Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Friday, August 10, 2012

TSW Pro-tips: Never Re-role Your Characters!

Read the comments! Great contributions from other readers!
Kadomi was contemplating re-roling her character in The Secret World a day or two ago, because she wasn't sure she liked the weapons she'd chosen. Feliz and I admonished her not to do that.

In my mind there are only three reasons to re-role:
  1. You don't like your name.
  2. You don't like your looks.
  3. You don't like your faction.
And as Ardua pointed out on Twitter, "One of [those] reasons can be dumped soon enough with the cosmetic options coming in soon." Jabberant also chimed in, "I read somewhere where a Funcom person said it was actually slower to get new abilities by re-rolling." Anywhere you currently are is a faster XP gain than starting over.

Now, you may decide to go back to Kingsmouth to run some easy quests again and make some quick AP/SP. This is OK, but if you're not doing too badly in your current area, stick with it, because you're getting more XP per kill and per quest in the more advanced areas.

Never sacrifice your AP/SP! Keep your current abilities while you gain new ones. If you're putting SP into your talisman skills (which you should be!) you won't lose them by switching to a new weapon. But you will if you re-role. Remember, you can spend points on weapons before actually wielding them. No need to gimp your current deck while building the next. No need to equip new weapons until you can use them effectively.

Gear Manager Is Your Friend . . .

. . . but I think it's a slight misnomer. I've tried to explain this before, but I don't think it was effective. You don't need multiple sets of gear for Gear Manager to be effective. Yes, you can carry around enough gear to effectively fill any role in a group, but chances are—at least early in the game—you'll want to simply upgrade gear you've got rather than accumulate different sets. On the other hand, you're quickly obtaining so many abilities that you'll soon have far more abilities than you have currently equipped. Some abilities are clearly useful for fighting single opponents, while others are far more suited to mowing down groups of mobs. Gear Manager comes in very handy for quickly flipping between sets of abilities even if you only have one real set of effective talismans. If you like macros, you can also set buttons to "/gearmanager use name" where "name" is the name of the saved gear/ability settings.
If you're making macros to assign to buttons, it helps to name your sets the same between alts (I've switched to the simple "AoE" from "Mass Mobs," for instance.)

I've gone over skills and abilities in the past. I don't plan to write any guide showing any überl33t Flavor of the Month Deck that I think you should follow. I can only say that I am having little trouble so far with my chosen decks, and I only want to point you in the right direction. I linked this Deck Builder the other day, as well. It's awesome for seeing at a glance which active and passive abilities produce/exploit which states (Afflict, Weaken, Hinder, Impair) and what weapons may create synergies when used together. And it's accessible from inside the game, through the web interface (though this may not be ideal). You can also use whatever passive abilities you may have learned, regardless of whether you're currently using the weapon associated with them. So that Blade HoT passive can be used even if you're currently using Blood and Fists.

To the Ability Wheel!

Have you ever used the Ability Search on the right side of the Ability Wheel interface? If not, doooo eeet! If you have, have you used the check box filters (at the the top) to narrow down the search to only abilities you have already purchased?

How about looking only at abilities one weapon or the other:
Or only actives or passives:
I do this often to help me decide which abilities to equip for my Single Target deck, and which to use for my AoE deck. On one character, I also have a deck emphasizing healing. I can't tell you which abilities you should use because I haven't played with all the abilities. Study the abilities you have, sorting them in different ways might help. This is exploratory learning. I can tell you some are more situationally useful than others. I'd venture to say that every ability is effective in some combat situation in the game. Deciding which ones to equip and use is up to you.

Tactics vs. Strategy

Many have been less than impressed with the combat in The Secret World, but I think TSW is more about strategy and less about tactics. While choosing a deck seems more complex initially (and it is), you have time to look at what's available and prepare from the safety of the Sheriff's Office or The Horned God bar. You don't have to worry in the heat of battle where that obscure stun is among your 48 buttons. The downside is that it may not be available and you'll die. You'd probably die anyway, because you're hunting through all those buttons for that one ability you never use. The upside is that when you do load out properly, you will "crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!"


  1. Fantastic post, I've said pretty much the same thing to a couple of friends recently (albeit not as nicely) for it to fall on deaf ears >.<

    1. I'm trying to be nice about it; but yes, much of this is falling on deaf ears.

  2. Yeah, I finally got that. I am working on filling out my first deck, and once that is done I will work on a tank deck. Great post!

    1. I'm still working towards my first suggested deck on each character. :P I calculated the Ninja deck to require a total of 856 AP. I assume all the suggested decks are similar. So it'll be a while. The nice thing, of course, is that buying abilities in a given weapon contributes to all decks it is part of.

  3. Good stuff (although you misspelled both "role" in the title (should be "roll") and "re-roling" (should be "re-rolling") - I wouldn't normally mention it but it's out-of-character for this blog - please delete this part of my comment if you choose to correct the spellings, or leave it in and tell me to mind my own business if you don't :P )

    By an odd co-incidence, after three beta weekends and over a month of heavy play I finally decided to look at some Deck builders today. Not that I am having any difficulty - with the sole exception of Blue Mountain I've found TSW easy-to-moderate as a solo game up to Carpathian Teeth. I just thought I was probably missing stuff and I'd proved to my own satisfaction that I could go it alone, so that was the time to take advice.

    Anyway, I went to the excellent Yokai blog and read his deck building guide and then his Starting Deck suggestions and somewhere in there I saw some mention of an in-game Search facility on the Wheel. Believe it or not, after weeks of playing I had never noticed it. I asked Mrs Bhagpuss, who no longer plays but did do all the BWEs and a couple of weeks of Live and she never noticed it either.

    The eye is just not naturally drawn to the right side of the screen, maybe. Whatever, I do think it needs highlighting. I feel a right idiot for missing though.

    As I said, I think for solo play TSW is not hard. I used a shotgun/blood build in beta that seemed very straightforward and I've used a Rifle/chaos one for most of Live. So far the only change I've had to make was to add Blades for the Black Pharoah because he kept bugging out before I could kill him and I needed better DPS. I am betting you could do most of the solo content with just about any half-decent build.

    I'm sure that changes on the dungeon content.

    1. Thanks for the compliment on my normal level of spelling, I do try to catch typos and such, though they get through more often than I'd like. In this case, I am taking advantage of English's noun-verb flexibility to shift the word "role." I'm not rolling dice, I'm choosing a role to play in the game. :D I use role as a verb all time when discussing MMORPGs.

      You are totally correct about the search screen I referred to being on the right side of the Ability Wheel interface. Yokai has a great set of guides for TSW, These piddly posts I am doing are much less formal.

  4. I did wonder if it was a pun but I decided it probably wasn't! Wrong!

  5. Combat is probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of this game. You really hit the nail on the head regarding strategy vs. tactics. A player who is more apt to switch up their deck to deal with different situations will do a lot better than someone attempting to use the same build for everything.

    When I see someone complain about the blandness of the combat mechanics, I have to wonder just how far they got into the game and if they've had the chance to realize its full potential. There's so much strategy involved, even when you're playing solo. AoE? Single-target? Movement fights? There's always a reason to try and build a better deck. Throw in group play, and it gets even more complex. "Are her abilities mostly setting afflicted state? How can I take advantage of that?" Or "Hey, the tank's escalation is setting weakened state already, it'll free up one of my slots!"

    So many possibilities...

    1. Thank you so much! Yes the key to TSW is that you HAVE to change up your decks depending on the situation. I am reminded of a conversation I had yesterday (related to this post actually) about people who try to distribute talent points in other games in such a way that they think they are being versatile. But in the end, they're not effective at anything, because the game is designed for you to specialize. Apparently it was such a "problem" in WOW that in Cata, Blizz they dummy-proofed it by forcing everyone to pick a tree and stick with it.

      The same goes here for the decks, you have the versatility to change things up between fights. But trying to build a deck that will be effective in even most situations means you will not really be effective in any.