Friday, July 13, 2012

SWA: Blue Ridge Blues

Secret World Academy is a series of guides for beginning to intermediate players of The Secret World, focused on helping newer players become effective.

The first two zones in the Secret World play much like a traditional MMO, with additional depth.  You even coast through a dungeon with an Elder God that is supposed to be eating d3 investigators each round.  The third, though, is the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it feels like a brick to the face after coasting through completing quests with little struggle.  Suddenly, every mob fight is incredibly fatal, and the quests show little mercy -- if you think you'll have a chance to recover, think again.  So how are you supposed to make it through the Solomon Islands without losing your will to live playing an MMO version of Demon's Souls?

1) Upgrade Your Items
The first thing to check out is your item inventory.  Are all your items QL 6 or more?  Secondly, do all your items do the same thing?  At this point in the game, you need to pass damage checks or you will fail, and you need to survive through damage.  You need to look at a 60/40 balance of damage to survival items.  If you've got a heal spec, that's 60% damage items, and 40% healing.  If not, replace that healing with health boosters.  Always, always keep a handful of potions available to get you out of a pinch, too.

2) Upgrade Your Build
To make it through, you really need a synergistic build that pulls you into at least one advanced tree.  What is the trick you're trying to pull off?  Do you crit or penetrate?  Do you build off of status ailments, or buff yourself off of applying weakened?  Do you leech?  Have all (or almost all) of your abilities working toward the same "trick."  This is the time you need to be deep enough that you could have unlocked a deck -- but there are better variations of most decks that help you get through the ability search.  You need to be able to gun down a number of mobs in time for your survival abilities to be up during the next fight.

3) Upgrade Your Survival
Potions are nice, but they're a limited resource.  You need more survivability if you want to solo the ak'ab lair or fend off zombies that are trying to eat your meat.  You should either have some easily accessible healing or splash into some mitigation at this point, because there are quests that expect you to never leave combat.  Are neither available in the trees you've chosen?  No problem.  Check out the Survival miscellaneous tree.  Three abilities deep, there's a self-heal called Turn the Tables.  It's not limited by your healing stat, and heals for 642 -- enough that it's like a potion that never goes away.

4) Grind Out More AP/SP
Still stuck?  Look into upgrading your talisman QL.  It may not be the biggest jump due to a lack of available items, but if you keep plugging away, you're going to have more HP and resists.  Look into filling out your weapon's second ability, if able, as well -- you might get a lot of damage or survivability out of just working at that.  And, if the ability search came up with a way to make your build more synergistic, the AP that accompanies it can be used to fill out another tree to get access to a passive (like, say, Gnosis, or Cool, Calm, and Collected).  Go back to Savage Coast and repeat the quests.  Additionally, the capture quests in the Fusang PvP Zone give quite a bit of AP/SP very quickly.  To join Fusang, hit P, click "Enter Warzone," and join the battle.

5) Find a Friend
If all else fails, find another person on a quest you're on and invite them to a group.  After you've got a second person, the quests will be quite a bit easier than soloing.  To boot, you can knock out the quests much faster and you might make a friend for later.

1 comment:

  1. The general Guild Wars rule of solo builds applies, with a slight variation, due to the combo point mechanic. Last long, deal consistent damage.

    1. Builder -- Only take two if the second applies a useful effect, for example, the Shotgun builder that applies Weakened to debuff a target's outgoing damage is an excellent builder. It is very hard to justify taking any other builder, unless it brings you something amazing like Chaos's first builder, Escalation, which buffs all damage to a target. If you aren't getting something that keys a trigger or gives you something amazing, 1 builder.

    2. Consumers for both weapons. This is where your damage is going to come from. You may want to bring different levels of consumers for magic, since they don't spend all your resources.

    3. Snare, stun, hinder or other escape tool. Running away will happen. Enable this.

    4. Utility and survivability. At least one, two is ideal.

    Right now, my soloing Blood Spec looks like this:

    Boiling Blood -- Blood ranged builder.

    Infection -- Blood consumer; chain DoT

    Blood Spike -- Blood consumer; single target DoT; on second cast, deals bonus damage.

    Blood Pact -- Blood consumer, puts a decent sized shield and stuns the first target that hits me.

    Wanted -- Pistol consumer, chain attack.

    Health Drone -- Pistol consumer that Chain heals and triggers my Pistol self heal.

    Cardiac Arrest (Elite Blood) -- Stuns target, deals damage, costs no resources.

    My passives:

    Corrupted Blood (Blood) -- Makes Boiling Blood add afflicted.

    Dark Potency (Blood) -- When I add afflicted, I gain Penetration.

    Vessel Walls (Blood) -- When I use a chain ability, I gain a shield. When this shield falls, I trigger my Blood healing passive.

    Chain Feed (Pistol) -- Chain abilities are 7.5% better.

    Immortal Spirit (Sword) -- When I Penetrate, gain a HoT.

    Thicker Than Water (Blood) -- 10% bonus blood damage.

    Fluid Defenses (Elite, Swords) -- When I am glanced, gain protection. When I penetrate, gain damage.


    It's not ideal, but it is the kind of build you should be looking to make. Abilities are pulling double duty; Infection and Wanted are giving me a shield, while the Health Drone is working over time to keep my health from draining too fast. I have two stuns in Blood Pact and Cardiac Arrest, and I build on damage as I layer on DoTs and proc my passives. I still need to find the balance between tanking, healing and damage talismans, but I figured an example of the sort of build to be looking at was better than just a straight "Be survivable."