The Secret World likes to hide many things and the intricacies of the gear system and it’s implications are sadly a bit lacking in information when you start out. Keeping with the theme of guides for new players, I’m posting this to explain how the gear system works and how to use it to build your character.
On the surface, gear in Tsw seems to work like in any other MMO. You have the classic green, blue, purple color chart and the gear is split in 11 different tiers, Quality Levels in-game, from QL0 to QL10. Under normal circumstances you can safely assume that a QL2 item is better than a QL1 item and that blue gear is better than green gear.
But there’s a catch here. Remember how the Secret World has no level and only relies on skills? If you think about it for a moment you’ll realize that skills by themselves gives no stat to your character and that your character won’t improve simply by getting more skill and AP points. The mobs however, do keep getting stronger as you progress through the game so the only way to improve the bases stats of your character is through gear.
The catch? Well, if for example you are a dps and you focus solely on dps stats to the exclusion of all the rest, you could be decked out in epic QL10 gear and still have the health pool of a character that has just been created. I haven’t actually done top-tier content yet but I suspect that you need a bit more health to survive there.
Gear slots explained
Now that we have the obvious out-of-the-way, namely that you need to round out your character with your gear, I’ll talk about the gear slots on your character and how they play in making sure your character is well-rounded.
Your character gear is split into three slots: 1 Headgear slot, 3 Major Items slots and 3 Minor items slots in that order of how much stats each piece of gear hold. What I mean is that gear for the Headgear slot has more stats than a Major item will of the same quality level. Weapons are roughly equivalent to a Headgear slot in how much stats they have but they have less flexibility when it comes to stats so most guides leave them out of the gearing dance.
The gear plan
In the end, how you chose to gear will have a lot to do with what are doing at the moment. For questing you might prefer a more well-rounded approach with a good mix health, defense and offensive stats and if you’re doing an instance with tight dps checks you might prefer only getting the minimum health and then having as much dps as possible. Tsw let’s you save gear sets and quite a few people have reported that as you progress through the game you start having multiple gear sets for different encounters.
There’s a general approach by gear slot that I found that seems to work well that can save you some of the headaches of having to choose individually how to go about gear. Note that I’m talking mainly about the primary stats of the gear piece. If you find a piece of gear with a ton of health and some offensive stats for your dps spec, then all the better!
- Weapon slots: Weapons are less versatile and some abilities are based on the stats of the weapon you are carrying. Weapons stats should reflect the primary role you have chosen whether tanking, dps or heals.
- Headgear slot: As the one slot with the biggest stats that is not tied to weapons you should consider it as your “here’s my priority” slot. What I mean is that you should choose your head slot based on what you consider is the most important for your character right now. You can either further specialize your character and give him a real edge in an area or use that slot to truly open up some other options like survivability or damage mitigation.
- Major item slots: The round-up slots. These slots should be used to round out your character. So if you plan on being a high-end dps, this is where you’ll have your +health items for example. As a general rule of thumb, use two of these slots for health items and the last one to get some other stats like defence, resistance, etc… If you used your headgear slot already to round out your character, you may want to consider using one of your slot here to add some punch to your primary role.
- Minor items slots: Fine tuning. Minor items should be used primarily to support your main role by fine tuning some stats or to get a particular stat needed for an encounter. Think you need a bit more hit? This is the place to get it. Really need magic resistance for boss? Again, Minor items is where it’s at.
I’m going to end this post with a little recap. Weapons and headgear should be used for your main role. Major slots should get you the other stats outside your main role and minor items are there for fine tuning. Hope this helps!