Those headquarters in various cities are actually quite important and players will constantly find themselves coming back to them after completing missions. The level-less progression system is designed around your standing with the secret society of your choice, and their headquarters is were you'll receive better magic, equipment and more. Venders and what Ragnar referred to as "inventors" can be found here, too. Also, the headquarters operate as a social hub, particularly for Cabals -- TSW's version of guilds -- who call the city of their societies' headquarters home. So as you can see, your choice is very important.
Let's touch some more on progression. When you being in a secret society, you're nothing more than an initiate on the bottom of the totem pole, but as you kill monsters, finish missions, solve puzzles and explore, you'll earn access to more and more of what your particular society has to offer. However, Ragnar wanted to be clear that progression is neither linear or set in stone. He told us flat out that a player can reinvent their character every day, but of course wouldn't go into too many specifics. We did manage to find out that while there is equipment with stats tied to them, clothing itself will only affect the way your character looks. This essentially falls in line with Funcom's focus on people being able to play the way they want and look the way they want.
And if you think we meant Cabals get guild housing, then yes, you'd be right. Cabal housing will have a standing with their society just like the player, and as its standing improves more content will be unlocked.
So these two things -- player and cabal progression -- tie into what Funcom is planning for leaderboards. Anytime you or your guild do something of any significance in TSW, it goes into a leaderboard. The developer wants these leaderboards to have a very high profile so people will compete for the top spots, which is why they'll be located both inside and outside of the game. The current plan is to have leaderboards for each society, each server and globally as well. Of course, it wouldn't be complete without social media (IE Twitter, Facebook, etc) integration as well.
Various aspects of a leaderboard are ranked and holding a number one spot on many of them results in a title reward for the player or cabal. Additionally, players will be able to see the number one ranked society on their server, which should result in some good grudge matching in PvP.
Oh did we not talk about PvP? So, in TSW the Earth is hollow -- yes you heard us, hollow -- and that's where the 24-hour persistent PvP goes down between the three societies. Players will be fighting over a cells, which contain a resource known as Anima that can be used in tradeskills to create new items. However, the cells also grant PvE benefits in the outside world, making them that much more desirable.
At its core, TSW is a game that definitely seems to be striving to push it setting, story and overal mystery aspects. So when you travel to Egypt, everything you discover is related to Egyptian mythology and legends and the same goes for London, New York or any location within the game. Even in our presentation, Ragnar was gleefully teasing us about old enemies returning and tigers rising and just... well, we at least got him to admit that there's Norse mythology in the game. But who didn't see that one coming?
We're very excited to see more, and because of Ragnar and Martin's teasing we especially can't wait to get our hands on the game sometime in the (hopefully) near future.