So this morning I have fallen prey to one of my least favorite morning time scenarios. I woke up naturally, and after realizing that the alarm had not gone off… I attempted to go back to sleep. Just as I was starting to drift back into slumber… the alarm went off rudely waking me. I should have just gotten up as apparently my body thought my battery was done charging. As a result I am mostly awake but the part of me that was trying to go back to sleep is still groggy and vengeful.
A Secret to Everybody
My evening was absolutely nothing like I had planned… though quite honestly I had not really planned much of anything. My intent was to go upstairs, eat some dinner and then get back into Rift or SWTOR. However upon arriving upstairs I got a message form a friend asking if I wanted to be the 5th in The Secret World. The best part about this concept was the fact that this was the core group that I experienced The Secret World with initially. It felt like getting the band back together as it were.
Basically what has spurred this recent interest in TSW is the fact that they seem to have fixed blood as a healing spec, or at least fixed it enough to where it is enjoyable once more for our healer. Previously we burned through the elites and started banging our heads against the Nightmares before our healer just could not take any more. This is the ultimate Achilles heel of the Secret World experience, it goes from being super open to all possible specs and experimentation with new ideas… to requiring this one certain thing in order to survive in Nightmares.
When I say we got the band back together… this is not entirely true. The original five were nightmare ready and geared up in half purples. This time around we have a Rae in place for Warenwolf, and as a result last night we had to start working through the elites so that she could unlock the Gatekeeper fight… and ultimately unlock Nightmare content. This was a pretty good idea since none of us really know what we are doing anymore. I have played Secret World once or twice a week, but I have limited that to my roflstomp sword/shotgun build.
The problem with higher level content is that melee is just not viable. The Secret World is far too punishing to melee characters, and if you choose to dps as melee you essentially end up harming your group in the long run. As a result I ended up abandoning my beloved blade/shotgun build for favor of shotgun/pistols in order to dps elites and nightmares. Essentially last night was a matter of us all trying to remember what the hell to do with our characters.
I am having to swipe images from other websites this morning. Like a tourist without film, I thought I was snapping pictures all night… but not a single one of them turned out. Awhile back I had switched from Fraps to Greenshot… and had pretty good luck with it. However recently I have not gotten a usable picture from it. When I attempt to snap a picture it acts like it is working, but the end result is either a black screen or a picture of my desktop. I have been using Razer Game Booster as a backup… but for whatever reason it does not like The Secret World. The above image is an example of what I am shooting… it seems as though for whatever reason it is alpha transparent.
The long and short apparently is that I am going to have to switch back to fraps and just deal with its idiosyncrasies. The additional takeaway is that I really don’t have pictures from my adventure last night, which is a shame… because in theory I took some good ones. I am completely open to other suggestions if you guys have ideas on a better universal screenshot program. I prefer using fraps or something like that rather than the in game screenshot functionality, because it aggregates all my screenshots into one place. This makes it easier to sort through when I am pulling together a blog post.
All Roads Lead to Rome
We burned through elites last night like a five player wrecking ball. That was another problem we ultimately had with the Secret World end game. You go from absolutely demolishing content in normal and elite mode… to having the bottom completely drop out from under you in Nightmares. However the best thing about their content is the fact that they do not believe in trash… and only place it in front of you if you are supposed to learn a mechanic from it. Teaching players your game through the introduction of trash mobs is a concept that every game needs to take to heart.
I thought after the release of Cataclysm that Blizzard had maybe learned this lesson. During the Baradin Hold fights, you learn the concepts you need from the trash leading up to the bosses. The problem is, this is the one and only place in Cataclysm that they really do this. Introducing players ton concepts with learning trash is far superior every time to throwing an encounter at them, and leading them to google it. I will get off this particular soapbox… as the hour is getting late… but this is seriously a concept that needs to be propagated.
Over the course of the night we cleared Elite Polaris, Hell Fallen, Darkness War and The Ankh. I think we got Rae a few drops, and I myself managed to pick up 347 damage versions of the two weapon slots I did not have a blue for. After all that dungeon grinding however, we decided we needed a break. I thought initially we were going to just break up for the night, but Tam quickly suggested that we grab one of the newer investigation missions. He remembered seeing one in the Haitian Market area of London, so we all headed back that way.
This is the point at which we remember why we really fell in love with the game in the first place. The content is deep and creative, and leads the characters through a series of imaginative puzzles. This investigation quest personifies why this game works and why players should be playing it. I wont go into too many details… because spoilers. But essentially you retrace the steps of roman explorers through Ancient London. Make sure you brush up on your latin… or at least have a translator handy.
Last night made me extremely happy. Returning to grouping in The Secret World was like picking up a familiar book and re-reading it. While the mechanics have changed slightly, it is still the same solid game and story under the cover. I really hope that in the coming weeks we can return to this world as a group more often. I would really like to finish getting Rae geared, and through the Gatekeeper fight so we can get some revenge on all those nightmares. I hope you have a great day, and too discover an old friend.