The Secret World Beta Bonanza Part 7 – Zombie Apocalypse

Continuing from Part 6!

It’s another Secret World beta weekend, and I’ll be continuing on where I left off. Once again, Templar are the only playable faction, but some extra content has been unlocked in New England, though the chances of me reaching it, at the rate I do these things, is quite minimal.

23:17 pm GMT, 18th of May

When we last saw our hero, he was trapped in the Crucible by a particularly unpleasant bug. I am happy to report that he was able to get back into the Temple without difficulty this time, though there are people still experiencing the problem on the forum. Also, I was still unable to choose blood magic as my initial skillset, but I am told I can access it once I get my hands on a focus for it.

I celebrate successfully using a door without my clothes falling off.

Stepping into the Temple, I head over to Richard Sonnac’s office, just across the hall. As usual, he gets straight to business. Forget that I’ve only been here for about 20 minutes, it’s off to America with me! Solomon Island is experiencing some sort of supernatural difficulties, and I’m to go investigate. Mysteriously, he tells me that the Stationmaster of Ealdwic undergound station will see to my travel arrangements. There is no time to lose!

Bah! That’s as maybe, but I’d much rather have a bit of a look around London before I go gallivanting off. I wonder what’s down this road…

Oho!!! A mysterious glowing thing. I had best poke it with my finger.

A Secret World Lore object.

Rejoice, oh ye Explorer Bartle-types! That strange yellow glowy is a Lore object, filled with mysterious lore goodness. It looks like they come in sets to collect. The one I just found was in the Templar set. I wonder if I can find any more?

00:32 am GMT, 19th of May

My search for more lore takes my on an exploration of London. The Templar Club seems an interesting place, with a few conversable NPCs (which don’t all seem to be working quite right yet). I find no lore objects, though Mr Gladstone is happy to provide me with a great deal of knowledge, not to mention advice on the hallucinogenic properties of common household items.

Moving onwards, I find Pangaea, a local clothes shop. I’m about to turn away when I realise that I have 10 million coins, presumably to assist in my beta testing. There’s a wide range of gear on offer, but I am unable to find any suitably academic-looking spectacles. There are a wide range of sunglasses, but they do not seem to be a particularly intelligent choice of eyewear, given how much time I am likely to be spending rooting around in dark places.

And then, across from the park, I encounter a gentleman who has me seething with envy.

Jealousy by gaslight

Not only does this scoundrel have glasses with clear lenses, he is also the first person I have met that is not using the standard super-fit body shape. I am consumed with wrath and jealousy that he has taken such amazing gifts, and then chosen to wear such a horrible suit with it.

His name is Mr Rosenbaum, and he is my nemesis.

01:32 am GMT, 19th of May

I’ve carried on exploring London, and just got my “Explore London” Achievement for visiting all the different areas. I’ve found 12 of the 15 Templar lore items, and I suspect the others are hiding here somewhere if I continue searching.

Beyond the relatively pleasant area of Ealdwic lies Darkside, an altogether grimier place. Within it I found the entrance to the Fight Club, where you can reportedly engage in PvP with other folks in an arena-like manner. However, I’ve also heard that people going in there are having trouble getting out again, so I decided it might be better not to think about Fight Club for now.

I can see a 14th lore item, up on a building ledge. I can’t see how to get it at this time yet. Perhaps certain doors or ladders might be opened at a later time. Either that, or it’s a particularly devilish jumping puzzle…

Or wait, no, it was not particularly devilish at all. I’ve just been playing too much Guild Wars, and have forgotten how to think in terms of jumping.

I have encountered a large number of NPCs who feel like they ought to be selling things, but it may well be that I’m still considered to be in the tutorial, and those options have not yet been opened up to me.

No matter. I have spent just enough time resisting the order to travel to Solomon Island that I feel sufficiently rebellious for now. To the Underground! As luck would have it, I find the final Templar lore piece in the tunnel down, getting me another achievement, and about a quarter of a level. Huzzah!

Ealdwic Station's entrance to Agartha

That is the entrance to Agartha. There are bees, which makes me immediately mistrustful, but my orders are to step into it, so here we go. Good thing I’m not allergic.

Oh oh. I’m not sure how to get this to work. I’ve stepped into it, run around in it, and clicked on everything that looks like it might do the job, but I’m still here. Maybe the server is having issues again.

Oho! Persistence paid off, and away I go on a magical journey.

02:29 am GMT, 19th of May

Agartha, the hollow world! Apparently we Secret Worlders do not bother ourselves with such things as trains and aircraft. Why would we, when we can simply travel to the World Tree, and follow its branches to our destination, ignoring any of those bothersome details of space and time.

The platform that I arrive on also has portals to Seoul and New York, though I do not seem to be able to use those, yet at any rate. Regardless of whoever else might be using the facilities, I am proud to say that it is under the stewardship of that most reliable of beings, a Victorian-era British Stationmaster, and he is pleased to explain to me many of the most fascinating details about his charge. He also provides me with an Agartha Conduit, which will permit me to travel back to the platform at any time. So it’s a Hearthstone, and will come in handy if I turn out to be as good at getting stuck in a wall (One of the professional

Apparently, the lower branches of the tree connect to different places in time. I’d quite like to go back a couple of weeks and buy myself a mosquito net, but it’s too late for that, I fear.

He's not been to the surface in a while.

He is, by far, the most likeable person I have met so far. Perhaps because he doesn’t seem to be a member of any Secret Society. He’s got a job to do, he quite enjoys it, and he does it to the best of his capabilities. He was also refreshingly polite, compared with all the folks topside who have been competing as to which of them could be the edgiest. I wonder if he needs an assistant. I did always rather fancy becoming a traindriver.

04:06 am GMT, 19th of May

I stepped through the portal to Kingsmouth, and at that moment I think I finally arrived in the real game. Near my point of arrival was a mysterious fellow called Boone. If I judge him correctly, he dates back to the Old West, and he’s here to help.

It's time for some grizzled wisdom with Boone!

There’s a tabletop game called Deadlands. It’s basically Call of Cthulhu set in the Old West, and I played it with great glee for several years. So it is that I have a soft spot for any cowboy who fights the forces of darkness.

Upon arrival, I received what I’m guessing is the overarching Story mission for the zone, which curently wants me to head to the Sheriff’s Office. Boone also has a task for me. He’s being pestered by zombies, and would like me to cut their numbers down, and maybe figure out where those pesky varmints are coming from.

Boone’s task is an Action mission, “For a Fistful of Zombies”. The distinction is important, because you can only have one of any given type of mission on the go at a time. I’m not sure how that’ll work out in the long run, as I can imagine finding a mission and not being able to take it, and finding that a bit annoying.

In addition to Story and Action, there are also Item (you can have three Item missions at a time), Investigation, Sabotage, Group/Dungeon, and PVP missions. Of those, I am particularly looking forward to investigation missions, which, I’m told, require a fair amount of puzzle solving. I will use all my willpower to not ruin it for myself by consulting spoilers.

Sabotage missions are also called Stealth missions, and they also sound fun, with the emphasis being on sneaking around and not being noticed.

For now though, I have an Action mission to take care of, which handily takes me in the direction of town and the Sheriff’s office anyway. Time to introduce my new shotgun to the joys of zombie-slaying.

Eeek, these are not of the Slow Zombie persuasion. They pretend to be, right up until you get agro, then they move like greased lighting. It takes a few shots to take them down, but luckily they don’t dish out much damage, even though they tend to come in groups.

Each mission has a number of what they call “Tiers”, or what everybody else calls “stages”. In “For a Fistful of Zombies”, there are several stages to get through. First you simply have to kill a few zombies, then you need to see if you can attract some more by setting car alarms off. Turns out you can. Zombies can generally be attracted by just about anything.

This is all for the sake of science, so now we try setting some on fire with some discarded petrol cans. That works quite effectively too. Science is fun!

As I dust the zombie ash from my jacket I notice a nearby corpse with a mission tag. It seems he was sent out to get more ammunition for the Sheriff’s office, but never quite made it. This is an Item mission, where I simply grab the ammunition case from the back of the nearby pickup truck, and will need to hand it in at the office, where I’m already headed.

Some of these zombies have been dropping loot. Oddly, they’ve been carrying PAX, which is the strange currency used by us secret world types. I’ve upgraded my starting shotgun to a green-named one, and found a couple of other talismans and other weapons. Best of all, I found a blood magic focus. The blood magic option at the Crucible was broken, but I can now put some points into it if I feel like it, and I do. I take the Blood Shield spell in the Sacred line, which both heals and protects.

Ugh, I was hoping the spell effect might look a little more sacred, and a little less blood. I may have chosen poorly, given my blood phobia. Picking a magic might be quite difficult for me. Elementalism feels a bit too fantasy wizard, and Chaos magic only seems appropriate for people who want to play Kung-Fu Sorcerer (which I certainly will, given how awesome that is, but not on this character). Blood magic is the nearest to the sort of Hermetic magic that would feel appropriate for a Templar, but it seems to be taking the blood side of it rather literally.

After a little more zombie mayhem, I make it to the Sheriff’s office. They seem to be having some zombie issues of their own. It’s a good thing I brought that ammo.

Now would be a bad time for me to do my world-famous zombie impersonation.

I quickly dash through the guarded entrance, and decide that I could do with some sleep.

See you tomorrow for Part 8!

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