11 tips I’d suggest when starting out in The Secret World

Jacob on Twitter just asked me, “Just got The Secret World. I don’t know anyone that plays it. Sounds interesting from hearing you talk about it. Got any tips?”

Sure. I have tips. I’m sure I even posted some on this blog at some point, but in the interest of helping out anyone who is picking up TSW and feeling a little overwhelmed at the get-go, here’s a few pointers off of the top of my head:

  1. Right after the tutorial you’ll get the chance to try out weapons and pick your starting set. Make sure you pick up two weapons (you can have two different ones at any given time for two strong finisher skills). Worry about synergy later, but make sure you at least have two.
  2. Need a newbie friendly weapon? It’s hard to go wrong with assault rifle or blades. They’re pretty popular.
  3. Sprint is your mount — hotkey it and make sure you head back to your HQ every once in a while to pay to upgrade it for its speed bonus.
  4. A good starting rotation will have a “builder” (an attack that builds resources for ALL weapons equipped), an AOE attack (because there are a lot of packs), a finisher for your first weapon (that uses up resources), and a finisher for your second weapon (ditto).
  5. Pick up all side quests you find and methodically work through hubs. Pay attention to quest difficulty (it’ll be announced relative to your level next to the title when you pick it up). In Kingsmouth you’ll want to do the quests that lead you to the police station and then do all of the quests there from Moose, Andy, and the sheriff.
  6. You can only have one main quest, one overarching story quest (blue icon), and three side quests at any given time. Grabbing a new one to replace will put the previous one on hold (and “bookmark” your location).
  7. Focus AP initially on filling out the inner ring of your two weapons. You can create solid builds with inner ring skills. Focus SP on leveling up equally your two weapons and all of your talisman slots.
  8. Quests can be repeatable (on a timer), so make note of easy ones or ones with good rewards you want to do later.
  9. If you get stuck on a mission — and you will, especially investigation ones — there are several websites and forums out there that can walk you through. It’s up to you to decide how much you want to lean on others vs. yourself for problem-solving.
  10. Be flexible. TSW keeps throwing you curveballs and challenges how you play and experience MMOs. It’s very much not a typical game. It’s sometimes incredibly hard but you can get through it.
  11. Type “/chat join sanctuary” every time you log in to join Sanctuary chat — this has great people and advice.
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5 thoughts on “11 tips I’d suggest when starting out in The Secret World

  1. Sylow January 13, 2016 / 1:13 pm

    Some comments and additions, way more text than the original posting:

    1. The tutorial, just like several other parts of the new player stuff, was updated three quarters of a year ago. By now you can’t leave the tutorial any more without picking two weapons, so this part should be covered.

    2. Yes, those two weapons are often used and very popular, but i’d not nail things down to them. My guidelines would be a bit more loose: make sure you have some survivability included in your setup. Any tank weapon (sword, hammer, chaos) brings stuns and mitigation abilities. Fist, blood and assault rifle provide healing, whereas fist is the most “flexible” of them and assault rifle doing the healing by inflicting damage. Due to the nature of shields, i consider blood very useful for some dungeon tasks, but inferior to the other healing options for normal play. Another defensive option is the shotgun, which puts debilitation (-30% damage dealt) to enemies. If you use the shotgun, you can get this with the very first active and passive ability of shotgun. (There are ways to get this effect on other weapons by using shotgun passives, but that’s already out of scope for the real beginner. )

    3. Absolutely true. By now there are motorbikes and hoverboards in the game, but they are just optical stuff, they move with the same speed as the sprint. Next to that, while looking cool a motorbike can not strafe but always has to turn, so the basic sprint actually is more agile.

    4. That’s a matter of taste. I for a very long time went with hammer/fist or shotgun/fist (i actually started out with blood, but found no love for it in solo play) and only used AoE attacks. My setup basically was 1 AoE builder, 1 AoE consumer for each weapon, 1 healing builder, 1 healing consumer, 1 AoE elite (preferably a knockdown / disable) and the last one an utility of choice. Thinking it over, while i currently mostly use AR/Chaos or AR/Blade, the general composition of my deck is the same.

    I just don’t find the space in 7 slots to bring both single target and AoE attacks while maintaining sufficient heal capabilities (when running with my girl it’s my responsibility to keep us alive) and since mobs on the open world very often come in packs (and those who come alone also die to AoE attacks), i just prefer to go all AoE. Single target attacks i generally use in dungeon setups.

    5. That’s one way to do it, but it sounds “grindy” to me. I found it much more enjoyable to “go with the flow”. Generally when you finish a mission, there is another mission or side mission nearby, which again takes you somewhere else. This design is not perfect on all maps, but on many you this way move from one place to another very naturally.

    If you want to be on the save side, just open the map and write the number missions you did not do yet next to any mission giver by using the marker feature, but i found that not to be really necessary.

    6. Very important: don’t focus on the story mission. Do all the other stuff which crosses your path. If you stick to the story mission, you’ll rush from one zone to the next, till you run into enemies you can not handle any more due to lack of XP and equipment.

    7. For the skill wheel i would even advise to first complete the inner wheel of your chosen two weapons but then don’t try to complete the outer wheel, but rather complete the rest of the inner wheel. You can cherry-pick stuff from the outer wheel, but the inner wheel is much cheaper and passives from all weapons can be used, no matter which weapons you actually use.

    The premium example are the abilities “immortal spirit” and “lick your wounds” from blade and
    fist. (Each of them can be bought for just 1 AP, as they are the very first passive in their section. ) The first one gives you a healing effect whenever you land a penetrating hit on an enemy,
    the second gives you a healing effect whenever you simply hit an enemy.

    Thus for the measly price of 1 or 2 AP and by slotting one or both of them, you heal yourself by attacking an enemy, no matter which weapons you use. (It might make sense to slot one talisman with heal rating to get bigger healing numbers out of those passives, though. )

    For investing SPi would advice to invest equally in talismans and your two chosen weapons. Note that while weapons have two lines of progression (one is damage, the other something weapon specific), the passive effect gained from those progression lines is minimal. The real advantage of a weapon skill line is that it allows you to equip better gear, which only depends on the higher one of the two lines. So while you don’t have excessive SP spare, do not invest into the second progression line of a weapon, but just stick to one.

    Also in case of doubt, i’d rather start investing in a third and fourth weapon, than filling up the second path of a weapon. After all, having more weapons available gives you more options, which might at some time be required.

    8. True. You are not forced to repeat any, unless you want to complete the wheel, but some of them give very good rewards and can be repeated quickly if you just want to learn the next ability. Many also have so nice story and cutscenes that it’s worth visiting them again at some time, just for the fun of it.

    9. Be stuck -> use guide? This is one way of doing it, but generally i consider it a bad idea in TSW.

    To understand where i am coming from you have to know that you can at any time just pick up another mission. If you return to the current mission, it will resume at the tier you left off, so little to no progress is being lost. At the same time, nothing outside of the story mission ever is required to get through the game, it’s all optional. If you need the XP, you can also just repeat an action mission and be good.

    Thus if you are stuck on an investigation mission, you indeed can just use one of several guide sites to quickly get the XP, but by doing so you loose the real reward: the great feeling of achievement. So my advise when stuck on an investigation mission is to just pick up something else for the moment. Keep the mission on the back of your mind. You sometimes have to do chores at the household? You commute to work? You have some other idle times? That is perfect TSW-offline-playtime!

    I know that i had some missions in such status for 6 weeks, till it clicked on way home from work. But the rewarding feeling of having beaten the riddle all by myself was absolutely worth it.

    Some others i have solved together with friends, where we inspired each other on voice chat, so that’s also a great way to solve them without needing spoiler sites. (For some of the missions no guides even existed yet at that time, which was a clear advantage. ) These seites have their uses when everything else fails (e.g. music riddles for me), but solving riddley with friends or by brainwork feel more rewarding and thus is preferable.

    10. True. That’s why i’d advise to complete the inner wheel and have a set of all weapons at some time. This is not essential in the first few zones, but depending on what mechanics you use for your character, you might already in Egypt find zones and monsters which have passive effects that counter the synergies you try to exploit. Some combinations are good till Transylvania, but each and any combination i ever created has some counters somewhere in the game.

    You can overcome this by overgearing or by adjusting your setup to the enemies you are facing. The second is more fun in my eyes.

    11. Very true. While that channel got a bit “spammy” compared to it’s original vision, it’s still a very helpful tool. But i guess adding the instructions here how to create the auto_login and auto_teleport files so you have that channel always available and don’t need to do that every time you log into the game is outside of scope here.

  2. ironweakness January 13, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    If there is a chance you’ll buy the Frankenchopper on the cash shop, save your money on sprint upgrades. It also automatically gives you sprint 6.

  3. Gamera977 January 14, 2016 / 9:18 am

    Big thanks Syp and Sylow! I was able to figure out some of that stuff on my own but I’m going to give the rest of your tips a try. That is as soon as I can pry myself away from Fallout IV…

  4. Sylow January 15, 2016 / 12:54 pm

    As a sidenote: does anybody know if there is a new source of players?

    Yesterday i spent hours in London, giving newbie advice. I wonder how things were in Agartha and in Kingsmouth, but i didn’t make it there. My girl was RPing in London and i was busy assisting people asking for help on the general chat. Makes me wonder if this was just a coincidence or if the game somehow managed to attract many new players lately.

  5. Codex August 15, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    I am glad I stumbled upon this. I am playing the trial right now and am deciding whether or not to subscribe for one month (giving me a free copy of the game) or spend the money on the complete edition which gives me some gear, a free month sub and all 15 issues. As a dedicated MMO player I don’t know how I missed this game. I am enjoying it a lot and I look forward to meeting players and experiencing all the adventures.

    P.S. I started with pistols/shotgun and I can honestly say, spamming the AOE builder on shotgun is plenty for mowing down the hordes of zombies in Kingsmouth. Enjoy!

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