Denial ain’t just a River in Egypt…
I’m this close to finishing Egpyt in The Secret World. I’d be long done if we could play more than once a week; we stopped last Saturday with one quest left in the Orochi camp, the dungeon, and the remainder of the story quest, so I’m sure we’ll finish up next time we play. I’ve been feeling the pinch of time every session, though, and it’s sapped a little bit of the fun out of it. That’s not the game’s fault, though; it’s my own.
Egypt was pleasantly different from Solomon Island. I enjoyed the horror theme of the first three zones, but the Egypt storyline has impressed me far more. One of my troupe is a PK, you see – a preacher’s kid, and he’s very well versed in Biblical lore. Apparently, Egpyt is, too. Beyond just the obvious references like the various plagues, there are much more subtle references, such as the fact that old texts refer to god as one of seven (I think) siblings. That meshes well with the Immortals in the area, particularly the one who shushes the burning bush.
Beyond that, the storyline encompassing the City of the Sun is very interesting. While not every NPC you come across is quite as diversified (some are, like the freed Djinn who refers to you only as “monkey”), the story of the siblings trapped as statues and their various feelings towards their father is an intricate web of familial relations that I found fascinating. You’ve got the doting statue, the brave statue, the resentful statue, and the statue too young to even really understand, as well as a handful of others. While their names didn’t stick as much as many of the other NPCs’ names did, they were still well-developed characters.
Whether I like Egypt or Solomon Island better is hard to judge. Each has their own uniqueness that almost makes the zones incomparable. If I absolutely had to, though I think I’d say I liked Solomon Island better. I felt like the horrific fog brought back from places unknown was a little more compelling than the Marya and the Black Pharaoh, which was very intellectually pleasing, but not as fun. Still, it’s a very close race.
I’m looking forward to Transylvania quite a bit. I haven’t heard much (which is fine – I like it that way), but gleaning the faction there’s name – The Draculeti, as well as the obvious lore connected with that geographic region (I believe beyond just the Count that Elie Wiesel also came from within that region), has really piqued my interest. I’m excited to get there, though it may be some time before I do. If the lore there is anywhere near as historically connected as the lore in Egpyt, I’m sure I’ll have a blast.
On the topic of lore, I wanted to point out that Egypt isn’t the first time historical events or documents were used to draw up conspiracy. The deep ice cave at the end of Act 1 is somewhat historically based. Amundsen, the first man to undisputedly reach the North pole, vanished on a rescue mission back to the polar area not long after his success. In attempting to rescue passengers from a downed blimp, his team vanished into the ice, leaving no trace behind whatsoever. When I first came across the ice cave and found letters from Amundsen and his team, I was blown away by how awesome it was that the designers had integrated actual historical figures (there’s more in there than just Amundsen’s journal), most of whom died young and of mysterious circumstances.
Such depth of lore I think is both TSW’s greatest success and failure. One review I read said it was a game made for the literati, and while I hardly think of myself as such, I am an English teacher, so that may be a very astute observation. I love the game. Most of my friends loved the game. Many, many others, though, do not. I suppose that’s precisely what a “niche” game is, but that label is thrown around like a term for failing, which I don’t like one bit. Every game is a niche game, but some niches are larger than others. Anyone who thinks that high fantasy settings or MMOs aren’t niche is fooling themselves; gamers and nerds may have become more mainstream, but we’re not mainstream yet.
Then again, maybe I’m just in Denial.
Stubborn (and hoping for the best)