The Average Gamer

The Secret World – PvP Preview

Player vs Player arenas were available in The Secret World beta this weekend, with three different types on show. These zones exist separately from the main quest worlds and are accessed through the game menus, much like Guild Wars 2 or the World of Warcraft Battlegrounds. In the menu you can choose to queue solo or as a group for one of the available maps. Carry on your merry adventuring and when a slot opens up, you’re prompted with a pop menu asking for confirmation to join the map.

According to the lore of The Secret World, each zone is supposedly a place of power hidden in plain sight. The game’ three factions – Templars, Dragons and Illuminati – constantly vie for control of these places.

First up was Stonehenge. This European location is a simple domination map with a single control point, the Stonehenge circle itself. Around the central point were spawn points for each of the games factions. Tellingly, it was also the only map still in active use by the end of the beta weekend.

This type of map is where the game’s “No classes” philosophy begins to unravel. Playing as part of a pick-up group (i.e. the game matches you with whoever is available) means that there is no group synergy, barely any communication and little teamwork.

The lack of classes meant that we had no assumed roles, resulting in a free-for-all deathmatch inside the circle. The only guidance we had was one person saying “Only kill the Illuminati” which made sense, since the Dragons were well behind both of us in points.

Even so, spawning, running to the circle, throwing as much damage at the nearest target as possible before dying and then respawning… it gets old quickly.

On the bright side, it’s a much faster way to gain Ability Points for new skills than walking dully around Kingsmouth.

The second map was [something], again based around control points but with a significant difference. Every group member could pick up missions to capture a facility or capture an anima well, giving a nice XP bonus to the capture.

Anima wells act as respawn points for team members. Facilities were much bigger and feature a large glowing titan in the middle of a room, rather like the one pictured. Alas, I could not complete this mission as there were only 4 people in a map meant for 30 and the enemy titan wouldn’t do anything when I prodded him.

The third map was El Dorado. This map required us to work closely as a team to capture as many of the four talismans on the map as possible. In a sort of hybrid capture-the-flag/domination scenario, we would run out to a talisman, capture it, and then run like crazy to the next one. One of the team would be carrying the first talisman on his or her back, with the team scoring points as long as we protected it.

Once we had all four talismans, a 2-minute countdown would be announced. If our team managed to retain all four talismans for the full two minutes, we would win the match.

We did. Little thanks to me.

The Secret World will launch on 3rd July 2012 for PC.