Like Gravity

A limited-time challenge in The Secret World gives you the chance to grab a pair of high-tech gravity skates.

Gravity skates in The Secret World

Just when you’ve set aside The Secret World for a while due to an ongoing content drought, they find a way to entice you back into the fold, at least for a limited time…

The gravity skates look awesome, and are a new sprint customisation you can acquire by completing any 35 challenges before 19 March 2017. The challenge period began on Valentine’s Day, so that’s over a month of time to obtain the skates, doing at least one challenge per day and having weekly challenges make up any slack.

Reprieve from doom

During the game’s previous Doomboard Challenge, the game developers required you to complete 70 challenges within a similar time period. While this wasn’t too difficult for people who ran multiple challenges per week, it did take some level of commitment that some casual players may have felt was too much to even bother trying. I do remember feeling a little burnt out on the game after getting my Doomboard, but in my case I tried to cram in as many challenges as I could to complete the challenge sooner.

It seems that Funcom has listened to people’s concerns and tuned down the number of required challenges this time – by half! This appears to have been well received by the community. The people I’ve spoken to who intend to get the gravity skates don’t seem stressed, and are taking on the challenge at a leisurely pace.

Gravitating towards success

I think the gravity skates look pretty cool. They use the same skating animation first introduced by the quad roller skates from the Retro 80s bag, but have a futuristic look, floating above the ground on hover blades and leaving a TRON-like blue trail.

It feels like Funcom has got the pacing right this time – you still need to make an effort to complete a reasonable set of challenges, but it doesn’t feel like an impossible task. I started doing challenges on the day the event launched, and after only a week I’m rocking my own pair of gravity skates.

Skating around Manticore Plaza in The Secret World

The game offers you six daily challenges. Four of these will randomly update each day, including:

  • one focused on PvE missions (doing either three sidequests or one main mission)
  • a specific dungeon challenge (either to complete an elite dungeon or a nightmare dungeon from a particular region)
  • a scenario-focused challenge (completing any scenario at a specified difficulty and with a specified level of success)
  • a random PvP activity (Shambala, Stonehenge or El Dorado).

The other two daily challenges are generic, asking you to use the group finder randomiser to complete any dungeon and completing two missions in Fusang, the persistent PvP battleground.

In addition to these, there are several weekly challenges which are progressed by completing missions, participating in PvP, running dungeons, doing scenarios, joining raids and defeating lair bosses. Completing the daily challenges will often contribute towards the weekly challenges.

I was able to pick and choose which challenges I preferred – in my case, focusing on missions, raids and dungeons. I only did one PvP activity during the week, which was winning a match in Shambala, simultaneously completing both the daily Shambala challenge and the weekly PvP victory challenge in a two-for-one deal.

You only need to focus on completing the 35 challenges on one character. Once that character has completed the required number, the gravity skates appear in your inventory – activating this item will unlock them in the sprint customisation window for every character on your account.

It clings to you…

To paraphrase Halina Ilyushin from The Facility dungeon, The Secret World seems to cling to me like gravity. Despite whatever other game might be the flavour of the month, the game developers have found the magic formula to draw me back with these limited-time challenges.

The upside of the limited-time challenges, compared to other in-game events, is that the chance of getting the desired reward is 100 per cent if you complete the required number of challenges. It definitely affects my willingness to come back to the game and participate in these things. This is in contrast to every other event in the game, which puts some rewards in RNG dominated loot bags – these have frustrated me when I haven’t been able to get everything I wanted out of them.

Another good thing about the gravity skates challenge has been the relaxed number of challenges versus time-frame for completion. You don’t need to spend hours per day playing only The Secret World to successfully obtain the skates – I’ve been able to dip in, do some quick challenges, then log out and enjoy the new Living World episode in Guild Wars 2, or furnish my new house in The Elder Scrolls Online.

There’s one downside to the limited-time challenges, and that’s in their very nature. After the event is over, it is gone forever and there’s no way to obtain the special item ever again, at least so far. We haven’t yet seen if Funcom is planning to re-run previous events like the Doomboard challenge and let players who may have missed out have a chance to get it. Probably not.

I don’t have to worry about that though, because I’ve got my gravity skates. I didn’t feel forced to participate and it wasn’t a stressful burden. I enjoyed coming back to the game and doing the content which I like to do (despite none of it being any new story content), and it was nice to group up with some friends and work on challenges together.

Did you gravitate back to The Secret World to get your own pair of gravity skates too?

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