It has been a long time, so very long but I’m finally jumping back into The Secret World. It has been an absence of a few months now and as time has gone on the pull towards the world has gotten stronger. And on the weekend I caved, the mmo junkie went back for a quick story hit and it was wonderful.
I had tried to get back in a couple of weeks back, loaded it up and promptly felt over and underwhelmed all at once. I had no idea what I wanted to do, I tried something of which I did poorly and quit. This time though I took my time getting into it. I didn’t try any missions and just spent what felt like a couple of hours spending my Funcom points on lots of new purty outfits and then went about designing the new look. It felt right starting it this way as I was reconnecting in a more personal way with my character, learning about them once again such as who they were and who I wanted them to be. The wardrobe makeover was also a way of molding my character for the future. Once this was done I was once again feeling more immersed, but still not quite ready for random questing.
The next step I thought was to get back in touch with all the characters I had loved but had forgotten. I roamed a few zones and once again listened to the stories of these wonderfully diverse characters. I listened, and listened for a couple more hours not doing much else but a few key quests. It was all a bit like being reunited with family, people whom being around after such an absence is at first awkward. You don’t understand these people, their personalities and motives at first… they are unfamiliar and strange but the longer you are around them the more familiar it becomes until it was like you had never parted.
I started remembering more about them that I had forgotten and the experiences I had original had that made me so enamored with the world. It rekindled a fire that was all but out I thought. If I had done it any other way I think the game would have felt like returning to any other mmo, the experience would mean nothing as you’re not connected and “fun” is a poor substitute to that.
It is through this I thought that the hardest part I find about returning to an mmo isn’t relearning mechanics and systems. Unless your game is eve these things will take a minimal time to remember and relearn. Even getting up to date with your characters skills, abilities, and gear doesn’t take too much time and effort. The issue is just trying to connect with the experience. For long-term communities this may be through friends and guildies but in the absence of that it comes down to the world and characters once more.
The Secret World has such a diverse, interesting and deep world that this is so much easier than others. I have tried replaying mmo’s of old but that key element to immersion and enjoyment is always missing. The characters in TSW are not only relatable but great to be apart of, they invoke emotions and ideas and either hold a solid part in your heart or mind.. I want to know more about them and will try to always return to see their development, I just don’t feel that anywhere else.
And so now, after a day of nothing more than clothes shopping shenanigans and character dialogue I was ready.. And what better way to celebrate then delighting in a code breaking investigation mission that had me busy with a notepad and google for an hour. Is that ironic? … I do not know.