Funcom’s “The Secret World” Revealed At Last

*Sniff,* You’ll pardon me being a little tetchy this morning, I’m as they say, “feeling a little under the weather”, even though it’s bright and sunny outside. Still, a nice steaming cup o’ joe and a few dozen piping hot donuts will do the body wonders methinks.

As usual we’ll start the news round up talking about matters in the console world. The big news would seem to be that the PS3, now on sale at a much more sane $300, is selling like gangbusters. One must wonder at this point, what exactly are gangbusters and why do folks always seem to go gaga over them anyway? Whatever the case, the PS3 Slim is selling like hotcakes, so much so that first week sales increases of 300%, 999%, and 7,500% over  the previous weeks sales are being recorded. Gangbusters indeed, mine is still busted though, hoping to get it fixed this weekend.

Still, there’s reason for 360 fanmen to cheer. If recent reports are to believed it looks like the 360 may have snagged another exclusive title from a rather unlikely source. It would appear that Square Enix’s Nier (hey that rhymes!) might become an Xbox 360 exclusive, at least in Japan.

On the Nintendo front the big news is probably how deathly quiet things have been. No, seriously, if you’re a hardcore gamer you’re probably wondering what the heck is going on. Still, they continue to sell units, the latest NPD figures show that even though the number of Wii units sold has dropped dramatically in recent months, it still leads the competition. Perhaps this is the quiet before the TGS storm?

Alright, four donuts in and I suppose it’s time we tangle with MMO stuff now, thanks to PAX there’s quite a bit of it so stick with me now.

We’ve got our first real look at Funcom’s Age of Conan follow up, The Secret World. I’m still a little baffled as to how exactly Funcom are aiming to support two high profile MMO’s concurrently, but there’s no denying The Secret World looks intriguing at the very least.

Massively has an in-depth look at the title as it was shown at PAX, they wax lyrical about how gosh-durn purdy it looks and touch on things like factions, gameplay (which sounds surprisingly action-ey) and the lore of the game world. Here are a few excerpts from their write ups on the game’s factions, The Templars, The Illuminati and The Dragon :

The Templar are based in London and are very out in the open for a secret society; they’re the least secret of all the societies. We saw the text “Old blood new veins” in reference to them, which tells us that while they may be ancient, their operatives are young. Still, their gear and look have an old school feel. Templar consider themselves holy crusaders who aren’t just part of the fight against evil; they are the fight against evil.

A subterranean base below a warehouse in New York is the home of the Illuminati, and they are quite the nasty bunch.  To them power represents, well, everything and they’ll do anything to get it, even if it means blackmail or worse. They don’t believe in blood or heritage like the Templar. In this organisation, it’s all about what you’ve done and what you can do for the society. The Illuminati are effectively the super secretive bad boys, but ultimately their goals are similar to the other two factions — at least, we think.

Then finally we have Dragon, the most innocuous of the three. Their headquarters reside within a monastery in Seoul, Korea and they follow the teachings of the “true” Sun Tzu. The Dragon believe through chaos, balance is achieved — you do not have an ocean without waves and storms. Their modus operandi is playing the other two sides against each other through manipulative means.

There are also a few screens at the link, and frankly it looks gorgeous as you’d expect since it’s running on an enhanced version of the AoC engine.

PAX was also kind to my game du jour, Aion: Tower of Eternity. got a hands on the latest 1.5 patch. If you’re an Aion nut you’ve probably already read most of this before, or are perhaps in the beta already. If not, here are some of the more interesting points:

  • 40 (!) new default faces per faction have been added to the customisation options
  • Tutorial system has been completely re-tooled, with new video and voice-overs
  • Class specific armor sets have been added to differentiate class looks and silhouettes
  • Aion development in the US apparently consists primarily of localisation of the content already available in Korea. Because the US dev team is six months behind, it means US gamers will enjoy a more bug free version of Aion as they benefit from bug squashing done during that period of localisation.

Needless to say, it really sounds like NCsoft is going all out to make sure Aion is all it can be, and that it satisfies Western gamers needs. There’s also some time spent on detailing how instances and raids work in one particular boss battle, where Asmodians and Elyos battle each other as well as hordes of Baluar as they make their way to the boss, a system which sounds pretty interesting if indeed it works as described.

Not PAX related, but still on the topic of Aion, the dev team have released a statement thanking players for taking part in the beta, and apologised the instances of lag North American players have experienced, something they claim to have sorted out and will continue to monitor. It’s a fairly beefy statement so I’m not going to reproduce it here, specially since most of it is kinda zzzzz-boring, what is interesting is the bit right at the end where they state they’re ready to open the beta to all North American players. Just head on over to Fileplanet and get your key.

Before we round off Aion matters, I should probably mention that the full server list has been released:

  • [ENG] Castor
  • [ENG] Gorgos
  • [ENG] Perento
  • [ENG] Spatalos
  • [ENG] Telemachus
  • [GER] Balder
  • [GER] Kromede
  • [GER] Thor
  • [GER] Votan
  • [FRA] Suthran
  • [FRA] Urtem
  • [FRA] Vidar

Mmkay, so this blog post is turning into a novella, I’ll round this off with a smattering of what little World of Wacraft related news there is. did an online survey of folks who had used the now available WoW character faction transfer service. Almost 10,000 people took part, the majority of whom, unsurprisingly have not used the service. Perhaps Blizzard should look into lowering the $30 price point? Or even better, why not just charge wow gold for it instead?

There’s also a new release of the WoW Model Viewer, which you can get here. The new release is supposed to work well with patch 3.2. And as far as WoW news goes, that’s kinda it for now (HEY, WE JUST HAD BLIZZCON!) Of course if you absolutely must have more WoW, right now (that rhymes again!) I suppose you could pick up a copy of Warcraft: Legends Vol. 5 from ToykoPop.

Before I go though, Dungeons and Dragons Online is now free to play! Go on, give it a go! Hopefully it does well enough that other publishers take notice and consider a F2P model for other more high profile projects.

Alright, the donuts are all gone, coffee’s getting cold. Time to get off here and go feed the cats before they gnaw my toes off.

See ya Tuesday folks!


– Ping Pong Fighter – Now this should be an Olympic sport!

PS3 facial recognition tech. Hard to see any practical gaming applications, but it sure looks cool!