Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Builds Guide - How to optimally equip your Wo Long character

Although we lamented how Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty features less character customization and build expression than Team Ninja's other works in Nioh 1 and 2, nevertheless there are still considerations to be made when leveling up and equipping your character in the team's latest title. Which of the 5 main virtues you choose to focus on leveling up, the equipment and skills you decide to target, and even the weapons you choose to use all can have an impact on how effective you'll be when playing the game. Here are just a few small tips to help set you on the right track.

The Five Virtues, and what stats they represent

Unlike in other Action RPGs, Wo Long simplifies its stats system for level-ups into choosing Five Virtues for you to invest points into. The level you have these virtues at will determine which of your learned Wizardry Spells you can utilize during combat, but also each Virtue is tied to a number of stats. Here are what each of the five virtues are tied to;

Wo Long's Wood Virtue

Wood Virtue

  • While leveling up any Virtue will raise your maximum HP, leveling the Wood Virtue will raise it more than usual; this stat will also impact your Spirit Defense and the duration of your spells. Wood Elemental abilities will be strengthened as you invest in this virtue, and Earth Elemental resistance will rise similarly.
Wo Long's Fire Virtue

Fire Virtue

  • This Virtue is fairly easy to sum up; it's useful for those that want to target a more aggressive playstyle. You'll gain more Spirit from attacking opponents, and the Spirit cost for weapon skills will be reduced. Fire Elemental attacks will rise in power and Metal Elemental resistance will rise. 
Wo Long's Earth Virtue

Earth Virtue

  • If you're going for a tankier build, Earth Virtue is what you'll want to invest in. This Virtue raises the equipment weight limit, allowing you to utilize heavier armor; it also impacts the amount of Spirit you'll gain from successfully reflecting attacks. This doesn't impact any Spirit you'd expend to attempt to deflect in the first place, however. This will also strengthen Earth Elemental attacks as well as Water Elemental resistance.
Wo Long's Metal Virtue

Metal Virtue

  • If you want to use a ton of Wizardry Spells, then Metal Virtue is your stat. It impacts how long you can maintain a high Spirit, and how much Wizardry Spells will cost to cast. Naturally, the higher your Metal Virtue stat, the more damage Metal Elemental abilities will deal; you'll also raise your Wood Elemental resistance, too.
Wo Long's Water Virtue

Water Virtue

  • If you want to try and avoid direct combat if possible, Water Virtue helps mask your presence from enemies by improving your Stealth stat; it also reduces the amount of Spirit you'll consume when attempting to Deflect. Much like the other stats, you'll see your Water Elemental attacks grow stronger and your Fire Elemental resistances rise at a similar rate.

While all of these Virtues have their uses, it's my opinion that both Metal Virtue and Water Virtue are less useful than the other 3. Spells aren't nearly as broken in Wo Long as they were in the Nioh titles, and building out your character to focus much more on deflecting attacks to raise Spirit before taking the offensive is much more important. Elemental Resistances are important, of course; but armor has its own set of resistance buffs that you can fall back on if necessary. The only exception is if you're chosen weapon type scales exceptionally well off of Metal or Water Virtue; this will be something you'll have to check for on your own.

Useful Special Effects on Equipment

As a result of many of Wo Long's equipment attributes being very minor buffs to esoteric stats, the best thing you can do when crafting a build in Wo Long is to go for Special Effects on armor that will be useful, regardless of the situation you might find yourself in - and attempt to stack as many of these benefits across armor pieces as you can. Any Special Effect that increases your Spirit Gain (whether in general, via attacking with normal attacks, or via deflecting) and the Spirit Damage you deal (whether via normal attacks or Martial Arts). Spirit is the name of the game, and there's already a pretty hefty modifier on how much more damage you'll deal to an enemy's Spirit Gauge with Martial Arts; if you can stack special effects to increase the effectiveness of these attacks while also buffing your own Spirit gain, you'll be able to use these attacks more frequently; which means breaking an enemies guard more often, and letting you drop their morale quicker.

Equipment with

Morale is the single most important thing you can target while fighting a boss. If you've already exhausted all avenues of raising your own Morale, then the only way to ensure that a boss will deal less damage to you, and the best way to ensure that you'll deal more damage to it, is to break their guard and execute a Fatal Strike on them; this will lower their Morale, thereby lowering their stats relative to your own. 

Equipment with the

While progressing through the story, another thing to keep track of in armor is Inheritance; this unique Special Effect means that you can upgrade said equipment to the max upgrade level you've currently attained with an equipment item that applies to the same slot; if you've maxed out a helmet's upgrades, you can therefore max out any helmets you find that come with the inheritance Special Effect. 

That's the basics! Avoid buffs specific to situations, and try to find equipment with enough general purpose Special Effects to help maximize your Spirit Gain and Spirit Damage. Best of luck tackling Wo Long's challenges!