A brief look at all characters in the game.
“Damn. There’s so many interesting characters that I don’t know who to play (~_~;)”
That was me for about my first 3 weeks playing this game. There really are tons of characters in this game so its easy to be indecisive about who to play. Hell, there are so many characters in this game its easy to not even know who does what (X_X).
That’s why I thought I’d make a nice post that gives a nice clear view the characters as well as the overall differences between them.
- Sword Art Online Characters
- Accel World Characters
- SAO vs AW Characters
- Character Roles
- The Goal of Variety
- Picking A Character
~Sword Art Online Characters~
- 3x Weapon Types
If you have played Lost Song, the SAO characters function pretty much the same. They each get 3 weapon types and they can fly & use magic. The amount of variety the SAO characters each have is truly staggering in terms of both Sword Skills and Offensive Magic & Buff skills.
This means that you can play one character in many different ways depending on the skills or weapon type you select. Aside from this, the SAO characters can freely change or enhance their weapons making them have a high potential for being strong as attackers.
On the other hand, since the SAO characters have so many skills and ways-to-play, it is very easy to play a character wrong. You may not think it is is even possible to play a character wrong but dear God… the things I have seen throughout my years in LS and even in AccelSword…
A typical mistake that players make is not using the SAO buff skills. Which I can’t understand for the life of me. That’s like saying NO to free damage, increased movement speed or magic power. It literally takes 2 seconds to cast a buff and the bonus increase you get from a buff is huge. Here are some examples:
- Sharpness: ATK+20%
- Song of Battle: ATK+20% (Can stack with Sharpness)
- Protection: DEF+17%
- Song of Protection: DEF+23% (Can stack with Protection)
- Quick: Movement Speed+50%
- Magia: Magic Power+30% (Includes Healing magic)
- Enhance Element: Elemental Damage+30% (If a monster is weak to an element, elemental damage is x2)
- Resist Element: Elemental Resistance +33%
- Weakness: Enemy DEF-25%
- Exhaust: Enemy ATK-20%
Since these buffs grant such a huge increase, they hold higher priority over Offensive Magic. This is simply because not using these buffs, especially when they give such a great increase, is downright stupid. If you want to play an SAO character, make sure that get good use out of their buff skills.
If you don’t know which buff skills to pick or when to use them, you can have a look at each characters respective Character Guides page.
So. With all of this being said, I think its compulsory for every player to level at least one good SAO character. These characters hold a lot of value as team members and you can’t really go wrong with an SAO character pick (Unless you pick a Cait Sith).
~Accel World Characters~
- Engraved Stones
- Enhanced Armaments
- 2 Types of Sword Skills
- Accel Move & Super Jump
These are the new and shiny characters of the game. Unlike SAO characters, Accel World characters cannot fly, switch weapons or use magic. They can however equip different Engraved Stones as well as Enhanced Armaments that greatly affect character abilities. To make up for their lack of flying, they can use “Accel Move” Super Jump techniques to move around maps surprisingly well.
Accel World characters appear limited in terms of versatility at a glance, but this is not true. They don’t have the level of variety that the SAO characters offer, but there’s still a ton of things that can be experimented with.
Engraved Stones are pieces of Elemental Attack equipment that can be changed freely on Accel World characters. These engraved stones can give an Elemental Attack increase of up to 50%. Which is MASSIVE (SAO characters can only reach max 19%). If you have trouble with math, this means that 50% of your base attack is added as an additional Elemental Damage. For those of you who assume that Elemental Damage is useless, I will preemptively tell you to shut up because you are wrong. If a boss is weak to an Element, Elemental Damage is multiplied by 2. This means that a 50% engraved stone will become 100% if a boss is weak to that respective element. Again, if you are bad at math, 100% Elemental Damage effectively means Double Overall Damage.
Enhanced Armaments is a separate list of 6 equipment slots that Accel World characters can change freely. The kinds of equipment that can be used here range from Attack Augmentation, Debuffs on Attacks, Status Ailment Resistances, Elemental Resistances and even thing that increase BP Drop or Experience Gain. These Enhanced Armaments also give a considerable increase. It is possible to debuff with 50% chance on hit (1 in 2 hits), Increase Attack Damage by 5% or even reduce Elemental Damage received by 10%. Some of these Enhanced Armaments lower your characters attack damage by 20% each so you need to careful with which ones your use.
AW characters have Two Kinds of Sword Skills. They have “Special Moves” which consumes their MP gauge like Lost Song’s Sword Skills. The difference here is that this MP gauge is only filled by landing normal attacks or getting hit. The other kind of Sword Skills are called “Incarnate Skills”. These are Sword Skills with cooldowns aking to the SAO characters in this game. When you put these two kinds of skills together you have a skill set that requires the AW character to put some time into building the MP gauge as opposed to simply all out attacking like SAO characters.
Accel Move & Super Jump are special kinds of movement that are only usable by Accel World characters. “Accel Move” allows you to move horizontal distanced in the blink of an eye. If you lock onto an enemy and then use Accel Move, you will be able to instantly be within close range of the target. “Super Jumps” allows you to cover large amounts of vertical distance very quickly. You can also hold down the jump button to jump even higher.
Overall, Accel World characters have a faster and broader range of movement as opposed to the SAO characters. But since they can’t fly, they lack the stability of just being able to, y’know, hover there. It may not seem like much but it means that fighting Flying Enemies requires some effort.
The Accel World characters all only get 2 Buff skills. These buffs have short duration and a really long cooldown time. Which is unfortunate because they are really good. The AW characters buffs only affect themselves but they typically give DOUBLE the increase of the SAO characters buffs. This means that you should probably cast them before a Skill Connect combo and then get a competent SAO buffer to put the standard SAO buffs back on you when they wear off. If you want to know which characters buffs do what (and how much they increase by) you can have a look at the Character Guides pages.
-BK’s Opinion on the AW characters-
These characters are good man. Really good. There’s tons of unexplored ground here and with every Level cap increase, they just keep getting better and better. In the beginning I thought they were so-so but day after day I kept seeing things that impressed me. Like Unica-chan killing 4 Bosses with one Skill or Ash Roller killing a Lv1300 Satet in 5 seconds.
I think that there’s tons of Low Key God characters lurking in the AW roster. So whatever you do, do not neglect these characters. Even if some of them aren’t exactly damaging powerhouses, these characters are just fun to play. And fun is the most important thing in any game.
But still, let me call it now (on 23 May 2017). There’s a 100.99% chance some jackass of a YouTuber or some idiot on gamefaqs will make a post or video saying “The AW characters are weak and useless. Don’t use them.”
Please don’t get tricked by these dumbasses with less than 10hours play time. I stopped myself from saying anything decisive about the AW characters until I got some solid hours in with all of them. Now I have 1000+ hours on the game now and I still feel like there’s tons to be experimented with.
But the one thing I can say is that the AW characters have a hell of a lot of potential.
~SAO vs AW Characters~
Sword Art Online characters bring strength, variety and stability to a team. Accel World characters are more focused and offer less variety but are strong in their own ways. Accel World characters only have Self-only buffs and no form of Healing outside of items. This means that the SAO characters will have to make up the main framework of the team with AW characters generally serving a focused role such as an Elemental Attacker.
This is also another way of saying that they Accel World characters are dependent on SAO characters in terms of Buffs and Healing. Since both buffs and heals are so important in the game, having an All AW team will never work as well as an All SAO team.
Well. At least, this is the case in Co-op quests. In the original Source Material, Accel World was a PvP only game and that transcribes clearly into this game. I could see how the AW characters could be good in PvP – Quick Buffs, superior movement and fancy gimmicks like Green Grandee’s “Double Payback” (Doubles damage received and sends it back at opponent).
That being said, I don’t really care about PvP. I won’t list any reasons why because I don’t want to waste your time but everything written on this site is in relation to co-op play.
Even so, at the end of the day, all of this does not mean that the AW characters are useless at Co-op play. It just means that they won’t be able to have as much of an impact on a team as an typical SAO character.
I have arranged all the characters in the game into categories of their best suited playstyles. Not all the characters in the game are as cut-and-dry as this list may make them seem so it would be nice if you could read this with an open mind. Also, this list is not a tier list. The characters are listed here in whatever order and are categorized simply based on what their preferred playstyle is.
Attackers focus purely on being strong and attacking. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the strongest characters in the game. It instead means that there is little for them to do outside of attacking. Pick one of these if you just want to smack enemies around with little regard for your teammates outside of casting buffs.
Secondary Attackers and Ranged Attackers are attack orientated but not as strong as traditional Attackers. To make up for this, they are gifted with either long range or with special supporting skills that other Attacking Classes don’t get. These characters are a lot of fun, but don’t expect them to put up as much damage as Attackers.
Tanks are characters that are mainly focused on defending. Typically, they have High HP and draw enemies toward them while letting teammates deal damage. Of course, they can put up damage if they want to but doing so is not as easy and efficient as other Attacking classes.
Healers focus on keeping the team alive. This class requires the player to constantly watch the HP of other teammates while not getting killed yourself. Aside from healing HP and resurrecting dead teammates, some of the characters listed here can recover Status Ailments as well. Healers aren’t all flimsy though – Sumeragi, Cosmos and other characters with Mace & Katana can put up some surprising damage when it comes to Attacking.
Elemental Buffers are Attackers that have access to not only ATK UP & DEF UP, But also every Elemental Enhance & Resist in the game. Buffing the Elemental Weakness of a Boss grants Elemental Damage x2. This makes Buffers a critical existence in any team. Since Buffers are Attackers as well, they are also able to put up some serious damage.
These characters are great but they require extensive knowledge of the Elemental Weaknesses & Strengths of any given Boss that may appear on the screen. Luckily, I made a nice Cheat Sheet on the Boss Guides main page that can come in handy when faced with a Boss and you don’t know what its Elemental Weakness is.
Debuffers are a variation of Buffers but they instead focus on decreasing the abilities of the Bosses or the other enemies that the team will fight. These characters do indeed come equipped with a few good buffs as opposed to debuffs only so they do have a good amount of variety. In terms of Attacking Strength, Kirito would be Attacker level & Phillia would be Secondary Attacker level. Who cares what strength level Oberon is at?
These characters require the player to Debuff each and every boss or enemy that appears on the screen. Therefore it helps to get into the good habit of simply just casting skills before you fight.
**Technically, all Accel World characters can be Debuffers if you equip them with the corresponding Enhanced Armaments.
-BUFFER + DEBUFFER-
Buffer+Debuffer hybrids offer a selection of skills that makes them extremely good as standalone characters. These characters are able to Buff, Debuff & Attack. When compared to other characters that only focus on one of each, Buffer+Debuffers are more valuable as teammates as they bring more to the table. They only lose to the Buffer Class because Buffer+Debuffers only have access to one Element buff each. They are also able to put up Attacker level damage.
-HEALER + BUFFER-
Healer+Buffer hybrids are unique. The characters listed here don’t have traditional buff skills like the Buffer Class but instead have “Song Buffs” which stack with traditional buffs. On top of this, the Healer+Buffer Class has the healing abilities of the Healer Class. This makes the characters listed here extremely good. They can fit easily into any team because they are versatile and don’t clash with other characters. They are also not bad at dealing damage.
However, these characters are not easy to play. “Song Buffs” have a third of the duration as Traditional Buff skills. This means that the Healer+Buffer Class not only has to keep an eye on teammates HP & deal damage, but they also have to constantly recast Song Buffs so that they do not wear off.
-JACK OF ALL TRADES-
Jack of All Trades are characters that are able to handle multiple roles at the same time. Eugeo & Alice can handle the role of Attacker, Buffer and Secondary Healer. While Vabel-chan is able to handle every single role in the game except Attacker. [She is an Elemental Buffer, Debuffer, Healer]
These characters are really valuable as they can fit into any team and be extremely useful. They are also able to cover multiple roles in smaller teams where character picks need to cover as many team fundamentals as possible.
The Dedicated Support Class has almost 0 damage output. Instead of dealing damage, the character listed here focuses purely on Buffing & Healing teammates, Debuffing monsters and being cute. An apt description of this character would be Healer+Buffer+Debuffer with no damage. This character has all of the main Buffs, Debuffs and Song Buffs in the game. She also has all the Healing Skills except Revive. The only thing this character is missing is all the Elemental Enhance buffs. but I guess we can’t have everything (;_;)
Since this character focuses on the general well-being of the party, she is not particularly hard to play. She does have all of the Offensive Magic in the game so she does have some form of damage. However, contrary to popular belief, magic is and always has been weak.
~The Goal of Variety~
When I form teams to tackle quests online or offline, there’s a quick mental checklist that I go through to make sure that the character composition of the team is sound. The goal is Variety. Basically this means that you want a team that can mesh well together and cover all bases of the team’s needs.
My checklist typically looks something like this:
- Damage Output
- Song Buffs
- Two Good Element Enhances (Ice & Dark)
- Healing Skills
Optional but Desired:
- All Elemental Enhances
- All Elemental Resists
As you can see, my checklist typically revolves around “Buffer, Debuffer, Healer/Attacker“
Obviously its hard to have all of these skills at any given time because that ends up limiting the number of characters that you can play which is not fun. So its OK to make a few sacrifices whenever you need to.
By using this checklist, it becomes easy to look at any team and go “That team has no Song Buffs” or “That team has no debuffs”. I do know that its hard to put into context if I just list skills so I will provide you with some examples of teams that cover all these bases both Online & Offline.
- Rain, Kirito, Seven
- Yuuki; Asuna; Nitride Unica
- Yuna, Blue Knight, Sumeragi
- Black Lotus (Equipped with Debuffs), Liz, Sachi
- Strea, Sakuya, Phillia
*These teams can also be applied to online.
- Liz (Axe with DEF Down) & Sachi
- Kirito, Rain, Seven, Sumeragi
- Strea, Yuuki, Klein, Yuna
- Silica, White Cosmos, Klein, Ash Roller
- For Sudden Quests: Liz, Kirito, Seven + 14 Other Random Characters.
There are a mind boggling amount of combinations so it’s up to the players to decide what is important and what isn’t. I know that this process in fact may seem obvious. But the goal of doing this is just so that you don’t make teams with the same character 3 or 4 times. Like Kirito, Kirito, Kirito, Kirito or Silica, Sinon, Argo & Alicia Rue.
~Picking A Character~
Now, with all of this information you should be able to pick a character that will allow you to enjoy the game. When picking a character, just be honest with yourself and pick who you like. It seems obvious, but I’m saying this because there’s people like me out there who will think themselves into a corner because they don’t know who to pick (~_~;)
It also helps if you get some hands on experience with as many of the characters as possible so you can actually get a feel for how they really play. From there, you could just focus on the ones you find most fun.
But if you really really really don’t know who to pick and need a recommendation, I would advise you to pick characters that make up a “Lost Song Team”. If you don’t know what that means, you can read my old post on How To Do The Lost Song Quest Properly.
If you feel like you’ve read enough of my long winded crap and don’t want to click on a whole other article, a “Lost Song Team” is a team of SAO characters that make up Buffer, Debuffer, Healing/Song Buffs & Elemental Attacker. Any character in this team can go a long way in terms of their relevance and value as teammates.
Once you make your final decision on which characters to level, its time to proceed to the General Leveling Guide:
But that’s it for this post.
Thank you for reading.