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Whoops, got a bit sidetracked over the week and didn't get around to putting up my final installment of the Templar's crusade in Kingsmouth in The Secret World open beta weekend.

Draug


YEAH, SPOILERS ETC.





Adventures in grouping

Last weekend was focused on solo play, and this weekend I wanted to get some team play in with some friends of mine. This was in order to test out how grouping mechanics work. What I discovered is that as a company, FC haven't moved on much past their innovations for Anarchy Online. Getting into the same zone instance as your teammates is a manual 'teleport to agartha, run back into Kingsmouth' affair. You can't mark off waypoints on the map for everyone to see, you can only copy-paste your current coordinates into the Group chat channel. The group chat channel itself is broken and ties to the unique group ID of that particular group setup - if it changes or you change groups, you have to unsubscribe and resubscribe to the channel. Still. There's no easily visible teammate marker on screen, you have to watch for tiny map icons or a really subtle arrow on the edge of the screen. The extreme mission restrictions mean the group has to discuss which mission they will all take at once in order to not end up splitting up the group and having everyone at different stages of progression through the zone. This also means that if one of the group has to leave, if the others go on ahead it will break up the progress. Now, whilst many missions are repeatable with a 24hr cooldown period, if the leaver then comes back later that evening, it's in the cooldown phase. All in all, it is not encouraging of teamwork for basic mission progression.

But it's not all soooo last decade. You can fix a defensive target and then all of the positive buffs and abilities you can use, such as shields and heals, will default to that target unless you have another friendly player targeted at the point you activate the ability. Most mission updates are also teamwide provided the team member is nearby. Most, but not all. I bug reported those that weren't. Mission mobs tend to scale up in number based on the size of the group. (They also scale up based on the number of people doing the mission regardless of grouping if it's an open world objective.)



Frontline Assembly

As I've touched on previously, crafting in TSW is called Assembly and follows the Minecraft model of laying out components into specific shapes on a grid to create items and talismans from base/imperfect/refined/etc materials and Glyphs from base/imperfect/refined/etc runes which are used to empower the crafted gear.


Splitting item stacks is an oddly messy affair. Hold down shift and hold down leftclick on the item stack, then drag it and rightclick (whilst still holding down shift and leftclick). This will drop one item off the bottom of the stack. Remember to drag the rest of the stack back to the original square. Simply shift and leftclicking brings up a split items window where you have to drag a slider bar around to get the number you want - you can't even just type that number in.

Anyway, to create something, you need materials refined to a quality level that matches the QL of the item you want to create, and a Toolkit of that QL in addition. Base produce nothing and must be refined into Imperfect (5 Base stacked gives 1 Imperfect) to build QLs 1 - 4 and that's all I've found out so far.


Bits n bobs


I have not found a 'bank' or equivalent drop off point for all the piles of accumulating crafting materials beyond buying more inventory slots and splitting off yet more bags. I have also not found a way to 'mail' stuff or messages to people/alts. Or to trade with people/alts that are not current teammates standing beside me.

Map markers are account-wide, which is handy. I also just want to mention the lack of fall damage again. I hate fall damage; hate it with a passion.





Parting Thought

I spent more time fighting the game's UI than I do fighting the game's mobs. FC have a lot of QoL work to do. Also, it would be nice to test some other part of the game now, like the Illuminati or Dragon startups, or any other zone that isn't Kingsmouth. Repeating the same missions in such a short time span doesn't allow for the forgetting of details which would otherwise prompt rediscovery of clues all over again and therefore replay value. I sincerely hope the final Beta Weekend (June 1st - 3rd) lets us get an updated client and something new to do. FC needs to demonstrate that they are squashing bugs.
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achtungexplosiv

May 2012

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