The Secret World: Issue #8 First Impressions

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With today’s launch of The Secret World‘s Issue #8: The Venetian Agenda, things are getting quite crowded in the damp, musty underbelly of the Queen of the Adriatic Sea. I jumped in right after the maintenance period ended today to have a look around, and what follows are my first impressions of the new Scenario and Augment systems and a few tips I picked up. Spoilers likely abound.

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As a subscriber, the first thing I did upon logging in was to pick up the DLC from the in-game Item Store. A modest fee of 1080 Funcom Points allowed me to unlock all three of the Scenarios made available in Issue #8. After double-clicking the Issue #8 token that appeared in my inventory, and entering Agartha, I received a phone call inviting me to Venice. The Venice Portal can be found directly below the Seoul Portal; just run straight out from the Seoul Portal and drop down to the branch below. Above the Venice Portal you’ll find the first piece of new lore. Getting to it takes some tricky jumping.

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Once you enter the Portal you’ll find yourself in a long, overgrown hallway. As you run down it you’ll come across the second piece of new lore, and a cut scene that introduces you to Arturo Castiglione will trigger. Good stuff in here and I won’t spoil any of it for you. The shocked look on Chucho’s face above should be enough.

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After the cut scene you can proceed down the hallway toward the start of your life running Scenarios. Given that there are three new vendors with hoards of clothes, QL10 Purple gear, new QL10.1 Purple Waist Talismans and accompanying signets, not to mention all those Augments you are going to want to unlock (and they ain’t cheap), I venture to say all your time between now and Tokyo will be spent down here.

The new vendors do not take the Credits of Ca’ d’Oro. Instead a new currency, Aureus of Initiation, has been introduced for everything they have on offer (along with some PAX in some cases). One vendor, a vending machine actually, offers turrets and heals to be used in Scenarios, along with some Rogue Code Snippets whose purpose I’m not quite sure of yet. In addition to this vending machine are two Ministers of Ca’ d’Oro. The one to the right of the Console sells the now typical new Issue goodies: a QL10.1 Purple Waist Talisman for tank, heals, and DPS, along with a matching signet, Augment Amplifier Kits, for upgrading Augments to their varying levels, Venetian Tactical Armor pieces, a new Title, and The Council’s Seal (which you will need to enter Tokyo, I believe). The other Minister, to the left of the Console, sells QL10 Purple Talismans and Weapons for tank, heals, and DPS. Seems like this just might be a hint of what things will be like in Tokyo.

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The first thing you’ll want to do is pick up the quest above the Console, indicated by a new orange Scenario icon (which will take up your one allotted Dungeon Quest slot). This quest will walk you through initializing and entering your first Scenario. The quest is complete once you’ve access the Console, selected the parameters for the Scenario you wish to run, and entered one of the simulation chambers.

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I chose Seek and Preserve (currently the only Objective available), The Hotel, Normal, and Solo, synched up my belt, said a quick prayer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and dove right in. I will not say the encounter is easy, but I was pleasantly surprised to have at least completed it, with a Bronze certification, while only dying once. All this, mind you, not knowing what the hell I was doing and running around like a Draugr with his head cut off.

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Flushed with victory, however dependent upon the epidermal layer of my upper incisors it may have been, I jumped right into The Mansion, also on Normal and Solo difficulty. I did manage to learn a little from the previous Scenario (and there are also less survivors to contend with here than there), so this one felt a little easier though I still died once before the end. I did, however, complete it with a Silver certification.

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I didn’t have time on my lunch hour to complete The Castle, but I did load it up and enter it (with the same difficulty settings as the previous two), so that I could at least have a screenshot for this post. I did learn a great deal form the previous two Scenarios, so I’ll highlight the main points that seemed universal to all Scenarios here:

  • Use the first minute before Phase 1 starts (locating survivors) to get an idea of where they’ll be. They’ll spawn where the light blue honeycombs are.
  • There are speed boost all around the map. Try to save them for running between the barricades in Phase 2. They respawn, but slowly. Use these whenever you come across them.
  • You’ll come across Council of Venice crates. Target them and bust them open. Inside are heals for survivors, mines, and turrets. These will help you a great deal through the 3 Waves of Phase 2.
  • When fighting the waves, try to keep them away from the survivors. Some of them drop AoEs while alive or upon death that will kill your survivors even after the mobs are dead.
  • Each Wave ends with a Boss. Many of them have abilities that should be interrupted whenever possible. It was on the bosses that I died the two times.
  • The Waves run directly toward the nearest group of survivors from where they spawn. Watch the minimap for a target reticle that shows where they are spawning. Groups of survivors are marked with a dot on the same map. Being able to grab aggro on the Waves quickly will also help a lot.
  • Go into the Scenario with your inventory as empty as possible. The Augments drop as loot from killing mobs and bosses during Phase 2 and you don’t want to miss one.
  • Loot everything (see above): the Scenarios appear to be a great source for crafting materials.
  • The stuff that drops from the Council of Venice crates is removed from your inventory when you leave the Scenario, so there is no need to collect anything you didn’t use.
  • I didn’t see any other lore items, other than the first two I mentioned. I also didn’t fully explore the Scenario locations, so it’s possible there are lore items inside the simulations, but I’m not sure. There’s a third lore in The Sunken Library, between some fallen bookcases, and there are indeed lores in the Scenarios. See lore locations here.

I was awarded 4 Aureus of Initiation for a Bronze certification, and 6 Aureus of Initiation for a Silver. The Council’s Seal costs 80 Aureus of Initiation, so it doesn’t seem like it’ll take a whole lot of work to gain access to Tokyo. That said, there are so many other things for sale on those two vendors (including all that QL10 Purple gear) that, as I said before, there is going to be tons of time spent on The Secret World‘s Holodeck.

My tactic of rapidly ambulating headless Draugr seemed to mostly work, but I can bet that over the coming days and weeks we’ll see all manner of strategies and tactics arise as more and more folks dive into Scenarios. Any I discover I will surely post, and I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with.

Welcome to Venice, bitches.


15 Comments

  1. seth November 7, 2013 4:19 pm  Reply

    Awesome initial impressions, and thanks for the strategy tips! Really excited to jump into this a little tonight. Just for clarification – the waist talisman you can buy is a custom piece you can upgrade with BB?

    • Tenten November 7, 2013 4:26 pm  Reply

      You’re welcome! I didn’t figure out what to do with the Council of Venice crates until the second run through. Figured I’d save other folks the same pain.

      As to the upgradability of the waist talisman, I’m not sure. Are the the two talismans from Issues 6 & 7 upgradable? If so, then I bet this new waist is too.

      • seth November 8, 2013 8:07 am  Reply

        Yep the 6 & 7 talismans are upgradeable, they say Custom in the item window.

        I didn’t get the time with scenarios last night I’d hoped for, but I have my fingers crossed for tonight. I did jump in for a minute and try to get that first lore at the portal. How’d you get it?? The jumps are killing me. I think you might have to jump from the NM platform, but needs more testing..

        • Tenten November 8, 2013 10:22 am  Reply

          I got it by repeatedly jumping up the right side of the Venice portal. There’s a very small spot where you catch. A couple of guildies did it up the right side; same thing. There’s a tiny spot where you’ll catch. It helps to have sprint on.

          • Rowan November 11, 2013 8:05 pm 

            Sorry much delayed, I got it by dropping from above, running along the edge by Seoul and dropping off angled toward the trunk. Took several tries.

  2. Ocho November 7, 2013 9:52 pm  Reply

    These scenarios definitely handed me my ass on the first attempts. Bronze on the Hotel, and failed the other 2. Being squishy and finding it hard to grab aggro makes these really tricky. I ended up with two augments, but they both said they needed other augments to function… so it might be a while before I get my first usable augment.

    • Tenten November 8, 2013 10:19 am  Reply

      Yeah. You need to spend SP in the appropriate augment type for the augment level you’re trying to add in order to use them. And then you have to have enough AP to activate it. I’ve got six augments, all healing and support, and I’d dumped all my SP into damage augments so I can’t yet use them.

      My survival build seems to be holding up ok. Got gold on hotel silver on mansion. I failed castle, though. Crazy hard.

      • Ocho November 8, 2013 10:29 am  Reply

        You’re also a tank, too. I think that has a lot to do with it. I need to farm AP so I can try a tank/healing build of some kind. Too bad the hour-long failure lockout makes it feel like I can’t use the scenarios to “experiment” with builds, which is a damn shame, as experimentation feels like the entire point of the scenarios…

        Bah. I’m just grouchy about it now, as it feels like the ridiculous up-hill climb I have ahead, just to become semi-competent at them is overwhelming, and so I’m debating if it’s even worth it to continue.

        • Tenten November 9, 2013 12:11 am  Reply

          I don’t think it so much tanking as survivability. You need to be able to dps at a decent rate as well as have some self heals. My survival build, which is the build I’ve always used for soloing quests, is a mixture of health and dps, with one minor healing talisman. The deck is an AoE builder with two AoE consumers, a self heal, a purge, and an AoE aggro grab. Most of the passives either put hots on me or dots on mobs.

          I definitely feel you on the uphill battle thing. It feels that way to me too, believe me. What I’ve started doing, when things go south, is just focusing on one survivor group. My plan is, if I have to, to just keep scoring bronzes until I can improve gear & tactics and get some augments.

          I think it might be a mistake to always shoot for trying to save everyone. I think part of the scenario thing, especially in the beginning, is to make what sacrifices are needed to survive. You only need to have one survivor to ‘win’.

          I think I got lucky in random events in that gold and silver score. Got lots of crates both times and bad weather in both, which was only a hindrance to visibility and mobility. In large part I think getting above bronze has a lot to do with what random events you are saddled with. The one hour failure cooldown definitely sucks, though.

          The other thing is that the augment thing is going to be a long ongoing deal. I don’t think you’re going to need to be fully augmented out to go to Tokyo. Especially since the council seal only costs 80 tokens.

          If you want, you can take a look at the deck I’m using at http://chronicle.thesecretworld.com/character/chucho

          • Ocho November 9, 2013 1:16 am 

            Hehe before reading this tonight I decided to try out a variation on the Illuminati Goon deck, basically Sword/Hammer, tank deck, mixed up DPS and Tank talismans w/ 1 Heal, and saw significant improvements. Passed the first two easily, and failed on Castle on the last boss. Then went back with 1 other person, and duoed Castle, and ended up with Gold.

            So, yes, more than anything, a tank/survival build, with at least one hate generator (I found without the hate, it took significantly more time to grab aggro away from groups), and self-healing. Worked like a charm.

          • Tenten November 9, 2013 1:20 am 

            Yeah. I think that approach is definitely key. Also as much AoE as you can carry.

            The last boss on your failed run in castle, was it the self healing, blood pooling vampire? That’s the one I ran into on my failed castle run. That’s the guy I added the purge for, hoping I can purge his heal if I run into him again. My second, successful run in castle was a cakewalk final boss, but I still ended with bronze. I think castle is definitely the hardest if the three.

    • Tenten November 9, 2013 12:23 am  Reply

      Awesome, man! Good job. I went and read your post and replied over there. 😀

  3. ptricky February 18, 2014 1:19 pm  Reply

    I started playing a month ago and my gear isn’t the best. I found what works very well is having 2 healing items and the rest dps. Everything I have is lvl 8-10 blues from various quests and getting lucky healing in dungeons. I tried my normal leech build for quests and just couldn’t get it done. I then took sword/fist and the aoe attack with the added hate is awesome. I used the sword as the primary builder (even on bosses) and kept cauterize and surgical steel on my bars so i could heal in fights and while running. The rest are sword attacks and cone fist attack. Since changing to fist/sword i get half gold and half platinum. The only time I use any tanking items is when the game cheats and puts the filth on the floor. You cannot get through it with 2k health even if you are healing yourself. I pinned a bag to my screen so i can easily swap items as the gear swap mechanism seems buggy.

    • Tenten February 18, 2014 1:38 pm  Reply

      Yeah. I modified my normal solo questing build, added a couple tanking items, a hate passive, and some a couple good AoE attacks and I’m all good these days. On a good day I can get platinum scores on all three Scenarios. I run with about 7k health.

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