It has taken me a while to really start to dive in and understand the depth and complexity of the ability system in The Secret World but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.  When I first started playing I mainly just grabbed things that looked cool and didn’t really think or look too much into how things work together.  However, the Blue Mountains zone was quite a step up in difficulty and I started re-thinking how I was set up.  I’ve been spending the next couple of zones looking for a good combination of skills and weapons.  As I’m working through the City of the Sun God, I’m finally settling in on a combination that I’m really enjoying.  I’m still probably going to tweak my equipment a bit to better maximize this build but I’m pretty happy with how my character feels so far.

I’ve been pretty much a solo player in TSW as I just haven’t had the time available to really contribute reliably to a group.  So my build is set up to be very survivable as I do tend to jump first and look second, which can at times cause a few problems.  All along I’ve been down the Blade line and looking for a good way to compliment it.  It took a number of attempts as I started with Pistols for a ranged attack, then Elementalism for more damage output, but have settled on Blood Magic for self healing.  I now need to do a little better balancing with my equipment as I was just stacking health, but now look to add some more attack rating as well as heal rating since I don’t need as big of a health pool.

I’ll include the specifics on what abilities I have slotted as I go through this post but will describe my general attack plan and how fights normally go.  My main attack skills are all blade focused and I have an AoE builder (Blade Torrent) and an AoE consumer (Clearing the Path) with my two other attacks being impair skills both as an AoE (Stunning Swirl) and single target (Trial by Swords).  My other 3 active slots are dedicated to heals with an insta-cast HoT+Shield (Blood Shield), a channeled HoT+shield (The Scarlet Arts), and an oh-crap channeled heal (Point of Harmony).  For the most part I’ll alternate between my builders and consumers and use my impair abilities to disrupt any inductions the mobs are preparing.  If I start to get into trouble, I’ll start with the HoTs and shields but I’ll also use them during directional AoEs that I can easily avoid.

Where all builds (including what I’ve put into this one) really start to take form is in the picking of the passive abilities to maximize the utility and strength of your active skills.  I’ve mainly set mine up to take advantage of Penetrations and Impairments as I wanted something other then just impairments since those are quite often immunities that mobs will have.  My builder is traited (Perfect Storm) to also afflict mobs with a DoT when it hits.  I then chose my consumer that exploits this afflicted state by always penetrating any afflicted target.  Once I penetrate, I’m traited for the following:

  • HoT from Immortal Spirit
  • Builds a counter that provides another AoE impair (Five times a charm)
  • triggers a defensive shield (Donor)

I also mentioned that I also look to exploit the impair state as well, which you see from above that I not only include abilities to impair but passives to build towards it as I get the following from hitting impair targets:

  • HoT from Tipped Scale
  • Just setting a target to the impaired state (I don’t have to hit it) gives my next shield a buff from Omen

My last passive ability is Clotting which each time I apply a shield it progressively makes the shield stronger and provides a defensive buff.  So as the battle goes on, I’m constantly triggering heals and building up defensive shields.  Those shields also get progressively stronger the longer they stay active so I find myself stringing them together to provide a chance for my HoTs to actually heal myself as opposed to just cancelling out the incoming damage.  Pretty much whenever I see a shield go up, I kick off my insta shield as not only is it quick but is gives another chance for clotting to go off again and further increase my shield as well as that defensive buff.  I usually save the bigger shield/HoT for either when a mob does a directional induction or when I impair things and also try to either precede or follow it with the insta-cast version to further that clotting tick.

We’ll see how this build works out as I move into Transylvania (almost there) but so far I’m quite happy with it.  I’ve seen other builds that focus on HoTs and I feel like combining the HoTs with shields provides a more survivable build.  I also think this will be an interesting group build as a front line support member or an off-tank kind of role since the shields go to my defensive target.  I’m guessing I could probably swap out reasonably easily enough into a more heal focused support build, but I just haven’t had a need to go that route yet.

That’s my thought process and implementation, any suggestions or ideas on how I can make it better?  I’m probably going to replace one of the two impair abilities with something, most likely a ranged attack but I haven’t decided yet.