The Secret World: Blajini hijinks (Besieged Farmlands #4)

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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!)

The Kindly Ones (action mission)

Finally, back on track in the Besieged Farmlands! One thing I’ve noticed in this zone is that it wears its supernatural weirdness pretty out in the open. Right from the get-go there are all sorts of good and bad creatures from the fae wandering around, including the Blajini.

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I guarantee you that you haven’t ever seen NPCs like these in an MMO before. The Blajini, whose name means the “kind-hearted ones,” are part of Romanian folklore and are short people with rat-like faces that come from a parallel earth (why not). In TSW, they are refugees seeking shelter from the encroaching vampires. Their leader, Petru, is a Marxist revolutionary (why not) who wants me to seek out the other Blajini in hiding and encourage them to head to town for safety.

The quest involves scouting around the area for likely Blajini hiding spots (burrows, houses, haystacks, etc.) and then playing a bit of Petru’s revolutionary nonsense on a tape recorder to lure them out. And then I catch them, enslave them, and have a small army to overwhelm my enemies, right? Riiiight.

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I won’t lie, it’s not a particularly interesting mission, but it is the only one featuring the Blajini so I’ll go easy on them. I like how it ends in an atmospheric waterfall cave.

I’m slow on the uptake, but one thing that I’ve been realizing as of late is that the lore that I mindlessly pick up while questing often has to do with the quest I’m on. There’s a Blajini lore in the cave that talks about these kindly ones and how they help people in many ways. Makes me far more willing to escort them back to town.

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Of the Forest (action mission)

The relationship between bartender Sophie and the mysterious Forest God is one of the most fascinating in the game to me. Sophie’s always been more in tune with the supernatural world around her, and for some reason, the mighty Forest God has come to depend on her for advice and support. I’m not exactly sure whether or not this is a romantic relationship (even a simmering one), but there is a bond between the two that’s sweet and caring. It’s nice to see in a game like this.

Anyway, Mr. Stag Head (as Geary calls him) is in pain due to the disrespect that the vampires, werewolves, and other miscreants are showing nature. There’s no great endgame with the vamps; they just want to tear the world down and don’t care what happens after.

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I do what I can to help counteract the anti-environmentalism going on in this zone. I write strongly worded letters to my congressman, I participate in protests, and I guilt people into reposting articles on Facebook by saying that 97% of them will not do it.

Oh wait. No, what I actually do is plant magic acorns, blow away a small army’s worth of bad guys, rescue kidnapped villagers, and shoot corrupted trees to little itty bits.

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I’ve been tinkering with my build more and more as of late. I’m moving to a critical-trigger build, increasing my crit as much as possible while attaching all sorts of passives effects that occur when I crit — heal, DOT, extra hit, etc. It’s a little bit more straight forward, so I’m seeing how it goes.

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The Uncorrupted (side mission)

At the site of the big showdown from the previous mission is this side mission in which I must protect the last unicorn and bring it to safety. OK, replace “unicorn” with “faun” and “last” with “got stuck behind a boulder,” but it’s the same thing.

Escort missions in The Secret World are kind of weird. Sometimes you can just blitz your way right to the end and not worry about all of the mobs popping out of the woodwork. As long as you get to the end, the escortee is fine and the mission completes. Yet other times you really do need to babysit, especially with the escortee won’t match your run speed.

Looking back at the 6 MMOs I played the most in 2016

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Seeing as how this will be my final MMO-related post of this year, I thought it only fitting to look back over 2016 and recall my exploits in MMORPGs. While I did dabble here and there in various titles, such as Firefall, ESO, and Trove, for the most part my year was dominated by six titles — none of them surprising, but all fun and influential in my gaming career.

One of the best things that happened for me in terms of playing MMOs was getting a new computer that could actually run them well. That’s been such a boon.

(1) Final Fantasy XIV

At the beginning of the year, I had made a resolution to find a “home MMO” and settle my butt down to mostly focus on one title. Initially, that became FFXIV, as it was fairly new to me,, had a lot of positive word-of-mouth, and offered a lot of content.

I had a good run in that MMO, I think, although around April I decided that I had run out of steam and was losing the will to play it. That was unfortunate, because I was finally nearing Heavensword content and had found a really great guild, but alas. In retrospect, there was a lot I ended up respecting and liking about the game as well as a lot of irritating issues. I think my biggest gripe is that it never quite clicked with me even though people kept urging me to stick it out because, I quote, “It gets really good later on!” I shouldn’t have to wait more than four months for a game to get really good, and my patience wore out. Maybe I’ll go back some day. I’d like to think so. That Red Mage looks pretty cool…

(2) World of Warcraft

WoW got its hooks back in me early and kept them there, pulling me right back into this old favorite. The first half of the year was spent plowing through Warlords of Draenor, building up my expansion, and prepping my roster of characters for the new expansion. The second half was all Legion, all the time, and it’s been a really good ride so far. Found a terrific guild, got a pair of legendaries, built up my Death Knight to a great place, and still have a good amount of content on which to chew.

(3) RIFT

The announcement of Starfall Prophecy got me back into RIFT, and it’s been a reliably second-tier MMO interest since then. Again, discovering a wonderful guild — perhaps the best I’ve been a part of in MMOs — was a major factor to my stickiness, but having an expansion’s worth of content and a new house to build certainly kept me busy. I have just so much left to do here and no real desire to leave.

(4) The Secret World

Back in February I seriously splurged and bought a Grand Master membership, which I really don’t regret doing. The constant buffs to currency/AP are wonderful, the extra cosmetics and mounts nice, and having a monthly allowance of points is terrific. I did take a long break in the middle of the year due to my disinterest in City of the Sun God, but I finally rallied to complete that and move on to Transylvania. I’m hugely excited to see what might come for this game in 2017!

(5) Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online has been an on-again, off-again journey. I get really excited about it for two or three weeks, then let it go for a month. I did come back for some fun adventures, although getting bogged down in Delta Rising was death to my interest. Recently I’ve jumped past that and gotten excited to go through the more recent episode arcs.

(6) Lord of the Rings Online

Early in the year I spent some time getting through the Battle of Pelennor Fields, after which I took a very long break until just recently. However, over the past month I’ve been logging in every day or two to advance my Captain through Update 19 in anticipation of the Mordor expansion next year. It’s great to be back and I hope I won’t leave any time soon.

Stay tuned next Monday as I post my hopes and aspirations for the new month — and the new year! In the meantime, let me know in the comments what were the most important and influential MMOs to you in 2016!

The Secret World: Christmas conspiracies

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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!)

The Christmas Conspiracy (investigation mission)

I’m going to take a brief detour in my adventures through Transylvania to take advantage of TSW’s single Christmas mission (there are Christmas events, of course, but this series is focused on the missions), the Christmas Conspiracy.

I receive a text message inviting me to a performance of The Magic Flute at the Albion Theatre in London. I ain’t going to dress up for it, but I will wear this new mistletoe circlet and see if anyone wants to dare for a kiss. At the theater, one of the main actors calls me and says that his Council of Venice sister sent him something and that he was to contact me about it. This is as much conversation as we are to have, for almost immediately at the start of the performance, the purple Nazis come in and shoot up the place.

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Even though it’s my second time through this, this cutscene is still pretty shocking. It does nothing to endear me to the Phoenecians, which continually strike me as a bloodthirsty organization playing catch-up and not holding any reservations against murder and massacre.

After putting a stop to the assault (although far too late for the actors and audience, alas), I dig around backstage and find some information about what’s going on.

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Apparently — and this is the Cliff Notes version — all of this concerns the remainders of jolly Saint Nicholas, whose body and leftover juices are supposedly miraculous and all that. I don’t know why past people had such a fascination for keeping body parts and fluids of saints around, but it was gross. A sticker collection would’ve been better and probably just as useful.

So Santa here had his body split in two, and one half has been stolen away. There’s also a conspiracy with this particular play, as Mozart wrote it as some sort of code to accessing the catacombs where part of the body was kept by the Masons. And then Mozart was quickly killed in rather suspicious circumstances. Past people were just weird as all get out.

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Interesting fact: One of the books I found in the Council of Venice library (which is, again, just a horrible place to hold a library of physical books mere inches away from water that’s dripping and pooling) talks about Lilith and Samael, even suggesting that she might be behind Mozart’s death.

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Then I get to the meat of this mission, which is the trip through the Masonic catacombs. It’s best described as a “music dungeon,” as you use a magic flute to perform simple songs that have various effects — opening doors, moving statues, calling fire, calling water, and so on. The trick is to pay attention to the tunes you encounter and figure out how to use them in various situations. Also, sometimes you must reverse the tune to get the reverse effect.

It’s not that hard once you get into it, and there needs to be very little research outside of the game itself to finish it up.

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The catacombs aren’t particularly scary, although the large statues that slide along can be a little unnerving. Especially if you’ve watched Doctor Who recently. But no, they don’t come to life, and even the few times that you “die,” you’re just sent back a little ways and told to try again.

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At the end of the catacombs are another heapload of Phoenecians, including big baddy Lydia. I’m kind of annoyed that I go through all of the work to solve the puzzles and these purple jerks just blow a hole in from the sewers and get here that way. I deserve a raise.

Lydia’s thing is being bothersome to fight while taunting you and leaving riiiiight before you can kill her. Which she does. That’s OK, since I am able to recover the jar of Santa Juice.

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In a touching little epilogue, Saint Nick arrives in ghost form, kneels down over the slain Council woman who started this whole mission, and the two of them disappear in a bright flash of light. She’s at the North Pole now, Timmy. That’s where all murder victims go on December 25th, don’t you know?

The Secret World: Nursery tales (Besieged Farmlands #3)

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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!)

The Sound of Children (action mission)

Welcome to the Nursery. This mission does NOT. Mess. Around. There are a handful of missions in this game that put you through the ringer, and this is definitely one of them. We ready? No? Well, it’s too late now.

“This place has bad memories,” the Council woman says as we step inside the secret Orochi faculty. Let me just say that if you ever had any sympathy for all of the dead Orochi all over the place, the Nursery will harden your heart against them for good.

Initially, the Nursery is a quiet but undeniably creepy place. Little playrooms full of Matron Bots, an unnerving lullaby, and plenty of scribbled “Hello I walk into empty” graffiti. Then we come to this:

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Which has to be one of the most-photographed rooms in all of The Secret World. I’ve seen it plenty of other places to know that it had an impact on players. It’s hokey, sure, but also quite unsettling. A dismembered Orochi employee is surrounded by dolls and scribbles. It’s all clearly staged — but by who? I was never clear on this. The popular theory is that one of the experiments resulted in an incorporeal entity (angry spirit?) who went nuts both here and in Hatchet Falls. Could be the same spirit we actually saw in the Orochi cave prior to Hatchet Falls.

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The lead doctor’s computer delivers some of the backstory of this place. As we’ve seen before, bright guy sells his soul to do unspeakable experiments on children, then starts messing with the Filth, then gets infected and it all goes downhill. What else did you think would happen?

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And just when you thought it was bad enough, these doors open and you step into Hell(o). It’s an Orochi slaughterhouse… and not everything back here is dead. There’s a side mission, Where the Little Ones Go, to go into each of these side rooms that feature a different experiment type. It’s pretty easy and you’re probably going to do it anyway, so easy AP.

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On the plus side of this place, I use an anima infuser to turn my flamethrower into a new auxiliary weapon. Flame on, baby!

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Lots of use of shadow and light here. Also some things moving behind the lights. It’s only marginally less scary because Council girl is there with you.

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I never, ever want to know what is in this room.

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I kill the director and read the suicide note that his assistant left behind. Yes, plenty of kids have been abducted and experimented upon, but the big prize is Emma… and she’s here somewhere. We find a secret room holding her, and Council woman betrays me (curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!). Turns out that she’s a Big Bad, Lilith, and she’s absolutely batpoop crazy.

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This little girl-thing shuffles down into the room, and Lilith snaps its neck. Looks like a Japanese girl.

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For a lovely denouement, Lilith straps me to a table and then uses a laser to cut off my legs (!). Seriously. It’s really surreal how my character doesn’t scream, but TSW is nothing if not committed to keeping my character completely mute. Lilith picks up Emma and leaves with her, humming the lullaby.

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I Walk Into Empty (investigation mission)

Tell me if you’ve ever been here: Legs lasered off by a primeval madwoman and thrust into the dreamscape of a very troubled little girl while gods older then the universe plot your downfall. That’s like, every Tuesday in The Secret World.

As my legs regenerate (I assume), I take a holiday in Emma’s mind. Don’t know how I’m doing that, since Lilith took her away, but here we are. There are lots of flashes of Emma’s past, including scientists (?) in a cabin abusing her, Orochi conducting some sort of large-scale experiment with her blasting holes in reality, and a glimpse of the Virgula Divina project. That means “divining rod,” by the way.

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It’s not a terribly difficult investigation mission, all things considered. There’s some trial-and-error maneuvering through rooms in an Orochi facility and a hippity-hoppity jumping part, but the real tough angle of this quest is if you’re going for the teddy bear, which requires getting extra magnetic letters scattered all over the place.

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A burning house: What I can only assume is Emma’s home, or the birthplace of the creature we know as Emma. There are no survivors except for her. A fireman asks her name:

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He mis-hears, thinks she said “Emma.” But no, this child is actually the living and breathing embodiment of anima itself — the power that flows through all us bee people. Not much else is explained about her backstory here, if she was a real kid at some point, what created the anima form of Emma, what burned down the house (her?), and why half the game’s factions are out to get her and use her.

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The super-long stretchy hallway. An old classic but still effective for dream weirdness. The music gets downright gorgeous here.

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When I jump out of the dream, I’m able (somehow?) to port into Agartha right behind Lilith and Emma. The girl shakes off her captor, who has a mild matronly freakout. Emma knocks her (and me) away, at which point the Filth starts crawling toward her, chanting her name.

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She’s small. She’s powerful. And she knows so very little about what’s going on. Emma blasts the Filth back, but not entirely — the Filth has invaded Agartha for the first time. I can see this from the main hub as I look across the way. Emma appears and talks about needing the lullaby to play all the time, to keep the Dreaming Ones asleep. Otherwise it’s bye-bye for reality as we know it.

Happy ending: I get a 10.1 necklace as a reward for this whole chain, and I’m able to head back to Besieged Farmlands for normal questing!

The Secret World: Hello I walk into empty (Besieged Farmlands #3)

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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!)

When the Hatchet Falls (sabotage mission)

Yes, I know at this point that I am far off of the reservation to call this a Besieged Farmlands post, but since it’s all part of one very long mission chain, I am loathe to break it up, too. Plus, this story is downright gripping — missing kids, horrible experiments, and Orochi up to the neck.

My search for two local missing Romany children leads to a farm, a ghoul fort, and finally, to a waterfall.

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Welcome to Hatchet Falls. It’s a Soviet-era bunker that’s been repurposed by the Orochi as a holding cell… and maybe something more. Let me tell you, this place downright terrified me the first time I went into it. I think my imagination was fully revved up and expecting a lot more scares than what I got. It’s downright creepy, to be sure, but there’s nothing that’s going to bite you in there. Well, one very old and ticked-off vampire, but I don’t get to him in this playthrough.

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Just inside the door I am ambushed in a somewhat friendly way by a Council agent. This came from a TSW Issue that was all about James Bond homages, so there are lots of not-so-subtle references to movies like From Russia With Love. She’s straight out of that. For the most part, this lady leaves me alone.

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Instead of finding two scared kids here, I discover a dark tomb full of dead Orochi, bloody smears on the wall, and red emergency lights. Bringing back up the power is one of the first things I have to do.

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The sabotage elements aren’t that tricky at all this time around. I get an EMP device to disable power junctions, and there’s one part that requires me to move fast between rooms to open up a large set of doors.

But machine guns and laser grids aren’t really my biggest concerns here. The kids have been taken, but they’ve left behind some truly disturbing relics, like dolls and drawings. Also, the phrase “Hello, I walk into empty” everywhere.

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It might be hard to make out, but this wall drawing depicts the Orochi coming into the kids’ house and killing their parents in order to kidnap the little targets. As if I didn’t have a reason to look down on this organization any more.

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What happened to those kids? Did they escape and use their Carrie powers on these Orochi, or did something else aid them? There’s so much pain and fear here.

I access some files that point to a place called The Nursery (oh yes, we’re going there soon…) and the crazy Russian lady comes in and starts humming the “Hello, I walk into empty” song. Missed that the first time around too. She won’t tell me her name, but she does say that she had kids a long time ago.

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You Only Die Twice (action mission)

We’re deep into what Kristen Geary calls “Count Chocula’s armpit,” and it’s not going to get any nicer before things come to a head. The only man with high enough clearance to get me into the Nursery is an Orochi operative — Dragon — who is a little unhinged. I’m guessing that by how much he seems to have bonded with a teddy bear. Said bear was the former property of a little girl we haven’t yet met in the game but the game assumes I have, which is three kinds of confusing (the third kind is “cheese”).

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Dude. What you are doing here? Is not normal.

After a nerve-wracking run through a bunch of hulked out, juiced-up super vampires, I trigger an alert at the Nursery long-distance. This sets into motion an Orochi caravan loaded with enough C4 to put a crater in the moon. A big one. Ever wanted to see what happens to Orochi hardware before it’s a mangled mess? This mission is for you.

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In one of the best moments of the game, I’m put behind the controls of a “White Witch” combat snowmobile (just go with it). Then begins a not-too-difficult sprint across the zone to intercept the caravan several times and lay down mines to stop them. Enemy snowmobiles come out of the woodwork, and I have fun firing rockets, machine guns, and laying down mines to wrap up the Red Snow side mission.

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Your James Bond action moment comes on a high bridge, where three not-yet-dead-but-soon-will-be Orochi are firing on me, and mysterious lady shows up to hand me a parachute right before the bridge goes up in flames. As I parachute down, I’m distracted by the thought that while I had mere seconds to intercept the convoy, my character apparently had plenty of time to change outfits from head to toe.

I land right at the base of the dam — and at the doorstep of the Nursery. No turning back; it’s time to go in.

The Secret World: Won’t somebody think of the children? (Besieged Farmlands #2)

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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!)

Who Horrifies the Horrors? (action mission, also did The Howling side mission in conjunction)

Carmen tells me that the town would be so lucky as to “only” have a vampire threat. Apparently this is ground zero for all sorts of horrible beasts of legend — and the combined weight of them is threatening to overrun the town. Naturally, there are werewolves, because you can’t ever have vampires these days without werewolves somewhere.

Strangely enough, the werewolves attacking the town aren’t doing so deliberately; it’s more like they’re genuinely scared. Fleeing. Freaked the heck out. I start following their backtrail to investigate what’s going on.

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On the way out of town I see one defender who’s obviously cracked under the strain. If you talk to… her? I guess? she talks of voices in her head and giving the town over. She’s done. I’m not.

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If you’ve been hoping for some tooth-and-nail werewolf fights in TSW, here you go. Lots and lots in Transylvania, and this mission alone accounts for about 30% of the total werewolf encounters in this game. It’s a very long trip through half of the map and sixteen werewolf breeds, which I suppose is helpful in getting to know the area. And also catching fleas.

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Oh hey, the scarecrow guys are back! I’m actually really glad — they’re some of my favorite mob designs in the game. And they fit in quite well in this murky, rainy farmland.

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At the end of a trail of footprints and severed werewolf limbs, I find the lurking horror that’s been beating down the puppies. It’s some giant mutated monstrosity of a person, and while I’m winning the fight, eventually it kicks me down to the ground…

…and then a mysterious stranger shows up and flamethrowers the mutant to death. It’s so shocking to get an ending cutscene in The Secret World that I gawped, even though I had done this before.

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When the beast dies, it de-mutates back into a dead little boy. Ugh. Seriously? Seriously Funcom? You don’t pull any punches, do you?

Actually, I figure that’s why the flamethrower guy shows up, to do the actual killing so that the player can sleep tonight with a somewhat clean conscience. At least we didn’t kill a kid while playing a video game today. Small favors, I think, and my character shakes her head sadly. What changed this kid? Who did this to him?

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A Trail of Breadcrumbs (action mission)

I had totally forgotten that these quests were part of one long, ongoing chain in which the completion of one mission would instantly start the next. So I guess we’re going along for the ride!

The man who saved me is simply known as the Vampire Hunter — a burned, sour gentleman who lacks anima powers or allegiance but is also very capable. He says that all of this reeks of Orochi involvement, and the corpse nearby (of COURSE there’s an Orochi corpse nearby) seems to back that up.

I start following the titular trail of breadcrumbs, bouncing from Orochi outpost to outpost in the area. Most are just vans or tents, but all have two things in common: They were sites of gruesome experiments on the local creatures and they all backfired on the experimenters.

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The biggest complex, a hidden cave in the Shadowy Forest, even has a malevolent spirit of a lost child’s cry. And lots of blood, of course. And a recording of something called Virgula Divina and a place called the nursery. And a photo of a kid. Long story short, the Orochi are kidnapping kids with mental abilities and performing experiments on them — probably what caused the kid from the previous mission to hulk out.

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I find the girl in the photo — she’s like 40 feet away, which tells you of Orochi’s famed tracking abilities — and she and her brother mention another pair of siblings that have gone missing in the forest.

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Amid the depressing tale of missing and dead children, I get enough AP to finish my Fixer deck and snag me some Illuminati workout clothes. Go me!

The Secret World: Vampire country (Besieged Farmlands #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!)

Mainframe (story mission)

I’m out of Egypt — but not out of hot water, not yet. In trouble for not delivering on Illuminati ends, I’m given one chance to prove my worth to the organization. And that chance goes through the foul-mouthed Senator Cicero, who is apparently from Michigan. As a current resident, I don’t recall any Cicero, but who knows? Probably Wikipedia.

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Anyway, Cicero sends me on a mission to infiltrate the local Orochi office and pull out some data about the Promethius Initiative. If this sounds like one long sabotage mission… well, yup, it’s one long sabotage mission. No combat skills, but plenty of patrolling drones and guards to keep me company.

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I wish that something exciting would have happened in this mission or that I would have learned something exciting, but it really is pretty dull from start to end (especially for someone who’s seen the Orochi’s much more superior Tokyo complex).

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The good news is that my mission is a success and pleases the Illuminati. Geary says that I’m an “instigator,” which is what the company needs. As the data points to a large Orochi operation in Transylvania, that’s where I’m headed as well. Probably too late to save most of them, but thems the breaks for wearing the white-and-black.

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Transylvania: An interlude

I don’t ever think I noticed that the portal to Agartha in Besieged Farmlands was a Soviet bunker. I’m always noticing details that are new to me here.

So I want to take a moment to talk about this transition between Egypt and Transylvania. I know a lot of people way back when were renowned for saying what a relief it was to leave Blue Mountain and get to Egypt — into the sun, out of the near-eternal first zone. For me, the real relief came when I finally left City of the Sun God. A second time playing through that area hasn’t improved my impressions of it and I am just as happy as I was a few years back when I finally set foot in eastern Europe.

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I really love the Transylvania zones in The Secret World. They’re beautiful in a way that Solomon Island wasn’t, more mythical and “old world” than Egypt (even though Egypt boasts a longer heritage), and frankly, more interesting to me all around. It’s a return to civilization of sorts, with lots of cool NPCs, breathtaking sights, and a welcome creepy take on vampires. It’s like a dark fairy tale, through and through, and that draws me in.

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As with the previous areas of the game, Besieged Farmlands is cut off from the rest of the world (heck, it’s in its name). The Secret World does have to bend over backwards to keep coming up with reasons why these areas are isolated from the rest of civilization in a modern era, and that’s kind of hard to do. I think Transylvania cheats a bit by going back to Solomon Island’s well, what with blocking off tunnels with crashed vehicles fleeing an apparent apocalypse of sorts.

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A Ghoulish Feast (action mission)

On hand to greet me right out of Agartha is Carmen and her horse, whom I’m going to call Jeeves. Carmen’s a member of the Draculesti, the local good guys group that’s been fighting evil since time immemorial. Mostly fighting vampires, but other evil too. She’s a one-eyed, no-nonsense lady who informs me that the local village, Harbabureşti, has come under a relentless siege by the local ghoul population. The outskirts have been taken over and it’s starting to look grim. Thank goodness I wore my leotards today, because I’m going to get a workout!

Props to The Secret World for not merely recycling the ghoul models from Solomon Island but coming up with new ones, by the way.

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These ghouls attack with sign posts! That cracks me up.

Anyway, what I respect about this quest is that it isn’t a mindless action romp against waves of ghouls. Instead, it shows you (not tells you) how the village has been holding up with some special defenses. First in line are the trees themselves, which apparently hold some sort of power. Then there are the Greenwardens themselves, these hulking satyrs that are patrolling the streets. Finally, the locals and Draculesti are doing their part as well. And you see this all as you go through the mission to the final holdout against waves of ghouls, throwing you in league with your new villager buddies.