New Ground

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I’ve been talking a lot about Secret World Legends lately. There’s a reason for that.

When The Secret World came out five years ago, I was so impressed by the open beta that I bought a lifetime subscription to the game. In the intervening time, I’ve not spent a lot of time in TSW, mostly because the combat outside of the first adventure zone was significantly more difficult, and it became very hard to make any progress at all. There was one mission that I spent two hours trying to drop the boss before essentially retraining myself on a whole new discipline and crafting a brand new weapon with which I finally took him down. That experience pretty much sealed my opinion that it was no longer any fun, and so the subsequent time that I spent in the game was re-rolling characters and running them through that opening zone over and over again. I only ever made it to the second zone once more, and even then I made it as far as the door to the zone before going back to a new character.

Recently, the decision was made to revamp TSW into a new free-to-play game called Secret World Legends. Most of the missions were the same, but the free-form ability wheel-based combat system was completely replaced with a more traditional model of levels and classes and primary and secondary weapons, and enemies were easier to take down. They’re still challenging, but not geared for minmaxing (that’s the process by which someone optimizes their character’s build for maximum effectiveness). Casual players like me can now succeed where they were originally experiencing a lot of difficulty. There are some other changes, too, some minor, some major, but all designed to streamline the game. I like almost all of the changes they’ve made.

Secret World Legends was available for early release on Friday of last week, and officially went live on Monday of this week. I waited until Monday to download the game, mostly because I wanted to preserve my installation of the original game (it’s still playable on legacy servers) just in case I wanted to give it a go. I’ve been playing it pretty heavily since downloading it.

Earlier today, I reached the mission that gave me such trouble from before.

I breezed through the mission itself, and quickly faced the boss. I fought well, but in the end he got me with a power that immediately drains all health away if you’re in range of it when it goes off. (That’s the fourth power he throws, incidentally. He’s got some tricky moves, and it takes thinking things through to stand a chance with him.) I had completely forgotten about that power, so I wasn’t upset when I went down that first time. I resurrected and went back to face him, with both of us back at full strength. I dodged his first attack, waited out his second one (that makes him invincible for a time), withstood his third attack, and then outran that deadly fourth attack before he cycled back around to the beginning of his attack chain. As soon as the fourth attack was done I re-emerged from behind the rock formation that I was hiding behind and quickly dropped him with little effort or fanfare.

I was very pleased with the outcome of that mission. It proved to me that they’d thought of players of all skill levels when they tweaked the combat.

Since then I’ve covered more ground on both the main story line and on side missions than I ever have before. I’ve also handled more of the investigation missions which can oftentimes require actual Google searches to solve and love trying to figure out the puzzles they throw at me. I’m really hooked on the new story that I’ve uncovered and I can’t wait to see where it leads.

A caveat, however. If you like what you’ve heard about Secret World Legends and want to download it for yourself to try it out, you need to be prepared for what you’ll get. This is not under any circumstances a kid’s game. Profanity of every type is liberally sprinkled throughout the dialogue on top of the stuff you’ll see in the chat window from other players, there’s blood and gore everywhere, and I have a ex-military friend who can’t play the game because it causes bad nightmares. It is a mature, gritty horror story, bottom line, and if that’s not your thing, then you might want to skip. However, I’m not a fan of horror movies, and yet I love this game, so your mileage may vary. It won’t cost you anything except download time and space on your hard drive to try it and see.

If you do decide to take Secret World Legends for a spin, let me know privately and I’ll give you my character names to friend each one. I have three. I’d love to see you in game.

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