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un-biased, objective TSW review with GW2 comparison at the end

PantomimePantomime Winchester, VAPosts: 13Member
I had a few friends who wanted to know more about TSW. So I picked it up and have been playing for about 2 weeks. I have been playing mmos since UO and have played pretty much every pay to play one since then. I raid, I PVP, I craft, I quest. I didnt want to go into super detail (dissertation). In any case enjoy. Feel free to leave feedback.
 
Report on The Secret World (TSW) post launch:

Combat:
TSW opts for an active style of combat, where area of effects are
clearly defined (For you and opponents). Along with this style they
have implemented an active dodge (tapping a direction twice) which has
a cooldown that is clearly defined. When you attack you build combo
points with your weapons which you spend on more powerful abilities,
so active skills can be broken down to point builders, point spenders,
and pointless (usually a longer cooldown). When enemies use aoes
(usually hard hitting attacks, almost all enemies use some form of it)
the area marker will be on the ground with an inner circle. Once that
inner circle reaches the outer circle the effect takes place. So often
times I am in the middle of using a "Frenzy" ability (channeled) and I
have to haul tail to get out, my active dodge might not be enough to
clear the area. You can also gimp yourself with a poor build and die
(in my case a lot).

Going further TSW has no classes or levels (More on this in a bit). It
goes on a skill point system. You have abilities (gain 3 AP (Ability
Points) for every 1 SP (Skill Points) you would acquire. Some
abilities cost more AP than others (1 - 50AP range) as you progress,
certain areas give more xp and you are able to gain AP and SP at a
faster rate (Costs the same amount of XP always). SP is used to
increase damage, tank-ability, or healing in any one specific weapon.
It is also spent so that you can equip better talismans in each slot
(talismans are where you get all your stats, clothing is purely
cosmetic).

So with your character, you can equip 2 Weapons at a time. Your 7
active abilities must be comprised entirely from abilities from these
weapon pools. However your 7 passive abilities can come from any
weapon pool (look to build synergy). So if I wanted to create a dot
based character I would choose passives that compliment that. With
that being said, although the game is classless, the trinity is still
alive and strong, just with more styles that can fit into those types
of roles.

Positive -
Build your own class
Active Style
Depth to choices

Negative -
All styles use combo points for resource
No levels is an illusion, while there is no cap, difficulty is based
on you skill level in each talisman type (Head, Major, and Minor) as
well as weapon skills.

Questing/Story:
There are 5 Quest types:

Storyline - The main quest, you can have only one active at a time.
These are long standing and might take you weeks to complete one.

Main quest - These are detailed quests that will have you going all
over your current map. Involved and story oriented, each having a
cut scene and involving some combat. You may have only 1 active.
Repeatable after cooldown

Sabotage - These are stealth quests, think metal gear etc. Translates into puzzle solving.

Investigation - These are what will make you use the in game browser
to research or spoil it for yourself when you are stumped. Pay
attention to everything. Someone says "Have you ever seen some on
defecate themselves from "Pink Noise"" you should probably google pink
noise. I now read every quest and talk to every one I see and turn the
volume up when I am being spoken at. This will immerse you. They are
also hard.

Normal Quests - These are the standard "deliver this package" , "kill
X zombies" sort of deal, 1 shot you complete it it’s done. Repeatable
after  cooldown.

TSW has FvFvF (F = Faction) PVP. Each of these factions have a
distinct look and story. Even though you will share the same PVE areas
with other factions, the flavor of the quests are unique. For example
playing as a Dragon I take a sabotage mission, I need to blow up some
building. I take the same quest as a Templar and I am investigating an
explosion that has set off zombie activity in that area. As Illuminati
I am covering up why there are zombies there in the first place and
how did someone find out.

The setting is modern day,  the voice acting is top notch. The first
area is the town of kingsmouth (Lovecraft's Arkham, they even have a
lovecraft street and poe lane). It feels a bit like Racoon city as
well (resident evil). This town is located in MA, which I have been
and the accents are spot on. The dialogue is adult and witty. A mature
setting for once, I have encountered no barrens chat.

-Pros
Quests are involved, you will be completing them one at a time
Some quests can be turned in via cell phone/email
Mature story
Lack of cliches
Knows when to not take itself too seriously, lots of humor if you look

-Cons
I found some quests to be "How many more steps are left?"
Some times the Investigation quests are very particular, they should
be taken after you have explored the map (gotten the achievement)

Weapon Mechanics:

Since there are no true classes I will touch lightly on weapons. The
weapon types are as follows.

Assault Rifle
Pistol
Shotgun

Hammer
Blades
Fists

Chaos Magic
Blood Magic
Elemental Magic

In the ability wheel, each has 2 Inner trees (a damage tree, and a
support-ish tree (tanking, healing, control. All depends on the
weapon) and then 6 outer trees witch get much more granular. You have
to complete both inner trees for a weapon before you can start
purchasing outer trees.

In each tree there is a mixture of passive and active abilities. At
the end of each tree is an elite ability, you can have only 1 passive
and 1 active elite equipped. Imagine if you could mix and match wow
passive talents from across all classes?

My build is Blades/Blood. I use blades to aoe, blood for heals+damage
shield. with the passives I focused on applying the afflicted status
since one of my blade aoes adds penetration rating (armor ignore) if I
use it on targets that are afflicted. I have another subset that lets
me spam a powerful ability if the target is impaired (stunned).

Wait I lied, They have Funcom chosen pre-constructed "Decks" you can
use to help you into an archetype. If you complete the deck you unlock
a full outfit (Nice and will take you awhile). I have heard the decks
are more mid story then end since it only takes passives from your two
weapons and not every tree.

-Pros
Each weapon has a unique feel, with blood I can use health instead of
combo points
Assault rifles I heal (myself and others) by dealing damage
Never know what you will face in pvp
Fresh

-Cons
Never know what you will face in pvp (hard to meta-game)
Trinity is there although loose
No respec, you spend points it is yours to keep (think EVE)

Interface:

Modern and sleek, it uses hotkeys though (1-7) so wowish by today's
standards. You will never have a screen saturated with buttons, so
your play-style is distilled to those 7 active abilities and how you
used your passives to tie them together.

The skill wheel is sleek. No giant question marks hovering overhead.
Map is as informative as it needs to be, no clutter.

-Pros
Modern

-Cons
Doesn’t hold your hand, no real tooltips to speak of. Well I lied they
have in game videos


Final thoughts:

I applaud you for reading this far. This and GW2 are very very
similar. For those who have an issue with subs, they have a life time
subscription for a measly $200. When choosing between the two
(freshest mmos in awhile) it comes down to these factors:

- Art and Animation
GW2: Far more stylized, You have the anime-ish flipping, trailing
brushstroke type effects, the animation and active movement is very
well done. Water colors are cool.
Looks like Street Fighter 4.

TSW: Modern day, Modern Time. You would look foolish jumping around
and doing flips with an assault rifle. The closest thing would be
pistols = equilibrium. Standard 3d graphics,  well done. Won’t make your
eyes bleed. Since you have to pay attention to your surroundings
things have to be somewhat clean.

- Subscription/Content model
GW2: $60 for the box. Pay only for the box, large content released in boxed form.

TSW: $50 for the box. $15 monthly, or $200 for lifetime + goodies.
Monthly content updates (new quests, events etc).

- PVE
GW2: Travel around doing things, Class based system, Free to play =
large population

TSW: Varied quest types, Content always relevant, Lots of "end game"
content. Get to say "Raid wiped against Cthulhu" or "Can’t wait for
Azathoth content"

-PVP
GW2: Arena nets bread and butter, expect a good time 3 world combat

TSW: Less meta-game, 3 Faction combat. Hard to get stale.

Comments

  • AnirethAnireth Posts: 600Member Uncommon

    While i agree with your TSW review, i think it's to simply to say "so the art is a bit different, but they are basically the same".

    They have some similarities, like an active combat system, telegraphed enemy attacks, the circle for AoE, okay.

    But GW 2 does have classes, which impact the way you play. They are not as locked as your usual class system, with the different skills for each weapon, but it's totally different from TSW where you can freely choose from two skill sets.

    The setting itself is obviously different, with the money being mostly modern, the other fantasy, even if TSW features stuff like magic.

    TSW also has as you said a quest based system, and even limits you on how many you can have active, whereas Guild Wars 2 features the personal story (THE main quest, not one, which you can change), and no quest you "take", but the renown hearts which are relatively close to your usual quests, except that you don't go up to an NPC, talk to him, accept a quest, do what the quest text says, then return to him and cash in, but unless the "quest" (renown heart) requires it, you can totally ignore the NPC and do what he wants on the fly.

    Dynamic events are even less your traditional quests, they just happen. In TSW you accept a quest "defend the junkyard", then you get some time to prepare, then the enemies attack. In Guild Wars 2 you may find the junkyard is already under attack. Or the enemy took it over, so no friendly NPC who offer jobs etc.

    Also, while you can proceed with a quest you already accepted earlier when you come across it, like, where you have to follow Tango (or was it Cash? One of the dogs at the junkyard)  if it's at the stage you stopped, even if some other player started anew, you will have to wait if it's in an earlier stage, or even worse, already past. And if you don't know where Tango is..bad luck.

    In Guild Wars 2, if you come across Tango and follow him to the end, you would be rewarded, without ever having to speak to the owner of the junkyard or having to wait for him to return to his starting area etc.

    Another thing is that while Guild Wars 2 features 3 faction PVP with WvW, it's not one race vs another, but server based. doesn't make much difference when in TSW all factions can have the same skills etc, but still.

    Also, i don't think TSW has structured PvP?

    There are probably a lot more differences, but i think this is enough to show they are not essentially the same with a different skin.

    Please not that you are allowed to like/dislike any combination of TSW and GW 2 (and other games).

    I'll wait to the day's end when the moon is high
    And then I'll rise with the tide with a lust for life, I'll
    Amass an army, and we'll harness a horde
    And then we'll limp across the land until we stand at the shore

  • AtlasprimeAtlasprime Bristol, RIPosts: 61Member
    +1 wouldve said it nearly to the letter.
  • MadDemon64MadDemon64 Maplewood, NJPosts: 1,099Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Pantomime
    TSW: Varied quest types, Content always relevant, Lots of "end game"
    content. Get to say "Raid wiped against Cthulhu" or "Can’t wait for
    Azathoth content"

    Good enough for me.  I always wanted to be raid wiped by old octopus face XD

    Since when is Tuesday a direction?

  • PantomimePantomime Winchester, VAPosts: 13Member
    Thanks for the well crafted response. I agree with alot of your points and I should have elaborated further in my review on a few points. I will adress them below.
    Originally posted by Anireth

    While i agree with your TSW review, i think it's to simply to say "so the art is a bit different, but they are basically the same".

    This is a broad generlization to make. My intended audience was more targeted when I wrote that. I put it like this, GW2 = GW1/SWTOR/RIFTS, TSW=GW1/SWTOR/AO.

    They have some similarities, like an active combat system, telegraphed enemy attacks, the circle for AoE, okay.

    But GW 2 does have classes, which impact the way you play. They are not as locked as your usual class system, with the different skills for each weapon, but it's totally different from TSW where you can freely choose from two skill sets.

    What I meant as far as simularities is that in both games, weapons dictate your active skills. Class based and classless are huge differences.

    The setting itself is obviously different, with the money being mostly modern, the other fantasy, even if TSW features stuff like magic.

    TSW also has as you said a quest based system, and even limits you on how many you can have active, whereas Guild Wars 2 features the personal story (THE main quest, not one, which you can change), and no quest you "take", but the renown hearts which are relatively close to your usual quests, except that you don't go up to an NPC, talk to him, accept a quest, do what the quest text says, then return to him and cash in, but unless the "quest" (renown heart) requires it, you can totally ignore the NPC and do what he wants on the fly.

    Dynamic events are even less your traditional quests, they just happen. In TSW you accept a quest "defend the junkyard", then you get some time to prepare, then the enemies attack. In Guild Wars 2 you may find the junkyard is already under attack. Or the enemy took it over, so no friendly NPC who offer jobs etc.

    Also, while you can proceed with a quest you already accepted earlier when you come across it, like, where you have to follow Tango (or was it Cash? One of the dogs at the junkyard)  if it's at the stage you stopped, even if some other player started anew, you will have to wait if it's in an earlier stage, or even worse, already past. And if you don't know where Tango is..bad luck.

     

    In Guild Wars 2, if you come across Tango and follow him to the end, you would be rewarded, without ever having to speak to the owner of the junkyard or having to wait for him to return to his starting area etc.

     

    I felt like both quest systems (how they are obtained) didnt make or break either for me personally. But that is an accurate breakdown of the features.

    Another thing is that while Guild Wars 2 features 3 faction PVP with WvW, it's not one race vs another, but server based. doesn't make much difference when in TSW all factions can have the same skills etc, but still.

    Also, i don't think TSW has structured PvP?

    As far as brackets and leader boards? They have some web interface that tracks that. You can join PvP as a premade group.

    There are probably a lot more differences, but i think this is enough to show they are not essentially the same with a different skin.

     

    I personally found the differences to be minimal. The Character system being the only exception.

    Please not that you are allowed to like/dislike any combination of TSW and GW 2 (and other games).

    I agree whole heartedly

     

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member

    GW2 has better PVP

    TSW has Better PVE

    neither are a wow clone

    both are worth playing

     

    done.

  • MeliezaMelieza trabuco canyon, CAPosts: 269Member
    Originally posted by ShakyMo

    GW2 has better PVP

    TSW has Better PVE

    neither are a wow clone

    both are worth playing

     

    done.

    ^ This.

  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Melieza
    Originally posted by ShakyMo

    GW2 has better PVP

    TSW has Better PVE

    neither are a wow clone

    both are worth playing

     

    done.

    ^ This.

    Yep. Good review OP, thanks for all the effort you put into that.

  • maddbomber83maddbomber83 Andrews, TXPosts: 422Member

    I appreciate the review, and disagree with a particular aspect being classes.

     

    TSW has an open class system yes, but it is still holly trinity.  You group content needs a healer, tank and dps.  How you do this is up to you and is the open part.

     

    GW2 has classes yes, but how the interface in group content is more open than it is in TSW.  My healer does not just heal, it must tank and dps.  GW2 combat is more about rotation of assets and control (melee are doing a lot of stuns / blocks and then drop back into a ranged dps position when health is low while a ranged person swaps in to tank position).  This rotation has a lot to do with how tough the mechanics you are facing (some control melee can keep a target stunned / kb / blocked solo long enough for a kill).

     

     

    Even with an open system, I felt more traped into a role with TSW than I did with GW2.  But then again, with GW2 I'm stuck on deciding a class where TSW I made the class I want and will swap it to something else at will.

     

     

    If they could mix the open skill sets of TSW with the lack of holy trinity of GW2 I think you have a true open system.

     

     

    I agree with the assesment that both are good to play.  I have only enough time for one and will continue playing TSW until GW2 is released.  I have to say that GW2 BWEs kept me logging in and wanting more while TSW doesn't have that addiction for me.  TSW is a fun game though when I get arround to logging in.

     

    Cheers! 

     

    Edit: I should add that until GW2 is released means I will play both for a bit as time allows, and when it doesn't allow whatever game has drawn me in more will get my attention.

  • SiugSiug TallinnPosts: 1,236Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ShakyMo

    GW2 has better PVP

    TSW has Better PVE

    neither are a wow clone

    both are worth playing

     

    done.

    Exactly. And a nice review from OP.

  • InFlamestwoInFlamestwo HindPosts: 662Member

    I like the PvP and PvE in GW2 more.

    image

  • Bad.dogBad.dog Belleville, ONPosts: 1,108Member
    Originally posted by InFlamestwo

    I like the PvP and PvE in GW2 more.

    +1 I liked the story in TSW ....but GW2 is a better PvE game and a no contest winner  @ PvP

  • OzimandeusOzimandeus Milton KeynesPosts: 84Member Uncommon

    I desperately want TSW to be the game that everyone says it is... but it isnt.. Its not a game changer.. yes the setting is different, but the old tired class system is still there. Competition for resources seems to be less important which is an improvement but the lack of dynamic teaming, and dynamic events make the whole thing feel a little hollow. Retreading areas on different quests  just doesnt cut the mustard anymore.

    If TSW had come out last year, before GW2's Beta Weekends, I have no doubt it would be the game I would be playing for a long time.. because its very good at what it does, and it is MUCH better than every other MMO out there... except for GW2.

    I like the game, but following GW2 is a seriously hard thing to do, and whilst the setting in TSW is more my cup of tea, the floaty combat, tired missions, quest structure and lack of dynamic and epic content make this the also ran.

    Last but not least... it has raids... for the love of god.. raids.. time to put that old tired and stale game dynamic in its grave.. roll on GW2.

    image

  • PantomimePantomime Winchester, VAPosts: 13Member
    Originally posted by Ozimandeus

    I desperately want TSW to be the game that everyone says it is... but it isnt.. Its not a game changer.. yes the setting is different, but the old tired class system is still there. Competition for resources seems to be less important which is an improvement but the lack of dynamic teaming, and dynamic events make the whole thing feel a little hollow. Retreading areas on different quests  just doesnt cut the mustard anymore.

    If TSW had come out last year, before GW2's Beta Weekends, I have no doubt it would be the game I would be playing for a long time.. because its very good at what it does, and it is MUCH better than every other MMO out there... except for GW2.

    I like the game, but following GW2 is a seriously hard thing to do, and whilst the setting in TSW is more my cup of tea, the floaty combat, tired missions, quest structure and lack of dynamic and epic content make this the also ran.

    Last but not least... it has raids... for the love of god.. raids.. time to put that old tired and stale game dynamic in its grave.. roll on GW2.

    Ozi, 1 props on the name

     

    2 I felt the same way about GW2. The proclaimed mesiah of mmos, they one that will bring in an unending golden age of free to play content. In hind sight, it is the same model just re-organized. A big point for me was it still had quest hubs (which they said they didnt) I just dont have to walk around accepting quests, I go to an area, do all the tasks, I get mail with my quest reward instead of turning it in. I also feel like TSW has far more dynamic combat than GW2, I am always moving, always looking at my options, tweaking my build. Combat has to be "floaty" in order to get the constant movement you need in, cant be locked into an animation while the Archivist is about to eat your face.

     

    I also played a ton of PVP this past week, it is a joy to behold. You cant eye ball opposition and say "Oh thats a nectromancer, I better get my silence in fast", your assesment of the opposition is done on the fly in the heat of combat. Just a different feel than the predefined classes / roles in GW2. Also, the trinity only exists in tsw if you want it to, with such an open system it is easily broken and even exploited. I read another review that called this "The Dark Souls" of mmos. I agree whole heartidly. If you enjoy Dark Souls, even monster hunter, you will enjoy this.

  • DerpybirdDerpybird Boston, MAPosts: 991Member
    Originally posted by Pantomim

    I felt the same way about GW2. The proclaimed mesiah of mmos, they one that will bring in an unending golden age of free to play content. In hind sight, it is the same model just re-organized. A big point for me was it still had quest hubs (which they said they didnt) I just dont have to walk around accepting quests, I go to an area, do all the tasks, I get mail with my quest reward instead of turning it in. I also feel like TSW has far more dynamic combat than GW2, I am always moving, always looking at my options, tweaking my build. Combat has to be "floaty" in order to get the constant movement you need in, cant be locked into an animation while the Archivist is about to eat your face.

     

    Personal preference obvious factors in to debates like this, but just wanted to add a couple of comments:

    1) I don't see GW2 players claiming it to be the "mesiah" of mmos, those comments generaly seem to come from GW2 detractors.

    2) GW2 only put in "renown hearts" on the map to help people adjust to the dynamic event system. As you progress through the game, there are fewer of these as they assume that players will understand the DE system. The majority of the content takes place in between these hearts, and chain from event to event. I think TSW did a nice job in the placement of missions so some have to be "stumbled across".

    3) mobs hit harder in GW2, so if you are not moving, dodging, using damage mitigation or interrupts, you will die. I found TSW combat less interesting, and most of the times I found myself "in trouble" was because I pulled too many mobs at once, but again it's a matter of preference.

    "Loading screens" are not "instances".
    Your personal efforts to troll any game will not, in fact, impact the success or failure of said game.

  • LordOfPitLordOfPit North Bay, ONPosts: 86Member

    Very professional review, thanks.

  • ariestearieste toronto, ONPosts: 3,308Member Common
    Originally posted by ShakyMo

    GW2 has better PVP

    TSW has Better PVE

    neither are a wow clone

    both are worth playing

     

    done.

    Another +1 to this.   I would also add:  "Neither game is the holy saviour of the genre".

     

    Good overview from OP as well.

     

    cheers.

     

     

    "I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity."

    - Raph Koster

    Tried: AO,EQ,EQ2,DAoC,SWG,AA,SB,HZ,CoX,PS,GA,TR,IV,GnH,EVE, PP,DnL,WAR,MxO,SWG,FE,VG,AoC,DDO,LoTRO,Rift,TOR,Aion,Tera,TSW,GW2,DCUO,CO,STO
    Favourites: AO,SWG,EVE,TR,LoTRO,TSW,EQ2
    Currently Playing: EQ2, Firefall

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