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The Secret World - first look

The Secret World designer Ragnar Tornquist is adamant in his belief that it's a mistake for MMO creators to continue trying to copy World of Warcraft. That makes sense. We wouldn't expect the creator behind cult hits Dreamfall and The Longest Journey to push out another mundane orcs versus elves game. But just because we know what The Secret World isn’t doesn’t mean we know what it is. For as long as we've known of the game’s existence - it was announced over two years ago - we haven't actually known much else ... until now.

Tornquist's first goal with The Secret World was to create "a huge universe," something he says all MMOs need. But the trick according to Tornquist is that this vast size need not be measured in virtual miles. Developer/Publisher Funcom wants their latest online game to be gigantic in a way that's more than geographical.

We were shown an early "direction” video used to help create the game’s tone. Though it takes place in current times, the plot begins in 1923 with the discovery of an ancient temple covered in ice. Concept art shows off jungle and Oriental settings, and tons of words begin flashing across the screen with increasing speed - phrases that reference vampires, Atlantis, the New World Order, Pandora's Box, and practically any other myth, urban legend, or conspiracy theory you can think of. And at the end, one final message: "Everything is true." So that's what he meant about a huge universe.

Because it's drawing on "real life" mythology, The Secret World will take place on our Earth, including cities such as New York, London, and Seoul. Players will begin as regular people who slowly come to realize that they have special powers, which puts them into the middle of a supernatural conflict.

Since these are real people in the real world, you can also say goodbye to MMO mainstays like classes and weapons, even character levels. Everything in the game will be skill-based, including guns, swords, voodoo, illusionism, investigation, and more. Hybrids will be possible, and you should never find your character stuck down a single progression path.