Monday, July 23, 2012

Secret World: Creepy

I may be the only one, but I think it’s kind of creepy that the guy you’re supposed to rescue from a bear trap in the woods outside of Kingsmouth, has somehow also been trapped in a Xerox-brand Human Duplication Machine, or something, and is in the Sheriff’s Office grounds three times:

Once near the east gate, once in the middle, once near the west gate, and still in the trap in the woods, all at the same time.  A couple of these screenshots show two of him at once.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Secret World

Lots of game crashes today.  Updated my video driver, but that didn’t stop them.

Seems to be the usual pattern of “I hit multiple controls in rapid succession and the game client couldn’t deal with it” kind of thing.  I’ve seen that in other games as well, but only when a video driver was out-of-date.  Conan (of course) being the other exception, which would crash even with up-to-date drivers installed.

Working on a second character.  A tank, using Chaos magic and Hammers.  Definitely slower kills than my DPS (Elemental+Shotgun) toon, but also definitely higher survivability.  Which, as always with these games, is apparently my preferred style.

The Secret World

Okay, so the game is pretty cool.  It’s got definite problems, but it’s more fun than not.

My character has been killed once by a client-side crash.

When I exit the game, using the Options menu (F10), it pulls up an error screen and asks “What were you doing when the game crashed?” after exiting.

The ability hot keys, mapped to keyboard 1-7, keep labeling themselves as 1,2,3,4,6,6,7.  The 5-key says it’s a 6.  It’s 5, and the 5 on the keyboard activates that power, but it puts a 6 on there.  Putting a different power on there temporarily fixes the label, but then it goes back to 6 again.

There’s an escort mission in the newbie zone, and the first three times I tried it, the NPC you’re supposed to escort would teleport back to his starting point as soon as I got him near the end-point.  Ported over to a different server (group-invite) and was able to finish it there.

So FunCom has kept up their buggy-on-launch tradition, but in a minor way.

On the other hand, the setting is fun, the combat is fun, the abilities are fun, not having to level-grind is fun, not having to suffer massive alt-itis is fun, and most of the missions are at least interesting.  I love the street names in the newbie zone town, and the cut-scenes with the NPCs are amusing (at least the first time).  Deputy Andy is definitely depraved!

So, overall, buggy, but fun.

Oh, and the in-game browser is a complete pain-in-the-butt.  Better off with a tablet or whatever so you can look up mission-related data in a place where you don’t have to exit from the site you find in order to continue game-play.  Very annoying, not very useful (the browser), so just bypass it if you can.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Secret World

Getting a little bored of City of Heroes, and need something to add variety to EVE Online, so I decided to try out Funcom’s new The Secret World.

First impressions created by the account creation and download page are all strongly negative.

First, the “Buy Now” page doesn’t appear to work in Internet Explorer.  Given market-share numbers, it’s surprising to me that they didn’t test this, but they obviously didn’t.

Second, when you fill out the account creation form (got to it by using Chrome), you have to fill it all out, click “Create Account”, and then and only then does it validate any of your data.  If your password has a punctuation mark in it other than a hyphen, you get an error, and have to fill out about half of the form again.  (I think the allowed piece of punctuation is a hyphen.  The error message was far from clear on the point.  Poor font-choice being the problem.)  If the username you want is already taken, you have to fill out the form again.  And so on.  No “check availability” on usernames, no “password must be X to Y length, and cannot contain punctuation” on the page before you even begin typing it, nothing.  Just keep trying till you get one that works.  Filling out about half the form over and over again each time.

Not a big deal, we’re not talking a 1040 form here, but definitely a poor user-experience, and a barrier-to-entry no serious business should allow.

So, after six tries, I finally got what they wanted and my account was created.  In the spirit of helping them and their future potential customers, I then clicked their “Contact Us” link on their official website, and filled out a detailed e-mail telling them some things they could do to make the experience better.  A few minutes after sending the e-mail, from their official “Contact Us” page, I got an auto-responder reply that said they no longer accept e-mails as a means of contacting them, and please go fill out a form on their support website.

The client is downloading now, and I’m worried that I may have just burned fifty bucks for a crap experience.  Conan (their other game that I both beta tested and played) was launched with serious bugs and playability issues.  I was hoping they had learned from that, but I’m now worried they probably haven’t.

These guys aren’t serious about making things easy on their customers, aren’t serious about their sales process, aren’t serious about their software QA, from what I’ve seen so far.  Hopefully the game itself will change my mind.  We’ll see.