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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Something Wicked - The Tweeted World

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The Secret World is a game that has always blurred the line between the game world and the real world. Many of its quests require you to search the real world for solutions, and the recent alternate reality game had tens of thousands of community members working together outside the game in a common cause. Now it appears that Funcom may be at it again...

Characters from the game have started talking in the real world, through their Twitter accounts, both to each other and to community members who get involved in the discussions. Those of you who follow @The_Buzzing will have seen the recent #hivehum hashtag, and the various inputs from other mysterious characters such as @CorporateBlues and @PrunePrince.

@The_Buzzing is the strangest account, as it seems to be Gaia's own Twitter account, or at least the account of the Bees (in TSW lore the bees are Gaia's defence against dark forces and the reason for your character's involvement in all the spooky goings-on. It does make sense, honest!). The way the account converses is very much like the in-game lore, with weird pronouncements such as "Quantum foam distortion. We stand outside. It stands outside. Recalibrate! 51° 29′ 0″ N, 0° 11′ 21″ W" the norm.

Kristen Geary
@CorporateBlues appears to be the Twitter account of Kristen Geary, known in game as the main handler of Illuminati characters, and a powerful member of the ruling Illuminati cabal. Her tweets mirror her in-game Valley Girl and pop-culture strewn witticisms, for example, "They say the gland that secretes snark is the last organ to atrophy. I think it was on the Discovery Channel."








Saïd

Finally, @PrunePrince appears to be none other than one of my favourite characters in the entire game, Saïd, a four-thousand year old mummy with a plummy English accent and a penchant for fine Armani suits. He's also a representative for The Kingdom, a hidden empire of wealthy, dead, mummified financiers. His tweets are typical of the pithy snark of the old man, for example, "Twitter suggests I "follow" Justin Bieber. Most ominous sign I've seen in weeks. Brr."






So, why all this sudden activity from in-game protagonists? It seems something is afoot. They have been dropping clues and hints, almost like a mini ARG, and they have even given out in-game rewards to some members of the community who have interacted with them. Other characters from the game started to get involved recently too, such as Danny Dufresne (@katanaguyissue1) and Carter (@Innsmouth66).

So far the tweets, conversations, and investigations by the players have uncovered some kind of conspiracy involving the Orochi corporation and the mysterious Thinis project (searching for the Thinis project on this page brings up some interesting results, with lots of links to time travel...).

The investigation has lead community members to research London cemeteries, the Brompton Cemetery time machine, the frequency of cricket leg rubs, various in-game co-ordinates, and poetry by E.A.Poe. The whole event is starting to resemble a kind of community-driven roleplay story, and appears to be leading up to the launch of Issue 6 (judging by the involvement of Saïd and the hints of time travel).

This kind of community event hasn't received much press, but it's another thing that makes The Secret World different and rewarding for those willing to dig a little deeper. If you want to join in make sure to start following the #hivehum hashtag on Twitter.

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