So I mentioned the Secret World Legends launch in last week’s blog, and not to be ones to encourage everyone else to run off the cliff while I stay back, Dawn and I spent a bit of quality time with it. She pretty much was able to recreate her character from the old version of the game, but while I was happy enough recreating the appearance of my own former character, the new gameplay for his concept was frustrating. I found myself falling back on the side vanity project where, noting that SWL has but one body type for ladies and it’s a pretty skinny one, I tried my hand at creating Suzie. And then Suzie ended up proving more fun to play, and since running multiple alternate characters in SWL still isn’t all that great (and with some of the new free-to-play modifications is arguably worse), well, there I was guiding our intrepid zombie rancher through killing a ton of zombies. Not as much of a buyer’s economy for zeds in The Secret World.

A nice feature of the revamp though was that Funcom does seem to have followed through on their pledge to make content more accessible, insofar as allowing for more solo or small group play. They’re not even calling it an MMORPG any more, instead opting for the term “shared world action RPG”. SWARPG? (‘Scuse me.)

Belching jokes aside, what this meant in practice is that Dawn and I were able to team up and finally successfully run through a “dungeon” scenario we’d never been able to get through before because frankly we’re just antisocial like that. And that was pretty damn cool, because we got to watch this happen (and you’ll get to listen to Dawn’s commentary):

Don’t worry, Suzie survived that crash and proceeded to shoot that overgrown octopus in the face.

Now it’s not really Cthulhu, the game calls it an “Ur-Draug” and it’s actually a fairly small specimen of one… yet ’tis still impressively large and intimidating to fight, and it’s kind of cool that the game will insert your custom character into dramatically rendered cutscenes like the above.

Uniquely mind-shattering? No, but that’s cool, too. If a game allows you to customize your character then personally I think one of the joys it should be providing is getting to watch that character fight and explore and, yes, occasionally try not to get eaten by Cthulhu. It’s of course fun of a different sort to play, say, Geralt of the Witcher series, and they might all still call you Shepherd regardless of how you look, but I wonder if y’all out there are of a mind with me that customization can definitely add something to a game experience? And if so, what are your tendencies? Do you try to create yourself? Someone you know? A favorite fictional character, whether your own or another’s creation? Just something as weird as possible? And do you hold with a similar choice across various genres and settings, or do you change it up?

Meanwhile, if you’re curious Dawn has uploaded the entire “dungeon run” to her Twitch channel, though just as a warning it’s about an hour long and not always riveting — in particular she ends up a distant spectator through about half of the final battle, which was unfortunate as you will only occasionally be able to see Suzie shooting Cthulhu–err, the Ur-Draug–in the face. You’ll also only rarely be able to hear me since I wasn’t on mic, just talking to her from across the room. But there’s plenty of seaweed-strewn undead and other nasties to give you a taste of how SWL plays.

Twitch TV video – “Dead in the Water”