I finally bought The Secret World a couple of weeks ago after eyeing it for about a year. It went F2P after a one-time $29.99 purchase and that was the hook that got me to buy it. It's a fusion MMO with lots of elements from various other genres mixed in to a fairly standard quest based leveling system. The main story line is a horror show that has lots of Zombie Apocalypse, Resident Evil type overtones. The method used to tell the tales is Stephen King-lite, with lots of chained quest lines that are effectively short stories as you advance the chains. Every quest has several minutes of animation associated with it, generally by the quest giver, that explains the back story on the quest and also adds color to the general background. When a half dozen quest givers have all said something negative about a person it often means something needs to be looked into, even if the person wasn't part of any of the quests in question. I've watched probably 3 hours of animated back story at this point in little dribs and drabs that have painted a vivid picture of the events preceding my arrival and as the story has progressed. It adds a completely different dimension to the story telling when some NPC is talking about something and I'm remembering what other people have had to say leading up to that. It makes the NPC's real characters in play, not just mannequins standing around with a mark over their head as in many MMO's. As you move through the early areas the story branches out with dozens of puzzles to solve, real puzzles not just find the switch and click it type stuff. By the time you are well into the first town's back story you're looking at a Dan Brown/American Treasure type search with lots of clues leading you towards the solutions. I realized after about 6 hours of play that Funcom had basically fused the standard MMO with a gothic horror show and also managed to turn it into a historical saga that had me chasing the ghosts of legend as well. Then I ran into the Orochi Corporation for the first time and things began to look kind of Fringe-ish also. Or Matrix-lite. There are so many threads in the game that it's hard to pin any one of them down and that's what makes the game fun to play, as in play a game not level in an MMO. Leveling itself is very different than any MMO I've played. Basically there are 12 trees of skills to buy in and you get Action Points fairly often to sink into the trees. The more you buy into a tree the greater the synergies you unlock and in some cases more powerful skills. The 12 trees are Magic (Elemental, Chaos and Blood), Ranged (Shotgun, Pistol, Assault Rifle), Melee (Sword, Hammer, Fist) and Utility (Tank, DPS, Heal). You get two weapons slots and you need to have a weapon equipped in order to use Active skills from a tree. If I have a Pistol in one hand and a Fist weapon in the other I can use whatever Active skills I have unlocked in those two trees. Passive skills can be used from any unlocked tree. They don't need to have a weapon from the tree equipped. The catch is that you can only have 7 Active skills and 7 Passive skills available at any given time. You can switch between skill sets using templates but this is an out of combat function so at any given time you have 14 skills available in combat. The need for alts is diminished by the fact that your end game character is going to have everything unlocked and so will be able to use any build in the game with the only variable being your skill in playing that role. Gear is very simplified with just the two Weapons, a Gadget later on, and 7 slots to put Talismans in. The slots are Head, Neck, Belt, two Rings and two Bracers. The look of your character is all cosmetic with various outfits, uniforms and clothing to wear. Each Talisman has Health, Attack or Healing, and something else associated with it. Tank Talismans have high Health and low Attack. DPS Talismans have low Health and high Attack. Healing Talismans tend to have moderate Health and Healing. All of the Talismans come in pure and hybrid combinations. You can get a balanced Talisman that has lower Health and higher Attack than a normal Tank talisman as an example. The additional stats on Talismans and Weapons are Hit, Critical Chance, Critical Power, Penetration, Block, Defense, Evade, Physical Protection and Magical Protection. Each item tends to have one of these at a high level or two at moderate levels. You can mix and match slots to hybridize further. Tank pieces mixed with Healing pieces gives you a live forever aspect. Two Tank pieces and five DPS pieces is that tough scrapper who manages to get the kill every time at low health. You can build a DPS skill set and play it in Tanking gear. There are just a lot of different ways to go about playing your character once you have built up some gear and unlocked lots of skills. Anyway, if you are into MMO's or really like puzzle games, or like FRPG's or FPS you really should check out The Secret World. It's got all of that included and a few things I haven't mentioned because a little surprise is a good thing, especially when it's a good surprise.