TSW Endgame Abilities Guide by FilthyHuman
There are a lot of posts on these forums made by people who triumphantly made it to Gatekeeper only to find they were a good deal of AP away from abilities necessary to beat him. There are others made by beginners who are afraid to spend points, fearing that they will be wasted on poor choices. There’s nothing quite so frustrating as reaching the endgame in an MMO only to find out that you’ll have to keep farming earlier content just so you can participate.
My goal here is to help prevent that. I hope to list abilities that are helpful to have on a character as they first reach endgame. My focus will be on 18/18 (that is, the first three nightmare dungeons) and solo nightmare missions, because beyond that point a player will both be more knowledgeable and have significantly more AP to throw around.
What this guide is not:
- A general guide on how to put a build together. That’s already done elsewhere.
- A compendium of specific builds. In order to prevent information overload, I’d like to keep this thread focused on abilities that are nice to have regardless of your primary weapons. I do, however, have links to in-depth guides for specific roles in the appropriate sections below.
- A place to debate how the community “should be” behaving. Can you kill Machine Tyrant without 3 cleanups? Sure, but good luck getting into a beginner PUG unless you have it. That’s the reality that new players have to face, much of it coming from people who don’t even read these forums.
This guide is divided into two sections. The first will be a list of general build concepts that are good to have available at endgame. How you approach them will vary depending on your chosen weapons. The second is a list of specific abilities that are widely used in nightmare dungeon. You should try to have as many of these as possible by the time you dispatch that naked man in the sky. That often means you’ll be putting points into abilities you won’t use until endgame while you’re still leveling. Try to hit a balance between these and things you need for your current survivability or your specific dungeon role.
General Build Concepts
Certain bosses and quests will require you to shake things up a little. A single build with no modifications just isn’t going to cut it. No matter what you usually run, be prepared for these scenarios.
You Need Range – For starters, it’s good to know that there are missions and bosses where ranged weapons will make your life much, much easier. Don’t build from the start with the expectation that you will be able to melee everything, especially if you’re not planning on becoming a tank. It’s okay to start the game with two melee weapons, but it’s best to branch out into at least one ranged weapon around Blue Mountain or so, if only as a backup for specific missions. If you’re planning on being a DPS, you’ll want at least two as early as possible.
You Need Both Single Target and AOE – In instances, there are both single-target and AOE DPS checks. You need to be prepared for both. Ideally, you should have a single target build and AOE build set up in your gear manager or a mod like Viper’s deck manager to switch between as needed. For questing, you can get by with just one or the other, although it’s more efficient to have solo setups for both as well.
MOAR HIT – The Facility and the Hell dungeons in general require more hit than others. There’s also a nightmare mission in Egypt that penalizes you for glancing. Be prepared to beef up your hit above normal levels for these, be it through passives like Fever Pitch, swapping gear, or chugging an anima potion.
Hinders – Hinders are usually bad to run in nightmare dungeons due to the fact that bosses can become immune. Thus, it’s a bad idea to base a general dungeon build on the assumption that the target will be hindered. There are, however, missions and certain bosses where hindering is desirable, and there is one nightmare mission where hindering is basically required. It’s helpful to have the ability to do so when the need arises, be it through an active weapon ability or a passive like Close Quarters.
Purges – It won’t come up much before nightmare dungeons, but it is good to have a purge at that point. DPS will need one to beat the Gatekeeper and for several nightmare bosses. Healers will want one because DPS won’t always be willing to run one or might not understand when to do so. The current go-to is Cleanup, but there are reasonable substitutes in most cases. Currently, the DPS version of the Gatekeeper is actually easier with elementalism purges, since the cooldown of cleanup is a bit too long to guarantee that it will always be up when you need it.
Cleanses – There are fights in nightmare dungeons where it is helpful or mandatory to cleanse a DOT. Ensuring that you are able to do so means that, in most cases, you won’t have to worry about whether the people you group with can. Healers will need to cleanse a DOT to defeat the Gatekeeper. For solo purposes, cleansing is less vital. On my very first character I ran every solo mission in the game without a cleanse, although there are places where it helps to have one.
CC-Breakers – There is plenty of crowd control in nightmare dungeons that will kill you if you don’t cleanse it. There are many options for doing so, and often a single team member can take care of it. However, relying on others to cleanse everything for you is bad, if only because others are unreliable. Have a CC-breaker, or at the very least a stack of epi-pens, that you can swap onto your bar as needed. Again, this is less vital for questing, but it can be nice to swap in situationally.
Debilitated – Debilitated is a debuff that reduces an enemy’s damage output. This is great for soloing. It’s great for tanks. It’s great for DPS, since tanks don’t always run it. It’s great for healers (more so for leechers, but yes, even endgame fist healers with the right combination of abilities), since DPS won’t always have it. You won’t regret finding a way to work this into your build when necessary. The 12 Gouge passive allows you to do so with any weapon, but depending on your build there may be better options. For example, builds that rely on strike-type abilities can use Punisher.
Weakened in General – Besides Debilitated, there are two other debuffs that fall under the more general “Weakened” state: Corrupted, which redces healing, and Exposed, which increases damage taken. Debilitated is the most generally useful in that every role might need it, but it bears mentioning that any of these will trigger things that rely on the weakened state. There are a few missions where mobs get an extra debuff when they are weakened through whatever means. In group content, tanks generally apply exposed, since they can do it very easily. It is therefore safe to assume that your target will be weakened in a dungeon if you are a DPS or healer. There are some dungeon fights where Corrupted helps, but you’ll find more use for it solo (especially in Transylvania, where enemies that heal are abundant.) If you’re a tank, grab a way to apply Exposed, as you’ll usually be expected to apply it for the group. Otherwise, Exposed and Corrupted are nice to have but nothing to go out of your way to grab specifically when AP is tight.
A Hate Reducer—For the most part, you shouldn’t need one of these with a good tank. Unfortunately, not all tanks are good, and even the good ones might struggle with hate in beginner groups if their gear isn’t up to snuff.
Afflictions Can (Occasionally) be Bad – Not always, of course. In general, it’s good to afflict while soloing, and tanks will virtually always want to keep mobs afflicted in instances. However, there are some nightmare and lair mobs in Transylvania that put a nasty dot on you if you afflict them. You can heal through it in purple gear, but before then it might pay off to take any afflictions out of your build, at least if you don’t have a cleanse available. There’s also a boss in nightmare Hell Eternal that straight up WILL kill you if you afflict him at the wrong time.
Sleight of Hand – There are typically many options that work for CC removal, but Sleight of Hand has many advantages. It’s cheap, it can be used with any weapon, it’s not tied to a dash, and it provides immunity for several seconds.
Cleanup – A combined cleanse and purge that will affect your teammates at a range so long you probably won’t notice it has one. Most PUGs require this for DPS in Hell Raised, so if you don’t have an active cabal you’ll need it before you’re able to regularly farm 18/18. It’s still nice to have as a healer or even a tank, because, unfortunately, not every DPS joining a beginner group will know that cleanses are necessary, and healers are in a better position to actually know when to cleanse. It’s a fifty-point ability and it requires a shotgun to use, so plan ahead for this one.
Confuse – An ability that reduces hate and is usable with any weapon. Besides its obvious utility of getting an enemy to stop attacking you, it is often paired with provoke during the last boss of Darkness Wars.
Provoke – A taunt usuable with any weapon. DPS and healers will mainly find it useful to break a cast. Confuse can them be used to help the tank get aggro back. Again, this is the typical strategy employed during the final boss of Darkness Wars, one of the first nightmare dungeons you’ll be able to farm.
Death From Above – Also known as the rocket jump, all roles will benefit from this rocket launcher ability in nightmare instances (and a couple specific missions.) Because it’s on an auxillary weapon, it means you won’t have to waste one of your 7 general slots on a dash or speed boost. You’ll probably want to slot something else for most fights, at least as a healer or tank, but for bosses where you need to move quickly DFA is often the best solution.
Breaching Shot/Deadly Aim/Short Fuse – If you run with a shotgun, pistols, or elementalism, look at bringing the respective group buff. There’s a good chance it will provide a greater increase in group DPS than the additional personal DPS you’d gain from whatever else you’d put in that ability slot. Even healers and tanks with a free ability slot can choose to help speed things along by slotting one of these. A couple of caveats: in terms of DPS gain, you’re usually better off skipping the passives that improve these buffs (e.g., Final Fuse.) Also, group buffs shine the most in group content. You’ll probably find other utilities more useful when you solo.
Twist the Knife – The best damage passive. All DPS decks should make room for this.
Lethality – Another excellent damage passive, with only one drawback: the buff it provides is removed upon glancing. For this reason, you should remove it in dungeons with an increased glance chance. Most people swap in Fever Pitch to replace it.
Fever Pitch – A passive that reduces the chances your attacks will glance. Again, most useful in specific dungeons with an increased glance rate.
Elemental Force – Causes every eighth hit to be a critical hit. Ideally, you will time your consumers to fall on this forced crit. A major benefit of this passive is that it allows you to get by with less crit on your talismans, freeing up your item budget for other stats.
Purges – It’s stated elsewhere, but just in case you missed it: you will need a purge to beat the Gatekeeper, ideally one on a short cooldown.
For more specifics on DPS builds, check out:http://forums.thesecretworld.com/showthread.php?t=71421
Agitator – The best hate-generation passive. Enough said.
Intensity or Breakdown – Tanks are expected to apply the Exposed debuff for the group. Which passive you’ll use to do that depends on the builder you choose. If you use Escalation as a builder, slot Intensity. For other builders, use Breakdown.
Afflictions – Tanks are also expected to afflict. There are many ways to go about this, but at lower gear levels the best options are either Shoot ‘Em Up (paired with frenzy abilities like Escalation or Blade Torrent) or Perfect Storm (usable only with with Blade Torrent.)
Interrupts – Which ones you use will depend on your build and the fight. Just be aware that if an ability needs to be interrupted, it will be your job to do so. In elites and beyond, impairing or hindering a boss will increase a counter that eventually makes them immune, so you might need to remind DPS to remove these abilities from their decks when you group with other newbies.
For a more in-depth guide on tanking, see:http://forums.thesecretworld.com/showthread.php?t=72748
The three main healing weapons all use fairly different approaches and rely on different stats to a certain extent. Therefore, it’s kind of hard to recommend one-size-fits-all abilities. I urge you to refer to a guide dedicated to your chosen mainhand for specific necessities. I will, however, provide a couple general notes.
Brawler – A passive that provides a 15% increase to crit power. Since this costs literally 1 point, it’s hardly something to work towards. Nor, while not bad by any stretch, can it truly be considered mandatory at endgame (except perhaps for fist builds or pure healing blood builds that don’t really have anything better.) I single it out because it’s in the hammer section, making it very easy for aspiring healers to miss. Overall, a solid choice that’s usable from Polaris normal all the way to endgame.
Cleanses – It’s stated elsewhere, but as a reminder: you will need a cleanse to beat the Gatekeeper. Unlike other games you might have played that restrict cleanses to healing classes only, you won’t necessarily be expected to handle all the cleansing on your own, but you’ll make things easier on yourself and the group by doing as much of it as possible where it’s needed.
For more in-depth guides based on specific weapons:
Fist Healing: http://forums.thesecretworld.com/showthread.php?t=71325
Leech Healing: http://forums.thesecretworld.com/showthread.php?t=65533
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