The Secret Adventures: You were eaten by a Grue (Scorched Desert #12)

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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 Prometheus Initiative (sabotage mission)

Ladies and gents, today you’re going to meet the most elusive of the Orochi set — a live agent. There’s, like, five of them in the entire game. The dead to alive ratio is at least 120 to 1. And this agent is Lisa Hui, a stressed soldier who’s apparently been abandoned both by her bosses and by the Prometheus Initiative, some sort of project that the Orochi were sent here to defend. She suspects that it was an inside job, too. Time to go snooping around!

The camp is a mess — there are leaking tankers of Filth spewing that crud everywhere, and grotesque transformed scientists are patrolling the area. They’re super-tough, so a straight-up fight is out of the question. The job is to sneak around, avoid aggro, and shut down the pumping station’s many controls. There’s an achievement for not being spotted at all during the mission but HA HA it’s me so you know I might as well be sending up fireworks and singing showtunes wildly off key for all of the stealth that I can manage.

At the end of it all there weren’t any answers, including why the project leader kept the pumping station working even after it started Filth-showering the area.

Pass the Ammunition (side mission)

The Orochi camp has five missions, including this one. It’s a good one to pick up while you’re off doing the bigger quests, since it only asks you to keep a lookout for a few crates of ammo. I wish I had an exciting tale of bravery and near escapes, but this was more or less like my last trip to the grocery store.

Old Scotch, New Problems (side mission)

While in the Prometheus camp, I spy a box of scotch and apparently have the brilliant idea to get so drunk because the world is going to end anyway. No, actually I’m supposed to find more bottles to bring back to the Orochi as some sort of sterilizer/anesthetic. It’s a nice two-for-one mission bonus if you’re doing it with The Prometheus Initiative.

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From Below (action mission)

With my brand-new chainsaw equipped and skilled, I’m itching for a straight-up fight! Lisa asks for my help with the Orochi’s last stand, and while I’m not normally that sympathetic to the Orochi, I like her spirit. Sure, I’m in!

The first part of this mission is to defend the camp, which isn’t too hard if you take the time to activate one of the gun turrets lying around. After that it’s some plowing through various camps of ex-Orochi, current-Filth-infested bad guys. I found it amusing that, in a couple of places, the mobs were tagged as yellow (non-aggro) instead of the normal red.

As I’m going through this camp, I kept hearing radio calls for Orochi personnel and Lisa Hui to report to HQ. It’s been years at this point — I don’t think any of them are coming home. Do you?

Primum Non Nocere (side mission)

In the fallen Orochi camp’s tent is a computer detailing reports of secret experiments being performed on Orochi employees. Gotta love that work environment; if you’re not being abandoned for dead, assimilated into the Filth culture, eaten by a giant locust, or ripped apart by zombies, all you have to worry about is your bosses using your DNA as a playground.

Anyway, on my way out from the last mission I was tasked with taking blood samples from four of those poor individuals. Hey, more Orochi corpses! I’m starting to feel at home here.

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The Little Drone That Could (side mission) & Droning On and On (side mission) & A Flight of Locusts (side mission)

I backtracked a little to give some assistance to a downed Orochi drone. Even this company’s drones are dead in this game! If you like escort missions — and who doesn’t? — this is a nice, easy payday. Both quests require you to follow around a drone that meanders all across the map, often aggroing groups of mobs and getting re-broken in the process.

Ultimately, the two drone quests lead to a downed Orochi jet that spewed out all sorts of cargo and dead bodies. After paying a visit to each of the unfortunate employees for their keycards, I unlocked the cargo — no, we never find out what it is because The Secret World is a total tease sometimes — and fended off several waves of giant locusts. Still better than Ak’abs, any day!

The best part of this chain is that I was able to knock off three missions from my checklist in less than 15 minutes. Score!

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Immersion (investigation mission)

The Secret World should come with a disclaimer: “Investigation missions will take up hours of your life and possibly drive you insane.” Some of these missions can last incredibly long, particularly if you’re used to the zippy quests of other MMOs. Immersion is a great example — start to finish, it can easily take two or three hours, depending on how good you are.

It starts out with Lisa Hui sharing some backstory on the activities and fall of the Orochi presence in the area. Fascinating stuff although not that revealing. Do I need to be told that the Orochi got their butts kicked? That’s kind of a given.

The mission then segues into completely unexplored territory for The Secret World: A text-based adventure game. Like what you’d find from an early-1980s Infocom adventure. Seriously. And it’s not just a little thing; there are five sizable adventure segments (Game 1.0 through Game 5.0) contained in Immersion, and all of them need to be successfully completed to get codes and clues for the next stage of the journey. So the end of Game 1.0 points to the location of the 2.0 chip, which requires traversing the cities and Solomon Island as well as Egypt. As I said, it’s quite time-intensive, but the novelty of playing a text adventure game as an actual part of an MMO doesn’t quite wear off… at least, for the first time you play through this.

The end of the mission took me all of the way to Venice, which is kind of surprising considering that it starts in Egypt. There’s a connection made to Tokyo’s “John” which won’t be resolved for many, many, many more missions to come.

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The Secret Adventures: Chasing Frankenstein (Scorched Desert #11)

(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!)

Between a Rock and a Hard Place (side mission)

I don’t think I realized before just how quest-dense Scorched Desert is in comparison to the Solomon Island zones before it. At least, it’s taking me longer to progress through it, as evidenced by this 11th chapter of our saga, but I am making headway!

To those curious of my methods for this playthrough, I am going through all of the quest givers primarily while picking up side missions as I encounter them. After all of the quest givers are done, I finish up any remaining side missions and then finally do the story quest for that zone.

So here’s a chance encounter of a mission — a crushed cultist. Guess that necessitates investigation? Actually, it’s worth looking into, because not too far away is a peculiar sight: cultists using control rods to make a giant golem bash its way through a river lock. Time to skinny up the ladders and put an end to those rods! Always fun to see golems crushing enemies’ skulls for a change.

Not By Bread Alone (side mission)

Up to the Oxford camp, which actually only has two missions, including this one. The camp’s been trashed and the archaeologists need water from the dig site. Guess I’m electing to help out in that regard! Karma Kounter +1.

I’ve actually gotten to the point where I have a very solid build with a lot of expensive abilities slotted, so other than buying auxiliary weapon skills (I’m holding out for the chainsaw, I think), I have nothing else to do with my AP than start working toward some outfits. Illuminati’s slayer looks pretty rad.

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The Big Terrible Picture (investigation mission)

The Oxford Group (see what I did there?) is trying to dig to the center of the mystery of what it is about this particular area drew the big bad guys and Romans all those years ago. I’m betting it’s the same as was the case of Solomon Island — a Gaia engine or buried power or both.

There are some missions in this game that left such a bad taste in my mouth from my initial run that I’ve been dreading doing them again — and this is one of them. At first, it’s not too bad. Some Caesar cipher decryptions, a little hunting around some ruins. But then you get to the part where you have to fiddle with crystals to ping-pong a beam of light down into a tomb and the mission kicks you squarely in the face.

It’s beyond annoying. If you don’t look at a guide, then good luck, because it’s going to suuuuuck. First of all, you can’t do this quest at night (you need the sunlight for the crystal beams), and if you are in the middle of this part and the sun goes down, then tough luck — you have to wait until it comes back up again. To make matters worse, there’s like 15 or so of these crystals, and they chain off of each other in weird ways. It’s frustrating, to say the least.

There is an interesting ending to the mission that almost makes it worthwhile. First of all, you discover an Egyptian coffin that has a hologram (!) coming out of it. That then leads to an incredibly rare end-of-mission cutscene (I wish all quests had these) where the archaeologists talk about re-discoveries of ancient cities and technologies far more advanced than those times suggested. This leads into The Secret World’s chronology, which dictates that the world has gone through several ages, each of which saw technology advance to a great point and then disaster basically hitting the reset switch. The best part? We’re about at the end of the third age right now in teh game.

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Just a Flesh Wound (action mission)

Intermission time! Every so often one needs a break from these zones we spend oh-so-much time in. So let’s put a bookmark in Egypt for a bit and head to New York to visit the famous Dr. Aldini — possible relative of Dr. Frankenstein, plastic surgeon, and all-around lunatic. Awesome fellow. His… clinic is a pig slaughterhouse staffed by a trio of strangely beautiful nurses. He’s quite creepy and maniacal, but then again, most NPCs in this game are off their rocker.

Anyway, this mission is definitely worth doing for two great rewards: the chainsaw auxiliary weapon (my favorite!) and a coupon for a free visit to Aldini’s plastic surgery table. All you have to do to earn this is wade through one of the grossest missions of the game. It’s really the type that either leaves you queasy or laughing softly at the ridiculousness of it all.

So Dr. Aldini tasks me with obtaining some new flesh for him to work with — to presumably make me a companion or slave, although that never quite happens, thank goodness. Where to go shopping for all of this? In the zombie-infested sewers below the clinic, of course! Down there are scads of ruined, rotting nurses — presumably but not explicitly the rejects of Aldini’s experiments. The mission had me collecting limbs with all sorts of devices (ugh), ultimately settling on the chainsaw as the best option.

The zombies are no good for fresh flesh, so deeper into the sewers I find a gigantic flesh blob. This is where the Monty Pythonesque title of the mission comes in — I had to attack him for a while, and then when the blob was stunned, chainsaw off a limb. Kept doing this over and over until, like the Black Knight, the blob was sitting on the floor all limbless. Even after it was dead, one of its limbs reanimated to chase me for a while, because why not?

I didn’t use the surgery coupon — I’m happy with my face, though not my hair — but I am ecstatic to finally have the chainsaw again. Now to save up 35 SP to be able to use it!

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The Animate Clay (investigation mission)

Aldini’s other quest is one of the better investigation missions in The Secret World, both as a story and as a series of interesting puzzles. It turns out that like Frankenstein’s monster, Aldini’s last creation somehow escaped the lab and has been killing. Aldini blames me for giving him “impure flesh,” but hey man, you get what you pay for. Off to track down the patchwork man — who is, apparently, quite intelligent, as he left Aldini a note. The only thing is that the monster can’t remember who he used to be. I have sympathy for him, definitely.

Clues abound in Aldini’s clinic, including an x-ray with a number etched on a bone and a computer with such notes as “subject survived seventeen days without a face!” I love that he has a rough draft of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech on the computer as well.

The creature first leads me to the sewers of NYC, which is one of my least-favorite places in the game. Keep getting turned around in there (and there’s no map). But once I find the creature’s victim, I get a phone number for P. Schulyer and Sons — an actual, functioning London phone number. You can either spend money (if you’re out of country) to call that number, or else just listen to someone else’s recording who has done so:

Contacting the elusive company requires some work. There’s an alley in London’s Darkside with a corpse in it — and some various objects. The trick here is to use those objects to make the same little tune that you hear twice in the phone call.

That done, the dead body in the alley rises and is revealed to be the P. Schulyer and Sons receptionist. A zombie receptionist. A zombie receptionist with an exposed chest cavity that has a keypad and a big red button. An account number is needed — the same number that you can find on the x-ray in Aldini’s office. Punch that in, and the zombie vomits up the activity log for the corpse-delivery service. Seriously, how brilliant — and demented — is all of this? The log book mentions some missing delivery men around Innsmouth Academy, which sounds like the creature’s work to me.

The investigation at the academy eventually leads all of the way back to NYC, where I track down the creature’s lair in a warehouse. This sets up a particularly tense confrontation, because while it’s not completely dark in this box maze, the creature itself is cloaked in shadow, only briefly giving you a glimpse of its form. I took enough screenshots to be able to look at it clearly, and indeed it’s a botched surgery wrapped in a hat and a trenchcoat. The only way to kill it for good is to lure it into a puddle of electrified water, after which it leaves a note saying that it can’t go back to the man he was and can’t become what Aldini wants, so it would rather fade away entirely. A sad note that’s only broken by Geary’s mention of the Illuminati’s resident mad scientist who created a “squid-squirrel.”

The Secret Adventures: The four-and-sixty (Scorched Desert #10)

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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 Last Legion (action mission)

In this edition of The Secret Adventures, we’re going to turn our attention to Khalid, a desert nomad who sports five missions (two main, three side). The player consensus is that Khalid is, in fact, the Aaron of the Old Testament, Moses’ brother and the first high priest of the Hebrews. He gives me a rundown on what happened a long time ago, with a Roman cult that worshiped the sun god and was eventually defeated by the Marya and Sentinels. But, of course, they’re back and I must go do something about it.

I like how he gruffly orders me to get going already and kill them to death.

I head into the legion’s ruins, which I assume is the same place that I visited when I traveled back in time to the Roman Empire days. Kind of neat to see it from this perspective, now. Lots of undead Legion killing, including a gladiator-style final battle. This featured one of TSW’s very rare mid-mission cutscenes, although I didn’t feel it added much to the proceedings.

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Scattered to the Wind (side mission)

Khalid has a diary nearby with three side quests in them. Since I’m definitely not above reading a man’s diary without permission while he’s standing three feet away, I snap up all three quests. First up is to find eight missing pages, probably containing Khalid’s My Little Pony fanfic.

Since this mission takes place in the very ruins I just visited, it probably would’ve been a good idea to grab it at the same time as the previous quest. OH WELL. It’s kind of fun to waltz through the ruins and lay waste to the roaming mobs, now that I’m significantly tougher and they were nerfed a while back.

Consecration (side mission)

There’s a ritual in Khalid’s diary that allows people to speak to the dead. That totally sounds like a good idea, so why not do it? After gathering the ingredients for the ritual, I summon a happy spirit that leads me on a merry chase into a small dark cave. There’s a strange mound here, so I dig it and… the mission ends. There’s no explanation as to what I might have found, no mission debriefing text (just the form letter one), nothing. I was all excited to help solve a mystery! Funcom dropped the ball with this one.

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Moving Mountains, Rising Sands (side mission)

The last diary side mission is simple: kill two big patrolling golems nearby. As long as one didn’t accidentally pull a bunch of mobs with them, I can’t see how you could fail this mission. Geary said that the two golems meeting together were supposed to herald the end of the world.

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The Unburnt Bush (investigation mission)

So Khalid/Aaron’s brother Moses apparently haunts a nearby burning bush as an immortal spirit, because why not take the biblical account in Exodus and jumble it around? Anyway, Khalid hints that there’s something I should see but I’m going to have to find my way on it… and at least I have his staff — the Staff of Exodus — to guide me.

Actually, I also have all of Moses’ burning bushes to lead me on a guided tour through the desert to a series of altars which look like those giant wooden spools that poor college kids use as tables.

At each altar is an arabic inscription that points to a similar Hebrew inscription on Khalid’s staff. When solved correctly, it triggers a bit more of a backstory. Also, each altar shows off a flashback of one of the 10 plagues of Exodus, just as a showpiece.

Anyway, the full story is that the Black Pharaoh got jealous of the power of Aaron’s staff and went on a mission to get his own super-duper staff. Stuff was done, people got killed, the staff was sent back to Egypt, the end.

The final stage of this mission is nerve-wracking, as a ring of mummies rise up and start advancing while you frantically keep trying different staff code combinations. Solve it, and the mummies die. Don’t, and you’re insta-gibbed.

Geary chews a bit on Khalid’s multiple mentions of the “four and sixty” — another secret society, perhaps the very first one. There are a lot of theories on this, the most interesting of which is that it’s made up of a group of immortals that are sprinkled through the game world. People like Khalid and Boone who aren’t overtly linked to any organization or society, but still show up to help out as much as they can.

That’s it for Khalid! Give him a hand, ladies and gents, he’s been swell!

The Secret Adventures: Don’t step in lava (Scorched Desert #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!)

The Madness of Men (action mission)

Amparo — the Council of Venice operative — is waxing philisophical on all of the “plagues of Egypt” that are happening in the area. There certainly is a theme going on, I must admit. Darkness, locusts, fire from heaven, the works. But she attributes these events as man-made rather than supernatural.

Anyway, the order of the day is to look into the fire fissures that have erupted in the desert, and since you can’t really kill fire, there are conveniently located fire-related mobs wandering nearby. Fire-guys, fire sprites, lava golems, and one big dude that pops out of a portal. Oh? And in case you were wondering if the lava — as in many MMOs — is there just for show, no, it will really hurt you. Don’t step in the lava, folks.

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Signal Effect (side mission)

This is one truly annoying little squib of a mission. You might think not, at first, since it’s all in al-Meryah and contains no fighting, but no, it’s a time-sucker. Basically, you have to locate four satellite dishes on the rooftops around the town and realign them to pick up a signal that the Council of Venice reported. Lots of platforming here, with me getting frustrated trying to figure out (a) where exactly each dish was and (b) how to get up on any given roof. Not every building has a front door and stairs, because why make it easy?

And because this mission doesn’t know when to quit, after all of this you still have to head out into the desert to hunt down the signal box. Don’t really know what it is, in the end, but the Templar leader Richard sends me a recruitment notice in the mission debriefing.

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A Lion in the Streets (action mission)

Amparo as a character wasn’t done any favors by Funcom in the hair department. I don’t know what they were going for, but “spiky afro” probably wasn’t exactly it. It’s so very bad that makes me a little ashamed for whoever designed her. Plus, as a person, she’s rather tepid.

She talks about how the town is dying — people are being abducted at night and turned into cultists, and at this point you’d think everyone would get together and post guards or something. Guess not. This intro somehow leads me to the Hotel Wahid, although nobody said anything about the place before. I’m operating on the theory that my character has a full script of the game and can read ahead to know where to go.

This is Said’s HQ, but for the most part it’s the stomping ground for a whole lot of ghouls. Not sure how ghouls — and jinn — entered into the picture, but straight-up monsters is a refreshing change of pace from cultists. From here on out, it’s a two-pronged endeavor: free the captives and kill with extreme prejudice.

I don’t mind the action, as the ghouls are pretty easy to take out. The mission even leads me into the hotel basement, a rather nondescript place that does have one semi-creepy moment when the lights flicker from on to emergency red.

Scorched Earth (side mission)

Very easy quest to take out some cultists and their scattered camps. Nothing to write home about, truly.

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The High Cost of Dying (action mission)

With all of the al-Merayah quests out of the way, it’s time to give some more attention to our favorite mummy, Said. I head back to the hotel, where Said mentions that there’s a small-g god nearby, a locust god named Arbeh. Want to take him out? Sure, my expression says. I don’t say a lot with my mouth. I still think the bees have my tongue.

Instead of going toe-to-toe with Arbeh, instead I have to go tomb robbing to assemble an artifact that will somehow banish him. This means a trip into a nearby Egyptian ruin, which is all sorts of neat. Lots of golems and locusts to fight, but nothing too tough. I found myself taking a lot of the pictures of the place like the super-powered tourist I am.

The Eighth Plague (side mission)

Near the locust temple is a shell of a dead bug which grants this mission. If you’re the type that likes to make a list of the easiest-to-complete missions in the game for later farming, then add this one — all you have to do is kill 15 nearby locusts and the quest automatically completes. Easy peasy.

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A Shadow over Egypt (action mission)

The second (and last, I assume) part of the Arbeh mission chain, Said sends me scuttling off to the Temple of Aten, which he calls a “gauche tourist trap.” I do so love this guy. Could listen to him talking for hours. We really need to get him and Montag in the same room at some point.

The Temple is, indeed, more tourist trap than serious den of evil, but that hasn’t stopped locust cultists from sealing it up with barriers and empowering Arbeh within. This is an action mission that requires a little thought, since you have to figure out how to get past the barriers. That takes killing four specific mobs to get their buffs — nothing too difficult.

The interior of the temple is nice, but I kind of expected a little more detail from the devs here. Then again, this whole set piece is for a single mission, so I can understand not wanting to blow a month’s budget on the place. Arbeh ended up being a tricky fight, especially when I went in with guns blazing before reading his buffs. After getting smacked to the ground, I decided to fight smart and use that temple artifact to strip him of his magical protection. Took a bit of frantic running around, debuffing, and lots of attacks (the dude packs one heck of a shield), but he went down on the second try without much trouble.

Geary gave me one of her sardonic pats on the back, saying that all I really did was swat an Old Testament bug. Thanks, boss. Remind me why I work for you again? Oh yeah, the amusement factor.

The Secret Adventures: Bad dreams (Scorched Desert #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!)

Tainted Dreams (side mission)

There’s a weird dream eye plaque on a pillar near where the previous mission ended, so I clicked on it and — naturally — got sucked into the dream world. Before you go getting all excited, no, the dream world in TSW isn’t rainbows and candy-spewing kittens and Swedish bikini teams. Rather, it’s the regular map run through a greyscale filter, much like the dying world is, just a little brighter.

So I have the singularly strange experience of following but not fighting one of the Reaper characters to close off nightmare rifts. Does Trion Worlds know about this? Or care? Anyway, I know that there’s a lot of mob model reusage in this game (practically, there has to be), so it’s kind of hard taking THIS reaper more seriously than THAT one, even if the soundtrack tries to convince me otherwise.

The only hard part to this mission is avoiding the floating mummy ghost mobs — they move slowly, but if they touch you, you get booted back into the real world and have to deal with YouTube comment sections and the like.

The Fedora Express (side mission)

Back to the Cafe Giza! There is a fedora and pair of sunglasses on a table, and since my time is obviously valuable, I pick them up and run them all the way back to… Said. Mummy doesn’t even say thanks. Typical.

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Black Sun, Red Sand (main story mission, tier 2)

As usual, I’m trying to save the main story mission until I’m fully done with all of a zone’s other quests, but it’s hard to be mucking around in al-Meryah and not trigger this cutscene. Anyway, I wanted to mention it before I forgot it.

I come upon a Council of Venice operative (above) under attack by Atenists. My character uses one of her “I wish I actually had that skill” to launch a lightning orb at the bad guys and flatten them. The operative explains that her small crew was sent here to retrieve (what else?) a powerful artifact. She mentions that the Orochi and Phoenecians are in play — no surprise here — but that there’s also a much greater force pulling the strings. She also suspects that the Council is compromised and doesn’t know if she’s been hung out to dry or what.

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The Living Oil (sabotage mission)

One of the most affecting aspects of The Secret World is when it finally sinks into your — the player’s — mind that we’re not merely going to hot spots around the world like the A-Team, stamping out fires before they blaze up. We are trying to navigate the very real beginning of the end of the world, and no matter how many missions you do, how many people you help, the game gradually hammers into your head that it might very well be too late. The Filth, the Dreamers, the sinister societies — they are too big and you are too small. It’s only a matter of time.

I thought of this as I reintroduced myself to Zhara, the owner of the Café Giza. She’s a nice lady who asks you to send a letter to her sister (a reminder that, like many NPCs in these zones, they’re effectively trapped whereas the player characters may use Agartha to come and go). She’s keeping her chin up, serving what food and drink she has for as long as she can, but you can sense that she isn’t hopeful that it will end well. She’s staring down the apocalypse and being defiant in the only way she can.

Anyway, bleh, sabotage mission. Which means a trip back to the super-annoying date factory/plant region, which makes for at least the 12th time so far in this zone. I do so because Zhara is peeved that the Atenists are using Filth-injected dates to transform people into monsters, so I guess she gives me full license to wage war on the factory. I still have to be careful — lots of powerful roaming mobs and the like — but it is satisfying to blow up trucks and shipments.

At the end is the source of the Filth in this area, a locust nest bubbling with the stuff. The final objective is to take out the nest, a task which is near-suicidal considering the mob density. That’s where — and I’m giving sabotage missions some faint praise once again here — this game excels in getting you to think beyond brute force to alternate paths to victory. In this case, I dump over an oil drum nearby and set it on fire, causing the nest to light up. Huzzah!

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Plague of Locusts (side mission)

Little side mission near the end of the last one, might as well pick it up! It’s pretty straight-forward: wipe out three locust nests and the final boss. At least they aren’t Ak’abs! Now, the trick with nests in The Secret World is to back off from attacking them when they start spawning defensive mobs. Deal with the mobs, then return to the nest; don’t try to keep attacking the nest or you might end up triggering too many mobs that they’ll overrun you.

Not that this has… ever happened to me. No. Never.

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Angels & Demons (investigation mission)

Zhara mentions that before all of the truly bad stuff starting going down in the area, there was a group of foreign investors who came in and quietly set up shop. Sounds like a good enough reason to look into who they were and what they were doing, no?

The group was Plethron, one of Orochi’s many subdivisions. I don’t really know much about this company, to be honest, even after my adventures in Tokyo. Let me look it up… agriculture. Even has its own website because of course it does.

Breaking into the Plethron office in al-Meryah I find — to my complete lack of shock — a dead Orochi director there. Orochi must clone corpses or something to keep up with this high demand. Anyway, the guy’s computer mentions a third party sniffing around Orochi’s shipments, and after investigating the warehouse, I see security footage that shows Mr. Hatty messing with the crates. He actually has the nerve to leave me a passive-aggressive note in one of the crates telling me to back off. Tough chance.

As an investigation mission, this one is not too tough. There’s a little code-breaking involved as well as a spot where you have to figure out a keypad combination by listening to the tones of the keys pressed. All things considered, it’s child’s play compared to what some of these missions have you doing.

The Secret Adventures: Order’s up at Café Giza (Scorched Desert #7)

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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!)

Friends and Neighbors (side mission)

  • Let’s take a quick break to talk about what I’m working toward in my build. One of my all-time favorite elite passives is Forged in Fire (auto heal 40% of health if you dip below a threshold), so I’m working my way toward that. I should probably devote some AP toward an auxiliary weapon, since I can’t use the two I have as I haven’t bought skills yet. And I’m really flirting with trying to construct a fists/shotgun-ish build, but that will take a LOT of AP and SP to switch over. Shotgun something, at least. I miss my shotgun dearly. Pistols are a poor substitute.
  • Anyway, we’re back in al-Merayah, where this side mission asks me to go on a witch hunt to root out cultists in the city. Gladly!
  • Nothing too hard here, just a lot of wandering around town and wondering who designed this ramshackle place.

Old Gods, New Tricks (action mission)

  • Time to turn my attention to clearing out the Cafe Giza. There are a TON of missions here between the two quest givers and one random side mission. Going to start with Tanis’ stuff.
  • Tanis is a Phoenician agent with a penchant for snakes. I hear her talking urgently over the phone, but she sees me listening and gives me this glare to make me back off. Shortest intro cutscene ever? Maybe. I leave the restaurant and get a call from a mysterious man who instructs me to evesdrop on her some more.
  • Tanis is getting chewed out for having lost artifacts (always with the artifacts in Egypt), so that means it’s a race for me to get them from the cultists first. And that means… more cursed beeping. This game has made me hate GPSes so very much.
  • The artifacts are spread around the outskirts, so it’s a little tricky to search while not drawing down a mob of mobs. To make matters even tricksier, the artifacts throw out this sort of repelling ray if you approach them from certain angles.
  • At the end, there are two time-limited mission objectives, which leads to a little nail-biting. Wasn’t that hard, although some carelessness did lead to a couple of deaths on my part.
  • Geary tells me that one of these artifacts was responsible for the Black Plague. Were you going to tell me this beforehand? I do have a biohazard suit, you know!

snake

An Uneasy Alliance (action mission)

  • After the previous mission, Tanis is a little more willing to talk with me. She says we’re still enemies and that some day she’ll blow my brains out (charming), but for now we can work together against the cultists. Step one in doing so is to go snake hunting for her pets. Hope you don’t have a phobia!
  • Never thought I’d be doing a snake escort quest in an MMO, but here we are. It is not even close to the strangest thing you’ll do in this game, by the way.
  • The snake leads me to a bitten cultist, who then spawns black energy wisps (?). Don’t have a CLUE what that’s supposed to be about, but they all lead me to the cultist camp, and from there it’s a full-frontal assault on the place. Nothing too hard, happily. I’m really glad I’m keeping a strong AOE builder on my toolbar for times like this.

kiss

From Carthage to Cairo (sabotage mission)

  • Before any further discussion can open up between Tanis and I, a bomb goes off across the street from the cafe. It’s an effective cutscene, devoid of dialogue and slightly shocking, with my character looking up at the bombed roof with worry.
  • A little investigation into the bomb site leads me to an alley, where the mission intro proper kicks in. I evesdrop on Tanis meeting with… Said, who is not too happy with the Phoenecians getting involved with the death cults. Said said that the Kingdom is getting out of the deal, in his humorous way. He walks away and Mr. Hatty shows up, beckoning Tanis to talk about her “bright and shining future.” Oh yes, he’s so Morninglight it hurts.
  • This is not one of the breezy missions, if the “sabotage” label didn’t warn you. It’s one of those missions that you feel wrung out after doing, since it has you going through a booby-trapped cellar, navigating the super-dangerous date plant area, and then defending a guy against waves and waves of bad guys.
  • At least the end part gives you claymore mines and detonators as a key part of the defense, but if you mess up just a little, you’ll be overrun before the detonators respawn. Took me about four tries this time to do it right.
  • At least Said is happy that I tracked down his operatives (two dead, one alive) and texted me that he wanted to do lunch. My favorite mummy!

The Secret Adventures: Golems for us, golems against us (Scorched Desert #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!)

From Oxford, With Love (action mission)

  • We start with more evesdropping on Mr. Beardy and Mr. Hatty, the latter of whom is threatening the former for not digging up enough artifacts around the area. Beardy is tasked with sending more soldiers to a dig site manned by Oxford archaeologists to the north. Will that happen on my watch? No. No it will not happen.
  • Along the way I bump into a golem that’s being attacked by Atenists. The mission charges me to help said golem, although it does not provide a reason why. Is this… a good guy golem? Is it just the enemy of my enemy is my friend kind of thing?
  • Then there’s one of TSW’s rare mid-mission cutscenes as I come across the archaeologists’ camp. It’s been trashed and robbed, although the May-November gay couple are seemingly OK. They do want me to retrieve the stolen artifacts though. Probably won’t even pay me, either.
  • The first artifact is being guarded by ghouls who, after dispatching the Atenist (yay), are now bowing in worship before it. It’s kind of funny. They still had to die, of course, but at least I got a chuckle out of it.
  • The third artifact is super-tricky to get. It requires you to down a giant golem — wait, now I’m supposed to fight it? This mission makes no sense — and he’s got a trio of really strong buffs that make attacking him a suicidal proposition.
  • The mission wants you to use these tower beams to deactivate the buffs, but it’s a lot of running around and very precise timing. What I elected to do was to use the beams just to deactivate the one buff that protected him from damage — with that out of the way, I was able to DPS him down fast.
  • Finally, I ran off to deliver the artifacts to an Illuminati helicopter (sorry Oxford dudes, you’re not getting these back). Neat way to end the mission.

mummy

Tomb Raiders (side mission)

  • No Lara Croft here — it’s up to me to seal up a bunch of tombs to keep the undead from spilling out. Or maybe we could recruit them into the Illuminati? That’d be pretty awesome.
  • I like these mummy undead, really great models going on here. Mmm… teriyaki beef jerky style.

Ruined (side mission)

  • There are a few side missions up in the north-east corner of the map where I ended up, so figured I might as well clean them out.
  • We’ll start with a cultist who, I think, immolated herself. That’s… disturbing, but par for the course in this region. Have to go kill a few bad guys!
  • This wouldn’t be that hard except for the fact that any time I get near a group of cultists, a giant sand scorpion pops up. It’s all too much to tackle at once, so I had to run in and out, keeping AoE at a minimum

Modern Archaeology (side mission)

  • When I saw that I had to locate and dig up an artifact, I felt my stomach sink — this was going to be another BEEP BEEP BEEP mission. But actually it wasn’t! Instead, I got a device that, when planted, points me in the direction of the artifact. Wasn’t that hard to find at all.

city

Not on Google Maps (side mission)

  • Keeping track of the easiest missions in this game? Here’s one for you: You literally have to walk through a door and a loading screen, and bam, mission complete.
  • It’s just a little breadcrumb quest to take you to the next zone, as if the giant C’thulu temple up there wasn’t inviting enough.

bomb

The Bomb Squad (side mission)

  • Slowly but surely, I’m working my way into al-Merayah and it’s grouping of quest givers. Before I get too far in, I find a bomb brazenly strapped to the side of a poor, innocent building. The nerve! Time to go bomb hunting!
  • This is actually way easier than it should be, even though you have to find and disarm 10 bombs in the city. For one thing, these bombs are everywhere; the bad guys apparently love overkill. For another thing, they all glow bright yellow and have labeling text, which is probably an advantage that most bomb technicians don’t get.