I was reading MMOGC's post this morning about past and current issues she's had with Funcom's Age of Conan and The Secret World. It's actually a positive post overall, more about not letting problems with prior games deter you from trying new ones from the same company. I tend to agree overall. While I didn't have the same technical issues with AoC that GeeCee did, I couldn't get into the game the way some have. It never really clicked for me, even though I found the original Conan short stories entertaining.
So along comes The Secret World, a game I didn't really intend to play. Even now, with it being the current shiny, I'm trying my best not to jump on the hype train. But I gotta say, I haven't had this much fun playing a game since my first couple years of WoW. SWTOR was exciting to start. The opening crawl of "my" story really revved up my excitement, the first time I saw it. I quickly lost that rush with each succeeding character.
Don't get me wrong, SWTOR has been a lot of fun. However, I haven't even logged in at least two weeks. Battlechicken's issues, even though they were resolved, still soured me on BioWare's game. It may seem silly to stop playing a game because of something outside the game itself that didn't even happen to me, but there it is. I haven't even gotten my main, Versteckt, up to max level or finish his story. My other characters languish at various stages of the game, and on my SWTOR character page. Mostly, it feels like an effort, a chore, to log in and play. I'd probably enjoy it if I do, but the incentive to is gone. CORRECTION: My lovely bride wants to finish the stories of Versteckt and Chic(c)o, so we'll be doing that.
On the other hand, TSW has drawn me in, in a big way. I encountered my first major bugs yesterday, with the chat going haywire (which happened to everyone) and a major quest, "Something Wicked," bugging out at the worst possible time, making it unfinishable. Hopefully, both will be fixed quickly. I did manage to finish that quest on another character the night before, but did have some trouble deciding what to do to solve the puzzle. And trying to figure out if I was doing it wrong or it was bugged. So I can understand the frustration of GeeCee and others.
None of that is game breaking, though the chat problem made it difficult to resolve the quest bug.
I wonder if some of the "bugs" people encountered during beta were misunderstandings of the game mechanics or even game terminology. For instance, the mechanic called "Dodge" in many other games—like WoW—avoidance of an incoming attack, is called "Evade" in TSW. The thing is, "Evade" in WoW means a mob has stopped attacking and is returning to its default position. This sometimes happens if the mob is bugged for whatever reason. So there I am, swinging at a zombie, and I see the word "Evade" fly above its head where damage numbers should be. "It's bugged, dammit!" No, the mob merely avoided my swing.
The "clunky" combat, turns out to be fairly subtle. With the possible exception of the "hearth" spell to Agartha, which I have not tested, every spell in the game is castable on the fly. Which means I can be moving to avoid an attack at the same time I am setting up my own. This makes the battles more dynamic than I realized at first. Also, each school of combat has things that make it unique, beyond the superficial animations. For instance, Blood Magic allows you to sacrifice some health in order to cast a power-consuming spell; something that is impossible for the other two schools of magic. Unless I am mistaken, melee consumers hit the same whether you have one power or five. (Please forgive my inexact terminology) Ranged (gun) consumers are more powerful the more combo points you have on the target. Those subtle differences change the way each school plays; on top of which, you may (should?) have abilities from two different schools of combat, further changing how you approach combat. It's not simply a choice of guns, magic, or melee.
I have never gotten this much into the combat theory of a game. Most of the time, I'm either just taking what looks good, or following the advice of someone else far more interested in theorycraft. And that says a lot to me about The Secret World.