How to elevate your play to the next level.
If you looked around this site, you would have found a bunch of guides for AccelSword. Guides on How To Play Characters, guides on How To Build Characters, guides on How To Build Weapons and even guides on Picking Characters. The list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, one of the only things I haven’t touched on is a guide on How To Look Up Skirts.
But sorry, that’s my special tech and I’m never sharing that knowledge with anyone (^..^)
But one other important topic comes to mind:
How To Get Better at the game.
I’ve written a guide on almost everything. But at the same time, I am aware that I have a mild disease of over-saturating the reader with information. I know that an overload of information can kind of impair the intake of knowledge so I’ve tried to keep most of the information on this site as easy to understand as possible.
But at the same time, that means I didn’t really have the opportunity to discuss any form of High Level Play or Good Practices that will make you become better at the game.
So keep reading if you want a few tips that will help you to power up your play.
Just to be clear: This article addresses getting better at Co-op play. No PvP will be mentioned here whatsoever.
~THE CYCLE OF GETTING BETTER~
When you start a new game, you will suck at it. Like the water in the rivers and the wind in the sky, such is the way of life. But as you play the game more, you will grow as a player. You will go through various phases learning all kinds of things, making mistakes and learning from them as you get better. What’s important is that you actually learn new things try to work them into your own gameplay as you play the game.
Getting better at the game is not a linear process. Its not as simple as following a few steps and immediately seeing a change in your play. The process of getting better is more like a cycle of learning and applying knowledge and then learning more and applying more until you have built up the experience and skills that make you intuitively a better player.
Since this is such a vast and overwhelming process, its easy to be led astray midway through or give up on learning new things once you think of yourself as a “good player”. One of my favorite things to say is:
“Assuming you know enough about a game is the first step to denying any more personal growth as a player in that game.”
But that’s where your perseverance and attitude towards learning the game comes in. In order to get better, you need to have the drive to experience the Cycle of Getting Better multiple times. But also, understand that getting better is not an easy process. It requires hard work and a deep sense of willingness to put in the effort to grow as a player. For that reason, it helps to always have a positive mindset and above that, have fun with the game.
When you are having fun with the game, getting better is a process that makes you happy which in turn enables you to get better faster and learn the game more intuitively.
~TEACH ME, BK-SENSEI!~
I don’t think I have to tell you who I am, but it might help you get a feel for how I think of things in this game if I gave you a little background on my AccelSword play.
Haaa. I really hate talking about myself like this (;_;)
Okay. I played Lost Song a lot. I played it from English release day all the way up til AccelSword’s Japanese release. I took long breaks at times but I always came back to it. I was the guy who kept playing when his friends stopped playing. Then found new friends. Then kept playing when even those new friends stopped and repeated the cycle for about 2 years. I was practically wallpaper in Online Lobbies and if I had to see my LS play time, I would probably have a mild heart attack.
A lot of Lost Song’s knowledge is transferable to this game so I was able to fit right in to its gameplay. At the time of writing this, I have been playing the Japanese version of AccelSword for about 4 months. My play time on AccelSword currently reads 1648 hours (Not counting the 350 I lost on a cross save T_T).
I’ve read the Strategy Guide to pieces. Then I read the pieces to pieces and must have spent about 400 hours working on writing in-depth posts for everything on this site. I’ve tried to put a lot of thought into everything I post on here, so understand that most of my information is backed by hours spent validating it.
Even though I’ve played AccelSword so much and studied it so closely, I feel like I still don’t know enough about this game. My thirst for knowledge isn’t abated by getting more knowledge because I always want more knowledge (@_@)
Having that kind of attitude has enabled me to constantly try out new things and imagine all kinds of ways in which they could be useful.
In short, I know my stuff when it comes to this game.
Now, this BK-sensei (Why am I being called this? XD) will give you some tips on how to get better at this game. These tips will target players of all levels and serve as some best practices when playing the game.
Like I said earlier, I am aware that I have a disease of overloading reader with information, so take your time reading this and always come back to it when you feel like you’ve grown as a player.
Growth changes your perspective. That in turn helps in being able to grow even more.
~TIPS ON GETTING BETTER~
These are just some random tips and things to think about when playing the game. My idea here is to provide you with some pointers on helping you get better and hoping it sparks a flame inside you that will make you want to go out and experiment with all kinds different of things in the game.
Obviously, these are not the only things that will help you get better. But these are a few small things that could help you drastically improve the way you play this game.
-Building Up Your Character-
Your character is the outlet you will use to get better at the game. Aside from this, the kind of character you use will affect how you play the game and by extension, in what way you will get better.
For this reason it makes sense to carefully select a character that specializes in a playstyle that really appeals to you. But once you have selected your character, you need to be willing to put the time and effort into building them in order for them to be the best they can be.
The amount of time you’re willing to put in will vary from player to player, but you should at least build your characters up until they are “Good Enough” or at a level that you are happy with.
After all, Max Level skills isn’t gonna automatically make you a great player. What matters is how well you use those skills.
That’s not to say that the level of your skills don’t matter, but maxing your character is something you can do as you get better at the game.
-Understanding Your Character-
That character you’re playing right know. Are you using them properly? Are you playing them the way they were intended to be played? Are you using them to their full potential?
This is your most fundamental thing when playing this game. Learning to use your character properly is one of the first things you should do. To help players with this, I have written some in-depth Character Guides to help players gain a basic understanding of what their respective character is about.
The information on which buffs to use and what kinds of responsibilities your characters have are the most important. No buff in this game is useless. This goes for both AW and SAO characters. Learn about each of your characters skills and try to use them accordingly.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with all the tools your character has and find a playstyle that suits you. But also don’t forget that you are obligated to play your specific character according their respective Role.
-Knowing Your Offensive Skills-
That weapon/character you’re playing there. Do you know how many of its Sword Skills have Super Armor? Do you know which of those Skills is the Strongest? Do you understand how to use each of those Skills as tools for different situations?
For combat, this kind of information is vital. It changes the way you approach various situations. I have written up a small amount of information for each weapon on my SAO Weapon Breakdown post. (For AW characters, check their Character Pages)
But because I couldn’t spend as much time on this site as I really wanted to, the information some sections is somewhat under informed.
That means its up to you to go into the field or quests and experiment with your Sword Skills and understand the various properties of them. Get used to their duration, hitboxes, how much they displace your character and the kind of damage they do in relation to their cooldowns.
Try to discern which ones have Super Armor and which are downright risky. Also look at which ones have stand-out DOWN potential. You should also try to arrange your list of Skills according to how much you value them in combat. The ones you value the most shouldn’t be used recklessly while others can be just thrown out as combo filler.
Take note that this process is heavily backed by your experience of the game but its a good idea to just go out there and solo something with your weapon/character and see how the list of skills work as a whole.
-Understand Your Teammates–
The characters in your team. Do you know what kinds of skills they have? Do you know what role each of them has?
This is the same thing as understanding the character you’re using but now you applying it to your teammates.
When you start playing with a team, look at the composition of characters present. Try to think of all the different skills and roles each character has. When you understand that, you can adjust the way you play considerably. If you play an attacker and you have a Sachi as a teammate, you are somewhat obligated to rely on her for healing.
This goes double for teammates that you play with frequently. When you’ve done enough quests with someone, you can get a feel for their habits and how they like to play with their character. When you start to understand that, you can play in a way that complements them which in turn, makes the team run a lot smoother.
But obviously, not every player plays their character properly. So when you are playing with strangers, always assume the worst until you are proven otherwise. There’s nothing more disappointing than relying on a random Sachi for heals when the player is too busy looking up her skirt to care about you.
-Use Your Buffs–
Often, a lot of players say that support skills are useless and they refuse to use them. I want to put all of those players in a room and chain cast Dark Cloud Storm on them.
No buff in this game is useless. Each of them grant at least a 20% increase to their respective stat. If you think you’re strong enough to say no to a free 20% then you should probably quit this game and go play Eye Pet or something.
Sharpness (20%) + Song of Battle (20%) + Weakness (25%) + Elemental Enhance [On boss weakness] (60%)
That’s a total of 125% bonus damage. That’s more than double damage when you have all the buffs on.
Why players say no to double damage is beyond me.
Use your buffs. If you don’t know which buffs are good, check the respective Character Guide for your character.
-Use The Whole Pallet–
This is one I see very often. Players only set Sword Skills to Pallet 1 and then only Support Skills to Pallet 2. Doing so forces you to pick and chose certain skills over others and above all, caps your damage output since you can only do a Max Skill Connect combo of 160%.
Did you know there are Pallets 3 & 4? These can be accessed by pressing R3 during gameplay (On vita, this is done by pressing the corner of the screen).
I highly suggest equipping and using all sword skills on pallet 1 & 2. For each Sword Skill you use, you can potentially do 10% more damage. The remainder of the space on Pallet 1 & 2 can be used for Support Skills that you use frequently like Healing or Main Buffs.
After this, equip all your auxiliary skills to Pallets 3 & 4. Trust me, there’s more than enough space for everything important (Unless you’re a Leprechaun, Undine or Vabel-chan).
Now you just need to get used to switching between pallets when you want to use skills, but that in itself is a part of getting good so don’t be afraid to test it out.
-Set Up Characters Consistently–
You love to play multiple characters? You love to play lots of characters so much that you forget how to play some of them? Have you even thought about trying to set them all up in the same way?
There’s tons of characters with all kinds of skills in this game. It can be a hell of a mental task to remember how to play any given character. For that reason, it is a good practice to try to set up all of your characters in the most universal way possible.
What I mean by this is to familiarize yourself with a single button layout. Learn how to play a character with that button layout. Then when you learn another character, you map the skills that function the same to the exact same layout as the previous character.
For example, All my Counter type Sword Skills are always on R2+Triangle for every character/weapon type that has them. I also like quick skills on R1+Square and Skills that travel far on R1+Triangle. I also always put my power skill on R2+Square.
By doing this, I’m able to remove the need to remember what each skill for each weapon/character does individually and instead familiarize myself with only button combinations that always activate a specific type of skill.
This doesn’t stop with Sword Skills, this same type of thing should be applied to support skills. My Revive is always on R2+Left regardless of the SAO character’s race. My healing is always on R2+Triangle on pallet 2.
Its up to you to come up with a button layout that you are comfortable with and then try to apply it to all the characters you use.
-Learn Boss Elemental Weaknesses–
Whether you play an Elemental Buffer or not, learning the Elemental Weaknesses for key bosses is one of the most important things in this game.
By buffing the Elemental Enhance that the boss is weak to, you are able to add 60% to your damage output. That’s too big of a bonus to ignore so learning these weaknesses is indeed worth it.
On the other hand, buffing an Elemental Enhance that the boss resists will only add a lousy 3% to your damage and buffing an Elemental Enhance that the boss has no affinity to will add 30%.
If you don’t know Boss Elemental Weaknesses, check the Boss Guides page. there’s a super nice PDF there complete with easy to understand pictures and icons so you know what to buff at a glance.
If you know the Elemental Weakness of a Boss and someone says “No, Its Dark based so its weak to Holy”, you have my full permission to completely ignore them and cast the correct buff. Just make doubly sure that you’re right.
-Try To Read Boss Attacks–
Okay. You keep getting by that same attack over and over. Why don’t you try to learn how to looks/works?
This is one of the most basic things you pick up with experience. When you fight a boss repeatedly you start to learn how its attacks work. You pick up on how it looks during startup, its hitboxes and how much of an opening it has before/after the attack.
When you fight a boss even more you start to see blindspots and how to punish them for doing certain attacks.
But one thing I’ve noticed is that players indeed pick up on these attack properties easily. But it stops there. They don’t take this further and try to apply the knowledge to using their character to fight that boss.
Once you understand a bosses attacks, you should try to envision how you’ll deal with them individually when the appear. Once you start to think of this, try to imagine different situations where you encounter the attack as well as your options in each situation.
When you start thinking like this, your offense becomes a lot more clear and you can simply act based on your answers to what the boss is doing.
-Aiming For Boss Weakpoints–
When you fight a boss, where do you usually hit them? Why do you hit them there?
A lot of bosses have multiple body-parts that have different affinities to different types of physical attacks. For example, Ruhiel’s head and wings are fairly resistance to slash damage so if you use a 1Hand Sword, attacking him there won’t really be that efficient.
But if you slip around to his thighs, you’ll be able to deal much better damage.
This kind of thing is very important and forms a huge part of optimizing damage. The easiest way to learn this is to look at each individual bosses Boss Guides page and examine their Weak/Resist table.
Once you understand which body-parts are most effective at targeting with your respective weapon, try to work this into your gameplay when you actually fight the boss.
Experiment with different ways to attack weakpoints while avoiding taking damage
Sometimes when you’re fighting a boss, he’s just fall over and grant you a nice 20 seconds of Christmas time where you can deal damage without worrying about getting hit. Do you know how to manipulate that?
Skill Connect Combos(SSC) are the main source of damage in this game but quite often, performing a SSC sometimes needs the boss to be distracted or incapacitated. That’s why learning how to DOWN a boss is a huge part of offense.
Imagine each boss having a hidden “DOWN GAUGE”. As you attack them, this gauge will slowly fill up and when it passes a certain threshold, that boss will always be DOWNed.
But each skill builds this gauge at a different rate while some skills don’t even build it at all. This extends to characters/weapon types themselves in the sense that some weapons/characters (Mace, Spear, Axe, Black Lotus, Aqua Current, Black Vise, Scarlet Rain) are incredible at building this DOWN GAUGE while others (Dual Blades, Rapier, 2Hand Sword, Blue Knight, Ardor Maiden, Chrome Disaster) are worse at it.
This makes certain characters/weapons have a special appeal as opposed to others.
But luckily, for the most part, all weapons/characters have some basic tools to help build the DOWN GAUGE. Triangle Attacks as well as the Aerial Drive Attack for SAO Characters build this DOWN GAUGE somewhat consistently for all weapons and characters. Sling Stone (Tier 1 Earth Magic) is also great for DOWNing bosses.
Elemental Weakness also increases the rate of building the DOWN GAUGE so make sure you always use the correct element buff for each boss’ respective weakness.
**Bifrest Resonance (New magic spell added in Version 2.00) is also really good at building the DOWN GAUGE.
If you are playing a weapon or character that is proficient at DOWNing, building the DOWN GAUGE should be one of your main gameplans.
In any case, once the boss goes DOWN, all hands on deck should drop what they’re doing and pile on the damage. Chances like that don’t come often.
Understanding the DOWN GAUGE takes a lot of experience but its always good to look out for it when you are fighting a boss. Some bosses like Death and Skoell are super stiff and they don’t fall over that often. You just kinda gotta get a feel for this hidden gauge and get ready for offensive whenever you feel like its close.
-Sensible Skill Connect Combos–
Oi oi. You keep using the same SSC over and over. Bosses don’t always use the same attack patterns so why should you fight in a predictable manner?
The kind of boss you fight will dictate the kinds of SSCs you use. This is something that comes with experience but here you need to put a little bit of thought into how you go about your offense.
Ideally, you would want to optimize damage while minimizing risks. For some weapons/characters that are proficient at DOWNing, it might also be a good idea to focus on building up a DOWN before you go for damage.
When you value a skill highly in a boss fight, don’t combo off of it so that you can try to keep it off cooldown.
Try not to mash out SSCs.
When you are mashing the next skill in a chain, you have already made up what your next skill is going to be regardless of what happens. Rather try to predict what the boss might do next at the end of your current skill. If you think the boss is going to attack next, combo into a skill with Guard Point or a counter. If you don’t have such a skill, simply drop the combo and block.
The best way to use SSCs is to just wait right until the end of the skill and then cancel into the next skill based on what the boss is doing. This takes a lot of experience and execution, but by doing so, you open yourself up to be able to handle almost anything mid combo.
Learning to use Sensible Skill Connect Combos will probably form the bulk of your journey on how to get better. But like I said, the biggest factor that influences this is experience. So just keep experimenting with using Skill Connect and reading boss attacks simultaneously until are at a level where you can react to incoming attacks instantly with an appropriate Sword Skill.
-Understanding The Flow of Battle–
How does a typical fight go? Cast buffs, then get smacked around, then scramble to heal then deal some damage?
This one is another that’s gained through experience. But understanding the flow of battle helps you make some good decisions in a fight. It also allows you to think ahead and predict what the boss might do next.
When a fight starts, everyone casts their buffs and then moves in for combat. Sometimes people get hit and need healing, sometimes people die. Sometimes the boss goes down and sometimes the boss goes into rage mode and becomes annoying.
If you’re able to pinpoint these highlights of a battle and lay countermeasures in place before they happen, you can make the fight super smooth and efficient.
Most bosses activate rage mode once they lose a life bar. If you can predict this and DOWN or Bind a boss as he goes into rage mode you can score some huge damage since bosses take more damage when they’re in rage mode.
Most bosses have that one “Uh-oh, here it comes!” attack. When you fight a boss enough times, you can get a feel for its habits and even predict when that one attack might come. When you know this, you can refrain from continuing a risky Skill Connect Combo when you think that attack is coming or even drop what you’re doing and start casting a healing spell right away because you assume some of your teammates will get hit by it.
These are just a few example of how small predictions can greatly affect the flow of a battle.
But the problem with the flow of battle is that its never the same. Your teammates may act differently, the boss may surprise you with something unexpected and even you could make a mistake or something. Ultimately, you need the experience to deal with these situations as they appear. This also means that its something I can’t teach you.
Its something you’ll have to pick up on as you try to get better at the game.
You hate fighting Arngrim right? Those dash attacks come out of nowhere and they hit so damn hard. On top of that, he has that annoying teleport that disengages your lock-on. He’s really an asshole of a boss.
The above could be said for Abaddon, Death, Eyfura or even Rashiel or any other of the harder bosses in the game.
As players, we always run into that one boss that just beats us down no matter how many times we fight it. But there’s no way to overcome that block other than learning to fight that bastard.
When a boss is giving you trouble, try to solo it on Easy Mode. Most bosses are available as Extra Quests so you can just take some time and learn how to fight him.
When challenging a boss like that, try to focus on taking as little damage as possible. Try to get a feel for which attacks give you the most trouble and then study how they look on startup. Also try to find ways to counteract these attacks.
For example, Skoell likes to run around sometimes. His run has some long recovery time so it looks like you have a huge opening if you manage to block it, but Skoell almost always does his tail spin after that running attack. By the time you see that, its too late because you’re already on chain 2 of an unsafe SSC all because you misread an opening.
The main thing here, is that you need to become comfortable with fighting that boss. You and I both know that he will always be an asshole and you’ll always hate fighting him but you need to able to at least hold your own against him regardless.
That’s another way of saying that you need to build up your confidence in yourself to where you can fight that boss without taking any unnecessary risks.
-Try To Experiment–
When you get better at the game, you start to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. The problem with a lot of players is that when they reach this stage, they just stay doing what works and that’s it.
That’s okay and all, but the problem is that you stop growing and stop getting better at the game when you play like that. When you reach a level of play you are comfortable with, don’t be afraid to try out new things.
Just pick Knuckles/Blood Leopard and jump into a quest and see how it goes. Whether you don’t like the weapon/character is one thing, but what counts is actually getting hands on experience and trying new things out. Even if you have no intention of maining something else, the knowledge about it won’t go to waste.
As a teammate, it helps to understand the weaknesses and strengths of your friend’s characters. When you know that, you can adjust your play to synchronize with theirs.
For example, if you main an Asuna on Healer duty, the amount of times you’ll need to heal your friend will be completely different whether he/she uses a Bow or Dual Wield. When you understand your teammates characters, you don’t have to watch them that closely and can focus on doing something else.
But even above this, when you experiment with various kinds of things, you start to learn some really in depth knowledge and experience at the game that will make your quest in getting better progress much faster.
After all, when you only play one character, you don’t get good at Accel World vs Sword Art Online. You get good at one little character in that game.
-Spot Bad Habits & Mistakes–
Sometimes when we play a game, we turn our minds off and just mess around. There’s nothing wrong with that in most cases. But one of the most important aspects of getting better is being able to spot any bad habits or mistakes you or even other players might make.
For that reason, its highly beneficial if you’re awake and conscious of what you are doing. I know, I say that easily but in actual fact that’s something that’s incredibly difficult to do. With all these different things going on in a battle, there’s almost no time to carefully analyze everything your doing.
As you get better, this process gets easier because you build up enough skill, reactions and experience to free up your mind to think about other things when you are playing. But even if you don’t have that level of experience yet, why not try recording yourself playing and then watch it later?
Ask yourself things like:
- “Why did I go for a raw Eclipse there when the opening was big enough to go for a quick 3-SSC into Eclipse?“
- “I kept getting hit by that attack. I need to learn to deal with it somehow.“
- “Why didn’t I use [Insert Buff Name] there?“
- “Man. I spend a lot of time healing.”
- “There was an opening there but I didn’t do anything”
- “Why do I keep trying to power through attacks?”
It doesn’t matter how you answer these questions. What matters is that you just give it some thought. You don’t even have to come up with answers at all. The important part is being conscious of your own play.
When you are conscious of your own play, you can pinpoint particular aspects of it you don’t like or things you want to work on.
-Watch Other Players–
When you feel like you reach a sort of skill wall where you feel like you aren’t getting better on your own, why don’t you try to observe other players that you consider good?
Whether its on YouTube or someone next to you in a quest, just watch how they play the game.
Try to see what’s different from the way you play and try to think about why they make those decisions in their play. Since learning a game is a hands on experience, don’t be afraid to ask them something. Players who put a lot of thought into the way they play LOVE to talk about all the little details that you might not even see.
But there’s one problem here. How do we know what’s a good player that’s good to learn from and a scrub that got power leveled?
That’s where you need to have the most cynical eyes when you watch others. Whoever they are, try to pick apart their play and look for mistakes and bad habits in a vicious way.
If you like what you see, consider learning from them. If you think they’re weak at the game, try to understand what they’re doing wrong.
-Help Each Other–
Who said getting better is a task you can only do all on your own? Its possible to do it alone, but what’s stopping you from finding a few friends who share the same passion of the game you do and then get better together?
It doesn’t even have to be that kind of a relationship. Players can help each other get better in a countless number of ways. Don’t be shy to ask others for help and do be afraid to help others.
Just make sure to keep an open mind throughout the whole process of interacting with others. In these kinds of games, players lie frequently and even make up things that don’t even exist. (“I remember standing in an LS lobby when this one guy was bragging to his friends about how his Asuna could use a Gram [2H Sword]”)
Ultimately, this game was intended to be enjoyed online with friends so helping and learning things together are what make this game a joy.
Okay. That’s all I can think of. That’s not nearly enough to cover everything on The Cycle of Getting Better, but I think these tips along with everything else I’ve written on this site are more than enough to get almost anybody to an intermediate level where they can thoroughly enjoy the game.
There are levels above intermediate play but the kinds of skills needed there aren’t something I can teach. When you have sunk endless hours into the game you’ll eventually reach a level of play that’s so refined, playing this game is almost second nature to you.
But at the end of the day, its all up to the player on how good they want to get at the game. My greatest advice to you is to just keep playing the game and above that have fun with it.
If you are able to continue like that, you’ll be a good player before you know it.
Thank you for reading.