Dark Days Are Coming
Dark Days Are Coming was the first alternate reality game event associated with the announcement of The Secret World, a new MMORPG by Norwegian video game developer Funcom. It began on May 7th, 2007 with a letter to various game news sites.
Gaming news sites reported receiving a strange e-mail, warning about conspiracies and secrets discovered. It also warned about a group with this information carelessly creating a game based on it and asked for help in spreading the word and exposing these people and their plans. A link was provided to a flickr hosted image which depicted an old document with the seal of the Knights Templar and a poem:
A grim, odd arcane sky
Any god, I mark sacred
A masked cry adoring
A dreamy, sick dragon.
After removing all punctuation marks and word dividers, each line in the poem gives a URL after adding the top-level domain .com:
Each of these websites contained only a single image:
To move on further, however, the letters that connected all of the websites had to be examined. Upon closer evaluation, all the lines in the poem are anagrams of each other. Two more anagrams were discovered, darkdaysarecoming.com and darkdemonscrygaia.com. The Dark Days Are Coming (DDAC) website contained yet another puzzle.
Aside from what seems to be the original document, a number of hand made notes are present, in different languages and possibly from different periods.
- De que manera estan involucrados los Illuminati? [Spanish/tr.: In what manner are the Illuminati involved?]
- Amundsen fant det under isen [Norwegian/tr.: Amundsen found it under the ice]
- 4 lines 4 symbols The Fourth Age Are we approaching
- בני האלהים [Hebrew/tr.:"Sons of God"] – used in the Genesis to describe the Nephilim
- 2012 (circled and underlined)
- ∞Qu'est ce que ça veut dire? Qui sont les Huits? [French/tr.: What does it mean? Who are the Eights?]
- Etwas über einen 'Krieg der Finsternis' [German/tr.: Something about a "War of Darkness"]
- The document also shows the seal of the Knights Templar
The DDAC website tied the other four websites together. It showed the text "Dark Days Are Coming," where clicking on the "o" showed a flash image of either London, New York or Shanghai.
In each location, there were four clickable spots of each of the four symbols, where they could be shifted and rotated. Community members realized something else about the four symbols of the poem's websites.
Each contained a quarter version of a sun. Putting the four images together did not make a seamless sun however. In order to do so, the symbols had to be rotated in different ways. Once the four symbols were rotated and placed correctly around the Vitruvian Man on the DDAC website to correctly form the sun, the puzzle was unlocked. Users would realize they were getting closer as the circle started pulsating.
Once the puzzle was solved, the image of the city briefly transitioned to an image of the same city destroyed, in ruins. London appears burned, Shanghai seems assailed by great tornadoes, New York is overgrown with monstrous vegetation. The cause behind this is unknown.
After the puzzle was solved, users were rewarded with concept art for an unannounced game, in addition to a link to the official discussion forums. Then, the discussion forums were named "The Dream of Fallen Earth."
At first, the glyphs on the reward picture went by unnoticed. But the community found out that it was stylized Sanskrit, a historical Indo-Aryan language, and one of the twenty-two official languages in India. It was discovered that they were the numbers from 0-9 and that the arrows behind indicated the direction (i.e. an "up" arrow indicated north, "down" south, "left" west and "right" east). When translated it gave locations in the geographical coordinate system, indicating latitude and longitude.
Each location pointed to a significant location within human history, myth or religion. However, there seemed to be nothing to use the coordinates for yet.
- Easter Island - 27 6' 31"S, 109 21' 11"W
- Near Bermuda - 36 32' 10"N, 59 55' 0"W
- Tibet - 31 3' 36"N, 81 19' 50"E
- Uluru (previously known as Ayers Rock) - 25 20' 41"S, 131 1' 57"E
- South Pole - 86 15' 24"S, 153 42' 40"E