A Solo Leveling Build for The Secret World

Leveling in The Secret World can be challenging when you are playing the game solo; even more so if you are unsure how to put together a build that will allow for both survivability and damage output. I’m by no means a min/max player and I’m sure there are better builds out there for accomplishing these two goals, but nevertheless I think I’ve managed to put together a pretty solid set up and wanted to share it here. The starting point for this build was a combination of the Modern Samurai build on TSW database and the Wolverine regen build found here. The weapons I use are Blade/Assault Rifle and for stats I focus on Penetration first and then Crit.


Active Abilities

Shot of Anima- This is a single target heal that consumes all of your assault rifle resources. When you’re fighting a group of mobs they will each gain their own stacks, so you can tab through and use the heal repeatedly. There’s a short cooldown so I generally alternate between this heal and my damage finisher.

Anima Burst- This is a burst builder that only adds to your assault rifle resources but it also heals you for a moderate amount plus for a percentage of the damage you deal. This is not my primary builder but if I need a little extra healing power I use this ability.

Blade Torrent- This is my primary builder; it’s an AOE blade attack that does a moderate amount of damage and also builds hate so you don’t want to use it in a group if you’re not the tank. It does decent damage to single targets and is great for groups of mobs. Unlike Anima Burst, Blade Torrent builds resources for both of your weapons.

Clearing the Path- This is an AOE finisher for blades and does a lot of damage. Against afflicted targets it increases your penetration chance which comes in handy for both additional damage and for self-heals (see passives).

Destiny- This is a single target blade finisher that I use when I’m not fighting a group of mobs. I’m actually not sure how good it is and may look for other options but so far it has worked out for me. Against afflicted targets it also adds additional damage over time.

Three Round Burst- This is just your basic, damage dealing assault rifle finisher. When I don’t need to heal myself with Shot of Anima I use this to spend my rifle resources.

Four Seasons- This is an elite ability for blades that deals a lot of damage. It’s on a 45 second cooldown and is a channeled ability but it packs quite a punch and all hits are guaranteed to penetrate. If I need an ability that will impair mobs, I swap this one out for Stunning Swirl.



Passive Abilities

Perfect Storm- This blade passive causes Blade Torrent to set the afflicted state. This is important because several of the other active abilities have additional affects against afflicted targets.

Breakdown- This is a Chaos passive that allows blade attacks to set the weakened state, which in this case is called “Exposed” and increases the damage against your target by 2% per stack. I’ll be honest, until I went to write this I thought all weakened states were the same and the one I had in my hammer build reduced the damage I took which is why I added this passive. It’s still beneficial, adding extra damage and all, it’s just not doing what I thought it was.

Dark Potency- This is a blood magic passive that increases the penetration chance whenever you set the afflicted state.

Iron Maiden- This one is also a blood magic passive that increases your penetration chance every time you hit a target in the afflicted state with a penetrating hit.

Circulation- Another blood magic passive, this one gives you a heal over time whenever you set the afflicted state. If you take Stunning Swirl instead of Four Seasons as your active elite ability, it will also give you an absorption shield whenever you afflict an impaired target.

Immortal Spirit- This is a blade passive that gives you a heal over time affect every time one of your abilities penetrates the target. With this build’s high penetration chance, you will almost always have two HOTs on your character between this passive and Circulation.

Empowerment- This is a fist weapon elite passive but it is well worth the investment if you are going for a passive healing build. Empowerment gives you a moderate heal every time one of your HOTs critically hits (which is another reason why crit is useful in this build beyond the damage it adds).


All together you will be doing solid damage with a lot of passive healing and some active heals with Shot of Anima and Anima Burst. Targets go down pretty quickly— especially if you use Four Seasons—and you won’t lose a lot of health unless you pull too many mobs so your uptime is really strong. There is definitely room to improve on this build—it would probably be better if I focused my synergies a little more— but all in all this is a reliable deck for solo play. It has gotten me through Egypt and almost all of Transylvania (I’m still working through Carpathian Fangs) without any trouble and it’s a lot of fun as well.

6 thoughts on “A Solo Leveling Build for The Secret World

  1. While it’s a workable build, i consider it to be too heavy on the survival side, which will make combat very sluggish. Here are a few things (which still turned into a wall of text) to consider:

    First the actives:
    – Shot of Anima: Outside of Tokyo i would advise to use Transfuse Anima instead. While Shot of Anima does little damage, Transfuse Anima hits like a truck and delivers a good percentage of that damage as healing. There are even DPS setups which use it over Three Rounds Burst. Its cast time makes it a tiny bit more inconvenient, but in some setups Transfuse Anima parses a little more damage over time than Three Round Burst. It’s huge disadvantage as healing ability is that it does zero healing when used against anything with shields, be it some bosses in nightmare dungeons, or be it enemies with aegis shields in Tokyo. Thus for those occasions Shot of Anima is the clear winner.

    – Anima Burst: Compare it well with Anima shot. Before the last patch, Anima Shot was generally better (burst slowed your movement down too much, but that was changed), by now they are harder to distinguish. Generally Anima Shot does a little more damage and which one of the two heals for more depends on your ratio between attack rating and heal rating. (In my setup Anima Burst also wins… also, it sounds cooler. 😀 )

    – Blade Torrent: people use this in solo builds together with leeching frenzy. You use it to trigger it perfect storm, but i would not go for that one. (More on that later. ) Without this passive, this ability looses all of its advantages. Consider Bamboo Cutter when using Leeching Frenzy, consider Forked Paths without it. In solo you don’t need extra agro, perfect storm can be replaced by another passive and Forked Paths gives free healing when hitting afflicted enemies. That’s a good deal in my eyes.

    – Clearing the path: perfect choice.

    – Destiny: If you still have the space for this ability, why not? I personally by now usually have Sleight of Hand in my setup, to quickly get out of stuns and stuff like that when i mess up. On the other hand my setup thus of course lacks a second single target consumer, which against single enemies reduces my killing speed. It’s very much a matter of taste, I guess.

    – Three Round Burst: See Transfuse Anima for a single target AR consumer. My second AR consumer is the High Explosive Grenade, not only does it AoE damage, but it also has additional punch against afflicted enemies. (I am a fan of AoE abilities. Yes, single target abilities do double the damage, but you spend a lot of time in the open world fighting groups of enemies, making AoE generally the faster option. )

    – Four Seasons: It’s a matter of taste. I always run Stunning Swirl, it’s just too useful to interrupt an enemies special attack. (It’s not about them being impaired, but about an impair stopping their current ability cast. ) But if you don’t care for interrupting, Four Seasons gives some additional punch. (The Impair is worthless, the ability takes too long to be used for an interrupt. )

    Now to the passives:

    – Perfect storm: This one only works when using Blade Torrent. You might want to look at Bloodsport from Fist, to keep up the affliction when you are forced into your healing rotation or to allow you to use any builder. (When sticking to a frenzy ability, you might want to look at Shoot em up for a little more damage, but the difference is small and you don’t really gain much of freedom with that. )

    – Breakdown: You don’t notice this one when fighting normal enemies (they die before it stacks up enough), but it helps whenever you fight something which takes longer to kill. Unfortunately it drops off quickly when the enemy forces you into your healing rotation. Mixed feelings here, it’s a “must have” for a dungeon tank, for solo play it’s not a bad thing to take, but you should be aware of its limitations.

    – Dark Potency: is good at lower equipment levels. Once you get better gear, the fixed stat bonus looses most of its value. As you are already in Transylvania and should have QL9/10 gear, you probably already have reached the area where it does little for you. Also you already use Iron Maiden, which does it much better.

    – Iron Maiden: Do you have the 10.9 talisman of the park? If yes, you want to loose Iron Maiden, as work against each other. The talisman gives you a short buff for +50% penetration if you don’t penetrate for several hits. As Iron Maiden gives +10% penetration, it reduces the frequency of +50% penetration chance. They can be combined, but most people report better results when replacing Iron Maiden with another damage buff when having the talisman. Without the talisman Iron Maiden is a perfect choice. Unlike Dark Potency it doesn’t suffer from diminuishing returns, but gets better the higher your penetration chance already is.

    – Circulation, Immortal Spirit and Empowerment: the classical Wolferine setup, except that you lack Lick your Wounds. It doesn’t give the survivability of active assault rifle healing (unless you seriously gimp yourself with too many heal rating talismans) but has the advantage of providing you with good surviviablity while working with any weapons you choose.

    I use something like that in my setup for nightmare scenarios, where survivability while binding several enemies has priority over fast killing, but i consider it over the top in my solo setup.

    Instead i’d rather point you at some other abilities:
    – 12 gouge: It stacks up debuffs on an enemy to decrease their damage output. Usually it is used together with Iron Maiden and a passive to trigger affliction. (If you have the talisman of The Park, you might skip Iron Maiden, but note that reliability will suffer a little. ) It’s of very little use against quickly killed enemies, but helps a lot when you run into stronger enemies which take a while to kill.

    – Fluid Defense: A passive which gives you both an offensive and defensive boost. The defensive boost in a solo setup will only trigger sparingly (you usually don’t use evasion talismans, so your evasion rating it too low to trigger it reliably), but it still helps a little. The offensive boost on the other hand will be up reliably when working with Iron Maiden (or with the talisman from The Park) and having some penetration rating on your gear.

    – Twist the Knife: a simple damage buff, depending on landing penetrating hits, which your setup is built upon, anyway. Note that “simple damage buffs” also mean “healing buff” for abilities like Anima Shot, Anima Burst or Transfuse Anima. (But not Shot of Anima! ) Also while being “only” 9 percent of additional damage, it has some big advantages over Breakdown: It stacks up on you, so you can carry it along when moving from one group of enemies to the next, it also stacks up when you are forced into your healing rotation and, with sufficient penetration rating, even builds up much faster than breakdown.

    -Elemental Force: A mainstay of many DPS setups, it forces every eight attack you do to be a critical hit. With the default user interface this is hard to make good use of, but if you use one of several addons which display your status there, it can become great help, even in a solo setup, by making sure that it’s always a consumer which is being forced to be a critical hit.

    That all being said, i rate your setup to be in the better part of what i’ve seen out there. It should give you very good survivability and allow you not only to defeat anything which you are supposed to defeat as solo player, but also to overcome some enemies which are designed to be taken down in a group. The price for that is somewhat reduced killing speed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is great, thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this. I look at builds occasionally as a starting point but I like to tinker on my own as well which is something I enjoy about the game, but it does mean I often miss a lot of potential optimization. I am definitey going to look over my skills again tonight and see what I change and what I may need to apply future SP toward.

      I do have the talisman from the park but I forget about it sometimes and didn’t realize I how it affected Iron Maiden. Good to know. And I have elemental force in a hammer/ Elementalism build that I really enjoy but needs to be tweaked for Transylvsnia. However when I was in Solomon Island and early Egypt, I really liked “gaming” the eighth hit so that it was a finisher.

      A few of your other suggestions I was familiar with but a lot of them I was not. When I only had the inner wheel to work with, creating a deck was more manageable but now it is far more daunting simply because of the abundance of choice. Your suggestions are going to give me some more specific skills to work toward and tinker with, so again thank you. This is really good stuff to work with.


      • You’re welcome. As a small sidenote, I think your setup already is better than what I at that time used to complete the Transylvania storyline. So there quite certainly is no need to improve, only the potential.


      • And another addendum: the thing with the talisman from The Park and Iron Maiden is really tricky. Different people report different results, and I personally also in several setups use Iron Maiden together with the talisman.

        The reasoning behind that is leech healing, so anima shot / burst of anima / transfuse anima. With those, especially when healing in a dungeon, maximum damage is secondary, the primary concern is reliable damage to get reliable healing. Blocks from the enemy cut into damage and healing, higher penetration rating prevents this. (That’s also why my gear has much higher hit and penetration rating than of players who focus on the DPS role. I pay for that with much lower critical rating. )


  2. Pingback: A Starter Build for The Secret World | Waiting For Rez

  3. Thanks for this, I’ve just started working on a Blade/AR survival/duoing build after getting to City of the Sun God with Fist/Chaos and Blade/Fist. This is a very helpful discussion.


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