Levels, AP&SP, "Wheel"I already explained levels in "The UI unlocked" section, in case you did not read that, I give you a quick overview:
The XP Bar is on the bottom of the screen by default. Itīs purpose is to give you a suggestion, which content you should play right now. You can ignore the levels and try to fight on harder levels or do lower ones. This may speed up or slow down your level process.
Notice the small blue and yellow vertical bars on the XP Bar? They indicate when you gain the next AP and SP Points, which you need to unlock active and passive abilites in the Weapons menu - I still refer to it as "Wheel" even if it is not looking like one anymore.
You can see on the picture above that I am about to unlock another SP very soon, followed by another shortly after and an AP after that. According to some guys of the beta Forum this system will give you enough AP/SP to max out two weapons with 1 level of capstone and 1 weapon with maxed out passives. I explain that below.
They although mentioned a big nerf once you hit 50, mostly because you do not get XP from Dungeons and Scenarios at all, you get once for turning in the quest linked to it for the first time. One guy mentioned that main story does not give you xp anymore, I am not sure if that is intended or a bug. Carpathian Fang gave 7000-8000 but an AP took 23000 to reach.
This in mind you should decide which weapons you want to use early in the game, unless you want to end up with the wrong weapons in the endgame.
What was once the "Wheel" is now a much better system - in my opinion. TSW Veterans wonīt agree but I did stop to play TSW because I had problems to understand the wheel and was overwhelmed by the options and combinations.
The new system is easy to understand. Before you can use a weapon you have to unlock the weaponīs active abilities tab first. TSW Owners will get them unlocked for free, all others will have to spend a lot of Marks to unlock weapons. Once you have unlocked the active abilites tab you can slot a weapon and start using it, to unleash itīs full potential you will have to unlock the passives tab as well.
I strongly recommend to read some information on the weapons mechanics and the abilites BEFORE unlocking a new weapon or spending AP/SP on it. You can see the abilies tab even if you do not have unlocked a weapon yet, there is a button below the explanation of the weapons mechanics which will show you the abilites and passives tab.
I decided to start with Pistols and Shotgun and to unlock Sword first. I did not use AP/SP on my Shotgun and put every single Point in my Pistols using only Pistol abilites which did work but I would not recommend it. Once you use up your weapons energy you can only use abilites which do not cost energy and this will slow down DPS a lot. The devs want you to use a second weapon so it is better to use it and switch to it once your primary weapon runs out of energy.
Inside the active tab you have three rows with abilities. You have to unlock the abilites in order to be able to unlock the next. If you have unlocked the last you can place a point in the Capstone - the big Icon on the left. This is bascially a shared improvement you increase by unlocking more weapons and leveling them to the end.
Notice the different colors of the names of the abilites? They indicate different types of abilities. You will have at least one "white" slotted, thatīs why you always unlock the white one with your primary first. Most abilities use weapon energy, 3 or 5 points, some have cooldowns, others have a "cast time", there is still plenty of things to learn here.
In the passives tab you will notice 5 rows instead of 3. Most abilities have a matching passive adds or changes the ability. And the devs mentioned that some items may change the way a weapon works. This system may be simplified compared to the wheel of TSW but there is still enough room to find a good build and optimize it.
And it does matter which weapon is your primary and which is your secondary, because the energy of the primary one will recover faster.
While playing the game you will level up your expertise on the weapon sloted. My Pistols are on expertise Level 10, adding 1,5% Critical Chance and +6% Critical Damage to my stats. I do not have a clue what expertise level is the cap but this is a reason to find a good combination of primary and secondary weapon and stick to it. If you change something later on you will loose some good bonuses.
This may get even worse - notice the little round Icons between the passive abilites on the passive tab? You have to unlock them, too, in order to get the next passive in the row. They provide passive stat improvements and I am pretty sure you will lose all on a passive tab of a weapon once you decide to use another weapon instead.
In TSW there where passives which where not bound to a specific weapon. Instead they could be used in combination with all weapons. I could not find such a passive in SWL. I think the devs said they dropped them because you get the passive stat improvements.