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The Illuminati are a player and NPC secret society for The Secret World revealed at the end of the Three Are Coming buildup. They are invisible puppet-masters and corporate manipulators, they crave power and wealth by any means necessary. Notorious bad boys and girls of the secret world, the Illuminati are also the most ambitious, cut-throat and furtive of the secret societies. They rule their corporate pyramid with cold opportunism, and only the strongest members survive. The Illuminati believe in controlling magic. They don't like things they don't understand. The occult has to be quantified and contained, researched and refined, and synthesized if possible. Manufactured. Stored.  The most intriguing thing about the Illuminati is how they operate--behind the scenes, never in the limelight. They believe in pulling strings, in bribing and blackmailing the people behind the people in charge. 
The Illuminati may have ancient roots, but they remain forever young and hungry. In every growing empire they have played for it all. And they play for keeps. Stealing the Americas from under the Templars' noses, they grew with the United States to become a shadow superpower. Their corporate headquarters, the Labyrinth, is in an undisclosed location beneath Brooklyn, New York.
The Illuminati uniform Acting silently, unless the occasion calls for a gunshot, the Illuminati push for a New World Order. It will be empowering and ruthless. Failure is not an option. Complacency is worse than not an option. Their arsenal is the ambition of a new media startup, the rhetoric of a congressman and a mogul's business sense. Working hard, playing hard and fighting dirty.
The Illuminati character The Illuminati's golden agents enjoy power, money and glamour – but the real power they offer you goes beyond that. Information worked from every civilian, government and clandestine organisation in the world. Advances in modern magics, in the 'New Magic', that the secret world has never seen. They can give you everything...and they can take it all away.
A flash based quiz was added to the front page of the Dark Days Are Coming website. Players could take the quiz to see which of the three revealed player factions their temperament would fit into best. After completing the quiz, players were offered the option to view descriptions for each of the factions. The following description was given for the Illuminati:
"Sex, Drugs & Rockefeller"
Notorious bad boys and girls of the secret world, the Illuminati are also the most ambitious, cut-throat and furtive of the secret societies.
From the gilded halls of the ancient pharaohs to the private clubs and the decadent parties of the famously rich and egocentrically famous, from leaders of industry and Hollywood agents to presidents and popes, the Illuminati have weaved their intricate web with ruthless cunning and acute skill.
They rule their corporate pyramid with cold opportunism, and only the strongest members survive. Their secrets can make you rich and powerful beyond compare - or they may destroy your soul and sanity with it
The Illuminati seek to plunder heaven and hell by any means necessary, and god help those who stand in their way.
As a member of the Illuminati, you don't play by anybody's rules. There are no rules. There is no honour.There is only victory.
—Flash Quiz, darkdaysarecoming.com
The Illuminati become allied with the Phoenicians sometime around 832BCE when the two Cabals helped King Solomon build his temple. Around 422BCE the Templars used the Babylonians to destroy the temple. The Phoenicians fled to northern Africa where the Illuminati had considered their territory. The Illuminati became suspicious of the Phoenicians and their alliance fell apart.
The Illuminati certainly have cash to spare, and the society knows how to use it--though it may not look that way. Not on the surface. They're not flashy, not when it comes to the serious business of ruling the secret world. When it comes to weapons, you'll find the Illuminati headquarters being very well protected--in every possible way--and some of this high-tech equipment will certainly be available to initiates as long as they've proven to be loyal to the illuminated path. Nothing comes for free in their world. Everyone needs to prove their worth, climb the ladder, stab a few backs--you know, private enterprise. What kinds of weapons, you ask? Big shiny guns that go "boom." Stainless steel and black plastic. And gas masks, of course. The Illuminati are all about gas mask chic.
The Illuminati believe in controlling magic. They don't like things they don't understand. The occult has to be quantified and contained, researched and refined, and synthesized if possible. Manufactured. Stored. The Illuminati will have some fun toys to play with. Dangerous toys. Toys that sizzle and erode the divide between worlds.
Players will definitely get a feel for how the Illuminati operates in the story mission--including connections unavailable to other players--and they'll get to tap into that vast wealth and unchallenged network of puppets and puppeteers. Being a member of the Illuminati, you'll get to go behind the scenes and see how this world is run. And it ain't pretty. But being Illuminati isn't about the pretty; it's about doing or getting done. And the Illuminati? They're not done.
I think anyone who loves to work hard, party harder, play with expensive gadgets, and listen to industrial music in deserted factories will appreciate the Illuminati way of life. As well as anyone who believes that secret societies should remain secret and not wave flags around, wear leather boots, and parade about like those damn Templars do.
The most intriguing thing about the Illuminati is how they operate--behind the scenes, never in the limelight. They believe in pulling strings, in bribing and blackmailing the people behind the people in charge. Senators, senior advisors, board members... They're careful, subtle, but at the same time they really know how to use their power and to enjoy their wealth. They're bad guys and girls, they're sexy, and they're tons of fun. 
These guys are much more about re-inventing themselves rather than being still stuck in the past. These guys are the archenemies of the Templars. They have contacts on different levels of governments, the corporations, they are the guys that, don't deal with the president, but wine and dine with the people of the west wing and the chiefs of staff, they are more subtle than the Templars. They believe in showing off money, showing off power, not revealing who they belong to. They have a very strict pyramid structure and is not about what your family is but about your accomplishments, and at any time anybody can get stabbed in the back by the next guy... These guys are pretty hardcore.
—Ragnar Tørnquist, Source
It's all about power.
Grabbing it, keeping it, using it. Power is our currency. Our DNA. Our god. We control the world. We provide the blueprint and we give the instructions. We're the people in grainy photos on grassy knolls. We're the shadowy faces in smoky backrooms and darkened board rooms. We're right here, hiding in plain sight, buying and selling favors. Blackmail, treason, deceit, these are our stock and trade. We work the magic of the drunken evenings with senators and chiefs of staff. We shake down demons and negotiate with sorcerers. We have stocks in hell, and compromising photos of angels. We use any means necessary regardless of the cost because the world is a bad place, and you can either do or get done.We're the Illuminati, and we're not done.
—Initiation Video, Youtube
The Illuminati came out of Eastern Africa at the same time as the city states of Mesopotamia arose, when the dawn of civilization was happening in Eastern Africa. That then moved north to Egypt and that's where the Illuminati started out. 
See - Lore:Illuminati
The Secret War
It has yet to be revealed how the Illuminati will interact with the Dragon player faction. The Templars are the arch nemesis of the Illuminati after having exiled them from Europe centuries ago, forcing them to establish in the New World.
- Lore:Illuminati, Entry 3
- Lore:Phoenicians, Entry 7
- Lore:Phoenicians, Entry 8
Cler1c and Vengeful-frog collected some of this information in a post on the official forums that was deleted and replaced with the current forums we have now.