In every mainstream MMO, the gear your character collects acts, alongside the abilities you choose for your toon, as a gate for accessing more content. It’s an incredibly powerful carrot to dangle in front of players. Get more stuff with better stats and you get to level up and see more of the world. If the equipment the game gives you both looks good and improves your chances of survival, so much the better.
Secret World, though, makes a big part of the loot chase — namely armor — invisible on your character. This effectively divides equipment so that the useful gear you wear can be divorced from the cosmetic way your character appears onscreen. I’m not only chasing loot for practical reasons to improve my guy, but separately I’m also on the lookout for outfits that make him look sharp, too.
After the jump, does this hoodie make my toon look fat?
It bears mentioning as well that there’s quite a bit of clothing and articles of clothing in the game that can only be purchased with real world currency –converted to Funcom Points — in their dedicated store. The good news is that there’s a ton of cosmetic clothing that can be bought in-game with game currency. These mix and match very nicely and offer enough options that most players won’t feel constrained. The game never hits you over the head with the new clothing/accessory options available in the real money store. They’re there if you want them, but there’s no in-game “gotcha” trigger to bait a player into a purchase.
If the quest reward clothes weren’t enough, some of the best clothing and costumes from the game come from the various decks that you can build. That hasn’t changed from launch, and is one of the neater things the game does. Not only does the deck concept provide you with a nice carrot to aspire to, it also steers you to a path for a viable — if not ultimate — build and then provides you with a sweet outfit for achieving it. Every one of the three factions has unique decks and outfits, which honestly remains the main reason to choose to play as one over the other. The new thing that has been added since launch are starter decks. These are exactly what they sound like: a way to give beginning players an early goal as well as nice build template. The outfits from achieving starter decks are a little less ostentatious than the originals, but hey, new and different outfits to wear are always a good thing.
Then there’s the crafting. To me it just feels as if there are so many different components — all of which need to be stacked up and worked on — that it turns the crafting system into an inventory hog. What I have discovered is that once you get to the second area in Transylvania, the drops are all of high enough quality that it stops taking up quite so much space as it does when you’re essentially trading up the quality of components five for one early on.
From my still limited experience with the new augment content just introduced in Issue 8, it seems as if Funcom is trying to strike something of a compromise between the most micromanaging bits of the main crafting system and a standard loot chase. It integrates drops, crafting, and the expenditure of ability points but manages to be fairly streamlined. Even players who never got into the original crafting part of the game shouldn’t find this mini-crafting exercise to be onerous.
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