So when I first loaded into The Secret World, I was like
So this is a quick overview to give people a better idea.
The Secret World doesn’t have any separate classes. It effectively has one big class and every character can pick and choose from every different skill to make their own class. Character power comes from five things:
1. Active skills
2. Passive skills
3. Item skils
5. Skill combinations
Your character can have up to 7 active skills equipped in the hotbar at any one time. These are the skills you use to kill things with.
Active skills are accessed by this screen here.
You click on a section of the skill wheel, and it opens up a set of skills to buy. To get points for these you complete quests. To equip active skills you first buy them with points, and then click equip.
All the active skills are divided by weapons. Each weapon has two trees. To get the most powerful combination of skills you'll usually have to mix and match from both trees.
In the beta, only the basic trees are available - the outer tier trees are locked.
Each skill wheel section also has passives. Passives are equipped on a separate skill bar. Just like active skills, you can have up to 7 passive skills equipped. Like their name implies, passives give passive bonuses.
Unlike active skills, you do not need to use the appropriate weapon for a passive skill. This opens up some interesting combos, which I’ll cover later.
You also increase your character power by buying item skills. These skills take the place of traditional stat levelling. You basically just increase the points like any attribute system.
You have item skills for damage and support in each weapon discipline, and also have three item skills which let you wear more powerful gear.
Because there are no levels in The Secret World, the majority of player stat power comes from gear. So if you want more health or attack rating, you have to get it through gear.
All gear is jewellery and weapons – clothing is cosmetic only. To wear more powerful gear you need to put skill points into the item skills.
This is the fun part where The Secret World shines.
To use an active skill you need to use the appropriate weapon. Each character can carry two weapons, and you use the appropriate weapon automatically when you click the skill. So, for example, if you fill your bar with both rifle and pistol skills, when you click on a rifle skill the character shoots with the rifle. If you click on the pistol skill, the pistol is drawn to fire that skill.
Therefore, you make your skill bar using skills from two complimentary weapons. You can take pretty much any combination of two weapons you can think of, as long as you pay attention to how skills work together.
Active skills are also divided into resource generators and resource spenders. Resource generators build a counter up to 5 when used, and resource spenders use that counter to do damage. The higher the counter, the more damage caused.
So this means that you take a combination of resource generators and spenders. In this screenshot we see my main resource generator is ‘The Business’ and my main resource spender is ‘Fire in the Hole’.
The Business fires the pistols to build up both pistol and rifle resources ,and then Fire in the Hole uses the rifle resources to launch a grenade from the rifle grenade launcher. The more rifle resources I have, the more bonus damage is added – usually this skill hits for 500 damage+ with a full stack.
Combining actives and passives from many sets
To min-max the most effectively, you’ll need to combine different actives and passives from different sets. Here is a combination I use:
Opening grenade launcher attack to hinder:
DoT attack off grenade launcher:
Pistol resource builder:
Buffed by these passives:
Elemental Magic passive:
All this used together means my resource generator does significant damage by itself. Then I usually follow it up with the grenade launcher:
Then use this to get all my resources back so I can launch another grenade:
In this system I use passives to buff up the fast-building pistol generator. Then rifle skills are used as finishing moves.
It’s all a little confusing to start with, but the system has a lot of depth, and you just need to start exploring.