Guess what Secret Worlders?
Tokyo is finally here!
It’s being released tomorrow, Wednesday, June 4th 2014. Joel Bylos, The Secret World’s Game Director and Tor Egil Andersen, game’s Communications Manager were kind enough to take me on a little tour of Issue #9 and give me a little insight into the creation of the Tokyo playfield.
It has been more than 7 months between the last content update and Tokyo, the biggest time span between content updates in The Secret World so far. According to Joel Bylos, while most of Tokyo was built in 2012 and the general outline for it done last year, it is only now seeing the light of day, or should I say game. There are several different reasons for that.
First and foremost the downsizing at the beginning of 2013, which played a crucial part in the delivery of this new playfield. Initial estimates the team has provided on the completion of the workload have been also off significantly, especially given the increased workload after the downsizing. Then there’s the sheer size of the playfield. In total, there are 22 cinematics done for Tokyo. Compare that to only 16 in Issue 6 ‘The Last Train to Cairo’ which also used areas of the game that were already made. All of these played a part in Tokyo being delayed. Meanwhile, the community patiently waited (some more than others), once again confirming to their favorite developer team that they want quality over quantity.
So was it worth the wait? What do we get for all that patient hammering of Flappy? Let’s see…
TOKYO – BRAND NEW PLAYFIELD
As reported previously, in order to get access to Tokyo, you will need to obtain certification from the Council of Venice by playing through Scenarios. Successfully completing these will get you Aureus of Initiation that you will need to buy the certificate from one of the Vendors in The Sunken Library. Alternatively, you’ll be able to pay a cool $1 million pax and get the forged certificate from the other vendor there.
Once you have the certificate, you will proceed to Tokyo, but not without a fight, in Venice and in the Tokyo’s subway. Remember Sarah from the tutorial? You meet up with her once again and she’ll teach you how to use the new Aegis System in the dark corners of the Tokyo’s subway.
At first glance, Tokyo’s streets feel empty, with occasional mob lurking from the corners of the buildings. According to Joel Bylos, this was done by design. It’s meant to feel like an abandoned city with occasional monsters roaming the streets. You might count your blessings for that once you start fighting different creatures. The new mob have evolved and have new mechanics that will force you to keep moving during the fights. You will need to be careful not to move too much though, otherwise you might pull other mob as well.
Tokyo is also not a hub, only a playfield, so there is no bank, Auction House or any of the other shops or amenities you might find in London, for example. You will find Ca’ d’Oro Vendors that sell all manner of items and upgrades.
The missions as well as NPCs are creepy, dark and eerie. One of the missions will take you to an underground garage that just might bring back memories of your first faction mission in New York. Some of the mission’s cut scenes made me laugh out loud though. Watch out for the one with Inbeda, the leader of the Oni demons at the Tokyo Bath House who seems to have a disturbing fetish for mannequins and none other than Kirsten Geary herself. Another interesting NPC is Gozen, the leader of the Jingu Clan, who is a former lover of Richard Sonnac and fondly refers to him as ‘Dick’.
Then there’s a whole bunch of new monsters, never before seen in game . Watch out for the Gaki. Do not take your eyes off of them when you come across them. They might be hard to spot in some locations (won’t spoil it for you) so watch out for their glowing, beady eyes. Watch out for Oni demons without the gas masks. Those with the masks are friendly. Thread very carefully, as even machines might attack you now. There’s plenty more to list, but I’ll let you discover the rest on your own.
We already know that Tokyo will be separated over three issues.
Issue #9 will see the release of the first part of the Tokyo map.
Issue #10 will see the release of the remainder of the zone. This will include the much anticipated Love Hotel that will play a very important part in the Main Story mission. A much wanted new Scenario objective will also be added to the game with this issue. We’ll also get a new Magic auxiliary weapon. For the next couple of weapons added to the game after that, you can expect a brand new type of auxiliary weapon that is not currently in the game.
Issue #11 will see the release of the group content: dungeon, lair and raid. Lairs in the game will also receive a re-vamp at this time and, providing the team has enough time, a re-vamp of other raids in game. At this time, there are no plans of re-vamping dungeons that are currently in game.
AEGIS SYSTEM – A NEW HORIZONTAL PROGRESSION
First impression after seeing it on Testlive – nice, but complicated. Then again, once upon a time, that’s what I thought of the Augment system. Once you actually have it in front of you, it’s a piece of cake and very straight forward. The mobs in Tokyo have evolved and have developed different shields. Figuring out which shield the mob has is fairly easy. Each of the shields has a specific color (Psychic is purple, Demonic is red and Cybernetic is blue) so when you click on a monster you will see a glow of that color. If you don’t have it equipped, no problem. Switching between the Aegis has been made easy courtesy of the feedback from the Testlive server. All you need to do is click on the icon above your abilities icons and the Aegis controller will be changed. The mob will be grouped by type, but you will get some mob that will have two types of shield. That shouldn’t prove a problem as you can equip two different types of Aegis controllers.
Aegis items are equipped in a new set of slots, which are located next to your current character gear slots (press ‘c’). There are three major types: AEGIS controllers (think weapons), Anima-Energy Capacitors (think talismans) and Enhancement Modules (think signets).
So how do we advance in this new system? The mob you kill in Tokyo will be dropping lore that will contain samples of all 3 Aegis types. Collecting these samples will eventually lead you to a full 100% of the type collected and you will be able to upgrade to version 2.0 of that same type. Version 1.0 is equivalent to green, 2.0 to blue and 3.0 to purple. Version 3.0 will be available as drops from the group content that will be released as part of Issue #11.
CONTINUATION OF THE MAIN STORYLINE
For the first time after the game launched, the main storyline will be continued and it will be repeatable. You will also, as previously stated, be able to repeat only certain parts of the main storyline, which will be available separately from certain NPCs. The main storyline will be continued with future releases of new playfields.
BLACK SIGNAL LORE
This new type of lore will be offering another, opposing voice to that of the Buzzing. Gaia’s lore is bright yellow. Appropriately, the Black Signal lore are tinted dark purple and might be hard to spot in some locations. You can choose whose voice you’d like to listen to by using the drop-down menu on the lore page (Shift+L).
This isn’t enough for you? Ok. There’s also tons of bug fixes, improved Auction House interface and brand spanking new PvP gadgets. Talking about PvP, after Tokyo is completed, next Issue will be dedicated exclusively to PvP. Not only that, but considering the developer team have found a way to quickly switch between the Aegis shield types, the Aegis System is once again being discussed for PvP. New rewards system and a path to 10.5 is also being worked on.
UPCOMING ANNIVERSARY & OTHER EVENTS
With the second year anniversary of the game fast approaching, you can once again look forward to the last year’s anniversary event. This time around, new content will also be added with a new monster and a new mechanic.
When it comes to future events, I’ve been told that we can look forward to brand new Halloween and Christmas events. These were actually written by Joel last year, but the team didn’t have enough time to implement them completely. Krampus we fought for example, was only one third of the original event. According to him, this year’s Christmas event will have all kinds of “crazy conspiracy stuff”.
WHISPERING TIDE ENDING
Now, before we move on to Tokyo and for more concrete pastures, it’s time to push back the Filth from Agartha. Don’t fret about the ending though. It will be just like any other phase ending. Tentacles will go down, Agartha will shake violently for a few moments and we’ll see a March of the Flappies, as Joel called it. Please be aware that the ending itself will be of a very short duration, about 20 minutes, so in all likelihood, the majority of the players will not even be logged in. No biggie. For the nostalgic ones among you, Flappy will be back in the future.
If you do happen to be in game when the end is near, please tweet it out using the #Hivehum and/or #TSW hash tags. These are the two most common ones that people associate with The Secret World on Twitter, so it makes it easier to spot and search for.
REMEMBER BALLISTIC VEIL OUTFIT?
Xander Hayes’ outfit that was the other winner of the Get your Art in the Game contest is finally done and will be released soon. Soon, as in, I saw it already completed in the game and it looks absolutely fantastic! Check it out for yourself.
So there you have it folks. We are less than 24 hours away from Tokyo launch. As always, game’s Grand Masters and subscribers will get a 3-day early access, with the general release to follow.
The Issue they said, will be released for the normal Issue price, but you might want to grab a Collector’s Edition, the cost of which will be higher, and will contain a brand new outfit not otherwise available in game.
Joel Bylos said that the delays in the delivery of Tokyo weren’t easy to announce, but were necessary to maintain the high quality players have come to expect from the game’s team. I for one think it was worth the wait.