The Secret Adventures: GPS to success (Savage Coast #5)

(With Update 1.11, I’m eager to see how the play experience in TSW has improved in the lower levels, so here we go again! You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page!)

baddddA Reasonable Man (action mission)

  • We’re back with not-so-lovable curmudgeon Sam Krieg on top of his lighthouse. Guess he blows off steam by sniping zombies below. How long is he planning to stay here, by the way?
  • “Do you ever do that? Keep going it serves absolutely no purpose?” Aren’t you the peppy optimist!
  • LOVING the new map changes, by the way. Being able to see all of the quests/side quests is great, as is the ability to leap to an anima well (the anima-tion is pretty neat too!).
  • Went to Darkside, bought myself a new blouse, and got back to work.
  • First step? Grab some flares and light up zombies so Krieg can pick them off. That’s pretty normal compared to the next stage, where I am instructed to “collect half-eaten corpses.”
  • Question: Why?
  • Question: No, seriously, why?
  • Question: Where am I storing said half-eaten corpses, my fanny pack?
  • Question: Ew.
  • OK, I guess the corpses are for… impaling them on stakes on a cliffside so that other zombies will see it and think, I don’t know, “Gee Howard, that looks AWESOME!” and then run off the cliff to their death. The logic in this quest does not make a lot of sense, but it is kind of funny to watch zombies jump eagerly off a cliff, so I’ll call it a wash.
  • From there it’s pretty straight-forward: kill big zombies, kill boss zombie, then roll rock to plug hole leaking Filth. Oh, I’m sure that’ll hold. It’s a ROCK.

biggunsShooting Filth in a Barrel (side mission)

  • Brief time-out to rejigger a new build, this one using pistols/blood magic. As useful as blades are, I had the sound, animation, and melee focus. Plus, some healing might be useful!
  • Oof, that was not a good idea. I kept getting curb-stomped with this build… AOE is now much weaker than it was pre-1.11 and even with DoTs and HoTs, I’m getting overrun by packs too easily. Maybe pistol/elementalism? Gonna be out of SP soon at this rate.
  • Anyway, this mission is pretty much blowing up filth barrels that some idiot put all over the place. Because when you find a world-devouring substance, bottling it up for the natives is always a good idea.

johnCrime and Punishment (investigation mission)

  • For our last mission with Sam Krieg, the writer opens up about not liking people… but finding their actions fascinating. He also pronounces the people of Solomon Island “evil” — something that I cannot deny, knowing what I do. Although I would counter that we’ve seen signs of good, of hope, of those not content to look the other way.
  • We’re going to look into the case of one of the people whose actions Sam finds interesting, but for that we’re going to need to reverse engineer his trip to the lighthouse. A letter nearby tells of Sam’s car left abandoned nearby and a GPS that tried to kill him.
  • This part is pretty clever. After I find the car’s GPS, I have to figure out where Sam came from by listening to the instructions, arranging them backward, and then tracing a route on the map to that point. It leads me to the town’s gas station.
  • And it gets better! A photo in a trash can there shows Sam being hugged by a local blogger (the dour expression on Sam’s face is priceless) who scribbled the website address for his blog. And to there we go, because we need to get a security code for his house!
  • The blog, Sam Krieg Sightings, has two clues. The first is that the blogger says his security codes come from Sam’s books. The second is that when you click on the covers on the blog, it shows the ISBNs. The Resident Horror is the one for us.
  • As a side note, the blog makes for a quick and funny read!
  • I go into the blogger’s “mancave,” which is devoid of said blogger but full of Sam Krieg books. One more password, onto his computer this time, and the mission completes while letting me peruse a few interesting files. Apparently the blogger — one of the game’s many Johns — fled the island. Somehow.
  • It would be REALLY interesting if this was the Tokyo John, but I doubt it. I don’t think his leaving the island would give him enough time to do all of the things that Tokyo John is shown doing.

Wisped Away / Property of Innsmouth Academy (side missions)

  • Both of these missions are near to each other and are very similar, involving killing wisps and breadcrumbing it to Innsmouth Academy. That suits my purposes, as I was heading there anyway!

The Secret World makes me happy with 1.11

Last night I patched TSW up to 1.11 to check out the “enhanced player experience” — quality of life improvements, in other words. There’s a LOT of angry debate on the forums over this patch (dumbing down for the filthy casuals, etc.), but I have to say that my early impressions are quite positive.

For starters, how about that new map? Not only can you now just click on an anima well to port there (a la Guild Wars 2’s waypoints), but the map has a ton more icons for side missions and whatnot. I am LOVING this. It’ll make zone completion so much easier.

Combat *seems* to be a bit easier, although that’s hard to say right now as I’m tinkering with a new build and trying to get a balance of AoE vs. single-target skills going on. The landscape seems less packed with mobs, so there’s more room to maneuver in fights.

I also checked out the new clothing vendors in London’s Darkside, which supposedly will change their wares on a daily basis. Bought myself a neat new blouse to celebrate.

But the best thing is seeing former and new players who were intimidated and/or turned off by the steep combat difficulty and tedious time-to-kill eagerly come back for the story. Combat isn’t TSW’s strong suit, the story and world is. More people need to experience that, and 1.11 will hopefully give them that chance.

So yes, I’m working on my play-every-mission project again, so expect a new post on that front soon!

Could 2015 be the year of returning to old MMO loves?

cool yearI don’t think it’s news to any of you that 2015 is not going to be the biggest year for major MMO launches. We might get a couple mid-range and several indie titles, not to mention many alpha “releases,” but it’s not going to be the TSW/GW2/ESO/AA/WildStar/FF14 bonanza that we’ve enjoyed in the past few years.

But I don’t think 2015 is going to be a wasteland, either. Actually, I am starting to suspect that it might be a fertile field for enriching older products with (a) expansions, (b) promotions, and (c) players returning because they’re not currently chasing the hot new thing. Is that bad? Absolutely not!

Right now we’re staring at two big expansions — GW2: Heart of Thorns and FFXIV: Heavensword (I prefer to think it’s “heavensword” and not some hick “heavenSWARD!” that absolutely does not roll off the tongue) — and that’s just the start. Oh, and an Ultima Online expansion too.  Ultima Online, people. SWTOR is aiming for two expansions along what it’s been doing the past couple of years.

TSW will finally be moving past Tokyo to new territories. Elder Scrolls Online could see a FF14-like rebirth with Update 6, the buy to play transition, and its upcoming console launch. Games like ArcheAge, Age of Conan, EVE, RIFT, LOTRO, Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, Allods, EverQuest II… well, just about every MMO that isn’t on minimum life support has made noise about content plans for this year.

I’m actually really OK with all of this. Sure, I’d love it if we were suprised with more Crowfall-like new game announcements (because following up-and-coming games is awesome), but taking a year off of the hype highway to enjoy current and past MMO loves that are still developing content is a great excuse to exercise contentment, reestablish old online friendships, and finish up content that we’ve otherwise been ignoring.

MMOs grow, and our adventures in them are not necessarily one-and-done. The short-sighted “three-month MMO” stereotype is falling apart from the reality of players and bloggers cycling back to an ever-growing roster of virtual homes. We no longer have to just have one. We no longer have to be waiting for that one, mythical MMO that will solve all problems. We have choices that are becoming more attractive by virtue of their maturing.

Grow and prosper, games in 2015. Experiment, enjoy, and game guilt-free, players of 2015.