TSW Basics Guide

TSW Basics Guide by Wolfpack

I thought it might be good to get down some basics and how TSW differs a bit from other MMOs. Here are a few things to help new players get oriented:

The Manual

  • There is a pdf manual in the installation folder of TSW: it’s called TSW_US_MANUAL

Classes and Levels

  • There are no classes or levels. All characters can learn all the weapons and all the abilities. You progress by earning Skill Points (SP) and Ability Points (AP) which can be used to buy…skills and abilities. You will never stop earning SP/AP.
  • You earn XP and SP/AP for completing missions, dungeons, finding lore, killing mobs and other achievements during the game. SP/AP (and Gear; see below) are all you need to progress your character.
  • The XP bar shows you the markers at which you earn an SP/AP point as a result of XP earnings (in addition to any other SP/AP rewards). These are fixed XP amounts and do not grow as you progress further into the game.
  • There is a limit on the maximum number of SP/AP you can hold without spending. You can hold up to 40 SP and up to 175 AP.
  • The SP/AP rewards grow as you progress into more difficult areas

Weapons and Abilities

  • You can (and should) equip 2 weapons. To equip a weapon, right click on it; there is no primary and secondary weapon, so the character slots are not important. Equipping just one weapon is not advised – you’ll be missing out on some key power.
  • Eventually you will learn all the weapons, but to start, it’s best to simply pick 2 weapons you will have fun with – don’t worry too much! No weapon is better than another – it’s a matter of playstyle; some weapons are optimal for melee/tanking, some for ranged/dps, some for healing, but you can always update your build as you get familiar with the system. All weapons do damage, and you can create effective decks with all of them.
  • To find out more about a weapon, open the skill screen (K), and mouseover over the weapon title — the tooltip will provide a description of what role (survivability, support, damage) the weapon typically plays.
  • Each weapon has a Quality Level (QL), and these range from 0-10.5. In order to equip a higher QL weapon, you’ll need to allocate enough Skill Points (SP) to wield it. Use (K) to view the Skill screen and buy skill in a weapon.
  • Once you are able to equip a weapon, you’ll need to add abilities to your “deck” (the 7 active and 7 passive slots) in order to be effective. To do this, buy abilities on the Ability Wheel for the weapon you have equipped using earned Ability Points (AP). Once you buy an ability, you can equip that ability on your deck. Use (N) to view the Ability Wheel and the deck slots. Carefully read the ability descriptions to see what they do.
  • If you want to get going quickly, take a look at the Deck panel to the left of the Ability Wheel; you will see a list of “starter decks” there. The starter decks are simply pre-made decks to help you pick abilities and get used to the system; they are not the best in the game (the most powerful decks are the ones you create on your own). As a bonus, you’re rewarded an outfit when you complete a starter deck, but the outfits do not affect gameplay.
  • Keep buying abilities on the wheel for your 2 starting weapons (or starter deck), but keep in mind that this is just your pool of abilities – you must equip an active ability on the deck to actually use it with your weapon.
  • KEY: Even though you have purchased a pool of abilities, the key to a powerful character is finding active and passive abilities for your deck that work well together. You can create ability “combos” by looking at the Condition an ability triggers – “Impaired,” for example. The key is to find and equip other abilities that exploit that Condition, so if an ability triggers Impaired, look for abilities that exploit Impaired.
  • KEY: Use the Search panel to the right of the Ability Wheel to search for Conditions. This is a great way to find new Ability combos!
  • KEY: As you look for these combos, realize that passive abilities can be from ANY weapon, not just your equipped ones.
  • As you get comfortable with your initial 2 weapons and experiment with different sets of abilities, understand that eventually you will need to branch out into using other weapons and abilities – a single deck will not work perfectly against all monsters or in all situations. You will never stop earning AP/SP, so you can constantly be expanding your Ability Wheel pool.
  • You can (and should) create multiple decks with different themes. Perhaps you want an AOE deck, or a single target deck. You can make tanking, dps and healing decks as well, all with different combinations of weapons and abilities.
  • Use the Gear Manager under (C) to manage and swap out different decks and gear sets. Fixed Gear Manager is a highly recommended addon that addresses some bugs in the Gear Manager.
  • Check out the Builds and Decks forums or many other websites available for more advice on building decks (Yokai’s guide and TSW Guides are both recommended).


  • Gear in TSW is made up of weapons and talismans, and is completely separate from clothes.
  • Clothes carry no stats and are cosmetic only
  • The equivalent of armor in TSW is talismans. Talismans are not visible on your character, but carry stats similar to other games’ armor.
  • Weapons also carry stats, and are the only gear item that is visible on your character
  • You can manipulate weapons, talismans and clothes from your character screen (C). Clothes use the Dressing Room menu
  • All gear has a Quality Level (QL) associated with it, and you must have enough skill to be able to equip it. If a weapon or talisman shows you cannot equip it, the reason may be that there is not enough SP allocated to it under skills (K). Again, gear QL ranges from from 0-10.5
  • Gear QL is a rough guide to your progress, and is often the closest thing to “levels” in TSW (though your deck also is extremely important)
  • Gear typically drops from mobs, or is a mission reward, though you can also buy gear from vendors or on the auction house. You can also craft gear, as one of the missions in Kingsmouth shows


  • In general, TSW missions require a bit more thought than in many MMOs. A mission may mark a particular area on the map, but not everything will be spelled out as to what do – the game is asking you, the player, to use your noggin a bit to figure things out. Remember what the quest giver told you in the cut scene, look at your mission log and/or lore for clues, sometimes even use the ingame browser to look up a piece of information. All the missions have a bit of a thinking element, even the action ones!
  • It’s not necessary to “return to the hub” to turn in missions — you have a cellphone. Think of the mission lines as more like breadcrumbs than hubs — you can wander through the zone picking up as you go.
  • You can have 1 story mission, 1 dungeon mission, 1 main mission, and 3 side missions at any one time. Of the main missions, you can have action, investigation or sabotage missions. Missions usually have multiple tiers.
  • You can pause a mission by simply taking another mission. While the new mission will replace the old one, when you go back to the quest giver later to pick up the old mission, it will be saved at the same tier you left it.
  • Most missions can be repeated after a cooldown
  • Your quest log saves the images you sometimes view at the different tiers of the adventure, so you can always open it up to review them again
  • The difficulty of a mission is determined by your weapon and talisman skill levels
  • For a guide to monster ratings, powers and symbols check out the FAQ.
  • Please avoid spoilers to investigation missions in General chat. Many play the game for the puzzles and investigations, so please try not to spoil others’ fun. There is a Mission Hints channel if you are looking for clues, but remember it is a HINT channel, not an answer channel, so please try to ask for and give hints rather than outright answers. If someone asks for the direct answer, please use a /tell
  • Use the ingame browser (B) to look up clues, but type in in –tsw –unfair along with your search in Google if you wish to screen out spoiler sites. The Secret World home page has buttons to pick searches of just the TSW forums. If you are really stuck, you can use the ingame browser to check walkthrough sites such as Unfair or Dulfy. (Dulfy offers more hints while Unfair will just give you the answer)


  • You can use your Agartha Portal at any time to port back to the entrance to the 3 cities.
  • You can go into sprint mode by pressing X. You can buy improvements to Sprint from vendors at your faction HQ or from the cash shop.
  • When you are killed, you can choose which Anima Well to resurrect. You can either rez at the selected well or do a corpse run.
  • You can type /reset to die and fast travel to other Anima Wells. Remember that you are immortal! There are also times when you need to enter the Spirit World.
  • If you use /reset to travel, you can avoid repair costs to your gear by unequipping before dying. Don’t forget to equip again once rezzed!
  • Fast travel via Anima Well is coming soon!


  • Pax is the game currency, but you also earn tokens which can be spent with some vendors. Click on the token button at the bottom of the inventory screen
  • The Bank/Post Office/Auction House is in London – 2 locations, one at the Post Office near the subway, and other past Pangaeia. These functions are all combined in TSW – see the 3 tabs when you connect to the Banker.
  • The Venice Council are the vendors out in the zones; look for the coin symbols on your map for the guys in white suits and blue berets. All vendors can repair gear.
  • Clothes shops are all in London – Panagaeia and the subway vendors. You can also buy clothes in the cash shop
  • Food & drinks from vendors help in quickly regaining health. In the Haitian District in London, the demon in one of the stalls sells tacos in stacks of 50.
  • The barber shop, Occam’s Razor is in London
  • The plastic surgeon, The Modern Prometheus is in New York

Grouping and RP

  • You can group across servers (right click name and Invite to Group), so it’s less important to be on a particular server (or dimension as they are called in TSW) than in many MMOs, though PvP is a special case (see below)
  • Areas most likely requiring a group are dungeons, the raid and lairs (open world high level areas). There are also high-difficulty areas within each of the zones where players often farm for sequins.
  • Dungeons still use the trinity; the difference is that any character can play any role provided he/she has the appropriate decks
  • You can group anytime on missions as well, but there are certain tiers in the main story mission that require a solo instance
  • You can access the LFG tool by pressing Shift+C (an addon called Field Agent Locator (FAL) adds a great deal more functionality)
  • The LFG channel advertises for groups, but General Chat is also used
  • You can invite someone to your group by right clicking the name in the chat, and selecting Invite.
  • You can ignore a player by right clicking and selecting Ignore or use /ignore [playername] in the chat box. You can friend someone by right clicking and selecting Make Friend
  • It’s easier to group in the zones or cities for normal dungeons rather than in Agartha. Agartha is better for grouping for the Elite and Nightmare level dungeons. That said, the FAL mod allows you to group without spamming chat in Agartha.
  • The equivalent of Guilds in TSW are Cabals. The Cabal forums are a great resource for meeting more friends in game
  • Arcadia and Leviathan are the RP dimensions. Popular spots in-game for RP are the park , The Horned God pub, The Crusades nightclub, Tabula Rasa hotel, and the park (all in London, although RP happens everywhere on those dimensions.) The Albion Theatre, also in London, is specially made for RP, and allows players to put on shows, complete with stage props, lighting, sound and effects.


  • Factions are able to group together due to the “gentlemen’s agreement” overseen by the Council of Venice. However, Cabal members must be from a single faction, and PvP zones require faction teams
  • The main differences between factions in-game are deck uniforms, mission text, faction recruiter cellphone calls, and some faction-specific missions


  • Any player can craft and disassemble any item. There are no crafting professions or levels.
  • There are no crafting stations. You can craft anywhere using the Assembly Screen (Y)
  • Nearly all items can be broken down into materials. Place the item in the Item slot of the Assembly Screen and click on the Disassemble button.
  • All glyphs, consumables, and crafting toolkits have quality levels (QL), just like weapons and talismans. Items that are too low QL cannot be disassembled.
  • You can craft different items with different types of kits. The better the QL of the kit and tier of materials, the better the item will be.
  • Toolkit types include: Weapon, Talisman, Glyph, Consumable, Gadget (Stimulants), Firework and Casting (Remodelling Weapons).
  • While crafting toolkits have a QL which will determine the QL of the outcoming talisman/weapon/glyph/consumable, materials and runes will show a QL0 but their tiers progression is indicated by the given prefix: Base, Imperfect, Normal (has no prefix), Sacred, and Pure. You can upgrade 5 lower materials into one of the next higher tier. You can disassemble materials as well, but will create only 4 lower tiered items for 1 higher tiered material.
  • You can create items by assembling materials into different patterns and using crafting kits. Check out several websites available for more specific guides and recipes for crafting (Endgames guide is a good one)
  • Ultimate Crafter is a great addon and highly recommended

PvP requires quite a bit of explanation, so referring you over to this guide.


  • You can loot the area by pressing V
  • You can switch out of combat mode by pressing `
  • You can toggle reticle combat by pressing T
  • You can dodge ahead by double-tapping the forward arrow or W key, backward with the back arrow or S key, left with the Q key, and right with the E key.
  • Q to strafe left and E to strafe right
  • Don’t forget to move and dodge during combat — you can take up to a third less damage if you keep moving; avoid the white zones on the ground. Magic can be cast while moving
  • You can access the cash shop by pressing , If you have won an item from an outside event or purchase, you can get it by going to the Claim Items section
  • TSW supports addons! Go to Curse to pick up the client.

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