Description: An MMORPG set in a current-day world, albeit with magic and secret organizations.
Conveniences: Very customizable UI.
Annoyances: Memory issues even on low settings with 4+ gigs of RAM; lack of clarity on how to actually perform certain actions via the cluttered interface.
Standouts: Great flavour text that accompanies all quests and setting descriptions.
- Much like Star Wars: The Old Republic, character creation is accompanied by optional videos that set the stage and give a bit of background info on each faction.
- One of TSW’s main marketing points is its focus on puzzle-based quests, and in-game browser to help the player solve these riddles. However, in practice they are quite obtuse, recalling the silly, overcomplicated, and illogical mysteries of The Da Vinci Code. The puzzles do help to add variety, but they’re not that frequent and the in-game browser is better suited to directly looking up their solutions rather than trying to piece together misspelled bits of Latin scripture.
- All major quests — of which only one can be “active” at a time — start off with an in-game cinematic. These are fully voiced and do a good job of world-building, but unfortunately their completion does not result in any permanent changes to the world itself.
- There are no classes in the game, and the skills can be mixed and matched as desired. It’s an interesting and liberating approach, although each section of each skill-path needs to be unlocked in a linear order, i.e., it’s impossible to get chaos skill #3 without first unlocking #1 and #2.
- “Decks” are specific combinations of skills that represent certain archetypes and help the player make progression choices. Unlocking all the skills in a deck also rewards the player with a unique costume.
- Travel between major areas is done via an underground world-tree whose individual branches represent unique, traversable paths. It’s a clever way of magically connecting the entire world, and a suitably modular system for introducing new locations.
- Crafting is done via a Minecraft-like interface where ingredients are physically placed on a grid in a rough representation of the desired item. Crafting in general plays a large part in the game as item-drops are relatively rare and many items are not easily purchasable. The crafting and disassembling is a bit clunky, though, as it involves various prerequisites that are not always clear.
- In addition to the global currency, factions hand out unique coins for completing quests that are then used to trade with their vendors.
- All equipable items consist of trinkets that only increase combat statistics such as critical hit damage — there are no traditional attributes such as strength, agility, etc., and the items don’t seem to be tied into any of the skills. Other than weapons, the gear also does not have a visual impact on the player’s avatar as that’s done by separately purchasing purely aesthetic clothing.