The Secret World: After Transylvania

Finishing all of the missions in Transylvania left me with a sense of uncertainty as to what to pursue next and how to continue improving my gear. I’m still trying to figure out the latter but I have started down a definite path with the former, although it took me a while to figure it out because the game sends you in a different direction. After completing the final story mission for Transylvania at the Templar headquarters a quick travel to Agartha prompted a new story mission for my character. Part of my confusion as to where to go next was this quest; I didn’t know what purpose it served or where it would lead so I didn’t know if I should complete it before or after tackling Issues 5-8.

The mission led me to a place called the Sunken Library where the council of Venice resides. I was asked by the council to complete a trial (or trials?) before I could move forward working with them. These trials were actually a collection of instanced scenarios that I believe were meant to test whether my gear and build were suitable for Tokyo. I didn’t figure this out until after trying and failing a couple of them, but once I did it was clear that I needed to play through the Issues preceding Tokyo and work on my gear through dungeons or whatever else I need to do to improve it.


The Truth is Out There.


One problem I’m having with The Secret World right now are the various systems involved with improving your character’s power. From Kingsmouth to Carpathian Fangs power levels increased by obtaining new pieces of gear with a higher QL and in some cases by adding glyphs to talismans or weapons that don’t already have them. By Transylvania gear included signet slots but with so few signets dropping from mobs or appearing as quest rewards I largely ignored their presence during my time in the area. So increasing power was relatively straight forward throughout Solomon Isle, Egypt, and Transylvania.

However now, I see that there is QL 10.1, 10.2, etc. gear and glyphs and from what I’ve read there are ways to upgrade these things but in game I have yet to come across anything explaining the process and even from the external resources I’ve read I’m still a little foggy on what to do. Additionally, I recently unlocked an augment wheel which modifies the abilities I’m using (from what I understand) but accessing them comes from drops and using them requires a large amount of AP.

Suddenly I have all these new systems to figure out for improving my character’s power level but without adequate in game explanation for the gearing process and not nearly enough AP to start the augments. I still have a large portion of my ability wheel to complete as well as auxiliary weapons (another additional system) that will require a lot of AP to utilize. With how confused I am already with where to begin, it’s no wonder the AEGIS system was not well received. The last thing this game needed was another layer of complexity to deck building and power increases.


Tackling the first boss fight in Issue #5.


For now I went ahead and started up Issue 5 about Tyler Freeborn and so far it’s been quite interesting. The return to Blue Mountains was actually a welcome experience as I’ve been missing the Solomon Isle zones for some time. I’m hoping by the time I work my way through Issue 8 I’ll have a better idea on the gearing process and will be on my way to completing the required scenarios to access Tokyo.

And Speaking of Solomon Isle, I also started a couple of alts this weekend to experience the story from the perspective of the two remaining factions (my main is a Templar). I don’t plan on investing much time into these characters just yet, especially with the amount of AP I’ll need to progress my main character, but on those evenings when I’d like a more casual session revisiting old missions and zones I’ll be playing my new Illuminati and Dragon. I’ve completed the tutorial portion for both of them, and I’ve progressed through Kingsmouth with both enough to have all my account bound items available and the frankenchopper quest completed which grants them the sprint VI speed boost as well. And can I just say how much I’ve enjoyed seeing Sherriff Helen Bannerman again?


“I changed my mind, I want to join the Templar!”




“Kingsmouth is beautiful this time of year, don’t you think?”


So far my reaction to both the Illuminati and the Dragon is that I’m glad my main is a Templar. However of the two I do think playing as an Illuminati will at least be interesting; the Dragon thus far have been bland and cliché with an introduction to the faction that was unnecessarily vulgar. Nevertheless, while I made little forward momentum this weekend in The Secret World I was able to at least determine a direction. My goals now are to finish Issues 5-8 on my main and hopefully come to a better understanding on how to improve my gear and to slowly work my way through Kingsmouth again as an Illuminati.

Trove Progression: Classes, Mastery, and Gear

Trove offers a surprisingly wide array of options for character progression, much of which may be missed at first glance. It may not be nearly as complex as what you find in the traditional MMO, but the layers are there and certainly satisfying enough to keep me playing. I’ve written on Trove’s progression a couple of times already, first addressing the issue of whether it is a shallow grind, and secondly looking at what I consider to be one of the more unique elements of Trove gameplay, movement progression. However I’ve been wanting to provide a general overview for those curious as to what Trove offers by way of long term goals and character progression. That has proven to be more than I’d like to include in a single post, so instead I will break it up over at least two articles beginning with a look at class level, mastery rank, and gear progression.

This screenshot was taken right after I reached level 20 with my first class.

This screenshot was taken right after I reached level 20 with my first class.

Class Level

The first and most basic element of progression in Trove is leveling one of the many classes available. Trove is similar to Final Fantasy XIV in that with a single character you are able to play as all the classes, only they must be leveled separately. Max level for each class is 20 but it is possible to increase your character’s level beyond that based on gear quality. Upon reaching level 20 there is a server wide announcement (or perhaps just within your current instance) of your character’s name and class. I have only one character at max level myself and it was a bit of a grind toward the end, however gameplay isn’t all that different at 20 than it is during the 10-20 leveling process, so I was never in a hurry and didn’t feel as though I was missing out.

To get started, depending on your character level you will enter one of the portals provided by the hub world in order to defeat mobs and complete dungeons for XP. Unlike many MMOs, mobs and dungeons never “grey out” so that you can continue to earn XP in a lower level zone, albeit at a slower rate. This is helpful if you’re struggling with a particularly squishy class. If you are leveling with other players, XP is applied to everyone involved regardless of who tags the mob first. In fact, if you arrive a little late to the final boss you will still be rewarded XP just for being close.

For the most part there is no real advantage to leveling one or multiple classes, it’s up to you which approach you prefer. However, if you want to participate in the hourly challenges with the highest level of efficiency, you will want all of them at max level and well geared in order to get the multipliers applied to specific classes each challenge as well as those for completing challenges in Uber 5 and 6 worlds. If you’re taking a more casual approach, I would recommend getting them all at least to level 10 which will be enough to access Uber 1 worlds and complete the challenges with at least the class multiplier. The cost of a new class is 1050 credits, about $7, however if you are patient and complete the Star Bar every day you can earn one new class every 8-10 days using the in game currency of Cubits. Stars are earned by completing lair and dungeon bosses and the Star Bar is filled after completing about a dozen.

At master rank 20, you receive a set of wings as a reward.

At master rank 20, you receive a set of wings as a reward.

Mastery Rank

Whereas levels are unique to whichever class you happen to be playing, your mastery rank gauges your overall investment in the game. Each tier require one hundred points and points can be earned by doing just about everything in Trove. They are earned by gaining levels, advancing your professions, and collecting recipes, skins, mounts, costumes, allies, flasks—basically if you can collect it, you’ll get mastery for it. Because several of these collectibles can be purchased from the cash shop, it is possible to increase your mastery level by spending money, however many of those cash shop purchases can be made with Cubits which are earned in game.

Each rank of mastery provides a different reward, anything from a permanent percentage increase to a stat, Cubits for the cash shop, crafting materials, mounts, wings, ships, and even Credits which can otherwise only be purchased with real money. For a complete list of the Mastery rank rewards by tier, open up the character panel in the UI by pressing “C” and click the icon of a ribbon in the upper right corner. You will receive a reward for every rank up to 100; after that rewards are received every 10 levels. At first, leveling classes was my primary focus but now that I’ve become more familiar with the mastery system and its rewards, I think I’m more excited about a new mastery rank than I am about gaining a level with a class.

If you work on gear in Trove, not only will your stats progress, but you can look as good as I do as well.

If you work on gear in Trove, not only will your stats progress, but you can look as good as I do as well.

Gear Progression

Obtaining the best gear in Trove requires a little luck, a little crafting, and a whole lot of grinding for materials. Currently there are eight tiers of gear: common, rare, epic, legendary, relic, resplendent, shadow, and the newest addition, radiant. The first four tiers drop within the zone portal of the same color but once you work your way up to the Uber zones gear drops could be anything from legendary to shadow with the chance to drop decreasing as the rarity increases. However the higher the Uber zone you enter, the greater the chance for shadow gear. As you level you won’t really need to worry about gear, it rains down like candy from the lairs and dungeons you’ll be completing and by level 9 or 10 you should at least have a complete set of legendary (orange colored) gear.

Gearing gets much more interesting (and complicated) once you start collecting shadow gear. Shadow pieces start at shadow level 1 and can be upgraded to shadow level 5. Within each shadow level there are also five tiers of upgrading which can be identified by the stars on the item’s tool tip. The number of stars that are full (yellow) will tell you how much the shadow gear has been upgraded. With a shadow level 1 piece it will cost you 15 flux and 10 Eyes of Q’bthulhu for each tier and then 50 Eyes and 100 flux to increase the gear to shadow level 2.

At this point things get grindy. Once you’ve upgraded a shadow level 2 piece five times (all the stars are full), you’ll need to deconstruct two other pieces of shadow level 2 gear to obtain the materials necessary to advance the piece to level 3. This pattern persists all the way up to Radiant which requires three penta-forged souls (three deconstructed shadow level 5 pieces of gear) to craft. In addition to leveling your gear in this way, you can also add additional stats and re-roll the third and fourth stat on every piece. And as mentioned earlier, as your gear improves so does your character level. As a level 20 Dracolyte with fully upgraded shadow level 2 gear, my overall level with the gear is 26. Needless to say, there’s quite a bit of progression and customization involved with crafting the best gear in Trove.

One aspect of this progression that I really appreciate is that while it may take you much longer, even by playing in the lower level Uber zones you will be able to make some progress toward gearing your character, if you like that sort of progression without the challenging combat encounters of Uber 5 and 6. You are also able to buy some of the crafting mats from the cash shop (the Eyes of Q’bthulhu) but the shadow gear itself must be earned in game. With the dragon caches rewarded during challenges there is no reason to ever buy the Eyes unless you are in a real hurry as both flux and Eyes of Q’bthulhu are rewarded in large quantities. For example, in only a few nights I’ve pushed my gear through all the level 1 and level 2 shadow tiers (five stars each) and I am now working on the pieces needed to create the forged souls for shadow level 3.

Believe it or not, there’s actually more that I could mention regarding classes, mastery, and especially gear progression, but this should serve as a solid primer for anyone getting started in Trove or curious about what kind of progression the game offers. Next I’ll be taking a look at leveling professions, fishing and ship crafting, and building a Cornerstone and Club World in Trove.