The Beauty of Complexity

Simple is always good but sometimes you find beauty in complexity – even if you trip over it. Time and time again in The Secret World (blog sites, forums, etc. I have been doing a lot of reading!) I am discovering suggestions to build your own decks and pay attention to different states. These states can cause interesting synergies during game play.

Take my Blade/Fist deck for example.

My ‘builder’ attack is an AOE called BLADE TORRENT. It does PBAOE ‘Frenzy’ damage and causes a lot of hate. It is a tanking move. Doesn’t seem useful for soloing.. until you also add a passive called PERFECT STORM.

PERFECT STORM adds a damage over time component to BLADE TORRENT and also sets an afflicted state to enemies it hits. Another passive I have, DARK POTENCY, increases my penetration chance every time I set an afflicted state. I have two other passives that work off of penetration – FLUID DEFENCE, which increases my damage every time I penetrate and IMMORTAL spirit that gives me a heal over time effect when I penetrate. (used different emphasis methods for in game states, skills, etc. Hopefully doesn’t read too annoyingly.)

I am not sure how much things can stack but theoretically  I hit 4 mobs. Each of those 4 mobs should increase my penetration chance. When I penetrate not only do I do more damage but I also heal myself. So as I set more afflicted states I increasingly penetrate and increasingly do more damage, all the while healing myself. This build lends itself to area of effect grinding, don’t you think?

I have other tanking abilities currently that increase my survivability but I am going to see if I can find other skills or passives that feed off of penetration or afflicted states. Most passives are cross weapon (meaning you can use them regardless of what weapon you have equipped) so the best thing I can look for is some more active abilities that set afflicted states or penetrate directly.

For example, as per Sylow in the comments in my last thread, I can also lower damage done to me by 30% (3% stacked 10 times with 12 Gouge) every time I penetrate an enemy. Add that to the crazy penetration scenario above.  I am  not sure how things stack – there is a nice Automatic Rifle passive that sets afflicted state every time you use a frenzy attack (which Blade Torrent is). So I am extra curious if both passives set separate afflicted states, meaning I should be able to double up on the afflicted states doubling my penetration? I am sure there are caps and what not. This level of complexity needs some sort of DPS calculator to sort all of that out.

I think I am understanding that correctly. Thankfully, in game at least, in TSW you can search by state or effect so it’s not so hard to build that out and look for skills and abilities that complement each other. This website has a searchable wheel.

I could see this level of complexity being a turnoff to some players but personally I am welcoming it right now – especially because all we have seen MMOs do (for the most part) the past 10 years is to become oversimplified. WoW lost a lot of magic when they homogenized their game. I can’t help but wonder if the complexity of TSW is hurting, or helping attracting long term players to it. It’s currently having a positive effect on me.

18 comments / Add your comment below

  1. This is one of my favorite things about TSW, so I’ll try to keep my general bitterness about the game out of this comment.

    TSW’s ability system is one of the primary things that initially attracted me to the game, as I’m not the biggest fan of Modern Fantasy. In a lot of ways it’s borrowing heavily from Guild Wars, forcing you to choose a build from two ability groupings. It differs in the passives, however.

    For the most part, afflicted states from different abilities do stack, you can have a large number of them active if you want. I think there’s a sword consumer that automatically penetrates afflicted targets, for more added fun. When I was playing, most of the self-healing passives were awful, they might have addressed that by now.

    1. I’m becoming less of a fan of the self hots now that I am paying more attention on how much they are giving back. Things are starting to die a bit slower now so I either need to tweak my abilities or work on my gear. Guessing a bit of both =) I am curious of your general bitterness towards TSW and encourage you to write a post about it =)

      1. Keep in mind, the hots, just like about any other healing, scales depending on your heal rating.

        So if your gear is “all attack rating”, they indeed do very little for you, but if you bring some heal rating, they work well enough, according to my experience. (I still prefer active healing, but healing passives worked acceptably for me when i tried setups with them in Transylvania. )

        1. This is where I am deficient. I kind of sorted this out when I had some +heal gear I equipped because of the EV level and noticed a big boost in the effectiveness!

  2. That’s the beauty of playing with the wheel — finding out all the little things that work together. On the other hand…. with 525 skills (I think it’s that many…) and not necessarily having them all unlocked, it can sometimes feel like quite a grind to get to the build you want. On the bright side, there are usually perfectly acceptable alternatives to the skills you might want that might not be “optimal” but are still “pretty damn good.”

    I kinda stumbled into my current build that I use “in general for soloing” due to wanting to make a build for certain mobs in Transylvania, actually. They get a 50% bonus to their damage unless you hinder them. I could kill them, but it could get kinda scary at times, so I decided to look at a build focusing on hinders. It looks like it has been changed, but the Beanbag Rounds skill in shotgun at the time applied a hinder to any melee hit (with a 3 second internal cooldown), so I looked at using that passive plus a lot of things that would trigger off hinder or exploit the hindered state.

    Due to the 3 second ICD, it didn’t actually turn out to work very well, but it led me to the Hit and Run passive which does an AE hit on mob death. Combining that with a lot of other procs on afflict and penetration from blade, assault rifle, and blood, plus the fact that at the time the Blade finisher “Clearing the Path” was a 100% guaranteed penetrating hit on an afflicted target and it was an awesome “swarm farming” build. the nightmare-level mobs at the Kingsmouth Airport reliably dropped signets, so I’d use this build to farm them… and it worked well as a solo build too vs pretty much everything. The guaranteed penetration hit on CtP made it as effective as a single-target finisher so a rotation of 1 builder to apply afflicted then a CtP finisher was otfen all I’d need to kill 1 mob in a swarm…. which would then trigger Hit and Run which would be enough to kill another mob in the swarm and boom, they’d all fall down dead.

    Skills have changed, it’s not quite so effective anymore. I still have the build in my gear manager and it’s was on as an “advanced solo” build for quite a while, but looks like it’s been taken off since the recent combat changes. I have a modified version of it that uses a rifle instead of a blade which I haven’t tried since the changes, but a friend who also uses it says “it’s still perfectly fine” and instead of continuing this wall of text…… here’s a link to it and the explanation of its synergies:

    I also use a modified version of that in certain NM dungeons that have a lot of adds — Polaris 5, and the entirety of Dreaming War, pretty much. It does loads and loads of AE damage……

    1. Fascinating build.. there is a crazy amount of individuality available on the skill wheel but also very curious on where all the min/maxing work has been done – surely someone out there has found the most “ideal” solo build? Or because of all the options and skills there are too many in the same area of usefullness? I read somewhere that everyone needs pistols to get through a certain area while levelling but not sure if that has been “fixed”in the new experience.

      1. I think they’re probably referring to a small section of the Shadowy Forest zone where there’s a big mob that’s shielded by 2 small mobs. If you kill the small mobs the big mob respawns them so that’s out, so what you gotta do is hinder the small mobs and pull the big mob out of range of their “shield beams” and then kill it before the hinder wears off and they move back into range, and at the time pistol had the only hinders that would do a true root, rather than a snare. Could still be the case, tbh. I never really bothered to look becuz there are actually some of those mobs that can be soloed without that strategy, and the *1* quest that you have to kill a boss mob like that you’re in the open world and I did it with another person who simply tanked the 2 mobs while I pulled the big one away.

        So far as “the best(tm) min/maxed solo build” — there’s too much individuality in the wheel to really have one. You like long range? Rifle/Elemental, Rifle/Blood, and Elemental/Blood all have multiple perfectly viable solo builds for each combination. Which one do you like? Same goes for the mid-range and melee range stuff too. I started the game with Rifle/Blade thinking that I could whittle the mobs down at range and then swap to blade when they got close. Worked well enough, but I eventually went full melee with blade/chaos instead, but I made a lot of use of fist and blood passives for self-healing. I didn’t do all that much damage, but I was pretty much unkillable. I liked that. But my friends liked to play as glass cannons… more power to them! One loved shotguns, the other liked hammers. It was all good!

        So that’s why everyone posts their own builds, or goes to the forums and says “I like hammers and shotguns, what should I do?” and then get told 8 different builds that might be good for them to try and encouraged to muck around with it on their own.

        1. Pistols for the Padurii? Hmm. I developed a love of hammers there. I positioned between the Padurii and the spirits and hit them with a directional knockdown.

          I never needed pistols anywhere before going for NM content. There are always different ways to solve problems.

        2. This is why I am still really enjoying TSW. So much discovery in it! There are many more blog posts to come. Also fun to see the responses I have been getting from talking about it – I had figured everyone would have moved on or not be interested in the discussion =)

  3. I sometimes get lost in all of this stuff, but overall, I really like this about TSW. I’m also a blade player, and have found it to be a trusty weapon type all the way through to Transylvania, where I am currently. I could still tweak my build a lot (looking at a siphon build maybe), but it’s good fun!

    1. I am still enjoying the themes of the game as much (if not more) than the mechanics too. The Savage Coast is becoming a bit more challenging!

  4. On the question of building up buffs, the game has an internal limitation. I would have to read up the exact mechanics myself, but basically each attack can only trigger an effect once. So delivering a second affliction will add more damage over time, but won’t trigger dark potency twice with one attack.

    But you have the free choice to use that damage over time effect, which deals more damage. Also, as your rotation includes a frenzy attack, you might like to take a look at leeching frenzy from assault rifle.

    Getting a percentage of the damage you deal back as healing is never a too bad thing, although this passive really only starts to shine once your gear is a bit stronger. In very low tiers, the combination of low heal rating (and thus low percentage of leech) and generally low damage is of less value.

    1. Gear is the next thing I need to sort through. I have some blues but everything is just quest rewards and random drops – I need to start researching where to get the mid level items and weapons with the money and experience I have.

      1. The interesting thing about leech is that it more dependent on +attack than +heal. As such, rifle-healers were initially seen as weaker than fists or blood, because the players had stacked so much +heal that their leeches were ineffective due to low DPS. Once folks figured out the mechanic, rifles were more sought after because they contributed not only as healers but as secondary DPS. When running Elites, I tended to go AR-Fist, with about 60/40 heal/attack. never really got into NM dungeons, so I can’t speak to the really high-end game.

  5. Nice to see you having a good time playing around with this stuff! It’s a pretty cool system once you get into it. My current build (hammer/pistol) is slightly focused on crits – there is an elemental passive in the inner ring that gives you a guaranteed crit every 8th attack, and my other passives that proc heals or +crit or extra hits or +damage% when you crit. Seems to work well so far.

    AS for filling out the wheel, I initially chose my two weapons, pistol and blood, and planned out my build from those two areas (I didn’t realise you could slot passives from anywhere at the time). Then I decided to pursue the crusader deck for the uniform (because Templar, natch) so all my AP was spent for that, even though I didn’t use any of the skills. Once I finished that I went round and filled in all the inner ring, and now I am just unlocking other decks for outfits.

    This Golden Week is perfect for you to fill in the inner wheel, double AP is fantastic!

    1. I was able to get a few hours in on the double AP, and I was shocked at how fast my AP went up. Do these kind of events happen frequently?

      1. Yeah they usually have double AP or double XP events – mostly just weekends for promos but sometimes weeklong events for holiday or special occasions – every month or two.

        1. I was away the past two weeks on vacation and missed some other fancy weekend. Lots to look forward to at least =)

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