The Secret World is based in the real world, which means your character is just a regular ol’ human. That is until a bee flies into your mouth, and then… well, you’ll see.
When it comes to character creation, I’ll admit I’ve seen games with better customization. In The Secret World, there’s only a single body shape in either male or female; so as far as your build goes, expect to look pretty much the same as everyone else around you. This makes role-playing a challenge for players who want to play an elder or a child or something else.
Hairstyles and Clothing
Let’s face it — The Secret World character creator is in need of serious attention. There are only about a dozen hairstyles to choose from as well as hair colors you can mix and match. Luckily, plastic surgeons in game (yes, you read that right) as well as barbershops allow you to retool your look with some new designs. You also choose your starting clothing, but frankly the choices are abysmal.
Once in game, you can visit a store in London to browse hundreds of articles of clothing for a customized look. Want to look like a businessman/woman? Sure! Punk rocker? No problem. Beach bum? We’ve gotcha! Trashy hooker from the streets? The combinations are impressive, if not always believable as something someone in our world would actually wear out in public, much less wear out in public while fighting vampires and zombies, but to each their own.
Weapons and Skill Level
Now that you’ve got your look picked out, it’s time to venture into the world and explore. As you complete objectives, you’ll earn Ability Points and Skill Points. You’ll initially pick two out of nine weapons:
- assault rifle
- chaos magic
- blood magic
- elemental magic
You can spend your Skill Points to upgrade your proficiency with each weapon type. Think of this as training to use those pistols more effectively. Your damage will increase with a weapon type as you spend more points in it.
As you encounter high-level enemies, an inadequate Skill means the enemy is harder to overcome. Skill Points can also be spent on Talisman levels, allowing you to wear ever more powerful arcane talismans that boost your stats: attack power, health points, healing ability, defense rating and so on.
Ability Points are my favorite part. They allow you to actually pick the active and passive abilities that you’ll use in combat. These can be combined into decks, creating your play style and role in combat.
This system is intriguing because you don’t select a class or particular role as in other games. Any character can pick any assortment of weapons and any abilities based on those weapons. And eventually you’ll have purchased everything and become the ultimate master of the universe! But not quite — you can only have seven active abilities and seven passive abilities in use at any time.
Rather than being pigeonholed as a healer, this system allows for an Assault Rifle toting gal to also use Blood Magic to leech life from her foes and feed it to her friend. I like to play as a character using Chaos Magic who also specializes in Sword attacks, making me proficient in self-healing and taking on bigger enemies solo. (Here’s my build.) The tradeoff is that my personal damage is decreased.
Overall the sheer variety of possible gameplay combinations is staggering, and while some combinations are more potent than others, even novices can rapidly begin building intelligent setups. The community is extremely helpful, so you can always ask for advice from more experienced players in the world.
Will you be a claw-wielding, rifle-slinging healer? Will you be a bastion of defense, swinging a mighty hammer and shotgun? Will you go for all-out maximum damage with fierce elemental fires and blizzards and quick-shot pistols to back you up? The choice is entirely yours.
Circle me on Google+ or leave a comment below with your thoughts on character creation and gameplay in The Secret World.
Quick bit of background on Dorian Granruth: I’m an avid gamer, playing everything from stand-alone console RPGs and MMOs to FPSs and RTSs. I’ve been playing games since Mario hit our shores through to new indie games coming out today.
I also love spending days lost within a science fiction or fantasy universe whole unto itself, whether game or fiction. World building, setting, plot, character development, and all the other facets that make fiction great are increasingly found in even the most humble of games.
I’ll stop in from time to time to talk about some of my personal favorites. This is the second in The Secret World series of posts. See the last post for some background on the game’s setting.