The Secret World Starter’s Guide

The Secret World Starter’s Guide by Tetrablade

All right, you bought the game or just stole your roommates computer for the weekend to try THE SECRET WORLD. Problem is you find yourself zombie chow faster then you can say “Game over”. So you pop over to the fourms in hope to find a decent guide to what the heck is going on. Well here you go my friend, this is your guide to….



First you download the… naw, screw that part. What you really want is…

Choosing your weapon

Ok, you picked out the cool clothes you want to wear and made your supermodel girl avatar. Next you meet your handler and are off to try out some weapons. First off every weapon has two sides to it. If you ever have played an mmo before you might have heard of the “holy trinity”. This trinity is the tankers, healers, wan…eh damagers, and (arguably) supporters. Yes we know that technically makes it the “holy quad” but that don’t sound as cool.

Tanks basically are the guys who jump up and down saying “hit me hit me” to monsters. Of the weapon choices they have:
Chaos : Blades : Hammers

Healers are the ones who keep the tanks alive and anyone that happens to get barfed on by that last zombie. Their weapons of choice are:
Blood Magic : Assault Rifles : Fist Weapons

Support is a harder one. While in most games ‘support’ is usually in the same class as healing, this is not the case for TSW. Support usually is the one who can do things to back up the more defined roles in some way. In this case by adding states more easily or even cleansing these states from allies. We will talk more about states later. Their weapons are:
Elementalism : Shotgun : Pistols

Damagers, more commonly referred to damage per second or DPS are easy. They are the ones who bring death and suffering to enemies in increasingly creative and/or painful ways. Bonus points if they laugh manically while doing so. Their weapon choices are easy :
All of them

Now you may be tempted to just grab the first big boomstick or slab of metal you find and run out to pillage and plunder; But hang back to get a basic feel of your weapons. Each ‘quest’ you pick up will give you a few abilities and passives for that weapon. Better is that picking up a new weapon basically ‘resets’ to that weapon with new passives and actives. So try them all and find the one that speaks to you.

(As a side note if any weapon should actually speak to you please turn it in to the nearest occult researcher. Thank you.)

Try to keep what kind of play style you want because your weapon choices will probably be with you for a while before you can easily change it. Looking at your skill wheel you can look at various decks that might have interesting weapon choices for you to ponder over. This brings us to…

Abilities and You

Ok, you found your weapon. Now to actually DO something with it. You will notice that completing the previous mentioned portion will unlock one Skill point (SP) and two ability points (AP).

First thing to keep in mind with this game. There are no levels. Second thing to keep in mind. Yes, there is levels. While there is no class system, and not any level counter or real reason you can’t go to ‘higher content’ then Kingsmouth at the start of your career keep this in mind. If you look at the bottom of your screen you will see a bar that might have some orange on it with two orange ‘ticks’ ( Looks like | in the bar). This is your experience bar. This is also the meter and marker you have to pass to get one ability point. Completly filling the bar will get you one AP and one SP and then reset the bar.

The reason I say there IS levels is that if you keep track on how much experience points you need to fill it will take a little more each time you fill it to fill it again. But there is no set levels, and even doing ‘lower content’ will net you experience. But if you are at a ‘higher level’ it won’t fill your bar as much as doing the content your are ‘supposed’ to be doing. Experience can come from PvE (Player vs Environment) questing and killing monsters, or PvP (Player vs Player) quests and completing battleground matches.

As you unlock AP and SP you need to spend them. No I mean you do NEED to spend them. You can only keep so much AP and SP, especially the SP. If you fill up your reserve and get more points, well those points are wasted. So always spend points before you fill up to much. The limits are 40 SP and 175 AP.

Now, if you look at your skill wheel a little bit of the ‘cells’ pertaining to your weapon should be colored in. These are purchased abilities. Now you should have gotten a handy little video telling you about the skill wheel and the skill point allocation. If not then either you slept through it or got impatient. Either way I will give you the highlights.

1)To get to the abilities at the bottom of a cell you must have purchased all previous abilities in that cell in order.
2)The bottom ability in any cell is an elite ability. You may only have one Active and one Passive ability in your deck at any time.
3)Active abilities are colored depending on the weapon type while all passives are purple.
4)Passives can be used REGARDLESS of weapon type or what weapon cells they came from. Actives REQUIRE that you have the appropriate weapon equipped.
5) To get to the outer circle abilities you must have completed both of the inner circle ability cells for that weapon, and only unlock the outer wheel for that weapon. (I.e if you complete both cells of shotgun only shotgun outer circle abilities will be unlocked. To unlock other weapons you must repeat the same procedure with them.)
6)The EXCEPTION to this is the misc green cells. They can be picked up any time you have the AP to buy them.

7)Skill points unlock special ability passives, these are active as long as you have the appropriate weapon equipped.
8)When determining what gear you can wear the game checks the HIGHEST skill point allocation and NOT the combined. (I.e ig you have 2 in shotgun damage and 1 in shotgun support you can not use shotgun skill 3 weapons, only skill level 2.)
9)Your skill level is what determines what Quality Level of gear you can wear. So while you can get Ultra-Deathbringer Warhammer 40k within possibly moments of starting the game, you won’t be able to equip it until you have the appropriate skill level.
10) Skill points get increasingly more expensive. With the skill level being how much SP you will need to increase that skill.

So now you got the rules to abilities and skill points its time to put them together. Remember that only seven actives and seven passives can be brought into battle at any time. Once you make a build you might want to save it to your gear manager in your character tab.

(As a side note currently while our gear manager is able to save abilities we are having some technical difficulty with it being able to save gear itself to a build. Please be patient as we have to admit…a wizard did it.)

“But wait, what about these weapon resources and icons? What is a chain attack? I don’t know what affected means!” Hold on sally, calm down and pay attention to the next segments. For now we talk of…

The STATE of things

If you played through the intro out-of-body mission you might have gotten the impression you were meant to learn something. Congratulations! You were! Though to be fair it was a bit obtuse.

What you were supposed to get introduced to was not only combat but states. No not AMERICAN states, but states of effect of which there are four. Ability descriptions will tell you if it will apply a state.

Afflicted: This state is basically a damage over time. Or in most circles refereed to as a DoT. This means for as long as this state or effect is active on a target it will be taking a little bit of damage each second.

Hindered: This is your roots and snares. Or in other words this is what sticks some one to one spot or slows their movement respectively.

Impaired: This is your knockdown, silence, and knockouts. When your character is knocked down as an animation you got hit by this, when you can’t activate abilities you are silenced, and when you can’t do anything at all you are knocked out.

Weakened: Pretty much what it says on the tin. These effects can do everything from lessen your target’s damage, decrease their healing received or dealt, and also make them more vulnerable to attack and take even more damage.

Be warned however that some enemies you do NOT want to put a certain state on, while some others you will want to go out of your way to apply. In clarification enemies have a hexagonal icon over their health bar. This icon if moused over will tell you the special rules pertaining to that enemy. An example is “Grinding gears” in which the enemy takes extra damage while Afflicted. If you apply this state the enemy that once was tough will take less effort to kill. However certain other mobs might be strengthened if certain states are applied. So keep an eye out for the special markers.

Speaking of special it is now time to bring it all together….wait. We can do better with that.

Time to bring it all together

Much better. Now you know abilities, you know states, and you know that those states can affect more then as a simple effect. Time to talk synergy.

Synergy is when it all comes together, preferably to smack your enemies upside the head. This is when a state effects yours or a teammates ability or your abilities work together for greater effect. You might have noticed that some of your abilities might have referred to doing more damage or applying more states if you attack a target with a certain state. YOu might have noticed that some passives will heal or negate damage if certain actions are taken such as putting up a barrier or doing penetrating damage.

So lets look at an example. If you have a passive that every time you do a “chain” (A kind of instant area of effect attack) that you apply weakened to a target. This also means that any nearby enemies will also be put into an afflicted state. Then you put out say an area of effect attack that is supposed to hinder this group of enemies. Well it turns out that if this attack is used on afflicted targets they become impaired and unable to act for maybe 5 seconds. Congratulations you performed Synergy!

Now lets say you are using a shotgun attack that goes out in a cone. This means it attacks multiple target in front of you. Now lets say you have a passive that every time you do a penetrating damage attack you put up a shield on yourself. If you attack 5 targets and your chance to perform penetrating attacks is high you will most likely put at least one shield on yourself. But wait, you have another passive that every time you put a shield up you get healed for so much. This means by attacking multiple enemies with penetrating attacks you are putting multiple shields on yourself. This also means you are putting multiple heals on yourself. Congratulations! Synergy!

Also keep in mind that certain abilitys require resources. This is usually to use a weapon’s more powerful abilities but some don’t require any and use a cool down timer instead. Each weapon type will build resources in a unique way.

Ranged Builds markers on the targets attacked. If the target dies then markers are lost, no way to store markers between targets or fights.

MeleeBuilds points on self. Carries same amounts of points between targets if first one dies or simply switching targets. Out of combat automatically builds to 5.

Magic Builds points on self, can carry marks between targets, but out of combat will lose marks over time.

Now to tie it back to Synergy. Some abilities will actually have different effects depending on how many marks you have. For instance if you use an ability with 5 shotgun marks on a target that ability might hit for more damage but otherwise would do it’s normal amount of damage. Inversely some abilities will do more damage with LESS markers. Having no markers might also put more then one marker on that target.

To kick it up a notch passives might add certain effects depending on markers as well. One shotgun attack might attack multiple targets and put out multiple markers each time, but a passive might state that when a target dies with markers on it the target will explode doing damage to other targets around it. This might mean that when one target dies and does damage, it might kill another target. This will cause a chain reaction killing all targets in an instant. Congratulations! Synergy again!

Keep in mind that this is all just with one player. As you team up and make friends that combinations you can put up between you and your teammates can and will make decidedly deadly storms of destruction.

(As a side note please be aware that such team-ups will prompt calling of hax0rs and other nasty names. You may find yourself apathetic as you proceed to melt face…repeatably)

Destructive creationism

Now we talked about the abilities, we talked about states, and we talked about synergy. Now it is time for…SWAG! Also in how if you can’t find it, make it!

Gear you might notice will come in three flavors. While not called this directly you will notice that one piece will have incredibly high amounts of health but little attack power. Another will have a good mix of attack power and health at about even levels, finally another will have health and healing power to some degree instead of attack power.

Health: This is how much damage you take before taking a dirt nap, pushing up daisies, taking a permanent vacation, going on a blind date. You know, bad stuff happens.

Attack power: This is how effective you are at hurting things. Pretty much self explanatory.

Healing power: Again, self explanatory, If you can’t figure it out, might I suggest playing Barbie’s pony adventures instead?

Now this is for main gear, underneath you might find sub stats that pertain to things like penetration attacks. These are usually given from glyphs you can find, buy, or craft to get various attack stats boosted. Most are pretty much, again, what it says on the tin. But one in particular distinction must be made, and this pertains to critical attacks. There are two stats to these, critical chance and critical power.

Critical chance: This increases your chance to land a critical hit which in most games is at least 150% damaging hit. But here you can increase the pain with…

Critical power: This stat increases the damage a critical hit does. More power means more gibbets made from your former enemy.

Oh, and before you go and stack that crit, go back to think of synergy. If your build is based on penetrating your enemies defenses and you never land a penetrating attack…well that is just all kinds of useless isn’t it? Even increasing your hit chance can be effective since landing glancing hits (the reverse of a critical hit) might be strengthening or even healing your enemy. Just like you have to build your abilities and weapons around synergy, the same applies to your gear.

Tips for dark days

1) Focus on 2-3 weapons, but keep in mind that any weapon combo is viable for solo if you find the things to make it work together. Once you get to Egypt and Transylvania getting AP and SP comes much faster. Until then unless you don’t mind spending a few days grinding/repeating quests you should focus your efforts. Grinding never gets to tedious in this game, but if you hit a rut run a few dungeons to get moving faster again. Optionally PvP matches and quests are another alternative.

2)Tier 1, or inner circle abilities are of the boring yet practical variety by design. In effect they are never flashy and tend to do less damage and less cool things then outer circle abilities. However they serve two purposes, one is always having something to fall back on, and two they due tend to have a few very useful abilities. Do NOT underestimate your tier 1 abilities, an example that a tier one elite for blood magic will Impair a target for 5 seconds up to 30 meters away while doing a fair amount of damage doing so. Another non-elite ability is Thor’s Hammer which is an elemental attack that can hit for a VERY significant amount of damage.

3)Most quests, aside from investigation specifically, are on a 24 timer. Remember that even though you need to have higher xp rewards as you go, it takes a fair amount of time before even kingsmouth becomes trivial xp. You should definitely be able to unlock both cells of your starting weapons.

4)One of the very first quests of kingsmouth gives a green weapon as a reward. I strongly recommend using this to get your second weapon. While you can get by with only one weapon, two weapons means you have two sources of attack power. Not having that second weapon is like purposefully leaving out pieces of main gear.

5)SP should be spent on getting your trinkets up first, weapons second. Also as a general rule unless you specifically want to be a tank or healer you should spend your points on the damage side of weapons. But choose one route and stick with it. This will help make sure you have something to fall back on as you try branching out to other weapons an abilities while still being able to progress. Remember to get to Skill level 10 for any ability or talisman you need at least 55 SP and SP is gotten at a 3:1 ration in favor of AP.

6) If you plan to PvE solo invest in two tanking pieces of gear. By the time you hit Blue Mountain having 3k health will make your life so very much easier. Even if you spend a lot of time in PvP it will increase your staying power in a fight significantly.

7) Do every mission you can, including the investigation. Investigation and sabotage missions give far more xp then action missions as a rule. Green side missions vary. Also the persistent warzone has the two capture missions that usually take very little time to do daily for excellent xp as well. Try to get into the tier 2 stuff as soon as possible, not only is this the more interesting stuff but it also tends to hit harder then tier 1 abilities.

8) Save your tokens. By the time you get to Blue Mountain you should be able to use QL6 gear. You can buy some very nice crit glyphs and QL6 weapons for relatively cheap tokens. I had 146 by the time I got there and was able to get a huge jump in power with maybe a quarter of them. If you have the tokens I would recommend getting some QL6 trinkets from your faction pvp vendor as well. Note that unlike many games, there is no specific PvP stat implimented at this time. So you can pvp with pve rewards and pve with talismans gotten with pvp tokens.

9)Don’t be afraid to branch out. If you are having significant trouble with a current build switch it up. This is a horizontal progression game, this means that as you go gear becomes less relevant and abilities more. Eventually you WILL have more ability points and skill points then you know what to do with.

10) There are some up-grades you can permanently add to your character. One is to increase your sprint (press x) speed out of combat. The other is to increase the number of quick-gear slots in your gear manager (option under the Character Screen). Though expensive…money is not a real problem to obtain in this game. But the sprint speed upgrades is also dependent on your faction rank. This is based on how much XP you have accumulated and every so often, completing the faction quests you will sometimes be called up to do. All of this will take place in your faction HQ. (Vendors on the minimap are represented by a stack of coins/chips)

11) Crafting is your friend, and you can expand your inventory my looking at the bottom and clicking inventory. I had enough money to easily expand to 100 slots by end of Kingsmouth and carry just about all my crafting stuff. While talismans and weapons need to be all of one material, glyphs do not. But you get greater effect the more of one glyph you use when crafting glyphs. To mix glyphs simply put the glyphs and glyph toolkit like you were crafting anything (If you need to learn the pattern either ask someone or disassemble one you get from a quest early on). To apply you then put the assembled glyph and item in the crafting grid, if you can combine the assembly button will light up and you can preview the finished item. If not then that glyph won’t be able to be used with that item.

12) Try to run each area’s dungeon a few times. Not only are these more fun then any dungeon I have personally run in any mmo thus far, but they drop good loot that will give you a good start in the next adventuring area. Oh, and the level of gear it drops is probably a good idea of what quality level of gear you should be taking into the next zone.

13) Make friends, join a cabal. Literally everyone playing the game is open to grouping up with you to run quests. Chances are someone can help you out if you ask nicely.

14) Have fun!

Other The Secret World (TSW) Articles
TSW Bard DPS Hybrid Build Guide
TSW Regeneration Build Guide
TSW NM Full Support Guide
TSW Blood/Fist Healing Guide
TSW Fist Healing Endgame Guide
TSW Fist Healer Theorycrafting
TSW Blade/Chaos Tanking Guide
TSW NM Hammer Tank Guide
TSW NM Tank Shotgun Blade Build
TSW Pistol Ele DPS Templar Build Guide
TSW Leeching Beginner’s Guide
TSW Rifle Leech Healing Complete Guide
TSW Tanking Mega Guide
TSW 11k HP Fist Healing Guide
TSW NM DPS Build Guide
TSW HealTank Build Guide
TSW Endgame Abilities Guide
TSW Monster Ratings, Powers and Symbols
TSW Basics Guide
TSW PvP Beginner’s Guide
TSW All Missions Locations and Maps
TSW Signet Farming Guide
The Secret World Defeat Gatekeeper as Tank Guide
The Secret World Nightmare Group Guidelines
The Secret World Defeat Gatekeeper as Blood/AR Healer Guide
The Secret World Aux Weapon Signet Effects List
The Secret World Defeat Gatekeeper as AR/BM DPS Guide
The Secret World Pistol and Blades Penetration Build
The Secret World Hate and Taunt Mechanics Guide
The Secret World Fist Healing Guide
The Secret World Slaughterhouse Farming Guide
The Secret World Solo Transylvania Build Guide
The Secret World Beginner Nightmare Groups Guide
The Secret World Tanking General Guide
The Secret World Heal Tank Hybrid Guide
The Secret World Elemental/Shotgun Single DPS Build Guide
The Secret World Shotgun/Chaos Tanking Alternative Deck Guide
The Secret World Assault Rifle/Elemental Build Guide
The Secret World Maximum Range DPS Build Guide
The Secret World Dungeon/Boss DPS Builds Guide
The Secret World Chaos/Blade Tanking Build Guide
The Secret World Tips and Advice
The Secret World Crafting and Disassembling FAQ
The Secret World Hammer, Chaos Tank Build Guide
The Secret World Blades, Chaos and Hammer Detailed Analysis
The Secret World Evade, Block and Defence Comparison
The Secret World Healer Tank Build Guide
The Secret World Elemental, Pistol DPS Build Guide
The Secret World FAQs Compilation
The Secret World Starter’s Guide
The Secret World Defeat Gatekeeper as DPS Guide
The Secret World Kingsmouth Missions Complete List
The Secret World Crafting Comprehensive Guide
The Secret World UI Tweaking Guide
The Secret World Chat Commands and GUI Guide
The Secret World Grouping Mechanics Guide
The Secret World Player Strength Vs Difficulty Guide
The Secret World Strategy and Tactics Guide
The Secret World Build Mechanics and Philosophy Tips Guide
The Secret World Synergize Any Two Weapons Guide
The Secret World Weapon Synergy and Build Guide
The Secret World In-Game Puzzle Guide
The Secret World Crafting Step by Step Guide
The Secret World FAQ

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