Thursday, July 5, 2012

No, I Will Not Learn Morse Code

The Secret World features a much greater degree of solo PvE interaction than most games, even single-player ones. It's not all "go there and hit that". It rewards players for puzzle-solving or general cultural  background like knowing the name and best-known work of a famous composer. Naturally, this draws a lot of complaints from the leet-kiddie crowd and attempts to undermine the game's difficulty through spoilers abound. Normally i am firmly in the developers' corner and would encourage them to put in as much complexity as possible, but there are ways in which they've jumped the gun.

Having played through the first five zones of the game, i've been forced to cheat four times so far because a quest has 'stumped' me. I'm proud to say that the first time the missing clue was simply almost invisible on my screen because the room was too dark, and the developers rectified the situation in a later patch. The second time, the clue was too subtle for me or went against my basic mindset. The third clue was again stupidly hidden visually. I had even tried clicking on it several times before and had simply been a few pixels off.

This time though, i am proud to say i cheated and simply looked up the answer online. During the quest, you are given a recording of a morse-code message. I don't mean a transcript which you could sit down and translate at your leisure but a hardcore telegraph operator rapid-fire series of beeps. This is ridiculous.
Morse code is not part of general knowledge. Learning it is not currently a life skill even if you're planning expeditions into the Amazon. It is not part of the educational system. It has no use in modern life, practical or social. It is insane (and i mean that in the true sense of being disjointed from reality) to demand that players decipher a full-tilt audio code with no option to slow it down or transcribe it.

Even the people whose guides i used to cheat said they slowed it down using an audio recording program, and this is again, unacceptable. A game should be self-contained. No third party programs should even be permitted, much less required.

I'm sorry, Tornquist and the rest of the crew at Funcom. You dropped the ball on this one.

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