The Secret World Week 3 - The Return of the King
The Secret World Week 3 - The Return of the King
Iíve now written two articles (the first and the second) on The Secret World and spent three weeks in the game - and Iíve yet to talk about the combat. And you should be glad I did, because until now I had a fairly tenuous grasp on it.
Combat in The Secret World doesnít divide evenly into the standard MMO archetypes, primarily because of the lack of classes. Anyone in The Secret World can equip up to two weapons, but you can put skills into any and all of the weapon types (including the different magic types - from here on Iíll refer to all of them as weapons.) So if at any point you get bored with your current set up, you can move on to something else.
All you need to do to change things up is find a suitable weapon and start dumping ability and skill points into it. Abilities in The Secret World fall into four types - with the main two being what are known as builders and finishers - builder abilities give you additional resources and finishers use those resources. Some abilities neither build nor use resources, instead coming with a cooldown time which generally makes them single use per enemy. Finally, you have passives, of which you can equip 8.
The different weapon types (guns, melee and magic) build resources differently, but most builder abilities affect both equipped weapons. This makes it much simpler to use the various skills you get along the way - and makes it much easier to switch to a new build when you want to try something new.
As I mentioned in my first article, I began my journey in The Secret World with a shotgun. Iíd played around with every available weapon and I liked the shotgun the best. Iíd had a chance to mess around with some of the skills and I just straight up enjoyed the feel of it. Assault rifles and pistols donít much feel like their respective weapons sometimes, but shotguns always feel like shotguns - big attacks with limited accuracy but doing serious damage.
The Secret World puts a lot of emphasis on positional combat with most enemies having at least one area of effect, cone or column based attack. Constant motion is the name of the game during combat, especially as the different weapon types require different proximity. Co-ordination becomes especially important when you play in a group and balance your distance with the enemy and your team mates.
The second weapon I went with was blood magic. I had tossed up between blood magic and shotguns as my primary, so I knew I would go with blood magic next. Blood magic separates itself from chaos or elemental magic with ĎBlood Offeringí - if you donít have enough resources to use one of your blood finishers, you will use some of your blood to power the ability - sacrificing health for an attack.
I hate it. Being new to the game I didnít understand it at first - I barely understood anything about it - and so I ignored it throughout most of my first two days. I ignored the resources for the most part and - not surprisingly - spent a lot of my time on the brink of death. Things didnít change much once Iíd figured it out though - tapping 1 five times to build up resources and following it up by tapping 4 quickly entered my muscle memory and if pressing 1 didnít register then I was in trouble.
Nevertheless, I kept on truckiní with my blood magic shotgun combo until I started having severe difficulties with some of the enemies. Several people Iíve spoken to didnít understand what I was talking about - while Iíve never completed an area without redoing all of its missions at least three times, itís apparently fairly simple to do. From this - and the complete lack of anyone on the entire internet talking about a blood magic shotgun combo - I guessed that maybe it was an ineffective match. Opening up The Secret Worldís Ability Wheel, I prepared to choose something different.
There is really only one word which accurately describes the Ability Wheel - daunting. There are over 500 abilities - passive and active - to accrue, which makes deciding on a build before you choose your weapon type fairly difficult. Luckily however, decks make that choice a lot easier by telling you which skills to take. Looking through the various decks available, I saw the Pandemonist - built around blood and elemental magic. The next time I found an elemental focus I would be set.
The Pandemonist worked especially well for me as I had already been leaning towards a crowd control glass cannon type build, throwing down hindering or afflicting debuffs to set them up for attacks. It wouldnít help me live longer, but it would allow me to deal with enemies faster. As I work my way towards the most expensive abilities in the Pandemonist build Iíve stuck with a fairly easy to work with damage over time build - with my passives giving my attacks some nasty side effects.
The best thing about passives in The Secret World is that they arenít weapon specific. If you see a pistol passive you think would work well on your build you can equip it. While a lot of passives are ability or weapon specific, many others are not - instead focusing on states or specific attributes. Itís worthwhile to check through the other weapon abilities when you are building your character.
The different states are fairly straightforward - Hindered is fancy talk for slowed, Impaired means stopped, Afflicted refers to damage over time effects and Weakened lowers the targetsí attack or defense. Attributes are likewise straightforward, but are controlled by your equipment - especially if you craft your own stuff.
Unfortunately, Crafting in The Secret World is kind of dull compared to other games - but at the same time, so is loot. I have never looted any weapons or armour of worth and you can only craft items when you find a suitable toolkit. The only toolkits Iíve found for purchase are used to craft consumables - and while I use them quite frequently, it lacks the appeal of building weapons and armour.
Itís a pity though, because The Secret World has a novel approach to crafting. Building something requires placing the crafting materials down in a specific pattern a la Minecraft - put your dust down in a ring to craft a ring, shape it like a man to create an effigy - that sort of thing. With a mere three types of material for armour (fire, water and dust) and only one type of material for weapons (metal) however, you arenít going to make anything particularly exciting.
What you create will be ready built for glyphs however, through which you can augment your attributes. Glyphs are occasionally dropped as loot and can be crafted, giving a bonus to one or two of your stats. Through the use of glyphs you can boost your critical chance, critical damage, hit rating, penetration and a wide variety of defensive skills. The only caveat is that you need a toolkit - and glyph toolkits are rare.
Nevertheless, having played for three weeks I have had a fair share of glyph toolkits - allowing me to build up most of my characters equipment exactly as I want it. Specifically, I have built with my main focus on penetration, because it makes me snicker to myself whenever I read it. Also, a lot of my passives activate when I penetrate, hurting the enemy and giving me a small boost.
If youíd like to check out my character, you can do so on the The Secret World Chronicle - if youíre playing The Secret World yourself post your own build in the comments and weíll party up in game. Iím hoping to tackle the PVP for my next and final article - maybe we can fight and you can be embarrassed for me before you read it!
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