Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty from Koei Tecmo follows in the footsteps of Nioh and Nioh 2 before it, which both follow in the footsteps of the Dark Souls series, which is to say that they are challenging experiences and you will die a lot. But coming to terms with that knowledge may not always be enough to actually get you through those tough enemies and bosses, so here are some helpful beginner tips for how to approach the particular brand of masochistic punishment featured in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
Beginner Tips to Survive and Thrive in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
Understand the Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Morale system.
Wo Long puts the Morale system front and center, and you’d be wise to pay attention to the rank of the enemies and yourself. Morale is a number in a range from 0 to 25, and it’s an indicator of how strong something is in comparison to everything else. It’s a system independent of your character level and resets at the start of each new stage. Killing enemies will build up your rank number, but going up against a rank 10 enemy while sitting at rank 0 will be a significantly harder fight than if you were at an equal or higher level.
Morale ranks affect attack and defense, so not only will you deal less damage to a higher-ranked enemy, but they’ll hit you much harder as well. However, enemies will never be immune to your attacks, so even at a disadvantage you may be able to overcome stronger foes. You won’t get any extra morale added to your number as a reward though, so it may not always be worth the effort. You’ll find that facing enemies at your rank or lower is usually much more manageable as you’re able to soak up more damage from them and can end fights faster with your boosted attack power.
Plant your flag to gain Fortitude and preserve Morale upon death.
Holding onto a high Morale rank is important, which makes death a scary proposition as it will reset you to 0, but planting your battle flag in several hidden pedestals throughout a stage will grant you 1-3 points towards your Fortitude rank. Fortitude is simply the amount of Morale you will awake with after death. You can have a Morale rank of 15 and a Fortitude rank of 10, and upon death you will only lose 5 points of Morale and awaken with 10. Finding every post to plant your flag in will guarantee you are at the same rank as the stage’s end boss, and it will persist even after multiple defeats. So exploring as much of the stage as you can before arriving at the boss doors will save you from a lot of frustration.
Let the enemy ranks guide your exploration.
The best way to ensure you find every pedestal is to be thorough in your exploration, and being wary of high-ranking enemies can actually guide you along the proper path. Oftentimes, you’ll be presented with multiple routes; one may contain human enemies quite a bit stronger than you, and another may have scarily large creatures that are at your current Morale rank. While you could be tempted to take on the less scary grunts first despite the added challenge, following the path of low-ranking enemies may loop you around to where you started, granting you some Fortitude ranks and enough enemies to put you exactly at the rank you need to deal with those human enemies who look a lot less scary now. Wo Long’s stages are mostly linear, so any potential side path will either lead back to the main one or stop at a dead end. But one of the important Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty beginner tips is that it’s always worthwhile to explore as long as your Morale rank is under the maximum. But you’re not out of options should you fail to max out your Fortitude rank.
Take smart advantage of items like Five Minerals Powder.
You may sometimes find that you’ve arrived at a boss door with a lower-than-suggested Morale rank. The boss is wiping you in one-to-two attacks, and turning back to hunt more posts to plant flags might feel like an equally annoying endeavor. Instead of trying to hunt posts that you’ve missed, you can instead spend a little time hunting enemies in the nearby area. More likely than not, there are at least a few roaming baddies that will let you farm Morale by taking them out and resting back at the boss door’s battle flag.
Once you’ve boosted your rank to higher than that of the boss, you can use an inventory item called “Five Minerals Powder” that will let you keep your Morale after death regardless of where your Fortitude rank is currently. The max you can have is 25 Morale, which is usually more than enough to give you a significant advantage over a boss, so I’d suggest pushing it there before using such a valuable item, as each new Five Minerals Powder will cost you 30,000 copper.
Understand the Five Phases in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
If leveraging your Morale rank still isn’t providing enough of an edge, another of the key Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty beginner tips is to understand the magic system called the Five Phases. The system is based on the Chinese philosophy of Wuxing, which says that the elements Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal make up all things in nature, and as such they can balance one another out. This is true in the game as each magic element can counter another. Every boss has an elemental affinity, and exploiting their natural counter will add bonus damage and other effects. Some bosses will also employ at least some magic themselves that can be fully neutralized by the correct countering element, creating openings that normally wouldn’t exist or full-on stunning them for a brief period of time.
You and all of your equipment also adhere to the Five Phases. As you level, you’ll select states that are representative of each discipline, and your gear can scale based on those stats. So if your favorite sword seems surprisingly ineffective on a boss all of sudden, it could be that its affinity is being countered by the enemy’s, so switching to something else might be the little edge you need to get the job done.
Keep up the offense to ensure a healthy supply of Qi.
All of these Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty beginner tips so far will help grant you the best advantage possible as you go into an encounter, but at the end of the day, you still have to actually fight the battle. Wo Long’s Qi system is how it deals with stamina, and it’s essentially a meta game of “tug of war” against any opponent as both parties vye to break the other’s stance. Whether you take damage or block damage, your Qi gauge will react negatively, pushing itself to the point of breaking, which will leave you open to attack for a few seconds. Attacking or parrying the enemy will do the opposite and build a cushion of positive Qi that will allow you to hold your ground for longer. The risk of missing a parry is mitigated, however, by the fact that you can hold the block button during your parry attempt and will block an attack even if you mistime it. Blocking while attempting to parry is always safer regardless of your Qi gauge, as the rate at which it recovers is governed by other factors like character stats and equipment perks and not affected by how much you turtle up.
Positive Qi that you build is also a resource you can use to cast magic or special martial arts attacks. When you build positive Qi — use it, as it will degrade similarly to how negative Qi will recover over time. Additionally, you can willfully use these abilities and push your Qi into the negative, putting yourself at higher risk of getting your stance broken if you’re caught with an attack soon after, so gamble wisely.
Hopefully with these few insights into the combat and ranking systems for Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty you’ll be able to hold your own on the battlefield. The game is designed to be a challenge, so don’t feel too bad if you’re struggling even after following these beginner tips. The most important skill you’ll build is experience, and retrying that too tough boss again for the 126th time just might be the one where you do it.