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SWLicon.png This article concerns content for Secret World Legends. For the TSW Classic version, click here.

Abilities are what players use in combat. Abilities are viewed, purchased, and equipped via the Ability UI.

In general, they break down into two main groups, Active Abilities and Passive Abilities.

You are able to have up to 6 Active Abilities equipped and up to 5 Passive Abilities equipped at any one time.


Some things to keep in mind, that can be confusing when first learning about abilities are listed below. Note that while it makes things sounds complicated, it really sounds much worse to read it than it is to actually use them in game.

  • Special Ability- Each Weapon has a Weapon Special Ability that is unique to that weapon (Grenades for Assault Rifles, Rage for Hammers, etc). In addition, Active Abilities can be Basic, Power, Elite, or Special. The Special Ability type of Ability are completely unrelated to the Weapons Special Ability.
    • Except for Blades - Where the Weapons Special Ability requires the use of an Active Special Ability in order to make use of it
  • Active and Passive - Officially there is only Active and Passive abilities. However, some active abilities are passive and cannot be activated. And, some passive abilities are only giving passive bonuses when equipped whereas other passive abilities are always giving bonuses and cannot be equipped. See Active Abilities and Passive Abilities for more details

Active Abilities

Active Abilities are abilities that must be activated by the player in order to be used. These are the abilities that you put on your Active Ability Hotbar. They are used by either mouse-click or hot-key to activate - depending on the slot they are equipped in on the hotbar.

For each weapon, there are a total of 16 active abilities available. There are three rows of five abilities each, and then a final capstone ability. Each row of 5 abilities are typically related in their purpose. The top row is typically damage dealing, the bottom row is typically the secondary role of the weapon, and the middle row is typically special purpose. For example - Assault Rifle abilities on the top row focus on Damage on the bottom row they focus on Healing and in the middle row they focus on using the Grenades generated by Assault Rifle weapon special ability.

Abilities must be purchased in order for each row, from left to right. Additionally, all 15 abilities from the rows must be purchased before the Capstone Ability can be purchased.

Active abilities break down into 5 types:

  • Basic - These are the simplest and weakest of the abilities, but do not require any Weapon Energy to activate
    • Indicated by a white text above them
    • You must always have at least one Basic ability equipped and you can never have more than one Basic ability equipped
      • Note that this limitation is for both weapons combined
  • Power - These are the standard abilities that you will use most of the time
    • Indicated by a red text above them
    • They consume an amount of Weapon Energy per use, but are stronger than Basic abilities
  • Special - These are special use abilities that would be saved until needed
    • Indicated by a purple text above them
    • Typically require more Weapon Energy than Power Abilites, and have a much longer cooldown times before they can be used again.
  • Elite - Abilities that among the strongest for that weapon
    • Indicated by a Yellow text above them
    • You can only have a maximum of one Elite ability equipped
      • This limitation is for both weapons combined
  • Capstone - These abilities give you a bonus for having purchased all the Active Abilities of that weapon
    • They are on the 'Active Ability' tab, but are actually passive and are not equipped

Capstone Abilities can be purchased multiple times, unlike any other abilities. However, each rank of of the Capstone ability requires that you have unlocked all the abilities in a new weapon. You can buy the first rank as soon as you have purchased all of the abilities for the associated weapon. However, to buy the second rank you would need to first buy all the abilities (including the capstone) for a second weapon. After buying all abilities and capstone for a second weapon, you could then purchase both capstones up to level two. Once you have purchased all abilities including the capstone for a third weapon, you could then purchase all three capstones up to level three. And so on, until you have purchased all abilities for all 9 weapons and purchased all capstones up to level 9.

Passive Abilities

Passive abilities are ones that do not need to be activated by a keyboard or mouse button. Some of them, called "Equipable Passive Abilities" here, only take effect when they are slotted into one of your 5 passive slots. Others, called "Pure Passive Abilities" here, give you a bonus as soon as they are purchased - they do not need to be (and cannot be) placed into passive slots.

For each weapon, there is always one passive first, and then after that is purchased you can start purchasing passives from the 5 various paths. Just like Active Abilities, passive abilities much be purchased in order, from left to right. Although other than that first ability, the paths are independent of each other.

Typically, the Equipable Passives on the first three paths (from top to bottom) are related to the three paths of Active Abilities. The bottom two paths typically have Equipable Passives that are more utility or special purpose focused.

Each path of Passive Abilities has 4 or 5 Pure Passive abilities on that path. Purchasing one of those abilities gives you the bonus immediately, and does not need to be equipped. Also, unlike equipable active and passive abilities, the Pure Passive abilities are the exact same for all weapons. They are:

The following is the table showing the layout for all weapons. The Pure Passive is the same for every weapon, the Equipable Passive is dependent on the weapon.

Row/Path 1st Column 2nd Column 3rd Column 4th Column 5th Column 6th Column 7th Column 8th Column 9th Column 10th Column
1st/Top +17 Attack Rating Equipable Passive +25 Evade Rating Equipable Passive +38 Defense Rating +19 Hit Rating Equipable Passive +100 Protection Equipable Passive +167 Health
2nd +25 Defense Rating Equipable Passive +13 Hit Rating Equipable Passive 258 Attack Rating Equipable Passive +63 Defense Rating Equipable Passive +50 Hit Rating Equipable Passive
3rd +25 Protection Equipable Passive +17 Attack Rating Equipable Passive +43 Health +38 Protection Equipable Passive +31 Hit Rating Equipable Passive +100 Evade Rating
4th +25 Evade Rating Equipable Passive +40 Health Equipable Passive +25 Protection +63 Evade Rating Equipable Passive +42 Attack Rating Equipable Passive +100 Defence Rating
5th/Bottom +13 Hit Rating Equipable Passive +25 Defense Rating Equipable Passive +38 Evade Rating Equipable Passive +63 Protection Equipable Passive +83 Health +67 Attack Rating

Ability Characteristics

Abilities can have the following general characteristics:

  • Activation Time - How long does it take for the ability to take effect. AKA "Casting Time"
  • Recharge Time - How long does it take before you can reuse the ability. AKA "Cooldown Time"
  • Damage Type - If the ability does damage, the description will say if it is Physical or Magical
  • Target Number - The description will state if it is a single target or multi-target ability.
  • Target Sub-type - If the ability is anything other than a single-target normal sub-type, it will state the sub-type as well

WIP below here

  • Effects - There are a large number of affects available to abilities - Healing, Controlling Aggro, placing Buffs or Debuffs, etc. See the Ability Effects section below for more details.

Ability Damage

Additionally, weapons can either do damage to a single enemy target or to multiple enemy targets. There are "sub-types" of damage available to weapon abilities, depending on if they are single-target or multi-target.

The single-target damage sub-types are:

  • Normal - The majority of abilities do not have a special sub-type of damage, and unless they explicitly state that they do, they are considered to do Normal damage sub-type
  • Burst - An attack that attempts to land a hit multiple times. Could be 2-5 times, but typically 3. Each attack in the burst rolls to-hit and damage separately from the others.
  • Focus - A Channeled attack. Requires the attack to take place over an extended duration, doing damage every so often during that duration
  • Strike - An attack that does more damage than most other single-target attacks. Often offset by having longer Activation or Recharge timers than similar non-strike abilities.

The multi-target damage sub-types are:

  • Normal - The majority of abilities do not have a special sub-type of damage, and unless they explicitly state that they do, they are considered to do Normal damage sub-type
  • Blast - A PBAoE attack that could be Cone or Column shaped, affecting a number of targets within that area. For TSW, typically up to 5 targets.
  • Chain - A TAoE attack that hits it's intended target, and then "jumps" to another nearby enemy target as well. The number of times the attack can "jump" as well as the distance allowed for each jump is dependent on the abilities description. Although most TSW abilities are 4 jumps of 3 or 5 meters max.
  • Frenzy - A circular PBAoE attack that strikes at a number of targets around you. Each attack rolls separately for to-hit and damage from the other attack. Nearly all TSW Frenzy attacks affect upto 5 targets within 5 meters of you.

While the special multi-target sub-types define their areas of effect, the "normal" multi-target attacks also have additional ways of determining which enemies are affected:

  • GTAoE - Ground-Target AoE - The player selects a point on the ground (which may or may not have an enemy there) for the ability to take affect. These attacks are always circular shaped in TSW.
  • PBAoE - Point-Blank AoE - Attack originates from the character. These attacks may be one of these shapes:
    • Circular - Default shape, used unless the ability specifies otherwise
    • Column - Some column shaped abilities also include a Dash effect.
    • Cone
  • TAoE - Targeted AoE - The ability takes effect originating from the intended enemy target. These attacks are always circular shapped in TSW.

Note that the GTAoE, PBAoE, and TAoE types of attack may also include a "Persistent Ground Effect" that lingers in the affected area for some time after the ability has been used.

Ability Effects

There are a large number of effects that abilities can use or create.

  • Triggers - Some abilities are more likely to trigger certain types of hits or defenses. Other abilities are able to do additional damage, give additional defense, or have additional effects when when a triggering hit or defense occurs (or after a number of these triggers have occurred). The Triggers are:
  • Healing - There are 4 main forms of healing available in the game
    • Direct Healing - The target is healed instantly
    • Heal over Time - The target is healed for some amount every interval for a fixed duration
    • Leech Healing - The friendly target is healed when the enemy target takes damage
    • Barrier - A form of "healing", it absorbs damage that would have been done to the character instead of healing them after the damage has been done
  • Purge/Cleanse - Removes De/Buffs
    • Purge - Removes Buffs from enemy targets
    • Cleanse - Removes Debuff from friendly targets
  • Summon - Summons a turret, drone, or manifestation that fights alongside you. Note: TSW summons are not directly under the control of the players and cannot be given commands but follow preset actions. There currently are no "Combat Pets" that can be summoned and controlled.
  • Aggro Control - Abilities that modify the damage you do so that you generate either greater-than-normal or less-than-normal Aggro for the amount of damage you're doing.
  • Knock/Pull - Abilities that either knock enemy targets back away from you, or that pull them towards you. These are often, but not always, coupled with setting State = Impaired.
  • Movement - Abilities that affect your movement (as opposed to Knock/Pull abilities or that set the State = Hindered on enemies). Typically either abilities with a Dash effect or that increase your normal movement rate.



Related Articles

  • For help with selecting abilities to equip - See Synergy
  • For more information on the Character Ability Points screen, how to access it, and what you can access from it - See GUI
    • Also see GUI for information on displaying pre-made ability groups (Decks), searching for abilities, and how to equip abilities
  • For the default keystroke commands to access these GUI screens, also see Keyboard Layout
  • For more information about purchasing abilities - See Ability Point
  • For a list of weapons and links to their individual abilities - See Weapon
  • For more information on Augments, learning their abilities, and Harmonizing - See Augment
  • For information on pre-built groups of abilities - See Deck
  • For instructions on how to save and load your own Deck - See Gear Manager

. Also see the article on Ability Points for rules on purchasing abilities.


Ranged: Assault Rifles · Pistols · Shotguns
Melee: Blades · Fists · Hammers
Magic: Blood Magic · Chaos · Elementalism
Miscellaneous Abilities
Auxiliary: Rocket Launcher · Flamethrower · Chainsaw · Whip · Quantum