Welcome to my FAQ for both new and experienced players of The Secret World, an amazing new MMORPG by Funcom.
Click (or tap) any question to view the answer.
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Table of Contents
Your first three hours with a new character
During your game introduction in your faction's capital city, you are sent into a training room to try out all the weapons and the first 2-3 abilities for each weapon. When you leave that room, you "lock in" the weapon that you're wearing when you leave. But this is only one weapon! How/where do you get your second weapon to equip too?
There are two ways to do this:
A) You can re-enter the training room and grab a second weapon and equip it too. (The second weapon is just placed in your inventory with no fanfare). You can do this multiple times to pick up other starting weapons too, but I don't recommend spreading yourself too thin as a newbie. Focus on just two weapons for a while and worry about branching out into your horizontal progression later.
B) The very first red action quest that you encounter when you first roll into Kingsmouth will reward you with a green QL1 weapon by the time you roll into the Sheriff's office. This will happen *very* fast after you leave the training room. Also, the Sheriff's office has a vendor NPC in it that will sell you any starter weapon you like for incredibly cheap.
The game is balanced around the type of damage output you can do with one builder ability to create 5 resources for two different weapons, followed by using consumer abilities from each weapon back-to-back, and then repeating this general process. If you have only one weapon, then you have only one build cycle followed by one consumer, and you are essentially putting out only 60-70% of the total DPS that you could do if you were using two weapons.
So don't try to skill up only one weapon to "max" Skill 10 ASAP, because you're seriously gimping yourself by doing so. Right from the start, as soon as you roll into the Sheriff's office in Kingsmouth for the first time, you will receive your choice of a second weapon, and you should always roll with two weapons at all times. Three of your active abilities in any 7/7 build should always be: A) some type of builder that will build for both weapons with each hit, B) A hard-hitting consumer for Weapon 1, and C) a hard-hitting consumer for Weapon 2.
Yes, at first the choices can seem overwhelming, and you don't want to think too long about what to start out with. You just want to go play the game already!
The honest answer is that quite literally, you can do just fine at first with any two weapons you like the look and feel of. By the time you might discover that you really would prefer using one or two different weapons, you can adapt at that time by simply repeating mission content in the early zones to farm up enough SP/AP to make the switch to something else.
There is really no need to ever reroll just to "start over fresh". You're not locked into any thing, and eventually you want everything, so no early experimentation is truly wasted in any way. Whether you reroll or just repeat some early zone content, it will be the same amount of time spend and the same amount of "stuff you've seen before already", so why bother rerolling? In the long run you'll actually save yourself time by not rerolling.
That said, if you really want some "safe" suggestions that you can probably live with until you're stronger and would normally start diversifying your weapons and abilities, here you go. From a "power" standpoint, all the following early combinations work well together as a first set you can live with for a while. There are MANY more combinations that will work extremely well, but these are my personal picks for a "short list" of easier builds to start out with.
- AR(or Fist)/Elemental. Doesn't provide much attack subtype or state synergy, but offers lots of long range, solid ST and AOE damage, self-healing without sacrificing too much DPS, and a mix of physical and magic damage. Thor's Hammer is the centerpiece of the Elemental half of this build, because coupled with another ability in the same Tier 1 Elemental cell, it makes for a really strong opening attack crit that you can usually repeat at least once during many fights.
- AR (or Fist)/Blades. Super easy to build synergy around Affliction and Penetration; self-healing without sacrificing too much DPS, great AOE and still decent ST damage, incredibly strong tanking potential that is self-reliant and doesn't require as much healing support. You don't have a mix of physical and magical damage, but this isn't a significant issue until you reach the point where the game design challenges you to diversify, so you can worry about magic damage at that time.
- AR (or Fist)/Hammer is similar to AR/Blades in many ways, but your tanking/mitigation aspect centers around Blocking (instead of Glancing, which IMO is slightly stronger), and you will focus more on weakening the enemy as mitigation rather than on afflicting the enemy to help burn them down faster. Still, this works fine and can make a solid self-sufficient tank.
All three of these "safe" starting choices feature two things in common that make them "safe" and "easy" starter choices:
- They all have at least one weapon with very long range attacks for pulling or staying out of big AOE specials from tougher mobs while still putting out DPS or healing.
- They all feature some self-healing.
To run any of these builds effectively, you want a talisman mix of roughly 40% Healing and 60% DPS, give or take, and you want to load up primarily with high damage abilities with only one or two or at most three healing abilities. Learn to keep yourself topped off with fewer healing abilities and more frequent application of healing, but otherwise treat these as mostly DPS builds. Don't worry about tanking at first, but if you're bound to play the tank role, pick one of the three with either Hammer or Blades.
Important: Do not take Blood as your only healing skill in a solo build. Blood is great as a secondary healing weapon for a dedicated main healer in dungeon runs and the like, but it is truly, awfully terribad as your only healing source.
Many NPC nametags are invisible until you turn on a particular interface option:
- From your main menu (upper left corner of UI, or press Esc), select Settings
- Select Interface Options > Nametags.
- Select the Show Vicinity NPC Nametags checkbox, then save your changes.
The mission (quest) system in The Secret World is radically different from the way that most other MMOs work. At first this will probably seem frustrating and limiting and needless, but once you see how it actually plays out, most players come to really appreciate and prefer it.
So what's different, and why?
- Your mission tracker is limited to the following maximum number of active missions:
- One storyline mission (blue icon)
- One main mission. There are three types of main missions:
- Action (red icon) - Your typical "go kill stuff" mission
- Sabotage (yellow icon) - A "stealth" mission where you sneak past guards and figure out how to get through environmental puzzles without being killed by the environment.
- Investigation (green icon) - An ARG-style "puzzle" mission that requires you to solve a mystery based on vague clues. These can be quite hard and might require you to do some research in Wikipedia or with a search engine. Tip: to avoid stumbling across unexpected spoiler answers, you can either use Wikipedia alone to search for keywords, or you can use Google search syntax to filter out "The Secret World" or "TSW" from search results.
- One group mission (purple icon). These are typically for dungeon instances that are designed for a full group of players, or possibly for some "elite camps" out in the zone with the rest of the zone content.
- Three item missions (dark green icon with gray stripes and a "box" symbol) - These are miscellanous missions that typically require gathering, finding, or delivering items of some type.
- If you attempt to take a new action mission, for example, when you already have one in progress, you will be told that doing so will pause the one in progress. To unpause it later, you must return to the quest starter and attempt to start it again. This will unpause the mission and resume it at the beginning of the tier where it was paused.
While this system might seem limiting at first, there is a strong design logic behind it. The primary purpose is to encourage players to actually immerse themselves in the mission's story, mystery, investigation, and puzzle solving, rather than piling up a huge "laundry list" of 10 or 20 missions from each new quest hub and mindlessly ticking off items from the list as you run around the zone. A secondary reason is to help spread players out across the entire zone map, instead of funnellng all players to the same exact area first, then the same exact area next, and so on.
This is a trick question and highlights another significant difference between TSW's mission design and that of other MMOs. The simple answer is this: if you find yourself always running back to the last mission hub to grab the next mission, you're doing it wrong.
Yes, there's not really a right or wrong way to approach playing an MMO; you can play however you like. So let's call it "inefficient" instead. The mission designers have carefully placed a new mission starter of some sort very close to where every single mission ends. It's part of the "investigation and exploration" nature of TSW.
As a rule of thumb, if you want the most efficient EXP flow (and the most "fun"), as soon as you complete some active mission and can phone in the results to claim your reward, Stop right there. Phone in the results and then explore the immediately-surrounding area to see if you can find the next nearby mission-starter. In some cases it might be an NPC with some main missions or group missions, but more often it will be an item mission (a "box" mission) that is hidden nearby.
By design, there should generally be a new mission to pick up within 50 meters of where any given mission ends. If you are certain you've looked carefully and there is in fact no new mission starter of some type within 50 meters (roughly), then you should literally bug-report that fact. Yes, really. The lead designer has stated this.
Once you get used to this unique style of finding new missions to do, you'll see that it's a very pleasant and organic experience, and no two players will follow the same mission "path" throughout a zone. Once you get the hang of what to look for, you can generally roll right from one mission into the next without any "downtime" or "running halfway across the zone just to grab the next mission".
At some point, your main storyline mission (the blue one) will "unlock" entry to the Savage Coast and point you there to accomplish the next tier of the mission. However, you don't want to go there too early, or you'll have your butt handed to you unless you go there with a group or a much stronger friend or two.
As a general rule, if you have done most of the missions in Kingsmouth, you'll be wearing mostly QL3 gear (talismans and weapons), and you should by this point be mostly Skill 3 for your three talisman rows (Head, Major, Minor) on the Skills page, and also for one or both of your equipped weapons. (Assuming you've invested your SP wisely and not spread them too thin into too many weapons, or haven't invested any SP into your talisman rows at all.) If you are essentially "Skill 3" or "Rank 3" or "Q3" like this, then you should be able to solo the Savage Coast without too much trouble.
Typically, every zone has a certain maximum QL of gear that drops in it or can be purchased from vendors there. If you can equip yourself mostly in that max QL of gear and can also bring your Skill level for all three talisman lines and for your two "best" weapon lines to match that same QL level, then you will be in good shape to venture into the next zone.
That depends on what you consider "messing yourself up":
- If you invest your early SP into only two specific weapons and your three talisman rows (Head, Major, Minor) on the Skills page, then you will progress in strength (what's called "the vertical progression" in TSW) at a fast pace and certainly be able to move into the more successively difficult zones by about the same time you complete most of the missions in your current zone.
- If you invest your early SP into many different weapons, or if you neglect spending SP on your three talismans rows, then your vertical progression will be slowed down and you might find yourself needing to repeat some/many of the repeatable missions in your current zone before you eventually become strong enough to move on to the next zone.
In general, most players will likely have the most "fun" progression if they don't try to skill up too many different weapons at first. You might be better served to carefully choose the first two weapons that you can be happy with for a while, and focus mostly/only on those and your three talisman rows for a long while.
Beyond this basic advice, its up to you whether you feel you can spare some SP to branch out into other weapons as you progress. It all depends on your personal preference for pacing and spending more or less time exploring each zone.
That said, one important thing to remember is that TSW has zero "rush to end game" or "race to max level". There is literally no hurry. The endgame literally starts when you leave the character creation screen. Take your time in each new zone and explore every nook and cranny and get yourself immersed in the storylines and lore of each zone. If you take this approach to the game, you will probably be able to develop more than two weapons as you go along without making it difficult to enter the next zone when you want to move on.
The "end game"
The "end game" starts the moment you create your character. In TSW, there is no rush to end-game. The entire game itself is the end game.
That said, if you must treat this more like other MMOs, the "first game" is essentially doing all the action missions (the red icons) and your storyline mission (the blue icons) in all the Solomon Island and Egypt zones, getting at least two weapons and all three talismans up to Skill 10. After that, the "end game" in this mode of thinking would be:
- Doing all the Transylvania zones. These are tuned for characters who are at max vertical progression (much like most of the zones in Guild Wars 1 were tuned for max-level characters).
- Going back through ALL the zones and: Completing ALL the investigation missions (green icons) and sabotage missions (yellow icons, neither of which require any combat. Collecting all the lore objects to be able to read the entire storyline for everything. Completing all special achievements. Farming all the Skill 10 "lairs" in the open zones.
- Unlocking all the Faction decks to earn their costumes, and unlocking your entire Ability Wheel for maximum "horizontal" progression and flexibility needed for the nightmare and elite dungeons. Getting all lines of all weapon skills to 10.
- Farming the nightmare and elite versions of all the dungeons, which are all tuned for Skill 10 players and require very specialized builds (maximum horizontal flexibility).
- PvP: battlegrounds, warzones, and earning enough PvP currency to buy the cool PvP gear.
- By this point, Funcom has started rolling out new content: new missions, new zones, new PvP instances, 10-man dungeons, etc.
Trinity or no Trinity?
In a word: no. Don't believe me? Would you believe the lead designer from Funcom?
I guess I'm kinda biased, but I'll throw my 2 cents in here. We have designed a game where the trinity can be broken. However, we don't want to make things too unfamiliar for the player coming from other MMOs. You will see that the items you get are leaning to either damage, healing or damage mitigation. You'll also see that when you sign up for PvP, you choose a uniform which either allowes you to do more damage, absorb more damage, or heal better. However, this is meant to be just a guideline for player who *wants* to jump into these roles. It's familiar, and they know what to do in that role. Nothing is preventing you from mixing and matching gear and abilities.
It was pretty frikkin' interesting to see what different healer, damage and tanking builds people came up with on the beta. You guys are incredibly creative and smart, and you come up with stuff we never even thought of. They found completely new ways of playing the game and solving our encounters - AND WE LOVE THAT! That is exactly what we want you to do, and I encourage all of you to think outside the box when you guys are making your own builds
Dimensions, instances, and grouping mechanics
In TSW, dimensions are what most other MMOs call "servers". Your character "lives" on a particular dimension. But unlike other MMOs, you can actually friend, group with, and chat with people on other dimensions. Even better, you can temporarily move to another dimension to play with a friend/group/guildmate there. When you next log in, you will be back on your "home" dimension again.
- Battlefields, dungeons, and Agartha are all cross-dimensional, meaning that when people go to any of these places they actually leave their own "home" dimension.
- The only game mechanic that is uniquely tied to your own "home" dimension is the FvFvF PvP in Fusang Province (and other future warzones):
- When you go to Fusang Province to participate in the PvP there, you are always playing with and against players who live only on your own "home" dimension.
- Even when you leave your own "home" dimension, the PvP Faction buffs from Fusang that your Faction has currently earned on your home dimension remains applied to you at all times.
- Mail and the Auction House are both cross-dimensional. You can mail stuff to anyone else on any dimension, and when you put something up for sale in the Auction System, every player on every dimension sees it for sale.
To visit another a friend, guildmate, or group that is currently on a different dimension from you, right-click that person's name in your friends list, cabal list, or group list, and choose Meet Up. This will transfer you to their dimension, at the nearest (unlocked) anima well in the other person's current zone map. (Possibly now to their actual location, but I have to test this to make sure.)
Tip: When you travel to another dimension to meet with someone, it's best to group up with them, because when you jump through a portal you'll stay on the same dimension together only if you're grouped. If not, you'll end up back on your home dimension after the jump.
Important: I haven't fully verified this for myself, but reportedly, the Meet Up command will not work in the following cases:
- If the person you're meeting up with is currently in combat stance. Ask them to press the Grave key (‘) to switch out of combat stance.
- If the person you’re meeting up with is currently in actual combat. Ask them to tell you when they're finished with combat.
- If the person you're meeting up with is currently in a solo instance. Ask them to tell you when they're out of the solo instance.
An instance in TSW is what most other MMOs also call an "instance". It is a separate copy of a zone on the same dimension, created as needed to prevent any one zone on a dimension from becoming overcrowded. When you move to another instance, to join your groupmates, you are moving between such "zone copies" on the same dimension.
Martin Bruusgaard put up a great dev blog explanation of the dimension system on June 28. I recommend you read it for more clarity: http://www.thesecretworld.com/news/blog_single_server_technology_in_the_secret_world
Your character's home dimension (server) is shown on the character selection screen right after you log in. It's the same line that displays the current population load for your dimension. I don't know of any way, once in the game world, to verify which dimension you're currently on if you've jumped to other dimensions a few times via the Meet Up command.
Yes, absolutely. Just add them to your Friends list, then right-click their name in your friends list and choose Invite to Cabal. All cabal chat is cross-dimensional, and things being said by players that are currently on a different dimension from you are prefixed with an asterisk (*) in front of their name.
I'll have a better answer within the next 24 hours after more testing across the two different TestLive dimensions, but here's what I know for sure (and in some cases am making an educated guess about):
- /tell and /reply are cross-dimensional
- /cabal is cross-dimensional
- /group is cross-dimensional
- [Faction] is not cross-dimensional
- [General] is not cross-dimensional
- [LFG] is cross-dimensional
- Player-created channels are cross-dimensional
Did I miss any? I'll check more closely tonight. The reason that [General] and [Faction] are not cross-dimensional is simple: one of the reasons for separate dimensions is to enable general and factional chat to be primarily in a certain language, to accommodate large regional player populations in the real world. At launch there are dimensions to support English-speaking player pops, French-speaking player pops, and German-speaking player pops.
Funcom's engine for this game, and their server technology, actually allows for a single dimension for everyone, because they also use instancing to spread out a congested playfield. And most of their game mechanics are currently "cross-dimensional", which is essentially the same thing as every one being on one huge dimension together. So why actually force you to pick a dimension at character creation?
The answer is simple and two-fold:
A) They wanted to provide [General] and [Faction] chat that consists primarily of one language or another. For example, players who prefer to chat in German or in French or in English will not have to see too much of any other language in the [General] and [Faction] channels.
B) The mass PvP in Fusang Projects is capped at a certain number of players from each faction at any given moment. If the entire player population for The Secret World was all on one big dimension together, that would mean only a very small percentage of the player pop could get into Fusang to PvP there. Which would mean a very long wait time to get into Fusang once you queued up for it. By splitting the total player pop into smaller groups, then the players on each dimension have a shorter wait time to get into their dimension's Fusang PvP game.
First, make sure you're all on the same dimension. One way to make sure is for everyone who is not the group leader to click the group leader's name in the group list and choose Meet Up, which will move you to the leader's dimension and current zone map if you're not already on it.
Once you're all on the same dimension, if you can all see each other's player icon on the big map, then you're already in the same instance. If anyone is not showing up on the map, then some of you are in different instances.
If you're not all in the same instance, there are three ways to get into the same instance:
A) Everyone should recall (or run) to Agartha. You'll all end up in Agartha together, and when you jump into the same zone you'll all end up in the same instance of that zone map.
B) If you're going to do a dungeon together, have the closest person to the dungeon actually enter it. Everyone else in the group will get a message prompting them to join that member in the dungeon. This will also move you across dimensions automatically even if some of you are in a different dimension from each other!
C) The leader of the group can choose another player in the group, right-click their name in the group list, and select Make Group Leader. This will send a message to everyone who is not in the same instance as the new group leader, asking whether they want to be moved to the same instance as the new group leader.
And yes, this should be a lot simpler. But it is what it is for now. I suggest lots of feedback to Funcom in the Beta forums.
Early on you don't encounter many mobs that are highly resistant to one damage type or the other, but many mobs are typically weaker to one damage type. A build that has one weapon that puts out magical damage plus one weapon that puts out physical damage can be more simple to adapt with if you suddenly realize that the mob you're hitting is more resistant to one type of damage, but it's not essential to have both magic and physical damage in one single build. You could instead simply switch to a different build as needed to put out the type of damage that a given mob is most weak to.
Hit type refers to the type of hit or miss you do with any given weapon damage hit: Evaded, Normal, Glancing, Critical, Blocked, or Penetrated.
Subtype refers to the way that a given weapon ability delivers its damage hits. Broadly, these subtypes are grouped into either single-hit subtypes or multi-hit subtypes and each subtype has a typical "shape"
Single-hit: Strike (single-target), Blast (cone or column AOE), and Chain (random infection AOE)
Multi-hit: Burst (single-target), Focus (single-target), and Frenzy (circular AOE)
It's important to note that not all active damage types are also subtypes. A given ability is a subtype only if its descriptive text uses the keywords listed above.
Read the preceding Question/Answer to understand which weapons and subtypes are typically multi-hit versus single-hit
In many other MMOs, multi-hit weapons offer more chances to "proc" a useful effect. Or more chances to make a critical hit. And so on. Therefore, it's easy to assume that the same general benefits apply to multi-hit weapons in The Secret World, right?
Well, yes, and no:
- Multi-hit does indeed increase the chance of proccing certain passives. For example, the Elementalism ability Live Wire is a very nice passive that procs when you make a critical hit. If you have a base 15% crit chance and you use an instant single-hit attack, your chance to proc Live Wire within the 1-second span of the cooldown (GCD) of that attack is exactly 15%. So each second of sustained combat, you have only a 15% chance every second of proccing Live Wire. But if you use a 1-second Focus attack that hits 4 separate times within that 1 second, your chance of proccing Live Wire in each second of sustained attacks goes up to a whopping 52% every second!. (More below on the math for figuring out probabilities like this.)
- On the downside, however, many multi-hit abilities have two problems that work against the increased chance per second of triggering certain on-hit passives:
- Some burst/frenzy and nearly all focus abilities don't queue cleanly. Especially the focus attacks that last exactly 1 second long. Whether it's due to extra time added to play the animation of the attack or some other factor, the simple truth is that these attacks often cannot fire exactly every second, but instead can take as long as 2 seconds per attack. Your best chance to mitigate this buggy queueing behavior is to spam the keypress for the attack very quickly, but this gets tiring on your hands and wrist.
- Many burst/frenzy/focus abilities slow down your movement speed while firing. So in PvP or dungeons fights requiring a lot of mobility and chasing targets around, you can often make more hits faster by using instant or 0.5-second single-hit attacks.
- Due to the complex hit types in TSW (glancing, evaded, penetrated, crit, blocked, normal, etc.), even though it's true that more hits per second creates a greater chance to score a critical or penetrating hit, it also equals more chances to score a glancing hit or an evaded or blocked hit, etc. So ultimately, the cumulative damage from the multi-hit ticks themselves ends up being roughly the same as the damage from a single-hit attack (of the same general strength). So the only benefit of multi-hit attacks revolves around a greater chance to proc some other passive effect like that of Live Wire.
- "Armor" in TSW (more properly known as Protection) uses a percentile-reduction mechanic instead of a flat absorption mechanic. Therefore, the overall damage from a multi-hit or single-hit attack is always reduced by the same relative amount. (In games that use flat aborption armor, bigger, slower single hits can yield much more DPS.)
Finally, be aware that an on-hit passive like Live Wire will not proc any more often than once per second. All such passives have an internal cooldown of 1 second. In channeled attacks that last longer than one second (2.5 second channels are quite common), an on-hit proc can still occur once per second during the attack, so you might have as many as 3 procs during the course of a 2.5-second channeled attack.
So how does the probability work? The basic formula for determining the chance of an on-hit proc is:
1 - (1 - p)^n
Where p = probability and n = number of chances
So let's assume your base crit chance is 15% (0.15) and you're using a single-hit weapon attack. p=0.15 and n=1
1 - (1-0.15)^1 = 1 - 0.85^1 = 1 - 0.85 = 0.15 = 15%
Now let's assume the same 15% crit chance, but you're using a 1-second focus attack that ticks every 0.25 seconds. So p=0.15 and n=4
1 - (1-0.15)^4 = 1 - 0.85^4 = 1 - 0.522 = 0.48 = 48%
In MMOs, there are typically several different "dice rolls" to determine the type of hit you make (or not) and the way that your baseline weapon damage is scaled up or down depending on the type of hit you make.
Note: no developer has specifically stated the hit roll order and prioritization, but we can guess at it based on the types of hits we observe over time. My breakdown differs from another common breakdown you see on the forums, but the end result is the same. I'm just very exacting about these things. It is very difficult to empirically test these types of mechanics, but my breakdown takes into account the existence of several offensive and defensive stats whos existence is not explained by the "other" common breakdown.
There are five rolls in the following order for every hit. Even for each individual "tick" of a multi-hit attack (Burst, Frenzy, Focus, and Chain)
- Evaded? (If yes, stop here)
- Glancing? (If yes, skip the Crit roll)
- Blocked? (If yes, skip the Penetration roll)
That's it: 5 successive rolls. Glancing and Crits are mutually exclusive and will never happen in the same hit. The Glance check takes precedence over the Crit check. Likewise for Blocked/Penetrated, with the Block check taking precedece over the Penetration check.
Damage scaling (of the base damage value of the ability) in order of highest to lowest is as follows. Note that the scaling is very likely different in PvE versus PvP, and in PvE it's likely different when a player hits a mob versus when a mob hits a player. And in each of these three cases, the scaling will vary further based on how much or how little the stats being checked for differ between the attacker and defender. So trying to specify exact scaling values is fruitless. Empirical observation plus a few dev statements here and there suggest the following relative order.
- Critical (positive-scaled damage) AND Penetrated (reduced by negative-scaled Protection)
- roughly equal damage:
- Critical (positive-scaled damage and reduced by non-scaled Protection)
- Penetrated (non-scaled damage and reduced by negative-scaled Protection)
- Critical (positive-scaled damage) AND Blocked (reduced by positive-scaled Protection)
- Normal (non-scaled damage and reduced by non-scaled Protection)
- Blocked (non-scaled damage and reduced by positive-scaled Protection)
- Glancing (negative-scaled damage) AND Penetrated (reduced by negative-scaled Protection)
- Glancing (negative-scaled damage and reduced by non-scaled Protection)
- Glancing (negative-scaled damage) AND Blocked (reduced by positive-scaled Protection)
- Evaded (0 damage)
There are two important things to understand about the effect of your Magical Protection and Physical Protection stats per the preceding list:
- Protection in TSW is the equivalent of percentile-reduction "armor" in other MMOs:
- Some MMOs use absorption armor that takes a flat amount of damage off the top of every hit.
- Some MMOs use percentile-reduction armor that simply reduces the damage of a hit by a certain percent. TSW's Physical and Magical Protection works like this.
- Penetrating hits do not ignore all Protection. The exact amount ignored is unknown, but a dev has stated that (paraphrasing) "In most cases, over time, the extra damage from Crits should be roughly equal to the extra damage from Pens". This is why the 2nd and 3rd bullets in the list above (normal Crits and normal Pens) are listed as being roughly equal damage.
What stats are being checked in each roll?
The defender's Evade Chance is compared to the attacker's Enemy Evade Chance. The attacker's percentage is subtracted from the defender's percentage before making the roll.
- You start out with a 5% base Evade Chance at 0 Evade Rating, and this percentage increases further as you add more Evade Rating through gear or ability buffs. For example:
- 153 Evade Rating = 7.3% Evade Chance
- 261 Evade Rating = 8.9% Evade Chance
- You start out with a 0% base Enemy Evade Chance at 0 Hit Rating, and this percentage increases further as you add more Hit Rating through gear or ability buffs. For example:
- 250 Hit Rating = 0.9% Enemy Evade Chance
- 492 Hit Rating = 1.8% Enemy Evade Chance
- The amount of negative damage scaling for an evaded hit is fixed at 0% of their normal baseline value (100% damage reduction).
The defender's (hidden) Glance Chance is compared to the attacker's (hidden) Enemy Glance Chance. The attacker's percentage is subtracted from the defender's percentage before making the roll.
- You start out with a 10% base Glance Chance at 0 Defense Rating, and this percentage increases further as you add more Defense Rating through gear or ability buffs.
- You start out with a 0% base Enemy Glance Chance at 0 Hit Rating, and this percentage increases further as you add more Hit Rating through gear or ability buffs.
- The amount of negative damage scaling for a glancing hit is fixed, and the only scaling value we know for certain is that when a player hits a PvE monster, such glances hit for 40% of their normal baseline value (60% damage reduction).
Note: Neither of these two percentages are actually visible in your character sheet. The 10% value for Glance Chance comes from a developer statement very late in closed beta. The 0% value for Enemy Glance Chance was visible in Closed Beta for a while.
The attacker's Critical Chance is compared to the defender's Enemy Crit Chance. The defender's percentage is subtracted from the attacker's percentage before making the roll.
- You start out with a 5% base Crit Chance at 0 Crit Rating, and this percentage increases further as you add more Crit Rating through gear or ability buffs.
- You start out with a 0% base Enemy Crit Chance at 0 Defense Rating, and this percentage increases further as you add more Defense Rating through gear or ability buffs. For example:
- 150 Def = 0.5% Enemy Crit Chance
- The amount of positive damage scaling for a critical hit starts at a base value of 125% for 0 Crit Power, and this percentage increases further as you add more Crit Power through gear or ability buffs.
The defender's (hidden) Block Chance is compared to the attacker's (hidden) Enemy Block Chance. The attacker's percentage is subtracted from the defender's percentage before making the roll.
While neither tested nor stated by a dev, my personal guess is that this roll works identically to the way that Evade and Glance rolls work, and that there is an underlying Block Chance and Enemy Block Chance that is used for the roll as follows:
- You start out with a 10% base Block Chance at 0 Block Rating, and this percentage increases further as you add more Block Rating through gear or ability buffs.
- You start out with a 0% base Enemy Block Chance at 0 Penetration Rating, and this percentage increases further as you add more Penetration Rating through gear or ability buffs.
- The amount of negative damage scaling for a blocked hit is variable (because it scales up the defender's Protection value). From testing, it appears that in PvE situations, on average, when a player hits a PvE monster, such blocks hit for 60% of their normal baseline value (40% damage reduction).
Note: Neither of these two percentages are actually visible in your character sheet. Both values are extrapolated as my personal "guesstimate" from the way that Glance rolls work.
The attacker's (hidden) Penetration Chance is compared to the defender's (hidden) Enemy Penetration Chance. The defender's percentage is subtracted from the attacker's percentage before making the roll.
While neither tested nor stated by a dev, my personal guess is that this roll works identically to the way that Crit Chance rolls work, and that there is an underlying Penetration Chance and Enemy Penetration Chance that is used for the roll as follows:
- You start out with a 5% base Penetration Chance at 0 Penetration Rating, and this percentage increases further as you add more Penetration Rating through gear or ability buffs.
- You start out with a 0% base Enemy Penetration Chance at 0 Block Rating, and this percentage increases further as you add more Block Rating through gear or ability buffs.
- The amount of negative damage scaling for a penetrating hit is variable (because it scales down the defender's Protection value), and the only thing we know for certain is a developer/designer statement that "over time, the damage output for crits and pens (in PvE) will be roughly equal"
Note: Neither of these two percentages are actually visible in your character sheet. Both values are extrapolated as my personal "guesstimate" from the way that Crit rolls work.
(Read the answer to the preceding question about "Hit Roll Order" to fully understand this answer)
The question here revolves around whether you should build around high Hit Rating, high Crit Rating (and Crit Power), or around high Penetration Rating.
Hit Rating is the easiest to discuss so let's start with it. It's very important to include at least some Hit Rating, somehow, in your build because it simultaneously affects three different and very important things: Evasion and Glances/Crits (because glances are checked for first and will negate crits if a glance occurs). See the preceding section about Hit roll order for more details.
One simple rule of thumb for ensuring a decent amount of Hit Rating is to always buy/craft/find Accurate glyphs (pure +Hit Rating) and use them for the Glyph slot on your weapons. This enables you to mix and match your talismans as desired for various roles and specialized builds without significantly changing your baseline Hit Rating stats.
Finally, note that high Hit Rating on the attacker's side is countered by both high Defense Rating and high Evade Rating on the defender's side. So depending on your role in dungeons or your preferred playstyle in PvP:
- If you're looking to increase glances against yourself (and therefore also reduce crits against yourself), you want to pump Defense Rating pretty high.
- If you're looking to increase evades against yourself, you want to pump Evade Rating pretty high.
Now for the question of Crit versus Penetration…
A dev has stated that Penetration damage and Critical damage is roughly equal overall, and that they just accomplish their larger damage values in different ways. It's also important to note that you can also have "Critical (Penetrated)" hits that are much larger than normal Crits or Pens alone.
The min-maxer mindset might be therefore be tempted to focus on only Crit or only Pen in a given build, and this temptation is made even stronger by the fact that the active abilities for various weapons do "nice things" when either Crits or Pens happen, but never favor both Crits and Pens equally. Also, with only 14 total abilities in a 7/7 build, you might dilute the build synergies too much if you attempt to pump the chances for both Crits and Pens in the same build.
However, this min-maxer approach should be tempered with the empirical observations that many "Rating" stats (Critical Rating, Block Rating, Attack Rating, etc.) stop scaling effectively at fairly small values (somewhere around the 400-ish range). In other words, rather than pumping one Rating stat to 600 (through abilities, buff stacking, anima potions, and Glyph stats on gear), you might actually be better served to pump two complementary stats (like Crit and Pen) to 300 each.
Therefore, for PvE at least, it's anyone's guess at this early stage whether it's best to focus only on Crit even if you have a "crit weapon" like Hammer or Pistol. You might in fact be better-served to try and build around both Crit and Pen to equal levels even if you have a "crit weapon" or a "pen weapon". My advice for now is to experiment.
One last wrinkle is that Penetration builds require only one type of stat to pump up (Penetration Rating), but Critical builds require pumping two different stats (Critial Rating and Critical Power) to be effective. Therefore you can conserve Glyph stats and possibly active/passive slots for other useful things if you build primarily around Penetration. There are also slightly more abilities that can increase your penetration rating/chance, and fewer ways to increase your critical rating/chance.
No damage subtype (Focus, Blast, Chain, Frenzy, Burst, or Strike) is better than any other in regards to targets that have high Protection or low Protection, because Protection (armor) is a percentile reduction mechanic. In other MMOs where "armor" is an absorption mechanic, larger but slower attacks are usually superior to smaller but faster attacks, because more damage gets pushed through past the absorption of the armor. But in TSW it doesn't work that way. Large hit or small hit: it doesn't matter. The same percentage reduction is applied to each hit.
You might be tempted to think "but if multi-hit attacks have more chances to trigger useful effects from passive abilities, doesn't that make multi-hit attack types inherently better overall?" Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), all multi-hit attacks have only one chance to trigger passive synergies, regardless of how many actual hits they do.
Yes. There are two, actually. By default:
F will assist your current defensive target (the player highlighted in green), meaning if you hold down F while using an active ability, the target of that ability will be your defensive target's target.
Ctrl-F will assist your current offensive target (the enemy mob or player highlighted in red), meaning if you hold down Ctrl-F while using an active ability, that target of that ability will be your offensive target's target. This is sometimes an easier way to provide an emergency heal or buff to someone other than the designated tank in a group, saving you the trouble of selecting different teammates manually for heals. Instead, you can keep the tank selected as your defensive target all the time, and provide emergency heals to whomever the boss is currently beating on without deselecting the tank.
Attack Rating is a simple scaling value that is applied against your listed damage output from all abilities. A higher Attack Rating = more damage per each active ability hit or DOT "tick".
Hit Rating is a simple scaling value that is applied to your BASE "to hit" chance that is conferred by your Skill rank in the weapon you are currently using plus the Skill rank in your three talisman rows (in other words, BASE "to hit" chance is determined by the "con color" of the mobs you are attacking). For example, your BASE chance to score hits against an enemy that currently cons yellow or orange to you improves as you move from (for example) Skill 4 to Skill 5 to Skill 6 in the weapon you're using.
This base "to hit" value is further improved by the amount of +Hit Rating your glyphs and ability buffs are adding. Your total Hit Rating from all these sources affects the following important aspects of combat:
- Hit Rating improves your Enemy Evade Chance stat, which in turn reduces the chance that your target will evade your attacks.
- Hit Rating improves your Enemy Glance Chance stat, which in turn reduces the chance that your hits will glance against your target.
Important: The largest factor in your glance rate against enemy targets is your Skill rank in your two equipped weapons plus your three talisman rows. You can have all the +Hit Rating in the world and it won't help you nearly as much as investing more SP into these 5 Skill values.
Since many useful passive effects are triggered from any non-glancing hit, it can serve you well to ensure that your weapon Skill is as high as possible at all times (without sacrificing your Talisman skills), so that you can prioritize Attack Rating over Hit Rating. If your weapon skill is too low, then you might need to stack up some Hit Rating to compensate, which means you cannot stack as much Attack Rating.
One simple approach to ensuring that you have enough Hit Rating is to put Accurate glyphes (pure +Hit Rating) on your weapons. Put all the +Crit or +Pen or other secondary stat glyphs only on your talismans. It's important to remember that the secondary stats on your weapons take effect ONLY when you are actively using that weapon (using one of that weapon's active abilities). If you are using the other weapon, those stats just "disappear" from you. Putting only +Hit on your weapons and there stacking Crit/Pen, etc. only on your talismans ensures that you'll always enough +Hit to minimize glancing hits, and that your full amount of +Crit/+Pen, etc. is working for you with all builders and finishers from both weapons.
Protection in TSW (Magical Protection and Physical Protection) is the equivalent of percentile-reduction "armor" in other MMOs:
- Some MMOs use absorption armor that takes a flat amount of damage off the top of every hit.
- Some MMOs use percentile-reduction armor that simply reduces the damage of a hit by a certain percent. TSW's Physical and Magical Protection works like this.
Penetrating hits do not ignore all Protection. The exact amount ignored is unknown, but a dev has stated that (paraphrasing) "In most cases, over time, the extra damage from Crits should be roughly equal to the extra damage from Pens".
The damage mitigation from Protection scales as follows (relatively speaking, based on testing with the same mob):
- 249 Prot = 86.3 average dmg/hit
- 349 Prot = 81.6 average dmg/hit
- 680 Prot = 74.4 average dmg/hit
Based on those numbers:
+100 Prot = 5.4% reduction in damage
+431 Prot = 13.8% reduction in damage
a 40% increase in Prot (349/249) = 5.4% reduction in damage
a 173% increase in Prot (680/249) = 13.8% reduction in damage
So the scaling from Protection does hit a point of diminishing returns pretty quickly (I'm guessing somewhere around 450), and it doesn't scale incrementally with higher values. If the scaling was flat, we would expect to see something closer to 24% reduction for that 173% increase in Protection.
Defense Rating is essentially the defensive opposite of Hit Rating, and lowers the chance of certain hit types, as follows:
- Defense Rating improves a (currently invisible) stat that is the defensive opposite to the attacker's Glancing Chance. During the Glance Roll, the attacker's Glancing Chance is compared to this invisible stat to determine the attacker's chance of a glancing hit.
- Defense Rating improves your Enemy Crit Chance stat, which in turn reduces the attacker's chance of scoring a critical hit.
It's worth noting that a higher chance of being Glanced also reduces your chance of of taking Critical Hits, because glances and crits are mutually exclusive, and because Glance checks are peformed before Crit checks in the damage roll order.
The short answer is that mixing a little of all is often stronger than trying to min-max by relying on only one possible defensive stat. The reason is:
- Each stat scales differently from the total "rating" number for each stat. For example, If your Evade Rating is at 100, that gives you a roughly 4% chance to Evade. If your Glance Rating is at 100, that gives you a roughly 12% chance to glance. If your Block rating is only 70, that gives you a roughly 14% chance to Block.
Funcom uses different scaling values like this to ensure that no one mitigation stat Rating is inherently always superior to others.
Empirical observation suggests that there is also probably a degree of diminishing returns on all of these ratings too, such that you hit a certain point with any one stat (roughly around the 400-450 range) where you'll get more bang for the buck by putting additional effort into other stats instead. In other words, rather than trying to pump Block to 600 through a variety of Glyph stats, stacking passive buffs, and so on is probably less effective overall than pumping Defense Rating, Evade, and Block all equally to 200.
Now, that's the theorycrafting and is generally true for PvE. Empirically speaking, however, it seems that stacking as much Evade Rating and Defense Rating as possible, even far beyond the point of diminishing returns, is fairly powerful in PvP due to the fact that most human players try to stack as much front-loaded burst damage (not the same as a Burst subtype) as possible in PvP. Due to that mechanic, having as high a chance as possible to having huge burst attacks "fizzle" on you entirely (Evaded), or at the very least increasing the chance of them Glancing on you (Defense) is very strong mitigation in the PvP environment.
"But what about Crits and Pens?" you say. Remember, the Glance roll is done before the Crit roll, so if you increase your chance of attacks glancing against you, you also reduce their chance of critting you. There are no "critical glancing" hits. As for Penetrating hits (which are just as powerful as crits, overall, and which are directly reduced by Block Rating, not by Defense), the answer is less obvious but still very powerful: If you increase your chance of being glanced, you are converting some "normal" Penetrating hits into more "glancing penetrated" hits. Since any glancing attack is greatly reduced in total damage (60% reduction in PvE, at least), you are effectively taking some of the sting out of penetrating hits too, just by increasing your Defense.
No. Only the stats from the weapon you are actively using come into play. For example, if you've equipped a weapon with +Crit and your second weapon has +Pen, you get the + Crit bonus only when using abilities from the first weapon, and you get the +Pen bonus only when using abilities from the second weapon. If you keep your character sheet open during a fight, you can see your stats dynamically change as you switch between using abilities for each weapon. Only the stats on your equipped talismans apply all the time regardless of which weapon is currently in use.
This mechanic suggests a simple rule of thumb: if you put only Accurate glyphs on your weapons (pure +Hit Rating), then whichever weapon you're actually using will always be applying a general Hit Rating buff to your every single combat roll, and and your talismans will always be applying all the other juicy stats you want (Crit, Pen, Block, Evade, Defense, etc.) regardless of which weapon's active abilities you are currently using.
Yes. Although where a skill description specifies a particular weapon then of course that skill will apply only when actually using that weapon (to fire an active ability). For example, the Warmth line from Fist applies only when your Fists are being used, because it specifies "Fist" in the skill description:
Your Fist healing abilities cause the target to receive x.xx% additional healing from all sources
It does not matter which slot is used. Conceptually, your "offhand" weapon is simply the one for which you are not using any active abilities at the moment.
The color scaling is different between weapons, talismans, and glyphs/sigils.
For weapons, the primary +Weapon Power stat on a Blue QLx is roughly equal to that of Green QLx+1. Purple QLx is roughly equal to a green QLx+2. For example, a blue QL5 has roughly the same +Weapon Power as a green QL6, and a purple QL5 has roughly the same +Weapon Power as a green QL7.
For glyphs and sigils, the different in QL scales pretty much the same as for +Attack Power on weapons: Blue is roughly equal to Green+1, and Purple is roughly equal to Green+2
For talismans, the picuture is very different. (Read my Talisman Mechanics guide to really understand the following.)
The short answer is that moving from Greens to Blues in an equivalent manner works out to a roughly 33% improvement on your base role stats for the talismans. But it's really not that simple, because you have to mix and match your blue role types very carefully to achieve this.
The longer answer is:
Base role stats on Blue talismans are roughly 90% better than those on Greens of the same level. And the base role stats on Purple talismans are roughly 10% better than on Blues of the same level. So the biggest "bump", by far, comes from swapping out a Green for a Blue.
However, this huge apparent bump between Greens and Blues comes at a price, and the overall "bump" is really not 90%. The other big difference between greens and blues is that you lose all the inherent 30% +HP that comes on every green talisman. As a rule of thumb, if you switch to all Blue talismans, for example, you should not equip 7 DPS talismans like you used to do with Greens, because you'll suddenly become very very squishy due to losing literally all of your +HP stats from gear.
Instead, you should equip 2 Blue Tanking talismans in two of your Major slots, and the remaining 5 talismans can all be pure DPS Blues. This ensures that you still have a roughly 30% ratio of +HP in your talisman gearing, which is important because the game is balanced around this expected minimum amount (30%) of +HP from your talismans.
So you can't really go from 7 Green DPS talismans to 7 Blue DPS talismans, or you'll wonder why you suddenly start dying way more often, especially if you're soloing.
Instead, you must go to 5 Blue DPS talismans and 2 Blue Tanking talismans (which must be in specific slots to equal the 30% +HP expected by the game design). If you work out the actual numbers involved, the TRUE "bump" for switching from an all-Green DPS set to an all-Blue DPS set ends up being only a 33% improvement in your total +Attack Rating. Your total +HP in this scenario also gets a roughly 33% improvement.
Trying to build up a nice "tanking set" for some early dungeons? Just collect a full set of green tanking talismans without worrying too much about the secondary stats like +crit, +evade, etc. If you don't like the secondary stats on any one piece out of the seven, just combine that talisman with different glyphs you like better (such as primarily defensive glyphs), and keep improving them with new glyphs that drop for you. (Or that you craft or buy from other players.) This helps keep your inventory from getting cluttered with lots of unused glyphs, which drop fairly often and which you cannot stack to conserve space. (You should also be able to buy glyphs off the auction house when it is operational.)
You can use this same process to build and maintain a healing set or dps set. And you can mix and match items from your current healing set with your items from your current dps set to make a good all-around set for soloing (assuming you solo with one healing weapon), or you could alternatively mix and match items from your current tanking set with your current dps set if you solo with no healing weapons.
"Con" or "Conning" stands for "Consider", which is old school MMO/MUD terminology for assessing a mob's difficulty before you attack it.
The con color range you see in the dots at the left of each mob's name goes from lowest difficulty (green) to highest difficulty (blue) in the following order:
green > blue > white > yellow > orange > red
Note that the orange color is really more like a darker yellow, and most people will confuse it easily with yellow even if they already know the difference. It's not really a deep and obvious orange like it should be. i think Funcom did this on purpose to us, just to be evil.
Generally speaking, the con color of a mob is a decent indicator of difficulty, but only if:
- Your SP investment in the Skills page is well-focused, AND
- You are using two weapons that are among your highest-ranked weapon skills, AND
- Your build (aka "Deck" is reasonably well-designed and includes talisman types that match the role you're trying to play with your build. For example, if you're trying to play a DPS role and all your talismans are Healing talismans, you're not going to do very well and mobs might seem more difficult than they would be if you were wearing all DPS talismans or a mix of, say, 70% DPS and 30% Tanking talismans. For more information, refer to my Talisman Guide.
Also note that solo difficulty is balanced as being "normal" for white-colored mobs. If you're soloing yellows, it's supposed to generally be "hard", and if you're soling oranges, it's supposed to be "very hard". And you shouldn't do very well at soloing reds at all, certainly not if you get an unexpected add.
By contrast, a duo can easily handle yellow mobs and even orange mobs if you avoid getting swamped with too many adds. A trio or larger can easily deal with orange mobs, and possibly even red mobs (if they're not too far "above orange" for the group members).
What determines the con color of mobs are two things only:
- The Skill rank of all three of your talismans lines in the Skills page (Head, Major, Minor), PLUS
- The highest two Skill ranks among all of your weapon types on the Skills page, regardless of which weapons you are actually equipping in your build.
That's it. Only 5 specific Skill ranks are what determine the system's idea of how difficult any given mob should be for you. It is not known whether the con color is based on a simple sum of those five skill values, or the mean or average of those skill values, or a weighted mean/avg of those skill values. Regardless of the actual formula, if, for example, a mob cons orange to you with your two highest weapons at Skill 6 and your three talisman lines all at Skill 3, that same mob will eventually change to yellow as you raise your talismans skills closer to 6, and possibly to white by the time all three talismans skills are at 6 too.
The main points to take away from this mechanic are these:
- If you are branching out horizontally and skilling up entirely new weapons, a seemingly "easy" mob might actually be more difficult than their con color would indicate, because your lower-skilled weapon will be making more glancing hits than you'd be normally be making with your highest-skilled weapons.
- If you poke your head into a new zone or area of the game and you see orange or red mobs, then all other things being equal, you are simply not ready for that zone/area yet unless you are running with a group of friends or with a higher-level friend for whom those same mobs are at most orange-colored. You're certainly not ready to solo effectively in that zone/area. This is the game telling you to wait until you've invested more SP into your three talismans lines and into your (best) two weapons.
A final note is that if you take your time and do all or more missions in a given zone at least once before you venture to the next zone, you should have invested more than enough SP to make the next zone perfectly solo-able. Assuming you've invested those SP wisely instead of spreading them all over the Skills page. If you've done all the missions in Kingsmouth, for example, and then you find yourself staring at orange or red mobs when you go to Savage Coast, then you simply spread your SP into too many different skill rows. You might want to pick just two weapons to stick with for a while, go back to Kingsmouth, and redo missions for a bit so that you can get TWO weapons and all three talismans lines to Skill 3 before you go back to Savage Coast.
Read the preceding answer about "Mob Conning Colors" to fully understand this answer
If you want to be able to solo in the next zone from where you are without undue difficulty, the simple test is to poke your head into the next zone and look at the conning color of the first mobs you see. If they're white, you're in great shape. If they're yellow, you can do fine if you've got a reasonably solid build and you're using your best weapons (the ones for which you have the highest skill ranks). If they're orange or red, turn around, invest more SP in your skills page (on the correct skills!), and come back later.
If you run with a buddy or two, you can safely jump in even if everything you see is orange.
That said, don't be in a rush to "get to the next zone". The Secret World is marvelous in that there is zero drive to "rush to end game" or "rush to max level". The entire end game starts the moment that you step into Kingsmouth. Seriously. Do everything in a given zone and enjoy/see it all before moving on. Even then, you'll probably be back several times or more.
There are several possible reasons, but the primary one is your Skill rank for the weapon you're hitting with is too low. If you are wearing a QL5 weapon and your Skill rank for that weapon is only Skill 4, and you are fighting a mob that cons Yellow or Orange to you, then you will see many glancing hits. By increasing your skill in that weapon to Skill 5 (matching your weapon) or even 6 (higher than your weapon), you will see the most noticeable reduction in glancing hits. Glancing is also affected by the total amount of +Hit Rating you have on your gear pieces. (Not +Attack Rating, which scales only your damage for each hit.)
Some areas are specifically designed to have an overwhelming respawn rate. You'll need: A) a partner or two for that mission, B) to wait for other nearby players to come along so that you can selectively keep the area cleared out, or C) to come back later when you are very overgeared for the area.
Some bosses are not *meant* to be killed. They are meant to be insta-death patrollers that you are meant to avoid entirely when soloing or duoing. Other bosses even in normal-seeming solo instances are in fact meant to be killed (even solo), but they will have strong buffs that make them impossible to kill unless you use a build that can shut down or reduce their buffs. This means weapons and abilities that can debuff the strength of their buffs or can purge their buffs entirely. Horizontal progression is good, and the game encourages and rewards horizontal progression.
For example (and a protip): A Pistol with only 2 AP points invested into it (and one active and one passive slot in your normal build) can be used to reduce effectiveness by 50% of the self-heals that make some such bosses nearly impossible to kill. (However you will need enough Skill ranks in Pisto to ensure that you're doing enough non-glancing hits.) Mostly, though, you just need the pistol to stack a debuffing effect 10 times and then again periodically to refresh the stack before every 8-9 seconds before it expires. Meanwhile, you do your real damage with your other primary weapon. There are other creative ways, with other weapons and skills, to make some hard bosses vulnerable enough to kill. The key is to examine their buffs carefully and figure what you need to do to purge or mitigate those buffs.
Other similar curves the game throws at you are things like the following (as gleaned from various dev statements and preview videos):
- Mobs that proc a self-heal at if they receive any glancing hits
- Mobs that are entirely immune to certain states (Weaken, Afflict, etc.)
- Mobs that proc self-buffs if a certain state is applied to them, etc.
You should read my Talisman Guide to fully understand this answer.
In essence, the game is balanced around the expectation that 30% of your talismans' total stat buffs will be providing a +HP stat buff. You do get some HP for every Skill rank that you have in your Major talismans line on the Skills page, but it is not enough unless you're running around as a glass cannon in a good group, and you can avoid getting aggro almost entirely.
Green talismans are predesigned to ensure that you will always have this expected amount of +HP from your talismans, even if you equip a full set of Green DPS talismans or a full set of Green Healing talismans.
By contrast, blue and purple gear is intended for people that want more control over their build, so you must equip at least two Blue/Purple Tanking talismans to ensure you have enough +HP stats to meet this 30% balance requirement.
For example, if you want to achieve the same +HP distribution that is conferred by a full set of Green DPS or Healing talismans, You can put on 5 blue/purple DPS (or Healing) talismans and 2 MAJOR Tanking talismans to provide that 30% +HP value.
Vendors and player trading
1 or 2 sequins are granted as a reward for every mission you complete. You use sequins to purchase blue gear items from the various Council of Venice vendors in certain areas of each zone. It's worth finding and examining such vendors to see what good uses you can put those sequin rewards to.
Yes you can. Be nice to your upcoming guildmates, friends, and random newbies. There's no reason to let sequins go to waste.
Efficient early progression and builds
Yes, but your ability to survive an unexpected add or two might be less than a build that includes a healing weapon. You'll need to focus your 7/7 build around as much DPS as possible to burn down targets as fast as possible, while also packing a fair amount of both Evade Rating and Defense Rating. You probably also want to use a weapon that has some actives that greatly increase your Evade Chance for a short time (both Blade and Chaos fit the bill in this respect).
If you have a build that uses a healing weapon and one or two healing actives, your DPS will typically be lower and therefore you'll take longer to kill things, but you'll also be able to withstand more punishment or be able to run and heal yourself until you reach the leash limit for your attackers.
As a general rule of thumb, if you are soloing with a build that has no Healing weapon, you typically want something like a 30/70 to 50/50 mix of tanking/DPS talismans, to ensure you have a higher HP pool. (See my Talisman Mechanics guide to fully understand what this advice means.)
Ultimately, you'll want builds that can apply (and react to) any of the four states: Afflicted, Weakened, Hindered, or Impaired. Especially for group fights in dungeons or outdoor elite camps. You will eventually run into enemies who are resistant/immune to certain states, or who react in unfavorable ways if a certain state is applied to them.
However, for soloing, you are best served by ensuring that your build(s) that you level up first on your way to Skill 10 in your first two or three weapons (before you start branching out horizontally into other weapon types) can rapidly apply stacks of the Weakened state. It's fine (and quite useful) to also have weapons/abilities that can apply Affliction DOTs too, but there will be situations where you are very well-served by being able apply and maintain a 10x stack of some type of Weakened debuff.
If it comes down to an "either or" situation for you between doing your initial vertical progression with a build that can do only Affliction or only Weaken, you might be thankful at points that you chose Weaken instead of Affliction. Again, though, this is a temporary situation that constrains you only during your initial vertical progression with your first two or three weapons (and corresponding builds), simply because you can't spread your SP investments too thin at first. After you hit Skill 9 or 10 with these first 2-3 weapons (and all 3 of your talisman lines too), you can afford to branch out horizontally with more weapon types and more diverse builds.
Crafting in general is actually very simple and straightforward. There are (or will be) many good, succinct guides to all the assembly patterns and the specific mats/runes needed to craft anything. It's very very simple. The main thing to understand is that:
Metal makes weapons. Metal is found by breaking down weapons you don't need any more, and also by breaking down "Barrier" energy drinks that you find.
Fire, Water, and Dust make talismans.
Runes make glyphs and sigils. There are 8 runes. 4 of them make glyphs/sigils with offensive stats, and 4 of them make glyphs/sigils with defensive stats. You can make "pure" single-stat glyphs by using 4 of the same exact rune, or you can make "mixed" dual-stat talismans by mixing 2x of one rune and 2x of a different rune, but both runes must be "offensive" or both must be "defensive".
You cannot remove glyphs/sigils, but you can easily "overwrite" an existing glyph/sigil by simply combining a *new* glyph/sigil with the weapon or talisman. The stats from the new one will simply replace the stats from the old one that got overwritten. There is no need to *ever* sell or break down an otherwise good purple or blue gear item once you are wearing QL 10 gear, because its base stats will always be useful to some basic tanking/dps/healing role, and you can always modify its custom stats by simply combining it with different glyphs and sigils. The only gear you should be breaking down for mats is lower QL gear that you've outgrown or don't need.
Talisman crafting is actually very straightforward.
Depending on the element used for crafting, Blue and Purple talisman kits always produce either pure +HP (Water), pure +Attack Rating (Fire), or pure +Heal Rating (Dust). These three types fall squarely into tanking, dps, or healing roles, respectively.
Green talisman kits fall into these same broad categories too, but the "pure" stats are always mixed with some degree of either +HP or +Attack Rating. (This will become clear in the examples further below.)
To further tailor the general "role" (tank/dps/healer) of a talisman with other specialized stats and buffs, you must add glyphs and sigils to it.
Assuming you have enough Fire/Water/Dust mats *and* enough talisman crafting kits, you can always craft yourself a full set of "tanking talismans", "dps talismans", or "healer talismans" if you're not finding enough through normal drops, and you can tailor (and re-tailor) each tanking/dps/healing set however you like simply by adding offensive/defensive glyphs and sigils to them as often as you like.
If you understand what the typical base +HP, +Heal Rating, or +Attack Rating typically looks like for the three main talisman types, you can figure it out just by looking at the stats, but here's an easy trick if you aren't good with numbers like that. Just place the talisman in the disassembly window and look at the type of mats it will break into: Fire = DPS, Water = Tank, Dust = Healer. Be sure to drag it back into your inventory right away so that you don't accidentally disassemble it!
Client UI Tips and Tricks
Since every single command in the chat interface is preceded by a forward slash (/), it sure would be nice if pressing / would actually open the chat line, wouldn't it? Hey wait, I checked my key bindings and it already says the / is bound to Activate Command Input. But it doesn't actually work!
The answer is both simple and non-intuitive. The default key binding that you see is mapped to the / key that is in your Numpad keys. It's actually a separate keybind to map it the one most players use, which is down by your right-Shift key. Just manually remap it to that key and you'll be good to go.
Yes, there is a checkbox under Interface Options to do that. It's in the General subtab, and is called Camera Shake on Special Hits, way at the bottom. Clear that checkbox and no more camera shake.
In the *Interface Options*, on the 2nd tab from the left, select the Show Vicinity Player Nametags checkbox.
Technical issues with the game client
Some times you might get a bad client crash or a bad patch update that effectively corrupts the game client to the point where actually starting the DX9 or DX11 client and running the opening logo cinematics will simply hang and you can never get to the login screen. While rare, it can happen.
Here's how to fix it without actually uninstalling and redownloading the entire game client:
- First try using the launcher's Repair Database feature.
- Run the game launcher.
- After the launcher does its initial 4 steps of patching, click Options.
- Click Repair Database and WAIT. It will take about 5-10 minutes depending on what the repair process finds. You will eventually see a green-colored progress bar appear.
- After the repair is complete, click Start Game. The launcher will close (lol).
- Restart the launcher and let it patch up. Often the patch will be much bigger/longer than normal because the launcher is acquiring new resources that the repair process had marked as corrupted.
- If the preceding steps don't fix the client startup freeze, try deleting a configuration folder and forcing the game client to rebuild it on the next launch.
- Navigate into your TSW installation folders (usually C:\\Program Files\Funcom\The Secret World).
- Delete the entire folder called Default.
- Run the launcher and attempt to start the game. Be patient, because it might take longer than usual for the opening logo cinematics to start (because the client is rebuilding the deleted folder and its default contents). If the client still won't play the opening cinematics within a minute or two, then you're probably looking at an uninstall/reinstall scenario.
- Use the launcher's Repair Database feature.
- Run the game launcher.
- WHILE it is still patching, click Options.
- Click Repair Database and WAIT. It will take about 5-10 minutes depending on what the repair process finds. You will eventually see a green-colored progress bar appear. Or you might not, for this particular problem.
- If the repair completes normally within about 15 to 20 minutes, click Start Game. The launcher will close (lol). If the repair does NOT seem to be progressing at all, just close the launcher completely after about 15 minutes of listening to your hard drive thrash, lol.
- Restart the launcher and let it patch up. Often the patch will be much bigger/longer than normal because the launcher is acquiring new resources that the repair process had marked as corrupted.
This is a bug the devs are working to fix, but in the meantime, try the following two things if this happens to you:
- Press Alt-Enter to try to toggle between full-screen and windowed, until it becomes full-screen.
- If the preceding trick doesn't work, then go to your video settings for the client and select Windowed. When the client asks if you want to save the new settings, say NO. The client should then switch to full-screen.