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Wo Long tips for beginners and veterans | 16 of our best tricks you need to know

Players new to Souls-likes will be tempted to check out Wo Long. But you don't have to feel lost, because our host of crucial tips has you covered.

Team Ninja’s latest game is finally here! Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is the studio’s systems-heavy, mechanically-dense action RPG, and the follow-up to the Nioh series.

The two games are very much alike, but also quite distinct, thanks to new mechanics, vastly better level design, the removal of stamina and a whole lot more. It’s one of those games that may initially look like something you’ve seen before, but it hides a wealth of fresh ideas and exhilarating moments.

We have a pretty good feeling that Wo Long will be many players’ first Souls-like, and not just because it’s on Game Pass. Our Wo Long review, and the video chat linked below will help you make sense of what to expect.

That said, whether you’ve never dipped your toes into the genre, stood curiously on the side-lines for years, or – like many of us - you devour any and all games that resemble the greats, these tips are for you.

Listen to James, Dom, and myself discuss everything Wo Long.

Don’t worry so much about upgrading gear and weapons

Like so many RPGs, Wo Long lets you upgrade the power of your weapons, and improve the stats of your armour. You run into the blacksmith fairly early into the game, and they eventually set up shop at the hub area.

Among other things, the blacksmith uses upgrade materials of varying levels to boost your gear and weapons. But should you use up the materials you have to upgrade your stuff?

The answer is: probably not, until New Game Plus. There are two factors to consider here. First, you should only really be upgrading the highest quality gear, so gold and purple (three and four stars). The higher the item’s rating, the more stats it’s going to have, even if it starts out weaker than a lower-quality piece.

The other element to this dilemma is the fact that Wo Long showers you with loot practically nonstop. If you’re the type of player who constantly scours the environment for mini-bosses, chests and other secrets, you’ll have access to even more rare and powerful loot.

Why spend your precious upgrade materials on anything if you’re going to get something better in an hour? Unless you really like a weapon or a piece of gear, and it’s of a high enough ranking. For everything else, though, you’re probably going to be replacing it fairly quickly anyway.

Sub-missions are worth your time

Anyone who played Nioh should be quite familiar with Team Ninja’s love of re-using main mission areas, changing the time of day, remixing enemy placement and calling it a sub-mission.

Wo Long actually doesn’t have anywhere near as many of those as Nioh, but there are still plenty of them. Those side-missions are optional, but you should definitely play them as they come up – especially if you’re within their level requirement.

All missions in the game have set rewards (though their stats are randomised), and they’re listed on the mission card as you browse the battlefield screen. But more than that, you can find upgrade materials in the sub-missions themselves, and run into NPCs that will meet you again at the hub area.

In many cases, certain items required for side-quests (assigned by some of the people at the hub), can be found within those missions. Even removed from all that, playing them is just a good way of levelling up and acquiring gear you can sell or dismantle, and for growing your bond with companions.

Exploring is a good way to get overpowered

As we explained in our Morale, and Fortitude guide, almost every mission in Wo Long has a number of Battle Flags, and Marking Flags to discover. Though it’s not a requirement, you should really plant all of them before you head to the mission boss.

By planting flags, you raise your Morale, and Fortitude Rank, which in turn makes you stronger. It also means whenever you die, you won’t fall below the new Fortitude baseline you’ve set, which you can see next to the downward-pointing arrow at the top right of the screen.

Another major benefit of exploring is getting the drop on enemies. Wo Long’s levels are considerably more vertical, which offers you plenty of opportunities to snipe, backstab and sneak-attack enemies.

If you decide you want to challenge a tough enemy (with a much higher Morale Rank than yours), you’ll gain a massive boost to your own Morale Rank upon defeating them. This means enemies with lower Morale are automatically easier to deal with.

If you play a stealth class and specialise in ranged combat, you could spend the whole game sniping enemies and getting more powerful as they struggle to get to you.

Indeed, all of that exploration and flag-planting means you’ll reach the boss at a much more comfortable Morale Rank, and have a high enough Fortitude floor that dying won’t set you back much.

Don't look away, more Wo Long tips follow below!

You can jump and double-jump for a reason

Following the example of Elden Ring (probably), Wo Long, too, has its own jump button! Not to be outdone by FromSoftware, Team Ninja even let you double-jump.

While the freedom that gives you is undeniable, the ability to jump is specifically there to complement the level design itself. From the very beginning of the game, you’ll see how much less flat and more layered levels are in Wo Long compared to Nioh.

Use your double-jump to reach any area you think you can. Sometimes, you’ll come across walls arked with white chalk, indicating that you can, in fact, use them as a jumping off point.

As mentioned at the top, exploring is a great way to get powerful in Wo Long, and jumping around to higher ledges to get the drop on enemies, plant a Marking or Battle Flag, or just survey the area are all good ways to utilise it.

Don’t be shy about hiring allies, Wo Long is designed for them

Wo Long is aiming to be one of the most accessible Souls-like, and the Reinforcements system is a core part of that. If you’re not interested in opening up your game to random players, and you don’t feel like co-oping with friends, allies are your answer.

These AI companions will stay with you for the entirety of a mission, including the boss fight, and pull aggro, assist you in combat, or just act as a distraction for you to pull off more powerful moves. In fact, the more you play, the more you’ll see how levels are designed for more than a single player.

You use Tiger Seals to hire a companion, and as long as they don’t die on you (and you fail to revive them), they’ll stick with you until the mission is over. You can hire two at the same time.

The Reinforcements menu shows a detailed description of their elemental affinities, and any special skills they might have. So consider hiring someone who complements your play style. Some, for instance, have a skill that makes detecting Marking Flags easier.

The more fighting you do with your buddies, the more effective they get, and the stronger your bond becomes. Keep pushing their levels all the way to ten, and you’ll be rewarded with their full gear set.

Always be blocking

There are three ways of negating damage in Wo Long – blocking, dodging, and deflecting. Blocking, and dodging will both build up the negative side of your Spirit Gauge. As explained in our Spirit, Energy, and Qi guide, you want as little orange in the left section of the bar as you can.

Deflecting, and landing hits on enemies, however, are two ways of turning that negative energy into positive. But deflecting is the hardest of all defensive options to perform, because it requires timing and concentration.

The good news is that Wo Long is quite forgiving there. While most games encourage you to stick with one defensive move, Wo Long is happy to let you mix and match. Holding block doesn’t make your deflects any slower, as the animation is very fast. This is also helped by the fact that deflecting is assigned to a different button than blocking.

In other words, you can continue holding block and only dodge to deflect when you think you can land it. That way, if you mistime it, you won’t take damage, and the hit will be blocked instead. The same is also true when facing certain enemies, the kind who have long combos with a mix of fast and slow attacks. The best way to deal with those is deflect some, and block the rest.

Allies and online co-op help make Wo Long's skirmishes more manageable.

Holding block gets you easy backstabs

While on the subject of blocking, holding the block button is also a fantastic way to slow down your speed and guarantee you’ll be able perform a backstab or critical strike on an enemy without alerting them.

It can be hard to push the left stick slightly to slow yourself down, and many of us end up pushing it a little too far just as we’re about to reach an enemy. But holding block as you approach locks your character to that low speed.

Holding block is also a good way to approach rooms where you suspect there’s an ambush. As mentioned, you can still quickly dodge away from danger without a noticeable delay. The game’s settings menu has an option to automatically reset the camera whenever you block, so toggle it on or off to your liking. You’ll find it on the third page of Game Settings labelled Guarding Resets Camera.

Ambushes and traps are a thing, but you can minimise their damage

Team Ninja has always been fond of its ambushes and just-off-angle traps. Wo Long doesn’t actually have as many of those as you’d expect, but you still need to watch out for them.

As discussed in the above tip, it’s good to hold block as you enter a room where you might suspect something fishy to be going on. But another trick you can use is to simply hit the lock-on button. One particular enemy likes to hide behind crates and boxes, and they will immediately spring out to catch you once you get close enough.

If you lock-on towards a suspicious corner, you’ll track the enemy even if you can’t see them, and take the fight on your own terms. Some enemies may also be stuck to ceilings or walls, so keep that in mind as you use lock-on as a radar.

Finally, lock-on can also help you better track enemies you can’t quite see because of visual effects or some sort of obstruction/weird angle.

There are no mimics

This is just a short and sweet PSA for fans of Team Ninja’s games, Souls-likes, and any RPG with a penchant for mischief. There are no mimics anywhere in Wo Long, so you can feel safe opening locked chests.

There are also no false walls. It’s actually a bit of a bummer, because the two elements added a layer of depth to the Nioh games. They also both had a neat little mini-game associated with them that rewarded perceptive players, which are obviously missing this time around.

Wo Long has many Divine Beasts for you to collect and summon.

You can turn off PvP and player invasions entirely

Our second PSA is also short and sweet. Player invasions are thing in Wo Long, but you don’t have to play in fear that some decked-out chad is going to show up and ruin your day.

It’s totally fine to have no desire to engage in PvP, and the game allows you to turn off player invasions for that reason. This won’t turn off NPC or story-related invasions, however, so keep that in mind.

To turn player invasions off, head to System from the main menu, then Online Settings and set Invasions by Hostile Players to Do Not Allow. The same menu can also be accessed from within the game.

Break everything you can

Anytime you see wooden crates, boxes, weapon racks, and anything that looks like it can be broken, roll into it or attack it. Not only is it fun to destroy stuff in video games, it’s also a good way to find hidden loot in Wo Long.

As we explained earlier, some enemies like to hide behind boxes, especially those indoors, so that could be a good way to anticipate an ambush or strike first as they start their own attack animation.

You can also break most braziers in Wo Long, and, alongside breaking boxes, it’s a good way to mark which parts of the level you’ve been to. Wo Long missions are full of hidden alcoves and various nooks and crannies, so it can help to look at an area from a distance and know that you’ve already been there.

Return to the Hidden Village often

The Hidden Village is your home, and major hub area in Wo Long. When you’re not actively on a mission, this is where you should be if you want to access several key features/NPCs. It’s where the blacksmith is, and it’s where you can re-spec and spend your Accolade points – among others.

But even if you’re not interested in any of that, you should still make it a point to head there after every main and sub-mission. If you like exploring in the missions themselves, you may run into characters that will return to the Hidden Village, often starting new side-quests.

You’ll even come across certain items that aid you in unlocking locked sections of the hub, and advance certain quests. NPCs also update their dialogue based on your accomplishments in the campaign, so it adds a little bit if flavour – if you’re into that kind of thing.

More than anything, however, you should explore the Hidden Village thoroughly. There’s a lot of verticality in its design, and you’re going to miss a few items, quirky characters and just plain cute encounters if you don’t investigate every vine and platform.

You'll visit the blacksmith often in Wo Long.

You can deflect all normal attacks, including ranged

Deflecting should be your bread and butter, if you want to do well in Wo Long. It’s tied to one of the game’s core mechanics in the push and pull of the Spirit Gauge, Qi, and energy.

You can deflect all attacks, including the ones with the red warning. That also goes for ranged attacks. Anything from darts, arrows, and even magic attacks can be deflected (as well as, obviously, dodged).

The shaman wizards have a particularly nasty rock throw attack that, if successfully deflected, sends it back their way to kill them in a single hit. Worth getting the timing right, isn’t it?

There are two ways to summon your Divine Beast

Your Divine Beast is sort of like Guardian Spirits from the Nioh games. Choosing one with affinities that complement your own stats is ideal, but you can also just pick one based on their elemental effects.

What you may not know, however, is that there are two ways to summon each Divine Beast; an offensive, and defensive way.

The more offensive one is trigged by pressing Y (Triangle) + B (Circle) at the same time. This triggers the Beast’s skill, the effects of which can be seen in their description. If you instead want use them to power up yourself and your allies, summon them by hitting X (Square) + A (Cross).

You can pause the game

Wo Long does actually let you pause it if you need to stop playing for whatever reason, but it’s not immediately clear you can. To pause the game, bring up the menu by hitting the Menu/Options button on your controller, then hit View on Xbox or the Touchpad on PlayStation to pause the game.

You can also have it so this happens automatically whenever the game is minimised by going to the fourth page of Game Settings and enabling Pause When Possible if Window is Inactive.

The only way to un-pause the game is to hit that same button again, so you won’t accidentally get back into the action when you bring it back into focus.

Special Effects are why weapon loot matters

You’re going to get plenty of loot drops as you play Wo Long. That obviously means getting the same sword/glaive/etc., with slightly different stats and a different name.

But one big thing you need to consider before you decide to equip or trash a new weapon is to read what its Special Effect(s) does. These are your Martial Arts, and though they are not unique, they cannot be transferred to other weapons.

Some of them are rare, but others will crop up a lot. If there’s a particular Special Effect you like too much and can’t seem to find on any other weapon, lock that weapon and save it up for later until you find a replacement.

Obviously, there is a limit to how much of a damage hit you’re willing to take by using a lower-powered weapon because of its Special Effects, but that decision is yours to make.

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