The Secret World: Fill in the blank endings (City of the Sun God #4)


(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.

The Secret World: I want my mummy! (City of the Sun God #3)


(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!)

Considering that my last Secret Adventure installment was back in April, I think it’s safe to say that the City of the Sun God is the dark, bottomless pit where my enthusiasm for The Secret World goes to die. I know it has its defenders, but this is twice now that the zone pretty much put me off the game.

But I will conquer it. Oh yes I will. Arriving in Transylvania with a completed zone at my back will be my greatest accomplishment! So here we go, folks. More sandy deserty goodness.

Behind Every Golem… (side mission)

Easing back into the swing of missions (and continuing my counter-clockwise progression through the zone), I picked up this quest starring a random golem arm and a whole lot of golems with two functional arms waiting to pound me into the dust. No problem at all… save that I took on one at a time. I’m still remembering my rotation here and multiple mobs can flatten me if I’m not careful.

The end boss for this quest was in a cave and covered with flies for some reason (perhaps it was a poop golem instead of a rock golem). What is weird is that nearby there was a clickable dead scarab, but the game simply said that I had to find more of them (or a live one) to figure out what killed it.


Mummy Issues (action mission)

Boy am I a sucker for a really punny quest title. Love this one in particular. Anyway, it’s time to travel over to human-hating Amir, a Jinn who barely tolerates me because the bad guys are somehow even worse. He’s all up in a tizzy because some humans tried to attain immortality by becoming mummies, which kind of drove them insane and made them evil. If I go kill a bunch, perhaps Amir will invite me over for tea and we can become besties.

No? It was worth a shot. Also, what does this say about Said? Dude seems pretty together to me, and even sort of a good guy to boot.

Even though this is labeled as an action mission, it doesn’t mean that it’s mindless. Sometimes The Secret World likes to blend elements of different mission types together, so here there’s a modicum of puzzle-solving as I make my way into temples with progressively tougher mummies. One part has me fighting mobs for tablet pieces to assemble, while the big boss fight against Rib-Hadda (great name, btw!) requires taking out four statues that are supporting his shield — and as a twist, you get knocked down if you go anywhere near those shields. Yay for ranged weapons, I say.

I like mowing down mummies. Great enemy mobs.

At the end of the mission, I learn two things: That Amir is a Jinn prince, apparently, and that Kristen Geary does not like Hugh Jackman. But he’s the Wolverine!


Envoys of Rib-Hadda (side mission)

Following the mummy boss fight with Rib-Hadda, I find one of his reports nearby asking the Black Pharoah for reinforcements. Uh-oh, better head out and stop those envoys from summoning apocalyptic adds!

The first two envoys I find are already dead: one crushed by a falling meteor and the other by the hand of cultists. The third is in fighting condition, although I have to report that this is no longer so following our encounter.

“The closest the Kingdom gets to the danger zone is watching it on TV,” Geary texts me at the conclusion of the mission.


Sparked to Life (side mission)

Near Amir is a strange green brazier that, for some reason, points me toward a nearby temple. Wonder what’s inside! Treasure, perhaps? Another invincible sword? Probably mummies, though. Yeah.

The temple in question is locked, and there’s an object puzzle to unlock it. You have to create a torch somehow, and the process is pretty intuitive, starting with some mummy wrappings and working your way up to AWESOME GREEN FIRE ON A STICK. Then inside you fight some mummies. Darn it. I was really hoping for the sword.


The Way of Things (action mission)

Part of Amir’s supreme unlikability is that every conversation with you starts with three minutes of insults and condescension, after when he then asks for help. I do sometimes wish, greatly, that The Secret World had dialogue options for your character. Taking guff like this mutely chaffs.

So what does Amir want this time around? About the same as last time, to sweep through the area and kill everything corrupted and evil. I guess he’s upset that some of the jinn have gone over to the dark(er) side of the force, so it’s time for some payback.

The Way of Things is an escort mission, although this is the GOOD type of escort mission — the type where the escort functions as a powerful bodyguard instead of a helpless waif. Amir’s manifestation can be summoned from urns littered all over a huge temple, allowing him to show up, douse me in protective magic, and lob fireballs at the enemy. We clean house, top to bottom, stopping several jinn summoning rituals from taking place.

I am quite liking the build on this character as I get to know it once more. It’s pistols/elemental with some nice synergy and utility. My two AOE fields become available every 30 seconds, which is usually good for each fight, and the only skill I don’t have that I want is Hard Reset (which brutally strips buffs from enemies, a necessary skill for some mobs).

The Secret World: 80s fashion show edition


You know me and you know that I throw emoji frowny faces at the presence and use of lockboxes in MMOs. I’m not going to spend real money on them, but if there’s a way to earn them in-game or get one for free, why not? Free stuff is free stuff.

So I’ve been accruing a lot of bonus Funcom points in The Secret World thanks to my grandmaster sub. I have nothing left that I really want to buy, so those points are just sitting there, waiting in vain for the next mission pack to come along. I don’t feel bad blowing a wad of them, then, on the new retro-themed costume packs (along with a few of the other packs, just because I was curious).

I was pretty pleased to get a wide assortment of goofy costume bits, including Terminator glasses (now with glowing red eye!), a headband, legwarmers, one of the tackiest jackets ever (not shown), and my favorite, a neon fanny pack:


ALL HAIL THE FANNY PACK. It brings any outfit together.


I also got a pair of dogs — one fire rescue Dalmation and one police K-9 doggy. Considering that I still have a hypnotic C’thulu as a pet, none of these stand a chance at being used regularly, but still, nice to have.

The Secret World: Touring Kingsmouth while dead


I was inspired by Massively OP’s MJ’s piece on how The Secret World adds a bit extra for folks who take the time to explore the world while dead (anima form). It’s something that I’ve pointed out from time to time, but I can’t recall ever simply roaming around an entire zone in that form to see if there are any easter eggs that I hadn’t seen before. So why not now?

With a quick and painless suicide /reset, I took my Templar back to Kingsmouth and started prowling the spirit realm. I didn’t find any really new revelations, but after a half-hour of nothing but anima tourism, I did make a few observations about this alternate reality.k2

1. Living persons, zombies, creatures, and even most spirits are missing in the anima world.

You’ll see evidence of them, like campfires and blood, but unless a person or zombie has become a corpse, they’re invisible to you (and vice-versa). Really thought there’d be more ghosts, especially in this town.

2. However, you can see birds everywhere.

Birds (maybe just ravens?) are present in the anima world. I guess they can cross over? In Kingsmouth, there are the helpful birds (white ravens) and the evil birds (the black ravens or crows that become the revenants). I got a bit of a chill when I saw a trio of black birds perched above Norma’s house, looking down at her bonfire.


3. There is one person you can find.

The only human-like person in the anima world in this zone is the guy in the prison cell, who looks surprisingly normal, like he’s alive. Just, y’know, hanging out in the spirit world and staring into a corner like he’s from the Blair Witch Project.

4. It makes for great photographs.

The black-and-white filter, the grainy overlay, and the absence of atmospheric interference make for some terrific screenshot opportunities, especially if you want to get cross-town shots.


5. There is some color.

If you get really close to objects, they go from black-and-white to color. Try the Bingo cola machines and you’ll see.

6. There isn’t a lot of non-quest-related easter eggs to be found.

I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t find more than the well-known anima bits from certain quests and the bridge.


7. The covered bridge is still super-creepy.

I think it’s that one spirit who just prowls around underneath the hanging corpses that does it. And I can’t figure out why the corpses only show in anima form — they’re dead and gone, so are they hanging spirits? I guess so.

8. You can move super-fast in anima form.

It’s a great way to quickly scout a zone without any interference from the local mobs. You can see lore pick-ups very clearly, too.


9. What’s up with Madame Roget’s raven?

Is it a bad bird or a good one or completely neutral? Just kind of off-putting how it’s hanging out between both worlds right above her head.

10. Go first-person or go home.

If you do this kind of tour, do yourself a favor and zoom in so that you’re looking at things through first-person perspective and then turn off the UI. It’s calm and eerie and free from distractions. Kind of like getting to fly through a zone with developer cheat codes.

The Secret World: Welcome to the show


I think my interest in plowing ahead with my Secret Adventures series may be in an indefinite hiatus right now. I definitely still like The Secret World, but I’d rather move on to play new content in it (whenever that arrives) than continue to bring up a second character. Maybe that will change in the future, but for now my game focus is on my main character, Yeti.

With Issue 15 finished and 16 still unannounced, my stated plan is to go back and mop up any missions (maiin or side) that I might have missed on her. I just discovered that the mission log has a tab where you can see all of the ones you’ve finished, so it’s a jump from there to cross-compare with a master list for each zone and see what needs to be done.

While doing this in the game, I stepped off to the side of the London Underground hallway and into a small room where I wasn’t going to be run over every two minutes. To my surprise, there was a group of strange players in this place dancing like crazy. When I stepped in, the “DJ” welcomed me to the show. It eventually drew a bit of a crowd of like-minded dancers. Are we partying to avoid the apocalypse, perhaps?

After a bit, I came up with a list for Solomon Island. I had actually completed everything in Kingsmouth and Savage Coast, but for whatever reason, I still had two main missions and two side missions in Blue Mountain to complete. Time to go back to where it all began!


First up was the side mission, The Experiment. Went up to a (naturally) dead Orochi to pick up his lab kit and continue some experiments on the local zombies and wendigos. I noticed for the first time that the zombie models were more dessicated than normal, and when I looked up at their names I saw that these were undead Wabinaki.

So I was literally (re)killing Native American zombies. No matter what my motives, that can’t be good for my karma.

Also, check out that screenshot! The guy (gal?) has no mouth! Wonderful character design in all seriousness.


I guess I never did the two missions in the Orochi van at the camp, so it was off to there to start up The Filth Amendment. I love having much better gear and skills now, because this was a breeze to jump into the quarry and rush through the mission of finding Subject Zero.

I didn’t even care if I aggrod mobs, an attitude that nearly got me killed at the end. When Zero popped out, I had probably around a dozen mobs parading after me, all very frustrated that I was wading through their pristine pool and making a mockery of their reign of terror. The ensuing firefight was quite fun and frantic, with draug lords and minions falling to my feet every which way.

Picture of the Day: Tentacles


I love it when MMOs occasionally make an enemy mob non-aggroing, because it means that I can get right up close to them and inspect their models and animations without worrying about combat and frantic movements.

This lovely lady was perched about the quarry in TSW’s Blue Mountain, looking down at the giant monstrosity below. You really have to see the tentacles in motion to get the full effect, but it was pretty grotesque and yet picturesque.

The Secret World: Choose your own adventure


Now that my new computer is up and running, I have no excuse not to play the newest mission from The Secret World’s Issue 15, Choose Your Own. Sure, it was disappointing that an entire issue was basically repackaging of previous sidestories plus only one investigation mission, but then again, it’s one more mission than we had before. So let’s get to it!

Our tale opens on a ravaged Tokyo, where my character walks up to a pachinko parlor and notices an old-fashioned floppy disc sticking out from behind a monitor. Said monitor blinks on and a woman with a wasp mask introduces herself as “The Swarm,” an Anonymous-like collective that has been watching me. It challenges me to a game in exchange for some information.

“We know what your masters have done. We know what the Hive is,” The Swarm says in a computerized voice. I am intrigued.


Oh hey, they literally meant a game, like a computer game. The floppy has another classic-type text adventure game on it with the appealing title of “Sloshing in the Dark.” Like the other mission in TSW that had an adventure game in it, you have to beat this mission to proceed. And as the name of this quest implies, you’ll be making a LOT of choices.

The story is actually really well done. You wake up in a hotel room and have to scramble to get out of there as an unseen force is chasing you. Jumping from a window, you discover that this is the bed and breakfast in Kingsmouth, taking us to familiar grounds. Yet it’s also a place on the verge of a Lovecraftian apocalypse, with a horrible force pressing in on the world, cultists hopping like frogs everywhere, and kids trying to murder you with scissors. The ending — which isn’t so much happy as it is an end — has you retaining your sanity even as the world boils to an end.

Time to find the next uplifting disc of this series! I’m guessing that you use the story from the game as clues for the next location.


Back to Kingsmouth, always back to Kingsmouth in this game. I get a little shiver of deja vu running past Wendy and Jack’s B&B, thinking about the game.

The next game is found at the Lobster Trap, and I pop it in the sheriff’s computer for a late-night text adventure session. I have to say that these games are really well-done writing, short stories from start to end that will brutally finish if you don’t make the right choice.

This one deals with a failed thespian who is given a book, a forbidden play, that consumes him and causes a whole lot of weird stuff to happen around him. It’s downright creepy, especially in its ending… and I have to go perform that very same play as a character. Thanks, Secret World, for making sure I won’t sleep tonight.


It’s not too bad, actually. Once I got the stage set up, I do a bow and apparently that’s my entire “performance.” At least it prompted the Swarm Wasps to come out for a moment up on the balcony.

Another interesting (but not quite scary) story, this one about the Baba Yaga who stole away your brother. Reminds me of Quest for Glory, especially the part about her chicken house.

London eventually leads me to Translyvania, where I find a dark room with a single light shining down on a blindfold. Sure thing, I’ll trust my life to these insane wasps while the undead are prowling around outside!


Life goes from great to even better, as I wake up in an abandoned mental asylum. At least, I very much hope it’s abandoned. There aren’t any enemy mobs at all in this mission, but the atmosphere and sound effects do a great job convincing you that at any moment, hands could reach out of the dark and pull you into a sticky embrace.

A phone rings. I pick up and the Swarm tells me to play one last game. A short one, but perhaps the most important one. It’s about escaping the very same asylum that I’m in, so I follow those directions and end up gassed in the face for my efforts.


As I fall unconscious, I see a pack of the Swarm coming out of the shadows. Hope they don’t rifle through my gear.

I wake up in Seoul with the floppy disk that talks about the Swarm, and the collective sends me a text:


Now this… this is fascinating. The theme of choice has been running strong this entire mission, leading up to one final actual choice: to turn in the evidence about the Swarm to the Templars or keep it to myself. After coming into this knowledge, I don’t think right turning them in, so I kept it. I love that this mission actually gives me one of the very rare choices in TSW.

I also hope that this quest and the Swarm have ramifications on the game going forward. It’s a great concept, that bee-kissed people who didn’t go with a faction are jailed by the secret world for their independent streak — and how that “swarm” is fighting back. If they’re recruiting, I am so in. A fourth faction that’s unlockable as you play on? How cool would that be?