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12:31pm on Friday, 6th June, 2014:



I played through the new Tokyo content for The Secret World on Wednesday and Thursday. From this, you can probably tell that there isn't a great deal of it. Unless there are large number of well-hidden quests, this is a big zone with a small amount of content.

The zone looks fine, although it's reminiscent of Corellia from SW:TOR wide, open roads with not a lot there except stuff to kill. This is a classic MMO mistake, though: spend all your time and effort making the world and then don't spend enough putting anything in it.

There's a new layer to the combat system, on top of the work of beauty that is the main wheel plus the augment system that worked fine until they practically turned off the tap on augment drops. This new system is called aegis. The way it works, each mob in Tokyo has a shield in one of three colours. You have to destroy the shield before you can destroy the mob. Red shields are the easiest, you just dps them down. Purple shields are the same but the mobs will periodically try to raise them again, so you have to interrupt them to stop it. Cyan shields regenerate, so if you don't have the dps you'll never beat them. Each weapon can only target one shield at a time, and it takes 4 seconds of cooldown to switch.

OK, well I can handle that. It adds a little unnecessary complexity, but it's fine. So far all the mobs that have come at me have been of the same colour, but I guess in later expansions there may be groups of different colours, which could prove more tiresome.

However, there are bosses...

Bosses have more than one shield. You have to down the first sheild then down the second before you get to do actual damage to the boss. This is not fun. One particular boss, Daimyo, has a purple shield over a cyan one: if the purple one comes up again, the cyan one continues to regenerate beneath it, meaning that once you get the purple one down you're almost certainly looking at a full cyan one again. This means you have to stop the boss from putting the purple shield back up, which entails interrupting the spell. It's a quick cast, so you only have one shot at it — if you even notice in time that he's casting it. One mistake or an interrupt that glances and you effectively have to start again from scratch. Oh, and when you finally get rid of the cyan shield and deal actual damage to the boss, he summons two adds with purple shields that you have to switch to your purple aegis to kill, meanwhile the boss either puts his own purple shield up or, if you stop that, the cyan one regenerates and then you can't hurt him. It took me 25 minutes of continuous combat to take him down.

It will all get easier with upgraded aegis generators. However, to upgrade them you have to kill many, many mobs of the right sort and have a bunch of tokens you can only obtain from re-running some of the quests every day (maybe some of the mobs drop them too, I didn't notice). Players will be looking at a huge grind. I managed to upgrade one of my aegis generators to level 1; if I can get it to level 2, I can use one of the extra aegis devices I have (four of them that dropped from mobs; given how many of these mobs I killed, not a great drop rate). That might make it a little easier, but no less repetitive.

The main storyline and the atmosphere are pure TSW, top notch. However, the content is just too thin to be filling.

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Copyright © 2014 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).