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The Secret World

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The Secret World

Postby Paxen » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:56 am

Updating this post:

The Secret World is now Buy-to-play, like Guild Wars 2.

I'm leaving my original article in here, but I'm adding a couple of quick pointers at the start which should cover most stuff.

- The new Starter Decks added a few months back are a very good way to spend your first ability points. Unlike the Faction Decks which you can gather later, these are actually reasonable builds, many based on designs suggested by the community. When you start out, open the Ability tab (default key N) and check the Deck tab to the left. The starter decks have a good description of how they work and what they're usable for, pick one that you like and spend your points there until you have a good grasp of the mechanics and can make your own builds.

- AoE attacks are a very nice convenience in Kingsmouth. The area is swarming with packs of zombies, and while you can get by with only single target attacks, combat will take a lot of time and the zombies will be dangerous. Check out the descriptions of the starter decks. If you're not following a deck slavishly, Hammer, Blade, Fists, Chaos, Shotgun and Assault Rifle all have easily available AoE attacks. Pistol, Blood and Elemental have chain attacks, which you only get towards the bottom of the inner circle trees.

- Get your second weapon early. The fastest way to get it is to simply step back into the Dojang/Test Area/Crucible when you exit after having picked your first weapon. You can then pick up another QL0 weapon. Remember to save an AP or two so you can get a consumer for it - the first rule of combat is to have one (non-heal) resource builder attack, and one resource consumer for each of your two weapons. Other ways to get weapons are at the Occult Arms Dealer vendor in London, or early missions in Kingsmouth (the mission from Boone at the Agartha entrance and a box mission by Moose at the Sherrif's Office).

- Head over to Kingsmouth Memorial Church and talk to Father Henry Hawthorne to try out the first of the awesome Investigation missions (The Kingsmouth Code and the followup Digging Deeper from Issue #2).

FURTHER READING

If you decide to sign up and play for a while, I recommend checking out Yokai and Sarcan's TSW Guides and FAQ at http://yokaiblog.wikidot.com. Lots of useful info, especially the Philosophy on Weapon Choices and Talisman Mechanics guides.

ORIGINAL POST

This is the first draft of a little guide I wrote about how to get the most out of a Secret World trial. It's a lot longer than I thought it would be, so any feedback on wether I should trim it and maybe what to trim would be appreciated. Any other feedback also welcome, of course. Especially if you've never played the game, I'm not writing this for veteran Secret Worlders!

TLDR summary: 1) Make sure you have two weapons. 2) One of them should have an AoE attack among the 1 ability point attacks. 3) Go to the Sherrif's Office in Kingsmouth, get a mission from Deputy Andy, pick up the Severed Arm at the end of that mission. Then, go to the Kingsmouth Congregational Church to get The Kingsmouth Code from Henry Hawthorne.

The Secret World is a great game. The fact that it's classless and how the mission system works gives you a great deal of freedom, but that also means freedom to screw up. I've written this little guide in hope that I can help people avoid a couple of easy blunders with combat, and also show how you get the most out of the mission system while leading you to the first Investigation mission. The Investigation missions are awesome, and are one of the highlights of the game. Don't wait for hours into the trial before you try one!

The first step is to sign up for the trial. You do that at http://www.thesecretworld.com. There's a sidebar called Sign Up for the Trial! on the right side, below the "Now Available!" add. I haven't personally played the trial, but I'm told it's only limited in time, not content. You're on your own here for a bit. Go download and install it.

Done? Right, the first thing you do is to select which faction you want to represent. It determines your starting city (New York for the Illuminati, London for the Templars and Seoul for the Dragons). After a short intro to your faction and a couple of tutorial missions you'll be sent to Kingsmouth in New England no matter what faction you choose, so it's not an important choice right now. Grab the one you think is coolest.

After having selected a faction and designed your character there's a video that shows how you became an immortal demigod. Then you get recruited by your faction and told to travel to their city. After following instructions and running around a bit you will play the tutorial mission, a flashback to a "terrorist" attack in Tokyo. Needless to say these terrorists are supernatural creatures. After that you get to talk to your handler, and then you're sent off to the "second tutorial", a session in a training area where you can try out the various weapons available before selecting one to be your starting weapon. This area is called the Test Area (Illuminati), the Crucible (Templars) or the Dojang (Dragons).Every time you pick up a new weapon your ability points are refunded, so feel free to open your ability wheel and look at some of the ones that are available. When you leave any ability points will be set and can't be refunded anymore, so I recommend that you reset one last time before you leave. You might want to read more about weapons before spending those points.

COMBAT IN A WORLD WHERE EVERYTHING IS TRUE

Now we come to the meat of this guide, how to avoid a couple of pitfalls in early combat. After having picked a weapon you will have two active abilities and one passive, as well as two ability points you can use to buy one or two more. The important things to cover in your early build is, first, to have two weapons with a consumer ability for each, and second, to be able to handle packs of monsters.

The fundamentals of the combat system works like Combo Points (and all the spinoffs) in WoW. You have several abilities that builds points (called resources) and then you have abilities that spend them. The wrinkle is that all non-healing builders build points for both your equipped weapons, meaning that you get to use two big consumer attacks for every builder cycle - if you wield two weapons. So if you neglect to pick up that second weapon, combat will be unneccesarily hard.

There are three ways to pick up an extra weapon early. The first is to reenter the training area and pick up another weapon. The refunds on ability points are only available when you select your initial weapon, so don't buy any abilities yet. These starting weapons are all QL0, so you'll replace them pretty quickly. The first mission you pick up in Kingsmouth will award you a QL1 weapon of your choice at completion, and at that point you will be at the Kingsmouth Sherrif's Office where you can do a quick crafting tutorial mission. This rewards you with a "QL0.5" weapon that you build yourself. I recommend you pick your main weapon as the QL1 award and build yourself a secondary weapon.

The second important thing in early combat is to have the right abilities to take down the packs of zombies you'll be facing from the moment you enter Kingsmouth and as long as you stay on Solomon Island. Mobs come in two general types, normal mobs (marked with a circle next to their name) and packs (marked with three small circles). You will often fight two or three normal mobs at a time, but they are generally not linked and you can isolate them. Pack mobs are always linked, so if one attacks they all attack. Individually they don't do much damage and don't have much health, but if you only have single target attacks it will take some time to chew through them and you'll take a lot of damage doing it. Kingsmouth is crawling with zombie packs so make sure you have an aoe ability of some kind ready when you step out from Agartha.

There are three kinds of aoe attacks in the Secret World, and each weapon will generally specialize in one of them. Here's a short description of each category, as well as a list of which weapons use it and the early abilities of that type:

FRENZY
You target an enemy and hit everything around it. Comes in two general types, PBAoE which hits everything around you and TAoE which are ranged and hit everything around the enemy. Blades and Chaos use PBAoE while Assault Rifles use TAoE.
Blade: Balanced Blade (consumer) and Blade Torrent (builder)
Chaos: Escalation (builder)
Assault Rifle: Fire at Will (consumer)


BLAST
A cone attack, generally 60 degrees and 7 meters in front of you. A bit tricker to use against zombies that like to surround you, but nothing a bit of backpedaling can't cure. The frontloaded consumers of melee weapons work especially well as Blasts against zombies.
Fist: Hog Wild (consumer)
Hammer: Hell to Pay (consumer)
Shotgun: Pump Action (builder) - lacks the Blast keyword, but behaves like a blast.


CHAIN
Chain attacks are like Chain Lightning in WoW, as you would expect. You target an enemy, and the attack jumps to up to four other enemies. The problem with Chains early in the game is simply that they're not available. You need to spend a minimum of 6 ability points to unlock the Blood and Elementalism attacks, and 12 to unlock the Pistol attack. That's a lot of zombies to wade through with single target attacks. Pistols have a GTAoE (ground targeted aoe - hold ctrl to make it into a straight TAoE) available for cheap, Above the Law, but it has a 15 second cooldown and won't oneshot anything.
Blood: Infection (consumer)
Elementalism: Electrical Storm (consumer)
Pistol: Wanted (consumer)



Quick tip: If you select one of the Blast or Frenzy weapons as a first weapon you won't have to worry about a second weapon until you reach the Sherrif's Office. But if you're dead set on running a Pistol/Elementalism build it's no biggie - simply go back into the training area to pick up another weapon with a decent aoe available early, and use that until you can unlock one of the Chain attacks. Don't spend more ability points on the third weapon than you need to unlock the aoe.

Pro tip: If you don't care about what weapon is the coolest, grab Blades. You'll go through the zombies like a Kiwi with a lawnmower.

RUNNING MISSIONS FOR FUN AND PROFIT

Missions in the Secret World are a bit like auto-updating quest chains in WoW. The quest chain in Blackrock Descent is a good analogy. They are split into four types, with Main Missions split into a further three. Story and Dungeon missions are pretty obvious, you pick up a Dungeon mission when it's available and you're heading into a dungeon, and the Story missions lead you through the game and tell the story of the zone.

Most of the missions will be main missions and side missions, often called box missions. All main missions will either end up at a mission NPC, or there will be a box mission nearby which leads you to one. Box missions are short missions that often work as breadcrumbs. If you finish a main mission and can't see any new ones nearby, look around a bit. There's a box mission within 50 meters somewhere. You're of course always free to just run to a different mission NPC, they're all marked on the map. But you're almost never forced to "run back to the hub".

Your first missions

The aim of this part of the guide is to lead you to the first Investigation Mission, the Kingsmouth Code. Investigation missions are puzzles that often ask you to use the built in webbrowser to solve them, and I'm not talking about mission guides. The information you need will be find on the net, often on Wikipedia and sometimes on websites Funcom has set up specifically for the game, which are made to look like proper websites for companies and organizations that only exist in-game. So how do you get this mission?

When you step into Kingsmouth from Agartha, you'll meet a guy named Boone. A cutscene will play and your Story mission will update. After that you'll be asked to pick up Boone's mission, For a Fistful of Zombies. Go ahead, you got zombies to put down. When you're nearing the end of this mission you'll come upon your first box mission. Policeman's corpse gives you the mission Bullets for Andy. Pick up the bullets from the truck, but don't run and deliver them just yet. Mouse over your active mission on the right side of the screen. This just updated to Bullets for Andy, but you want to change it back to For a Fistful of Zombies. Finish Fistful and then go to the Sherrif's Office. You'll be rewarded with a QL1 weapon of your choice.

Go further into the compound, but instead of going inside or going to the roof to find Andy, do the box mission next to Moose, the guy working at a bench beside the office. The mission is called Zen and the Art of Weapon Maintaince. It's the crafting tutorial mission, and rewards you with another weapon. Now, go up the stairs and complete Bullets for Andy, and then grab Elm Street Blues from Deputy Andy. Be sure to watch the cutscene, it's very good.

Before you head out to do Elm Street Blues, head inside the building. You'll meet the Sherrif, Helen Bannerman, another cutscene will play and you'll update your Story Mission. You might want to grab the box mission Missing Persons from the Missing Persons List, it's some bonus xp you can pick up while you run around Kingsmouth. Now do Elm Street Blues.

After you've completed that you'll be down at the harbor and have a gas station on your right hand. Run past it to a broken down truck (an ice truck?) and grab the box mission Tomb Raider from the Severed Hand. This leads you to the cemetary behind Kingsmouth Congregational Church. After you've found the right grave and completed the mission you get a spiffy new hat, and you can now head inside the church and pick up the Kingsmouth Code from Henry Hawthorne. Feel free to snigger at him, especially if you're Illuminati.

And that's it! I won't say anything about how you solve the Kingsmouth Code, because that would spoil the fun! After you've completed that you should have a good idea of wether or not The Secret World is the game for you or not. You've seen the ambience of Kingsmouth and can decide wether it's great or just grey and boring, and you've tried out the first of the Investigation missions. You may think combat is a bit boring and limited, even if they introduce "don't stand in the fire" mechanics as early as the Draugr down at the harbor. Unfortunatly the combat system doesn't come into it's own until Transylvania, and you won't get there if you don't enjoy the game for other reasons. It's still an actual challenge to survive, but somebody with raiding experience should be able to handle the mechanics the mobs have.
Last edited by Paxen on Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:40 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby Aubade » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:35 pm

I'll admit, I don't know much about Secret World. I heard it was F2P? Or It is GOING to be F2p at launch?
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby Paxen » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:38 am

Aubade wrote:I'll admit, I don't know much about Secret World. I heard it was F2P? Or It is GOING to be F2p at launch?


It launched in july, and it's probably the last of the subscription MMOs. Seeing as everybody keeps waiting for it to go F2P even though Funcom hasn't announced anything about that :|

Fantastic game, though. They're releasing monthly content (twice so far), mostly consisting of more delicious investigation missions. Raids coming in october.
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby bldavis » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:36 am

SWToR was going F2P

if TSW goes F2P i would be all over it!

edit: great write up
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby Paxen » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:21 am

bldavis wrote:edit: great write up


Thanks!

You didn't think it was too wordy?
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby bldavis » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:24 am

Paxen wrote:
bldavis wrote:edit: great write up


Thanks!

You didn't think it was too wordy?

it is a bit, but honestly for what it is, it is good
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Brekkie:Tanks are like shitty DPS. And healers are like REALLY distracted DPS
Amirya:Why yes, your penis is longer than his because you hit 30k dps in the first 10 seconds. But guess what? That raid boss has a dick bigger than your ego.
Flex:I don't make mistakes. I execute carefully planned strategic group wipes.
Levie:(in /g) It's weird, I have a collar and I dont know where I got it from, Worgen are kinky!
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:25 pm

My friend and I looked at this game when we were trying to find "something new" since he quit WoW and we wanted something we could play together (as well as with a few other friends.) Looking at their website and reading your OP here, I can't recall what it was that made us pass over it. The only thing I can think of is that it's not F2P, and we didn't want to start up a P2P game that we might just quit in a month or two. I know it has a trial and all, but with our weird schedules, I don't think a week would be enough to find out if it's really the game for us.

I still might check it out at some point, because it looks interesting. I've already decided I'd be Illuminati (for nothing more than superficial reasons :lol:.) Is there a good website to see all the weapon/magic choices and their associated "talent" trees? Just something I can play with and see what sort of build I might try.
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby Gracerath » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:49 am

I played a bit in the final beta weekend and I REALLY enjoyed the setting of the game. It is probably my favorite of any MMO I've ever played. It really reminds me a LOT of World of Darkness stuff (specifically, Mage the Ascension or a more obscure one perhaps, Project Twilight)

I didn't care for the combat at all sadly but it is great to hear it gets better. The missions were all pretty good. I liked the investigative aspect of it. The first time I had to open up google to get an answer for a password, I thought Ok, this is pretty cool and really makes it feel modern.

I got my head stuffed too far up Guild Wars 2's ass atm to really bother with a subscription based MMO but once that shine wears off and if this has perhaps gone F2P, I will certainly go back and give this another go. Thanks for the write-up!
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby Paxen » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:08 am

Skye1013 wrote:Is there a good website to see all the weapon/magic choices and their associated "talent" trees? Just something I can play with and see what sort of build I might try.


There are several deck builders out there. I prefer http://www.tsw-builder.com/ for actually playing around with builds and looking for just the right ability, while http://www.drakkashi.com/secretworld/wheel.php is a faithful recreation of the ingame ability wheel. Maybe start with the second one and look at the inner wheel abilities, then go to tsw-builder when you want to fine tune your deck.

Also check out the Weapon Philosophy article on Yokaj's blog, it shows what sort of synergies exist.

The meat of the combat system is that you need to adapt your build to overcome certain enemies, especially Nightmare mobs. You can always try to find a group, or go back after getting gear from Nightmare dungeons, but it's much more satisfying to have a look at their abilities and then gather the points for a build that lets you do it on your own in green gear. The reason this doesn't come into play much before Transylvania is twofold, the first is simply that you won't have enough ability points to play around with until you get there, the second is that you need to reach QL10 to have a shot at taking on the Nightmare mobs (normal mobs don't have their immunities and weaknesses).
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby Skye1013 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:28 pm

Finally got around to downloading and starting my trial. Omg I love it! To me it feels more like a single player game with MMO qualities. Not sure if that changes in some of the later areas (I'm working on finishing all the Main quests in Kingsmouth, but have pushed the Story quest into the Savage Coast.)

I like the investigation quests, but some of them seem damn near impossible without a guide (yes, I've "cheated" on some. Seriously... who's supposed to know what song that is to look up the sheet music to get the password for it???) There have been a few that I'm not sure if I missed the clue to it or it just doesn't exist, such as opening the door while trying to follow Beaumont through the tunnel behind it. I managed to plow through it slowly by process of elimination (it's a lot easier on the ones that don't kill you for failure... :D)

For a lot of games I hate having to constantly run back and forth for quests, but for some reason it doesn't bother me much in this game... might be because I can turn in the quests as soon as they're completed and don't have to run back to the quest giver in between each step.

I had forgotten about this "guide" until today, but managed to actually do just about everything in it anyway :lol:. Started with the Shotgun and made an Elemental Focus (though I've since gone pretty much pure Shotgun.) I've currently completed both parts of the first tier of Shotgun and am working on the Crackdown second tier (I think, it's the one on the bottom of the wheel.)

Questions:
-Is it possible to "reset" your Ability Wheel?
-Can you 100% the Ability Wheel given enough time/effort or can you only fill out a few weapon types?
-When do the multi-person dungeons start showing up and what is the expected group size/max group size (iow, is duoing/trioing feasible)?
-Other than the 1200 points I got for completing 30 missions... are there other ways to get Funcom points besides spending cash? Alternatively... can you get the store's vanity items (namely, the outfits) through other means?
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby Paxen » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:36 am

Skye1013 wrote:I like the investigation quests, but some of them seem damn near impossible without a guide (yes, I've "cheated" on some. Seriously... who's supposed to know what song that is to look up the sheet music to get the password for it???)


Google is your friend! The clue is in the note that says "Should thy desires be twarted; Weep not for thyself, but for Dolandi". I typed in "dolandi weep" in google, and the correct song is the first hit.

Of course, you should always remember to add "-tsw" to any google searches if you don't want your browser plastered with links to the solutions...

I've cheated some myself, the Halloween quests were especially tough. But I always feel a bit let down when I do it, it's so much more fun to figure out that "Freshly picked seeds chewed to destroy fair Boadicea" means Fennel than to look it up...although that one was just a wee bit obscure, as it's a reference to roman legionaires chewing fennel seeds, not what Boadicea used to poison herself...

(The reason I'm spoiling the above is that it's from the Halloween mission which afaik is not in the game anymore.)


I had forgotten about this "guide" until today, but managed to actually do just about everything in it anyway :lol:.


Maybe it's unnecessary? :( I dunno. I only know that it was a pain to deal with zombies when I ran around with only pistols and that I've seen others complain about it too. Plus I managed to miss completing For a Fistful of Zombies on my first playthrough because Bullets of Andy pops up as the active quest near the end.

Questions:
-Is it possible to "reset" your Ability Wheel?


Nope. Spend with care, although unless you save up and then splurge 175 points at once it doesn't take all that long to grind the points back.

-Can you 100% the Ability Wheel given enough time/effort or can you only fill out a few weapon types?


You can unlock everything, but after I finished every quest in the game I think I'm at somewhere between 20% and 40% complete, so it will take quite a while. Note that you don't need to complete all cells for a weapon to get good use of it, so you can still get decent abilities for most of them. I think my character has a build for everything but Blood and Shotgun.

I wouldn't bother to repeat missions in anything except Transylvania - unless you really manage to gimp yourself (which is always a possibility) the next quest is always doable, even though it may be harder than it would have been with an optimal build. Still quicker to just get it done than to go back to grind AP. When you get to Transylvania you'll get something between 10 and 50 AP for a single mission, so repeating earlier content is just going to take more time (and be annoying as you're repeating content unneccesarily).

-When do the multi-person dungeons start showing up and what is the expected group size/max group size (iow, is duoing/trioing feasible)?


The first one shows up in Kingsmouth - all the way to the north of the zone, you have the government agents at the bridge that can get you to Polaris. Expected size is 5, got no clue how few people you can get away with (very likely depends on the QL of the group). I haven't done much grouping, I really like the solo part.

-Other than the 1200 points I got for completing 30 missions... are there other ways to get Funcom points besides spending cash? Alternatively... can you get the store's vanity items (namely, the outfits) through other means?


Not that I know of. I haven't used the store though.
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:23 am

There are a few things the guide mentioned that I didn't know, like being able to go back into the Test Chamber to grab the other weapons after completing the quest, and not having to figure out how to switch between the quests through trial and error (like the Bullets for Andy thing.) I'm sure there was more, and for someone less versed in MMOs or non-experimental, it can definitely help.
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby d503 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:17 am

TSW is now Sub-free: http://www.thesecretworld.com/news/subs ... r_required

Pretty unrestricted offer at that...less LOTRO/SWTOR, more GW2 in how it treats access to content. Looks like their content model will be around the issues/patches.

So for $30 for the box, you get 100+ hours of questing content, pvp, dungeons and a raid, and all the content from issues 1-4.

Pretty good deal if you ask me.
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby bldavis » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:56 pm

the main reason i didnt pick up secret world was the sub, same with rift and SWToR....
might have to give it a shot now
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Brekkie:Tanks are like shitty DPS. And healers are like REALLY distracted DPS
Amirya:Why yes, your penis is longer than his because you hit 30k dps in the first 10 seconds. But guess what? That raid boss has a dick bigger than your ego.
Flex:I don't make mistakes. I execute carefully planned strategic group wipes.
Levie:(in /g) It's weird, I have a collar and I dont know where I got it from, Worgen are kinky!
Levie:Drunk Lev goes and does what he pleases just to annoy sober Lev.
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Re: The Secret World: How to get the most out of your trial

Postby d503 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:03 pm

bldavis wrote:the main reason i didnt pick up secret world was the sub, same with rift and SWToR....
might have to give it a shot now


It's definitely a solid game, though it takes some getting used to. The engine isn't as buttery smooth as WoW, so there's some adjustment there.

The Nightmare Mode content is actually challenging, which is nice (Unlike, say, SWTOR Heroics or GW2 dungeons). I haven't tried the raid yet.
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d503
 
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