Posts tagged the secret war
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.
Lately my main MMO of choice has been The Secret World and I wanted to highlight 2 quest chains that I think really show off the reason why I’m so addicted to TSW. I will try to keep this post spoiler free as much as possible as although I’m still quite early on in the game I’m sure there are some who haven’t done those specific missions.
The first mission arc I wanted to talk about is the Tyler Freeborn sequence, which is new with the Issue 5 update and actually the focus of that issue. You’re essentially following the journey of a blogger during the start of the events leading up to all the craziness going on. You get pulled into all the other factions in the game trying to prevent Tyler from publicizing what’s going on while also trying to uncover what he figured out. This quest has all the best Funcom has to offer with great storylines that hook into everything else in the game as well as enthralling voice acting that just seems to be getting better! The climax of the quest is the last portion which is a dream sequence of sorts and once again not only had me on the edge of my seat but actually had me jumping in my chair a couple of times. This sequence brought me back to various horror movies and got me wondering what else might happen or what will jump out at me. While there are lots of horror elements in this game, I think missions like this really highlight the suspense part of the genre that they’ve done VERY well. This mission is the first content of the new business model, and might be a little tough for people questing in the zone for the first time, but I would certainly recommend buying this DLC as it is probably the best quest arc I’ve done so far. One thing I’ll point out that threw me a bit off-guard was that it showed that I didn’t have access to the quest (I’m a Lifer) but clicking on the quest brought me right to the store where it was shown to be available at zero cost (just like it was promised). Not a huge deal, but a little added step that I wasn’t expecting.
The other mission I really enjoyed was out in the Scorched Desert (where I’m currently questing) called The Last Legion. There’s a ton of back-story on this one and a really cool “Oh &*%#” moment that I went through but I won’t spoil it for folks. I progressed my way through to the end stage of this mission and get my butt absolutely handed to me. I ended up trying the last fight a couple times just to see if there’s something I’m doing wrong or if a different rotation would suit me better. At this point, I’m traited mainly AoE with swords relying on Impairing mobs with a couple Elementalism damage skills tossed in there. I then decided that I should look at what skills I have available and look at a different tactic. I basically switched over to a “turtle” build pushing my defensive skills in the sword line and self healing via Blood Magic, which after a couple attempts I was able to tweak it enough to breeze through the mission. I love this kind of mission for a few reasons:
- there is no “I Win” build, there are lots of successful ways to play the game
- there are challenging missions in TSW that require you to actually think things through
- you have full ability to flip your build completely on the fly whenever you want to
- your build can become so much more powerful when you like abilities together to leverage and stack bonuses
For me, this combination of amazing storytelling and depth coupled with the gameplay mechanics continues to keep me addicted to this game and I am really enjoying my journey through this world.
I do find in interesting and enjoyable to not only look forward, but also take a look back at what we’ve done in the past. I’m going to limit my predictions to the two main MMOs I’m playing these days (LOTRO and TSW). Before I look ahead, lets see how well (or poorly) I did predicting 2012.
I ended up not doing too badly with many of my predictions but did miss on a couple:
- The Warden class did get some love, and post Update 9 I think they’re in a pretty darn good place
- I thought we’d get more content in 2012, but I think we were more or less on par with 1 expansion and 3 other updates.
- I was VERY close on the Rohan release date as I said October but it launched in September.
- I was also really close with the Mounted Combat idea and really only missed on the mass battles part
- We didn’t get any more classes like I said, but we also didn’t get any new session play options like the uber champ dwarves in Moria.
- I was flat out wrong about not increasing the level cap, although the Mount system did give some semblance of more horizontal progression.
- Overall I think I split on the store aspect as I did say no raid armor and more ways to help with alts (universal crafting tool for example) but I also thought they’d include some sort of gating mechanism to allow you to more quickly level alts.
Overall I’d put myself somewhere in the high C range or low B range if I had to grade my predictions for 2012.
Continuing forward with LOTRO, here’s what I’m predicting for 2013:
- The current content pace will continue, no increase and no decrease
- Only one other story (epic line) update in addition to the Expansion
- there might be other story quests (similar to the In Your Absence line) but not tied to the Epic
- Based on Rowan’s Producers letter we know the In Your Absence instances are getting a scaled treatment and I also expect to see a similar treatment for the Moria instances.
- There will be another new festival (like the Farmer’s Faire) and all future festivals will share the mechanics put in place with the Yule Festival
- As for the expansion, here’s what I’m expecting
- September/October timeframe
- Finishes off the Rohan landscape
- Helm’s Deep will NOT be included
- 10 level cap increase with some upgraded skills, just like Rohan and Isengard
- I’m even thinking this will be the class updates Rowan talks about in the Producers letter
- No new classes nor a PvMP zone
- Again, the instance cluster will be separate from the expansion for release either in late 2013 or early 2014
- There will be Hytbold 2.0 which will be bigger and more expansive then Hytbold
- Mounts will get another 10 levels and maybe some new skills but not much else, especially not instances.
As for TSW, here’s what I’m thinking for 2013:
- the new modified Buy to Play model will be a significant boost for the player base and Funcom’s financials
- TSW will still be a niche game because of the difficulty and setting, but it will have significantly more players
- The monthly update schedule will continue and I expect at least 10 issues in 2013.
- These issues will have a mix of quest content and system wide changes
- We’ll see another ARG event as it was such a huge success and PR boost for them
- They’ll probably even push further on real world interactions. The whole “call you on your cell phone thing” was very cool and I expect them to expand on that.
- They’ll release a mobile app of some sort
- either tied to the ARG or something like WoW and Rift have
- We’ll see either Housing or Mounts introduced, and Joel has talked about both of these recently. Although I did think this even before I heard him talk since they’ve done such a good job of cherry picking from other MMOs all along.
- Check out the Beyond the Veil Podcast for more info
- The mount discussion is around the 1 hour 8 minute mark
- The Housing discussion is around the 1 hour 35 minute mark
In looking at my predictions, I’m probably a little down on LOTRO and a little high on TSW so the reality will probably be in the middle somewhere. I also am specifically choosing not to talk about either game’s store as I don’t want to get too negative and there’s always the potential one of them could do something stupid.
What do you guys think of these, or do you have others that I’m missing?
This has been a pretty eventful holiday break for me with both a newborn and lots of family in town. I won’t bore folks with the details, but needless to say I haven’t had too much time for normal gaming, but I did want to catch up on a few things and let folks know that I’m still around and what I plan to do this year.
My gaming time has pretty much revolved around three titles, so I’ll start with the highlights from them as they’ll all be top items going forward.
In LOTRO, I pretty much have been logging in to do my Hytbold dailies and very little else. I’m almost done rebuilding as I’m down to the regional horses and after that I’ll probably do some instances if I can work them into my schedule somehow. I didn’t do the festival this year partly do to timing and scheduling but also I really wasn’t happy with the changes and the way the war-steed cosmetics were handled. Yes, I’ve heard it really wasn’t that bad but with all the other grinds out there it just really didn’t seem worth it to me. I’m really hoping Rowan’s second comment about Mounted Combat is more correct then his first as it is much easier to find data to support a money grab then a serious long term system, and I want to be proven wrong here. I won’t dwell on it, but that’s certainly in the back of my mind as this game goes forward and will become more evident when (if) we get an expansion this year.
I’ve also been doing a fair amount of work in The Secret World. Certainly the End of Days ARG event really sparked my interest and I’m really excited for this game going forward. I’m still pretty early in the game and am just working my way through the Scorched Desert, but every time I log on I keep thinking I need to make more time for this game! There seems to be lots of positives coming from the community and twitter about checking this game out with the subscription changes and I really think Funcom has done this change very well. Would it have been better to go this route from the start, possibly, but I don’t think anyone expected their CEO to be accused of insider trading when the game launched. The game was profitable while they had the subscription model, and I think making this transition will push them even further into the black. Remember, they had already scaled back their staff prior to putting out 3 months of content updates in a row. I’m expecting big things from Funcom and this game and while I don’t expect huge numbers I do think it will be quite a successful game.
For me the big distinction between LOTRO and TSW really comes down to how they’ve handled communications with their player base. I won’t hammer LOTRO too much, but even the mounted combat issue we’ve heard two completely different answers from Rowan about it. As for TSW, sure they’ve made mistakes, but they’ve also been VERY upfront about what’s going on and how they’re trying to fix things. Some might argue that they dropped the sub change on us without notice, but what would you have done with that notice? I mean they didn’t change the game it self one bit, they just changed how future DLC will be monetized in the game. The store and what’s in it were always there and they’ve had a good track record for providing new content. The other aspect I really commend them on is how they’ve handled the Lifetime members. Personally I never had an issue as I looked at it as getting the content included (like I should) and some extra points to buy cosmetics with. However, many people were not happy about it and voiced their opinions and actually provided some good ideas and suggestions. Based on requests, they’ve added the following (link for the source):
- Veteran reward system
- DLC Price guarantee for Subscribers and Lifetime members. The monthly DLC will never cost more then your monthly allotment of points, period. If they do release something that’s more, they will knock down the price for people.
- There will be a DLC auto-buy feature for those who want to use it.
All in all, great changes and an incredibly active and constructive thread from both the players and the Funcom team. I just don’t see that kind of interaction and transparency coming from Turbine, and while I’m sure there are other companies out there doing it, I haven’t been personally involved or impacted by them.
As for my third vice, it is Football Manager 2013 and those following me on Raptr have probably noticed that’s quite a constant game I’m playing. Not only do I really enjoy that game, but since it has a pause button I can easily let it run and not worrying about where my character was standing or anything like that. I’m currently in my third season with Everton and finding things going pretty smoothly so far. I did cheat a bit with the editor and moved Jack Rodwell back to Everton as I’d like to see what he can do as opposed to rotting on the Man City bench. I have very much over-achieved my first two years, more do to other teams failing then me doing well as United crumbled down the stretch to gift me the Premiere title my first year, and somehow all the strong teams lost to someone else in my run to the Champions League title in my second year. This third year has had its ups and downs, but I’m halfway through and looking pretty strong.
As we move into 2013 I will most likely be playing these 3 quite a bit as well as Mechwarrior Online. The only reason I’m not playing Mechwarrior is due to it still being in beta and just not wanting to burn out or waste too much time building up in there only to see it wiped. However, it is quite a fun game that I know I’ll be playing when it launches. Outside of that, I don’t see too many upcoming titles that are “must plays” for me, but hopefully that will change.
As for my plans for the year, I will still be writing and looking to keep things moving here as well as possibly doing more videos and/or a podcast. Both of those will heavily depend on what I end up doing, but certainly potentially in the cards. My coverage will probably mimic my playing time and start to shift more towards TSW and away from LOTRO, but that too may change based on how things all play out.
As I wrap up this post, I’ll toss two questions out to folks:
- Any game titles I should be looking out for and following?
- Any suggestions, complaints, requests, etc. for me going forward?
I woke up this morning to all sorts of articles in my RSS reader and twitter pretty much blowing up with news of the new model Funcom has adopted for The Secret World. However, I have a slightly different take on it. And I personally think this is a great move by Funcom and one that I really didn’t see coming at all. Not only did I not see it coming, but I don’t see it as invalidating their previous public comments on going F2P, which is always important.
There are still lots of questions out there, but here’s what we know so far about the model:
- You still have to buy the box for ~$30
- There still is a subscription option which includes the following:
- Daily 10% experience booster
- $10 monthly store credit
- Cosmetic item of the month included with the current DLC
- 10% store discount
In addition to these benefits, two others were announced for those who bought in to the game early on:
- GrandMaster pack holders (ie Lifers) will get an additional 10% across the board store discount
- Those who bought the Initiate pack will get a credit of 1800 points of store credit
The interesting part of this model, and why I’m not calling it F2P is that all future updates (TSW calls them Issues) will be purchasable DLC by everyone. That’s an important statement there, the DLC will NOT be included in either the subscription or the GM Pack, however we are led to believe that the $10 monthly allotment will more then cover said DLC cost. The CM (community management) posts have mentioned a $5 price point for the DLC, which would still leave half of your point allotment available for fluff. Each of the previous Issues (1-4) have included not just quest content but also system changes, which will be included for free for those who have bought the game.
I personally LOVE this move for a couple of reasons:
- it isn’t a F2P model
- they benefit from all the haters claiming they’ve failed
- assuming the DLC costs less then the monthly allotment, a subscription is MORE valuable
- Lifers get tangible benefits
- They know the pitfalls – aka power items and lootboxes which “won’t” be in the store
- players still have the choice of what they want to play and pay for
- what they’re including in that initial $30 is a HUGE amount of content including instances, raids, and role-play options
In addition to all of this, there are a couple other goodies out there:
- If you purchased the Initiate pack you’ll be granted 1800 points
- Issue 5 content will be included if you purchase in December
- otherwise it will be the 1st DLC available starting in January
When comparing my lifetime subscriptions (I have 2 for MMOs), I will take TSWs anyday – assuming the DLC price will remain around that $5 price point. I fully expect it to wiggle a bit based on what’s in the update but it should stay under that $10 allotment. Compare this to LOTRO (my other lifer):
- LOTRO requires me to buy expansions which TSW doesn’t have
- both offer store point allotments
- TSW offers a stackable store wide discount for both subscribers and lifetime members
The only potential downside I see to Funcom’s model is a hinted at 6-month lifetime for your accrued bonus points. As long as the DLC is LESS then the monthly allotment, this really isn’t and issue and also prevents the problems LOTRO is running into right now with lifers sitting on more points then they can spend.
Why am I so excited for this change? I now have the option to exercise one of the coolest part of TSW, the cosmetic system, to its fullest. I will now have a monthly allotment of points to spend on not just those toys, but also things like the Albion Theatre.
If you’d like to rage or praise this change, there is an official thread posted but like all threads I’d suggest you think before posting as this isn’t a model we’ve seen before in an MMO.
All of this positivity is of course based on the fact that I honestly do trust the Funcom development team much more then the Turbine team, but I’m curious what pitfalls do ya’ll see?