These combinations of abilities are what typically decide what role you play in a Group. As an example - Assault Rifle has some [Assault_Rifles_(Abilities) | abilities]] that are for healing, some for support, and some for damage-dealing. If that was one of your Weapons, then which of those abilities you picked would determine which of those roles you would fill in a group.
There are Pre-Built Decks available, which are suggested build paths, meant to give players an idea of something to work towards with their Ability Point allocation. You can view these pre-built decks by opening your Ability Wheel (typically shortcut key "N") and looking to the left of the wheel. Each faction has 10 pre-built decks, that are different from the other factions, and a meant to give the character the same "flavor" as their faction.
Completing a deck awards 15,500 Experience as well as a clothing/costume reward.
In addition to the ten Decks unique to each faction, there are nine 'Starter' decks, that can be used by newer players as an easy-to-achieve stepping-stone towards a more advanced Pre-Built Deck, or a more complex, more powerful deck of their own design. Each Society has access to the same ten Starter decks, with no variation between them. For example, a Templar using a Maverick Starter Deck has the same combination of Abilities as an Illuminati using the Maverick deck.
Starter Decks differ from advanced Pre-Built Decks in that they only use Tier One abilities, meaning that no Ability in a Starter Deck will ever cost more than 7 Ability Points (AP). The idea being that a player can put together a Starter Deck and become 'effective' in The Secret World relatively quickly, without spending a lot of time trying to level up with less-effective power combinations.
As with other pre-Built decks, players earns an achievement and a Deck-specific uniform for each Starter Deck he/she completes. Unlike Society-specific Pre-Built decks, the uniforms awarded by the starter deck achievements are (for the most part) 'civilian' outfits in faction-neutral colours, representing their lack of affiliation with any specific Secret Society.
The nine Starter Decks (and their corresponding weapons) are:
- Cagemaster - (Fists and Blood Magic)
- Champion - (Blades and Fists)
- Commando - (Assault Rifles and Shotguns)
- Haruspex - (Blood Magic and Elementalism)
- Maverick - (Pistols and Blades)
- Polarizer - (Pistols and Elementalism)
- Punisher - (Hammers and Assault Rifles)
- Trickster - (Chaos and Fists)
- Enforcer - (Shotgun and Chaos)
Players are also able to create their own custom Decks by equipping the abilities they want. The vast majority of decks that players are using are most likely custom decks - either because they have not unlocked all the abilities to open a pre-built deck or because they prefer a different set of abilities.
Player-created Decks can be saved using the in-game Gear Manager feature on the Character Sheet in order to make it easier to swap decks/builds without having to manually slot the abilities on the hotbars. Having multiple decks saved allows the player to swap out builds as needed between combat. Perhaps one build for AoE and trash mobs with a different one for major/boss fights, and yet a third for additional support or off-tanking, etc.
Note that while the pre-built Decks are faction specific, it is really only the reward that is faction specific. There is nothing stopping a player from re-creating another faction's pre-built deck using the same abilities as that other faction's pre-built. The only difference would be that the clothing and XP rewards from completing a pre-built deck are only granted to characters of the same faction as the pre-built version.
When building a deck, there are a number of things to consider. At first it's fairly simple (loading in 7 active abilities and 7 passive abilities - as you can afford them), but as your open more and more abilities it can get quite complex (coordinating Synergy between multiple team members within a static-group).
Some basic considerations
- Pick your role - This determines your primary weapon.
- Pick your second weapon - Healers generally want a non-healing weapon for a secondary, Tanks generally want a second tanking weapon, support could be anything
- Note: These are very broad generalizations. Any combo can be made to work, and any recommendations here are what works "easiest", not necessarily "best", intended for newer players
- Pick your Synergies - Decide which synergy/state/trigger/attack-type you're going to want to focus on.
- See Synergy for a table showing how various weapons line up for synergies. You may decide you have a synergy you prefer more than your secondary weapon, and swap secondary weapons to make better use of that synergy.
- In general - Trigger synergy is more effective than state synergies, which is more effective than type synergies.
- Active Elite - Pick the active elite ability you want to use. You can only have 1 of these
- Resource Builders - Pick a single-target resource-point building ability
- If your primary weapon is healing, you may also need to pick a resource-builder for your second weapon
- Tanks or Support may also want to pick an AoE resource builder
- Remember to keep synergy in mind - Builders are more likely to make use of State Synergy
- Resource Consumers - Pick a resource-consuming ability for each weapon
- Typically a sing-target for both weapons, although tanks or support may also want to pick an AoE resource consumer
- Remember to keep synergy in mind - Consumers are more likely to make use of State Synergy
- Remaining Active Abilities - You should now have 4-5 active abilities in your deck. The remaining 2-3 slots can go to whatever abilities are desired
- More healing abilities for healers
- Group buffs for support roles
- Aggro-generation or defense abilities for tanks
- Remember to keep synergy in mind - Abilities that do not build or consume can make use of State or Trigger Synergy
- Passive Elite Ability - You can only have 1 of these
- This can come from any weapon in the wheel, but you'll want to pick one that reinforces the synergy you're trying to build.
- You may also want pick one from your 2 weapons to start with, since it'll be easier to save point for, if you have a "best" that is from another weapon that you can focus on later
- Active Modifiers - Pick passive abilities that directly modify your active abilities.
- Passives that say "When you use active ability X, it now also...." - look to see if there are any passives that directly modify the actives you're choosing, and do so in a way you want
- Synergy Creating Passives - Pick passive abilities that cause the synergy you want most
- Remember that passives can come from any weapon, not just equipped weapons, and often your best passives will come from 3rd or 4th weapons
- Synergy Using Passives - Pick passive abilities that make use of the synergy you want most
- These are passives that make use of triggers or states created by other abilities
- Additional Passives - If you still have any slots open on your passive bar, repeat the last two steps until you have all 7.
Official Decks by Faction
Official Decks by Weapon
|Assault Rifles||Blades||Blood Magic||Chaos||Elementalism||Fists||Hammers||Pistols||Shotguns|