Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is sure to provide a significant challenge for most players, especially those who haven’t played its predecessor, Nioh (2017), or those who are new to souls-like games. The first boss, Zhang Liang, represents a particularly brutal introduction to the game if you’re not prepared. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of success and get to grips with the mechanics.
Best Tips for Playing Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
How to Play Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty - Controller vs Keyboard + Mouse
The first thing to understand about Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is that the game doesn’t hold your hand much, especially in terms of explaining some of the most basic combat mechanics. Unfortunately, these don’t work half as well using a keyboard and mouse setup as they do with a controller. If you bought the console version of the game you’ll be fine, but even if you bought the PC version, we’d strongly recommend using a controller to play the game. It’s generally poorly optimized for keyboard and mouse, but even with potential upcoming hot fixes, you’re likely to have a much easier experience with the controller. The only reason why you might want to suffer through using a KB+M setup is that you’ll have greater accuracy when using ranged weapons, but only if your aim is already decent. This is a relatively small part of the game however, and the melee combat arguably flows better with a controller.
How to Improve Your Morale Rank in Wo Long
One of the most important mechanics in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is known as your morale rank. This can be seen above your stamina bar whenever you’re engaged in combat, but it will disappear if you’re out of combat unless you set it to always appear in the HUD settings. You will also notice your morale rank in the top right of your screen whenever you enter the menu, alongside a similar icon to its right.
What is Fortitude in Wo Long?
The icon on the right represents your Fortitude, which is the morale rank number that you can’t drop below for a specific mission. In general, each time you die your morale rank will be reduced to the minimum Fortitude number for the mission that you’re currently playing. If you die while fighting a boss, it’s a good idea to seek out and kill some regular enemies to regain your morale rank before you attempt the boss fight again.
Normal Attack vs Spirit Attack in Wo Long
At the beginning of the game you’ll have a brief chance to get used to the basic melee attack mechanics which revolve around normal attacks and Spirit attacks. The former are useful to quickly chain attack an enemy just before they execute one of their own attacks, and also to build up some Spirit, which you can see accumulating just beneath your health bar. Spirit is generally used to empower special attacks which can inflict more damage than normal attacks, or which have the capacity to interrupt an enemy.
Spirit attacks will be executed more slowly than normal attacks, but they have the potential to cut through the beginning of an attack animation for both regular enemies and bosses. This means that you can rely on them to stop incoming damage while also inflicting some of your own, instead of performing a deflection or dodge. You will also notice that Spirit attacks are useful for decreasing the amount of Spirit that your enemy has, which will weak them and eventually make them vulnerable to Fatal Strikes, which you execute with the same button for Spirit attacks ().
The main reason not to use a Spirit attack in a particular scenario is that once you begin to execute the attack, you’ll be locked into the animation. This means that although your attack can’t be interrupted by most enemies, you also can’t break out of the animation if you see that an enemy / boss is about to hit you with a powerful attack of their own. For this reason you’ll need to time your Spirit attacks carefully, and make sure you don’t use one when you see the enemy in the middle of an attack animation of their own.
Deflect vs Dodge in Wo Long
In addition to normal attacks and Spirit attacks, you’ll also be introduced to the deflect vs dodge mechanics in Wo Long. It’s not immediately obvious how these work in action, but the best way to think of them is that dodge can be used to quickly get out of the melee reach of an enemy when required, while deflect is used when you stand your ground to time what is effectively a perfect parry. If you manage to deflect an attack, including critical strikes (marked by a red aura just before an attack), you will not only receive no damage from that attack, but you’ll also stagger the enemy and redirect the attack, inflicting a small amount of damage back to them.
In addition to this, you will also lower the Spirit level of an enemy if you perform a successful deflect against them, and you will also shrink their overall Spirit Gauge, making it easier for you to perform a Fatal Strike more quickly. On top of this you’ll increase your own Spirit after successfully deflecting. You probably get the picture by now: a deflect is most useful as a high-risk, high-reward move, while a dodge allows you to create some space between you and your opponent, but it won’t inflict any damage to the enemy or give you any special benefits. It’s a good idea to try dodging new enemies for a while whenever you encounter them, since this will give you some time to observe their basic and special attacks without being within reach of being hit by them.
You’ll be using the same button to dodge as you do to deflect, but you need to tap it twice quickly to dodge.
What Are Battle Flags and Marker Flags?
The function of Battle Flags and Marker Flags in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty are similar. You will encounter a number of these throughout a specific mission, and they provide you with an opportunity to raise your fortitude rank, which will secure a base minimum level that your morale rank can fall to, but they will also act as a checkpoint which you’ll return to upon death.
Level Up, Purchase Spells and Supplies, Travel, and Co-op Modes
In addition to these basic functions of Battle and Marker Flags, during and after the first mission you will be able to access more features at these flags including a screen where you can level up your character by investing in different Element virtues that represent specific skillsets (more on elements below), each of which affect things like Spirit Defense, Spell Duration, Stealth, Melee and Ranged damage. You will also be able to invest in more Wizardry Spells, purchase supplies, travel between missions, and invite AI reinforcements in the form of companions that will help you fight. You can also enter the online lobby from these flags which will allow you to recruit players or enter co-op mode.
What Wizardry Spells (and Elements) Should You Use First?
You may be wondering when you get access to Wizardry Spells in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, and the answer is essentially at the beginning of the game. So long as you improve your morale rank high enough during the first mission by killing enemies, you can use specific Wizardry Spells that you can acquire once you reach the flag just before the first boss. If you need to improve your morale rank, you can continually rest at the flag to respawn the enemies and kill them as many times as you like, to increase your morale rank to a maximum of 25 at this stage.
This is a great way to empower yourself just before fighting the first boss, but it will also give you a chance to look through the spells and decide which you want to invest in early on. Some of the best spells we’d recommend picking up for now are Enhanced Defense and Repression Crush. The latter is especially good since it will slow down the Spirit recovery of your enemy upon a successful hit, ultimately allowing you to inflict a Fatal Strike sooner.
Spell Elements: Earth, Water, Wood, Fire, Metal
You will also notice that there are different elements for each spell type: Earth, Water, Wood, Fire, and Metal. You will need to think carefully about which types of spells you use against specific enemies, since some enemies are more resistant or weak to particular spell type than others. Each of these elements are part of the Yin-Yang Five Phases theory, which represent and symbolize different aspects of the earth, and which also have deep significance to historical Chinese medicinal traditions and techniques.
Best Beginner Weapons in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
You may be wondering what weapons are best to use in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty. The ultimate answer will be different for each player, since it will be highly dependent on playstyle and preferences. In general, you’ll find that the weapons available maintain common knowledge from most games: larger, heavier weapons will be more slow and sluggish to use, but they have the potential to inflict more damage with each hit. Smaller and lighter weapons, on the other hand, will generally allow you to execute multiple successive strikes more quickly, but they will inflict less damage than their larger counterparts. You can actually dual-wield some smaller weapons in this game, so it’s worth trying out if you’re not sure what to go for.
If you’re struggling to time attacks properly and it’s getting you into trouble, especially during boss fights where you need to act quickly in response to special attacks, we’d recommend sticking to smaller, quicker weapons, and dual-wield where possible. You can always try out the larger weapons against regular enemies to see how they feel for you, and you may prefer the slow pace that they offer if you’re confident in your ability to time special attacks properly. The last thing you want is to be stuck in an attack animation after using a Spirit attack, while an opponent is executing one of their own.