However, investigations aren't the only unique breed of missions I love in TSW. The game has a second kind that involves something other than just going out and showing off your prowess with a weapon. In fact, significant portions of these missions actually eschew the use of weapons entirely, and engaging in combat is a pretty big no-no when completing certain objectives. Welcome to sabotage missions.
About these patrols: At certain points during these missions, it is of vital importance that players avoid the mobs at all costs. Folks who prefer the charge-in-with-guns-blasting type of approach to objectives will quickly find themselves severely outgunned. No matter how strong they are, if they're caught by the sentries, players will find themselves conked over the head and hauled out of the quest area unceremoniously like a sack of potatoes.
Sometimes, successful completion of these parts is just a matter of dodging all-powerful sentries, like The Orachi Group in Blue Mountain. Other times, you can disguise yourself to blend in and walk throughout the area without being accosted, like in ATC or Black Helicopters in Kingsmouth. Even though the new story arc of Issue #6 doesn't have investigation missions, it has sabotage elements -- just try finishing the tasks in Ancient Roman times without donning the peasant gear and see how well you do!
My first memorable experience with sabotage missions was when my partner-in-crime and I infiltrated the Orochi base at the Kingsmouth Airport for ATC. We found the code to gain entrance without trouble and proceeded to slip inside... only to have one of us dragged out and dumped back outside. I personally didn't experience this and did so only vicariously by listening to the choice responses uttered by my companion. I was feeling pretty good about my sentry-dodging skills, but as fate would have it, before long I, too, saw that cutscene of my prone body being dragged out.
Turns out, you don't even get the chance to fight; it's an insta-lose situation. When it dawned on us that fighting was not only not going to work but not even an option, we examined our surroundings a bit more carefully. Since there was no way to dodge the patrol, we found the means to blend in. Honestly, I didn't even realize I could put the outfit on when it first popped in my inventory, but it didn't take me long to equip it "just to see"!
The next memory I'll share is from a couple of zones father in the game. In Blue Mountain's Orochi Group mission (notice the trend of sneaking around the Orochi?), there was no outfit to commandeer, so it was all about being mindful of your surroundings and reacting accordingly -- without firing a shot, of course. I looked for new ways to do things, timed my movements, and reveled in completing the objective
Besides just offering hope for the outlook of gaming as a whole, these missions enhanced my personal playtime in The Secret World. There is definitely a sense of risk involved in all of the sabotage missions, which heightens the gaming experience. By forcing me to really pay attention to my surroundings, these missions allowed me to immerse myself in the world a little more. They felt less like an activity I was witnessing (push buttons, see mob fall) and more like something I was an active part of. My actions -- or inaction -- really mattered to my success. These missions made gaming an experience again.
It is my hope that more games in the industry takes a page from Funcom and branch out beyond just combat. I stand with The Secret World in advocating for equality in game styles. And I look forward to delving into all the sabotage missions I haven't made it to yet beyond the Scorched Desert.
Conspiracies, paranoia, secrets, and chaos -- the breakfast of champions! Feast on a bowlful with MJ every Monday as she infiltrates The Secret World to bring you the latest word on the streets of Gaia in Chaos Theory. Heard some juicy whispers or have a few leads you want followed? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll jump on the case!