AEGIS… I Kind of Like It

I’ve been in Tokyo for about a week now, but I have only been able to complete a handful of missions due a lot of group content with my new guild and time spent in other games like Black Desert and Blade and Soul. Nevertheless, that’s been long enough for me to get a taste of the dreaded AEGIS system and I’ve got to say… I kind of like it.

For those unfamiliar with the additional combat mechanic introduced with Issue #9, the AEGIS system provides the player with color coded controllers that attach to each weapon; red, blue, and purple. Mobs in Tokyo have the expected health bar but each one also has an AEGIS shield that must be damaged first before dps will affect the targets regular health pool. The colored controllers on your weapons must match the color of the shield on the mob and some mobs have layers of shields, each a different color and all of which must be destroyed and in order.

Practically speaking this means each of your weapons will have a red, blue, and purple controller (you are only given enough for one weapon at the start but receive the others as mission rewards later on) with a hot key that allows you to cycle through them independently for each weapon. When you encounter a mob you’ll have to match your weapon color to their shield color and deplete the HP of the shield followed by the HP of the mob. Not only that, but so far I’ve found the mobs in Tokyo to be much more demanding than previous areas of the game, meaning there is a lot of strafing and dodging to stay out of telegraphs while chipping away at AEGIS shields and switching to the correct color on mobs with multiple shields.

I can understand why some people aren’t fans, I mean it does increase the time to kill and it is one more thing to fuddle with during combat. Perhaps over time I’ll start to feel the same way, but for now it’s upped the challenge of combat in TSW to a point where I’m eagerly looking to pick a fight. Not too much of a fight mind you; at this point with my build and gear I can handle two mobs, maybe three but any more than that and I’m toast.

But that’s one of the things I like about The Secret World. The missions are already longer affairs than the average MMO quest and as such I just have the mindset of hunkering down for the long haul once I start. It’s not unusual for me to die during a mission, often several times. Overcoming a challenge, whether it is a stealth based sabotage mission or a tough fight, that’s just what I expect from the game. In a way, Tokyo and the AEGIS system have brought the difficulty of combat back up on par with the challenges you face with investigation and sabotage missions, something I haven’t really felt since Solomon Isle.

 

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.

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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.

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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?

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

 

 

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“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.

Goodbye Blade and Soul, Hello The Secret World Issues

This past week I reached a couple of milestones in the MMOs I’ve been playing; in Blade and Soul I reached level 20 on my Kung Fu Master—the class I chose to continue progressing—and I finished the main, side, and story missions in The Secret World’s Transylvania zones with the exception of those labeled “Nightmare.” With Blade and Soul, that achievement came with the decision to sunset the game for now. I’m glad I gave it a try but knew from the onset it was temporary. By the time I reached level 20 I was skipping through quest text and growing disinterested with the combat system which was the main draw for me to the game. So I uninstalled the client, closing the door for now which is fine, as the Black Desert Beta test will start next week and my time in Blade & Soul would have come to a close anyway.

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Only fools bring a sword when attending “the gun show.”

 

The Secret World is another matter. For the past 2-3 months my objectives have been clear— I would work my way through Solomon Isle, Egypt, and Transylvania completing all available missions. Now that I’ve completed that goal and have seen the close to that portion of the main story (which has left me with far more questions than answers) I’m unclear on what to work on next. I thought it would be simple; finish the three primary zones then work my way through the issues from five through thirteen. However once I finished Transylvania, I ported to Agartha which began a quest to the council of Venice. I have no idea what this is about, and only played long enough to find the Sunken Library and watch a cut scene. Now I’m supposed to pass a few trials but to what end, I do not know.

Once that’s completed, depending on where that leads me, I’d like to go back to Solomon Isle to see if I can solo any of the lairs, to possibly queue for the dungeons tied to that zone, and to begin Issue 5. I’m also at a point where I need to do a little more research on how to improve my gear so that I don’t waste any of the black bullion that I’ve accumulated. I received a QL10 epic weapon for completing the main story in Transylvania and went ahead and bought a second from a vendor at the council of Venice however I’m not sure if I should spend more on Talismans that they sell there or if I should wait. I also need to figure out glyphs and signets, as right now all I have are QL10 green glyphs and a handful of useless signets (as near as I can tell.)

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Why do all my blind dates end up like this?

 

I’m not concerned or frustrated by the sudden onset of uncertainty, but I do want to find a guide of some kind to help me take the next steps. My main concern is that I obtain the gear I need to complete the issues in order, and that I do not waste Black Bullion by buying the wrong things. It takes long enough to accumulate that a mistake could set me back quite a bit. Other than that, I’m excited to explore the stories I have yet to play through with Issues 5-8, and I’m curious as to what I’ll find in Tokyo and where the story will go from there. There’s also the group content I’ve yet to try so plenty to keep me busy. I’m still greatly enjoying The Secret World and despite feeling a little disoriented I’m eager to take on whatever challenge comes next.