I'm going to make this as simple and clear as I can: "The Secret World" is the best MMORPG on the market today, and it isn't even close.
Now there are a variety of reasons that lead me to this conclusion, and I'll discuss each one in turn, but it comes down to the fact that TSW does so many little things better than your favorite MMO does them. Funcom has made a game that is simple to play and yet difficult to master, that makes you think and pay attention to your surroundings, is genuinely challenging (something you rarely see in MMOs anymore), and in doing so they took a huge risk by setting this game in a modern horror world, something no other AAA MMO company had done before.
But how did I come to this conclusion, in specific? I didn't play "The Secret World".
I beta tested TSW from the start, and bought my Grand-Master Pack (with Lifetime subscription) when I pre-ordered the game two days into beta. I absolutely loved the game, because it was challenging, innovative, and told a compelling story. Plus, zombies. You can't go wrong with zombies. But it wasn't long before "Guild Wars 2" came out and distracted me, as I wanted to play that game where my old guild-mates from "World of Warcraft" were reforming the old guild, and when that game couldn't hold my attention I went back to "Rift", because "Rift" is awesome.
In short, I pretty much lost my way with TSW. It wasn't because the game was bad, though, I was simply inundated with good games!
But this morning I logged back into TSW, not as I usually do to record a segment for my podcast, but to sit down and play. I loaded up some podcasts into iTunes, as I often do when I'll be playing for the long haul, and got down to business. And it didn't take long to remember exactly what I had been missing:
Honestly, I feel bad that I have frankly wasted so many months this year playing other games, when I could have been playing "The Secret World"... especially the time I have played "Guild Wars 2", which is an infinitely inferior game. Seriously, it is inferior to TSW, and as I said before, it isn't even close. Both are innovative, both are fun to play, but TSW does all the little things right. But I suppose if you want a game where the most difficult puzzles you have to figure out are platformer-style jumping puzzles to get to a Vista, and you don't mind playing in yet another generic fantasy setting, then GW2 might seem like the better game to you. "The Secret World" is beyond you.
But for those of us who are real gamers, who want a real challenge, and want something different than the norm, "The Secret World" is the best, hands down, no contest.