| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory: New Sidestories show The Secret World's innovative side

Horror, Real-Life, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

When I talked about 10 of the most compelling missions in The Secret World last time, I purposefully left out the new Sidestories mission packs. One reason is that I've already spoken a bit about Further Analysis; the other is that the third and latest pack was slated to arrive soon and I intended to talk about all of them together. As it turns out, it actually released the same day that Chaos Theory did! Since then, I've had the chance to dive in and experience some of those missions. As usual, I was not disappointed. Besides providing the expected interesting new characters and great stories, The Last Pagan highlighted something else: TSW continues to be innovative!

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: Ten compelling Secret World missions

Horror, Real-Life, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory:  The Secret World's missions are steeped in awesomesauce
One thing that The Secret World does extremely well is story. Few would argue that point: It's compelling, surprising, even chill-inducing, packing enough emotional punches to leave you stunned on occasion but always eager for more, which is what makes doing missions in TSW so much more enjoyable than many other MMOs. And it isn't just the overarching main story line, either. All the missions spread throughout the zones, from investigation to sabotage to even the piddliest of little side missions, tie into the story in some fashion. So missing a mission means you might miss some tantalizing tidbit. Fortunately, you needn't be a completionist to have a drive to seek out and experience every single mission. Instead of being faced with the usual desire to just move on ahead once you've "out-leveled" a zone, you literally scour to make sure you don't leave any task undone lest you miss out on any of the story.

Now that said, there are some missions that are just jaw-dropping for one reason or another, ones that stop your heart or tear at it. All missions have merit, but some are just so amazing you wish you could do them for the first time over and over. There's even a grieving period when you know you can never relive that initial rush! Here are just a few of the missions that I'd personally recommend that all players experience (with as few spoilers as possible).

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs, part 2

Horror, Real-Life, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Last week we began our exploration of the value of The Secret World's DLCs by looking at the cost of the additional content relative to those who subscribe, those who don't, and those who are lifetime member grandmasters. But money isn't everything to everyone. As noted previously, value is a subjective judgment determined by whatever factors are most important to the individual making the assessment. So making the call on value will depend on which category/categories are used in the judging process.

With that in mind, this week we're going to delve into the content aspect of the various DLCs. Specifically, we'll look at quantity, quality, and type of content in each issue and sidestories pack. Other key factors that are of equal -- if not paramount -- importance to some players are whether or not the additional pack is necessary to further TSW's story (who wants to miss some important tidbit?) and how fun playing through it actually is.

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs

Horror, Real-Life, Expansions, Patches, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs
This question was posed to me recently by a few different readers and stream viewers: Are The Secret World's DLCs a good value? As I pondered the question, I decided that instead of answering each query personally, it would be a good topic to explore here in Chaos Theory. Besides, the answer is definitely not a short one! (It can't even fit in a single column!)

So why can't I just fire off a simple yes or no to this question? The biggest problem is trying to provide an objective answer to a very subjective situation. While the meaning of value itself is clearly defined, said definition emphasizes that the judgment is individual to whoever is involved. How each player defines value is very personal, so I can't really answer for anyone except myself. What I can do, however, is provide as much of the objective information that I can so you can make your own subjective judgment on the value. Are TSW's issues and sidestories packs worth it? Let's look at the value from various viewpoints and you decide!

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: The Secret World anniversary celebration, take two!

Horror, Real-Life, Events (In-Game), The Secret World, Guides, Anniversaries, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory:  The Secret World anniversary celebration, take two!
It's that time of year again: time to celebrate another anniversary in The Secret World! And that means taking on world bosses, soaking up oodles of AP, and collecting lore, clothes, and (the best part) pets. Yep, definitely sounds like a party. The birthday bash lasts through July 17th, but the double AP portion of it ends on the 11th, so if you have new builds you want to test and you like the feel of all that AP popping up every few steps, now is the time to get into the game.

If you attended last year's Guardians of Gaia celebration, you're no doubt familiar with the set up of the event; you may have even completed everything. If not, you now have the chance to catch up on everything, including collecting all the lore and pets. On top of that, there are new goodies to collect this time around. There's even a new achievement involving all the pets! Here are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of TSW's second anniversary celebration.

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: The Secret World's Tokyo barrier

Horror, Real-Life, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory: The Tokyo barrier
Blue Mountain: On the road through The Secret World adventures, this was the zone that would make or break many players. It's the point when you had to really start crafting your decks more carefully and applying synergies. Not all who felt the blow of this particular skill check powered through, making it a barrier to continuing on to Egypt and Transylvania as well as completing the story mission.

Well, now there's a new barrier in town: Tokyo.

As much as I had looked forward to the Issue #9 content, and as much as I am enjoying the content now that it is here, I have to admit that Tokyo is the granddaddy of barriers. Not only are there barriers to getting to the content, but there are some to enjoying it once you get there too. And any one of them might cause players to give up on Tokyo and The Secret World before experiencing the whole update. So to help folks avoid smashing into any barriers unexpectedly and leaving bruises, let me give you the scoop on what lies ahead.

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: Touring Tokyo with TSW's Joel Bylos

Horror, Real-Life, Patches, Hands-On, The Secret World, First Impressions, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

It's Tokyo time! That's right, an end to the wait is finally upon us. Come Wednesday, everyone who buys Issue #9 The Black Signal for The Secret World and has acquired The Council's Seal will be able to cross the threshold into Tokyo.

Like you, I've been dying to get in and check out this new zone, the first new area introduced to the horror game since launch. Thanks to a special tour with Game Director Joel Bylos and Communications Manager Tor Egil Andersen, I was able to preview the first of the three Tokyo zones so I could share that experience with you. We not only explored the city itself, but we completed one of the new -- and might I add, really spooky -- missions and utilized the new AEGIS system.

So, how is it? Let me just say, it's worth the wait! And not just for the creepy homages to the Illuminati handler, Kirsten Geary.

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: The Secret World's Whispering Tide and Tokyo

Horror, Real-Life, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory:  The Whispering Tide resurges, Tokyo inches closer
Let's hear it for the encore! If you missed any step of the The Secret World's first long-term (and by long, I mean like The Great Wall of China long) event, you've been granted a second chance. Before The Whispering Tide rolls out for good and Tokyo finally arrives, all phases of the event will be temporarily available for players to experience. Starting last week with the gathering phases and moving to the instanced phases this week, players have the opportunity to snag missing lore and check off achievements, ultimately earning the crowning piece of the bee suit: the helm.

This was definitely a smart move on Funcom's part. With this latest act, the studio shows more consideration for TSW's players and fosters an increase in goodwill, something the company certainly needs after such a long wait for Issue #9 and the more recent April Fools' Day mankini debacle. Sadly, a few easily preventable missteps marred what could have been a purely positive move.

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: Sidestories lead The Secret World in the right direction

Horror, Real-Life, Business Models, Lore, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory: Sidestories lead The Secret World in the right direction
Let me just start by saying that the fact that I have not completed all four of The Secret World's new investigation missions in the recently released Sidestories: Further Analysis does not in anyway diminish the awesomeness of the pack. You don't have to do them all -- or even do them at all -- to appreciate this new content. That's because the beauty of these new missions goes beyond the actual investigative content; it's the fact that it is additional content!

If there is one thing that TSW fans have been clamoring for, it's more content, especially content that tosses players deeper into the world and expounds on the story. (The popularity of last Halloween's Spooky Stories of Solomon Island quests sure proved that!) So even those who would rather stab their eye repeatedly with their mouse instead of puzzling out an investigation mission should be fistpumping this new development. With this new type of content release, Funcom has hit on an idea that can satisfy nearly everyone! And that certainly bodes well for the future of the game.

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: Funcom flubbed it with The Secret World's mankinigate

Horror, Real-Life, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory:  Funcom flubbed it with The Secret World's Mankinigate
I'd rather be focused on the four new investigation missions that just launched in The Secret World, even though I need much more time to complete them all, or yammering on about Tokyo coming next month (did you catch that in the director's letter?). But as the fates would have it, Funcom did something else this past week that has nabbed attention and necessitates a little scrutiny.

Mankinigate.

Last week during the notable first of April shenanigans, The Secret World poked fun at the fact that female outfits in games (including TSW) are stereotypically skimpy while males get adventuring gear. The item store offered the "Gender Equality" clothing pack: full scuba gear for females and a mankini for males. As hideous as I think the mankini is, I appreciated this obvious jab at stereotypes, not to mention the fact that Funcom listened to players who've requested revealing attire for their male avatars. But then with no real explanation given at the time, the makinis were yanked not only from the store but from players' inventories as well.

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: Grand plans for The Secret World's Black Watchmen ARG

Horror, Real-Life, Events (Real-World), Interviews, The Secret World, Miscellaneous, Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory: Interview uncovers big plans for the new TSW-themed Black Watchmen ARG
Last week we revealed that a new persistent alternate reality game is in the works from Human Equation, the studio that brought us the pre-launch and End of Days ARGs for The Secret World. But that little introduction is just a drop in the bucket compared to what the company has planned for the community. Human Equation has bought the license to operate the Black Watchmen IP from Funcom, and that means TSW players, fans, and puzzle-enthusiasts have much more in store for them than they realize.

Although a major premise behind an ARG is figuring out clues and discovering information over time, I sat down and chatted with Andrea Doyon, the chief innovation officer (aka puppet master) for the ARG to bring you the scoop on those very plans. Check out all the details in this exclusive interview, including future job possibilities, and get a peek at two never-before-seen pieces of concept art.

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: A guide to finishing off the Filth in TSW's Whispering Tide event

Horror, Real-Life, Events (In-Game), Opinion, The Secret World, Guides, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory:  A guide to finishing off the Filth in TSW's Whispering Tide event
When The Secret World puts on a long-term event, it certainly doesn't skimp on the long part! The Whispering Tide commenced way back in September 2013 and just last month moved into the final phase. During that time, players have unlocked portals, collected lore, and fought the Filth, all with the ultimate goal of opening Tokyo at the end. And while the time of Issue #9 is is almost at hand, it isn't yet here. The best way to hurry it along is to see this event through to completion and eradicate the Filth in this final stage.

If you've missed any of the preceding phases, now is the perfect time to jump in and add your efforts to the cause -- not just for speeding up the release of Tokyo but for collecting all the loot and goodies for yourself as well! With this phase players have the chance to rake in all the slivers and fragments needed to purchase the available event loot (sadly, the past lore pieces are one thing that cannot be gotten). Even if you are just starting now, there are still numerous tendrils protruding from the portal, giving you plenty of time to get in on the action. And this guide is going to walk you through it.

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: Every game needs a Gatekeeper like The Secret World

Horror, Real-Life, Endgame, The Secret World, Dungeons, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

It finally happened. I've been playing The Secret World since launch, wading through lots of lore, wracking my brains on investigations missions, collecting clothes, and soaking up the amazing atmosphere, among other things. But there is one activity that I have successfully dodged participating in that entire time until the moment came when I could no longer justify evading it. I'm talking about the Gatekeeper.

For those who aren't familiar with TSW's Gatekeeper, here' the scoop: He's the giant golden golem that stands between you and the PvE endgame. He's the feature that all players who want to participate in the hardest mode of dungeons and acquire the best purple PvE gear must prove themselves against before being allowed to move their play to that next level. Consequently, he prevents those who are completely unprepared for that level of challenge from getting in over their heads and dragging down their groups in the process. Golden boy is a powerful (and merciless) teacher who can humble those not ready for the fight as well as those who are by really testing their knowledge about the game's combat system and forcing all to face up to their inadequacies.

So I finally faced this Agarthan nemesis, and he was all I expected him to be. And yes, I was initially schooled. But I did end up laying the smack down on him, learning a few important things in the process. And one of the top lessons? I think every single game should have a Gatekeeper!

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: Why TSW's quest art thrills me to no end

Horror, Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Lore, Opinion, The Secret World, Post-Apocalyptic, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

TSW
Every Secret World fan has his or her own list of reasons why the game feels special and unique. Perhaps it's the investigation missions, the contemporary setting, the flexible character builds, the dark subject matter, the well-done voice acting, the creepy tone, the immense pile of lore, or the sheer fun that is the dressing room. Steadily climbing to the top of my own list is an aspect that I haven't seen mentioned much at all: the quest art.

Is that the best terminology for it? I don't know what else to call it. What I'm talking about here are the images that often pop up through quests, from photographs to journal entries. These pieces of art aren't just sprinkled in here or there; they are so dang prolific that I've devoted an entire screenshot folder to holding them. Once you start really noticing them, it's hard not to marvel at all of the work that was done to put them in the game.

So excuse me this week as I go on about why quest art is seriously terrific and terribly underrated. I may even share a favorite or 27 of them along the way.

Continue Reading

Chaos Theory: Controversy swirls around The Secret World's new Mystery Boxes

Horror, Real-Life, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Although neither the most recent recent patch notes nor the January Game Director letter mentions it, something happened in The Secret World recently that might, if you believe the cries of some, portend the beginning of the end for the horror-filled game. What powerful behemoth will be responsible for slaying TSW and grinding it into the ground? No, not the Økokrim; this time, it's the mighty Mystery box.

Players logging in since January 30th have been met with a launchpad announcement heralding the introduction of the new Mystery Box to the item store. And while some players are up in arms about the significance of this addition, I'm going to tell you why it's no big deal.

Continue Reading


Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW