For quite sometime I was very curious about The Secret World. I didn't tried it sooner, because I strongly believe MMO games should not be so expensive when first buying them. And The Secret World was really expensive. Being the game out of the box was 50 euros when it first came out, and the subscription was one of the most expensive at the market. I think it was 14 euros. I did always expected this game to free to play so I end up waiting. And I guess the change to buy to play was even better then expected.
The game is around 30 euros in most sites, and during a few days it was around 22 euros at Steam, which is already an excellent price. For Americans there was at Amazon a really amazing deal of 50% discount a couple of weeks ago, dropping the price of the game to 15 dollars. In any case, the price for the game right now is far more compelling then it was before.
So I bought it with a friend. And until now both of us, are simply surprised and really enjoying this game.
First and foremost, the setting of the game, is modern age, which runs away from the typical fantasy sort of MMO. It's a refreshing change.
Secondly, it's not the typical MMO where you level up from 1 to X, and you level as a specific class. Here the game works with skills and abilities, and these skills and abilities will define further your character proficiency. Skills are for the different weapons and equipment type in the game, while abilities are for the more then 500 abilities available in game. The fun part of it, is that a single character can, eventually have access to all skills and abilities in game. What advantage it brings? Well, a single character can at one moment be dps, and on the next moment be either tank or healer. It's a very versatile system, and allows players to try out an huge array of different builds.
Third, questing in this game is great (which we call here missions). The game has this mechanism that wont allow players to, like for example World of Warcraft, get to a city hub, grab all quests and go do them all in a row. No. Here you have a limited slot available for quests, one for story mission, other for main mission, one for dungeon and 3 for side missions (which are specific).
The story mission is always active, and I think they are zone related. I'm on Solomon Island, on the third part of it, but haven't finished all off the mission, but I assume it will finish when I end the first zone. Dungeon mission, nothing new here. Main mission is where most of the action goes. Every non side or dungeon mission goes here. Which is almost 75% of the missions. Some are typical, that requires to go and kill a certain amount of creatures, or grab some items, or other sort. Others require players to pass over some obstacles, like laser armed bombs and cameras. But my favorite are the investigation missions. These are, in some cases, really difficult to complete, because basically they are based on hard puzzles that a player needs to think to solve out. Some may require you to browse some sites over the net, while others may require you to learn some Morse Code. Although there are plenty of walk troughs, I would strongly advice to not go to them unless you are really desperate. It feels great accomplishment completing one of these missions without having any outside help.
Other feature, is the crafting. If any of you played Minecraft (I haven't played much but I saw a bit of the crafting there), it works almost similar. You have a grid, where you place the materials, on a certain pattern and depending on the pattern you pick you will be able to craft a different type of object. It does sound simple, but once you look at it, you probably will feel a bit dumbstruck like me at first. There are a ton of different materials, runes, glyph, toolkit that can be used, and then each have a different quality rank, so there is a lot to go through. It's a really interesting crafting system, but I haven't explored much. Basically I have just deconstruct equipment, which is your main source of materials. There are a few posts on the official forums that go over it, so would be advisable to give it a look.
I haven't done much PVP. I also know that the PVP in the game is somewhat lacking, except maybe for the constant going battleground, where factions fight for control over different spots. I remember playing it back at the beta and it was fun. There are other 2 battlegrounds, I did played one of them but to be honest, I didn't understood what was going on, and I end up dying most of the time.
The only dungeon I did so far, which is also the first one players have access to, was interesting, but I couldn't really grasp the difficulty of it, because we had a higher ranked player helping and he did most of the job to us. I was the tank, he was the healer, and I couldn't grab any aggro out of him... Most fights were dodge that stuff, and/or kill adds. Nothing very hard. The last fight, however, seemed a bit complicated to finish for a low skilled group.
After a few days playing it, I can strongly say that this is a title to give a look. If you enjoy questing, like a more modern setting of gameplay and want to try a system that is different of the typical grind levels up, then give it a go. It's cheap and there is no subscription. I do however, like to point that, on future updates, players will have to buy them, to access them. For the time being that doesn't seem to affect me, but we will see when it happens.
And a happy new year!