How Do I Get Started In TSW?

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Hey new people!

Some very basic things you should know.

Most important thing...

Go play

There is NOTHING you can do in your first two to four hours of gameplay that will "gimp" your character. So go frolic. Meet the NPCs. Try to figure out the quests without guides. Murder some zombies. Save some people. Make friends in the player base. Have a few drinks at the Horned God or the Crusades with some other RPers. Start figuring out who the characters in the story are, what's up with the Morninglight, who that Beaumont jerk is, what really happened to the Lady Margaret.

It's fun. A lot of fun. Just go play. Go be a hero. You'll find out that a lot of questions you might have are pretty self-explanatory after an hour of gameplay.

The group mind of the TSW-RP chatbox is brilliant and friendly.

Ask questions there. You'll find utter brilliance. (And also a lot of weird nerdy humor, not gonna lie.) The community here is fantastic. Very friendly. Ask questions and you'll likely get mostly good, helpful responses.

Server doesn't matter except for PvP (mostly), but most RPers are on Arcadia.

You can move from server to server by invitation, so you can play with anyone at any time.

Faction doesn't matter except for PvP (mostly)

Faction is a strong vehicle for RP but it won't make much of a difference in gameplay. You can group-raid-play-RP with people from any faction, but a cabal must be from a single faction. There sometimes groups with mulitple cabals that operate on a custom chat channel. The factions are in a cold war, so RP relationships can range between 'sullen resentment' and 'screw the home office, we're all here to fight the bad guys'.

All a cabal gets you is a custom chat channel and a community bank

Most RPers are not in cabals, or are in single-person cabals. Even the RPers *in* cabals play with people outside their cabal a whole lot. Don't get hung up on being in a cabal. If you're not interested in one, you'll still be just fine.

Cabals can be fun

There are a list of them here.

Mods are useful, but not required

There are a lot of good mods out there.

Some of the most popular are:
Organizes other mods and information.
Load outfits of clothes in one click
Clickable character bio in game

Spoiler: List of ModsShow

Consider joining the TSW-RP chat channels

Type these into your in-game chatbox

/chat join IC
/chat join OOC

HERE is quick little thing to add them automatically

Check out TSWDB

The Secret World Database is THE PLACE to go for mission guides and build advice.

Beginner guide

Beginner Solo Builds


Join this website
Display A Faction Tag
Get Started In TSW
Choose a server
Pick The Right Secret Society
Find Role-play In TSW
Write a good character background
Find something to do
Talk to other RPers in game
Talk to other RPers out of game
Find A Cabal
Use the TSW-RP Wiki
cicileus at gmail dot com
Posted Jul 18, 13 · OP · Last edited Apr 20, 15 by Cicileus
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If you want the next level "clue" in this game, you can read these, but later. Seriously. Don't read 'em until you've played for at least a few hours.

I thought it might be good to get down some basics and how TSW differs a bit from other MMOs. Here are a few things to help new players get oriented:

The Manual

  1. There is a pdf manual in the installation folder of TSW: it's called TSW_US_MANUAL

Classes and Levels

  1. There are no classes or levels. All characters can learn all the weapons and all the abilities. You progress by earning Skill Points (SP) and Ability Points (AP) which can be used to buy…skills and abilities. You will never stop earning SP/AP.
  2. You earn XP and SP/AP for completing missions, decks, dungeons, finding lore, killing mobs and other achievements during the game. SP/AP (and Gear; see below) are all you need to progress your character.
  3. The XP bar displays the markers at which you earn a SP/AP point as a result of XP rewards. These are fixed XP amounts (40k XP/AP and 120k XP/SP). The XP requirements do not grow as you progress further into the game.
  4. There is a limit on the maximum number of SP/AP you can hold without spending. You can hold up to 40 SP and up to 175 AP.
  5. The XP rewards grow as you progress into more difficult areas

Weapons and Abilities

  1. You can (and should) equip 2 weapons. To equip a weapon, right click on it; there is no primary and secondary weapon, so the character slots are not important. Equipping just one weapon is not advised – you’ll be missing out on some key power.
  2. Eventually you will learn all the weapons, but to start, it’s best to simply pick 2 weapons you will have fun with – don’t worry too much! No weapon is better than another – it’s a matter of playstyle; some weapons are optimal for melee/tanking, some for ranged/dps, some for healing, but you can always update your build as you get familiar with the system. All weapons do damage, and you can create effective decks with all of them.
  3. To find out more about a weapon, open the skill screen (K), and mouseover over the weapon title -- the tooltip will provide a description of what role (survivability, support, damage) the weapon typically plays.
  4. Each weapon has a Quality Level (QL), and these range from 0-10.5. In order to equip a higher QL weapon, you’ll need to allocate enough Skill Points (SP) to wield it. Use (K) to view the Skill screen and buy skill in a weapon.
  5. Once you are able to equip a weapon, you’ll need to add abilities to your “deck” (the 7 active and 7 passive slots) in order to be effective. To do this, buy abilities on the Ability Wheel for the weapon you have equipped using earned Ability Points (AP). Once you buy an ability, you can equip that ability on your deck. Use (N) to view the Ability Wheel and the deck slots. Carefully read the ability descriptions to see what they do.
  6. If you want to get going quickly, take a look at the Deck panel to the left of the Ability Wheel; you will see a list of "starter decks" there. The starter decks are simply pre-made decks to help you pick abilities and get used to the system; they are not the best in the game (the most powerful decks are the ones you create on your own). As a bonus, you're rewarded an outfit when you complete a starter deck, but the outfits do not affect gameplay.
  7. Keep buying abilities on the wheel for your 2 starting weapons (or starter deck), but keep in mind that this is just your pool of abilities – you must equip an active ability on the deck to actually use it with your weapon.
  8. KEY: Even though you have purchased a pool of abilities, the key to a powerful character is finding active and passive abilities for your deck that work well together. You can create ability “combos” by looking at the Condition an ability triggers – “Impaired,” for example. The key is to find and equip other abilities that exploit that Condition, so if an ability triggers Impaired, look for abilities that exploit Impaired.
  9. KEY: Use the Search panel to the right of the Ability Wheel to search for Conditions. This is a great way to find new Ability combos!
  10. KEY: As you look for these combos, realize that passive abilities can be from ANY weapon, not just your equipped ones.
  11. As you get comfortable with your initial 2 weapons and experiment with different sets of abilities, understand that eventually you will need to branch out into using other weapons and abilities – a single deck will not work perfectly against all monsters or in all situations. You will never stop earning AP/SP, so you can constantly be expanding your Ability Wheel pool.
  12. You can (and should) create multiple decks with different themes. Perhaps you want an AOE deck, or a single target deck. You can make tanking, dps and healing decks as well, all with different combinations of weapons and abilities.
  13. Use the Gear Manager under (C) to manage and swap out different decks and gear sets.
  14. Check out the Builds and Decks forums or many other websites available for more advice on building decks (Yokai’s guide and TSW Guides are both recommended).


  1. Gear in TSW is made up of weapons and talismans, and is completely separate from clothes.
  2. Clothes are cosmetic only.
  3. The equivalent of armor in TSW is talismans. Talismans are not visible on your character, but carry stats similar to other games' armor.
  4. Weapons also carry stats, and are the only gear item that is visible on your character
  5. You can manipulate weapons, talismans and clothes from your character screen (C). Clothes use the Dressing Room menu
  6. All gear has a Quality Level (QL) associated with it, and you must have enough skill to equip it. If a weapon or talisman shows you cannot equip it, the reason may be that there is not enough SP allocated to it under skills (K). Again, gear QL ranges from from 0-10.5
  7. In general, keep allocating SP to your chosen weapons and talismans, so you can equip better QL gear.
  8. Gear QL is a rough guide to your progress, and is often the closest thing to "levels" in TSW (though high QL gear won't overcome a weak deck)
  9. Gear typically drops from mobs, or is a mission reward, though you can also buy gear from vendors or on the auction house. You can also craft gear, as one of the missions in Kingsmouth shows


  1. In general, TSW "quests," known as missions require a bit more thought than in many MMOs. A mission may mark a particular area on the map, but not everything will be spelled out as to what do – the game is asking you, the player, to use your noggin a bit to figure things out. Remember what the quest giver told you in the cut scene, look at your mission log and/or lore for clues, sometimes even use the ingame browser (B) to look up a piece of information. All the missions have a bit of a thinking element, even the action ones!
  2. Use the ingame browser to look up clues, but type in in –tsw –unfair along with your search in Google if you wish to screen out spoiler sites. The Secret World home page has buttons to pick searches of just the TSW forums. If you are really stuck, you can use the ingame browser to check walkthrough sites such as Unfair or Dulfy. (Dulfy offers more hints while Unfair will just give you the answer)
  3. Your quest log saves the images you sometimes view at the different tiers of the adventure, so you can always open it up to review them again
  4. Please avoid spoilers to investigation missions in General chat. Many play the game for the puzzles and investigations, so please try not to spoil others’ fun. There is a Mission Hints channel if you are looking for clues, but remember it is a HINT channel, not an answer channel, so please try to ask for and give hints rather than outright answers. If someone asks for the direct answer, please use a /tell
  5. It's not necessary to "return to the hub" to turn in missions -- you have a cellphone. Think of the mission lines as more like breadcrumbs than hubs -- you can wander through the zone picking up as you go.
  6. You can have 1 story mission, 1 dungeon mission, 1 main mission, and 3 side missions at any one time. Of the main missions, you can have action, investigation or sabotage missions. Missions usually have multiple tiers.
  7. You can pause a mission by simply taking another mission. While the new mission will replace the old one, when you go back to the quest giver later to pick up the old mission, it will be saved at the same tier you left it.
  8. Most missions can be repeated after a cooldown
  9. The difficulty of a mission is determined by your weapon and talisman skill levels
  10. For a guide to monster ratings, powers and symbols check out the FAQ.


  1. You can use your Agartha Portal at any time to port back to the entrance to the 3 cities.
  2. You can go into sprint mode by pressing X. You can buy improvements to Sprint from vendors at your faction HQ or from the cash shop.
  3. When you are killed, you can choose which Anima Well to resurrect. You can either rez at the selected well or do a corpse run.
  4. You can type /reset to die and fast travel to other Anima Wells. Remember that you are immortal!
  5. If you use /reset to travel, you can avoid repair costs to your gear by unequipping before dying. Don't forget to equip again once rezzed!


  1. Pax is the game currency, but you also earn tokens which can be spent with some vendors. Click on the token button at the bottom of the inventory screen
  2. The Bank/Post Office/Auction House is in London – 2 locations, one at the Post Office near the subway, and other past Pangaeia. These functions are all combined in TSW – see the 3 tabs when you connect to the Banker.
  3. The Venice Council are the vendors out in the zones; look for the coin symbols on your map for the guys in white suits and blue berets. All vendors can repair gear.
  4. Clothes shops are all in London – Panagaeia and the subway vendors. You can also buy clothes in the cash shop
  5. Food & drinks from vendors help in quickly regaining health. In the Haitian District in London, the demon in one of the stalls sells tacos in stacks of 50.
  6. The barber shop, Occam’s Razor is in London
  7. The plastic surgeon, The Modern Prometheus is in New York

Grouping and RP

  1. You can group across servers (right click name and Invite to Group), so it’s less important to be on a particular server (or dimension as they are called in TSW) than in many MMOs, though PvP is a special case (see below)
  2. Areas most likely requiring a group are dungeons, the raid and lairs (open world high level areas). There are also high-difficulty areas within each of the zones where players often farm for sequins.
  3. Dungeons still use the trinity; the difference is that any character can play any role provided he/she has the appropriate decks
  4. You can group anytime on missions as well, but there are certain tiers in the main story mission that require a solo instance
  5. You can access the LFG tool by pressing Shift+C
  6. The LFG channel advertises for groups, but General Chat is also used within each zone.
  7. It's easier to group in the zones or cities for normal dungeons rather than in Agartha. Agartha chat is best for grouping for the Nightmare level dungeons. The sanctuary and noobmares channels are also good resources.
  8. You can invite someone to your group by right clicking the name in the chat, and selecting Invite.
  9. You can ignore a player by right clicking and selecting Ignore or use /ignore [playername] in the chat box. You can friend someone by right clicking and selecting Make Friend
  10. The equivalent of Guilds in TSW are Cabals. The Cabal forums are a great resource for meeting more friends in game
  11. Arcadia and Leviathan are the RP dimensions. Popular spots in-game for RP are the park , The Horned God pub, The Crusades nightclub, Tabula Rasa hotel, and the park (all in London, although RP happens everywhere on those dimensions.) The Albion Theatre, also in London, is specially made for RP, and allows players to put on shows, complete with stage props, lighting, sound and effects.


  1. Factions are able to group together due to the "gentlemen's agreement" overseen by the Council of Venice. However, Cabal members must be from a single faction, and PvP zones require faction teams
  2. The main differences between factions in-game are deck uniforms, mission text, faction recruiter cellphone calls, and some faction-specific missions


  1. Any player can craft and disassemble any item. There are no crafting professions or levels.
  2. There are no crafting stations. You can craft anywhere using the Assembly Screen (Y)
  3. Nearly all items can be broken down into materials. Place the item in the Item slot of the Assembly Screen and click on the Disassemble button.
  4. All glyphs, consumables, and crafting toolkits have quality levels (QL), just like weapons and talismans. Items that are too low QL cannot be disassembled.
  5. You can craft different items with different types of kits. The better the QL of the kit and tier of materials, the better the item will be.
  6. Toolkit types include: Weapon, Talisman, Glyph, Consumable, Gadget (Stimulants), Firework and Casting (Remodelling Weapons).
  7. While crafting toolkits have a QL which will determine the QL of the outcoming talisman/weapon/glyph/consumable, materials and runes will show a QL0 but their tiers progression is indicated by the given prefix: Base, Imperfect, Normal (has no prefix), Sacred, and Pure. You can upgrade 5 lower materials into one of the next higher tier. You can disassemble materials as well, but will create only 4 lower tiered items for 1 higher tiered material.
  8. You can create items by assembling materials into different patterns and using crafting kits. Check out several websites available for more specific guides and recipes for crafting (Raithwood's guide is a good one)
  9. Ultimate Crafter is a great addon and highly recommended

PvP requires quite a bit of explanation, so referring you over to this thread.


  1. You can loot the area by pressing V
  2. You can switch out of combat mode by pressing `
  3. You can toggle reticle combat by pressing T
  4. You can dodge ahead by double-tapping the forward arrow or W key, backward with the back arrow or S key, left with the Q key, and right with the E key.
  5. Q to strafe left and E to strafe right
  6. Don't forget to move and dodge during combat -- you can take up to a third less damage if you keep moving; avoid the white zones on the ground. Magic can be cast while moving
  7. You can access the cash shop by pressing , If you have won an item from an outside event or purchase, you can get it by going to the Claim Items section
  8. TSW supports addons! Go to Curse to pick up the client.

Original thread here...


  1. Dialogue topic choices are more than one line. If you're talking to an NPC, keep clicking on the topic until it turns to a green check mark. Some of the best writing is in those extra bits of voiceover.
  2. When hunting for lore bits, don't forget to look up. Not everything is at ground level.
  3. There is a demon in the Hatian Market in London who sells tacos. These tacos (at 100 PAX each) buff your out-of-combat healing rate, thus allowing you to return into combat more quickly. (Credit: Trobed)
  4. After the 1.1 patch, you can disassemble a Taco into Nachos, which reduces the casting time, but provides a lower health benefit per bite.
  5. Logging out - There are 3 ways. 1) Menu in the upper left - Exit 2) Press ESC (sometimes 2 or 3 times) then choose Exit Game or 3) /camp - for those of us who like our keyboards
  6. Using methods 1 or 3 of the logout hint above will take you back to the character selection screen rather than all the way out of the game.
  7. If you accidentally sell something, use the "Buyback" button on the Sell tab to recover your item. You can keep clicking on "Buyback" to recover accidental sales in reverse order.
  8. Keys F1 through F5 will select members of your group as your "defensive target"
  9. Ctrl-Alt-F to display a frames per second meter on the left edge of your screen.
  10. If you're creating a new character and it keeps telling you the name isn't unique no matter what weird choices you pick, try changing the first or last name. Some names are "reserved" since they belong to special NPCs and such. Unfortunately, the character naming code doesn't tell you about the real problem.

Inventory Management

  1. You can create new bags to sort your inventory by clicking on the plus sign (+) in the upper right corner of the inventory window.
  2. When you create a new bag from your inventory, if you click on the lock button, it stays open when you close the inventory. This is how you can create an "item hotbar" say for your anima potions.
  3. You can also name your new bags by double-clicking on the "New Bag" line.
  4. You can merge Inventory bags to create bigger bags. Drag one full bag on top of another and a new bag will be created with room enough for all the items. It even stays that size if items are subsequently removed.
  5. Inventory has a search function. So if you aren't as anal as I am with all your runes and mats divided out into all sorts of seperate bags labeled by purpose, you can use the search function to find out if you have enough "Wheel Rune" to make the glyph you want to use.
  6. You can single-drop items from a stack. Left-click on the stack. Move the mouse to where you want the item to go and right-click. It will drop one at a time there. This works in the crafting window as well as your inventory.

Death & Resurrection
[credit for much of this to Alainna]

  1. You have to discover new anima wells to be able to use them for resurrection. Discover just means getting close to them.
  2. When you die, you can choose to resurrect at any of the anima wells in the zone that you have already discovered.
  3. Once you resurrect, running back to your body is OPTIONAL. You can just right-click on the anima well and come back to life at that location.
  4. If you choose to go back to your body, once you get back within 14 meters of your body, you'll be able to sense the mobs that are nearby. You can resurrect anywhere within a 14 foot circle, so pick your spot carefully. Don't forget to look behind you!
  5. If your anima well is very close to where your body is, it is possible to get back and resurrect BEFORE the mobs have cleared their hate for you. Take your time or else you're going to come back at 1/2 life with the mobs chasing you down to kill you again. And since they did it once...
  6. You can die on purpose using the /reset command. Then you can select any discovered anima well in the zone. Even that one all the way across on the other end of the zone!

Loot & Items

  1. Quick looting - be in range of the loot icon, press v. Everything from the mob will automatically be added to your inventory.
  2. While weapons may drop for you, the chances of them being the one you were hoping for are slim. So don't wait for that Blood Focus to drop, figure out a way to get one.
  3. Once you've selected your first weapon and you're about to leave to meet your primary contact in your faction, turn around and go back into the training area. You can pick up the other 8 weapons. You won't get the AP/SP rewards, but you can at least equip yourself.
  4. Speaking of starting weapons, make sure you get Boone's quest right as you enter Kingsmouth. The final reward in that quest line is a weapon once you reach the police station in Kingsmouth. My tactic has been to use that for my 2nd weapon.
  5. If you forget to get the starter weapons before you hit Kingsmouth town, you could also just buy one from a vendor in the station. They only cost 100 coins; so your first loot drop or two probably covered the cost.
  6. As gear progresses in tiers/Colors (Green / Blue / Purple), it tends to become more specialized. However, keep in mind that if that Blue weapon has a glyph in it that buffs Physical Defense and your build focuses on Critical, you can just build a crit power / damage glyph and replace it on the weapon.
  7. You can preview the clothes from the clothing vendors in places like Pangea. The button should be obvious, but it's surprising how many people manage to miss it!
  8. If you want to link an item to chat (say to show off that new purple you got from the dungeon last night), ctrl-right-click on the item.
  9. The Council of Venice has some guys in snazzy white suits and blue berets who will trade those Sequins of Solomon Island for weapons, glyphs, and other gear. They are in every zone, though, and there is a QL cap per zone. So if you can use QL 5 weapons, don't buy a QL 4 just because you found the vendor. Go find the vendor in the next zone to help you out!

Anima and Skill Points

  1. Spending AP is going to be a long term topic and will result in much theorycrafting and chest beating about the "best way" to do it. Simply know that at the early stages, it's kind of hard to really gimp yourself to the point of needing a re-roll.
  2. Spending SP on the other hand should have more thought put into it. Since you only get one SP for every 3 AP, the time spent in acquiring them is higher, therefore think before dumping them into stuff you don't really care about.
  3. Don't forget to spend SP on your Talisman skills! First, levelling your talismans are going to be important to your gear progression. Second, the bonuses for each point spent on Talismans are greater than the incremental bonuses on weapon skills.
  4. If you do decide to bank SP, realize that there is a hard cap of 40. Once you reach 40 unspent SP, anything else you earn is going to be wasted.
  5. One way to experiment with abilities is to bank some AP, then go back to your main hub city and go back into the training area. While you're in there, you can spend AP to try out things, then reset them to get back your pool.
  6. You can search the Ability Wheel using the Search panel on the right hand side. Helpful for finding those abilities you've heard of but can't seem to find by trial and error.

Skills - General

  1. While you can always move during combat, there is a "self-snare" applied when using some skills. This is most pronounced with ranged skills, although magic skills also have some. Melee does not. So if you want to move quickly in combat, use melee skills.
  2. The b key brings up the ingame browser window. Handy when you're looking for hints on some of the puzzle quests.
  3. If you have a Ground Target Area of Effect (GTAoE) skill, you can use CTRL-[hotkey#] to target the ground under the feet of your current target. If the target moves, your attack is still centered on the position they were when you fired the attack, though.
  4. Related to the previous, pressing CTRL-SHIFT will toggle the "GTAoE centered on target" behavior. This means that once the "Use my target's location" functionality is toggled, you won't have to use the CTRL-[hotkey], it will automatically work that way until you toggle it off again.
  5. If you have a defensive target other than yourself, holding down the ALT key will switch your defensive target to you temporarily. This is especially useful when spec'd as a healer as you can be healing your tank, switch to heal yourself, then back to the tank without having to click on different targets. (Credit: RpTheHotrod)
  6. Everyone can actively dodge an attack. To do so, double-tap your movement key and you will flip / roll in that direction. For example, double-tap the 'S' key and you'll backflip quickly away from wherever you're facing. This comes in handy when you see that mob building for a big AoE attack. Often dodging is the differnece between cakewalking through an encounter and ending up at the anima well grumbling about how impossible those mobs are to kill. (I'm looking at you Blue Mountain Ak'abs!)
  7. You can sprint by pressing the 'x' button. As you gain influence in your faction, you'll gain access to the Mobilisation Specialization vendor in your hub city who will sell you speed upgrades for your sprinting. They aren't cheap, though so save your PAX if you're getting close to a new faction level where this is a benefit.

Quests & Zones

  1. Don't use the Police Station as your "first quest hub". Pick a quest line, follow it to the end. Once you get to the end, there's usually a new starter for a new quest line nearby. Eventually you'll end up looping back to the station, and then you can pick up a new quest line to start.
  2. Based on the early experience, the main zones seem to be gated on your gear level. It's not a "hard gate". You can go to a zone without having the recommended gear level. For instance, once most of your gear is about QL 3, you're probably ready to move to the Savage Coast. You could go there with QL 1 gear. You'd just get your arse handed to you in a baggie.
  3. Related to the above, you don't have to do every quest in a zone to move on. Since you can come back to a zone any time (or if you plan to play an alt at some point), restrain yourself from grabbing every quest you come across. That will give you something to explore once you've played all the way through the main quest lines in the zones.
  4. If you come across a mission you can't pick up at the moment (because of limits), remember that you can add your own markers onto the map; so you can note the location of the mission so that you can come back to it later.
  5. Some "hard" or even "very hard" missions aren't necessarily too difficult to complete. Many missions don't have any killing required. So the mission may be ranked "hard" because the mobs around the thing you have to find would be difficult for you to kill. If you're good at sneaking past them, avoiding aggro, etc. however they can be worth the risk in the bonus xp you get for finishing them.


  1. Base Materials have to be refined to be useful. Put a stack of them (5+) in your crafting window and hit "Assemble" to get an Imperfect material.
  2. Note! We said "5+", you can put a stack of 22 Base Materials into the crafting window and keep clicking Assemble. It will refine materials until the stack size is less than the required 5. In this example, you'd get 4 Imperfect materials and have 2 Base materials left over. (credit: Frunch)
  3. In addition to disassembling weapons and talismans, you can disassemble Anima potions as well. So when you have collected a bunch of QL 2 healing potions, you may as well disassemble the QL 1 potions.
  4. You can also un-refine materials. If you unrefine an Imperfect material, you get 4 Base materials in exchange. Probably not as useful at the beginning as it may be in later tiers when you have a more advanced mat, but need to create a lower QL item.
  5. You can single-drop mats from a stack. Left-click on the stack. Move the mouse to where you want the item to go and right-click. It will drop one at a time there. This works in the crafting window as well as your inventory.
cicileus at gmail dot com
Posted May 27, 14 · OP
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