The Secret World Beta Bonanza Part 4 – Through the Gate

When last we met our hero, Mathias, he was trying to make the best of a peculiar out of the body experience that saw him possessing another investigator called Sarah. She and her friends seem to be having some monster issues on the Japanese subway. Having survived his first combat, and sort of having got the hang of it, they’re taking a breather at the top of the steps, before heading deeper into the Subway system.

The rest has given him time to think, and he recalls that, during his rather unpleasant bee-related experiences in his origin story, he did hear something on the television news about a disaster occurring in Japan. The police officer he met in London also spoke about not wanting a repeat of that incident in her city.

The disaster he’s currently involved in seems very much ongoing, with civilians still running around the subway getting eaten. Could it be that he’s not only displaced in space, but in time?

Join us, as we “Go Through the Gate.”

15:30 pm GMT, 12th of May

Actually, I just need to play through from the beginning of of arrival in Japan again. Seems that logging out on the stairs last night caused me to fail the mission, so need to restart it. I’m going through this tutorial about 5% as fast as a normal person, so I doubt too many folks will be logging out in the middle of it.

16:37 pm GMT, 12th of May

We head down the stairs, fighting another large group of those infected head-tentacle people. It’s a good thing I’m not alone, or I suspect it would go quite badly for me.
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The Secret World Beta Bonanza Part 3 – Arrival in London

Moving on from Part 2, off we go! As usual, I’ll keep updating this post until it gets too long.

22:49 pm GMT, 11th of May

Oh my. We leap straight into a long cut scene. It’s using the ingame engine so your character, as you designed them, is visible in all his glory. I’m not sure how spoilerish I want to get, but it explains how you received your mysterious powers, and came to be recruited by the Templar.

I shall, most likely, completely ignore it for the purposes of my own character backgrounds, but it’s a good starting point.

We then arrive in London, and have another cut scene with some of London’s finest police officers. These cut scenes do feel a bit peculiar. The NPCs will lecture you at length, and you just sort of stand there impassively while they harangue you with veiled threats and unnecessary rudeness. They’re obviously far more used to this sort of thing than I am. After further cheeky London copper antics, I am allowed beyond the police barrier, and have control of my character. I am not alone.

Aim for the head!!! Oh wait, that's me. - The Secret World

That’s not a 70s zombie invasion. It’s just the spawn point for new Templar characters. I am slightly jealous of that poncho that one of my new comrades is wearing. We may be living in a world of unknown horrors, but who could possibly be downhearted in a poncho like that? I make a mental note to acquire one to cheer me through the dark times.
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The Secret World Beta Bonanza Part 2 – Known Issues

With my character made, it’s time to begin the journey!

But first…

Because the Beta version is not the finished product, there are a few issues, and I think it would probably be fairest simply to share the current list with you, in addition to all the changes that are already planned before launch :

Important Information

Please keep in mind that the version of The Secret World you will be playing this Beta Weekend is not the final version of the game. Several features and elements are continuously being tweaked and parts of the game will be significantly improved before launch. The most important of these are the following:

  • Character creation will be improved and expanded for launch, with more customization options added for both appearance and clothing. There will also be some changes to the GUI and to the background scenes
  • Only the London hub and the Kingsmouth adventure zone are playable during this Beta Weekend, representing a small part of the total content in the game
  • The performance of the game is continuously being optimized and there will be several improvements before launch
  • We are constantly tweaking and polishing player abilities, both in terms of adding more utility, changing effects and animations, and for balance purposes
  • The current tutorial system has been created for the Beta Weekends, and will be significantly changed for launch
  • Minor bugs and issues may occur and are being resolved on an ongoing basis. Contact Customer Service if you are experiencing any significant issues. Information on how to contact Customer Service can be found here.

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The Secret World Beta Bonanza!!! – Character Creation

The Secret World’s open beta has begun, and as I pre-ordered I’m able to get in and take a poke around for the weekend. I’ll be reporting back on what I encounter. It will be my usual stream of conciousness nonsense, as I make my way through. We’re still in Beta, so expect things to change, but I can only talk about what’s in front of me, so that’s what I’ll do.

For this weekend, we are limited to team Templar. As they’re the chaps based in London, and marginally less crazy sounding than the Dragons and Illuminati, it’s almost a certainty that I shall be joining them when the game launches. Were it up to me, I wouldn’t join any of ’em, as they all seem far more interested in being spooky and fighting silly wars than protecting humanity, but you have to work with the choices before you.

So, with all that said, please allow me to introduce the TSW version of Arkenor:

He should really take that taxi.

When is The Secret World set? I had assumed it was modern day, but the choices of starting clothes suggest that either it is set in the 70s, or that the Templars equip their new members from out the back of a nostalgia clothing store. Actually, I’m fine with that, as the 70s kind of rocked.

At any rate, that’s about as civilised as I can get TSW Ark to look. I shall make finding some academic spectacles and a shirt which buttons up all the way a priority once I get ingame. As it stands, the poor chap looks as if he’s staggering home at 5 am after a long night on the disco floor. He should probably take that taxi.

It would be fair for me to point out that the launcher notes state:

Character Creation will be improved and expanded for launch, with more customisation options added for both appearance and clothing.

That’s good to know, as it does feel a bit limited right now, though there’s enough to work with, and it allows you a decent range of skin-tones and ethnicities. There’s no body or age sliders, which I hope get added, as I do like to break the mould of everyone being super-skinny, and my “Real World Supernatural” fighting characters tend to be academics, journalists and doctors, rather than action-men.

Naming ought to be simple, and it most likely will be for you! You can choose a first name, surname, and a nickname. However, I had forgotten something very special about Funcom. They consider the character string “Ark” to be inappropriate in a name, because the “Advisors of Rubi-Ka” or ARKs are what they call GMs over in Anarchy Online. This could be a bit of a problem, as I’ve already used my one Character Name Reservation slot on Arkenor, which is probably not going to be allowed by their naming filter. Harrumph.

Never mind, for now. I have plenty of perfectly good Call of Cthulhu and Mage characters I can work with, not to mention a couple from my own fictional scrawlings, and was planning on using them for my alts anyway!

Onwards to Part 2!!

The Secret World – Tentacles!!!

Funcom’s latest MMO outing, The Secret World, dropped its embargo today. Interviews and previews are popping up all over the shop. I’ve not had the chance to rummage fully through them all yet.

However, heavily influenced by Lovecraft, there is one thing that we can be sure it will possess in abundance.


I always hoped that someone would build an MMO based on the Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG. The great thing about it is that you would only really need a rich and interesting character creation system, and the tutorial zone. Nobody would ever survive that tutorial zone, drastically cutting down on the need to provide any actual content.

That would be a good project for Cryptic, come to think of it.

The Secret World does not sound as if it will be quite as brutal as my vision of Call of Cthulhu, though it has taken an axe to many of the traditional MMO structures. With no classes or levels, and a slightly weird sounding power slotting system that reminds me of picking cards for your deck in Wizard 101, it sounds genuinely fresh, and I’m looking forward to getting my grubby pseudopods upon it, and investigating further.