I’ve been in the Beseiged Farmlands of Transylvania for a couple of days now. It’s pretty heavy going. While it’s sometimes tricky to figure out how tough things are, everything here drops QL 10 gear, which is the highest QL I’m aware of. There’s still two more Transylvanian areas after this one, and I assume they’re tougher still, so I’m not sure what sort of gear will be found there. Perhaps blue and purple gear becomes more common out that way.
As I discovered yesterday, being decked out in QL 9 and 10 gear does not render you as invincible on Solomon Island as you might think, and I still managed to get myself killed in the Blue Mountains when I swept back to finish off a mission I’d found too much for me previously. (By Jove, do I HATE Mud Golems!) While QL 10 certainly makes you tougher, it is far from the exponential increase in power that you would see in a level-based MMO. That’s a good thing, as it means that the lower tier zones can still be interesting, at least from a challenge perspective, though the gear you might find there on your return would be destined only for recycling.
Transylvania is largely as you would expect. Vampires to the left of you, werewolves to the right, and it hardly ever stops raining, a lot like the weather in Norwich at the moment. It makes me rather miss Egypt. The place might be infested with cultists, but at least it was usually sunny during the day. When everything all seems a bit bleak and grey, I like to visit my new friend Cucuvea. Certain parts of Transylvania make you feel like you just stepped into Greater Faydark, Silverwood, or Teldrassil, and Cucuvea’s home is a lovely warm place for any adventurer who needs to get out of the rain. Also, she has free wireless.
There was a state of the game letter yesterday, and I was excited to learn that Funcom are planning monthly updates as part of our subscription. The first will be on the 31st of July, and will mostly involve adding more investigation missions throughout the zones. This, as you might expect, makes me very happy. It’s entirely likely that the first few updates are just launch content that wasn’t finished in time, but that’s OK. If they keep to their monthly intentions, it just might inspire me to stay subscribed full-time.
As time passes by, there is one thing I’d love to see updated eventually. Egypt and Transylvania are both quite heavy with ghouls. While I understand that artist time is finite, the ghūl of Arabia, and the vampire-related ghouls of the Carpathians are drawn from somewhat different mythologies, and I think would be good for them to be two different sorts of creature within The Secret World, for the sake of variety as much as anything else.
The same goes for the return of scarecrows in Transylvania. They should look different to Henderson’s creations on Solomon Island. Perhaps some “thin-style” scarecrows, if scarecrows there must be. Of course it is inevitable that models and monsters are going to be re-used in different zones in MMOs, but those are the two cases that just feel a little odd to me, especially if you’re trying to evoke the feeling of different places and cultures.