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[Column] The Secret World: The Ups and Downs of Investigation

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,572MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

One of the features that truly sets The Secret World apart from the rest of the MMO pack is its inclusion of so-called "investigation missions". Not everyone is, however, fully convinced of the fun factor. Read today's column to see what we think before heading to the comments section to add your ideas.

I have a confession to make. I have a love-hate relationship with Investigation Missions in The Secret World. While Investigation Missions play well in an atmospheric setting like TSW, they can be very daunting for someone new to the alternate Earth presented in the game. At the very least, they can be either most frustrating or easiest endeavors in the game based on how you play. I’ve decided to write today’s column to talk about that. Today’s TSW column is a primer for how investigation missions work. It will also discuss what I feel are essential strengths and weaknesses of Investigation Missions within TSW.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Secret World: The Ups and Downs of Investigation.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • tharkthark FalunPosts: 1,147Member Uncommon

    The investigation missions is what make TSW really diffrent from other games, and I really liked them..The sence joy when you "actually" figured out a clue is priceless..

    I did them all in a group, we discussed them over voice chat and all contributed and gave ideas that could bring us closer to the truth,

     

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    I like the Investigative Missions. They are indeed both frustrating and enjoyable. It's good that there are a variety of missions because I don't know if I could do nothing but investigative missions. At the same time, the game really wouldn't be the same without them.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • FromHellFromHell NY, NYPosts: 1,311Member

    I love the investigation mission concept, also that there are often some puzzle elements in the other mission types. I think every MMO should have much more puzzles (loved Zelda back in the days...and Cadaver on the Amiga... where are all these games today which required a brain to play.

     

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  • McGamerMcGamer Fairfield Bay, ARPosts: 1,012Member
    I enjoy the investigation missions and am especially glad TSW has a variety of missions unlike most cookie cutter MMOs these days, including GW2.
  • PhotecPhotec Kr.SandPosts: 27Member
    Apart from the storyline missions the investigation missions are the best parts of the game for me. I've got 10.4/10.4 sets, I've got my Warchitect suit, my Occult Oxford Tweed suit, my Lair Raider jacket and my Filty Army Uniform, but what REALLY gets me going is when I can use my head and crunch through a new investigation mission with no spoilers and as little aid as is possible for me. I've loved almost every second of my game time, and I'm looking forward to even more content, and, hopefully a LOT more investigations :D
     
    OH! Almost forgot: I really hope they bring in more ARGs as well, 'cause that stuff was AMAZING :D

    Veni, Vidi, Vomite

  • maddog15amaddog15a Independence, MOPosts: 83Member Uncommon
    This game has plenty of the mmo standard questing, kill this/gather that.  Investigations were a nice break away from the formula especially the puzzles.  I hope funcom continues to do more and more of these, because if some people had their way.  Funcom would get rid of them all togather and turn TSW into just another mmo in an oversaturated industry of kill this/gather that.
  • tyfontyfon OSLOPosts: 238Member
    Originally posted by FromHell

    I love the investigation mission concept, also that there are often some puzzle elements in the other mission types. I think every MMO should have much more puzzles (loved Zelda back in the days...and Cadaver on the Amiga... where are all these games today which required a brain to play.

     

    Not to mention the Sierra games and monkey island :)

     

    I really enjoy solving the investigation missions with my wife.

    Those that don't can just google the answer and get quick xp. It's a win win.

  • kadepsysonkadepsyson sun prairie, WIPosts: 1,937Member

    Personally I felt a lot of the investigation missions were riddled with failures in game design.

    I should not have to use a search engine or external source to figure out how to proceed in the game.

    When the clues are Bible passages, they should have that book in the game.  I should not have to struggle because I looked up the correct passage, but had the wrong translation.

    If they wanted an "internet" in the game, it should have been a false one with only game-related things in it.  The clues neccessary, as well as "news" related to events in the game.  I don't understand how they can possibly believe telling players to "just google it" is good game design.

    Even when I do just need to find a clue from Google, the search results page is often littered with spoilers and walkthroughs.

    I want to figure out the puzzles in the game, not just search engine the answers.

    El Psy Congroo

  • Skooma2Skooma2 Glenview, ILPosts: 694Member Uncommon
    As to searching for help on the internet with the investigation missions, most people land up at a website named Unfair.co .   It has complete walkthroughs of every mission, with screenshots of relevant areas.  Between these screenshots is the text that helps you with the tier you're on. NO ONE TOLD YOU TO READ THE WHOLE THING FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.   The only way that site can spoil a mission for you is if you actively seek out the spoiler for the entire mission, rather than just the tier yopu happen to be on.
     
     

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  • kadepsysonkadepsyson sun prairie, WIPosts: 1,937Member
    Originally posted by Skooma2
    As to searching for help on the internet with the investigation missions, most people land up at a website named Unfair.co .   It has complete walkthroughs of every mission, with screenshots of relevant areas.  Between these screenshots is the text that helps you with the tier you're on. NO ONE TOLD YOU TO READ THE WHOLE THING FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.   The only way that site can spoil a mission for you is if you actively seek out the spoiler for the entire mission, rather than just the tier yopu happen to be on.
     
     

    Why would I want to search and end up on a walkthrough site like most people?

    Why would it not be better to be able to figure it out myself within the game without searching for the answers on the internet?

     

    Would it have been so out of place for a Bible with the correct passage translations to be present in the game world, especially considering there is a church there already?

    Would it have been so terrible for a list of songs and explanations of organ music to be in the room that was littered with other such things, and required such knowledge?

     

    To Funcom, rather than adding clues to the game, they prefer to tell people "Google it"

    People often say don't post spoilers in general chat.  Well to me, the B button is the biggest spoiler.

    El Psy Congroo

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member
    I just wish they'd set the in-game browser to automatically filter out TSW spoilers from the google results.

    You make me like charity

  • kadepsysonkadepsyson sun prairie, WIPosts: 1,937Member

    I was told by players often that it makes sense for a modern day setting to have access to the internet in the game.  And since your character has a cell phone, it makes sense that they could get to that internet wherever.

     

    Sounds reasonable, right?  No.  Because why would the game internet be filled with all the secrets of every secret society?  How would everyone on Earth suddenly know the codes to accessing the secret areas hidden away by the illuminati?

     

    Funcom has useable computer objects in the game for gaining information.  They have readable objects as well, such as phonebooks, papers, etc.  Why the hell didn't they either make their own fake internet, or just include the clues needed to solve the puzzles present in the game, in the game?!

    El Psy Congroo

  • tharkthark FalunPosts: 1,147Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by kadepsyson

    Personally I felt a lot of the investigation missions were riddled with failures in game design.

    I should not have to use a search engine or external source to figure out how to proceed in the game.

    When the clues are Bible passages, they should have that book in the game.  I should not have to struggle because I looked up the correct passage, but had the wrong translation.

    If they wanted an "internet" in the game, it should have been a false one with only game-related things in it.  The clues neccessary, as well as "news" related to events in the game.  I don't understand how they can possibly believe telling players to "just google it" is good game design.

    Even when I do just need to find a clue from Google, the search results page is often littered with spoilers and walkthroughs.

    I want to figure out the puzzles in the game, not just search engine the answers.

     I agree that more of the "clues" could have been added to the game, like interactive objects etc.

    But building websites that are fictious just for the purpose of adding to the feeling  that the "Secret World" is for real...

    Ohh,,A in game "fake" browser...I cant see how this could even come close to the current system..

    I think  the line "just Google it" is rather confusing, because it could mean so much, as evidently as your post right here.

    Funcom has done a tremendous job with integrating their game in the real world, by means of "fake webpages" etc

    As for the "spoiler links" isnt those rather obvious, you just don't have to click on them, or can't you resist ?

  • kadepsysonkadepsyson sun prairie, WIPosts: 1,937Member
    Originally posted by thark
    Originally posted by kadepsyson

    Personally I felt a lot of the investigation missions were riddled with failures in game design.

    I should not have to use a search engine or external source to figure out how to proceed in the game.

    When the clues are Bible passages, they should have that book in the game.  I should not have to struggle because I looked up the correct passage, but had the wrong translation.

    If they wanted an "internet" in the game, it should have been a false one with only game-related things in it.  The clues neccessary, as well as "news" related to events in the game.  I don't understand how they can possibly believe telling players to "just google it" is good game design.

    Even when I do just need to find a clue from Google, the search results page is often littered with spoilers and walkthroughs.

    I want to figure out the puzzles in the game, not just search engine the answers.

     I agree that more of the "clues" could have been added to the game, like interactive objects etc.

    But building websites that are fictious just for the purpose of adding to the feeling  that the "Secret World" is for real...

    Ohh,,A in game "fake" browser...I cant see how this could even come close to the current system..

    I think  the line "just Google it" is rather confusing, because it could mean so much, as evidently as your post right here.

    Funcom has done a tremendous job with integrating their game in the real world, by means of "fake webpages" etc

    As for the "spoiler links" isnt those rather obvious, you just don't have to click on them, or can't you resist ?

    So you know of their fake websites that are strictly for in-game purposes, but then don't see that they could have done more of that?

    I am not sure if you are aware, but even things linked in the search results of Google, have text describing them. So when trying to find what an in game clue is referencing, and scrolling through search results, reading a spoiler can often happen right from the Google results.

    It's a mediocre system at best.  Feels half-hearted, like they could have gone more towards fake websites, or done it all in game instead of just part.

     

    Investigation missions are a great idea, and I would love them, if real world search engines weren't both the required clues and the biggest spoilers.

    I hope another company does investigation type quests, but does them well.

    El Psy Congroo

  • tharkthark FalunPosts: 1,147Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by kadepsyson

    I was told by players often that it makes sense for a modern day setting to have access to the internet in the game.  And since your character has a cell phone, it makes sense that they could get to that internet wherever.

     

    Sounds reasonable, right?  No.  Because why would the game internet be filled with all the secrets of every secret society?  How would everyone on Earth suddenly know the codes to accessing the secret areas hidden away by the illuminati?

     

    Funcom has useable computer objects in the game for gaining information.  They have readable objects as well, such as phonebooks, papers, etc.  Why the hell didn't they either make their own fake internet, or just include the clues needed to solve the puzzles present in the game, in the game?!

     Because It creates a surreal feeling of realism. that fit's perfect to the modern setting of The Secret World..

    However , this is not without trouble, due to ..spoiler sites etc, but...again..they are rather visible..so you just don't have to click them.

    What annoyed me however ..Was the ingame computer terminals ..with the constant ---1 for clue..Instead of having these "hint" terminals , they could have added more "objects" ingame.. Or make them more like what you are suggesting :)

    BTW..The terminals look more/less like an old DOS computer from the early 1992 Ish era. Wich is kinda odd when you have 2013 Google in your ingame IPAD

     

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon

    I like investigation missions.  More than that I like how you collect pieces of reality blended with pieces of fiction to get to your result.

    Having all the information as in game objects (like the Bible passages) would kill it.  In game objects point you directly at the answer.  Are they really going to have a full Bible in the game that you can search through?  Why not just go to the Bible website, choose your version, and do a text search.

    I also love how they blend the ARG into the game as well.  This last one was awesome and creepy.

    I don't do them all.  Sometimes I go to unfair.co and sometimes I sort them out.  I figure, hey, I'm a Dragon and if the other Dragons or other faction members want to lay it all out for me so I can accomplish my goals, then more power to me!

    Part of what makes this game so special to me is how it blurs the lines of reality and the investigation missions are a huge part of that.

  • VernamVernam Federal Way, WAPosts: 50Member
    I bought The Secret World at launch but couldn't get into it because I hated character customization. I still hate it, but I decided to continue and give the game a fair chance and ignore the bad character creator. Now that I have I'm hooked now, and the investigation missions are one of the many reasons I'm enjoying it. They are challenging, but very fun.
  • curacura WarsawPosts: 950Member Uncommon
    The only good part of the game. Love them
  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    I have not tried this yet, but the concept opens the door up for player derived missions like never before, how about geo cache in game you know ?
  • MrSchnuffiMrSchnuffi magdeburgPosts: 25Member

    Don't understand how anybody ends up on spoiler sites while looking up hints for the riddles.

    In most cases you search wikipedia or bible-online for the answers. Basically when you don't include tsw, the secret world or the quest name you will never get any spoiler sites in your search results.

    But what I disliked were the decoding quests. You have an encrypted text, you figure out the key but you still have to do a lot of work to translate it because you can't copy and paste the encrypted message to open office (for example).

  • kadepsysonkadepsyson sun prairie, WIPosts: 1,937Member
    Originally posted by MrSchnuffi

    Don't understand how anybody ends up on spoiler sites while looking up hints for the riddles.

    In most cases you search wikipedia or bible-online for the answers. Basically when you don't include tsw, the secret world or the quest name you will never get any spoiler sites in your search results.

    But what I disliked were the decoding quests. You have an encrypted text, you figure out the key but you still have to do a lot of work to translate it because you can't copy and paste the encrypted message to open office (for example).

    As I mentioned, sometimes google's search results are a spoiler site.  No link clicking required.

    El Psy Congroo

  • ThillianThillian BratislavaPosts: 3,143Member Uncommon
    You can clearly see that it's a spoiler site if you google it -- almost all of the sites have capitalized title saying "QUEST NAME WALKTHROUGH". What is the problem here really? Just avoid it
     
     

    REALITY CHECK

  • RohnRohn Saint Peters, MOPosts: 3,740Member Uncommon

    The investigation missions are some of the best content I've ever played in an MMO, and is a huge draw for me playing the game.  There is often a great degree of satisfaction in figuring out a difficult mission from the clues provided.

    I like a lot of other things about the game, but the missions are definitely top shelf.

    Hell hath no fury like an MMORPG player scorned.

  • ericbelserericbelser buffalo, NYPosts: 783Member

    Like many things in TSW, Investigation missions were a wonderful idea but very poorly implemented in a game design sense.

    First problem is simply that they are wildly inconsistent in difficulty; some are mind-numbingly obvious and others fairly hard...making it hard to know when you have missed an important clue or if you are just being dense.

    Second problem is that (and yes I know they are working on fixing everything, as always) as of when I was playing they were the most bug-ridden part of the game. Clues didn't always spawn right, work right etc. Depending on settings you couldn't see or read things that you had to etc. Just generally very little thought to playability.

    Lastly, whatever token suspension of disbelief and realism the investigations added got lost in the ridiculous 'giant glowing clue signs' everywhere and secret societies/cults hiding their most important documents under every rock, shrub and outhouse in the world.

     

     

     

     

  • negacrowbarnegacrowbar Los Angeles, CAPosts: 149Member
    I agree..they should have an in game browser that you use at like the police station to look up game specific info..that would have been a great feature...and also about the bible..they should have one in game...but some clues I liked like in the office looking at the photos and guessing what composer is the password was cool...
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