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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The Secret Adventures: Mr. Beardy and Mr. Hatty (Scorched Desert #5)

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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 Coveters (side mission)

  • With Nassir’s huge quest chain done, I can flop back in my seat and take a breather — for now. There’s a Council of Venice envoy behind him in the tent with three side missions, so why not take all of those and push my luck? This first one asks me to collect relics in the sand… sounds easy enough.
  • The fact that there’s 20 required means that this’ll take a while, but it’s something to do on the side and bears good rewards, so might as well!

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Five Ways to Kill a Man (side mission)

  • This is a five-tier assassination mission, probably one of those ascended side quests that merely lacks a good intro cutscene.
  • The only good thing about this mission is that by doing it one can pretty much do the entirety of The Coveters, since I’m tripping over relics left and right.
  • How to describe this mission? It’s as if the devs looked at the map here in Egypt and then traced a path through the toughest spots with insane mob density and aggro, then made the player go on a self-guided tour through it. All for the name of a side quest.
  • I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times I died in this mission. I think my gear is really lacking at this point, but the game isn’t exactly throwing me a lot of upgrades with these quest rewards.
  • I was ridiculously delighted to stumble upon a camel in a pen. I think it’s the first I’ve seen in this zone. HAI KAMAL!

The Defence Never Rests (side mission)

  • The last envoy side mission has something to do with protecting relics from the Aten cultists below the city.
  • Quick mission, but you have to be prepared for it. Basically, you defend the sewer entrance from three waves of cultists. AoE is king, here. All hail the AoE!
  • I think I probably did this mission a couple dozen times back when I was originally farming for that Indiana Jones outfit.

The Scorpion Queen (side mission)

  • Nothing like a very dated Dwayne Johnson movie reference to spice up a quest title!
  • Hey! It’s another Orochi corpse! Did these fellas ever come in “alive” version to begin with? Anyway, this one was trying to track down giant scorpions because… I guess death wasn’t coming fast enough for him.
  • That leaves me to fight a big scorpion queen all by my lonesome. Pew pew! Fun fact: Bugs don’t like guns.

London Underground (sabotage mission)

  • During my Egyptian exploits, I receive a call from the Pyramidion, calling me to drop everything and rush to London. Seems the Templars have discovered some relics from Roman sun worshipers there (more Atenists?) and it’s a race to get to them first. As the Pyramidion reminds me, the Templars have the home advantage but we have the “everything-else advantage.”
  • As a factional mission, this was brand-new to me — and a sabotage one, even so. I ducked into the surprisingly clean (if somewhat cobwebby) Roman ruins under London’s streets and started to make my way through this maze of hallways.
  • There are mines and sniper turrets everywhere, requiring trial-and-error to figure out an exact path through it. Over the course of the mission, I had to blow up the turrets from behind, deactivate a force field, set off an alarm to draw out a small army of Templars, do a spot of fighting, and recover what looked like a broken sword. Aragorn’s? He’s going to be ticked the Illuminati got it, I’ll say.
  • At least the Pyramidion said that we were going to be BFFs. I always wanted a strangely disembodied… computer AI, I think? as a best friend.

The Fate of al-Merayah (action mission)

  • There are a pair of missions that you can gain right outside of al-Merayah by eavesdropping in on Mr. Beardy. Nevermind that I’ve already killed him by kicking him off the train; time is elastic in the secret world. I should go tell the Marya to storm this house and eliminate him for good, but nothing doing.
  • So Mr. Beardy is meeting with a mysterious Berihun, who we still don’t know much about other than he represents a faction/power that is helping out the Atenists — and is really calling the shots with them. He’s also apparently the guy who arranged for the Filth bombs in Tokyo and Cairo. Berihun is upset that Mr. Beardy hasn’t taken over al-Merayah yet, so Mr. Beardy says that an offensive is about to begin from underneath the town.
  • Enough is enough — Super-Syp, away!
  • Now, if you’ve been itching for a lot of action, this mission more than has you covered. The first half is nothing but defending barricades against waves and waves of Atenists. Nothing too tough, particularly if you pick up some of the grenades lying nearby and have some fun.
  • Part two is a race through the sewers/tunnels to seal some doors so that the bad guys can’t get through to the city. If anything, it’s a breeze compared to the first part. Guess I win the day?

The Secret Adventures: Last train to Awesome Town (Scorched Desert #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!)

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The City Beneath Us (action mission)

  • The long mission chain continues here, as Said is off investigating the Class One device that’s being slated to bomb Cairo and I’m to find an “ark” to contain said device if we can capture it.
  • The owner of Cafe Giza, Zhara, points me in the direction of the foundations of the town. Since the whole place is built on a mesa of sorts, the foundations are easier to access than would be otherwise. Door in the side of the cliff. Simple.
  • There’s an excavation going on deep inside this place, with what looks to be another time tomb smack in the middle of it. When I discover that, Said shows up and asks to be escorted down, saying that he doesn’t remember what he used to be a prince of.
  • We get to the time tomb and I got a little behind it, fight a big beastie, and recover a (broken) ark. Well, it’s broken NOW, but it didn’t always used to be broken, eh? And that means more time travel!
  • The mission wrap-up screen from Said features a sobering confession in which he admits to helping the bad guys smuggle out the first Filth bomb from Egypt — an act that he’s trying to make up for with all of this. I like Said, but considering what that bomb did to Tokyo, I can’t quite like him as much as I used to.

time1

Know Them By Their Works (side mission)

  • Bring on the Bible quotes (TSW loves these for mission titles, I’ve noticed). A scroll in the excavation under the city points to hints of Third Age relics. Got to track those down and make a rubbing of one.

run

The City Before Us (sabotage mission)

  • And it’s back to ancient Egypt — really ancient this time, 1897 BC. Less Roman than before.
  • This isn’t a sneaky-sabotage mission, but more of a puzzle-solving one with some light action and platforming. I think TSW should reclassify its mission categories — there is often some bleed-through from other areas — but oh well.
  • This whole mission chain contains quite a few homages/references to Indiana Jones (down to the issue cover), although it isn’t as obnoxiously overt as the devs could’ve made it. I don’t mind, in any case; exploring through this structure while avoiding traps and unlocking secrets gave a great Indy vibe.
  • It’s in this mission that you can get the whip auxiliary weapon. It’s easy to miss it, if you’re not paying attention. You first need a whip from one of the guards from the previous mission, then you put it in an anima-infusing device here in the distant past (but the room is off the tour, so you have to pay attention). Then you retrieve it in the present and voila!
  • I swap out a brand-new ark for the ruined one, but that’s not enough to avoid retribution. In classic Indiana Jones style, the place starts self-destructing all around me. Run, Syp, run!
  • And yes, there’s even a boulder that drops down behind you as you run down a stairwell. I suspect thousands of TSW players have died because they tried to grab screenshots of this moment.
  • There’s a neat moment when you encounter pre-mummy Said, who jabbers at you for a bit and then steals the little doodad that he gave you when you first went into the time tomb. Don’t know what that’s about. I kind of have a suspicion it’s what’s kept him alive all these years.
  • I hide the undamaged ark, pop back to the present, retrieve the ark, and then go to find the best and boldest driver in all of Egypt to catch up with the train carrying the second Filth bomb. Go, Syp, go!
  • Great mission overall, I must say.

train

Last Train to Cairo (action mission)

  • Every MMO has a handful of quests that rise above the rest in quality and memorableness — and this mission is easily one of The Secret World’s finest. Seriously. So dang good.
  • The stakes couldn’t be higher: The Atenists have possession of a Filth bomb that they’re taking to Cairo to be loaded onto a Phoenician ship to… somewhere. Our only chance of stopping it is to take control of the train that’s barreling through Egypt. And for that, we’re going to need the combined efforts of Nassir and Said, the original odd couple.
  • The opening snark between these two is priceless. Really, we need a movie starring them.
  • Naturally, the heavy lifting of the mission is left to me — Nassir and Said ride it out in their comfy jeep. Me, on the other hand, is made to leap onto a moving train, then gradually work my way up to the front. This is a lot harder than it sounds.
  • The fact that this mission takes place on a moving train start to end gives it a dynamic that you don’t get in most quests. It’s genuinely exciting.
  • I love looking in at the enemy soldiers doing goofy dances and push-ups. Y’know, before I kill them.
  • I actually got really stuck on this mission. My gear is still pretty low for this sort of thing, and no matter what build I used, I got flattened by the waves of bad guys that came in tier 2. Happily, IronWeakness came to my rescue to duo this mission to the end. And yes, we both died many silly deaths along the way.
  • Favorite part? Getting to the tank and using it to blow up bad guys AND doors. Can I keep the tank, please?
  • Finally I’m able to take down Mr. Beardy with an oh-so-satisfying kick off the train. Geary chides me that I didn’t confirm the kill. Hey, I die every time I drop off this train, I think it’s safe to assume he’s desert food.
  • The end scene has a neat background easter egg where you can see Emma sitting down and reaching up. It’s easy to miss since Nassir and Said are quipping at each other.
  • The best part? A free QL 10 purple head talisman for the whole chain. Last time I grabbed the health one, but this time I know a little better and went with the attack version.