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The Secret World Beginner Guide

Posted by Wolfpack48 on February 16, 2015
Last updated by Wolfpack48 on February 20, 2016
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Getting Started with The Secret World

The Secret World is a little different from MMORPGs you may have played before.  Aside from the obvious modern day setting, the game goes about things in ways that take a distinct turn from some “standard” ways of doing things in an MMO.  Below are a number of basic tips to help get oriented to the game, key ways that TSW differs from other MMOs, and some important things to keep in mind as you get started.  This primer will not cover every detail of the game; there are plenty of GUI and build guides, crafting sites, walkthroughs and background information on this site, the web, the base manual and in-game Help.  Instead, this guide covers some principles that may not be covered in many places and can easily be missed, especially when coming to TSW after playing other MMORPGs.

In addition to this guide, I strongly recommend reading over the Things I Wish I’d Known… thread on the TSW forums for a whole host of excellent tips.  Welcome to the game – you’ve made a great choice!

The Manual

There is a pdf manual in the installation folder of TSW: TSW_US_MANUAL.pdf.  It’s worth taking a look through and reading up on the basic controls, background of the world and the different secret societies.  Also, there is a host of information buried in the Help screens in-game.  This guide on TSWDB will expand on the basic principles laid out in the Manual and Help system.


Classes and Levels

Unlike many MMOs there are no classes or levels in TSW.  Instead, characters progress by earning Skill Points (SP) and Ability Points (AP) which can be used to buy…skills and abilities. Characters never stop earning SP/AP and eventually will unlock all the weapons, skills and abilities – you have complete freedom to choose which weapons, skills and abilities to buy and equip.

Characters earn experience points (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.

The XP bar at the bottom of the main screen displays the markers at which your character earns an SP/AP point as a result of XP rewards.  These are fixed XP amounts: 40,000 XP per AP and 120,000 XP per SP.  The XP requirements do not grow as your character progresses further into the game.  You will always earn an Ability Point every 40k XP and a Skill Point at every 120k XP.

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 – you can see how close you are to your max by opening the Ability Wheel screen (N):


…and the Skills screen (K):


Once you have reached your hold limit, any AP or SP earned will be lost, so keep an eye on your points!  You will be able to increase your AP and SP limits much later on but don’t worry about that yet.

XP rewards grow as your character progresses into more difficult areas.

Weapons and Abilities

An important note:  With Update 11 the tutorial now ensures you leave your trainer with two equipped weapons.  Two weapons will build ability resources twice as quickly for both weapons so the change is a helpful improvement for beginners.  Missions throughout Kingsmouth (the first zone) will reward you with upgrades.  You will always have opportunity to try different weapons as you progress, and you can always return to your HQ trainer to test other styles.  One of the first missions in Kingsmouth has you crafting a weapon as well.

To equip a weapon, right click on it; there is no primary and secondary weapon so the two character slot positions shown under (C) are not important.

Eventually you will learn all the weapons, but to start it’s best to focus on two 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 and synergies (more on that later) with all of them.  Find a combination that suits your playstyle and have at it!

To find out more about the role a weapon plays, 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.  You may wish to try out each of the weapons in your headquarters training facility to see how each feels to you.  There are 3 melee weapons (Fist, Blade, Hammer), 3 ranged weapons (Pistol, Shotgun, Assault Rifle) and 3 magic weapons (Elemental, Blood, Chaos).


Each weapon has a Quality Level (QL) ranging from 0 to 11.  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 (either the Damage or Healing track, your preference). You can equip a weapon QL one level higher than the highest Damage or Healing track of the weapon type.

In the example below, if you have upgraded the Assault Rifle damage skill to level 5, but only the healing skill to level 2, the total Assault Rifle skill will be level 5, thus you can equip QL6 Assault Rifles.


Once your character is able to equip a weapon, you’ll need to add abilities to your deck, the 7 active and 7 passive slots at the bottom of the screen, in order to use your weapon in combat. But before then, you must first buy abilities on the Ability Wheel for the weapon you have equipped using earned Ability Points (AP). Once you buy an ability on the wheel, you can equip that ability in one of the active or passive slots on your deck.

Use (N) to view the Ability Wheel and the deck slots. Carefully read the ability descriptions to see what they do.  You will discover that you must purchase lower cost abilities on the wheel before you can buy more expensive abilities in the same wedge, so a 50AP ability actually costs quite a bit more than 50AP.  In general it’s okay to start with focusing on the inner wheel of abilities before worrying about the outer edge of the wheel.  Keep in mind that eventually you will unlock every ability.


If you want to get going quickly or just want more guidance in which abilities to buy and equip, take a look at the TSWDB Beginner Decks or the Decks panel to the left of the Ability Wheel (N) where you will see a list of Starter Decks. The in-game Starter Decks are simply optional, templated, pre-made decks designed to help you pick abilities and become accustomed to the system.  They are known by players as not being the best decks in the game, but that won’t prevent you from creating improved custom decks later.  As a bonus you’re rewarded an outfit when you complete a Starter Deck, but these outfits do not affect gameplay.

Once you understand the principles of deck building, the most powerful decks will be the ones you create on your own.


Keep buying abilities on the wheel for your two starting weapons (or TSWDB Beginner Deck or in-game Starter Deck).  You must equip an ability in one of the active deck slots to actually use it with your matching equipped weapons.  In the example below, if you had equipped a Pistol, you would need to equip a Pistol ability in an active deck slot.  In contrast, passive abilities can be slotted from any weapon, not just your equipped ones (more on that below).


A Note About Augments and the 8th Deck Slot

With Update 11 the aux weapon slots and equipped active augment slots in the deck are initially hidden.  Later in the game, you’ll note that an eighth active and passive slot is added to the deck when you complete a mission that rewards Auxiliary Weapons.  When you decide to play scenarios, you may be rewarded augments which can be placed in the smaller slots above your equipped active abilities in the deck.  You can read more about these supplemental weapons and augments in the Auxiliary Weapons Guide and in the Augment System. When you get to Tokyo, you’ll be introduced to the AEGIS System as well. Don’t worry too much about that stuff if you’re new to the game!


Some Really Important Concepts

While there are a lot of small differences between TSW and other MMORPGs, the three points below are probably the most important to grasp when it comes to combat in the game. Most MMORPGs rely on character class templates and levels to arrive at a pre-designated set of abilities – it’s generally quite straightforward to pick your character’s abilities, or look up a cookie-cutter build online. TSW, in contrast, allows you freedom to equip any of the entire 525 abilities on the wheel for your deck as long as you have purchased them. This is a two-edged sword. While you can create any deck you like, with any set of ability combinations you like, it’s also quite possible to build a deck that is underpowered.

Understanding how your two weapon abilities work together within the deck will make all the difference in the world. While there are more advanced ideas for deck building, understanding the rules of thumb below will make life in The Secret World easier – and more importantly – fun!

1. Active/Passive Synergy

Although you have purchased a pool of abilities on the Ability Wheel and have two weapons equipped to make your builder abilities quick and efficient, the key to a powerful character is finding active and passive abilities for your deck that work well together. You can create ability combos or synergies by examining the Conditions an ability triggers, usually underlined and italicized in the ability description: Impaired for example. The key is to purchase and slot other abilities that exploit that Condition.  So if an ability triggers Impaired, look for other abilities that exploit ImpairedMultiple abilities can exploit a single triggered Condition, and both actives and passives can trigger or exploit a condition.  Synergies can also benefit your team when you are grouped.


2. The Search Panel

The Ability Wheel contains a search panel that will let you find abilities with ease using filters and keywords. Open the search panel by clicking the bar on the right side.


The search feature is a great way to find new Ability synergies. Simply type in the name of the Condition you want to exploit, say Impaired, and search will display all the abilities that contain that Condition in the description. You can narrow your search with the filters provided – maybe you only want to find passives, for example. Target abilities for purchase that heavily exploit a Condition you are triggering and string them together with other abilities in your deck, and soon you’ll have a custom deck that packs punch.


3. Slotting Passive Abilities from Any Weapon

As you look for these combos, realize that you can slot passive abilities from any weapon, not just your equipped ones.

For example, take a look at the build in the image below. It uses Blade and Hammer as its active weapons, however, it only has one passive from those weapons. The rest of the passives come from the other weapon trees. A passive ability from a weapon tree outside your two equipped weapon trees may be the superior choice – keep this in mind as you are looking for synergies.


As you get comfortable with your initial two weapons and experiment with different sets of abilities, understand that eventually you will need to branch out into using other weapons and abilities.  TSW is fundamentally about adaptation to a situation, so a single deck may not counter all mobs or scenarios. You will never stop earning AP/SP, therefore you can constantly be developing your Ability Wheel pool and deck choices for greater flexibility.

You can (and should) experiment with multiple decks and different themes. Perhaps you want an Affliction deck or an Impair deck, an AOE deck or a single target deck. You can make tanking, dps, healing and PvP decks as well, all with different combinations of weapon and ability synergies.  It’s been calculated that there are over 772 million possible builds in TSW, so there’s lots of room for trying something new!  Once you’re ready to start creating more decks, use the Gear Manager under (C) to manage and swap out different decks and gear sets.  Check out the TSW Builds & Decks forums and the build guides here at TSWDB.

gear_mgrFinally, in contrast to many MMOs, there is no “respec” in TSW.  Also, there typically is no need to re-roll a character unless you want to try a different faction or character look.

Why No Respec?

For those who are just getting used to the Ability Wheel, you may be asking why you can’t respec and choose different abilities.

In general, the reason no respec or character re-roll is needed is that it’s easy to look in the wrong place to do the re-speccing. The Ability Wheel is simply the pool of abilities (525 of them!) that every character can draw on. Re-rolling simply puts you back at ground zero, and there’s generally no need to ever do this unless you want to try a different faction.  This is also the reason there’s only 3 slots for alts.

Here’s the real key: if you really want to respec or fix your build, the place to look is not to the wheel, but to your equipped 7 Active and 7 Passive abilities: the Deck. It’s important to remember four things we mentioned earlier as you do:

  1. Nothing you’ve purchased on the Ability Wheel or Skill bars is ever wasted or a mistake; you eventually will learn all the weapons, abilities and skills.  In fact, there’s an achievement and outfit reward once you complete the entire wheel!
  2. Your deck will function better if you have strong synergies between your slotted active and passive abilities.
  3. You can equip passive abilities from any weapon, not just your equipped weapons
  4. The Search panel is an amazing resource for finding ability synergies.

With all this in mind, the way to respec is to course correct your deck. You can look at the starter decks in the panel to the left of the wheel and find one that’s close to where you are and work towards it. You can use the TSWDB build guides or the TSW Builds & Decks forums to do the same.  Finally, you can use the Search panel to find abilities that exploit Conditions better and work towards buying and equipping those abilities.

Making your own build is the most fun and potentially the most rewarding.  Usually it’s a series of tweaks to your existing deck and gear rather than a major operation.  You can continue taking missions to earn SP/AP and allocate to your new abilities or repeat a few older missions in the game if you just need to farm a few AP (more on that below).

Gear and Clothes

Gear in TSW is made up of weapons and talismans, and in contrast to many MMOs, completely separate from clothes.  Talismans are not visible on your character but carry stats similar to other games’ armor.  Weapons also carry stats and are the only gear item that is visible on your character.

Just as with weapons, talismans have a Quality Level (QL) ranging from 0 to 11.  If a talisman shows you cannot equip it, the reason may be that there is not enough SP allocated to it under skills (K).

A Note About Item Quality

You’ll notice that the QL system extends to most items in the game; items such as materials and crafting kits also have a QL assigned using the same QL0 to 11 scale.  In addition, all items will be assigned a color:

Common (White) < Uncommon (Green) < Rare (Blue) < Epic (Purple)

For purposes of equipping or using an item, only the Item QL will apply.  However, the color of the item is a heavy indicator of its overall quality.  A QL7 blue item may, overall, be better than a QL9 green item.

Clothes are cosmetic only, affect gameplay in no way other than appearance and carry no stats.  Uniforms rewarded as a result of completing the in-game decks also do not affect gameplay and are purely cosmetic – they can be worn independently of any equipped abilities weapons, talismans and decks.

You can manipulate weapons, talismans and clothes from your character screen (C). Clothes use the Dressing Room menu under (C) as well.

gear_menuIn general, you should keep allocating SP under (K) to your chosen weapons and talismans (either bar) so you can equip better QL gear. Many players forget to allocate SP to talismans as well as weapons, but talismans play an important role in progressing your character. Skill levels in talismans should be at least as high as your weapons.


As mentioned earlier TSW does not use character levels or classes, but in practice players frequently refer to gear QL as the closest thing to levels in TSW.  That said, high QL gear won’t overcome a deck that synergizes poorly.

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.

Gear with slots for glyphs and signets can be augmented by placing the gear item along with the glyph or signet in the Assembly Screen (Y). You can replace glyphs or signets at any time, but the replaced glyph/signet will be destroyed. Glyphs can be crafted, but signets are only dropped. For more info, check out TSWDB’s crafting guide. In general, you should upgrade your gear with glyphs and signets as soon as possible to improve your overall stats.


Character Statistics

Character stats, the stats in each gear item (and in glyphs/signets) can get a bit complicated. Stats can be grouped into Offensive, Defensive and Healing categories. In general you’ll want to equip items and slot glyphs and signets that augment the deck theme, trinity role and playstyle you have chosen.  If you are slotting more healing and defensive gear, you will be sacrificing offensive power and may take more time to kill enemies.

As a rule of thumb, keeping your health around 3,000 balances pretty nicely with offensive power if you are taking on the base missions in the game.  Dungeons, raids, PvP and certain scenarios within the mission chain may require adjustment to this, so keeping spare gear with alternate stats can be useful.  You can power-down to play with friends new to the game simply by equipping lower QL gear.  Remember to save your favorite builds in Gear Management under (C) so you can quickly swap out alternate decks and gear sets.

Stats are modified by equipped items and active buffs or debuffs.

Offensive Stats

Combat Power
Combat Power is determined by your Attack Rating and Weapon Power.

Attack Rating
Attack Rating influences your Combat Power. Increasing this stat will increase the damage you do.

Weapon Power
Weapon Power influences your Combat Power. Increasing this stat will increase the damage you do.

Critical Rating
Critical Rating influences your Critical Chance. Increasing this stat will increase the probability of critical hits on your opponent.

Critical Chance
This is your chance of critically hitting with your attacks. It is determined by your Critical Rating. Your opponent can reduce your Critical Chance through their Enemy Crit Chance Percentage.

Crit Power Rating
Crit Power Rating influences your Crit Power. Increasing this stat will increase damage caused by your critical hits.

Crit Power
Crit Power is determined by your Crit Power Rating. It shows the increase in damage caused by your critical hits.

Hit Rating
Hit Rating competes against your opponent’s Defence Rating. If your Hit Rating is higher than your opponent’s Defence Rating, your opponent will have a harder time evading your attacks, and you will have a smaller chance of only scoring glancing hits on your opponent.

Enemy Evade Chance
Enemy Evade Chance is determined by your Hit Rating. It reduces your opponent’s chance to evade by the percentage shown.

Penetration Rating
Penetration Rating determines how often your attacks will penetrate. Your opponent can counter it with their Block Rating. Penetrating Hits bypass a portion of your opponent’s protection.

Defensive Stats

Evade Rating
Evade Rating influences your Evade Chance. Increasing this stat will increase your chance to fully avoid enemy attacks.

Evade Chance
Evade Chance is determined by your Evade Rating. Your opponent can reduce your Evade Chance through their Enemy Evade Chance percentage.

Physical Protection
This is your protection against physical Damage Attacks. It’s effectiveness depends on what kind of hit you take.

Magical Protection
This is your protection against Magical Damage Attacks. It’s effectiveness depends on what kind of hit you take.

Defence Rating
Defence Rating competes with your opponent’s Hit Rating. If your Defence Rating is higher than your opponent’s Hit Rating, your opponent will have a harder time critically hitting you and will have a higher probability of scoring glancing hits. Glancing hits do less damage than normal hits.

Enemy Crit Rating
Enemy Crit Chance is determined by your defence rating. It reduces your enemy’s chance to critically hit you by the percentage shown.

Block Rating
Block Rating determines your chance of blocking enemy attacks. Your opponent can counter this with their Penetration Rating. Blocked attacks do less damage.

Healing Stats

Healing Power
Healing Power is determined by your Healing Rating and Weapon Power.

Healing Rating
Healing Rating influences your Healing Power. Increasing this stat will increase the healing you do.

Weapon Power
Weapon Power influences your Healing Power. Increasing this stat will increase the healing you do.

Critical Rating
Critical Rating influences your Critical Chance. Increasing this stat will increase the probability that your heals will be critical heals.

Critical Chance
This is your chance of critically healing. It is determined by your Critical Rating. Critical heals do more healing.

Crit Power Rating
The Crit Power Rating influences your Crit Power. Increasing this stat will increase the healing caused by your critical heals.

Crit Power
Crit Power is determined by your Crit Power Rating. It shows the increase in healing your critical heals will cause.

Monster Rating

A very useful feature added in Update 10 was the revamp of the con (consider) system for enemies. You can access this information by mousing over the icon/name in the target display. The icons have very specific meanings, as well as the colours of the icons. Below you can find a basic table that shows what the icons mean. Note that the 1-5 players, 5 players and 10 player versions can also be mission monsters, boss monsters and rare bosses.



TSW’s quests, known as missions, require a bit more thought and may seem a little more difficult than in many MMOs. A mission may mark a particular area on the map but may leave you to your own devices to solve certain puzzles or perform certain actions. 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 use the in-game browser (B) to look up a piece of information.

Missions may test your critical thinking, reflexes, build/deck flexibility, situational awareness, understanding of the mission, your own character abilities or your knowledge of (or at least your ability to research) Egyptian Hieroglyphs!  Even the Action missions can have a bit of thought involved; if you find yourself getting knocked on your rear repeatedly, it’s probably because you have forgotten a key element that will help you get through the situation (you’ll probably kick yourself after you find out what it is, too!).  Missions are perhaps one reason why some talk of TSW being similar to single player games – mission challenges do share qualities with that genre.  That said, there are plenty of group challenges (more on that below).

It’s often not necessary, as it is in other MMOs, to “return to the hub” to turn in missions in TSW – you have a cellphone and can complete missions from anywhere. Think instead of the mission points as breadcrumbs rather than hubs – you can wander through the zone picking up as you go.

Missions usually have multiple tiers.  You can have one Story mission, one Dungeon mission, one Main mission, and three Side missions at any one time. Main missions can be Action, Investigation or Sabotage missions.

missionjournalThe Story mission carries through the entire game – you’ll do many more Main missions, Dungeons and Side missions before you complete the Story mission.  The Story mission also requires more frequent solo instances, so take your time with it, and don’t try to complete it in one fell swoop.  Action missions are definitely combat oriented while Sabotage missions typically require that you avoid combat and may involve some timing and dexterity.  Investigation missions require puzzle solving and research skills and can take some time if you want to avoid walkthroughs.

All missions with the exception of Side missions will have a cut-scene.  In TSW watching the scene is much more important than in many MMOs; some key information may be revealed.  Plus, they are generally quite entertaining and funny!

haydenYou can pause a mission by simply taking another mission. While the new mission will replace the old one, when you go back to the mission-giver later to pick up the old mission, it will be saved at the same tier you left it.  You can also check your Mission Journal (J) to see which missions have been paused.

Your Journal also saves the images you sometimes view at the different tiers of the mission, so you can always open it up to review them again; they often contain important clues.

mission_logUse the in-game 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 a checkbox to pick searches of just the TSW forums. If you are really stuck, you can use TSWDB’s mission guides (with hints).

browserPlease avoid spoilers to investigation missions in General chat. Many play the game for the puzzles and investigations, so 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.

A Note About Mission Difficulty

The difficulty (Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard, Very Hard, Devastating) of a mission is determined by your weapon and talisman skill levels.  If your skill levels are high and your gear QL is low, the difficulty shown could be very misleading.  In general try to keep your gear on par with your skill levels for accurate readings.

To prevent power-leveling, XP rewards vary depending on the difficulty of the mission:
Very Easy, Easy and Normal = 100% XP
Hard = 95% XP
Very Hard = 85% XP
Devastating = 35% XP

Most missions, with the exception of most story missions, can be repeated after a cooldown. If you ever need to farm a few more AP to buy an ability you need, it’s always okay to go back and do a few older missions.


You can start Sprint mode by pressing X. Upgrades to Sprint may be purchased from vendors at your faction HQ or from the cash shop (,).  In Update 1.11.3 enhancements to Sprint were added, which add two faster speeds to the game. Customizable Sprints were also added so that you can now select different vehicles or running animations to appear instead of the default running animation.


You can port back to the entrance to New York, London and Seoul using the Agartha Conduit you received (check your Inventory) in the opening mission at any time.

In Update 11 the Fast Travel System was introduced and the ability to use /reset to travel was removed.  Players may now use the Map (M) to select any Anima Well they have discovered and pay a small fee to Anima Leap to that well immediately.  The fee is nominal, but scales up slightly as you progress into later zones.  Fast Travel is not available within the PvP zones.  Using /reset or dying in combat now simply sends your character to the nearest Anima Well.


Pax Romana is the game currency but you also earn tokens which can be spent with some vendors. Click on the Tokens button at the bottom of the Inventory screen (I).

The Bank, Auction House and Postal Service are all in London – two locations, one at the Post Office near the subway and other past the Pangaeia clothes store. These services are all combined in TSW – see the three tabs when you connect to the Auction House.  If you are a member of a Cabal (TSW’s guilds), a fourth tab will also appear for the Cabal Bank.

bankThe Venice Council are the vendors out in the zones – remember that most zones have been cordoned off from the general public so normal commerce won’t be available except through the Council.  Look for the coin symbols on your map or for the guys in white suits and blue berets. There are of course many vendors within New York, London and Seoul as well as within your faction HQ.  All vendors (even soda machines) can repair gear.

veniceClothes shops are all in London – Pangaeia, the subway vendors, and with Update 11, the Haitian Square Market. You can also buy clothes in the cash shop (,) which is accessible from any location in the game.  The cash shop also sells other boosts and pets.  There are no combat pets in TSW.

Food & drink sold by vendors increases your heal rate out of combat, and some consumables, starting with Update 11, grant a 20-minute stat buff.  The stat increase will vary depending on the food or drink consumed.  In the Haitian Square in London, the demon in one of the stalls sells tacos in stacks of 50, and New York now has a hot dog vendor.

danteThe barbershop, Occam’s Razor is in London. The plastic surgeon, The Modern Prometheus, is located in New York. Refer to the maps below for the exact locations.


Grouping and Roleplaying

Players can group across dimensions (TSW’s servers) simply by right clicking a name in chat and selecting Invite to Group. As a result it’s less important to be on a particular dimension than in many MMOs. PvP is a special case (see below). TSW also allows grouping across faction with the exceptions of PvP and Cabals (guilds). Some Cabals have found a way around the cross-faction restriction.

Players can group anytime on missions, but there are certain tiers in the main story and some missions that require a solo instance.

Harder content most likely requiring a group are the dungeons, raids, lairs (open world, gear QL10+ areas marked on the map with a burned outline) and scenarios (danger simulators run by the Council of Venice).  In addition to those, TSW’s zones are a bit in different from many MMOs in that high- and low-difficulty content can overlap. With Update 11 there are also now marked areas on the map – note the gray background and dark borders – where endgame players farm for signets.  New players should beware, these areas (the marked area near the Kingsmouth airport is an example) are intended for players with QL10+ gear!

Dungeons still use the tank/dps/healer trinity; the difference in TSW is that any character can play any role provided he or she has the appropriate decks and gear.  There are three dungeon difficulties: Normal, Elite and Nightmare.  For Normal and Elite dungeons it’s easier to group using the Social tool (Shift+C), Group Finder tool (Shift+V), zone LFG channel, zone General channel or the global, player-hosted Sanctuary channel.

One note about the Social tool in TSW: while it functions like a bulletin board of players looking for group content, it does not automatically form groups and teleport you to the instance.  You can, once you have been invited to a group from the tool (or invite others to group yourself), click the menu next to a player’s name and select Meet Up to teleport to that player’s location and dimension.

The Group Finder tool was added in update 1.13.2, allowing players to queue for a specific or random dungeon, be automatically paired with a group, and transported to the instance.  Players may pick one or more preferred trinity roles for the dungeon, and should have the appropriate decks and gear available to equip beforehand.


Before you can participate in Nightmare-level dungeons, you must first pass the test with the Gatekeeper in Agartha (see the DPS and Healer Gatekeeper guides here on TSWDB). Once the Gatekeeper test is passed, the global, player-hosted Noobmares channel is great for getting started. Vets often use the Agartha LFG channel for grouping for Nightmares, but the Group Finder tool now allows for autogrouping for Nightmare dungeons.

During in-game events join the event channel to see what’s happening where.

Joining Global Chat Channels

Some handy commands for global chats are listed below. The Sanctuary channel in particular is very friendly to newcomers and always welcomes questions in-game:
/chat join sanctuary
/chat join noobmares
/chat join event
/chat join pvp

The chat abbreviation guide on the TSW forums may be helpful, and you can type /help in the chat screen to see the full list of slash commands.  You may also want to check the Sanctuary and Noobmares forum threads to see about creating an in-game script for joining these channels.

You can invite someone to your group by right clicking the name in the chat and selecting Invite to Group.  You can ignore a player by right clicking a name and selecting Ignore. You can friend someone by right clicking and selecting Make Friend.

Players can teleport directly to another’s location and dimension typically on an invite during an event or dungeon run by right-clicking a character’s name in chat (or the menu in the Friends screen) and picking Meet Up.

meetupThe equivalent of guilds in TSW is Cabals. The Cabal forums are a great resource for signing up for a cabal though sometimes cabals also recruit in Kingsmouth and Agartha General chat or on the Sanctuary channel.

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.  Agartha is cross-dimension so you will tend to see lots of activity just outside the three cities.


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.  The main differences between factions in-game are the Story mission and cut-scenes, deck uniforms, mission text, faction recruiter cellphone calls and some faction-specific missions.


In TSW any player can craft and disassemble any item. There are no crafting professions, levels or crafting stations. Players can instead craft anywhere using the Assembly Screen (Y).  You create items by assembling materials into different patterns on the Parts grid, applying a Toolkit, and assembling the materials into the final item.  For more detail see TSWDB’s crafting guide which gives illustrations and instructions for many crafting patterns.

Crafting_AssemblyWindowNearly all items can be broken down into materials. To do this, place the weapon into the Item slot of the Assembly Screen and click on the Disassemble button.

All glyphs, consumables and crafting toolkits have quality levels (QL) just like weapons and talismans. Items that are too low QL cannot be disassembled.

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. Toolkit types include Weapon, Talisman, Glyph, Consumable, Gadget (Stimulants), Firework and Casting (for Remodeling Weapons).  While crafting toolkits have a QL (and color: green, blue or purple) which will determine the QL of the resulting talisman, weapon, glyph or 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. Players can upgrade 5 lower-tiered materials into one of the next higher tier. You can disassemble materials as well but will create only 4 lower-tiered items for one higher tiered material.



PvP requires quite a bit of explanation so it’s probably best to thoroughly read the Beginner’s Guide to TSW’s PvP on the official forums as well as visit the general PvP forum.  Also check out TSWDB’s PvP builds and the Builds & Decks forum for advice on creating PvP decks and equipping gear better suited to PvP; there are significant differences between PvP and PvE builds.

The large persistent PvP Warzone is Fusang (max. of 75 players per faction), while Stonehenge (5-players per faction king-of-the-hill), Eldorado (10 players per faction capture-the-flag), and, with Update 1.13.2, Shambala (10v10 mixed-faction teams last-man-standing) are the three Battlefields.  There are also three Fight Clubs, one each within New York, London and Seoul.  With the exception of Shambala, players may not group across faction within PvP zones.  Players can access the warzones through the Secret War screen (P).



Fusang Battlegroups

As of today the Fusang instances are divided among dimensions as follows. This could change as server populations fluctuate:

Battlegroup A: Cerebus, Grim, Arcadia and Drac

Battlegroup B: Daemon, Huldra, Leviathan and Kobold


You can loot the area by pressing (V).

You can switch out of combat mode by pressing (`)

You can toggle reticle-mode targeting by pressing (T).

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.  (Q) to strafe left and (E) to strafe right.  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 telegraphs. Magic can be cast while moving.

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.

TSW supports addons – take a look at the Interface and Mods forum.

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  • Guest

    There is a typo in 3)

    Should be: “from non-equipped WEAPON’S passives” or rephrased completely

    • Wolfpack48

      Thanks for catching that. Rephrased for clarity.

  • Guernley

    Excellent guide! Will share with my friend who’s just starting.

  • Goodmorgan

    This guide is excellent. I arrived here through the link Wolfpack48 made in the sticky on the official newcommers forum. Thanks!

  • siksak

    Awesome guide, however it is no longer needed to friend players to meet up on them. Just rightclick and Meet Up now. Keep up the good work *o/*

    • Wolfpack48

      Hey there — thanks for that. I thought I remembered reading that update had been made, so nice to confirm it’s in. Updated the section to reflect the news. :)

  • Vysehrad

    Thanks for this. This game is a big change coming from other MMOs.