I haven’t written much about The Secret World lately, for the very good reason that frankly I haven’t played it very much at all. However during the last few days I’ve been getting back to things there, and I’m having an absolutely great time with it at the moment, and I’ve played it quite a lot this week. I’m still subscribing to the game and I’m just letting my store credits build up, before I decide which DLC to buy first. Although I do understand there’s some sort of cap on those store credits so I have to be a bit mindful of that.
I think it really helped to draw me back into the game that the first mission I completed after my return was actually the first faction mission, in my case for The Templars, and it was very enjoyable with some neat lighting mechanics being used to add to the oppressively dark atmosphere. This immediately pulled me back into the game and got me excited about all the great missions to come. One thing I really do like about TSW is that you often find yourself doing things I’ve never done in an MMO before. Take for example the mission I just mentioned, where you have to equip a miners lamp headlight which deactivates periodically. It’s not just using the lamp that’s different, but also that they took the time to make doing so a worthwhile experience.
That said, I’m still finding that general performance issues I have with the game are putting me off somewhat. It’s hard to appreciate an area such as London, and all the lengths Funcom have gone to to make it an interesting place packed with funny little details, when it takes 60 seconds for NPCs to load in a lot of the time. I also get the odd crash which I can live with, but this combined with longer than average loading times is quite irritating. Yesterday the launcher was installing a patch, but was downloading at a peek of around 28kb/s. Which meant it took about twenty minutes to download a 58mb patch. That actually ate into my window for playing the game significantly, so I was able to do much less than I’d have liked to.
My biggest problem so far though, has to be the inconsistency of animations in the game. I regularly get frozen animations, animations that don’t trigger, or that glitch out in some fashion. So I can hit active dodge, and it’s basically 50/50 whether my character will actually visibly do anything on the screen. Sometimes if I dodge whilst running, my character will be completely motionless as if standing still whilst still propelling forwards at sprint speed, which certainly looks a bit funny but can be a bit of an immersion breaker. I’ve even had both my character and enemies fail to use any attack animations for most of a fight, so the only feedback that anything at all is happening is numbers springing out of their heads. None of this is a deal breaker, but it’s proving to be a bit of an obstacle to fully enjoying the game.
I’m well aware that my PC is on its way out, so it’s possible that some of these problems are on my end. Yet, I’d be surprised if something like those animations glitches I described weren’t a client side problem. I searched around online about poor framerate even on low settings, and it was recommended in a few places to switch down to DX9 instead of 11, as what you lose by doing so is minimal anyway and apparently it fixes a lot of problems and is a known issue with Age of Conan too. Doing this did help with framerate issues, and allow me to run the game on much higher setting before taking a performance hit, which certainly makes the game look a lot better than it did before, but these other little niggles are all that’s holding me back from getting fully engaged in the game.
So am I alone in this, or have any of you guys experienced a lot of problems with The Secret World?