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Role Playing (Games) Games

An Early Look At Ragnar Tornquist's The Secret World 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the pretty-pictures dept.
At the recent Penny Arcade Expo, Funcom revealed a ton of new information on The Secret World, an MMO being designed by Ragnar Tornquist that's aiming to buck several of the genre's common trends. Tornquist also spoke later about several of the game's features and some of the design philosophy that they're working with. The game does not have a traditional class or leveling system. Instead, players gather the powers they want to use and align themselves with various factions of their choosing. "We want you to feel part of a world where the conspiracies are so dense and the politics is so thick that, when you join the secret society as a novice at the very beginning, it's this vast organization, and you'll have no idea how it works initially." PvP will be largely segregated from PvE, and new players will be able to contribute in fights that involve more experienced players. Funcom released some concept art and in-game screenshots for The Secret World to go along with a new cinematic trailer.
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An Early Look At Ragnar Tornquist's The Secret World

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  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:15AM (#29386985) Homepage Journal

    The new fad is to buck the trend. Pretty simple formula really.

  • After slogging through World of Warcraft for several years, the last thing I want in a game is something that requires me to basically live a double life. I'd like an MMO where I could pop in and out, instead of dedicating multi-hour blocks that become the equivalent of a part-time job by the end of the week. And that doesn't include researching content for efficient strategies, researching in-game equipment for optimized tactics, bickering with people on the Internet about various aspects of gameplay, or u

    • Re:Not again (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DangerFace (1315417) on Friday September 11, 2009 @04:54AM (#29387443) Journal

      After slogging through World of Warcraft for several years, the last thing I want in a game is something that requires me to basically live a double life. I'd like an MMO where I could pop in and out, instead of dedicating multi-hour blocks that become the equivalent of a part-time job by the end of the week. And that doesn't include researching content for efficient strategies, researching in-game equipment for optimized tactics, bickering with people on the Internet about various aspects of gameplay, or ultimately regretting all the time I didn't spend socializing, reading books, accumulating income, learning a real-world employment skill, exercising, eating decently, or traveling.

      I think that's the whole point of this 'horizontal leveling' they're talking about - you'll be able to boot the game up after two years of it being out, with a new character, and still be of some use to your faction. You'll be able to pop in, do a quest, and then leave again. Of course, it would be bad form to start a quest with some buddies and then AFK just as it starts to get hard, but that's the whole point of an MMO - your actions affect real people.

      You could well just be complaining about MMOs in general though, in which case I would suggest to you a path that didn't involve spending several years slogging through WoW. I used similar advice to great effect after realising that I don't like vinegar on chips - the problem wasn't the vinegar, it was that I kept eating the damn stuff. Although I didn't care enough to bicker about it with random people, or spend lots of time reading up on the best vinegar, or choose vinegar over stuff that I like more; I also didn't then go on food sites and bring up my dislike of vinegar whenever someone mentions it. Maybe the problem is that you got super-anal about something you didn't, in hindsight, give a monkey's uncle about?

      • You could well just be complaining about MMOs in general though, in which case I would suggest to you a path that didn't involve spending several years slogging through WoW. I used similar advice to great effect after realising that I don't like vinegar on chips - the problem wasn't the vinegar, it was that I kept eating the damn stuff.

        Or it could be like the recovering alcoholic who has to give his two cents only because he feels about it so strongly.

        I like gaming and I consider MMO's to be a very, very dangerous drug. They can expand to consume all your time and the only saving grace is that they get boring. If they could deliver that constant kewl experience without ever tapering off, xod help us all.

  • by adamkennedy (121032) <adamk@c[ ].org ['pan' in gap]> on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:42AM (#29387115) Homepage

    It's funny, but every time I see stuff like "the politics is so thick" or "there are no levels" and a dozen other things new MMOs say are amazing and novel I keep mentally adding "... like EVE Online".

    I swear to god, sometimes I think EVE is becoming the Lisp of the MMO world. Lisp/EVE did it first, Lisp/EVE did that much better, every language/MMO will eventually embed a hacked up, tacked on, bad emulation of Lisp/EVE.

    • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Friday September 11, 2009 @04:18AM (#29387267)

      EVE is IMHO very well designed that way. At least better than the current "standard" MMO formula where you grind to gain levels, have to choose a class and end up with some cookie cutter build if you want to be competitive.

      This said, newer MMOs already start being more flexible in that regard. Perfect World and Fallen Earth have a mixed level/skill system where you get some progress based on level, but you also get additional skill points for customizing your character's build. Fallen Earth in particular seems to give out enough of these to raise two specializations to a high level.

      Now the The Secret World seems to have yet another approach with plenty of freedom to build your character. Sounds good but I'll wait how it turns out before praising it. The developers of Fallen Earth promised a similar degree of freedom but delivered only halfway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Vohar (1344259)

      EVE? More like UO. And before that, MUDs.

      The way I see it, EVE is more like Linux. Small overall userbase compared to alternatives. Everything it does is done elsewhere already. User base thinks they're superior for using it.

      Knocking Linux and EVE in one post? There goes my karma.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hythlodaeus (411441)

      The difference is that Secret World is aiming to make their game a game.
      Oh, and UO was classless and Shadowbane had politics and territory control long before Eve did either of these things.

  • console philosophy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Friday September 11, 2009 @04:03AM (#29387201) Homepage Journal

    ok, seriously - they had me intrigued, and then I see that the trailer is for the xbox version.

    Every. Single. One. game concept that originated on PCs and was moved to consoles was dumbed down. Yes, Oblivion, I'm looking at you. Yes, Halo, I still hate you.

    So, from what I could see, this isn't going to be an "MMO revolution". It's going to be counterstrike with better graphics and a persistent world, set in an alternate reality setting. An MMFPS. With console controls. I'm shivering, but it's not the anticipation.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And Shadowrun, man. They made a damn FPS from one of the richest pen and paper RPG setting ever created ! That was almost criminal ...

      • You sir impugne on my honour. You seem to not recall the Sega Genesis version released many years ago. I challenge you to a duel. Or not, I am too sleepy to duel. But still, even those people who are rabid Shadowrun fans agree that this particular game was well done. Sure, the XBox one was crap, but not everything that goes to consoles ends up that way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vikstar (615372)

      An MMOFPS for XBox and PC? Sweeet, time to show those XBox fanboys just what a keyboard and mouse can do.

    • A transcript of a Q&A with the lead dev in the MMORPG.com forums states that the PC game will be different from the XBOX version and the PC game will be designed for the PC first and foremost (no shitty ports), as well as that both versions will not communicate (smart move). I strongly suspect that the game will be designed for the PC first since the MMO market is much larger on the PC. That said, I've played an MMOFPS, Darkfall, which did just fine, for an indie game. It was a bit more hardcore (ful
  • Funcom (Score:2, Informative)

    by Luminescence (1376745)
    Funcom. The Longest Journey was a single player game that was a lot of fun but overly wordy. Anarchy Online was an mmo and a disaster. So we shall see.
  • Can't he at least finish the Dreamfall saga before he starts mucking about in another genre!?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Firkragg14 (992271)
      I couldn't agree with you more. Ragnar Tornquist has been saying he will finish the dreamfall saga with Dreamfall Chronicles for the past 3 years. Considering Dreamfall had a huge number of plot holes and a massive cliffhanger ending i consider it a bit unfair how long we will have to wait to find out what happens. Especially if it ends up being another 3+ years.
      • by KillerBob (217953)

        Ragnar is also working on the Secret World idea, which, according to the interviews he's given about it, have been percolating in his head since before he started working on Anarchy Online, long before he started developping Dreamfall.

        I'd definitely like to see him finish that trilogy. Dreamfall was a very interesting story, and I am really looking forward to finding out what happens next. (though I still have issues with how difficult the Necropolis level was in the game...). But I also understand that Dre

        • by Creepy (93888)

          My understanding is sales numbers weren't great for Dreamfall, which is why The Secret World gained priority over finishing the TLJ series. I'm not sure if Funcom would think the same way about MMOs now as they did three years ago, mainly because only one MMO really has pulled in massive numbers (WoW) and the rest have fallen by the wayside or are sputtering along with adequate numbers (including Tornquist's own Anarchy Online), but in 2006 MMO was still viewed as the way to go.

          • by KillerBob (217953)

            True, Dreamfall did get some bad returns... the original xbox version had a really buggy engine, and the PC version wasn't a very good port of the game. They did fix most of the engine problems that the xbox version had, but it still had some... quirky... behaviour.

            Still... I have played TLJ through in the last year. The story is so good that you can ignore the fact that the engine is 10 years out of date and wasn't that good in the first place. The same is true for Dreamfall, IMO.

            Take it with a grain of sa

    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      Are those games really that good?

      I started played The Longest Journey a little while back and I loved the story. The problem was it was my first adventure game, and well I didn't know that all adventure game character are kleptomaniacs. So I kinda got screwed a bit because I wasn't picking everything up. And some of the puzzles had solutions that I would have never figured out if I didn't look it up.

      Should I give it another chance, I'd do a bit better if I actually did pick up everything, I'm more used
  • by wild_quinine (998562) on Friday September 11, 2009 @07:31AM (#29388101) Homepage

    We want you to feel part of a world where the conspiracies are so dense and the politics is so thick that, when you join the secret society as a novice at the very beginning, it's this vast organization, and you'll have no idea how it works initially.

    That's a little bit too much like real life for comfort. But, like real life, I expect it will be crushingly dissapointing when you finally discover just how simplistic and facile most people's motivations actually are. The complexity of most human systems is essentially an illusion.

  • by edremy (36408) on Friday September 11, 2009 @07:54AM (#29388255) Journal
    "And while you're waiting folks, why not check out Funcom's other AAA MMO, Age of Conan? Come view the beautiful land of Hyboria, where studly barbarians are slaughtered by healing classes, the women are all dressed in drab brown leather and...."

    At this, Ragnar was pelted with beautifully designed Collector's edition sturdy metal tins before being smothered by hordes of fans carrying little leatherette maps of Hyboria.

  • After the disaster that was Age of Conan I will not be folling a Funcom MMO for a looong time. If they manage to pull a quality product out of their ass then good for them, I'll try a 14 day trial at some point. No more waiting 2 years to be disappointed in a game that promises so much and delivers so very little.
  • Secret World [youtube.com] has an interesting storyline, compelling music.... but wonder what the genesis of such a theme would be...
  • I am a little sore that The Longest Journey is still shelved. If this MMO shares any elements, even the general feel of it, then I think it will be very interesting.

    I still consider The Longest Journey to be the best adventure game and actually one of the better games I've played in general, if only in terms of story and world.

    If you're curious about it, it's really cheap on Steam:

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/6310/ [steampowered.com]

  • oh wait, that one wasn't that good either
  • What is new? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reapy (688651) on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:50AM (#29413583)

    I am having trouble figuring out what they mean by new features? Other games seem to have these things they are mentioning.

    I think we have all forgotten what the vision of an MMO is supposed to be. We need to drop all this leveling bs all together. It has been done to death, and quite frankly, who really wants to level up ANOTHER character. It also leads to all sorts of weird ass game design decisions and limitations so you don't have people getting one shot by monsters.

    But I don't get it, where is the Massive Multiplayer part of MMO? Seriously, think about it, when is the last time you saw or played a game where 200+ people were in the same area doing the same thing? Why don't we see any games working on technology to bring more players together playing a game at the same time? More massive!

    Is this all we have, at most 100 players doing the same thing at the same spot until we have more bandwith? Most games I have played that even come close to packing in around 100 players are laggy fuck fests that just remove all ounces of gameplay.

    Secret world...blah, what is it going to have, go out and collect random skills that you can use, then participate in the same style MMO combat you've enjoyed since fucking merdian 59. Jesus christ can we get some innovation please?!?

    Honestly, bliz and eq2 seeem to have the genera pretty much done right. Great, close the book on it, lets see something new, I have a fist full of cash I'm waiting to toss at somebody who make something new, give me a reason to spend it.

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