The Secret World Strategy and Tactics Guide by Thrythlind
The strategy and tactics of the game appear fairly simple at this point in the game, but you?re going to have to keep your eyes out. The fluidity of the skill wheel system means you can adapt to new situations quickly, but you still have to have some level of foresight to deal with the situations that we?re going to be finding.
A lot of the later stuff is pretty basic, general combat stuff for these kind of games, but the first stuff is very important and I can?t stress enough: watch, study, remember everything you see.
1. Study the enemy tactics
Mechanics and tactics used by lesser creatures will tend to get picked up later by more dangerous foes. The first time you see a particular attack mode or tactic, it might not be too serious. Ignoring the AoE warning from the zombies in the graveyard might hurt but you?ll probably be able to power through it. Later enemies, however, might lay on more serious problems onto your character.
2. Study the environmental hazards
If one mission has a particular hazard, then later missions will likely have the same hazard. So keep an eye out for what the hazard looks like and remember how you dealt with it. When you come to a new area pay attention to the look of the terrain and try to connect it with places you have seen in the past.
3. Expect the hazards to mix eventually.
Currently, there hasn?t been that much mixing between environmental and enemy-based hazards, but I expect that will change quickly as we move on. At least one of the marketing videos has enemies that pull you into environmental hazards.
4. Learn your AoE types
So far there are three types of AoE warnings that I have seen: targeted radius, PBAoE radius and cone.
Targeted radius begins it?s radius around the feet of a specific player target.
PBAoE radius ranges around the enemy caster.
Cone emits outward in one direction from the enemy caster.
5. Whenever possible, avoid AoE so that you still have a target to fire at
This is easier for ranged since they can pretty much strafe or back pedal and still keep in range to attack. Melees need to be aware if they can close with the enemy while stepping out of AoE.
For example, with any cone, a melee player should try to step or jump behind the enemy. He is now safe from the AoE (though the triggering animation that follows might worry you) and still has some shots at the enemy?s back while that animation goes on.
Likewise, enemies with targeted radius abilities may sometimes fail to cover themselves in the radius.
6. Expect to have less time and warning
A Draug Lord on land has a pretty clear warning circle emitting. A Draug Lord in water is much harder to catch and sometimes by the time he?s rising out of the muck, it?s already too late.
Also, a watch of some of the later walkthroughs put out by funcom shows that in some cases, the warning is a brief flash of a circle and the enemy animation. The secondary circle, the one that tells us how long we have, never appears and the first circle is only briefly there.
This is the case where studying earlier opponents is crucial. If several wandering mobs have a near-invisible AoE warning, then note their animations and timings as much as possible. Expect those animations and timings to be used later in a much more dangerous way.
7. Know your role for the fight. (note, have not grouped yet, so this is general suggestions from other games)
The holy trinity is typically Damage/Tanking/Healing, but should better be described as Damage/Control/Support.
In each case their are two overall varieties of these roles:
Damage ? boss-killers and mob-sweepers
Control ? front-line tankers and back rank controllers
Support ? offensive and defensive.
The roll of Control characters, tanks and CC, is flow and location. A good tank or CC character should have as complete control as possible over where the battle happens and how many enemies it is necessary to handle at once.
Damage is a secondary concern of control characters. Control characters should focus less on finishing individual enemies and more on keeping as many enemies as possible occupied. Tanks should switch targets frequently in order to spread the aggro. CC should be spread out as much as is practical.
Tanks need to be handling as much of the initial aggro as possible, CC needs to inhibit specific danger characters and keep an eye out for flanking and reinforcements or supporting ranged damage dealers. Lacking reinforcements, flanking or ranged enemies, the CC should lay their targets down around the tank to enhance the main area of control.
The role of Support characters is to either buff the heroes or debuff the enemies. Oddly enough, this is not the splitting line between offensive and defensive. Together they affect combat pacing.
A defensive support character primarily supports the Control characters by making it possible to survive for a longer amount of time. Defensive casters will increase team defenses, lay barriers, heal, improve evade chance as well as reducing the enemies? attack rates, to hit rates, damage levels and so on. Defensive supporters need to be aware of team health levels more than offensive ones. Over all, defensive support characters slow the enemy?s pace. IE: They make it take longer to kill you
An offensive support character primarily supports the Damage characters by making it harder for the enemy to survive a longer amount of time. They do this by buffing friendly damage, to hit and attack rates and by debuffing enemy resistances and defenses. Offensive supporters should be aware more of enemy life levels because an enemy that is about to die is one that doesn?t need to be debuffed as much as one that is fairly fresh. Offensive support speeds up the team?s pace, basically making it take less time to kill the enemy. Powers that build resources for the team, if these exist, would be offensive.
The role of damage, of course, is to kill things.
Mob-cleaners take out as many of the enemies as possible, using as much AoE as possible. I tend to refer to these as satellites (melee that hangs around tank and spams AoE) or artillery (ranged AoE). They are less concerned with particular targets and more concerned with laying down a field of fire. Artillery should focus first on enemy ranged types staying out of the melee and then focus around the tank,
Boss-killers are the single-target damage dealers, which I tend to refer to as snipers and torpedoes. And, despite the name of this type of damage, boss-killers should first focus on dangerous lesser enemies rather than the boss. For example, status effect and buffing enemies should be the first targets of these types of character. If the control and defensive support characters are doing their job, then the actual boss will be tied up a while. The lesser critters are still dangerous, meanwhile, and are easier to kill. So torpedoes and snipers should first focus on clearing priority minions before moving to the boss. Everything gets easier if you can focus on a single foe.
Given that we have seen instances where the enemy can get reinforcements (based on released vids), it is advisable to perhaps leave one sniper/torpedo on the boss as much as possible, while the others will split off anytime reinforcements appear. However, the sniper is more ideal for this since torpedoes, being melee, will be more survivable without the tank.