The Secret World: A Class-less MMORPG?

Posted: Oct 18 2009, 12:58pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 4:54pm CDT, in News | Gaming

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When I was younger I played a pen and paper RPG called "Shadowrun". It was a cyberpunk game, with magic and other fantasy elements tossed in for good measure. What made Shadowrun most interesting to me was the fact that it was an RPG with a totally classless character development system. In most games you decide at the start which (very limited) roll your character is going to fill in the party. This leads to unsatisfied players who find out, too late, that the roll their class fulfills in game isn't the one they signed up to play. One look at the WoW class forums should be enough to prove that class-based RPGs have some problems.

Ever since I played Shadowrun, I've been waiting for a major MMORPG to take the same idea and make a truly open character development system. With their new game The Secret World it looks like Funcom is trying to do just that. You may remember Funcom from the troubled MMO "Age of Conan". While AoC was a dark fantasy game set in the pre-historic world of Robert Howard, TSW is a cyberpunk/conspiracy game that seems to be largely based off of Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus trilogy.

In TSW you'll have a choice of three different conspiratorial organizations to belong to. There's the classic Illuminati, the ancient Templars, and an eastern mystical group called The Dragon. Players will also be able to create their own organizations, which in this are called Cabals. Funcom has already confirmed the presence of Cabal headquarters, so you will be able to engage your inner interior decorator.

To me, the most exciting thing about TSW is that it is totally class and level free. The game is still very early in development, but if you visit the website now you can take an "Initiation test" and sign up for their beta. I've been burned before by MMOs that sounded too perfect, so I'll refrain from gushing too much about The Secret World until we at least start to hear some reports from the beta.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
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