ArabicGamers had the chance to catch up with Funcom's Erling Ellingson to discuss the next MMO from the Norwegian developer. The interview outlines what we can expect from the factions, the non-levelling class system and how the game differs from previous Funcom MMO, Age of Conan.
So how does this MMO differ from every other MMO out there?
Well, the biggest think that really differentiates The Secret World from other MMOs is the setting. The fact that it's modern day, real world, you go to Egypt, Transylvania, London, New York; you even go to Hell at a certain point! I don't if that's a real world location or not, but you know. [The other thing] Of course is that we don't have any classes or levels. Those two things are the key defining differentiators for The Secret World. And of course, also, the quite heavy focus on story telling. The way we are doing our missions, making them almost like a bridge between single player games and MMO games.
So talk to us about the concept of no classes and no levels. What gave you that idea?
Funcom have always been innovators. With Age of Conan we innovated on the combat system of MMOs. We wanted to do the same with character progressions on The Secret World. So we determined we don't want to do classes, we don't want to restrict people to a certain play style, we want them to be able to enjoy the content in any way they want to enjoy it. In The Secret World you have over 500 types of abilities, so you can bring up the ability wheel and you can choose from over 500 different abilities in this wheel and you can mix and match and you can find synergies and abilities that work well with each other and you can create a build that you want to play.
If you play and build for 15 minutes and you get bored of it, you just switch to another build. You just need to make sure that you buy the abilities that you want to use. You get the ability points by monster killing and mission progression.
Explain a little more, if you don't mind, about the Secret Societies in the game.
All of the three secret societies are very different to each other. You have the Illuminati, you have the Dragon and you have the Templar. For example the Templars are brutal and militaristic. You have the Illuminati who are corporate manipulators who like to party hard and fight even harder. And then you have the Dragons who are more mysterious and philosophical and believe in chaos theory, you know, creating tsunami's out of ripples in the water for instance. They all have their own different way of approaching things. In The Secret World, the secret societies perpetuates everything in the game. Anything from the storyline to the PvP mechanics. So choosing your secret society is incredibly important and it defines how you play the game in many ways. It defines the story that you will be following and which side in the great PvP battles you'll be on.
So will the game be available for digital distribution?
Absolutely, you can buy the game digitally or in retail. It's available for pre-order now. If you do pre-order now you'll be able to enter the beta weekends which start on 11 May and run up all the way to launch in 19 June. We also have several different pre-order incentives for instance different pets; cats and dogs and even a wolf, and we have an XP bonus ring, and a lot of cool stuff from pre-ordering.
How about localisation of languages, can we expect to see that?
The Secret World is being fully to French and German, those two other languages other than English that we will be supporting at launch. We're doing a very thorough localisation job. We're doing all the voice overs will be in localised and there's a ton of voice overs. We've been paying particular attention to making sure that the German and French voice overs is as good as the English. We're definitely leaving the doors open for other territories at some point, but at launch we will available in English, German and French.
How important is the Middle Eastern countries?
They're markets we don't have a lot of experience with at Funcom at least, they're definitely very exciting markets, but we haven't been doing anything specifically. it's something we'd like to explore more and learn more about that market and how we can put more focus on those markets and what sort of return of investment we can get from that region. It's really interesting, there's a lot of stuff happening in those markets.
What is your favourite thing in The Secret World?
To me personally it's the storytelling. I love MMOs, but I love single player games even more, I have to admit because I love following a story. The Secret World for me bridges the gap between single player games and MMOs. It's so thick with story and storytelling and the story is told in such a fantastic way. for me personally that's the one thing really a captures me about The Secret World. It's all the other things as well, of course, but that's what's going to have me playing for hundreds of hours.