A Starter Build for The Secret World

A week ago I published a blog featuring what I was using as a leveling build in Transylvania. It was a blades/ assault rifle build with reliable dps and survivability; even more so if you look over some of the suggestions Sylow provided in the comments section. However I didn’t start using that build until Egypt and recently I went back to my starter build and made a few improvements to it, both of which will be shared here.

This build uses hammer/ elementalism and is a lot of fun if you want a visceral, hard hitting build with a focus on critical strikes. The starter version will only require actives and passives from the inner circle making it a great starting point for new players while the version I’m using now will take a little more time to put together. The biggest difference between the two is survivability; with the basic one you will survive by weakening your opponents attacks and by killing them before they can kill you. With the advanced version (not as in more difficult, just requiring more AP) you will have passive healing on your side as well.

One thing that Sylow mentioned in the comments of the last post that I wanted to point out again here is that with any passive healing build you want a couple of pieces of healing talismans to make them really shine.

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Active Abilities

Anima Charge- This elementalism ability is a cool down which causes your next elemental consumer to use no resources which means you can activate Thor’s Hammer twice in a row (see below). As this is one of the hardest hitting abilities in the build, especially when it crits or penetrates, I find Anima Charge to be well worth the active slot. This ability will be used in the starter and advanced versions of this build.

Shock- This is a single target elementalism damage dealing ability and resource builder for both of your weapons. It is also used in both versions of the build. You will use this to set the afflicted state (see passives) and as a ranged pull or as a basic attack when you are unable to get into melee range. In fact, I always try to include one melee and one ranged weapon in all my decks for this reason.

Smash- Smash is hammer’s equivalent to shock, it’s a single target ability that adds resources to both your weapons. This will be your main attack as it will keep the target weakened due to one of the passives used which will decrease the amount of damage you take from your target. It is used in both versions of the build.

Hell to Pay/ Molten Steel- These two abilities are your resource consumers for Hammer. Hell to Pay is easy enough to get at the start of the game thus it will be what you use for most of Solomon Isle. It is a blast ability that does damage to up to six targets in a column in front of you. Later on you will want to switch this out to Molten Steel, a single target attack that does 15% more critical damage and has a 30% greater chance to critically hit.

Thor’s Hammer- Do you like hammers? How would you like to add even MORE hammers to your hammer build? Elementalism has you covered with this amazing ability that will completely crush your enemies when it critically hits and/or penetrates. Thor’s Hammer is a single target strike attack that requires all 5 of your elementalism resources to use, however when coupled with Anima Charge it can be used twice in a row for a massive damage spike. This ability is used in both versions of the build.

Electrical Storm- This is an elementalism chain attack that you will use in both builds for fighting multiple targets. One of the weaknesses of this build is that it does a lot of single target damage but is weak against groups of enemies. I tend to focus fire one target at a time so this works for me, but for the weaker clusters of enemies electrical storm will take them out quick, especially when it critically hits. Like almost all of the active abilities, this will be used in both starter and advanced decks.

Shockwave- Shockwave is an elite hammer ability that knocks down and impairs enemies in a column in front of you. You will want to use this as your active elite in both versions of the build as a way to interrupt abilities or to buy yourself time in a close fight. This is used in both builds. In fact, by now it should be apparent that for the actives in this build, the only ability I added from the outer wheel was Molten Steel; everything else is from the inner wheel and I was able to use this build successfully all the way through the end of Transylvania.

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Passive Abilities

Volatile Current- This is an elementalism passive that causes shock to set the afflicted state. Of all the passives I currently use, this would likely be the first to go because only Circulation requires the ability to set the afflicted state to work and could easily be replaced with another healing passive. However early on for the starter build this is “free” additional damage.

Bellow the Belt- This hammer passive sets a weakened state called “debilitate” which reduces the targets damage output by 3% and can stack up to 10 times. Before you are able to pick up some of the passive healing of the outer wheel, this passive is what will allow you to survive throughout the first few zones. Your damage output will outstrip your enemy’s ability to retaliate.

Righteous Fury/ Mad Skills- This build from the beginning was based around critical hits and so I looked for anything that would increase my chance to crit. In the beginning I used Righteous Fury which increases the chance for Hell to Pay to crit by 15%. However once I started picking up passives from the outer wheel, I switched to “Mad Skills” because it improves overall crit chance and because eventually I dropped Hell to Pay. What this pistols passive does is increases your critical hit chance every time you crit and stacks up to five times. This will improve your passive healing as well.

Hard Impact/ Circulation- Before I was able to add heal over time elements to my build, I focused on generally increasing damage. Hard Impact will improve the damage of all your hammer skills; given they are the bread and butter of your attacks, this will be useful early on. Later when I switched to healing passives I used Circulation. This is a blood magic passive that gives you a heal over time whenever you set the afflicted state. If you use Shockwave and impair the target followed by Shock setting the afflicted state it will also give you an absorption shield.

High Voltage/ Advantage Me- High Voltage is a passive from the elementalism inner wheel that causes the affected consumer to critically hit, in this case Thor’s Hammer. If you are paying attention to this and Elemental Force (see below) you can use the first Thor’s Hammer as your seventh hit guaranteeing a crit from high voltage followed by a second Thor’s Hammer which will crit due to Elemental Force. Most targets in Solomon Isle will be near death if hit twice by a Thor’s Hammer critical strike so long as they don’t evade or block.

Elemental Force- This ability will be used in both versions of the build and is pivotal to your “rotation.” Elemental force ensures that every eighth hit will be a critical strike so to maximize its use, you want to line it up with Thor’s Hammer every time. This requires “counting” your strikes and delaying Thor’s Hammer when necessary. This passive will probably determine whether or not you enjoy this build, as personally I like micromanaging the timing of abilities to make this work, but I can certainly understand that not everyone finds counting abilities fun.

Cool, Calm, & Collected/ Empowerment- Cool, Calm, and Collected is a Hammer elite passive that will improve your damage reduction every time you block and it will increase your damage output every time you critically hit a target. This works well with the overall theme of the build before you have access to other elites. However once you do and are ready to transition to a passive healing Hammer/ Elementalism build you will want to pick up Empowerment. This is a fist weapon elite passive that will give you a moderate heal every time one of your HoTs critically hits. With the focus on crit for this build, that should be fairly often.

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Once you have put all this together, the opening set of abilities will be as follows:

  1. Pull the target using shock which will also set the afflicted state (1).
  2. Once in melee range use Hell to Pay or Molten Steel to use up your hammer resources (2).
  3. Use smash for your next 4 hits and to set the weakened state (3-6).
  4. Use Anima charge followed by Thor’s Hammer for a guaranteed crit when using High Voltage (7).
  5. Use Thor’s Hammer again for a second guaranteed crit because of Elemental Force (8).

For more challenging mobs with larger health pools, especially in later zones, this will not be enough to reduce their health to zero and you will need to continue counting hits and timing Thor’s hammer for the eighth. However for most mobs this will be enough to kill them by the time you reach the second Thor’s Hammer, if not before then.

So whether you are in Kingsmouth working with abilities found in the inner wheel or in Transylvania looking to defeat an army of vampires, the two versions of this build will get you through it all. On Solomon Isle you will be killing enemies much quicker than they are able to defeat you; once you’ve added the healing passives from the outer wheel you will be adding even more survivability to the build making this a great solo deck for the entirety of Solomon Isle, Egypt, and Transylvania.

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4 thoughts on “A Starter Build for The Secret World

  1. Interesting combination. It’s a bit too light on AoE and regeneration for my personal taste, but I can imagine that it works well enough.

    But I would replace Volatile Current (which only works together with Shock and is dead once you switch to your hammer builder) with something more versatile. The good old Bloodsport immediately comes to my mind, so you can use Smash to keep debilitation, affliction and in turn circulation active with the same ability, instead of having to alternate.

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    • I’ve messed around with it a bit since I wrote this (which was last weekend) and have made a more dungeon friendly version with more dps passives and aoe. However the regen is actually pretty good (not the starter version, but then there’s not much regen in the inner wheel). And you hit so hard in those early zones that most of the time it doesn’t matter. Boss fights were tricky at times and I had to rely on the healing potions but otherwise I went through all of Solomon Isle with it just fine. And at that point, electrical storm was plenty aoe if I used anima charge and elemental force to chain cast it and crit each time.

      I’m hoping I can keep working on my dungeon version and make it a legitimate build but I’m also looking at other hammer builds and elementalism builds where they are paired with other weapons in case I can’t make it work.

      On that note, I did run Polaris elite this past week using my dungeon version and things went well. I think everyone else was well geared and knew what they were doing so of course that helped but the changes I made should work well especially once I get better gear. I looked at some of the common actives and passives in other hammer dps builds to work on my own.

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      • For dungeons i would very much advise to take a look into ranged weapons first. Mind you, a good and experienced DPS can deliver more damage with a melee setup, but it’s not advised for a new player. Some points to consider there:

        – Most bosses have a frontal cleave. The tank has the health to survive that, you as damage dealer do not. You have to stand behind the enemy.
        – Many bosses have AoE mechanics which force you to gain distance and close in again. If you don’t know those very well, you will loose more damage than you gain from melee that way.
        – Many bosses have mechanics which require the tank to move. A melee DPS makes this much more complicated, as the options to move get more limited. If the DPS knows what he’s doing, there’s no worries, but an inexperienced melee DPS puts a lot of pressure on the tank, often forcing him to sacrifice the DPS for his own survival to avoid a wipe.

        As long as your group is well geared, all of these are not a big deal. Most of the Elite groups you get these days have several people with NM equipment. They outgear the content so much, that it becomes trivial. (E.g. the sixth boss of Polaris: which mechanics did you experience? I bet that you didn’t encounter most of its phases as the group just killed the boss too fast to give it the time to go through those phases. ) But if you happen to get into a group which is not heavily overgeared, the considerations above might come into play, and you’ll be much better off if you have a longer range DPS setup available then. 🙂

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      • Thank you, that’s good advice. Some of those things (like staying behind the boss) I know from other MMOs but since all the mechanics specific to this game are new I will look for a ranged dungeon build to work toward.

        And your right about the last boss, I never saw most of the mechanics. I had watched a video on the dungeon and read a guide so I knew what to expect but never needed to worry about it.

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