MSRP: $29.99 (standard), $59.99 (ultimate)
There are as many kinds of MMO players out there as there are games. The Secret World feels like it was carefully crafted for those of us who love the journey. This isn’t the type of game where you want to blindly click through quests and grind your way to endgame. There’s so much story here, and it’s meant to be savored.
There’s a ton of things that differentiate this game from your typical fantasy RPG MMO, and I know I can’t do it justice. So – to the bullet points!
- The setting is modern day. The world is still magical, but you’re as likely to be wielding a rifle as a sword.
- Monsters in the game are mostly pulled from the horror genre. You’ll fight zombies, wraiths, mummies, werewolves, and vampires.
- The only choice you’ll have to make at the beginning of the game is your faction, which really only matters for faction specific storylines* and PVP. Characters from different factions can group for PvE combat.
- There are no classes and no levels, in the traditional sense. As you kill monsters and complete quests, you will gain skill points and ability points to spend, and there are no limits to the number of SP and AP you can acquire. However, once you spend points, they’re spent: there’s no option to respec. Given enough time, you can learn every skill in the game on one character.
- Almost everything in the game can be repeated; if you find yourself in a place where you’re beating your head against a wall, you can go back to an easier area, do all the quests again, and earn more XP (which translates into spendable points).
- You can (and should) have two weapons and/or talismans equipped at all times. Your active skill pool will be determined by the weapons you have equipped (although your passives can be pulled from any weapon tree once you’ve learned them).
- Your gear (or lack of gear) will never impact your character’s appearance (with the exception of visible weapons). All clothing is cosmetic only, and clothing is available to purchase with both in game currency and real money.
I absolutely refuse to spoil even a scrap of story. It’s too good. It’s so good, I’ve now bought the game twice. A copy of The Secret World comes with three character slots – one for each faction for the completionists among us. Available character slots are available for purchase for $10 each. I decided instead to pick up a second copy of the base game when it was on sale for just a little more than $10 on Steam recently, so instead of a single character slot, I now have three more, albeit on separate accounts.
The Secret World does not require a monthly subscription to play (an optional membership is available that does give pretty significant in-game advantages, but it’s mostly only beneficial to end game players or people looking to speed through content). However, additional content is released in issues, which are basically DLC packs that add playable content. The base game includes issues 1-4. The ultimate edition includes issues 1 – 11. Starting with issue 5, issues may be purchased individually with Funcom points. Steam has the collector’s edition of issues 9-13 available for individual purchase, as well as the Fall of Tokyo pack which includes the non-CE versions of episodes 9-11. Issue unlocks are applied to all characters on your account.
I know it’s a lot folks, but we’re almost done.
I can find no compelling reason NOT to buy this on Steam. This week**, the standard edition is on sale for $10.19. The ultimate edition is on sale for $20.39, and the Fall of Tokyo pack (which you need only if you do not have the ultimate edition) is half price at $14.99. You’re unlikely to find a better deal on the ultimate edition, but if you’re on the fence, the standard edition will give you plenty of hours of enjoyment.
You will bumble, and you will make mistakes, and you’ll probably end up spending hours on sites like this one while you try to figure it all out. You will be irritated to no end trying to figure out a unique nickname for your character because of the cross-server technology. But there’s really nothing else quite like The Secret World out there, and it’s completely a worthwhile, if sometimes frustrating, experience.
*I’m particularly partial to the faction specific stuff for the Dragon faction, but really? They’re all good.
**Sale prices good until Monday, April 25th at 10a Pacific.