Posts tagged skill wheel

Talking About The Secret World Ability Combinations


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.


Moving Through Kingsmouth in The Secret World



With the extension of the grace period, I’ve pretty much dived all in with The Secret World and am absolutely loving it.  I will try to keep this spoiler free as much as I can but I will apologize up front if any of what I think are general comments give too much away.  However, you’re probably more likely to find spoilers in General chat then in this post ;)

I’ve decided to go down the Blades and Pistols route and am going for the Paladin deck as that seems to suit my play-style pretty well.  I’m sure once I complete that template deck and get the cool rewards I’ll play around a bit and most likely have a tanky deck as well as a solo deck.  One thing I haven’t figure out yet is how to save skill decks of your own, but since its quite easy to make changes I’m not terribly worried about that.  I did like that there’s a way to store gear combinations which I’m sure will come in handy later on for things like PvE gear vs PvP gear vs Raid gear.  I’m starting to feel really comfortable with my survivability and have picked up a number of nice in-combat healing abilities.  I mainly use my blade attacks unless I notice they’re not doing much, then I step back and start strafing with my Pistol attacks.  While it isn’t anything terribly revolutionary, I actually do like the combat system in TSW as it feels quite dynamic and action packed, almost console-like.

I’m just about through the Kingmouth content (I think), or am at least close to many of the deeds associated with completing missions in the area and I really am enjoying the mix of content.  There’s lots of “standard” MMO kinds of quest to go kill or deliver stuff but there’s a number of these that wrap very cool storylines into them or tease you with hints of what is coming up later on.  Plus you really never know what little side quest will be a part of a bigger puzzle later on :)

One “mistake” I think I made with the investigation quests was doing them out of order, not from a story perspective but from a difficulty perspective.  I will admit I had all sorts of issues figuring out the Something Wicked line that you pick up at the Church, but cruised right on through some of the other ones.  I think if I had done them more in order, my brain would’ve been a bit more accustomed to paying attention and I might have caught some of the clues.  Early on I just wasn’t paying enough attention to things and playing TSW like other MMOs and while you can do that, you’ll miss quite a bit.  If anything I think this might be my favorite aspect of the game as you do have the chance to really dive in and try to solve these puzzles that in many instances are quite involved.  With many of these quests being so key to the game, there are many options for figuring them out.  Certainly it is quite rewarding to figure them out on your own, but sometimes either you just get stumped or are being lazy (I’ve been there for a couple tiers).  I’ve had pretty decent success with Google and many of the sites I’ve found have hints that you have to click such that you can control how much you spoil.  One in-game suggestion would be that if you ask a question in General chat, request folks message you the answer and please try to limit spoilers in General chat :)

Another aspect I love about how they’ve set up quests is that there are decoy items that will glow and try to make you believe they’re part of the quest.  Some times they’re just additional that you won’t need, and other times it will actually send you down a different puzzle line that will eventually lead you back to some previous point.  Essentially this is a way to teach players to figure things out before just going click happy without too harsh of a punishment.

During my time in-game there have been a number of memorable quests so far, but I by far my 2 favorites are:

  • Spying using a radio controlled airplane is awesome, although I was half expecting to be able to fly the plane
  • The Templar quest (part of the pre-release videos) in the parking garage was one of the best quests I’ve ever experienced as it wrapped story, game mechanics, cool graphics effects, and just an incredibly creepy environment all into one.  I believe the other factions have a quest in the same location so I’d be curious to hear what you all thought.

The next area that I really want to dive into is the PvP system as I’d like to really get my arms around how things feel and how the rewards stack up.  Even though Funcom has announced all sorts of cool updates coming up, I do think having a fun and vibrant PvP system really helps with player retention.  I know PvP is the main reason many people stayed in DAOC for as long as they did and I think TSW’s system is the closest to DAOC we’ve seen.  The big key for me is the tie between PvP and PvE as I’m sure many of you have noticed the buff you get for your faction doing well in PvP.

Over all, I’m really enjoying just experiencing this game without worrying if I’m doing it right or not.  I may at some point hit a wall that I’ll need to step back, but since many of the quests are repeatable you can go back and farm experience to re-spec.  I have a feeling that this wall will either hit during PvP or during instances but we shall see.  I will work to get some screenshots and videos going but I just get too engrossed in the game to remember to do such things Winking smile

Finally, I really wanted to give a shout-out to Funcom for their support and openness during this launch period.  They’ve been VERY active on the forums (the dev-tracker twitter handle is back working), all over twitter, and their live-chat system works like a charm.  I ran into the fun issue that applying a game code (my box finally arrived) reset my lifetime sub with a monthly one.  I imagine it took maybe 15 minutes total to resolve the issue but I just moved the chat window over and continued doing other stuff while I waited for the rep to join the chat.  For me personally, Funcom has really matured as a gaming company and seems to have learned the painful lessons from previous launches and are saying all the right things.  Of course, they still have to execute on them but they’ve started off MUCH better then many expected and on par (if not better) then many other high profile launches.


The Secret World Updates from PAX


There were quite a few updates from PAX over the weekend, although I have to admit there wasn’t anything that surprising.  However, there’s lots of game footage and view of the Ability Wheel.

As always the folks over at The Hydra Initiative had great coverage with not only some fun images but quite a long video showing primarily game time.

In addition to that video, Funcom released various recaps after each day of PAX.  A pretty good combination of fan reactions, developer interviews, and game footage.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Overall for me, I think the most encouraging thing coming from PAX was all the buzz surrounding The Secret World and especially the comments from those who played the game.  I still think Funcom is doing a good job of keeping the information coming, but holding enough back such that we’re not overwhelmed.  Although I know quite a lot about the game, I know there are still pieces and systems yet to be fully explained.  Here’s hoping June comes quickly Smile


Plethora of Secret World Hands-On Previews


Funcom recently allowed a whole ton of press to get some hands-on time with The Secret World and their previews have been trickling out over the past couple of days.  For the most part they were given a chance to create a character, start their experience with the Templar society, head over to Kingsmouth, run the Polaris Instance, and check out some PvP.  Each of the writers then picks up on their favorite (or least favorite) aspects and either focuses on that or tries to give an overall feel for how the experience went.  I’m not going to go in-depth on all of them, but just pick out the main idea or major tidbit I picked up from the articles.  I really enjoyed checking them all out, but it will take a bit of time ;)

For the most part the game received good reviews for the portions they were shown, and many of them mentioned how they actually had to think and work out puzzles.  I think this will be an important aspect of this game going forward with how Funcom handles this and almost more importantly how the community handles it.

All I can say after reading all those is when do I *cough* I mean we, get beta access? ;)


New Secret World Videos on


A couple new videos were posted today over on which is turning today into a massive Secret World information day, as I still haven’t even made it through all the in-person previews!


First up is a video interview with Ragnar Tornquist (almost 6 minutes) which as usual shows all sorts of in-game footage goodness.  Some topics included:

  • Fight against evil, but still showing humanity of world
    • Including places they’ve injected humor
  • Not only ancient evils, but current ones as well
  • Daywalking vampires
  • Story is like a giant Jigsaw puzzle
    • Story Missions focus on you progression
    • Main Missions focus on the rest of the happenings in the world
    • Side missions occur all over the place
  • At launch they’ll reveal just chapters of the story, still more to come
  • Lore more means bread-crumbs or the little pieces of the story
  • Everything has a meaning, nothing is by chance or accident


The second video (8 minutes) focuses more on the bad guys and areas of The Secret World:

  • There will be a way to determine difficulty of monsters encountered
    • Harder to tell since no levels on either characters or levels
    • There will be visible information on creature difficulty
  • Different ways to gain strength:
    • broadening out skill base
    • gear progression
      • weapons, shakras, and crafting
  • Solomon Island, Egypt, and then Transylvania is the initial “zone” progression
  • Dungeons are geared for 45 minutes to an hour
  • Faction choice directly impacts gameplay, not just cosmetic
  • More discussion on mission types
    • Sabotage Missions
    • Action Missions
    • Investigation Missions, correlate to ARG

Nothing terribly new from the discussion in the videos, but seemed like some new eye-candy though.

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