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The Secret World: Lovecraft's Influence on The Secret World

MikeBMikeB Community ManagerQueens, NYPosts: 6,180Administrator Rare

How has the work of H.P. Lovecraft influenced The Secret World? We explain in this week's TSW column.

There is a theme in Lovecraftian horror which essentially takes to task anyone who attempts to understand why the horrors in a Lovecraftian tale happens. If they do not feel overwhelming regret over their newly-found knowledge, they go mad or are destroyed upon learning.

I doubt this attempt to introduce TSW fans to the themes of Lovecraftian horror will go far enough to drive people mad. Hopefully though, gamers who've grown to love the way The Secret World drags people into the lore will appreciate the care with which Ragnar Tornquist has crafted the game's setting.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Secret World: Lovecraft's Influence on The Secret World.


Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB


  • Agent_JosephAgent_Joseph Posts: 1,221Member Uncommon


    awesome , it why I love TSW

    only EVE is real MMO...but I am impressive with TSW

  • MsGamerladyMsGamerlady Mmoville, INPosts: 181Member Uncommon

    Love the horror setting :) 


  • elvenwolfelvenwolf Posts: 146Member Uncommon

    As lover of Lovecraftian tales i think this piece is very good, a good introspection, and it ooze of lovecraftian feeling. 


    I could even say, this article is a piece of the story, the many writings left in the world of lovecraftian horror to give a little hint, a faint light that show in the darkness to drive the main character toward it's fate, like the necronomicon or the unspraken kults books found in the stories, you read lines that will doom you in a way or another.



  • possessed1possessed1 Strongsville, OHPosts: 36Member Uncommon

    Just to add a bit on the Lovecraftian mythos: The original stories by Lovecraft did not set up Cthulhu as the 'priest' of the mythos; but , agreed,  they were dark and depressing with mostly negative outcomes (as Lovecraft intended -- basically he WAS pointing out that man is pretty insignificant in the cosmic scope of things -- however, 'The Dunwich Horror' stands out as one story with a more 'upbeat' ending -- and actually reminds me a lot of how TSW is set up). After Lovecraft died, August Dereleth kept the mythos alive (coining the phrase 'Cthulhu Mythos'; Lovecraft himself refered to his 'mythos' as 'Yog-Sothery') . Derleth felt that Lovecraft's universe was too 'depressing' so he added good gods vs the evil Old Ones, and set up the Old Ones as aspects of elements (air, earth, fire, water). There's debate between Lovecraft scholars wether this is good or not (personally, I think it doesn't make sense and prefer the 'pure' original Lovecraft stories, but Derelth kept the mythos alive so can't fault him there.) It's thought that Lovecraft never really intended for such a 'rigid' system --  Lovecraft coresponded with and invited other authors to add to the mythos(Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, Frank Belknap Long, Henry Kuttner, and Fritz Lieber -- later collectively called members of the Lovecraft Circle). If you've not read these stories, I highly recommend them (Call of Cthulhu, The Dunwich Horror, and Shadow Over Innsmouth are must-reads) aryou've not read the original Lovecraft stories, I highly recommend them.  )??)  )..  

  • LiltawenLiltawen San Antonio, TXPosts: 245Member

    For years I looked for a good Lovecrafty MMO that would recognize the way the world really is. Struggling against evil in a world you can't hope to change but you struggel anyway. Nowadays everyone in MMOs are  going on about 'dynamic events' that change the environment permenently-how little those elves know...

  • dimasokdimasok toronto, ONPosts: 183Member Uncommon

    Good article, but a lot of it can apply to any MMO really and its merely transcribed to The Secret World because of its lore. Endless enemeis are there in any MMO so is the insignifiance of players but just because TSW has a Lovecraftian influence, it happens to be given special treatment.

  • Ramonski7Ramonski7 Aurora, ILPosts: 2,661Member Uncommon

    Bravo! Indeed a compelling piece that question the connection we as players have to our avatars while battling against the old ones and the evils they have released. I for one, did a double take when I read the part: "the MMO game player is the “indifferent being” now being referred to, and the characters we play in the game, who do not speak in cutscenes and cannot technically die due to anima wells, are bound to our whims." and felt a ping of remorse for putting my avatar through all the horrors we have witnessed.

    It really begs to questions:

    • What would he think of me if we met face to face?
    • How does he feel about the hopeless task I have set out before him.
    • Would he handle the task at hand differently than how I'm leading him to build his powers?
    • Does he have full faith in my ability to know what's best for him?
    Either way, my subscription will end one day and he will cease to exist. And it will be up to others to carry on the monumental task of battling back the old ones until one side is completely exhausted. How will it turn out I will never know. That is unless I resub in the future and call upon Tyberious "Rhomeo" Jackson to fight once more!

    "Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas."

  • ishistishist Selmer, TNPosts: 187Member Uncommon

    So for those of us who opted for the Lifetime Sub, our characters are doomed to an even worse fate. Because the subscription never ends the potential exists for our characters to be prodded on through hardship after hardship until the world itself ends (the servers get shut off).


    I'm feeling decidedly Evil now.


    Time to go fling my hapless avatar into a nest of Strigoi.


    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. - Douglas Adams

  • edgedyedgedy New York, NYPosts: 2Member Uncommon

    Nice article, very good read.

  • majimaji ColognePosts: 2,066Member Uncommon

    Beeing a huge fan of Lovecraft since I was a kid and started reading this stuff, I'm a bit saddened, that just an average MMORPG with traditional tab-target combat was the result of this... The game is, I guess, not bad, but it's in the MMO world not what HPL is for the horror genre in literature.

    Let's play Fallen Earth (blind, 300 episodes)

    Let's play Guild Wars 2 (blind, 45 episodes)

  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,171Member Uncommon

    Good read. Not a fan of the genre, yet the game and story has completely hooked me into a lifetime sub. Been a while since I had a surprise like that. :)

  • unseenorbunseenorb Denver, COPosts: 2Member

    This is a dream come true for tens of thousands of people around the world. It sets the standard for everything that will follow in the genre. While playing, I certainly feel the need to combine some other game elements into my experience. I can forsee enough "Its like The Secret World but...this...that...and the other thing" games in the  future and that feels like we have reached the event horizon of something awesome.




  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,963Member Rare

    ^^^what he said.

  • laolsgesgelaolsgesge hongkongPosts: 9Member

    Good article, but a lot of it can apply to any MMO really and its merely transcribed to The Secret World because of its lore.-----igshops

  • victorbjrvictorbjr Quezon CityPosts: 209Member Uncommon

    Hey folks. Victor Barreiro Jr. here. my ISP finally resolved its loading issues, so I've only been able to just get on now. 

    Some notes for folks here:

    1. Some of the comments here have noticed that Lovecraftian themes lend themselves particularly strongly to MMORPGs. For myself, I realized that if I hadn't begun playing TSW, and if I hadn't been intrigued by TSW so much to begin  the research and readings on Lovecraft, I'd have never had my mind blown so thoroughly. :)


    2. Possessed1 above poses a great point. Lovecraft is perhaps the beginning of the Yog-sothery/Cthulhu mythos, but other people have written works based on his themes that have expanded on the theme, and they've created a culture as a result. Ragnar Tornquist has added a game that, in some ways, tries to give us the mythos in a way that'll allow us to experience it without driving us mad. 


    3. Those of you who'd love to read up more on Lovecraft may want to look for his works, which are pretty much in public domain. Otherwise, you can search for S.T. Joshi (a sort of Lovecraft Biographer and researcher) who has some books on the subject, or you can find compiled editions of Lovecraft's works in online bookstores. 


    I hope everyone has a good day! Cheers!

    A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

    Can also be found on

  • aSynchroaSynchro azeaze, AKPosts: 192Member Uncommon
    I must agree with Maji here: it's nice to have a game filled with lovecraftian mythos but all the combats kinda break the immersion. In the books, the "heros" almost never SEE the monsters! They dream and read about it and usualy run away when they heard a sound. In TSW you keep killing thousand and thousand of zombies, again and again. How can you feel afraid then ? Ok i like the spooky mood but overall is not much difference from killing boars in WoW.
    What would have been better and creepier imho whould have been a game with waaaay more puzzles/diplomatic mission/spy mission/investigation and an encounter every hour or so.
  • FinnMcCoolFinnMcCool ManchesterPosts: 34Member

    Im a big Lovecraft fan my favourite stories are At the Mountains of Madness and The case of Charles Dexter Ward to name a few, I am also a big fan of The Secret World. 


    One thing we need to remember about The Secret World is that for every Lovecraft fan playing and enjoying the atmosphere there are 10 other players just playing the latest MMO and just want to shoot at stuff so you need the kill 10 zombies missions etc.


    For me the quintessential Lovecraft experience I have ever had when playing a game is from The Call of Cthulhu dark corners of the earth (yes i know it was a buggy mess). The hotel chase scene was just classic Lovecraft at its best where you are running down the corridors of a hotel being chased, you can hear the sounds and you know there is something behind you but you dont dare turn round and just keep running.


    i first tried playing it at night in the dark with my headset on and my nerves were shredded playing as i kept dying when jumping across to the ladder at the end of the chase, in the end the only way i could actually do it was during the day when it was light and less terrifying for me.


    If you have never played it here is the bit im talking about it still creeps me out now

    Call Of Cthulhu

  • Mors.MagneMors.Magne LondonPosts: 1,544Member Uncommon

    It amazes me why people like being terrified. I expect we can become addicted to adrenaline / epinephrine. Apparently, this is the basis for cocaine addiction - I have read that it feels as if you are being chased by a dinosaur.

  • ShreddiShreddi Thousand Oaks, CAPosts: 317Member Uncommon

    Im sick and bored of zombies zombies zombies.  The figuring out puzzles and using the clues your given are best part of the game but even those come off as something from a bad play.  The game has nice weapons available instead of sticks and stones but the language used to keep you informed doesn't compare.   I guess all the zombies are to satisfy the people who want to just shoot and kill things while the cryptic clues  feed suto intelects ego. Asking for assistance at times the community can be insulting.  Which is a good thing cause hopefully they stick to tsw leaving other mmos to the players who like to help each other out. 

    This post is intentionally written as to not make any sense what so ever. Thank You Very Much.

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