While Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a spiritual successor to Team Ninja’s previous Soulslike series, Nioh, the game sets itself apart from its predecessor with new mechanics and an emphasis on deflecting attacks. Wo Long’s combat hinges on proper deflection to the point where entire stats are devoted to the feature. However, those stats don’t function the way you think.
Each weapon in Wo Long comes with a bunch of stats. Most are self-explanatory, but Deflect Difficulty is a notable exception to the rule that is already catching early players off-guard. Traditional video game logic would dictate that Deflect Difficulty makes it easier to deflect incoming attacks (i.e., lengthen the Deflect ability’s window of activation). In truth, Deflect Difficulty affects the amount of Spirit each deflection uses.
As a general rule, it’s a bad idea to spam the deflect skill since that will drain your Spirit Gauge. However, weapons with higher Deflect Difficulty percentages consume less spirit than those with low Deflect Difficulty percentages and thus provide more room for error.
So what does Deflect Difficulty do in practice? Well, as Wo Long’s tutorials tell you, successfully deflecting attacks boosts your Spirit Gauge. So if Deflect Difficulty reduces the cost of Spirit per deflect, then all things being equal, successfully deflecting an attack with a high-Deflect Difficulty rating provides a higher net sum of Spirit than deflecting with a low-Deflect Difficulty weapon. Sounds simple, right? Hold your horses because we’re not finished yet.
See, Wo Long features a second stat that can lower the amount of Spirit one spends per deflection. That stat, the “Deflect” stat, is part of the Spirit Consumption Rate family. The Deflect stat is governed by the Water Virtue. The higher your Water, the less Spirit is consumed per deflection. Confusingly enough, while higher Deflect Difficulty percentages are generally more beneficial, players should keep their Deflect stat’s percentage as low as possible to minimize Spirit use.
Anyone who wants to keep their Spirit topped up as much as possible should ideally focus on weapons with high Deflect Difficulty percentages while also pumping points into their Water Virtue to lower their Deflect stat percentage. Anyone who combines those with a bevy of Earth Virtue to increase the amount of Spirit one gains from successful deflects should never want for Spirit (so long as they master the art of deflection, that is). All that’s left is to decide what to spend this surplus of Spirit on. Perhaps Martial Arts or Wizardry Spells? Or maybe someone wants an overflowing Spirit Gauge to ensure enemies don’t accidentally overwhelm and stagger them. Either build works.