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YMMV / The Secret World

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  • Adorkable: Radcliffe, who spends most of her time onscreen stuttering, stammering, correcting herself, accidentally saying too much, and getting just a little bit too excited at meeting a "superhero." Plus, she's occasionally sidetracked by wondering about the proper noun for a group of superheroes.
  • Awesome Music: Despite being an MMO, the games soundtrack is really impressive, with two highlights being the main theme and Sleepless Lullaby.
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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: At the end of the main 2012 Samhain plotline, "The Cat God", you fight against the titular feline deity, Irusan. Then, Baron Samedi shows up, makes a speech about how he's going to be using the parts of the cats for something, blows smoke in your face, then disappears. Other than the post-mission briefing, this hasn't been brought up since, probably due to the fact that it's a seasonal event.
  • Breather Level: Tier 16 of the Solomon Island plot's mission is probably one of the most interesting quests if you consider the ration between the required effort and the reward. You just have to enter a cave (shown on the map), watch a cutscene, then get a lot of experience (as much as the amount earned for finishing the last part tier of the quest). To make things even easier, the previous tier ends on the same map, and, if you already went in the vicinity and enabled it, there is an Anima Well next to the cave entrance.
  • Broken Base: The Secret World Legends relaunch proved controversial, to say the least. Since Legends is a completely new game, with The Secret World continuing only as a legacy server, some veteran players weren't too pleased that they would have to start from square one to access future content, even if they were able to carry over all cosmetic items purchased in the original game. The adoption of classes and a more conventional leveling system also didn't sit well with fans of the old open-ended power wheel, but thankfully, classes only affect initial unlocks and it is still possible to unlock every ability for every weapon. Others were more curious to see what the new game would offer, particularly the promised improvements to the game's combat system.
    • Post-release, the base remains divided. Are the new simplified skill trees dumbing the game down and removing interesting choices or making the game more accessible and increasing diversity of viable builds? Are the Free-to-Play elements reasonable, with everything being available without paying real money, or is the game overly-aggressive and in-your-face about trying to sell loot and progression? Even player-requested fixes can break the base. When an early patch sped up post-L50 progression, there were fierce debates about whether this sufficiently fixed the issue or whether it effectively forced players to restart with a new character in order to be viable in PVP.
  • Complete Monster: The Bogeyman is one of the few monsters who has managed to retain his intelligence and lacks any sympathetic traits or backstory. As a human, Nathaniel Winter wanted to attain magical power and immortality by any means necessary, and he built Atlantic Island Park as the perfect method of achieving it. Utilizing an ancient artifact, he allowed homicidal rampages, deadly accidents, and disappearances to fuel the park until he harnessed the energy for himself, becoming the Bogeyman. A creature who feeds off fear, the Bogeyman preys on children, abducting and terrifying them to gain the energy before inevitably killing them in the process. In The Park, we see his cruelty firsthand when he uses his dark powers to drive Lorraine, a mother looking for her lost child, insane for two hours straight, relishing her fear and despair, while twisting her care for her child into hate and rage. Upon the discovery of her son, Callum, the Bogeyman forces her to stab her son to death.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The Ak'ab on Solomon Island are this for early-level players, at least in the original game. They're giant moth-monsters that do little damage on their own, but have lots of health, move around a lot during the fight (increasing the odds you bump into more of 'em), spawn thick on the ground, patrol over wide areas, and have both a powerful knockdown attack and an inhibiting attack that greatly reduces mobility. Their hives are also thick with "broodmarks" that further inhibit movement and make it hard to escape. They generally combine all the worst parts of every MMO enemy into one. One of the joys of revisiting Solomon Island later on is kicking their asses with your new, upgraded abilities. Legends, fortunately, reduces them to mere Goddamned Bats thanks to the redesigned combat system, which makes it much easier to avoid their Dash attacks, as well as shrinking the range of the broodmarks' immobilizing effects. Furthermore, with the new level system, enemies will ignore you if you are at least ten levels higher than them; in practice, this means that players who diligently do side-missions will be able to out-level the Ak'ab (and just about everything on Solomon Island, for that matter) before they even complete the Solomon Island quest.
    • In the mid-game in Egypt, there are the cultist patrols. Their sole saving grace is that they will generally ignore you unless you walk right up into their face... at which point, even a high-level player is likely in for a beatdown from a mob of tough enemies that, elsewhere in Egypt and even Transylvania, are generally faced alone.
    • In the late game in Transylvania, you face the vampire super soldiers, leftovers from an abandoned Soviet Superscience project. On top of being the game's elite enemies with more health and damage than any other (before Kaidan, at least), their Field Transfusion attack stuns you for five seconds, drains your health while healing them, is very hard to dodge, and (since they usually attack in pairs) lets the other one wail on you while you can do little to fight back.
    • The above are nothing, however, compared to virtually all of the enemies in Kaidan, at least in the original game, thanks to the AEGIS system you need to fight them. Anything tougher than the most basic zombie mobs will issue a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to new arrivals in Kaidan, even the mid-range mooks that are the next step up. And even Kaidan has its own Demonic Spiders: namely, those enemies that have two AEGIS shields, requiring you to switch in the middle of the fight (which takes several valuable seconds), or the rare mobs of multiple enemies with different types of shields. Legends removes the AEGIS system (at least for now) and simply gives the enemies in Tokyo more health and combat strength along a similar curve as existed in progression earlier, so while they're still tough, they're no longer Demonic.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Dame Julia Beatrix Tyburn. This old lady is somewhat uptight, but it's hard to not laugh of the stuff she says, and how she says it. Even more, she does seem to have some respect for people even though they are not from some family of "blood", like the traditions of the Templars would rather have in their ranks.
    • The Pyramidion, one of the highest of the Illuminati's high-ups. The 'All-Seeing Eye' speaks only half the time in lines of relevant dialogue. The other half alternates between bizarre P.A. announcements (if you're in The Labyrinth) or context-relevant memes... like a boss.
    • Interestingly, the Council of Venice is well-liked among the game's RP community. Some roleplayers even choose to portray themselves as Venetian agents regardless of their actual IG affiliations.
    • Of the Egypt NPCs, there is Säid, an Ancient Egyptian mummy who's reinvented himself as a yuppie, and Nassir, the Marya demolitions expert with a fondness for American action films. Both of these characters have gotten Funcom-sponsored Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, and both got more screentime during the "Last Train to Cairo" issue — complete with the two interacting with each other (quite hilariously) in several scenes during the final mission.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The Final Boss character in the Whispering Tide event was nicknamed by the community as "Flappy" and it stuck. Even the developers found themselves referring to it by that nickname.
    • Aureus of Initiation quickly became known as Oreos.
    • Moths for the Ak'ab.
    • The Guardians of Gaia have collectively earned the name Gollums. It began as common misspelling of golem and went from there.
    • The Patchwork Horror of the Filth Abnormalities event gained the nickname Teletubbie.
    • Mr. Reap, the Nephilim that unlocks your first ultimate ability. Name comes from his dialogue "Reap what you have sown."
    • The boss from the 2016 Anniversary Event was quickly dubbed the Hatekeeper.
    • In a case of the old name becoming the nickname, veteran players will still refer to Lore when talking about the renamed Legends in Secret World Legends.
  • Gameplay Derailment: The '/reset' command was intended to allow players to by-pass bugged missions and instances by respawning them. Instead, it was commandeered for 'suicide teleportation': fast-travelling across the area by dying in one place, and respawning at the Anima Well closest to where they intend to go. This was later replaced with a fast travel system, and changing the /reset command to automatically revive at the nearest anima well.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Good luck catching all the references in the "Everything Is True" trailer.
    • The Horse Show at the "Authentic Wabanaki Village" is cancelled. Horses weren't a part of Northeastern Forest tribe culture, because they weren't even native to the continent. In case you needed any more confirmation that the place was a tourist trap.
    • In Tokyo, the baseball team sponsored by the Orochi Group is called the Black Sox. In real life, the "Black Sox" scandal in 1919 saw eight players on the Chicago White Sox banned from the sport after being caught throwing the World Series in order to cash in on gambling bets. What a perfect name for a team run by a sleazy Mega-Corp!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The Valley of the Sun God arc. To wit: a fanatical, apocalyptic sect emerges in the Middle East and seems to sweep into power virtually overnight, albeit in the face of bitter opposition by an outgunned resistance that is dependent on outside help to keep going. Said outside help is composed of multiple factions that each have their own interests in the region, and are often violently at odds with one another such that Teeth-Clenched Teamwork is fully in play. It could easily be read as an Urban Fantasy Roman à Clef of the fight against the Islamic State, with the Atenist cult standing in for IS, the Marya representing the Middle Eastern anti-IS coalition (with the Marya fighter Shani bearing a great stylistic resemblance to the Peshmerga's female soldiers), and the various secret societies (i.e. the player characters) representing the US, Russia, and other outside powers with competing goals in the region. The Islamic State's common Western acronym, ISISnote , even calls to mind the Egyptian god of the same name, though the Atenists, of course, worship the sun god Aten instead. Given that the game was released in 2012, two years prior to the emergence of IS, all of this was entirely accidental.
  • Iron Woobie: Most of the civilians in Solomon Island and Transylvania. They've had to deal with attacks from zombies, Draugr, vampires, ghouls, werewolves, and all manner of other horrors lurching out of the darkness to kill them, but they're still weathering the storm. Sheriff Bannerman of Kingsmouth is positively upbeat about the whole situation.
    • The Innsmouth equivalent of a group of kids playing at being monster hunters hunt down and kill real monsters because there are so many of them. Fridge Horror kicks in big-time when you get to their hideout and take a look at their book of monsters. You might think these were just kids having a fun club, since Solomon Island was only recently overrun. Then you find out they have notes on most of the monsters you've faced and many that you haven't, meaning they've been fighting the same stuff you have, in limited numbers, and survived.
  • Jumping the Shark: Secret World: Legends was a remake of the MMO with a lower budget and almost none of the original screenwriters. As a result, the game's lore and story in the Africa zone is horrifyingly stale.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Later, Gator."
    • The much abused smile emote
    • "Hiya, chuck."
    • "Pick up the Lore!" note 
    • Parking Garages note 
    • "A serious game for serious players!" note 
  • Narm: With all the other portentous lines in the trailer, it can be a little hard to take "The Bees Are Returning" with the kind of seriousness and gravitas that was intended.
    • In The Park when Lorraine hallucinates running over Callum, it comes out of nowhere and the kid goes flying up in the air like a mannequin.
  • Narm Charm: Some of the voice acting can be this, in particular Dr. Klein has one of the poorest sounding "German" accents you will ever hear, but the voice-actor is clearly having fun with it. You simply need to hear it to understand, for there are no vords, NO VORDS!
    • Additionally Nassir's accent shifts so much it is hard to tell where he/his family are supposed to be from, Egypt, Russia, America, Italy, but being overblown and nonsensical is sort of Nassir's thing, so it all sort of washes together despite performance intent.
  • Player Punch:
    • "The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn." It turns out that the Fog is an airborne strain of the Filth, meaning that anybody who breathed it in is infected. In other words, the entire surviving population of Solomon Island (with the arguable exceptions of Sam Krieg, who spends the entire time in a lighthouse high above the Fog, and Marianne Chen, who refuses to take off her hazmat suit) is effectively doomed, and nothing you do to help them will change that. Just to drive the point home, the same mission also forces you to fight and kill Filth-Infected replicas of Helen Bannerman, Deputy Andy (including pet kittens), Scrapyard Edgar, Headmaster Montag... and all of them carry on reciting lines appropriate to their characters as they try to kill you.
    • Meeting Sarah in Tokyo can be one of these. In the Tokyo flashback sequence, you relive her memory of the damage control team's response to the Tokyo incident. In the original sequence, it is implied that you are simply experiencing a memory, or going back mentally in time to live the experience. It turns out in Tokyo that Sarah relives the memory every time a player character does, and has almost been driven mad by reliving the memory over and over.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Possibly combined with History Marches On. Lilith's hidden name of Ki-sikil-lil-lake is actually based on out-of-date research: in the 1930s, Samuel Noah Kramer converted Ki-sikil-lil-lake into Lilith during his translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh. However, modern scholars believe the two figures have no real connection, though it's still under debate.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The AEGIS system used for combat in Tokyo in the original game. An attempt to make the combat system more in-depth without falling victim to the Power Creep that comes from constantly leveling up and acquiring new weapons, it instead proved to be a clunky grind for upgrades to the AEGIS modules and a pain in the ass to use in the heat of combat. This may be why, upon the Secret World Legends relaunch with its redesigned combat system, the developers simply scrapped AEGIS altogether when they reintroduced Tokyo, with quite a few players (though not all) happy to see it gone.
    • The wonky Jump Physics mean that any platforming or jumping puzzle can turn into this. This is the primary reason why the mission 'The Cost of Magic' is That One Sidequest, even if you're not trying to go for the Hard Mode Perks.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: If Dark Matter was was ever turned into a computer game, it would most likely be like this.
  • Stoic Woobie: Hayden Montag. As a child, his studies in magic accidentally killed his mother and eleven other innocent bystanders — crimes for which Hayden turned himself in. As an adult, he's headmaster of Innsmouth Academy... and by the time you meet him, most of his faculty and students have been murdered by the monsters that have invaded Solomon Island, leaving him and two others to keep vigil over a school overrun with monsters. And, beyond a few absent-minded mutterings, he weathers the storm calmly and analytically.
  • That One Level: The Egypt areas are usually held to be a step down compared to both Solomon Island before it and Transylvania after it. The City of the Sun God especially gets flack for a poorly laid-out map that can be difficult to navigate, made worse by missions that frequently have players traversing large areas of the map, causing many of them to just use fast travel to get to where they need to go.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • There are two Investigation missions that require the player to transcribe Morse code. The first one is in audio form, and is played at normal speed, making it almost impossible for someone not educated in it to follow.note  The second one is in blinking light form, and while slower than the first one, still takes quite a bit of trial and error to transcribe correctly, and you also have to figure out for yourself that you're looking at a Morse Code sequence in the first place.
    • "That’ll Leave a Mark" is an Escort Mission located not very far from the entrance of the first area of the game (minus the hubs and Agartha). It requires to free a man from a Bear Trap, then escort him to the sheriff's office (about 200 meters away). Though the man himself is decently resilient and armed, he moves slowly (justified by his wounds), and prefers to shoot the zombies rather follow the player character. When he is following, there are regular spawns of a specific kind of zombie which is way stronger and tougher than the standard mooks of the area. But the biggest issue of the quest is that it's a timed mission, and the escortee goes back to his bear trap if the timer expires. Even if it happens inside the barricade surrounding the sheriff's office.
      • This quest, thankfully, has a Good Bad Bug associated with it: if you move way out of range of the injured man, he'll stop moving at a crawl and run to catch up. Just take care that you don't get so far that you can't save him from the waves of zombies.
    • Third tier (out of four) of the Egypt main mission "A Modest Proposal" should have been quite tame, but turns very frustrating thanks to flawed mechanics which makes the sequence impossible to complete unless performing a specific series of counter-intuitive actions. In theory, you must reach an Orochi tent inside a canyon, then blow its content with explosives found right there, and run to safety; the tent is protected by a turret that you must blow with an EMP grenade looted on one of the mutated Orochi wandering not far. What actually happens:
      • The grenade has a shorter range than what the target colour code seems to indicate, and trying to toss it from too far removes it from the inventory without any other effect.
      • Selecting the grenade but not using it removes it from the inventory when you cancel the action.
      • It's impossible to toss the grenade above the knee-high sandbag wall surrounding the turret, forcing you to move behind the turret while it fires longer (of course, the sandbags doesn't prevent it to open fire on you...).
      • The grenade being a quest item, it is impossible to carry more than one at a given time.
      • One you found explosives and planted five bombs in the area's objective, a timer starts and you have exactly 2 minutes to reach safety, the relevant area being not shown on the map. Said area is the small rocky corridor that you initially entered to reach the tent, and which stands near to the explosives. Trying to hide in a crevice on the other side of the area doesn't work, neither teleporting away from the area.
    • The mission 'Hell and Bach' involves clicking on runes in a particular order within a 'wheel'. There are three problems with this. First, you're not given the full alphabet, making it necessary to use Trial-and-Error Gameplay to resolve which ones are which. Second, the runes themselves are very touchy, and clicking on the wrong one by mistake is practically guaranteed for the first couple times. Third, the runes are, for whatever reason, on a timer, and if you're too slow figuring out which of the runes to click next, it resets. And as if all that wasn't bad enough, woe to the low-end gamer — at lower resolutions, the runes are so similar that it becomes impossible to tell some of them apart.
    • The mission 'The Cost of Magic' was one of the first missions given this distinction. Tier 3 involves crossing a toxic lake by jumping across exposed concrete blocks and other debris, and while Tier 4 doesn't have any fatal hazards, the incongruous Floating Platforms (which had only appeared in then-late game) are even harder to stick the landing on. The dodgy Jump Physics did not help.
    • Ditto for the 'Lava Game Champion' achievement earned in Kingsmouth, where you have to cross Edgar's scrapyard without touching the ground (i.e. jumping across the wrecked cars), for the same reason. At least it's not an actual mission. Having that achievement is very much a Bragging Rights Reward.
    • 'The Bank Heist' is a Nintendo Hard stealth mission with optional Hard Mode Perks, no way to save progress on the map, Trial-and-Error Gameplay, Nigh-Invulnerable security drones that can take you down in one hit, and several bugs that can allow mobs to catch players regardless of precautions or force players to start anew (without the option to get the achievement until the quest's timer resets).
    • In Issue 11's Orochi Tower, the beta levels have an achievement for completing all of them without suffering damage. Two of them, Manticore and Plethron Beta, are filled with environmental threats, and frequently have surprisingly large damage areas. Unlike the other beta levels, Manticore and Plethron have no unique mechanics, and present essentially identical dangers. Averted with Faust beta level, however, which is a Breather Level whose only "challenge" is finding where the MacGuffin spawned amid a bunch of keyboard jockeys who don't notice some of their colleagues have died in their chairs, despite still counting toward the achievement.
    • The Red Thread in Transylvania starts easy, but can end a nightmare. Finding the right library and book, changing the candles, even following the lyre to the next area is no problem. It gets a little more challenging when you realize you need to play out the lyre's exact song sequence using four objects in the room. That's when the clues stop and you're forced to guess what order to arrange four objects in. When that's done, you have to fight through to a whole different area to a shallow pool filled with stars, where you have to activate these tiny objects to glow and form a constellation, which would be difficult enough. Which constellation out of the many in the sky? You'll just have to guess, and you'll have to hope you're standing in the right direction for your point of view, also by guesswork.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The intro for a Dragon character has been criticized for running right into this during the blowjob scene, though many still find it effective. (What blowjob? I just got the best foot massage of my life!)
    • It's pretty obvious that Tibor and Luminita are both children, but based on their proportions, one could be forgiven for believing they are supposed to be midgets.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: The game has some players feel this about the investigation quests. The player base tends to remember these quests first when talking about the game, albeit sometimes for the Guide Dang It!/Genius Bonus nature of some of them.
  • The Woobie:
    • Marianne Chen. As the last surviving member of a CDC team sent to investigate the emergence of the Filth in Solomon Island, she's had to watch the rest of the team die horribly — either from the arrival of the Fog or direct exposure to the Filth. Effectively abandoned by her superiors and left all alone in a badly-defended base camp overlooking the swamp where her teammates died, she now lives in daily terror of something crawling up the hill and murdering her in her sleep — or being infected, hence the reason why she hasn't taken off her Hazmat suit since the Fog first swept in. On top of that, her Halloween story reveals that her colleagues forced her to become part of an organ-smuggling ring, meaning she didn't have friends even among them. The player is literally the only human contact she's had in the last few weeks, and it really shows in her dialogue.
      Marianne Chen: Frankly, if it didn't violate protocol, I could really use a hug.
    • Carter, Innsmouth Academy's star pupil. Having possessed magical powers since birth, she's ended up accidentally destroying most of the houses she's lived in over the years, forcing her parents to move near-constantly just to avoid attention from the police; eventually, they had to hand her over to the Innsmouth Faculty at age twelve, if only because they were more capable of helping her control her abilities. As such, she's the poster child for I Just Want to Be Normal... and it's only gotten worse since she's had to deal with the arrival of the Fog.
    • Poor, poor Lorraine Maillard. Her father abused her throughout her childhood, and her one attempt to escape with her mother ended with her father kidnapping her back and making it look as though she ran away. As an adult, she spent her days being sexually harassed by customers at a barely-minimum wage job. The one bright spot in her life was her lover Don, and he died in the construction of Atlantic Island Park, leaving her pregnant and unsupported in a small town not known for its open-mindedness. Giving birth to Callum left her with postpartum depression that was treated with electroshock therapy and a ton of antidepressants, her own mother refused to support her, her attempts at getting money out of Don's family failed, her job paid so little that paying the power bills became almost impossible, and her attempts at raising her son might have actually been interrupted by real ghosts.

      And then the events of the The Park take place, in which she spends almost the entirety of the game getting her mind violated by the Bogeyman and being forced to hate her own son while being given an unadulterated view of her own deteriorating psyche. Just when you think it can't get any worse, the Bogeyman forces her to stab Callum to death. That's not even the end of it! She gets the blame for the crime, the Council of Venice press-gangs her into their ranks, and she's forcibly implanted with a Bee and made to endure even more Mind Rape while being made an immortal — meaning she'll never be able to recover from the tragedy and she can't kill herself without coming back to life. After thirty years of torment, she finally finds a way to kill herself... and that might just be the nearest thing to a happy ending Lorraine can ever get. But guess what? The ending to "The Seven Silences" implies that she gets brought back to life when you reassemble her destroyed Bee, so she doesn't even get the luxury of resting in peace — ever. Holy shit.