It’s been a while since I’ve really played The Secret World. I mean, I’ve been playing it, but only paying surface attention. Kill the thing, oooo that’s pretty, let’s sort inventory.
The last few days I’ve been getting back into the headspace I prefer for TSW – headphones on, no distractions, less with the multitasking – and it’s well worth it even after all this time.
I’ve been focusing on rerunning the entire Tokyo storyline, taking my time and picking up side missions as I go. It started for the obvious reason that those missions award more bullion, but as soon as I spent some time plugged into the world I remembered how beautiful, if dark, the area is.
From the moment I first set foot in Kaidan, I’ve loved the music themes. Kaidan itself feels lonely and semi-abandoned; this music communicates those feelings so very well. The music has always sounded wistful to me, and haunting. “Haunting” gets overused when describing music, but it’s a word that comes to mind here.
Combine this music with the occasional groans and squelches from the monsters and half-monsters in the area, and it grips me separately from my relative level. It would be tough for me to die in Kaidan, but that’s not how I feel while I’m there.
When I slow down and savor the story…well, that’s how I ended up running missions for hours yesterday instead of just running “a few” after joining the last half of OtterDown’s stream. Kaidan has had some horrible, brain-breaking things happen to it recently. The people still alive have had their psyches badly mauled, and it show when talking to them. Trauma shows itself in different ways with different people, but that underlying thread is very much present throughout.
As I ran those missions yesterday, I also got to enjoy something else I love about the game – its community. I know, I’ve said it before, but the players really are (mostly) wonderful.
I was running one of the missions I never had finished – it’s called Brotherly Loathe. It’s part of an ongoing story involving warring factions of Oni (demons), and the exiled faction we work with while in the city. There’s a massive battle in the first tier, and I wasn’t exactly mastering it. I wasn’t dying, but I imagine it was pretty clear I was struggling.
Enter a random player wondering by. They first watched for a bit, then entered the fight enough that I was less pressed, but without taking it over. They stepped back once I had things a bit more under control, and whispered me about a mechanic I’d missed while fighting. That allowed me to finish the rest of the fight, after thanking them, and we both continued on our way.
It’s a small thing, maybe. But that player took the time to be incredibly helpful, and was careful to do so in a non-intrusive way. I love moments like that.