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The Secret World Beginner Guide on TSWDB

Well, the TSW Beginner Guide has been published over on TSWDB. Lots of good information there with illustrations of some key concepts to help you get started. Use the quick navigation at the top of the page if you want to jump to specific parts of the guide. Thanks to Vikestart for helping get everything situated.

Please let us know if there's anything that could be clearer or something else that would be helpful in the guide -- feedback and suggestions definitely welcome.

For those new to the game - welcome aboard!

Comments

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,367

    Great guide, nice job! (and neatly organised, which is a bit odd from a chaos follower image)

    "something else that would be helpful in the guide"

    Some more details to the weapons part maybe. As I noticed when I try to explain TSW to new buddies, the weapons used to be their first "big" question - right after we're over the "no classes, you can be anything, and all in one character so alts aren't needed either" part :)  "ok, so now, which weapon should I choose?"

    Usually I ask what does s/he play the most in other mmo's, and suggest a weapon pair based on that. True, every weapon can do almost every base style - for some extent, of course - but you can narrow it down based on his/her favourite style. For a player who loves hunters and doing massive single-target damage from wide range, the shotgun / fist pair from the tutorial is maybe not the best match :)

     

    An another frequent one is the trinity, the "I wanna be a healer"-kinda questions. It's tough to explain that role is not within the weapons, it's in the gear and the deck. Someone could be a great, balanced player for questing with blood / fist, killing off everything on sight... and then join a group, switching some abilities and a few gear pieces, and s/he can be the main healer for the group with the same blood / fist pair. (ok, towards the end they will maybe have a blood focus and claw for damage, and a separate pair slotted for healing if they're "true min-maxers" a.k.a elitists image) Role not in the weapon goes backwards too, for example "I want to tank" well, ok, there's blade, chaos, hammer, maybe even shotty for that, and don't forget to spend some points on the tank line with the taunts :)

    Every weapon can do serious damage, besides their role of tank / heal / support. Also, every weapon can focus both on single-target and AoE damage, but not equally, fist for example is better suited for single-target while blade excels in AoE. Same goes for range, even the "melee" weapons (blade, fist and hammer) can do some - true, not very far - ranged attacks too.

    As a bottom line, anyone can select a weapon pair which matches to their playstyle. Then it's a good time to tell them, probably they will have to change that during the game, since very few weapon pairs are good for everything through the game... /evil_laugh

     

    TSW is all about adaptation, to measure the situation and hone the deck for facing the challenge (but of course there are builds which are good up until Tokyo). Which brings an another frequent issue, the retrain / respec.

    I used to say, TSW simply has a different mindset in this matter. In most games you can gather a limited amount of points, you allot them, and then if you want to play something else, you pay the respec price (either with in-game or even with real money in f2p games sadly). And with that respec you can't really go beyond your class or archetype - except a few games like Rift or STO, great games for theory crafters as well.

    On the other hand, in TSW there's no limit or cap on the points. In time you gather enough to unlock every ability in the game. And if you want to try something else, either a new role or a new playtsyle with a different weapon, you can. Only in TSW you don't pay the price with in-game or real money, you pay it with time - as in you start to spend your APs on the needed section of the Wheel.

    True, it's slower than the regular mmo way... "I have 500 APs spent on blade, I want to relocate those points onto the pistol" would be faster than gather an another 500 AP from the game. Still, it has advantages too, first, you won't lose anything you once earned, and second, you will truly learn the abilities in your new weapon while unlocking them one-by-one, maybe even discovering new synergies and ability combos on the route.

    It's much better than right away unlocking all of them, I think. Also it's good to see when you become better and better with that weapon every day.

  • mmorobommorobo Member UncommonPosts: 126

    Sweet!  Just got 2 people to start and this will cover what I forgot to say in vent in one handy place.

     

    Thanks

  • Wolfpack48Wolfpack48 Member Posts: 8
    Wow that's some great feedback!   Thanks for putting so much thought in.   :)  I'll try to respond as best I can...
    Originally posted by Po_gg

    Great guide, nice job! (and neatly organised, which is a bit odd from a chaos follower image)

    "something else that would be helpful in the guide"

    Some more details to the weapons part maybe. As I noticed when I try to explain TSW to new buddies, the weapons used to be their first "big" question - right after we're over the "no classes, you can be anything, and all in one character so alts aren't needed either" part :)  "ok, so now, which weapon should I choose?"

    Yeah, I always struggle with this, because I hate to recommend a particular weapon if I don't know what someone's playstyle is.  There are so many possible combinations and styles even within each weapon, and TSW is one game where you can get any combination to work if understand the basics behind the system.  That said, some combos are easier to make work than others.  I'm wondering if some general guidelines for each weapon type would be in order, though.  Almost thinking that would be separate Weapon Guide (Condition Guide?  Playstyle Guide?) since we're pushing 7,000 words with this one as it is.  :) 

    Usually I ask what does s/he play the most in other mmo's, and suggest a weapon pair based on that. True, every weapon can do almost every base style - for some extent, of course - but you can narrow it down based on his/her favourite style. For a player who loves hunters and doing massive single-target damage from wide range, the shotgun / fist pair from the tutorial is maybe not the best match :)

     

    An another frequent one is the trinity, the "I wanna be a healer"-kinda questions. It's tough to explain that role is not within the weapons, it's in the gear and the deck. Someone could be a great, balanced player for questing with blood / fist, killing off everything on sight... and then join a group, switching some abilities and a few gear pieces, and s/he can be the main healer for the group with the same blood / fist pair. (ok, towards the end they will maybe have a blood focus and claw for damage, and a separate pair slotted for healing if they're "true min-maxers" a.k.a elitists image) Role not in the weapon goes backwards too, for example "I want to tank" well, ok, there's blade, chaos, hammer, maybe even shotty for that, and don't forget to spend some points on the tank line with the taunts :)

    Yeah, I almost think guidelines for the trinity could talk about the trigger/exploit Conditions rather than in the weapons.  There are different kinds of healers too, so again back to playstyle.

    Every weapon can do serious damage, besides their role of tank / heal / support. Also, every weapon can focus both on single-target and AoE damage, but not equally, fist for example is better suited for single-target while blade excels in AoE. Same goes for range, even the "melee" weapons (blade, fist and hammer) can do some - true, not very far - ranged attacks too.

    As a bottom line, anyone can select a weapon pair which matches to their playstyle. Then it's a good time to tell them, probably they will have to change that during the game, since very few weapon pairs are good for everything through the game... /evil_laugh

    I think the hardest thing about TSW is that it's less templated than a lot games.  That said, there are tons of builds and build guides out there for copying.  It's just a bit overwhelming for a beginner.  I'm thinking that instead of linking to the build section in general,  we might be able to link to builds for the different trinity roles.  The starter decks are supposed to do this as well, and with the revamp comping as part of the NPE, the in-game templates will improve.  Let's see how the NPE shakes out.

    TSW is all about adaptation, to measure the situation and hone the deck for facing the challenge (but of course there are builds which are good up until Tokyo). Which brings an another frequent issue, the retrain / respec.

    I used to say, TSW simply has a different mindset in this matter. In most games you can gather a limited amount of points, you allot them, and then if you want to play something else, you pay the respec price (either with in-game or even with real money in f2p games sadly). And with that respec you can't really go beyond your class or archetype - except a few games like Rift or STO, great games for theory crafters as well.

    On the other hand, in TSW there's no limit or cap on the points. In time you gather enough to unlock every ability in the game. And if you want to try something else, either a new role or a new playtsyle with a different weapon, you can. Only in TSW you don't pay the price with in-game or real money, you pay it with time - as in you start to spend your APs on the needed section of the Wheel.

    True, it's slower than the regular mmo way... "I have 500 APs spent on blade, I want to relocate those points onto the pistol" would be faster than gather an another 500 AP from the game. Still, it has advantages too, first, you won't lose anything you once earned, and second, you will truly learn the abilities in your new weapon while unlocking them one-by-one, maybe even discovering new synergies and ability combos on the route.

    That's a great point, and something we could perhaps add in the respec section.  It's really how you think about respeccing, and I think the way it's done actually adds some longevity to the game.  You are over time  becoming more flexible.

    It's much better than right away unlocking all of them, I think. Also it's good to see when you become better and better with that weapon every day.

    Thanks again -- food for thought and possible improvements down the road...

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid Member EpicPosts: 10,493

    great guide.

     

    One question about, "you have complete freedom to choose which weapons, skills and abilities to buy and equip".

    Did they change the way you unlock skills? when i played every weapon had linear skill unlocks. For example, if i wanted skill #7 of a weapon spec, i would have to unlock skills 1 through 6 or i could not get the one i wanted.There is not much freedom there.

    Other than that, pretty good guide.





  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member LegendaryPosts: 8,968
    The things I wish I knew about the game before I started playing forum thread is a must read.  I wonder out of at those skills how well the devs manage to keep them functional and not left some broken or badly nerfed?  Looking forward to the combat animation fixes.

    "We all do the best we can based on life experience, point of view, and our ability to believe in ourselves." - Naropa      "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."  SR Covey

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,367
    Originally posted by Wolfpack48
    Yeah, I always struggle with this, because I hate to recommend a particular weapon if I don't know what someone's playstyle is.  There are so many possible combinations and styles even within each weapon, and TSW is one game where you can get any combination to work if understand the basics behind the system. 

    Yep, for a newcomer (with 'regular' mmo background) usually that's the first big bump as I noticed, right at the start of the game.

    In most games the selection is easy, there are definite classes, roles, one can look at wiki pages and videos for help, and when the selection is made, the game will handle the rest during the leveling. The mechanics won't change, the build / respec is only attune the gameplay. They only need to gather the xp.

    Even the games closer to TSW's "class-less" approach, like Rift's Soul system or CO's Freeform or STO's ship / crew building are pretty directed within the selected roles - but still, it's great fun to theorycraft in them :)

     

    Opposed to those however, TSW is offering a totally blank sheet (like Tabula Rasa in London image). The starter decks may  provide some guidance, but even with those, the freedom can be overwhelming. The option of being anything and also everything within one character could leave some folks clueless. There are players who picked a deck from a builder site, played through the story with it, and then left - that's fine, since the story and lore are just as important part of TSW as the deck building, and they're simply not interested in theory crafting. But for those who do, TSW could be a pretty deep and long game :)

     

    Actually I think this has some part of TSW being often labeled as 'niche'. Lots of players out there, with many years of 'regular' mmo behind them are accustomed to "playing the class". Terms like "learn your class" and "you play it wrong" are n/a in TSW and this can confuse some players who used to have a set course.

    When you play since decades by "I learn my skills and mechanics during leveling, and then I play those all the time" it's tough to readjust yourself into "I can choose my mechanics, I play with the ones I like the most, but also I need to change it from time to time". There's no comfort zone, no pre-set skill trees, no class boundaries...

    Jumping in the middle of a mob group and hacking them off with melee AoE then in the next minute kiting a boss from range with single-target attacks and DoTs, then switching to single target melee and annoy with stun lock , etc. Some doesn't like it, and want to stick with just one playstyle - which also can be done, but then s/he will need help occasionally, since TSW has plenty of changes, sometimes for example you have to have Afflicted, on other times it's even forbidden to apply one (unless you want to boost the mobs and wipe your team of course...) and you need to react for those changes with your deck and playstyle.

     

    An another issue used to be the questing, which is different and even odd for someone with the good ol' "quest-hub" mentality, but that comes only after the weapon selection is done :)

     

    edit: mmorobo, don't forget to tell them, if they have time of course, that tonight will be the Cabal Pride Joel mentioned in the February letter, I think it will be a fun event :) http://forums.thesecretworld.com/showthread.php?t=83667

  • Wolfpack48Wolfpack48 Member Posts: 8
    Originally posted by rojoArcueid

    great guide.

     

    One question about, "you have complete freedom to choose which weapons, skills and abilities to buy and equip".

    Did they change the way you unlock skills? when i played every weapon had linear skill unlocks. For example, if i wanted skill #7 of a weapon spec, i would have to unlock skills 1 through 6 or i could not get the one i wanted.There is not much freedom there.

    Other than that, pretty good guide.

    Right, so there's freedom to pick any weapon or talisman skill track to level, but you still need to unlock the lower level skills on the way to the higher ones, so, yeah in that sense it's linear (the same rule applies to the ability wedges).  But typically you can't go from novice to expert immediately, so I think the progression track makes sense.  It would be game-breaking if players were able to equip QL10 gear out of the gate; learning is involved to get to that level, so the requirement to purchase lower level skills before you can purchase higher ones reflects that.

  • Wolfpack48Wolfpack48 Member Posts: 8
    Originally posted by Po_gg

    Opposed to those however, TSW is offering a totally blank sheet (like Tabula Rasa in London image). The starter decks may  provide some guidance, but even with those, the freedom can be overwhelming. The option of being anything and also everything within one character could leave some folks clueless. There are players who picked a deck from a builder site, played through the story with it, and then left - that's fine, since the story and lore are just as important part of TSW as the deck building, and they're simply not interested in theory crafting. But for those who do, TSW could be a pretty deep and long game :)

    I think one of the early developers of the wheel mentioned that he wished they had gone more templated for the decks due to the learning curve.  I actually am glad they stuck with the blank sheet system, but I think one thing they could do is expand on the number (and quality) of the in-game decks.  There's a whole host of decks that are available in the community (and TSWDB in particular), and these could even be pulled into the game with an added uniform, and you've suddenly got lots of "classes" to work with.  Best of both worlds, the theorycrafters can experiment, while those who just want to get on with it have a nice selection to pick from.  I'm really interested to see how the NPE changes things.  :)

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,367

    I think it's not about available decks, it's more about the transition between them. Back in the days we tried to build some "classes" - as in building a route to follow, with a series of decks from the start to the end, optimal order of purchasing, etc. Since there are millions of combinations, and dozens or even hundreds of good decks out there, it was a quick failure obviously :)

    Actually I'm on a similar, just watered-up "self project" currently, which started after the NPE announcement of Joel, with testing the starter decks. I don't think I'll finish this one either, since I'm an avid hopper and already started to miss AoC and LotRO :) I think I'll hop over to AoC in March, then LotRO for the anniversary, and probably continue this character in the summer...

     

    So far I'm at around QL6-7, faction rank also 7. Tried to build a similar "class" as LotRO's Champion since that's maybe the easiest one there. Melee, AoE, and can bear a massive beating, good foundation for a solo / survival deck. I picked chaos as the cornerstone, first I completed a starter deck, then went fist for the self-heal. From that on I tried to do upgrades one-by-one, always going for abilities within reach or 2-3 steps away, tops.

    So far I completed 3 starter decks on the side, also got half-way with 2 others - while maintained the melee, AoE, tank-ish playstyle during all the AP upgrades. (ok, I went for AR a bit with one of the starter decks, mainly for range pull that frikking golem out from the amusement park pool, that pool is not a good place for melee image  But LotRO champ also learns bow usage during his way, for a low-damage ranged pull, so I thought it's within the limits.)

    It's fun to seek available improvements within reach, and maintain the current playstyle / "class" :) Currently it's on Exposed and Frenzy, but for thinking ahead I'm already building an Afflict and a Burst deck on the side, so I could switch to that in need. Also made a (not very effective yet) tank deck. All of those within the melee AoE sturdy style, so I'm not a nimble, jumping all around like a jackrabbit -kinda build, I put my feet down, take on the monsters and fight them back, like a good champion... high health, defense, protection, high evade since it's chaos - let them come :)

  • Wolfpack48Wolfpack48 Member Posts: 8

    A German version of the Beginner Guide on TSWDB is now available as well.  Amazing work, and thanks to VikestartDerSenfmann for translating, and Hump and Camael for extra proof-reading!   This was requested over on the forums, and those folks turned it around in no time.  Great work all.  :)
     

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,367

    Maybe also a good info for beginners: cabals (and their pride).

    I mean, not the event itself since it happened last weekend (I personally went with my Lawbreaker character for representing the forum cabal, in my cool mmorpg trenchcoat http://postimg.org/image/wtagm11u5/  image).

     

    On the other hand it was a great show, and a pretty good gathering of the biggest cabals in TSW, with leaders and contact persons as well (not to mention the fun trivia with prizes, and the after-party). Even if a newcomer missed the event, here's a nice recap video on youtube, with the faction-organised / multi-faction list of partaking cabals. http://youtu.be/Dy2vIppQg7k  (some dances in TSW are looking really odd indeed :) )

    Since the guide is only covering cabals with a short mention in the group play section, that list is a good starting point for everyone who seeks some friendly groups. Being in a cabal is fun, and helps a lot with tougher missions and the dungeons.

     

    There's an another video, which is not the best quality but it's great for the radio coverage of the pride - Trevalin on GridStream played music, introduced cabals, etc. during the whole event, and also hosted the trivia at the end, but that's not in this youtube stream unfortunately. http://youtu.be/ziBy76LvP8Q  (At around 12min there's an awesome Halestorm track, Lzzy is cool ;) )

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,367

    During the maintenance I thought I drop here an addition about newbie gearing :)  (both the guide and the forum entry "wish I'd known" covering gears only moderately)


    Since there are no levels in TSW, gear took the place of "levels" of other games. Areas, missions, mobs, etc. are usually graded by the players according to the QL of the gear. But gear is way more important than simply being a level indicator... talismans (and weapons) define your playstyle and efficiency. For example a deck slotted with the same blade builder+finisher and fist heal builder+finisher, can be a pretty good solo/survival build in an attack-focused gear, and a decent healer if switched the talismans into healing ones - while the player using the very same abilities.

    You can literally break your build with unfortunate gearing, like making a true glass cannon, with dishing out astounding dps - and kicking the bucket after a moderate slap on the cheek :)
    Gearing (+crafting, since they're connected) is actually an almost as complex part of the game, as the deck building itself. Since in TSW the "crafting" (more like assembling) allows players to fabricate anything, gearing is not limited like in other games, where you open a wiki, search the gear piece drops you need, and farm them out. But not jump ahead, endgame is not important for newcomers :)



    So, newbie gears, in Kingsmouth.

    The game is designed for preventing newcomers from the above mentioned "bad gearing". Hence in Kingsmouth the missions which reward the players with talismans, offering all 3 of them - and in green. Green talismans are constructed in a way that even if the player is picking the same kinda talisman every single time, the end result will be still a viable build. For example a full gear of green heals is still providing enough HP and damage to survive and re-play the missions in Kingsmouth, and giving the chance to pick the other two talismans for balancing the gear setup. (blue and purple quality talismans are not this forgiving, but players won't see those before the first dungeon)

    There are 3 types of gear in TSW, according to the trinity roles: tank, heal and dps. Players need to mix those within the 7 gear slots for having a good build. Even a full dps build needs at least 1-2 tank talisman(s) for the additional HP, and if not grouped with a healer, it's good to slot at least 1 heal talisman too, for the better self-heal. As mentioned above, while in green you don't need to mix things up, but it helps to get in this mixing mindset as early as possible, while you're in those forgiving greens.


    What does it mean for newcomers: don't be afraid to replay missions in Kingsmouth, and grab a set of talisman not only for your selected role. Personally I used to suggest a second playthrough of the selected missions right after the first day (when the cooldown is off) and picking different kinda talismans the second time. Inventory space is not an issue, and having two sets helps to have more options to shuffle the gear. Same goes for weapons too, Danny in the skate park has a mission which gives QL3 weapons, a good place to upgrade your collection before Polaris.

    Later on it's easier to simply craft the pieces you need (or buying from fellow players in the AH), since from Savage Coast and beyond, the missions only reward 1 gear or none at all, and random drops from mobs are... well... random. :) While with crafting you can assemble exactly what you need.

  • Wolfpack48Wolfpack48 Member Posts: 8

    Yeah, almost thinking intermediate and advanced guides would be worthwhile.  There's quite a bit to take in as a newbie so want to convey the basics without overwhelming folks....  The beginner solo and dungeon builds on TSWDB are good, but gear is an important piece -- lots of folks forget to slot glyphs, for example, and don't always slot the best glyph for the trinity role they've chosen -- I cover that briefly, but it might be good to emphasize that point more strongly. 

    It can get complicated quickly, but thinking about gear, glyphs and signets as offensive, defensive or support items helps.  With TSW, you can hybridize those to your heart's content, not just in the gear items themselves, but also the character's equipped mix - to start, it's probably best to keep it to the basic role you've chosen, but keeping in mind you still need to do damage (overdoing a support build as a starter could be frustrating, since it will take much longer to kill enemies.) 

    In general a good mix of offensive and defensive gear, perhaps weighted more towards damage is the way to go.  Having multiple sets of gear/items is okay, and testing things is always advised, preferably on some not-too-tough mobs.

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