All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.

There are no respecs in The Secret World. If you place your Action Points (APs) and Skill Points (SPs) into an ability tree which you then find you don’t really like, no problem, just start spending points in a different tree. You can go back and repeat quests to earn plenty of AP and SP, and a quick dash through the PvP gauntlet in Fusang Project when you know the correct tactics will also grant you swift gains. So, no respec necessary, say the developers, just change course and carry on!

Which just goes to show how little they understand.

Those misspent points haunt me, taunt me—flaunt their redundancy. In my dreams a constellation of orange AP icons swim around my head before diving, in regimented fashion, into a black hole. A long twisting line of blue SP icons waddle along on their lower edges like parallelogram penguins, before hopping one after the other into a furnace. All this to the tune of Disney’s Pink Elephants on Parade

Look out! Look out!
Poor decisions have been made!
Here they come!
Hippety hoppety.
They’re here and there,
Poor decisions everywhere!

Waking up in a sweat in the night, screaming “I SHOULD HAVE PUT IT ALL INTO MAKING FISTING BETTER” is at best going to elicit a grumbled rolling-over from Mrs Melmoth, and more likely a sharp clout to a sensitive part of my body, followed by an interrogation the next day as to the precise meaning of such an outburst.

It must break a Hague Convention in some perverse way: to breed and cultivate a group of OCD, statistic-snorting, optimisation addicts, and then to start making games which give them the freedom to make mistakes, then correct for those mistakes, while leaving the initial errors in place. It’s like telling Monk that he can leave the tumbled pile of bricks over there, and just start building a new tower over here. Uh, not willingly, no.

Perhaps I should have re-rolled my character, back when there was still a chance I wouldn’t horribly burn-out trying to catch-up with my friends in the game again; by now it’s too late because I’ve progressed too far. However, I suppose it’s a tribute to such a system that I still have just the one character (possibly a first for me in an MMO), and having changed tack with regard to that character’s development on several occasions, I’m still playing the game without issue. I’ve been enjoying myself, even. Admittedly, there was that one time where I raged for hours about the cruelty and madness of not making a respec token available on the in-game store, but I don’t think the Post Office clerk was all that interested—their only contribution was to ask if it was a book of first or second class stamps that I wanted. And the night terrors continue, of course, but perhaps it’s all part of my rehabilitation from altitus.

Actually, I’m finding playing just the one character quite liberating, and the novelty seems to be taking hold, because I’m approaching the forthcoming release of Guild Wars 2 with a rugged determination that I’ll be playing just the one character, at least until such a time as I feel that I can do no more with them.

Of course there’s still the danger that I’ll wake up yelling about how I should have picked a Mesmer, but a decisive swat from Mrs Melmoth is sure to be a quick antidote to such concerns. Is it true that TSW has cured me of my altitus? I suppose we’ll find out a month or so after GW2’s release, but for anyone playing at home, I suspect that m’colleague is making a book on how long it will be before I re-roll, and that the longest duration he’s given odds against is in the order of microseconds.

8 thoughts on “All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.

  1. Zoso

    The big money at the moment is on “Four re-rolls on day one (once to change race, twice to change class, once to select different beard option)”, which means you can get pretty good odds on seven, nine and twelve; “Altitus cured, no re-rolls” is available for the same odds as “One re-roll due to seeing character played by Lord Lucan (on Shergar) with the exact same face and hair selections in the starter area”…

  2. pjharvey

    I don’t think the Post Office clerk was all that interested

    That’s bloody typical of the declining standards of Great Britain. In the old days, there were Post Offices everywhere with clerks happy to hear about a lack of respec tokens available through in-game stores. They would even pen a telegram to a GM about it. But, no, not these days. This great country is going to the dogs.

  3. foolsage

    Honestly, I don’t think a respec is needed or appropriate in TSW. My second char (made last weekend to play with a friend who just started) has already moved through four weapons until I settled on a combination that clicked. The thing is, those other weapons you invested in will be useful to you down the road, in multiple senses. First, you can use any passive from any weapon tree, regardless of which weapons you’re actually wielding… so e.g. my Blades/Blood char uses a fair bit of Fist and Elementalism passives to enhance his afflictions. Second, you’ll come to foes later in the game that WILL require you to change your build. Essentially, there are foes out there that are immune to, or are *buffed by* pretty much every conceivable type of attack. Those afflictions worked wonderfully for me all throughout the game on my first char, and then in Transylvania I found some foes that would essentially afflict me every time I tried to afflict them. Ouch.

    I know. We’re used to thinking in terms of a single class per character, and are used to linear progression, so the default assumption is that any trees you’ve invested in must be used RIGHT NOW or the points were wasted. That truly is not the case here though.

  4. Syl

    I thought I’d come by to tell you that I hate you for always picking the finest post titles !
    In a way they’re mini-posts of their own.

    damn yu0!

  5. bhagpuss

    My initial feeling towards the single character design of TSW was warm but it’s cooled off. It’s all very well being able to get all the skills but you’re stuck with one personality.

  6. Tyrion

    I hear you. The strange thing is that there are two wheels. The AP wheel I feel this innate need to fill it all in. GET ALL THE WEAPONS!!

    The SP wheel haunts me totally though. Level 3 Fists?!?!? Why did I do that? I don’t even have a fist weapon! I need those 3 points back! For the sake of all that is holy let me go back in time and bonk myself on the head!

  7. Melmoth Post author

    @m’colleague: Pretty generous odds on ‘Altitus cured, no re-rolls’, by all accounts.

    @pjharvey: “They would even pen a telegram to a GM about it.”

    I know! T’was a time when the greatest renditions of outraaaaaage! were to be found in the penmanship of Her Majesty’s Mail. Sad times, sir. Sad times. Were the Post Office not such a sham, I’d half a mind to have them draft a letter of outrage about it, in fact.

    @Jon Shute: Not helpiiiiiiiing!

    @foolsage: “Honestly, I don’t think a respec is needed or appropriate in TSW.”

    For normal people, no. For me, yes; as outlined in the post above.

    @syl: Don’t hate me, hate Google and an easily indexed array of websites which list famous quotes!

    @bhagpuss: I suppose there’s always the option to roll another faction, which should mix things up. Other than a hairdresser function (The Modern Prometheus is set to fulfil this in a future patch, I believe) I’m not sure what else could be done, however. I find I can get enough of a character change by visiting Pangea and buying a new outfit.

    @Tyrion: The Skill Points are definitely the worst, I agree. I accidentally added points to a skill I have no intention of using. It was only, what, one point? I still mourn that single point every time I go into the skill window; in fact, I’m going to draw a little headstone on my screen with a whiteboard marker, at the location where I spent it.

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