SWL – City of the Sun God

Moving along in SWL, instead of working for a mummy I’m now working for a family of statues.

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I think in the relaunch FunCom revamped the flow of this city. Players used to complain about how annoying it was to move around, but now, when you accept a quest from on of the statues, there is a portal just steps away that takes you to the new location. And when finishing, there is a portal to take you back. I get the feeling that previously you were stuck criss-crossing the map and that can be tough/annoying since this city has cliffs and canyons all over so you might find yourself stuck at an unclimbable wall. (I don’t seem to take any falling damage in SWL, I just jump right off various heights and land with no problem).

The new quest flow for the main storyline is essentially find each god’s statue around the central ring and do a quest for them.

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One of the early missions was to free slaves, accomplished by freeing a golem and them helping them beat down enemies. By the final stage I had 3 helper golems fighting with me, and that’s pretty fun.

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It’s not an MMO until you fight a giant spider. 😉

Anyway, I’m almost through the “Black Sun, Red Sand” storyline mission… I should be advancing soon.

 

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SWL – Annoying Quests

I advanced in the Scorched Desert, catching up to where I left off in TSW.

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This is the exact spot where I logged off my Dragon character in TSW, to resume as a Templar in SWL. From here on out everything will be new to me!

The storyline has me working some errands for Saïd, who is… a mummy. He wears modern clothing, uses a cell phone, hangs out under an umbrella on top of a hotel, but all the same, he’s a mummy, just one that wears a white suit instead of bandages. I kinda hope we get more background on what’s going on.

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One task he set me to, which is required for advancing the storyline, is the quest “A Time To Every Purpose”. The summary is you travel back in time in order to clone and steal a relic for him, in exchange for information.

Except this quest is broken in addition to being annoying. If you are spotted by guards, you are sent back to the start which means 1-2 mins just getting back to where you can try again. The broken part comes from the crafting portion, where you craft a fake relic in order to substitute in.

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I tried a half dozen times but couldn’t get the “assemble” button to work. I got the various ingredients again, moved everything around in the crafting area, tried adding the central piece first/last… finally I gave up and googled. And I found a reddit thread of players complaining about how broken this quest is. I tried the /reloadui quick fix but that didn’t work for me, so I followed the steps in the top post and was able to craft the ancile, thankfully, otherwise I’d be stuck unable to advance the storyline.

Now I’m just stuck with an undeleteable “umno” leftover from the quest, but at least it is in the mission inventory instead of my regular inventory.

I kept going, eventually reaching the Last Train to Cairo mission. It involved fighting on a train, dodging obstacles, and was easily 300% too long. As in, 2/3rds of this mission could be chopped out with no loss, because it is so repetitive.

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I was more relieved than excited to advance by the time I kicked Abdel from the train.

Anyway, I’m level 40 now, and the next tier of the storyline is entering the City of the Sun God!

SWL – Scorched Desert

I’ve been lollygagging in SWL but I buckled down and reached the Scorched Desert. Again, if you count my previous char in TSW. 😉

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After defeating Beaumont I was transported to the ice cave, which I think it cool and atmospheric. There are some memories you can trigger, and the narration for each is all about power – what true power is like and how you can have power if you just accept the gift…

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And I said heck yes! If some mysterious group is offering me untold power, I’m going to take it. 😀

What exactly I’ve done isn’t revealed yet – perhaps it will come clear in the future storyline. For now, I’m back in the furthest zone I’ve been to in TSW/SWL, and I’m determined to keep going.

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To get here, I decided midway through Savage Coast to just beeline the story. I did all these quests already and will come back later to finish off the achievements for exploration and questing. I reached level 30 during the Blue Mountain section of the storyline, which is what I needed to advance so I kept on going, and am now level 31 newly arrived in Egypt.

I still plan to advance the storyline as much as possible. It gives good AP/SP rewards, plus I’m sure I’ll hit a level barrier soon. I plan to keep the side questing to a minimum in an effort to see more of the game and story.

SWL – Jack

SWL is running a Halloween-themed event, consisting of login rewards, Jack raid (single room boss fight similar to the bird event), pumpkin reward (open a pumpkin every time you kill Jack), and some sort of Catgod Cats quest that I haven’t figured out yet. I’ll look around.

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Here is a group waiting for the event to begin.

Anyway, I find these kinds of events fun. Low time commitment, regular schedule. So I try to participate at least once a day. SWL gives a buff so characters of all levels can participate.

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The fight is one of those chaotic events where everybody just spams their rotation until the boss dies. The skill effects in SWL are colorful and sometimes I’ll zone out while fighting and watch the fireworks created by everyone else. It’s fun and the rewards are decent for the time spent!

Anyway, as much as I like to complete zones before moving on, I decided to skip the last third of Savage Coast and just move on to Blue Mountain. I’ve done this before in TSW and want to get to the Scorched Desert and start seeing new stuff. Back in TSW I barely made it to the Scorched Desert and probably only did 25% of the quests.

I’m higher level that the minimum for the tier I’m on (level 25 to enter Blue Mountain and I’m level 27) so after the Halloween event I’ll follow the storyline until I need to level up.

SWL – Lockboxes

Lockboxes seem to be a current topic. Implementations may differ between games, but I’m coming to view them rather skeptically in Secret World Legends. In that game, the lockboxes are known as Infernal Caches, drop randomly from enemies, and can contain a variety of items: cosmetics, pets, mounts, weapons, potions, and distillates. What are distillates you ask? Ah, think of those as injectable XP for your weapons and/or talismans.

The enemies in SWL don’t drop much loot that I’ve noticed, other than the occasional infernal cache. You get random items, experience, and currency by completing missions (a system I do like) and as I mentioned previously, you feed XP into your weapons and talismans to level them up. This is similar to leveling a legendary item in LoTRO, with the huge difference that deconstructing a legendary in LoTRO gives you some random amount of experience back, but does not in SWL.

So if you level up a green item, fuse it to blue, level that to max, repeat, then find something you’d rather use (say it has different/better stats for your preferred role), your previous item is treated like nothing special when you assemble or fuse. The UI does give a warning at least.

I’ve found infernal caches reliably give some currency (shards), potions, and distillates. I’ve always received shards and distillates, the other stuff appears to be much lower chance. Those distillates are a major portion of the item improvement system, so being able to open these infernal caches is important.

But they require a cache key, and those are on sale for about 150 Aurum. In real money, each key is around $1.50. I say around because when you buy Aurum, you get a slight bonus buying larger amounts.

I’m not 100% sure if cache keys are obtainable in game, from dungeons/lairs/raids or what have you. I think they can be purchased at auction, but what is the source? Are they like EVE Plexes which can also be bought/sold but if you trace back to the genesis of the item, somebody bought it with real money?

Patrons (subscribers) get 1 cache key per day, and since I’m a Patron via previous grandmaster status, I get my cache key per day and use it. It isn’t a problem to find an infernal cache – I don’t even play that much per week and I am sitting on 40 of them, after opening 10 from keys I bought plus 1 every day, just from questing around Kingsmouth, the starter zone!

I think it’s fair to say that on average, I get an infernal cache from a random mob I had to kill while completing a mission. So they aren’t exactly rare since mowing through the enemies for a typical mission will result in at least one cache. As far as improving items, a cache is about as much as a mission reward – roughly, as caches tend to drop distillates while missions reward items.

There were missions (Appetite for Destruction, defending against waves of 20+ mobs) where the monsters dropped 4 caches, as in the pic below:

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It wasn’t uncommon to kill a group of 4 zombies and find 2 caches from them:

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I don’t mind supporting games I like, so I bought 10 keys and worked down my pile of caches. However, I’m not buying $60 more keys to open the other 40 caches.

I get that companies need monetization strategies, but tying RMT to item quality improvement (the only way to an item’s quality, for 2500 Aurum i.e. $25 per item) and throttling the opening of the reasonably common infernal caches to 1 per day for Patrons (without buying more keys) just doesn’t sit well. The distillates that are basically in every cache are a huge boost to item advancement!

I’ve seen complaints about advancement tied to gamble boxes, well I can see and understand the issue now. I’m not sure what other games do but I’m used to the random boxes from LoTRO, they are rare drops indeed. And the LoTRO gold/silver daily rewards are fairly minor as well. I think there would be an uproar if locked boxes started falling 20% of the time and each one included heritage runes. Oh, keys are for sale in the item store and subscribers get one per day. Because that’s kind of the system in SWL.

I mean, you can get by ignoring them but all your gear, both weapons, all talismans, won’t advance and nearly the same rate without distillates.

SWL – Kingsmouth

I’m moving along slowly through the first zone of Secret World Legends. I reached level 11 and need to get to 12 to advance in the storyline, so I just need a bit of questing to get there.

I like the questing in SWL, the quests seem reasonably integrated into the game world. Sure, SWL has the “kill X enemies” quest (for example, Draugnet – linked to the legacy site since I can’t find it on the new site) but many make good sense: find survivors and help them defend their home, help resupply ammo.

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Heck, regular “deliver the item” quests start at an abandoned post office truck with two packages laying on the ground.

Power

I’m having a much easier time in SWL at this point that I did with TSW at the same point. Part of that is familiarity with the game… many systems have changed, but I have a better idea of how to improve my character.

Speaking of changed systems… where to start?!

Crafting has been replaced from a fairly novel system where you had to arrange components in various shapes in order to craft the desired item. Now it looks like components are gone (thank goodness, they were taking up a third of my inventory in TSW) and replaced by quest rewards and an item xp system where you move up in tiers by maxing and them combining items. I think this is an improvement: streamlined and a lot less junk taking up space.

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The skill wheel has also been replaced with a more linear system of unlocking active and passive skills. I’m using pistols/fist and am working on unlocking the capstone pistol ability as well as pistol passives. A build used to have 7 passive skills but now it is 5 passive skills.

Gear used to be rated from quality level 1 to 10, i.e. QL1 to QL10 (and then 10.1, 10.2 etc) but now items are rated on rarity and quality. Rarity is a color system: green, blue, purple, etc. Getting a blue item required fusing 2 max item level green items, and so on up the scale. Quality is from 1 to 3, represented as dots as well as name, so a 1-dot weapon will be “XYZ Mk I” and a 3-dot weapon will be “XYZ Mk III”. The upgrade here results in more powerful effects. It is possible to upgrade quality levels for gear, but it takes Aurum, which I believe is a real-money purchase from Funcom. For more in-depth information check out the guide to upgrading gear from the SWL subreddit.

Another big change is having character levels at all. In TSW it was all how many skills/abilities unlocked and what Quality Level your weapons and jewelry was.

I’m sure other stuff has changed but these are the systems I noticed immediately.

Anyway, the reason I’m having an easier time right now is I’ve been using item xp upgrades from Infernal Caches (I get a key a day due to my Patron status, which in turn derives from being a Grandmaster from TSW) to power up my items. And right now my main weapon is a 2-dot blue level 24 pistol; I’m basically mowing down everything in Kingsmouth without much trouble at all.

I’m tempted to buy another blue pistol, level it to max (in the case of blue weapons, level 25), so I can fuse a purple one. Also, I can do something similar to upgrade my offhand weapon, currently fist. I’ll check out the auctions and what it’ll cost me!

SWL – Flappy the Chaotic Raid

SWL is running a special event: The Whispering Tide. It’s a one-room boss fight, with a few adds here and there, that goes off every hour. I didn’t think I could participate, as a level 2 or 3, but I saw that as long as you reach Jack Boone (and presumably take his quest), you can enter and get boosted if you are low level.

Jack Boone… oh yeah, he’s the “last cowboy” outside Kingsmouth, who gives you the Fistful of Zombies quest. He’s essentially the very first quest giver past the tutorial. I was that far along so I could participate!

It’s nicknamed Flappy by the playerbase since the boss is a giant raven that swoops in and does some area attacks before landing. The he continues area attacks, summons some adds, and flies off only to repeat.

The entry is reachable from jump portal outside the central Agartha tree, so a few minutes before the hour I jumped over and found a large crowd waiting for the doors to open.

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The fight itself is basically use every skill on cooldown, avoid standing in telegraphs/filth, and well to be honest, you’ll just get one-shot sometimes so run back and rejoin.

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It’s crazy and not all that strategic, but you know what? It was fun and I do appreciate that the devs let everybody participate in this quickie raid. It’s also fun to see a crazy number of players and their skill animations all trying to take down the various monsters.

The reward is some XP, and the ability to open one of the crates from the event login reward.

Builds

I made two characters, but SWL is fairly unfriendly to alts. One character, Holgren “Komorebi” Angrado – Holgren Angrado is from Michael McClung’s Amra Thetys series which I enjoyed very much – is the one I linked from TSW mostly to reserve the name, so he started with all weapons unlocked. That’s also the character I redeemed the shadow-bound weapons on, from the ARG before launch, so he also has decent starter weapons of every type! Meanwhile my other character, Amra “Tsundoku” Thetys has none of that.

Holgren joined the Templars while Amra joined the Illuminati. I’ve barely seen anything of either faction (I was Dragon in TSW) and I’m kinda leaning towards Illuminati based on how cool I think their NYC base looks, but I hear the Templars have good faction quests and ultimately it doesn’t really matter that much.

But since Holgren has such a huge advantage over Amra as far as weapons and weapon unlocks, I’m going to play Holgren. He’s using a magic build right now, elemental and chaos, since SWL makes you pick a class during char creation, but I want to switch to a build with mitigation/healing.

I played through short videos for each weapon and four have extra effect mini-game mechanics that don’t appeal to me right now: Assault Rifle, Elemental, Blood, Blade. Elemental and Blood remind me of the LoTRO Runekeeper mechanic of attunement, which might be fine but I’d like to keep things simple for now. Blade looks like a “beserker/rampage/adrenalin” weapon where you want to keep fighting to keep the buff going… not really my playstyle. Assault Rifle looks like I’d spend a lot of time eyeing grenade status in a fight.

On the other side of the spectrum, Hammer and Chaos look simpler since the special bonus appears to auto-apply. The other weapons, Fist, Shotgun, Pistol, are in between as far as complexity of the mini-game.

Thus, my preferred main weapon will be Hammer, Chaos, Fist, Shotgun, Pistol as primary and then something healing as secondary. Of the weapons on my preferred list, Fist is the healing weapon. So I plan to switch to Pistol/Fist to have a range attack and some healing as well, and see how that goes.

I’m not opposed to eventually using the four “complicated” weapons, just not right now. The game is familiar (quests and zones I’ve seen) and yet new (changed combat mechanics) so I’ll keep it simplified until I get to Blue Mountains or Scorched Desert and see how my build is doing.