Starting this weekend on Friday May 11th until early morning on Monday, Funcom opened up the first Beta weekend for The Secret World giving out tons of keys for players to test out some of their upcoming upcoming MMO. The beta has been entitled “Kingsmouth Calling”, which made players able to create their character as a new member to Templar. As a Templar you will get yourself acquainted to the streets of London all the way to New England coast to investigate the happenings within the secret society.
The storyline you will follow in the Kingsmouth Calling is that Solomon Island has been invaded by a strange and unexplained fog that brought a nice group of creatures along with it. This unexplained fog comes in just a few days after Tokyo had an attack or as the government says “an incident” that they are trying to keep clear of the media. When you first become a Templar you are oblivious to all the inner workings of the secret world you are now apart of as well as you learn quickly that it wasn’t just an incident and that this secret world you are in has remained hidden to the general population thanks to three covert factions, including yours. That’s it for the little back story leading up to where your created character comes into play.
After you initially create your character, the game starts off with you in your apartment where in the background you can here the television features a news broadcast about the Tokyo incident I mentioned previously. The scene continues as a fly enters through an open window in another room of your apartment, which makes its way into your room and then into your mouth. Quickly you are shown that this is no ordinary house fly as it glows when it got closer to you and as you ingested it. Startled by the fact that you just ate a fly, your character awakens and coughs trying to get what ever went down your throat back up. Your character wakes up and gets out of bed, as you character goes to grab a shirt a blue flare shoots out of your hand and surrounds it. Shocked at what just happened your character hesitantly attempts to reach out and touch the flare engulfing your shirt. As your hand just reaches it the strange flame disappears, that ends the first of a few cutscenes that you’ll watch before you actually get to start playing as your character.
Jump to a couple of days later, you will now see you created character sitting against the wall on the floor of your apartment surrounded in a strange blue mist and while everything in the apartment is moving around and flies across the room. Another scene starts up taking place just a couple of days later and your character has begun to control the flame, and just with that there is a knock at the door. A woman comes into the doorway and begins talking about your newly found and controlled powers, she begins to explain about a secret organization that deals with otherworldly things and gives you a clear warning that if you choose not to join with the Templars that there are two other organizations that know about you and that on your own your chances of survival are non-existent. With that being said she hands you an envelope containing instructions and an invitation to the Templar order.
After this scene you finally have control of your character in the present time frame. You’ll be prompted to follow some instructions and into another Templar member who is a detective, which goes to show just how much influence the organization has. You are told to go to the station and look for a “prophet”. The prophet talks about the end times and the coming darkness that is on the horizon. Every time the prophet speaks you begin to feel different, as if someone is hurting your brain. Slowly it seems something is going on inside your head and you black out. When you finally come to you find yourself in a subway with three other people. For some odd reason they are calling you Sarah and you see changes with your character’s appearance, changing from your normal look to a female character(I made a male character so I’m not sure the affects if you are a female character in the game). Apparently you’re now seeing things from someone else’s point of view. You overhear more talk about the Tokyo incident and that if something isn’t done to stop whatever is here now then it will happen again here. You see a gate down and someone behind it calling for help, while you try to get the gate open they are killed by something. This part of the game functions as a tutorial for the interface and combat as the three other people get ready and you are given a shotgun to enter combo for the first time. You are now about to face off against your first enemy in the game, it just happens to be a human infected by something called the Filth, but taking out this one single enemy wasn’t enough, as more start coming out of the vents of the room.
The subway scene of the game is just an intro to combat and a taste at what The Secret World has to offer. It seemed to be a sort of test, if you were able to make it out of the subway alive then you are now ready to become a Templar and enter The Secret World. You come to back in the streets of London and make you way over to the “Temple Square” which acts as the headquarters of the Templars, where you will meet Sonnac, who is considered the leader of the Templars. After a conversation where he goes over all that the Templars stand for and also hints at what is coming and that you need to be properly trained. Sonnac sends you to the Crucible, a sort of training facility where you can practice with various weapons and decide on what weapon you want to focus on using.
There’s more to the story and what you do in the, but I won’t spoil all the really good stuff. The Secret World is very story driven for a MMO, which is refreshing and needed. You don’t lose focus on what you are doing in the game with level grinding as there is no real level or class system in the game and instead you have a sort of guideline for your skills to become what ever type of character you ultimately choose to be. There also isn’t a large overwhelming “right off the bat” open world element to the game so you are constantly doing things that actually pertain to the story and lore of what the Secret World is trying to tell you. For a modern day themed MMO which features realistic locations and interjects an eerie feel of not only mythology but paranormal elements as well the game seems to be doing something right and was a lot of fun to play. I look forward to the future weekend betas that Funcom will be doing for The Secret World as we will be able to play in the other two factions: Dragons and Illuminati as well and it will be interesting to see where their standpoint and ideals are on what is happening in the world.