the secret world - launch state review - 1st region
so tsw has been out about err 2-3 weeks i think and me and my crew have for th emost part beeen playing fiarly casually. we have some people that have grinded the fuck out of the first region - solomon island- in particular either expanding the variety of their possible builds on one toon or making multiple toons with different specilizations.
this time around i’ve decided to expand on my previous tanky dps role and allow the possibility of proper full tank specs. the reasoning for this was simple - cbt feedback about the 3rd zone in solomoon island was that the math on mobs there made it very “dificult” to solo, and there were even streams of fansite owners getting owned hard in duos- though they seemed to be badly specced and constantly pulling aggro and getting caught in the mob’s aoe things(which is something i’ll get to below). having been there myself now i think perhaps this may be overblown slightly - but it’s certainyl very easy to end up severely undergeared for the zone when you arrive and stay in that state- especially if you don’t run the 2nd dungeon multiple times or are specced only for dps.
nwo w/e you’ve heard about the combat in the game is perhaps possibly overblown- both for good and bad. i’ll say for the most part rotation wise yes it’s very simple- although my actual key usage has been a bit different lately because of one high dps tanky type finisher i have been using that is due for a nerf in teh first blance/content patch at the end of the month, essentally you are using a builder skill with low dps to build up 5 resources on both your weapon counters at the same time and use two finishers at the end of that, multiple times per mob/pull. what it boils down to is basically alot like how warriors or rogues work in rift (at least the first six months when many of us played). the dodge seems mostly cosmetic but does come in handy if you’re snared then a mob does an aoe thing. the aoe things are kinda like an OP DBM mod, which shows you an animation of where the aoe is going to happen and a countdown animation thing that gives you an idea of how long you have to avoid it. alot of the time if you are geared and specced for suirviability you can kinda ignore them though alot of the time they do cc’s like knockbacks and stuns.
the real draw o fthis game is the quests in particular the investigation missions which i have personally along side device chosen to cheat at but only when it’s just me and him, but which at least some o fmy guildies have really enjoyed working to figure out either solo or as a guild function. these quests are both clever and sometimes infuriating, and you are going to want to use google, as well as goign to lengths such as using different kidns of apps, maybe on your phone or pc to figure these out, such as decyphering a morse code transmission.
the cut scenes are very very good. while your own toon doesn’t talk for good or bad if youare attentive their facioal expressions and body language are quite expressive and appropriate. this was improved dramatically during that last week or two before launch, so if you on;y saw this from the beta weekends adn were thinking omg my toon is a motorcycle accident victim- you may want to check out a buddy pass to give them another look. the voice acting is absolutely above par and even better than the quality scenes in swtor. the writing and direction here is way better than what bioware rpg fans are going to be accustomed to imho. adn there’s certainly some high teir talent on the actor’s roll including but not limited to voyagaer’s tim russ(tuvok).
and that brings me to the real world tie in’s. unliek in wow and rift the real world pop culture refrences are not 4th wall breaking beccause the setting for this game is behidn the scens of the real world we actually inhabit. which sets the scenes for some pretty fucking epic references. you’ll also see some of the ways that earned this game it’s pegi and esrb ratings, such as profanity and drugs usage and references. probably the show stealer for me has been one illuminati faction specific character that talks largely in memes.
the big selling point for this game for a long time has been the ability wheel, and perhaps it’s a bit overblown with the 525 unique skills- because quite frankly there’s alot of very similar skills here, and skilsl differentiate themselves from each other not by how much damage they do but what extra components they carry, or for example being single target vs player based aoe versus ground target aoe et al. a fiarly straight forward synergy to build on is affliction, which is basically tsw’s term for dot’s. you can proc things like impair(stun) or hindered(snared) using certain abilities and passives on afflicted targets or vice versa. even though it may not be as complex as many fanboys are selling it as, it still ends up being quite interesting and alot of fun for meta gamers and thoery crafters.
the dungeons are fairly interesting, i’d put the ones i’ve done above average compared to wow clones. but they are definitely int he average range for the typical instanced 5 man dungeon fare. the very nice thing about th eones i’ve done so far are that they are very light on trash- you’ll be spendign most of your time attempting bosses rather than slogging through endless trash pulls. and they still end up beign roughly 45 minutes or so long.
the ui leaves alot to be desired, whcih is both a product of devs not making it as high a priority as they maybe shoud’ve in some areas as well as using scaleform whcih is known for it’s lack of responsiveness in updating things like the tank’s hp for example in rift and swtor. here is no exception and i’ve already hearing complaints about how i died while tnaking a boss because it looked lik ei had full hp or their resource counters weren’t updated in teh ui. as well the bank and gbank ui and functionality are in a shit poor state. while it’s great ohave a gabnk at launch at all, managing it is a night mare- which ties in twith guidl functionality which is at best barebones and resricitve, as well as having some nightmarish bugs. first off guild types come with preselected ranks and permissions by rank, with the first 1 or 2 ranks having absolutely no rights. only the 2nd top rank can invite new members, and the middle rank has gbank access coupled with changing the motd for some bizzarre reason. which overall will fly in the face of most guilds’ rank structures from my experience. to tip things off the word on th street on my server is an officer rank player was able to disband a 300 man guild somehow due to officers for somereason having the right to do that kind of thing… pretty fucking halfassed imho, and a worst case scenario for any guild manager.
back to the setting and lore- you will see a shit tonne of refences here to both popular and obscure stuff. the primary sources that the game’s lore is deriviative of include the illuminatus! trilogy and hp lovecraft. solomon island in general especialyl the ending also had me gettign nostalgic for twin peaks. if you’re a stephen king fan be prepared to get some heavy duty loving, though his “horror” novels were at least inspired by hp lovecraft in several ways. as you progress though the game the references and basis of lore and such do not stop. don’t think garbage shti references like harry potter and twilight either- if you’re 25+ and a real Tru nerd and movie/book buff you are definitely going to appreciate what the game has to offer here.
overall despite it’s fairl ymajor(in my eyes) flaws the gameplay and content quality is well above par for an mmo released in teh last 6-8 years. it’s not revolutionary nor is it a strqaight wow clone- though it will be familiar to wow clone players in many ways.
but what it is is worth giving a try for a couple weeks and sinking scores fo hours into in the free month at least. becauseutlimately in this day and age of 60$ games with 10 hour sof sp content 100 hours for $50 is a pretty fucking good deal.
addemndum - i didn’t include cash shop as an oversight so let me put in here - youc an spend a relatively little amount of money and get some pretty nice clothes. not sure how i feel about the $20 title or spending $6 to $10 for a set to get a single piece though- but have no doubt, it’s 100% cosmetic stuff currently. aside ofc from teh starter packs you can still buy in your account page that give stuff ranging form starter weapons you will replace within the first few hours to exp pots.
and insce i noted that i should also note that when it comes to clothing obtainable through in game means, or future content patches, the devs have gotten into a bad habit of calling this stuff “free”. this has been going on for several weeks now and it irks me because we pay a sub for this game therefore there’s nothing about it that is free. but we know what the implication here is- that is that guidl wars 2 will nickel and dime players for content patches say $10-20 for 10-40 hours of game player every 1-3 months. as if somehow releasing 10 hours worth of new cotnent a month with a $15 sub is some how a better value- btu since posting about it the applicable dev posts since have avoided usign the word free for these things.
8.5/10 - your milage may vary.