Chaos Theory: Six more tips for new Secret World players


You didn’t seriously think that six tips could come close to encapsulating the knowledge needed to start in The Secret World, did you? Of course not — that’s why we have 12 tips in total! Last time I gave a hodgepodge of helpful hints that ranged from skills to socializing to saving money. This week’s list, however, zeroes in on a single topic: how to get the most out of your missions.

Since some aspects of questing in TSW are slightly different from what MMO players are used to, it can cause confusion. And while some confusion while puzzling out clues is expected, unintentional overdoses are harmful to the game’s long-term health. So if you’re a new player, avoid what you can by utilizing these easy bits of advice.

7. There are no quest hubs

Something many MMO players have trouble getting used to is the fact that TSW does not have typical quest hubs. There is no special spot where you go to pick up all your missions and return to complete them, so don’t worry that you can’t find “the next spot” — there isn’t one. Instead, the mission model lends itself to natural exploration and poking into every nook and cranny. You start with a mission readily apparent, and then as you move through the world to accomplish it, you are brought in proximity to other missions. The missions are completed in the field, making return trips to quest givers unnecessary. Of course, you may wander back that way again while working on yet another mission, giving you the chance to nab another mission from an NPC. And now thanks to the map enhancements, you can know for sure if you are near any possible missions so you don’t miss out on any.

8. Pausing missions may wipe progress

Speaking of missions, here’s something I learned the hard way: If you pause a mission, you can lose progress on it. Because you are limited to one main and three side missions, you have to either be selective about what you pick up or see everything through to completion to avoid being in the situation where your mission queue is full and you want the one in front of you! The restrictive nature of the current mission queue is awesome for keeping folks focused on the story (the best part of TSW) because you don’t lose track of which thread you are following as you can in games where your journal has 50+ entries.

Even so, there comes a time when you are stuck on a particular mission too long and you want to move on. In that case, you can elect to pause your main mission. Note that if you do, any progress on a particular tier will be lost as the mission will reset to the beginning of whatever tier you left off on, so it behooves you to finish out at least the tier if not the full mission. Thankfully, you won’t regress in actual tiers. To resume the main mission, you will need to visit the mission-giver in person. Also note that side missions will be completely reset and have to be started over by visiting where you picked them up in the first place.

9. Story mission dos and don’ts

Do space out your story mission: While there is plenty of narrative throughout TSW, it is the story mission arc that ties everything together. As such, players often want to see the whole story as quickly as they can in true movie-marathon style. Add to that the feeling of following through with a quest line until completion and you sometimes have folks who want to barrel though the story missions in one fell swoop. Let me just tell you: Don’t! You can’t complete the story mission in one go, nor is the game designed to allow you to. The story is specifically meant to be experienced gradually as you move throughout the world; the difficulty steadily increases each step of the story mission, and the more you adventure, the stronger and better geared you become. Besides, you’d miss so much by skipping other missions. The details that round the story out are scattered about as tidbits in all the other missions!

Don’t count on a group: If you’ve been duoing or grouping for the majority of your adventures, you might be shocked the first time you enter a story mission instance and find yourself all alone. I sure was! The story mission is, by design, a very personal narrative at times, and specific mission tiers must be completed solo. It’s all part of the experience. Because you won’t have any comrades to bail you out, you’ll want to be prepared with a decent solo build. This is a good opportunity to use healing passives from other parts of the skill wheel as well as utilize the healing skills in the small green utility sections. And don’t forget to keep upgrading that solo build as you gain more skills!

10. It’s all in the details, so keep a notebook

Remember that comment last week about nothing being in TSW by chance? It’s no joke! What you might mistake for environment in other games is actually relevant information here. (Or it might be a bear trap that snaps closed on your very unsuspecting ankle!) Little details that have meaning all around: a seemingly random web address, the direction of manhole covers, the index number of a book. How these details are important, however, is not always readily apparent. For that reason, I seriously encourage everyone to keep a small notebook nearby to record observations in. I have a palm-sized spiral notebook dedicated to TSW on my desk, and the little tidbits I’ve jotted down there have come in handy on many occasions. In fact, the one time I didn’t write something down, I needed it on the very next step of my mission! Bonus hint: If you come across any string of numbers, be sure to note them.

11. Important images are stored in your mission log… sometimes – so take screenshots!

Sometimes your notebook just won’t cut it when you’re presented with a very visual clue. Paintings, maps, long texts, and the like are difficult to translate into a few written words, and in trying to do so you might miss key details. Luckily, you’ve got a back up plan for your memory: the mission log. To review past clues, you need only pop the log open and click show image. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on this completely.

When I first noticed that the mission log retained recording of visual clues, I felt all secure in having important information at my fingertips. That false sense of security led me to skip recording some information in my little palm-sized notebook that I had on hand for my gaming sessions. And wouldn’t you know it, when I reached the point that I needed to utilize some information, it wasn’t in the log! And you can’t necessarily backtrack and look at the image again on your screen; once you’ve completed that step, it is no longer available to you. So now I use the notebook and take screenshots of anything that looks vital — and even some things that don’t. With TSW, you seriously never know when some small detail will be important, so just capture all the details you can.

12. Enjoy some easy AP

A big part of The Secret World is wrapped around exploring the ability wheel, but the sheer number of Ability Points you need to buy all those skills can be quite daunting. This is where it is important to know that there is no shame in repeating missions for easy AP. And I am not talking about grinding out the tough ones, either. You’ll come across little missions that don’t involve much of anything to complete, and you can do them every 18 hours; just jot down in your notebook which missions you’d be willing to repeat. Two missions I never pass up when running through Kingsmouth are Bullets for Andy on Solomon Road and Dirty Laundry by the park. All you do in the former is click on a case of bullets and run down the street to deposit them at the sheriff’s office; for the latter, you click on a phone then input a code at the church nearby (this one is made even easier if you’ve recorded the code in your notebook after you’ve figured it out!). Easy peasy. Why pass up AP?

Another key to easy AP and SP is participating in world boss events. Although you might get knocked around by the lag monster a bit, you need only to get a single hit on a world boss to qualify for the kill and the mission, which is auto granted and auto completed upon the boss’ death. And that mission reward always grants a nice chunk of AP (not to mention a chance at cool clothing items).

Share your tips!

On top of the stupendous story, vibrant voice acting, and amazing atmosphere, one of the greatest things The Secret World has going for it is its community. We want others to have an equal chance to experience the game and are often very willing to help folks out; just look how quickly players chimed in with more hints on last week’s Chaos Theory! So here’s a chance to do that again. If you’ve got any words of wisdom to share with new folks, please let them know in the comments below.

Is it real? In The Secret World, rarely is it not. Conspiracies, ancient legends, paranoia, secret societies, chaos — they all swirl together in a cacophony of reality. In Chaos Theory, MJ Guthrie infiltrates this secret world, exposing the truths that lurk beneath the surface. The big question is, can you handle the truth?
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