Most MMOs fall on the crutch of a “good versus evil” two-sided division of player factions – Alliance vs. Horde, Heroes vs. Villains, Jedi vs. Sith. Others just eschew factions altogether: the community is just one big, happy family that decide to PvP amongst themselves for whatever reason (see TERA, Guild Wars, or Dungeons & Dragons Online). The Secret World takes a decidedly different route – each of the three factions may fight the forces of darkness, but it’s all in the name of personal gain, greed, and power.
The Dragon secret society value chaos above all else, and think the world can only be bettered if the existing society crumbles. The high-and-mighty Templar do everything in their power to purge evil from the world – only, they get to define what’s “evil” and what’s not. The Illuminati are maybe the worst of the bunch: they’re after corporate power, and will swallow any competing company whole if it stands between them and stacking greenbacks.
From Ragnar Tørnquist, creative director and senior producer on TSW: “The Secret World isn’t black-and-white -- it’s all shades of dark grey, just like the real world. You’ll never quite know who to trust.”