Massively multiplayer games applied tofollow the few formula they had begin you out like few form ofelf and challenge you to go out into a big, persistent world whereyour humble elf adventurer would apply a rusty dagger to beat up abunch of rusty skeletons to gain few rusty copper coins, which couldbe saved up to finally buy a somewhat less-rusty dagger. But games asthis have grown and changed and are today going in totally noveldirections, as The Secret World, from Funcom. We brought an earlyseem at what the game has to proffer and have much to report.

The Secret World will be dissimilar anyother massively multiplayer game that has arrive earlier it. No,actually. Rather than bringing place in few form of far-flung futureor a high-fantasy world, it will bring place in modern times, or likegame director Ragnar Tornquist describes it, "a world ofcontemporary dark fantasy."

You will start the game like an averageperson living in the actual world, beginning out in one of the game'sthree beginner areas, and you will lead a general life, till yet youobserve that everything the urban legends and old wives' tales thatapplied to frighten you like a child are extreme actual and, in fewcases, extreme dangerous. Dark forces are appearing to bring abovethe world, and your character has been selected to attach the fight.

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One of the most challenging facets ofThe Secret World is the game's fiction, which, according toTornquist, "goes rear 100 million years" and involves allfrom the Knights Templar to Pandora's box to the Garden of Eden tothe Fountain of Youth to the Freemasons, and merely about each othermyth that has always been connected to a conspiracy theory or occultinvestigation.

Your character will be a freelancingadventurer who acquires thrust into the world to search out clueslike to who's behind every unaccountable phenomenon as well as toduel on vampires, ghouls, and other bizarre critters that go bump inthe night.

Though Tornquist points out that itwon't in any way be the only thing there is to do, combat will be animportant part of The Secret World. Your characters will fightbattles equipped with conventional weaponry, such as firearms (whichcould include various pistols, shotguns, and rifles), melee weaponsthat can be infused with mystical powers, and even martial arts. Wewatched two different cinematic sequences (which were prerenderedanimations, not in-game sequences) that each led to combat.

The first sequence showed a young ladyreturning home to her apartment in a run-down building whilelistening to her portable music player. After entering her apartmentand casually blending herself a smoothie, she turned to find herselfface-to-face with a ghoulish, sharp-toothed monster that lunged ather just as she drew a flaming katana sword to leap into battle.Another non-in-game sequence we watched showed a different femalecharacter apparently investigating an abandoned playground at night,scouring the sand for clues. There seemed to be nothing suspicious,unless you count the hundreds of crows that fluttered into the area,surrounding the young lady and eventually coalescing into a shadowyfigure that lunged at her while she planted a crucifix into theground with a flash of light before drawing a shotgun to go intobattle.

So, your character definitely won't beinvolved in normal fights, nor will you be required to go about youradventuring in the same way as in other games. Combat will be animportant part of the game, and yes, some of the game's tougherenemies will require more-developed characters in order to beconquered, but by and large, combat will not be the be-all andend-all of the game, as it is in so many other online games of thissort. Tornquist suggests that the game will have plenty of noncombatelements that will encourage exploration and investigation. Asidefrom fighting in battles, you can spend your time solving in-gamemysteries and developing your characters' abilities in the process(that is, there will be more ways to advance your characters'progression beyond just fighting a bunch of stuff).

You won't need to worry about gainingexperience levels in The Secret World--in fact, there won't be anyexperience levels in the game; instead, you'll develop yourcharacters using an open-ended skill system that doesn't lock youinto a single profession. Tornquist specifically cited theall-too-common issue in class-based games where you sink hundreds ofhours into a single character in a certain character class until youstart getting tired of it, at which point you can either stick withthe character you've invested so much of yourself in or restart abrand-new character (and face another couple of hundred hours of newcharacter development from scratch). The game director suggests thatThe Secret World's character system will be flexible enough to letyou change your character later on, should you decide you're lookingfor a change--that you'll "begin at the end game,"referring to how many games of this sort require you to hunt monstersfor hours until you reach a high-enough level to enjoy the mostinteresting content a game has to offer. Since your character issimply a person in the real world, you'll be able to customize yourappearance in many different ways, using the game's many clothing andappearance customization options to create whatever look for yourcharacter you prefer, whether that be goth, jock, nerd, indie rockguy, or just about anything else