Friday, July 13, 2012

The Secret World: My Beta Weekend #4 Experience (Part Four)

To me, the abilities in The Secret World kind of feels like collectible cards in a Trading Card Game. It is in this similar fashion that we try and amass enough abilities and then mix and match them to come up with a set which compliments each other. Just as there are rules in a TCG to ensure that players fight each other on a leveled field, there is also a set of guidelines in The Secret World that exists for that purpose.
  • Guideline 1
    At any point in time, one can only equip 7 active abilities and 7 passive abilities.
  • Guideline 2
    The set of 7 active abilities and 7 passive abilities can only contain 1 active elite and 1 passive elite. You cannot have more than that number of elite abilities in a set.
  • Guideline 3
    One must have the appropriate weapon equipped in order to use an active ability. This restriction, however, does not apply to passive abilities. You can use passive abilities regardless of which category it came from. For example, one does not need to have a blade equipped in order to trigger a passive ability that falls under the blade category, but one would require a blade to use an active ability that came from the blade category.
The Secret World - Ability Wheel
All of the abilities available in The Secret World have been incorporated, by the developers, into the ability wheel as shown above. In this ability wheel, there are four major categories, melee (brown), magic (blue), ranged (red) and miscellaneous (green). All the categories branches out into three additional sub-categories and each of these sub-categories have their own "finer" sections except for miscellaneous.
Major CategoryMeleeMagicRangedMiscellaneous
Sub CategoryBlades
Assault Rifle
The Secret World - Ability Wheel Explained
From what I've seen after skimming through the abilities, those which are found in the outer circle are actually more specialized versions of that found in the inner circle. Next, I also realized that the two "finer" sections (of each sub-category) in the inner circle actually consists of abilities that are either offensive or defensive.
The Secret World - Ability TreeThe Secret World - Buying Ability
However, the buying of abilities isn't as simple as having enough ability points and then picking whatever ability you want off the shelf. It involves a tedious process of climbing "up" an ability tree (or down if your looking at the ability tree screenshot). For example, if you just want the ability "Stunning Swirl", you would actually need to have 19 ability points (AP) instead of just 7. This is because you would have to "buy" through all the prior abilities (from Delicate Strike to Sharp Blades) in order to unlock "Stunning Swirl". And you ought to have noticed by now, the outer circle is also shown with a similar "locked" icon. If unfortunately the ability you had been wanting to acquire is lying in the outer circle, the process would become even more tedious. You would need to have enough APs to learn all the abilities in the inner circle first before the outer circle becomes unlocked and available for you to learn. Finally, some quick points to add regarding abilities...
  • Active Abilities:
    Builders: These active abilities build resources either upon self or on enemy targets. The resources built can be for a single weapon or both equipped weapons. In general, resources that are built upon self are seen to be better off than those built on enemy targets. This is probably due to the fact that one does not need to rebuild resources every time an enemy dies.
    Consumers: These active abilities consume resources that were built. However, they consume not just any type of resource but a particular one. For example, active "consumer" abilities from the blade category would need to consume blade resources. Except for a certain few, like those from blood magic, most consumer abilities cannot be activated without the necessary resources.
    Others: These active abilities do not build or consume resources. They can be activated at will.
  • Complimentary Abilities:
    If you've remembered, I've mentioned earlier that we need to mix and match abilities that compliment each other. So how do we find abilities that compliment each other?

    Abilities which compliment each other would normally have some relation between them mentioned in their descriptions. Let us take the following three abilities as an example.

    Delicate Strike: A single target blade attack that deals moderate damage. Builds a weapon resource for each equipped weapon.
    Delicate Precision: Increases the chance for Delicate Strike to penetrate.
    Immortal Spirit: Whenever you penetrate, you will gain a short duration heal over time effect.

    So in this example, if we use the active ability "Delicate Strike", we will get a chance to penetrate due to the passive ability "Delicate Precision". And whenever we penetrate, the passive ability "Immortal Spirit" will trigger. So effectively, we have "chained" these three single abilities together and they form a simple complimentary set.

    As you progress, you should find ways to (if possible) "chain" all the 7 actives and 7 passive abilities together. By doing so, I believe that your character will be pretty strong and menacing.
The Secret World - Equipment Window
From what I have roughly gathered, there are no stats points for you to allocate to increase your character's numerical numbers in The Secret World. Instead, your choice of equipment would determine how strong you are (if you take away random factors like SP allocation and synergy of abilities). For example, if two identical characters with the same SP allocation and ability set were to have a duel, the outcome would likely have to depend on their equipment choice. If Character A were to be using QL 1 equipment while Character B was using QL 10, the most likely victor would be Character B. This is due to the difference in their ability to deal and take damage. First of all, with a QL 1 weapon, Character A would deal less damage (despite using the same abilities) and also "glance" more often. To "glance" means that you somewhat missed in hitting a target, resulting in less damage dealt than compared to a hit. Secondly, with QL 10 talismans, Character B would have more health points and other bonuses to improve his combat ability. Naturally, this scenario is just unfair and the more likely encounter would be as follows.
The Secret World - Weapon QLThe Secret World - Talisman QL
If both the characters were to be using the same QL equipment (for example QL 10), then the outcome would depend on their equipment choice. Just like in having the need for abilities to compliment each other (their synergy), the compatibility of your equipment choice with your ability set also matters. In The Secret World, your character can equip two different weapons, one head talisman, three major talismans and three minor talismans. As your choice of active abilities is highly linked to your weapon choice, I will leave it out of this discussion (which is about two hypothetical characters using the same abilities) and instead focus on solely the talismans (armor). Generally, from what I've learnt, talismans can be roughly divided into three types, for tanking, for damage dealing and for healing.
  • Tanking Type:
    These type of talisman focus on increasing your maximum amount of health points to enable you to last longer in battles as well as avoid being killed in one shot.
  • Damage Dealing Type:
    These type of talisman increases less of your maximum amount of health points but instead grants you some bonuses in your ability to deal damage, for example increase hit rate (attack rating) or increase penetration ability (which results in dealing more damage than a normal hit).
  • Healing Type:
    These type of talisman increases the least to your maximum amount of health points. However, they will grant bonuses to your ability to heal (heal rating). Higher heal rating allows your character to heal more health points when using a heal ability. Apart from that, I believe that it will also increase the efficiency of certain type of defensive abilities like barriers.
So if you could already catch what I'm driving at, this is the reason why equipment choice is important. If the ability set is somewhat tankish, equipping healing type talismans would probably be useless as you would lack the health points to tank effectively. If the ability set comprises of healing abilities, then not equipping healing type talismans would penalize your ability to heal. Hence in this duel of two characters using the same QL 10 equipment, how compatible their equipment choice is to their ability set would become a factor to consider. But of course, that isn't to say that player skill doesn't matter. Definitely if your playing skills are better than your opponent, you can win against a stronger opponent even with inferior equipment...just that it might be a little harder (kind of like taking a handicap).
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