Delving Further Into The Secret World

Venturing into the Templar heartland of London, we sent Gazimoff on a mission deep into The Secret World. Find out what he discovered in this mysterious upcoming MMO, as he explored an abandoned amusement park.

In less than two months, the ranks of Illuminati, Templars and Dragons will be bolstered with a flood of new members, all eager to explore The Secret World. From June 19th this year, we'll be able to explore an incredible mirror world, where all the myths, legends and superstitions are real. For those of us fed up with fantasy and sick of sci-fi, this is the MMO we've been waiting for.

We've been tracking the development of this mysterious new MMO, from our initial hands on with the game, to a closer look at PvP. It's been fascinating to watch the team at Funcom hammer out the Ability Wheel, evolving the initial concept into the most potent form of character customization we've seen. In this latest hands-on, junior communications manager Tor Anderson took us through Atlantic Island Park, an abandoned amusement park fairly dripping the paranormal.

As The Secret World makes the transition from a low-key closed beta to Open Beta on May 11th, Funcom has launched a web-based game where players can fight for world domination on behalf of their chosen Secret Society. Participants can win big prizes for taking part, including in-game items, beta access, their name being used in the game and even being flown to Montreal to meet the development team.

Although some of us here at ZAM have already had the chance to get hands-on with The Secret World, this was my first look at Funcom's latest creation. From the moment I sat down at the terminal, it was clear that this is like no other MMO I've played before. The modern yet discordant setting of the game made it feel more like a survival horror RPG than the high fantasy usually associated with the genre. I didn't know what to expect; there was nothing in my rulebook of clichés that helped me prepare.

And there we were; a group of three, led by Anderson, outside a small suburban house somewhere in New England. The skies were grey and the streets deserted, save for a corpse draped over a nearby mailbox. The hairs started creeping up on the back of my neck, as if I was watching a horror movie and the story had only just started to unfold.

Although players can choose between the secret societies of Illuminati, Templar and Dragon, (and fight for them in PvP), there's also a need to group together against a more sinister, darker threat. We're only just beginning to see the edges and shadows of this greater secret within a secret, but it's an aspect that story hounds will be salivating for.

There was no time to stand still and smell the corpses. Anderson quickly led us to the entrance to Atlantic Island Park, where we were greeted by a middle-aged businessman desperate for answers. After inheriting the park from his estranged father, tycoon Nathaniel Winter, this sharp-suited gent asked for our help in examining the paranormal events. Built in the 1970s, and beset by horrific murders and ghostly sightings, it fell to us to find out more. 

Setting off to explore the theme park, it was clear that industrial decay had set in over thirty unforgiving years. As we moved toward the Octotron, a carousel ride with eight hydraulic arms that lift passengers into the air, a handful of slow-moving zombies crossed our path. Our weapons of choice in dispatching them: an odd but effective mix of assault rifle fire and chaos magic.

Activating the ride caused the arms to start spinning above us, the ground becoming overloaded with electricity. Worse still, the zombies were back, bringing tough, hulking friends with them. Combat was a case of taking the undead down when we could and using the ride's rising and dropping arms to sideswipe some of the tougher abominations. Movement, rifle fire and spell casting were all important in controlling and ultimately defeating the encounter.

Next Up: Ability Decks & Killer Clowns ->

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paranormal?
# Apr 23 2012 at 9:19 AM Rating: Decent
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I thought it wasn't based on fantasy? Paranormal in real life has limitations placed by the laws of nature. How can a secret world be a fantasy without being fantasy? Sounds like another sci-fi/fantasy to me - just a different medium-- kind of like the x-files
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Success comes when preparation meets opportunity -- and EQ is no exception.
paranormal?
# Apr 23 2012 at 9:24 AM Rating: Excellent
By its very definition, paranormal means outside of the scope of the laws of nature, so the exact opposite of what you just said :) And here the definition of fantasy / sci-fi refers more to the setting, of which The Secret World is a real-world occult setting.
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