I played The Secret World from during the free weekend. And despite the constant lagging and disconnecting (that may be blamed on our router, Verizon or my computer more than the TSW servers*), it was fun.
*Others were having problems with disconnecting from the game. I guess the free weekend with bunches of new people pouring to take advantage of playing for free hasn’t been very kind to the servers.
One of the big things about this game is that there are no levels and classes. You can pick a deck if you want, which is a preset of abilities (the closest thing to a class). You earn XP, but instead of being used for leveling up, you get AP and SP to unlock new abilities or to level up skills.
The default keybindings I thought were weird. You move with the WASD keys, like in most FPS/TPS games, but you use the number keys for attacks. The mouse is only used for interacting with the interface. If you want to use it to move the camera around, you need to hold down the right mouse button while moving the mouse. Otherwise, your character always faces forward (away from the camera), so turning left or right also moves the camera. I did switch the attack buttons to the number pad instead, since I attack things more than using the mouse.
Soo like I said earlier, there are references to The Longest Journey. Other than the poster and the server called Arcadia (which looked to be like a roleplaying server so I did not join it), there is an NPC at the sheriff’s station in Kingsmouth who has a book called Zen and the Art of Weapon Maintenance. In The Longest Journey, Lady Alvane apparently has a book on her bookshelf called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
In some solo instances, I did for a second forget that I was playing TSW and thought I was playing TLJ (ooh kay, there is a wall of lasers/trip mines, do I have that mirror shard in my inventory? Oh wait, wrong game…). It is slightly reminiscent of TLJ somehow (mainly in the maintenance tunnel).
As far as MMOness goes…Mr. Giantpaper and I were playing together…sorta. We might as well have been soloing, because even though we were in a party together, we couldn’t see what mission the other person was on (if any). The early part of the main mission in Kingsmouth has some solo instances. The medical clinic I wasn’t too bothered by, but the sewers and the maintenance tunnels, where you need to fight monsters and a boss and figure out minor puzzles by yourself…doesn’t that kinda go against what MMOs are about?
Even though I like soloing (and would rather solo than play with random strangers), it is kinda inconvenient if you are playing with friends. When we ended our session last night, Mr. Giantpaper and I were on the same mission, but he was 2 tiers ahead of me (since I disconnected during the sewers), “in the creepy myscognist wizard’s cellar” (I didn’t know what he was talking about at the time).
So yeah, it is fun, but not sure I want to pay $60+ for it ($60 for the actual game + $30/month for a subscription). People are speculating that it might go F2P soon (one month since its release and it’s already had a free weekend). I would not mind that actually! I’m fine with the Guild Wars model (pay once, play forever), but a subscription to play? Ehhhhhhhh…