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TSW Build Listing: My First 60

Our “My First 60″ builds are targeted for about 60 ability points — Q2/3, Kingsmouth obtainable. They represent the initial builds for a player starting the game, but wanting to play a focused role. Thus, My First 60 builds are incomplete and NOT intended for mid-game or later play.

Check out our new TSW BUILD SPREADSHEET (link to the Google doc itself).

TSW Build Listing: “Blue Mountain Specials” – 400 (Q6) point builds

We developed our “Blue Mountain Specials” to address the increased difficulty players encounter as the leave Savage Coast (Q4-Q5) and enter Blue Mountains (Q5-Q6).  These TSW Build types are designed to enhance survivability when soloing.

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Where are all the tanks?

Tanks, Tanking and Agro Management in the Secret World

Initial Post on this  topic

Tanks are nearly always in short supply in MMO’s.  It’s one of the two roles (healer being the other) that virtually guarantees you short waits for dungeon groups. However, as with healer, it’s a role where inexperience and inconsistency really show.  On top of that, when the tank or healer screws up, the fight is almost always a loss and reset.  So, it’s high stress work and that turns a lot of people off to it.  On the other hand, it’s very rewarding if you are willing to pick up the reins and make a go of it.

I tank, I always tank, I rarely ever don’t tank – and even then it’s usually in situations where I’m working with a new tank on their tactics.  That’s been true for a good ten years now and it’s unlikely to change any time soon.

Agro Management and Tanks

There’s a world of difference, as many note, between a mostly-guild tank and a pug-tank.  Contrary to the position of some, a mostly guild tank (like myself) usually opens the door for their DPS to do a lot more with a lot less concern for themselves.  That’s NOT because guild-tanks are BETTER than PUG tanks (I’m sure there’s variance in both directions on this), it’s because teams that play together simply KNOW each other better and can play off each other.  The benefit comes from the reduced uncertainty.

Several of my guild DPS run in all ATK gear to really push the envelope of their DPS.  They can’t do that in a PUG format because they don’t know what they’ll find for agro generation.

I also don’t typically have a problem with the occasional PUG.  My wife, Aela, runs healer regularly, so we have the luxury typically to pick and choose on our groups.  We will PUG in DPS, but if someone is pushy, doesn’t follow instructions, or is just generally obnoxious, we put them on /ignore and never include them in a PUG again – problem solved. :D

Guides for Tanks

In terms of guides for the new tank, I strongly recommend the work of Ciderhelm.  While his work isn’t TSW specific, tanking is tanking with the differences between games being relatively minor.  His guide covers all the Tanking 101 things that remain true from game to game, era to era, level to level.  For someone wanting to roll a tank for their very first time, this is good stuff.  For those who tank regularly, it’s all old hat.  That’s kind of the point of a newbie guide, though!

Ciderhelm is not affiliated with our site, nor does he play TSW to the best of my knowledge.  He’s just done this for a long time at a very high level.  He writes well, is quite thorough, and very patient in laying out what is happening in the tank role.  I have great respect for his work.

For those wanting to tank in TSW, our site has some material that is helpful.  We provide a newbie tank deck that will take a truly new player through Polaris while it is still meaningful (e.g. QL2/3).  That build then “grows up” into the single target tank build I used to get through the middle dungeons.

While that build will work all the way into elites, I also provide two additional tank builds that I currently use up through qualifying at gatekeeper.  The primary build I run is designed for single target fights, which is most of your elite boss content.  However, some elite fights are guaranteed to have 2+ targets through the majority of the fight.  In those situations, I swap out of my single target and into my AOE tank build.

In all four builds, you are progressing through the same cells of the wheel, there is a natural progression from them and they will take you cleanly from Polaris normal through clearing your final Elite.

Dungeon Guides

In terms of dungeons, we have walk-through information for the first four dungeons, boss-by-boss.  I need to get the write-ups for the final four dungeons put together, they just take awhile to assemble.  I am also beginning to put parsing data in the overview of some of the dungeons.  It’s pretty clear that some bosses have a much higher rate on some stats than others.  Discussion on nightmare tanking is indicating that certain bosses will need builds or gear itemized to offset these extremes.  For normal through elite, though, general tanking builds with reasonable gear mixes will suffice.

Talisman, Weapons and Glyphs for Tanks

I am in the middle of writing up something on talisman distribution.  I can give the short version of it here, though.  Well before you hit elite, you will start finding threat problems if you gear 100% hitpoint gear.  DPS are exceeding your output by enough of a multiple that Agitator and Stoicism can not keep up.  You need to go at least 20% DPS to maintain agro and you will find this happening somewhere around the Ankh.

For me, that’s just been a headpiece swap out (I used an ATK headpiece with defensive glyphs) and that’s been more than enough for elites from a threat standpoint.  There’s a lot more to think about here, but as I said, I’m writing that currently.

Mods and Add-ons

A caveat, you don’t NEED these to play.  As others note, back in the old days we all tanked just find using stock interfaces and chat call outs.  However, the game permits mods and add-ons and TSW has a booming community of mod-writers.  We do NOT host guides and add-ons, the forums here and a couple of other sites typically do.  We do maintain a list of mods with links to those sites.  I recommend:

  • ACT Combat Parser – when you are fine tuning, nothing else comes close
  • Vipers Deck Manager – removes the gear swap from the deck manager component.  This is an awesome mod.
  • Categorical’s improved character sheet – accurate calculations and updates to your combat stats
  • Mercinaova’s improved casting bars – most fights you dont need to watch the UI, when you do, these help

Tanking requires practice and patience.  It’s a lot of fun though.  If you want to group up quickly and get more dungeon runs in, it’s worth investing the time and patience to learn to tank.

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Single Target Elite Dungeon: Chaos/Hammer

Elite Tanking – Weakened Build

Hammer and Chaos Synergy

2 votedEnjoy this build? Vote for IT!

This build uses a weakening trigger to synergize a number of damage and mitigation effects.  The build has worked well through elite dungeons.  It is a relative easy build to put together for those on an AP budget.

Active Abilities
Smash (Hammer) – 1AP
Escalation (Chaos) – 1AP
Razor Shards (Hammer Pit) – 9AP
Call for Eris (Chaos) – 1AP
Stoicism (Turbulence) – 50AP
Reality Fracture (The 4th Wall) – 27 AP
Blowout (Hammer Pit) – 34 AP
Passive Abilities
Turbulence (the Fourth Wall) – 21AP
Forged in Fire (Battering Works) – 50 AP
Below the Belt (Hammer) – 1AP
Intensity (Chaos) – 1AP
Paradigm Shift (Chaos) – 2AP
Inevitability (Building Blocks) – 12AP
Agitator (Turbulence) – 12AP
Key Features
This build uses two builders, since both contribute useful weakened effects.  Smash (with Below the Belt passive) provides one of the easiest accesses to the Debilitate debuff (target damage output weakened up to 30%).
Escalation (with Intensity passive) provides pbaoe hate generation, access to the Exposed debuff (target takes up to 30% more damage) and keeps a near constant minor ward (7.5% reduction from all damage sources).  Escalation also triggers the Turbulence passive, giving you roughly 150 bonus to your evasion.
Additionally, since your builders both generate the weakened effect, you are routinely triggering Paradigm Shift (up to 150 bonus hit rating) and Inevitability (flat 10% bonus to evade).

The Razor Shards finisher is a hate generator which also boosts the hate level of your next attack.  Use Razor Shards and follow it up with either Call for Eris or Smash to significantly boost hate without burning a taunt.

The build also features Stoicism (hate generation with increased mitigation).  Stoicism works wonderfully at the opening of a fight and between transition phases to pickup extra agro.  While it also provides some survivability, it’s real power is that boost to hate generation.

Blowout extends your health bar and Forged in Fire gives your healer a bit of help for those fights where you take some spike damage.

Open with stoicism and razor shards since it should be at full resources outside of fights.  From there alternate Smash and Escalate until 5 Resources, use Reality Fracture and Blowout on your first cycle (this is when it’s completely safe for DPS to go all out).  From that point on cycle your builders with Razor Shards and Call for Eris (depending on your chaos finisher, Razor Shards may be best used last).  After the initial round, use Reality Fracture and Blowout on cooldown, even if firing with less than full resources.

I often rotate the Call for Eris active depending on the situation. Karma provides pbaoe damage with a heal to next target.


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The Brandish Tank – by Arctus

Designed by Arctus
Submitted 19-Jul, via our board submission tool

8 votedEnjoy this build? Vote for IT!

Weapons – Blade/Chaos

Utility level – this works in Nightmare dungeons


Crimson Theatre
Pulling the Strings


Brandishing Support
Sixth Sense
Fuel to the Fire
Master of Illusion

Key Features

This is a standart build for NM. Its tested by many players, but you need to know the boss and adapt your build to the boss.  Usually you are expected to bring exposed debuff (30% more dmg)! In exchange 1 dd brings the 30% less dmg debuff.   Chaos is the only reasonable source for the exposed debuff and usually you dont see any melee’s in NM.

1.  Escalation also offer’s a good aggro generation, aoe aggro, 7,5% less dmg and minor evade chance.
2.  Cornerstone is brandish. Use it as often as possible.
3.  Crimson Theatre is a filler, usually this is the spot where you fit in abilities you need for a boss. Taunt, Crimson for aoe (use shadowplay instead of brandish support), 3. CD
4.  I really like Pulling the Strings because it has some range and gives you a decent hit buff, but of course you could use Karma or Consequence instead for more defense)


1. Use escalation to build 10 stacks exposed
2. use matador for 5 stacks defense
3. Brandish on CD or on a strong attack from the boss (depends on the fight)
4. Crimson Theatre for additional AOE aggro
5. Illusion and Stoicism as CD’s
6. Pulling string for hit cd and to have a medium range attack.

Gear Needs

1. defense
2. evade
3. phys / magic protection
4. block


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That which doesn’t kill me – Blade/Hammer mitigation

1 votedEnjoy this build? Vote for IT!

This is a work in process build. I am considering moving towards a blade/hammer build to improve overall mitigation against bosses who have a high penetration (block helps here). The build has not been tested, yet, but I intend to run it through some dungeons fairly soon.

It is a very expensive build, clocking in at well over 700 points to get up and running.  Additionally, there are very few build synergies between hammer and blade, so there are few build paths that will be useful as you move towards this build.

Active Abilities
Crimson Theater

Passive Abilities
Improved Blasts
Brandishing Support
Shadow Play
Brick Wall
Sixth Sense

Key Features

This build uses a single column attack builder, which may make it problematic in fights with extensive kiting.  However the builder, Rupture, is placing AOE debilitates thanks to Improved Blasts and it is also bumping up your physical and magical mitigation thanks to Blowout.

You have two short duration closer, Aftershock which can provide a minor ward and Brandish which gives you substantially reduced incoming damage on use.

You have two moderate duration closer abilities. Crimson Theater, which helps with AOE threat and also provides additional chances of glancing thanks to Shadow Play.  With all that defense coming in, Sixth Sense should be firing off fairly frequently, dishing out AOE damage and a 10% self heal.  Blowout is your long duration hammer closer and it stacks 25% more hitpoints onto you since everything is already debilitated.

You have two utility abilities, each on 30-second recycles.  Trucker gives you a closer ability which also buffs your block ability.  The increased Blocks give you a better chance of processing Brick Wall.  Stoicism takes the final spot in the build, giving you a dependable hate generator and damage mitigator.

Threat comes from Stoicism, Agitator, Crimson Theater and Brandish.


This will be a bit of a tricky rotation to manage.

Open combat with Trucker, this picks up your block chance and gives you some opportunities to impair.  Immediately fire off a single Rupture to get the Debilitate effect in play (use a second if weakened is resisted).  Now its time to fire off Stoicism to help with your hate generation.  Then use your long duration consumers, Crimson Theater and Blowout.

Your regular rotation will be Rupture x5, Aftershock, Brandish.  Use Crimson Theater and Blowout on cooldown, even if you have minimal resources up (1 is fine).  Fire off Trucker on cooldown to keep your block rate high.

Stoicism can be used on cooldown in non-transition fights.  In engagements with transitions (or phases where a boss is inactive), save Stoicism for the bosses return to action.  Make sure to use Stoicism before engaging in these situation.


There are a few different modules possible with this build.  First, consider swapping out Sixth Sense with Forged in Fire if you anticipate taking a single major spike of damage in an engagement.

I also debate between the use of Brick Wall and You’re Next.  Particularly for Impair immune encounters, Your Next is clearly better.

If you are not blocking often enough to take advantage of Brick Wall/You’re Next, consider Enervate to help your damage output.

Gear Considerations

Unlike my other tank builds, this one generates no +hit as the combat progresses.  Therefore, you need some +hit on your gear to avoid glancing.  Additionally, this will be a low damage output build, you might need to go 30% or more attack rating talisman to offset the lower damage output.

You want +defence both for the mitigation benefits but to also increase cycles of Sixth Sense.

Additionally, you want +magic defense or +physical defense depending on the damage type of the encounter.

Finally, consider some +block.  Other than Trucker, nothing in this build improves your block rating.  However, unless (a) you have every other stat well covered or (b) you are facing a high penetrate boss, +Block is your last gearing concern.

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