We did not get much sleep this weekend because we signed up for “The Secret World” beta.

Trailer 1

TSW is an MMORPG, set in a modern day time, which makes it an ARG (alternate reality game). You can find out more here. As you recall, we started wanting this in 2011. What”s interesting about this is the absence of the usual MMORPG classes and levels. It gives you complete freedom to be whoever you want to be and play however you want to play.

The artwork had us salivating when they first announced the game.

We loved the beta phase of the game; actually, I expected nothing less of Funcom, who also made “Dreamfall” and “Anarchy Online“. Did you know we played “Anarchy Online” for a shockingly long time? I guess this was my MMO of choice, others never took a hold of me like AO did.

So TSW is what I expect a MMORPG to look like in 2012. And being Funcom, it has (like all their precious games had) an epic story-line, subtle yet snazzy design, mind-blowing settings and character. Sorry, I don’t want to sound like an advertising machine and your mileage may vary, but this just really hits my sweet gaming spot. I promised I would never start another one of these time-consuming monster games. Unless… unless it was this.

Usually, I quickly scan quest texts and forget about them just as quick. You’d soon come to regret that in TSW, because the story being told is quite unusual. All of the secret societies are there. I won’t describe that here, other gaming mags have probably done that better. Elaborate cutscenes give the feel of playing a single player, with lots of cool non-generic characters (NPCs). My farvorite was the nanny with the shotgun.

Just when you think you have a setting, a feel of the place and a mood – a genre – it goes all steampunk all of a sudden, then it looks like “Dreamfall” at its best and then it’s all “Left 4 Dead“… What a ride. I only tell you this much: Expect some serious genre-mash-up!

We experienced some minor glitches in the beta playing phase (like respawn bugs in an SP instance dungeon etc.). Probably eveything will run smoothly at launch time. I could only play with the lowest settings. As soon as I update my hardware, I bet it’s going to look fantastic.

Trailer 2

If you want some taste of secret:  Go to funcom.com, click anywhere on the page that isn’t a link, and hit “33.” It’s a rabbit hole that goes deep.

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