, fight a mob, take two more steps, fight a mob, and so on.
  • Finally, I zip back to the present and Ed shows up to say that now that I’ve seen the past, it’s up to me to decide which side of the mirror I want to stay on. What does that even mean?

Skeleton in the Attic (side quest)

  • While I’m up here, I grab a sasquatch skull and anima port back to the bigfoot camp to give it to the chief. Easiest sidequest in the game!