The Secret World Lead Designer Interview

Justin Clouse | 24 Feb 2012 10:00
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The Escapist: So obviously you don't have levels, but is there a level cap of sort or a soft cap that you will eventually get to a point that leveling will be so exponentially long?

The Secret World: What you can cap out is the weapon skills, they go from one to ten, and the same with the chakra skills. You can cap out if you collect every single ability, I think it's 588. You can in theory get maximum weapon skill and every single ability all on the same character. But it will take some time especially the ability part will take some time, which is cool. That's the only way you can cap out since we don't have this number that defines strength but also hypothetically let's say that you have all of your weapon skills and you have 400 of the abilities. You can still go back to Egypt and it will give you XP and you will keep getting ability points and skill points. You can still progress so it's kind of cool because in most level based MMOs you have a very tight window where you can play. You can play against monsters that are one level beneath you and three levels above you. But in our game it's much more open you can go almost anywhere and fight, you might die but you can fight. Especially if you have a few friends.

The Escapist: So really the time invested is less of getting that much more powerful but getting more varied and opening up a wider set of skills?

The Secret World: Yeah exactly, but you can look at it as two sets of progression, we have a vertical one and a horizontal one. The vertical one comes in the form of gear, like getting better chakras, getting better weapons, that will be there. The horizontal progression comes from the ability collection, lore, achievements and stuff like that.

The Escapist: What do you have prepared for end game content?

The Secret World: Well at the end of the storyline there will be, the dungeons will be available in three modes. What you played now was the easiest mode, then there will be a hard mode and there will be a nightmare mode. So people can do that.

We hope that PVP will be a big part of the endgame. There are warzones that are open 24/7 that you can go in and capture certain objectives, and say that you're Illuminati and you go in there and you capture the zone then every single person from the Illuminati society will get bonuses and rewards from it even though they didn't PVP at all. So you can basically go in there and be the hero, which is pretty cool, and also since we have three secret societies or three factions instead of two it also makes PVP more dynamic and interesting because you can actually make deals with the other secret societies to kick out the third one. Only one can control it so at some point there will be some backstabbing and we really hope that PVP and the meta-game around PVP will be important.

In addition to that we have a lore system where there are thousands of pieces all around the world where you can pick up and basically form a story or get more information about the area. So let's say that you arrive at this castle and in this castle you're doing missions and then through the missions you get some information about this castle, but if that intrigues you and you want to know more about this castle then there are certain pieces that you can pick up and as you're doing that you're sort of forming the story about the castle and who lived there and who was that knight and who was he married to and why does this matter to The Secret World. The universe of The Secret World is huge, the story is just massive. So that's something the people can spend time, for the people that like story.

I think a lot of people will spend time making builds. And a really important part of having a good build is having the items to match it. Because if you're, let's say that you wanna revolve around pistols and critical hits, then you want gear that enables you to crit more which means that you want crit gear which you can get through either PvP, PvE or crafting. But in addition to that we have a really cool system when it comes to matching your items to your decks or your build. All of our items are divided up in three segments basically, a prefix, a core and a suffix and at the endgame, since you asked, there are special suffixes that people get from very special and really hard content and these are different camps all around in the world. So let's say that you want to do this, make this crit build, in order to get these suffixes that you can just basically slap on an item, almost like an enchantment if you will. In order to get good crit stuff you want to go to the crit camp. It's a camp of monsters and in order to beat those monsters you need to have a crit build, you need to bring a crit effect. I don't exactly remember what the effects are but it's hypothetically all the monsters are covered or are protected in a barrier, it will take zero damage but as soon as you crit them that barrier goes down and you can damage them for a few seconds and the rewards they give you are suffixes that enables you to crit better, like, every time you crit you get a crit buff for instance. That's completely different from, let's say that you want to focus on block then you need to go to the block camp and bring block in order to get that. Also an important part of the endgame is getting these items to match your build.

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