It’s almost that time of year — the best time of year! It’s the most wonderful time of the year in fact, especially in The Secret World. Halloween is coming! And if there was ever a time for folks to return to the game, this is it. The Samhain missions are arguably the most looked-forward to events, and every year Funcom tops itself with a mission that’s even more awesome than the year before. While you can do all the previous Halloween missions every year, they are all are only available for about a month between October and November. That gives you about one month to prepare yourself so that you don’t miss out on the experience of the year. Because if you do, you have to wait an entire 12 months for Samhain to return! And that wait is excruciating.
To help you with that, this is a guide to prepare you to make the most of the Halloween season in TSW. The slant here is toward returning players who’ve just been gone for a (possibly very long) time. There’s definitely stuff that has changed! If you’ve been gone for many years or you are brand-spanking new, you might want to also check out our series: six tips for new players part one and part two. To ensure you don’t miss out on the holiday, keep reading!
Get thee to Tokyo
If you’ve been gone a long while and you are just returning to the game, I would definitely not recommend going to Tokyo as a playing field. There’s stuff you have to get a handle on (I’m looking at you, AEGIS system) before you can be viable there. But if you really want to experience all that the Halloween events offer, you need to be able to get into Tokyo. If you can’t, you will actually miss out on some of the cool stuff and be unable to complete all of the Halloween missions. And that’s a travesty!
To be able to enter Tokyo, you will have to set some time aside to reach that part of the story. You will need to complete the story mission through Transylvania, which is basically the end of the base game, as well as the story mission in The Sunken Library introduced in Issue #8 The Venetian Agenda (you can buy the necessary item for the story right from the vendor there instead of running tons of scenarios). Luckily, you don’t need to finish any story in Tokyo; however, you do need to own it in order to enter. That means you will need to own Issue #9 The Black Signal as well. Owning everything else is still good, so if you don’t have any above #4, you may want to consider going for the ultimate pack you can get on steam and applying that to your account. If you only need a few issues piecemeal, then check the in-game store.
If you are struggling some in the higher zones, don’t be shy about asking for help. The folks that hang out in the Sanctuary channel are friendly and helpful and willing to lend a hand. To join this channel, simply type [/chat join sanctuary] without the brackets. People can be very chatty there, so you needn’t stay in the channel at all times; you can join and leave as needed by right clicking on the general tab and selecting and deselecting the channel. The easiest way to be sure you are speaking in the Sanctuary channel is to left-click the channel name in chat. Unfortunately, no one can go in and help you in those solo story missions (the last one can get brutal), but they can help you overland to get there and share build hints to help you succeed once inside.
Once you finish the Transylvania of the story, you will have to do the story mission in Issue #8. A word of warning: If you crash out or log out at any time during the final mission, you will have to start it over. Also, you will see lores in hard to reach places — skip them. This mission is repeatable, so don’t risk your life when time is of the essence in getting Tokyo access; you can go back and get them later.
Now, I know I am saying there’s only a limited amount of time to get ready, but please, please don’t skip any cutscenes or cheat yourself out of experiencing the story in any way as you go. That’s why I am putting out the guide now, so you can take the time you need without having to cram it all in last-minute like a couple of my good friends had to do last year. That kind of spoils the whole experience. And if you have the chance to do more missions, specifically from Issue #7, do them — it will add a whole new layer of meaning to one particular Halloween mission.
Since time really is of the essence if you want to fully partake in the Halloween event, you should know that there is a method of quick travel now in the game. You can now travel via anima well without killing yourself! That’s right, no more purposeful mob deaths or /reset to move to another part of your current map. (Yay for fewer repairs!) Just click on any anima well on the map you have previously discovered and select anima leap. It will have a very slight PAX cost if you aren’t a current subscriber, or no cost if a subscriber or grandmaster.
Speaking of quick travel, you also need to know that the Agartha Conduit changed a little bit. If you’ve been gone a while, you might be surprised that your Agartha portal icon disappears the first time you click it in your inventory to use. No, you didn’t just lose or break it. Click shift+t to bring up the new portal UI window. You will then select your travel mode from there. While there, you’ll notice a number of other portals you can acquire; if you are a grandmaster (or after three months of non-contiguous membership), you can claim a second portal to Agartha called Buzzing Vortex.
Buy more gear
If you’ve been gone a while, then you may have missed the mega currency conversion. Pretty much all of the currency in game, from the PvP tokens to the zone sequins, was changed into one currency: black bullion. This actually makes obtaining gear upgrades much easier than before! There are so many ways to earn bullion that it comes pretty fast. First and foremost, you get it as mission rewards. So every little mission you do will give you some. You also get it in dungeon loot and earn it in PvP. With this, you head to any zone’s Council of Venice reps or the vendors in your faction hub and purchase the QL gear you need. You can get good blue as well as purple gear this way.
Since the conversion, you probably have quite the stash already. Check down at the bottom of your inventory for how much you have right now and take yourself on a shopping spree!
Depending on how long you’ve been gone, you may or may not have any auxiliary weapons. If you don’t, this needs to be remedied. Not having an auxiliary weapon is just handicapping yourself since it adds an extra active and passive ability to your bar. When you are only allowed eight total, every one matters. Even if you have one weapon, you might prefer another instead. One friend recently returned with only access to the quantum bracer, and now is deciding between the flamethrower, the rocket launcher, the chainsaw, and the whip. Each piece has its own advantages; for instance, the chainsaw is loved because of its AoE attack Hurley Burly and its nifty shield, Diamond Grit.
Which auxiliary weapon you can get will depend on which issues you own. Luckily, a couple are available in the base game: The rocket launcher is from Issue #2 Digging Deeper, and the chainsaw is from Issue #4 Big Trouble in the Big Apple. The quantum bracer was introduced in Issue #5 The vanishing of Tyler Freeborn (which you have for free if you’d ever subscribed before the game went to buy-to-play), the whip came along in Issue #6 The Last Train to Cairo, and the flamethrower made its debut in Issue #7 A Dream to Kill. Pick which you’d like, get the corresponding issue, do the mission, and voila — an extra ability!
Did I just suggest that you log out of TSW and go play something else? Yes, yes I did, because The Park is an exercise in delving deep into the atmosphere of The Secret World. Although it is valuable as a standalone game, it is in my opinion necessary in order to fully appreciate Halloween in TSW. Not only does it set the mood for the upcoming holiday, but it is also tied very much to the Samhain 2015 quest line. You will actually miss a major thing if you don’t play The Park first and follow that story through to completion. TSW’s mission won’t nearly have the impact it could if you don’t bring the experience of that single-player spin-off with you.
Besides, it’s cool! I suggest playing at night, with headphones, and all lights out. And if you feel up to streaming your adventures, let me know because I would love to watch!