MMORPG The Secret World: Tutorial 1 – Weapon Choices

The Secret World in an MMO placed in a modern setting. You play as a member of the Dragons, Illuminati or the Templars. After the introduction you end up in the sea-side town of Kingsmouth. There you discover the town has been hit by what looks to be a plague, turning everyone into zombies. This starts off your overall quest to find out what happened and who is responsible.

A few months ago I started off in The Secret World. Without much thought I created a character, chose a weapon, and off I went. I guess, like most people, you don’t really want to do a lot of research before starting a new game. You just want to get in there. If you’ve followed the in-game tutorial, you should be coming out of the gates with a main and secondary weapon. Or, if you’re like me, you messed up, and you only equipped one. If that happens, my advice, grab a second weapon as soon as possible.

In this article I’ll describe what weapons are available and its uses. The weapon choices are shown in the table below.

Melee Magic Ranged
Hammer Elemental Pistol
Blade Blood Shotgun
Fist Chaos Assault Rifle

Melee weapons have the advantage that their energy bar fills up by itself out of combat. So you can start any fight with an attack with full energy. For the other weapons you first have to build up the energy bar.


Which weapons give me what?

In the table below you can see all weapons, what they are used for generally (tank, heal or support), what its Abilities provide to you generally, and which States it inflicts on enemies (Afflicted, Hindered, Impaired, Weakened).

Weapon Abilities Afflicted Hindered Impaired Weakened
Hammer (Tank) Mitigation, Health x x
Blade (Tank) High Defence Rating x x
Chaos (Tank) Evade x x
Fist (Heal) Heal over Time x x
Assault Rifle (Heal) Leech Healing x x
Blood (Heal) Absorb Barriers x x
Pistol (Support) Cleanse, Debuffs, Pets x x
Shotgun (Support) Crowd Control, Mitigation x x
Elementalist (Support) Turrets, Crowd Control x x

Ideally you pick a combination of weapons which allows the second weapon to do more damage or healing or provide more defense depending on the state inflicted by the first weapon. For example, the Hammer and Chaos weapons both use the Impaired and Weakened states. In TSW-speak, the two weapons have a States Synergy.

In case you are wondering: Hindered is a Root or Snare, Afflicted applies DoTs, Impaired applies a Stun, Knockback or Silence, and Weakened applies other kinds of Debuffs.

To help out new players TSW includes some default builds (Decks) in the game. The following table lists just the builds that match the synergies above.

Weapon Dragon Illuminati Templar
Hammer / Chaos Warlord Illusionist Warlock
Fist / Blood Wu Thaumaturge Exorcist
Blade / Blood Preacher
Pistol / Shotgun Bounty Hunter
Assault Rifle / Elementalist Mercenary

Please note that this does not mean that other builds are not viable. As you will see below, there’s also Trigger Synergy and Attack Type Synergy.


More weapon combinations – Trigger Synergy

Trigger synergy occurs when you hit a character, and the outcome triggers a Passive Ability. A hit can be a normal hit, a penetrating hit, a critical hit, an evade, a glance, etc. For example, a trigger may occur when you apply a penetrating hit, causing an increase in damage of 20% for 8 seconds.

To increase the chance of triggers occurring you can either create a build with lots of Passive Abilities that trigger on different types of hits, or create a build that ensures a certain type of hit.

The list of weapons and their triggers:

Weapon Crit Pen Hit Block Evade Defense
Hammer x x
Blade x x
Chaos x x
Fist x
Assault Rifle x
Blood x
Pistol x
Shotgun x
Elementalist x

The only weapon combination that have both a Trigger Synergy (Penetration) and a State Synergy (Afflicted, Impaired) is Blade (tank) / Blood (heal).


Attack Type Synergy

The different weapons also provide different attack types. Your Active and Passive Abilities can also provide a synergy depending on the attack type used.

Weapon Chain Burst Blast Strike Focus Frenzy
Hammer x x
Blade x x
Fist x x
Pistol x x
Shotgun x x
Assault Rifle x x
Elementalism x x
Chaos x x
Blood x x
Chain = Multiple Target. An attack on 1 target, which jumps to other close targets.
Burst = Single Target. Three or more rapid hits.
Blast = AoE. Cone Attack.
Strike = Single Target. Strong hit.
Focus = Channelled effect.
Frenzy = AoE.

Oh, ok… But… which weapons do I use?

Well, to narrow down your options you first choose according to your play style. Do you like to tank, heal, or do melee or ranged combat? Then you can take the synergies into account. Although, your choice of Abilities (i.e. your build) will have a bigger impact than the choice of weapons.

Let’s say I want to make a Melee build. That gives me Hammer, Blade and Fist as possible weapons. If I want to create a Dungeon build, I’ll ignore the Impair state. This leaves Weakened (Hammer), Afflicted (Blade and Fist).

Now to look for a matching second weapon to use with a Hammer. The other weapons that work with Weakened are Chaos, Pistol and Shotgun. Looking at Trigger Synergy first we see there’s only Pistol (Crit).  Simulated DPS numbers for a Hammer/Pistol build are 5616. Looking at Attack Type Synergy there’s only Shotgun (Blast, Strike). Simulated DPS numbers for a Hammer/Shotgun build are 5498.

We do the same thing for Blade. The other weapons that work with Afflicted are Fist, Assault Rifle, Blood and Elementalism. Blade has a Trigger Synergy with Blood (Penetration) and an Attack Type Synergy (Focus). Simulated DPS numbers for a Blade/Blood build are 5425.

Note that Synergy is that States or Trigger or Attack Synergy is not a must. To compare, DPS numbers for Hammer/Elementalism are 6104, for Blade/Elementalism are 5561, and Fist/Elementalism are 5801. The Abilities you choose to use determine a lot of your DPS and survivability. Also note that the simulation DPS numbers only compares perfect DPS builds. It does not care about survivability. It assumes a 100% up-time of your skills, a Weakened boss/dummy, and a perfect rotation.


In short:

  • You can, more or less, take any weapon you please.
  • In an Elite or Nightmare dungeon only the Tank uses Impair or Hinder on bosses because after 3 applications the boss will become immune. In Solo builds you’re free to use these, of course.
  • Currently all the highest DPS builds use Elementalism.
  • A Pistol/Shotgun build is popular for Dungeons because it brings the DABS buffs (Deadly Aim, Breaching Shot).


Popular DPS builds

Pistol/Shotgun (Advanced Dungeon Build, 739 AP)

Pistol/Shotgun (proc) (Advanced Dungeon Build, 688 AP)

Blade/Chaos (Beginner Solo Build, 136 AP)

Pistol/Shotgun “Tokyo Survival Build” (Advanced Solo Build, 521 AP)

Blade/Chaos “Tokyo Survival Build” (Advanced Solo Build, 804 AP)

Blade/Blood (Advanced Solo Build, 773 AP)

Pistol/Shotgun “Tokyo Drift” (Advanced Solo Fun Build, 516 AP)


What weapon do you use?

I started off the game with an Assault Rifle / Shotgun combination, but found it severally lacking on DPS and survivability. I then switched to a tanky build using Hammer / Chaos. Survivability increased hugely, but DPS was only so-so. Good build for questing with a buddy though, as he provided the DPS. Currently I’m using the default in-game Blade/Chaos solo build known as “Agent of Chaos” which is really nice. It’s very very similar to the Tokyo Survival Build listed above. I’m in the process of adapting it to run Dungeons by getting rid of the Abilities that apply Impair. In the future I intend to try out a Pistol/Shot and Elemental/Blood builds.



The Secret World - Characters showing some gear and weapons

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