In many of the MMOs I play, I mostly enjoy experiencing the solo content and main story quests. It’s rare for me to find an MMO community that allows me to also experience the group-oriented content that a game has to offer.
In games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2, this is the end-game high level stuff such as dungeons and raids. Aside from random dabbling using group finder tools to find a random pick-up group, I’ve never been able to fully experience what these games have to offer.
So I’m really grateful for the open and noob-friendly player communities that exist in The Secret World, where unusually I’ve managed to experience all of the end-game dungeon and raid content that the game has to offer.
Looking for group
Before The Secret World had a built-in group finder tool to automatically find you suitable random dungeon groups, the players formed their own methods for grouping up together. Custom global chat channels were created, most notably the #Sanctuary channel dedicated to helping new players get through the early game content up to elite level dungeons, and the #Noobmares channel helping players new to nightmare level content run dungeons and raids without being shunned for having anything less than top-level gear.
The alternative is to be in a cabal (or what other MMOs would refer to as a “guild”) of like-minded people. However, if you’re a very casual player focused on mostly solo play, you might not wish to fully commit to a guild which may come with expectations of regular participation. But with Sanctuary and Noobmares being chat channels, it means you can be a lone wolf or in whatever cabal you want and still have a pool of other people to tap into when no one else is available.
Why run this hard content at all? Well, the devs of The Secret World have been really good at building their dungeons and raids to be interesting and fun – every dungeon is designed for a group of five, has a unique setting and storyline, each boss has its own unique mechanics and there’s few “trash mobs” that would only be there to slow down your progression towards the next boss. The same is true for the raids, which are designed for player groups of ten.
Geared and experienced
When taking my first steps into this end-game content, it was extremely important for me to have a group that wouldn’t judge me for having noob gear, low DPS or not knowing what I was doing.
You need a friendly group that will support you and let you experiment when learning a new role or testing a new build. When we first started running the elite raids together in Noobmares, we wiped so many times learning how the encounters worked and how to perform each designated role, whether it was tanking, healing, dealing damage or support.
But it all paid off in the end. We refined our builds. We acquired the improved gear. We gained more experience and now we rarely have problems completing the dungeons and raids.
Then, paying it forward – once you’ve become the geared and experienced player yourself, it makes sense to share your experience and help other players new to the content to learn it and gear up.
Learn to play, noob!
The latest challenge for Noobmares is learning how to do the nightmare raids, the hardest content in The Secret World. The game developers didn’t just copy the elite raids and bump up all the hit points on the enemies – the nightmare versions of the raids feature completely new mechanics, require a higher calibre of gear and extremely tight group coordination.
After running the elite raids for so long and having those becoming trivial, stepping into a nightmare raid gives me the same feeling of being a noob again. That’s not an unpleasant thing – I have fond rose-tinted memories of the fun times we had learning the original raids. Having content that is challenging again is refreshing.
Needing to gear up and improve my build gives me something to work on and play towards, despite being at end-game. It can be daunting when you try to calculate how many upgrades you’ll need to earn and how long it would take to get all the best gear. But if you just focus on playing the content for fun and hanging out with other cool players, eventually you’ll get everything you need without perceiving it as a grind.
Hopefully, we’ll manage to defeat these challenging raids, and then pass on that experience to others as we did for the elite content.
If you play The Secret World and haven’t experienced the dungeons and raids for yourself, I encourage you to join the Noobmares chat channel in-game and form up a learner dungeon group. Or sign up for a raid experience at tswnoobmares.enjin.com.
If I only had a Noobmares equivalent to help me in all the other MMOs…