Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Secret World

Remember when I asked myself "What now?" Well, now I have a solid answer.

I will be making a new home in The Secret World, which I've been playing for about a week now. The game is extremely new as MMOs go. Hell, they're still offering a lifetime subscription (which could be a good or bad thing). So far, I'm really enjoying myself, I just haven't had much time to get really immersed.

My favorite thing about this game is that it is skill based, as opposed to class or level based. In The Secret World (TSW), as you gain experience, you get ability and skill points. You can learn any ability/skill you want so long as you have the prerequisites. That is to say, there's no reason a "wizard" can't learn how to swing a sword. There's also no limit to the amount of ability and skill points you can obtain, so eventually, your character can learn to do everything. Right now, in game Dechs wields a sword, a pair of pistols, and a fedora. I expect to add elemental magic next.

There are typically two downsides to such a free form character building set of rules. The first is that it becomes incredibly easy to gimp a character. TSW doesn't allow you to refund spent ability points, but because there's no ceiling to the points you can learn, your character is never permanently gimped. It takes more effort to fix a gimp than to start out right from the beginning, but there's no reason to reroll a character. The other common problem is the "tankmage" build. If there is one optimized build that just outperforms all the others, then every character will be the same. As long as the game developers balance the abilities well, this won't be a problem at all. The game might end up with very powerful characters, but as long as there are difficulty levels to accommodate, again, it's not a problem. I haven't been playing long enough to know how well this was handled.

My least favorite thing about the game is the "limited" character appearance options. I use quotes because I'm used to City of Heroes where you could make just about any bipedal thing you wanted, but it's really not so bad. In TSW, I can't have wings and I can't have spikes coming out of my head. I have to be a human, but I can still dress him up just about any way I want. Aside from weapons, gear doesn't have any affect on appearance, so there's no wearing a trash can just because it has good stats.

Overall I really like the game and I can see myself staying a long time, so much that I'm even considering that expensive lifetime subscription. If any of you are looking for a new game after the City has shut down, TSW gets all my recommendations. If you're interested, just try the game out. There's a free trial on the first page that's apparently longer than the refer a friend version.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope to see you around.

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