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The Secret World: Story is Everything

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,649MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Funcom's Ragnar Tørnquist recently wrote a long blog article on The Secret World's website about how story will not only be immersive but will submerge players in the tale. In today's TSW column, MMORPG.com Lead Writer Bill Murphy talks about story and how much it matters in The Secret World and how exciting that fact is. Check out Bill's thoughts and then tell us what you think in the comments.

Luckily, The Secret World has one of gaming’s most under-appreciated world builders at its disposal. Ragnar Tørnquist is the man behind both Anarchy Online’s massive universe, and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, which is possibly one of the best adventure games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing from a story perspective. The man knows how to grip a player with narrative and drag them into a world they’ll not soon forget. And that’s why I was so pleased to see his recent blog on The Secret World and how he and the rest of Funcom are approaching its story.

Read more of Bill Murphy's The Secret World: Story is Everything.

The Secret World The Secret World

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • go_lanchego_lanche grand junction, COPosts: 3Member

    This is exactly why I am so fired up for this title. I want something story driven and DIFFERENT. I loved AO back in the day and have a lot of faith in funcom's team.

  • yorkforceyorkforce DoncasterPosts: 160Member

    This game is also at the top of my watch list, I loved The Longest Journey and with the same author so involved I really am looking forward to this title. I think also from a story/setting/theme perspective that this will appeal more to a mature niche of gamers which suits me just fine :)

  • ThomasN7ThomasN7 87.18.7.148 1, NJPosts: 6,690Member

    We'll see but it is sounding good.

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  • rpgalonrpgalon canilPosts: 430Member

    some hints of what you can find in the game (new short video)

    http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/04/07/the-secret-world-everything-is-true

  • Cik_AsalinCik_Asalin SoCal, CAPosts: 3,033Member

    Originally posted

    The Secret World really seems more about secrets than simply in name alone.  Indeed from what we’ve learned thus far, a lot of Funcom’s next game seems reliant on player discovery and the uncovering of various mysteries.  I do wonder just how they’ll be able to keep secrets so secret in a world where information is shared so plainly on the Internet, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and also keep in mind that I can shut out such outside channels of discovery.

    Thier not.  Not that it's a bad thing, but regardless, even if game-play is story-driven, it comes down to how it realizably contributes to game-play content, mechanics, and dynamics that enrich a massively-multiplayer experience as opposed to a very linear, pve-heavy platofrm that has been re-heated over the past several years.

     

    All this information about the game is great.  It's unfortunate that over the past several years with every mmorpg being a gimicky clone of one another, I find the familiarity, shallow, non-massively-multiplayer and redundant game-play only holds my attention for a couple months.  It will be interestng to see what appeals or doesnt appeal to me about TSW after I've played it, though I am looking forward to aligning myself with the Templars :)

  • IluminiIlumini OsloPosts: 4Member

    I neeeeed this game Nooooow!!!!!!

  • depaindepain gibraltar, MIPosts: 263Member

    I don't know... I'm just no interested.

     

    I play MMOs to escape all the cars, trucks, jeans, and bs. I don't like the setting.

  • Ralphie2449Ralphie2449 Athens-PetroupoliPosts: 403Member

    Hmm, then i guess its not my game, since they go so much in story they will have some typical crappy pvp system with just a stupid battleground system so they can call their mmo a pvp game...

    image
  • SpandexDroidSpandexDroid Towson, MDPosts: 277Member

    does anyone know if Xbox players would be in a different server or same server as PC players?

  • MMO.MaverickMMO.Maverick WonderlandPosts: 7,619Member

    I already posted it in this thread, but I might as well post it here too.

     

    Next to a new teaser there's also a new Eurogamer article and interview, here

     

    Some quotes from it:

    If EverQuest channels D&D and EVE Online expounds on Iain M. Banks, The Secret World mashes up Buffy, The X Files and H. P. Lovecraft.

     

    the action is faster and more fluid, if less crisply defined, than the genre norm as the team of four battle large crowds of zombies in the woods, setting them on fire or using car alarms to summon new spawns. Server structure is still to be decided but The Secret World will use very little instancing. Funcom prefers to have players collide, co-operate and socialise on large persistent maps and in dynamic encounters.

     

    An interesting new gameplay style is offered by Investigations, non-combat detective missions in which players follow a trail of clues – sometimes leading outside of the game – to solve a mystery.

    Tornquist's adventure gaming roots show here: in the mission we're shown, a series of Illuminati symbols on drain covers lead players to two names, which when Googled help solve a clue leading to a clock leading to a Bible verse leading to a code leading to a cache of gear.

     

    Eurogamer: What are the storytelling mechanics?

    Ragnar Tornquist: Our game is about the real world and you have to research history, current events, characters and conspiracies, mysteries in the real world and bring that into the game world and solve puzzles through that.

    These investigations, they can take players an hour to figure out or they can take players weeks and months to figure out because they'll basically be a huge ARG, something that feeds on external sources. It's a big jigsaw puzzle.

    There are two sides to the story. There's the story mission you play when you start out in your secret society and that carries you through the entire game. It informs the entire game. It changes the entire game based on which faction you are.

    There's also the jigsaw puzzle, and there are thousands of them; tens of thousands of pieces scattered about the game world in lots of different ways: in dialogue, in mission cinematics, in gameplay mechanics, in other things that I haven't talked about that I'm not going to tell you!

     

    Eurogamer: The Secret World hasn't got levelling, why?

    Ragnar Tornquist: People enjoy levelling – it's not like that's outdated. It's a great mechanic for making you feel like you're progressing. But it does set you on a very defined course... It's like being on a train and having a beautiful view out the window.

    We're definitely more open; we're definitely more free-form. It means you start the game as a blank canvas. We give you direction but we don't lock you into any one choice.

    You can build different decks with your powers; all these cards can be put together for a certain encounter. You can't go through all the content with one deck, direction. Different encounters, different dungeons, different experiences are going to require different approaches, so diversity in your character is incredibly important.

    Being just one thing, the magic DPS guy, will get you through a little bit of the content and then you'll figure out that no, it's not going to work on these guys over here – you need to build something else, go in a different direction.

     

    Eurogamer: You advance through ranks in the secret societies, and this affects gameplay in some way – how?

    Ragnar Tornquist: We haven't really talked about it but no one has really asked about it!

    We're conscious that these don't come across as levels. People are rising within the ladders within a secret society, and part of that is gaining access to new secrets. You gain rank through missions, and you say in order to progress to the next step on the ladder you have to do something for us - and that usually involves something to do with the other secret societies.

    It does have a direct impact on some gameplay mechanics, giving you more choices. It definitely has an impact on your character.

    The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

    The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
    Fratman: "I'm saying Spring 2012 at the earliest [for TOR release]. Anyone still clinging to 2011 is deluding themself at this point."

  • TalthanysTalthanys Millersville, MDPosts: 458Member

    Still leery, but I haven't been turned away by the new information being released, either.

    image

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,008Member Uncommon

    First there was SWTOR, now TSW, looks like "story driven content" is the new design trend that most MMO's are going to head towards.  If one of them hits it big with this format, expect it to last for another 5 years.

    Hope I like it.

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • MMO.MaverickMMO.Maverick WonderlandPosts: 7,619Member

    Originally posted by Kyleran

    First there was SWTOR, now TSW, looks like "story driven content" is the new design trend that most MMO's are going to head towards.  If one of them hits it big with this format, expect it to last for another 5 years.

    Hope I like it.

    See it as replacement for the traditional kind of questing, tbh it needed some sort of revamp or revision.

     

    But that still leaves all the other MMO features that those new MMO's need to nail right, besides the story infused questing., because story driven content is just 1 potential part of the equation for an entertaining and successful MMO.

    The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

    The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
    Fratman: "I'm saying Spring 2012 at the earliest [for TOR release]. Anyone still clinging to 2011 is deluding themself at this point."

  • KrellenKrellen Fort Lauderdale, FLPosts: 84Member

    Really interested in this.  They hopefully will not repeat the mistakes they had in AOC.  And AOC had some fabulous pieces.  If they can put everything together this could be very good.

    The skill system,setting and 3 factions alone is enough for me to try it.

     

  • simmihisimmihi -Posts: 613Member Uncommon

    Well i loved AO. This seems closer to AO than anything else, and Different from all Rift and the like clones with quest hub jumping. Big hopes for me. No, TSW, GW2, SW-TOR, they will not all fail. At least one or two of them will satisfy the part of the MMO community which considers that there's nothing good to play now.

  • HaukenHauken Mo I RanaPosts: 649Member

    I had just about given up on MMO's and the lack og innovation. Then this hit me in the face!!!

    A game with no levels, No linear spoonfed quest fest, with 3 faction PvP and, and, and just use your head to solve/progress the game!!! No HOLY TRINITY with tank, healer and DPS. Can this be true??? Can it be done???

    Can a developer really break with the EQ/WoW formula and get away with it???

    Stop torturing me...

    Hauken Stormchaser
    I want pre-CU back
    Station.com : We got your game
    Yeah?, Well i want it back!!!

  • KomarKomar Rio Rancho, NMPosts: 49Member

    Originally posted by Hauken

    I had just about given up on MMO's and the lack og innovation. Then this hit me in the face!!!

    A game with no levels, No linear spoonfed quest fest, with 3 faction PvP and, and, and just use your head to solve/progress the game!!! No HOLY TRINITY with tank, healer and DPS. Can this be true??? Can it be done???

    Can a developer really break with the EQ/WoW formula and get away with it???

    Stop torturing me...

     Dig a little deeper, they talk about roles all the time...healer, tanker and dps.  Its just you can adjust your character to fufill those roles, not that they dont exist.  All the characters can get all the skills through pve (cept faction ones are limited to faction).  So all the characters can do all the roles.

    BTW, they are also discussing 1 character slot only (and possibly even 1 server...) But no official words yet.

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,008Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Hauken

    I had just about given up on MMO's and the lack og innovation. Then this hit me in the face!!!

    A game with no levels, No linear spoonfed quest fest, with 3 faction PvP and, and, and just use your head to solve/progress the game!!! No HOLY TRINITY with tank, healer and DPS. Can this be true??? Can it be done???

    Can a developer really break with the EQ/WoW formula and get away with it???

    Stop torturing me...

    Maybe a developer can do it, but I'm not sure Funcom is that developer.

    While they had some good early games back in the 90's, the last decade has not been their finest hour.

    Maybe they can turn it all around and create another winner.

     

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • MMO.MaverickMMO.Maverick WonderlandPosts: 7,619Member

    Originally posted by Komar

     Dig a little deeper, they talk about roles all the time...healer, tanker and dps.  Its just you can adjust your character to fufill those roles, not that they dont exist.  All the characters can get all the skills through pve (cept faction ones are limited to faction).  So all the characters can do all the roles.

    BTW, they are also discussing 1 character slot only (and possibly even 1 server...) But no official words yet.

    Faction limited skills? Possibly 1 character slot per server?

    Heh, I didn't know that. Guess I should visit the official forums some more image

    The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

    The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
    Fratman: "I'm saying Spring 2012 at the earliest [for TOR release]. Anyone still clinging to 2011 is deluding themself at this point."

  • MMO.MaverickMMO.Maverick WonderlandPosts: 7,619Member

    Originally posted by Kyleran

    Maybe a developer can do it, but I'm not sure Funcom is that developer.

    While they had some good early games back in the 90's, the last decade has not been their finest hour.

     

    Dreamfall proves you wrong.

     

    Besides, AO and AoC weren't that bad, far from, they both had a lot of ingenious gameplay elements and the designers weren't afraid to take risks and break away from the norm or standard in MMO features. They just sucked with launching their MMO's, whatever the reason (possibly money issues, often is) may have been.

    The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

    The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
    Fratman: "I'm saying Spring 2012 at the earliest [for TOR release]. Anyone still clinging to 2011 is deluding themself at this point."

  • KomarKomar Rio Rancho, NMPosts: 49Member

    Originally posted by MMO.Maverick

    Originally posted by Komar

     Dig a little deeper, they talk about roles all the time...healer, tanker and dps.  Its just you can adjust your character to fufill those roles, not that they dont exist.  All the characters can get all the skills through pve (cept faction ones are limited to faction).  So all the characters can do all the roles.

    BTW, they are also discussing 1 character slot only (and possibly even 1 server...) But no official words yet.

    Faction limited skills? Possibly 1 character slot per server?

    Heh, I didn't know that. Guess I should visit the official forums some more image

     Hehe, I am there all the time ;p

    I believe its this one for the 1 character slot http://gamesnafu.com/readarticle.php?ArticleID=516 though IE cant read it, so need to use another browser (and I only have IE right now, so forgive it I got the wrong one).

  • Dorko2kDorko2k East Brunswick, NJPosts: 107Member

    I'm definitely interested in this game. AO was my 1st mmo & still my favorite. Funcom doesn't exactly have a great record after the AoC debacle but they definitely know how to design worlds extremely well. 3 factions with no leveling is realy nice to hear, the 3 factions in AO worked fantastically. Sometimes the neuts would side with Omni & sometimes they'd side with the Clanners & every now & then they'd just f*** sh** up for themselves.

    AO was amazingly creative, everything was done from the ground up. None of this "we need a huge IP to sell our games!" crapola. Story, classes, armor, world, mobs, the whole thing was created specifically for AO. I don't know any other companies that can do that these days.

    I'm very much looking for ward to this game. I doubt it will be a huge success but it might just be what some of the old DAoC has been clamouring for.

  • ReallyNow10ReallyNow10 Pile It High Town, LAPosts: 2,010Member Common

    Disagree with the dev's here.  Story is not everything.  Lore and setting are fine, but "story" as in "linear gamplay with script in hand" is boring and limiting.

    Anytime I hear of a new MMO, or any computer game, touting its "story", I approach very cautiously.  "Story" is a red flag to me; story is a crutch too many devs lean upon when they fail to design a compelling self-sufficient world.

  • KomarKomar Rio Rancho, NMPosts: 49Member

    Originally posted by Dorko2k

    I'm definitely interested in this game. AO was my 1st mmo & still my favorite. Funcom doesn't exactly have a great record after the AoC debacle but they definitely know how to design worlds extremely well. 3 factions with no leveling is realy nice to hear, the 3 factions in AO worked fantastically. Sometimes the neuts would side with Omni & sometimes they'd side with the Clanners & every now & then they'd just f*** sh** up for themselves.

    AO was amazingly creative, everything was done from the ground up. None of this "we need a huge IP to sell our games!" crapola. Story, classes, armor, world, mobs, the whole thing was created specifically for AO. I don't know any other companies that can do that these days.

    I'm very much looking for ward to this game. I doubt it will be a huge success but it might just be what some of the old DAoC has been clamouring for.

     The PvP is all battle grounds, right now max size is 10v10v10 IIRC, not quite what I think the DAoC crowd is looking for, but different than most battle grounds out there now days.

  • KomarKomar Rio Rancho, NMPosts: 49Member

    Originally posted by ReallyNow10

    Disagree with the dev's here.  Story is not everything.  Lore and setting are fine, but "story" as in "linear gamplay with script in hand" is boring and limiting.

    Anytime I hear of a new MMO, or any computer game, touting its "story", I approach very cautiously.  "Story" is a red flag to me; story is a crutch too many devs lean upon when they fail to design a compelling self-sufficient world.

    My understanding is they have a story, of which the release game is part 1 (part 2 will be an update).  Within the story they have many different mini-stories most of which are related to the overall story.  The mini-stories also have some faction color to them.   Its not quite linear, as you can do any of the mini-stories you want and in any order (gear limited) however they all come back to the same overall story and the more you do the more information you aquire.

     Effectively you cannot get away from their overall story and the mini-stories are there to intice you to find out more about the big story (answer a small question but posing a larger one) and that is more or less how they 'hook' the player on the game through the story line (imo).

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