You’re great. Really. I like most everything about you. I like that you’re not set in a conventional fantasy setting. I like the depth of your world-building that shows up in dialogue and in your visuals. I really like that you’re a massively multi-player role-playing game that doesn’t seem entirely aimed at getting me to the highest level possible as quickly as possible. I like that your combat is still recognizably controlled (necessary for MMRPGs), but still has a good amount of variety. And I like how cool you let me make my character look pretty damn cool.
In many ways, that makes you exactly what I want out of an MMORPG. To call you “a breath of fresh air” would be cliché, but here I am, doing it anyway. You deserve the plaudits you’re receiving.
But I still have to break up with you. It’s not you, you’re wonderful, it’s me. I’m just not ready for an MMRPG, and while you break the mold somewhat, it’s not in a way I’m comfortable with.
See, it’s the adventure game thing. Those quests of yours that don’t involve killing random monsters, but instead solving puzzles? That’s an incredibly good idea. It’s one that makes your game feel tremendously exciting. It also calls to mind your developers’ previous success, The Longest Journey. And I can’t get into it. Sometimes I want to do puzzles. Most of the time I don’t. Still, my completionist tendencies, plus the fact that you’ve done so well at building your world, makes me want to finish these quests. Yet the very first one of these was the last time I wanted to play you.
And that very first adventure quest happens to be your worst. Well, maybe it’s your worst. I hope it is. Because it’s a poor design to have a puzzle—seeing what was written in a jail cell years and years before—without any clues in local interactions as to how to fix it. Turns out you have to kill yourself and run back in for a clue, and then stay dead in order to follow up on that clue. The only I found this out was looking on the internet, which you make so very easy, Secret World. But constantly having to play with a walkthrough open is the reason I don’t play adventures often.
Oh, and another thing! For as much personality as you exude in your world and story, why is your supplemental information so awkwardly boring? Your items all look the same as one another, and the giant wheel of skills? They’re undifferentiated unless I hover my mouse over them. Would a few icons have killed you? It’s like you’re deliberately sending me mixed messages. And forcing me to do things I don’t want to do.
Maybe this damn relationship was doomed from the start. And maybe it is your fault and you should take some responsibility for once in your life. (And I’ll see you in a few patches, hey?)