Online gamers only have 3 weeks left to wait until July 3, 2012, when The Secret World MMORPG will finally be available to play. The Secret World has been voted one of the most highly anticipated MMORPGS of 2012 and after our own in depth look at the game, we have to concur. The Secret World is a highly original game and it has the potential to become one of the most successful online games in many years.
We have been privileged with a close up and personal look at The Secret World in all phases of its development from the journalist only Press Beta to the Closed Beta and the Open Beta. In each of these events, we have been party to the progress of the game. We have been able to contribute our own detailed reports and comments to Funcom, as well as share our thoughts with our readers.
The intent behind a beta is not just to give gamers a free look at a new game. The main purpose of a beta is to allow a broad cross-section of gamers, from all walks of life, to give their own feedback on what is both good and sometimes, bad about a game. Gamers are asked to fill out regular, detailed surveys and file a report on every bug or problem they may encounter during their beta sessions. It is by openly and honestly discussing any issue beta players may encounter, that the developers are greatly assisted in producing a bug free, ready to play game for the proposed release date.
Funcom has already had the troublesome experience of releasing a game before it was ready. They will be the first to admit that the Age of Conan was rushed to market and suffered as a result. To their credit, they are taking every step to prevent this from occurring with The Secret World. This is evidenced by the two postponements of the announced release date this year and by the several, long years it has taken to bring The Secret World to market.
I recently brought up a question with the Lead Developer, Joel, about the overall difficulty of the game. I specifically wanted to know how much of the game would be solo-able and how much of the game would require a group to complete. I have gone on the record in the past as not being a fan of games that force a player to group and I believe a great majority of open world and quest content should be available to solo players.
Joel’s answer was both reassuring and highly informative. He said, “The intention is to keep the game varied and interesting by having the monsters challenge the player to switch builds to overcome various situations…. In terms of content difficulty, the aim has always been for the game to be solo-able for roughly 80% of the content – that is all outdoor areas (besides lairs).
However, I cannot stress enough that the content will “require” people to shift their mindset between battles sometimes. There are monsters who will ask you to bring a purge or a cleanse to a fight, there are monsters that cannot be beaten without a stun or snare. The mindset is for breadth and depth, rather than relying on simply vertical progression through stats.”
From Joel’s reply, we can deduce that the developers are really quite focused on creating a game that requires constant input and thoughtful actions from players. Instead of another game that presents the same old, cookie cutter builds, The Secret World offers players an arsenal that includes 535 powers, 3 fields of magic and 6 weapon sets. They will all be available over the course of the game, if a player chooses to acquire them. Players will able be to create literally thousands of different builds and have several viable alternatives for every possible situation. Builds can be changed at a moment’s notice for each and every quest or monster in the game.
I can say without hesitation, that The Secret World is a game unlike any other I have experienced. Everyone involved in creating this game, including creator Ragnar Tornquist and his entire team, has their heart and soul invested in The Secret World. They are working hard to bring you the most exciting, original MMORPG possible. One that will challenge you at every turn and allow you to experience a world unlike any other. From all that I have seen so far, they are well on they way to achieving their goals. The Secret World is looking every bit like the one of the best MMORPGS we have seen this year and one that you will want to experience for yourself. Will you be there on July 3, 2012, when you can make up your own mind about The Secret World?
Note: Early access for pre-orders of The Secret World begins June 29, 2012.