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The Secret World Interviews: Magic Skills Interview

By William Murphy on May 15, 2012

MMORPG: What sorts of magic are available from players, and how to they differ from each other? How are they unique?

Martin Bruusgaard: The three magic schools in TSW are: Blood Magic, Elementalism and Chaos Magic, and they are quite different from each other.

Elementalism controls the elements to do his bidding. Burning targets with fire, creating electrical storms and he can freeze people with ice. By attuning himself with Gaia, he can summon manifestations to aid him in battle. He can also, by manipulating the electro magnetism in our surroundings, shut people down and make them less capable of combat.

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Blood magic is all about manipulating blood, both your own and your target’s.  Blood dabbles a lot with damage-over-time spells (DoTs), but it is also one of the main healing schools. Through his own veins he can create barriers around his allies which will absorb, reflect or explode in damage. He can also cast spells for free, by sacrificing his own health.

Chaos magic is probably one of the more unconventional schools of magic. Chaos magic is actually melee magic, and is perfect for either dishing out tons of damage, or tanking through evasive maneuvers. Chaos magicians have the ability to summon ghostly weapons to aid them in battle, whether they are focusing on damage, or tanking a huge demon.

MMORPG: Will there be a reason for players to mix magic schools? Or will it make more sense to mix something like Chaos Magic with Melee weapons more often than not.

Martin Bruusgaard: TSW has over 500 unique abilities distributed over 9 different weapon types: Shotguns, pistols, assault rifles, swords, hammers, fist weapons, chaos magic, elementalism and blood magic. Players can mix and match any two weapons, but they have to make a choice. You can only bring 7 active abilities and 7 passive abilities into battle. There are always reasons to mix two particular weapons, but some have more synergy than others. Blood magic and elementalism is a great match for a damage-over-time-build, and they both can apply and modify how "DoTs" behave. Blood magic and chaos is great for a shut-down build, as chaos can knock people back/towards/down and blood have quite a few abilities that can exploit impairments (knockdowns, stuns and silences).  Chaos and elementalism would make a fun area attack build. Drop a few manifestations down and go to town on a group with your summoned fist-claws.

MMORPG: What sorts of templates are there for magic users? Is there a fire mage, a blood mage, and a chaos magician, or do they get more complex than that? Additionally, how do these templates fulfill roles within the traditional party mechanics?

Martin Bruusgaard: There aren't any decks that focus purely on magic. The "magic-decks" are either ranged-magic, or melee-magic. The roles aren't as clearly defined in TSW compared to other MMOs. We ask the players to think about how they want to play and then let them forge their own "class", or play style. You have abilities that are "tanky", "heal-y", "DPS-y", "support-y", and "control-y".  But the player is never locked down to one role. The only restriction is that you can only wield two weapons at the same time. However, we do have a gear manager, which lets you switch all your gear and all your abilities with a single button. You can do this anywhere, as long as you're not in combat.

MMORPG: One thing we saw a lot of at PAX East was the mixing of Chaos and weapons. But what benefits will players have if they choose to just be a straight up chaos magic user? Obviously they’ll get deeper and deeper into the skill wheel this way, right?

Martin Bruusgaard: By going pure chaos, the player will be able to get deeper in the chaos line faster than anyone else. However, because of the nature of the combat system in TSW you will do more damage by wielding two weapons. You see, we have some abilities referred to as builders and some are referred to as consumers. Builders build resources on the target, and consumers consume the built resources for extra damage, healing, or some other cool effect.

If you have one weapon equipped the builder will build resources for that single weapon, but if you have two weapons equipped the builder will build one resource for each weapons - i.e. twice as many resources. You can then consume resources from weapon 1 and then weapon 2, which will result in more damage than just consuming from one weapon. This might sound confusing, but we have a very nice tutorial system which will ease players in to the depth of TSW. I should also mention that this type of min/maxing is probably only for more advanced players. You can survive just fine with 1 weapon. At least for a while. (Laughs)

MMORPG: How do the magic passives work? We’re used to seeing a lot of active spells in MMOs involving magic, so can you give us some examples of the passive utility of the spells?

Martin Bruusgaard: What important to note is that passive abilities does not have weapon requirement. You can use any passive ability in the game with any type of weapon combination. This means that even if you find the passive "Critical hits deal 20% more damage" in elementalism, you can still use it in your sword + pistol build. There are plenty of awesome passive abilities in the magic schools. Some of my favorites are: "When you attack, you build a counter on yourself. When counter reaches 7, you next ability will crit". Combine that with burst weapons, which deal 3-4 hits in one press, like chaos or assault rifle and let the fun begin!

Or how about: "Whenever you apply Impaired (stun, knockback or silence) your next ability you use will deal X% more damage and force the target to attack you." This is great for chaos tanking and combine it with some reflect shields from blood magic which will deal damage to anyone who attacks you.

MMORPG: Last one’s a tricky one – during the testing, what has been your favorite magic build? Can you go into a lot of detail for us… so you know, we can copy you on launch?

Martin Bruusgaard: (Laughs) I'm not telling you my secrets! Honestly, and I know this sounds cheesy, but I love them all. They're so different from each other. A Chaos-wielding, magic melee tank, summoning a ghost weapon? Yes please! Elementalism, crowd control, manifestations, and you get to summon Thor's hammer? Sign me up! Blood magic (only weapon that can overspend resources -cast spells for free), crazy spreading DOTs and different defensive and aggressive barriers... I can't choose!

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.

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