The Secret World Open Thread

The Secret World logo, featuring a white Illuminati male in a black mask on the left, a blond white female Templar in the middle, and an Asian Dragon on the right.


Funcom’s latest MMO, The Secret World, launched this week!  I’ve been giving it quite a lot of playtime, and I thought it’d be good to start up a thread to connect players together who are playing the game, or give information to those who are interested in playing.

The game is set in a modern setting, taking players to locations like Japan, the east coast of the U.S., Transylvania, and Egypt.  Players choose a faction, either Dragon, Illuminati, or Templar and quest their way through the world.   The Secret World isn’t a cookie cutter MMO, it features an interesting classless skill system, no overall level, the ability to combine interesting weapons along with magic, a rich story, and puzzles.  The parts I’m finding particularly enjoyable are the creepy environments, immersive sound, high quality voiceovers, and the Gaiman-esque vibe (read more about this from our friend Kate Cox).  The quests are more interesting than “Kill X creepy bad guys” and sometimes require you to hit up Google to figure out the intricacies of the puzzles.

The Secret World plays more like an adventure game than a standard traditional MMO, which is something I’m completely okay with.   And the Creative Director is Ragnar Tørnquist, who was the producer & designer on The Longest Journey.  We actually are such fans of that game here at The Border House, it’s how we got our name.

A modern world gives plenty of opportunities for problematic elements, and I’m sure we’ll dive into some of those within the next few weeks.  So far I’ve been mostly impressed with the diversity in the game, and the only bit of othering I’ve experienced has been when I’m referred to as “man” by various NPCs despite my female avatar.  I’m not very far into the game though, so I’d love to hear the perspectives of our readers.

So are you playing The Secret World?  Comment away!

About Tami Baribeau

Lead Editor and co-founder of The Border House, feminist, gamer, lover of social media, technology, and virtual worlds. Pansexual, equestrian, dog lover, social game studio director and producer. Email me here and follow me on Twitter!
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27 Responses to The Secret World Open Thread

  1. rho says:

    I’ve played it a little, but for some reason, it won’t run full screen for me, even when that option is checked in the options, and when it’s windowed, the interface is too small to read comfortably. I’m going to have to poke and prod when I get the energy to see if I can either make it full screen or increase the text size, because otherwise, I’m going to have to give up on it before really getting started, which would be sad.

    • Cuppycake says:

      Hm, that’s so odd! Did you try updating your graphics drivers?

    • Al says:

      I had the same windowed mode while supposed to be in full screen problem, i switched it to windowed mode (borderless) from full screen and it seems to have fixed the problem, doesnt make that much sense..but whatever lol.

    • Lina says:

      I’ve had similar issues as well. Or, rather, I can run it at full screen once, then it will reset to windowed mode. Instead, I run it at my screen size + borderless window. It works as if it’s full screen, and it doesn’t reset. : )

      You can also increase the interface size (zoom percentage) under the options, however you can only do this after you log in as a particular character.

    • Aphotic says:

      Try running in a “Borderless Window”, its under video settings where you choose full screen or windowed.
      This is the equivalent size of full screen.
      In fact, everyone should run it this way as it makes alt+tabbing to other programs seamless :)

  2. prezzey says:

    First impressions, by a friend. I haven’t tried the game yet, but it’s such a turn-off that you can’t have curly hair or at least some headcovering (to pretend the hair is curly underneath ;] ). Yeah, I know, such a small thing, but still. Gah.

  3. Norah says:

    Well, I’m trying to play it, but apprently during development they decided to sort of ignore the fact that some people still run 32-bit systems, and now a lot of those people are getting OOM crashes because they can’t assign more than 2GB memory to the game.

    Which is still odd if you think about it, since they state that 2GB memory is their minimum spec, so, yeah, minimum, but it should still *run*.

    So, 30-minute to 10-minute crashes for me.
    I’ll try this one workaround someone suggested later. So far, all their own tech help can suggest is that I get myself a new computer (yes, because I have that money just lying around), which it actually says in the ‘tips’ section every time I crash, and they’ve also told me that they’re probably not going to work on this any time soon.

    I’m not pleased.

    • Maya_Mayhem says:

      @Norah Hmm, well, I was having the same issues with 16gigs of g.skill 1600, running Win7 x64, game runs perfectly but I still got those CTD memory leak message… Not as often as you (unless I keep stuff open in the background, then the game often wont play at all), but I really doubt upgrading your system is even in the ballpark of being an actual solution. It really sucks that the CSR/tech that you spoke with suggested such a thing, considering it is a known bug that they have discussed being something they are working on, right in the main dev blog IIRC… Was this just today that they told you that that is their only solution?

      I’d say the closest thing to a fix you are going to find right away is to try and play with the main executable’s “run” options. Make sure you run it as admin, but you will need to do some research and find what is working for others experiencing the problem. If I had the game installed right now, I would mess about with it on one of the less powerful systems I have access to.. but I can’t seem to register my Funcom account using the same account name as I used in the beta, even while logged in currently as I try to register… There are people having similar problems, but its too much for me to wade through with the free time I have. So, I am still not even able to give them my money, even though I had the game installed and running smoothly (aside from memory leak issues) about a week ago in the final beta weekend….

      Best of luck getting those memory issues sorted out, and if you are still struggling and have had trouble getting a real answer in the forums or from CS later this week, Id be happy to see if I can find any fixes or things that might at least help, buried in forum threads, etc (since if/when I do get the game going properly again I am sure I will be dealing with the same issue- i have 16 gigs for a reason and will want some programs to be able to remain open!)

      I really want to like Funcom, but they keep letting their fans down post-launch. I cant even get signed in to throw my money at them, but other people have already paid them and cant play or simply haven’t exactly been rewarded for their loyalty and in some cases practically punished for it.. For example, there are quite a few people who pre-ordered based on promotions run way back, prior to any discussion of a monthly fee. Needless to say, many such people ended up left bitter and frustrated when they were told that they couldn’t return their pre order purchase- essentially *because* they ordered it directly from Funcom in good faith- those who went with 3rd party re-sellers haven’t had to deal with the same hassle.

      So that sort of attitude, as well as all the last minute cash grab stuff like the expensive RMT cosmetic store, bonus packs that ask for even more money for a few items that people weren’t able to even access during their early access, etc etc… has shifted me from being extremely excited for launch after my beta weekend, to thinking that it was great that the game was running smoothly on the first day of launch, to completely doubting if I should even get the game at full price at all, or just wait until it goes on sale.. and the sheer number of people including many who are current players, already discussing how soon this will go free to play; immediately post-launch (really early compared to other MMOs), & right after selling tons of $200 lifetime accounts; that dont include the cost of the game- yet for some reason do include two months of play time- which you obviously would have no use for, having just bought a lifetime key… >_<

      Yeah, that sort of thing is par for the course for EA with some exceptions of course, but I really hope they at least deliver in terms of actual content updates like they have talked about so much, because they clearly sold the game to a lot of already with that being a big promise, and they have already proven themselves to value the quick buck over long-term satisfaction, at least to some extent… So so frustrating, I really want to love this game, but I have no idea if it will still feel like a good decision to have purchased even the base game 3-6 months from now. Not how I like to get into a new MMO, and the player base sticking around is pretty important to everyone else's experience, so they are walking a really high tight rope right now and all eyes are on them to deliver so many promised features (don't forget raids, cosmetic alterations and a better customization screen for new toons, and so many other big features that have been promised yet remain in development or months away from even being started), with an unknown number of the dev team sticking around post -launch… Only sure thing is it sounds like Ragnar himself is definitely moving on to other projects now, and that just doesnt seem like a good start to making good on those promises. Nevertheless, they have remained very confident that they will deliver on them, and so its really up to them to follow through (and EA to not cut funding or otherwise mess things up somehow)

      Right now, Im debating whether to try and deal with CS to get the account sorted out, buy a key from a reseller since I don't really care too much about the bonuses i get for order pre launch (yet actually post launch); or to just scrap it and take the time to decide while trying out one of the other MMOs I have wanted to give a try, like starting up an Eve Online trial or looking around for betas for some of the others coming out soon.

      TSW has so much potential to be one of the best MMOs ever, and is no doubt a fun game for a certain period of play time, but all this nonsense somehow smells a bit fishy, even with a generous assumption that pretty much all new MMO launch with bugs, quirks, and unfinished content that needs to be ironed out. I fear that the problems in this game, and possibly in the whole of Funcom itself (at least now that they have EA as their distributer ), could undermine its many great qualities..

      • Norah says:

        Heh, I also tried AoC, and there Icouldn’t play it because they had very limited key and mouse button mapping. I sent the ma letter about it, and they were very sorry but they had no p-lans to change it. Their suggested solution back then was for me to buy a gamepad to use instead of mouse + keyboard >_>.

        The CSR told me they were not working on the memory crashes right now and there was no ETA as to when they would get to it. That was the day before yesterday.

        I found one forum workaround that requires me to download some programme so I can run a command to force windows to allocate more memory to all applications. I can’t, however, find a download site for it, and I did find a lot of people saying it was pretty much malware and had given their PC problems.

        I did actually pre-order from them, and I got my money back! They were adamant at first that they don’t refund paypal orders, but after I got angry and refused to back off they refunded it anyway. Then I pre-ordered elsewhere, which was way cheaper and also had a nicer pet.

        Char creation is indeed pretty poor. The only thing they have a lot of is hairstyles, but even there too many are same-ish and a lot of kinds of hair are just missing. Here is where I was glad I got some clothes through the Secret War, because there is hardly any variation and the little there is has to be bought for real money. Not that there is anything there that looks appealing either. There is even less possibility to make your char looks remotely different from other chars than in most MMOs.

        I won’t get a chance to play in the next few weeks, but I’ll take a look afterwards if they have already fixed my biggest issue, or if I can find a fix.

  4. Ms. Sunlight says:

    It sounds buggy as hell. I’m waiting a few months.

  5. trooper6 says:

    I’d love to play as I loved Dreamfall. But…I’m a Mac owner and The Secret World doesn’t support Macs…and I’m not going to buy Boot Camp and then buy some Windows OS and partition my drive just to play the game.

  6. OtterOwl says:

    I am absolutely loving TSW! I love that clothing is separate to stat items so when you get an upgrade it isn’t a case of ‘this is a good upgrade but it make my character look silly.’ It does mean that you get quite a few people running around as ladies in bras and bikinis (though my char will be wearing a bikini top when she goes to Egypt, screw wearing a heavy shirt in that hot weather), but at least it isn’t enforced via item gear. Got very sick of WoW’s armour sets that would cover up the guys and offer no real protect to the ladies, just be there to emphasis boobs and butt.

    TSW is still a bit buggy. My partner and I have run into a few problems with quests, and I often crash to the desktop, but overall, we are having a great time playing :-)

  7. Rakaziel says:

    Currently requires more time than I have, but the premise sounds good.

  8. loocas says:

    Loving it! Been really really engrossed since early access. During beta I was split—loved the world, hated the MMOy gameplay. This time around I still love the world (it’s the reason I’m willing to pay a sub for this game), but the gameplay is innocuous, rather than annoying. I have a better understanding of the quest and skill systems now, which make progression and exploration smoother.

    You have to get over the “quest hub” mentality and just do quests as you find them. Once you stop backtracking to your last questgiver for their next one, and start looking for new quests where the last one ended, you find that they’re designed to be chained together and lead you throughout the map.

    The skill wheel is overwhelming at first and seems to be full of redundant skills, but most skill trees follow the same templates with regard to their Support/Healing/Tanking categories. As you start to understand States, Triggers, and Subtypes, you understand the nuances in the seemingly redundant skills—and how freaking powerful Passives can be. It’s brilliant at letting you make a build that’s specialized, but still making you feel free to make aesthetic and personalized choices.

    It’s certainly buggy. At the moment I have 3 quests marked on my map that I can’t finish because of bugs, and there have been 3 or 4 that I got lucky with and was able to finish. Most of these happen for the same reason it seems: items and enemies not spawning on cue. And it only happens in certain instances. But it’s really frustrating because the game is really good at making you care about these quests, so when you can’t finish one it’s a real pain.

    At first I figured I would play it for two months, and then cancel my sub when GW2 comes out. I’m still going to do that, but now I think I’m really going to miss it.

    • loocas says:

      Oops, forgot to point out that I’m littleboat in-game. I haven’t done any dungeons yet (little patience for LFG), so if anyone wants to put a group together let me know!

    • Aphotic says:

      Hi Loocas, Try those quests again after server downtime/patch/reboot.
      The ones that I have had break on me were all fixed after the server was rebooted.

  9. Maya_Mayhem says:

    Ended up getting a copy. Saw on the forums that the wolf pet came with the gamestop pre-order and that they as long as they were in-stock I would still be able to get one. so I had the wifey pick up a copy on her way home from work.

    Anyone want to pick out a dimension that we can use as a home base for BHB folks? Thinking that many here would be into RP, which would make Arcadia the best option from the list Im being shown. This probably wont be my main that I am about to roll tonight, so still up for alternatives. I know everyone can group with anyone else, but it might be nice to start out with some friendly faces running around the dimension-specific hub cities.

    Anyway, if people would like to group up or otherwise communicate about the game, just reply and we can trade nicks and/or contact info :)

    • Lina says:

      I’ve been playing on Hulga and Cerberus, but it is my understanding that one can be invited to other dimensions to play with friends.

  10. Raelynne says:

    I noticed the thing about the lack of curly hair, too. Also there is no option to alter the standard body shape or to be older or younger. The final beta weekend featured a lot of toons running round in bikini tops, but the outfits get more interesting the further in you go.

    I had a real problem with the Dragon intro. Trying not to be too spoilery, there is sexual activity (offscreen but obviouly implied) happening to your character. You (the character or the player) don’t get an option to consent or decline, and my personal view is that skipping the cutscene doesn’t count as either of those things.

    I’m playing on my partner’s account, and I haven’t yet decided whether I like the game enough to get my own. The Dragon intro made me really uncomfortable and, while everything else in the game has been fine and interesting, I’m still internally debating over whether it’s enough to put me off.

    • Lina says:

      The Chaos (Dragon) intro was really problematic. My partner was kind enough to me before I started, but I was still similarly uncomfortable. The Illuminati one also includes some lack of consent, though medical, not sexual. Haven’t yet played the Templar opening, but would be curious to find out whether it’s the same.

      It’s nice to see that the outfits that come with the specialised builds do not look nearly as bad as some of the purchasable ones (the open shirt and tie comes to mind). Lack of body shape, face age, and hair types also bugs me. They’ve mentioned that they’re developing an area in NYC where one can completely redo their body; one hopes that it’ll come with more choices. (Should there be any, they’d probably be mostly skin/hair colour choices, but here’s hoping for some different hair options.)

      • Otterowl says:

        Don’t rush to open a deck though. Often they can be quite squishy and only pull from 2 weapons so are limited in their abilities. Better builds seem to pull passives from a variety of weapons (I run hammer/chaos generally but have a shotgun passive and have unlocked blade + fist passives for solo stuff). So find a weapon combo/build you like, build it up then unlock abilities to do with the deck you like.

        Dulfy has all of the ingame Ladies fashion that can be bought (I believe she is working on men’s clothing too) and a number of the achievement clothing rewards.

        Yokai’s blog has all the deck costumes as seen on lady characters

      • Aphotic says:

        To my recollection the Templar opening is solo.
        You have a freak out and then someone knocks on the door to give you an envelope.

    • loocas says:

      I was upset at the Dragon intro. Going into the game I excepted to play Dragon, but the intro totally turned me off. As mentioned, there’s the nonconsensual sex, which is compounded by the passivity of the player character in general. And the scene happens after you’ve been made unconscious and taken from your home in a white van. The Dragon intro definitely carries a trigger warning.

      The scene isn’t helped by the orientalist stereotypes either. I feel the sex is just meant to be part of the mystic and exotic nature of the Dragon, which relies heavily on stereotypes.

  11. menunu says:

    I’m so late because I was on vacation and not reading my blogs My boyfriend and I have been playing TSW together and we both love it! Yes, there are some issues, (Chat bugs, crafting bugs, a few quest bugs that I haven’t experienced, very bad Dragon introduction, etc) but on the whole, this game is amazing. My favorite parts are the investigation missions, where you have to put clues together in order to solve mysteries.

    I played one of the earlier beta versions, and I didn’t like it. I thought the story and combat was boring, though the ability wheel was interesting. I had written it off until I got into the open beta just before launch. The game has changed so much since those initial days!

    My main character is a healer. The healing in this game is interesting, and very different from healing in other MMOs. I am playing a Templar, and following the “Exorcist” deck/build. This is a build that combines the power of Blood magic with fist weapons. I like the concepts of building up weapon power in order to use certain combinations/types of spells. I also really love that I can make a totally different build for survivability in questing (I quest with my boyfriend who plays a tank character), and another one for PVP!

    This game is more about playing the game, rather than killing bosses over and over again for fancy loot. Don’t get me wrong, I really like fancy loot and shiny things, but this game offers so much more. I spend a lot of time in this world, wandering around and exploring things. There are “lore” spots everywhere, and every little detail often has its own little back-story, which in turn provides framework for other story arcs.

    I am playing on Arcadia-RP server. I’m not a role-player anymore, but I really like RP Servers! My character is a Templar, and her nickname is Celesse. Add me as a friend, BorderHousers!

  12. Twyst says:

    I have been playing and really enjoying it.

  13. Aphotic says:

    I am a Templar, apoca-lyptica on the Huldra server.
    I play in +10 GMT evenings.
    Whisper me if you want to run some of the early dungeons.

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