The new scenarios have proven a bit controversial among fans of The Secret World. Some love them, but many are struggling with their high difficulty. Surprisingly, I’ve been doing okay, at least on solo normal and group elite, so I thought I’d do a post advising people on how to cope with the Council of Venice’s trials.
It’s not a dungeon:
One of the most important things to understand before you start scenarios is that they are not just dungeons with randomized elements. They are a completely different type of content that requires entirely different ways of thinking.
For example, you don’t necessarily want to adhere to a hard trinity in groups. Having a dedicated tank and healer is helpful, but you could also consider having each player take a more balanced build, at least on the lower difficulty settings. I definitely don’t recommend ever using a full 1970 health glass cannon DPS build in scenarios, under any circumstance.
It’s also important to understand that victory is not all or nothing. It’s not like a dungeon where bosses are dead or they aren’t. I’ve seen a lot of people get frustrated because they can’t save every single survivor and thus feel like they’re failing, but this is not at all the case. As long as one survivor makes it out in one piece, you win. There’s nothing wrong with getting a few bronze or silver scores, especially when you’re just learning.
All your score affects is the number of Aurei you earn at the scenario’s closure, and Aurei are fairly easy to get, so don’t stress over them. Even with just a few survivors alive, you’ll still be getting lots of loot, copious amounts of XP, and augments.
Unless you’re playing as a pure tank or healer in a group situation, I think that a soloing build tends to be ideal for scenarios. This is true whether you’re playing them alone, or serving as a DPS in a group.
I’ve already done some guides on solo builds, but the general idea is that you want to find a balance between DPS and survivability. The reasoning as far as group scenarios go is that your group will often need to split up, and you can’t rely on a tank or healer to always be there to keep you alive.
Having some AoE is also fairly helpful, as most enemies in scenarios travel in packs. Sword, chaos, and assault rifle (with Suppressive Fire as a builder) all seem like ideal weapons for scenarios.
Personally, I’ve found my Dragon’s standard soloing build with blade/blood absolutely rocks scenarios.
I’ve also heard tell that PvP builds work very well in scenarios, but I haven’t put the theory to the test myself.
MMOs have trained us to think that crowd control is not for endgame PvE, and TSW has been no exception to that rule prior to now. Using impairs or hinders in a dungeon is generally a very bad idea, unless you’re a tank or there’s some special circumstance that requires it, and most open world nightmare mobs are immune to such effects, so we’ve also learned not to include a lot of CC in our solo builds.
But scenarios are where these abilities stage their epic comeback. Most enemies in scenarios are fully susceptible to both hinders and impairs, and that makes both of these excellent choices, especially AoE abilities such as Stunning Swirl from blades.
Hinders can help to keep enemies from reaching survivors. Impairs can do the same, or be used to interrupt enemies who are already attacking survivors, buying you a few moments to grab aggro. Impairs can also be useful versus bosses, especially the ghoul and bear bosses. When they gain their frenzy buffs that allow them to one-shot you, you can impair them to effectively shorten the buff’s duration, meaning less time fleeing and more time fighting.
I would also highly recommend including some hinders in your build any time you run the Castle scenario. One of the possible bosses is a fata padurii, and as anyone who’s done Last Dance of the Padurii knows, you can’t defeat them without first hindering their spirits and then kiting them away until their spirits despawn.
Personally, I like to switch over to blades/elemental for the Castle. Coldwave is pretty awesome.
This tip won’t be of much use until you’ve had some experience with scenarios, but I’ve found the best way to defend survivors is to not wait for enemies to come to you. Once you understand where each spawn point is, it’s best to run to it and meet the enemies long before they reach the survivors.
No matter how good you are at grabbing aggro, if you wait by the survivors, the enemies are going to get a few hits in here or there. Might not seem like much, but it adds up, and it can make the difference between getting gold and platinum.
Most maps have choke points where you can cut off waves of enemies and mow them down long before they threaten your survivors. Learn these chokes, and use them to your advantage. They’re also a good place to put mines if you get a supply drop.
On the subject of mines, I’d also recommend fighting enemies before they reach your mines. This may seem counter-intuitive, but the best use of mines is to use them as insurance in case a group comes under attack while you’re far away. If you’re already in the area, letting the enemies walk into your mines is a bit of a waste.
You probably don’t need augments:
My final piece of advice for scenarios is not to stress over what a massive grind augments are. Augments are first and foremost a sink for AP and SP for those who are already maxed out on most everything else.
Most augments don’t provide a very strong benefit until they’ve been upgraded multiple times, and the average player will have a better result from spending their time on other things, like filling out the main wheel or improving their gear.
There is currently no content in the game tuned around full, or even partial, augments, and Joel has recently confirmed Tokyo will not require augments. Augments are a bonus, not a mandatory checkbox that needs to be filled. So contrary to what some claim, there’s no need to grind hundreds upon hundreds of scenarios day after day, month after month. Relax and play through them at your own pace.
My latest article over at WhatMMO covers the Most Iconic MMO Abilities. It includes a screenshot of me QQing about subtlety spec, because why not?