Moonlight Blade Online: Combat System Review & ZhenWu Skill Introduction
Moonlight Blade Online, a Chinese martial art MMORPG started its 3rd CBT on 1st July 2014. In this article, the combat system of Moonlight Blade Online will be introduced and explained in detail. Currently there are 5 classes released in the game: namely, Taibai (swordsman), ShenWei (spear user), TangMen (puppet master), Beggar and ZhenWu (shadow swordsman), with the 6th one, TianXiang coming in August. ZhenWu is the new class released in this CBT. I have been playing ZhenWu fo the past 2 weeks and will share my experience here, to provide a better understanding on the unique combat system of the game.
The figure below shows the overview of the stats or resources in battle: HP, Killing Intent, Breath, Composure and MP, which is called by different names depending on the classes; for ZhenWu, it is called Yin & Yang.
The video released by the developer presents a brief overview on the battle system of Moonlight Blade. Turn on CC for English subtitle.
Composure & Composure Break Skill
Composure is the unique feature in the combat system of Moonlight Blade Online. Composure bar is shown underneath each enemies/bosses HP bar because it is one of the most important stats which decides the outcome of a battle. Composure of your targets allows them to block your skill (at a certain chance) and prevent them from being knockdown, knockback or knock up.
The Composure value will be reduced if you continuously land hits on your opponent. When the Composure bar of your opponent is depleted, he cannot block at all for certain duration and he can easily juggled and locked in combo. Composure value will regenerate slowly over time. Just to give you an idea of the block rate; my level 54 character now has approximately 70% block rate. That means, Composure is an extremely effective passive defense mechanics. Most bosses typically have very high Composure value and block rate as well.
Each class is given 1 or 2 Composure Break Skill, which reduces the Composure Bar of targets effectively during battle. One of the key strategies in combat is to land these Composure Break skills on your targets to deplete their Composure bar as soon as possible. Once the targets’ Composure hit zero, the efficiency of damage dealing is enhanced tremendously and the target can be locked in combo without them blocking our disabling skills.
Breath & Qing Gong
Qing Gong allows the user to sprint, dash, roll, perform aerial jump (up to 4 times), air dash, etc. Breath is consumed when using Qing Gong and it will recover very slowly in battle. Not all Qing Gong can be used in battle. Quadruple aerial jump for example, can only be used out of battle.
Qing Gong plays a very important role in battle because it allows the caster to evade skills and recover from knockdown, knockback or aerial juggling. Most Qing Gong skills do not have CD, except for a few such as Aerial Dash (10sec). However, due to the slow recovery of Breath in battle, one has to carefully manage its usage. Furthermore, the Breath recovery potion has a very long CD of 3 minute.
Blood Draining Skill
Moonlight Blade Online does not have a specific healer class, at least for now. Although there are HP recovery potions, the CD of its usage is 3 minute as well. One of the reliable ways to heal yourself would be through the use of Blood Draining Skill. Blood Draining skill can heal your own HP when it is used to kill elite targets. Take note that two conditions must be fulfilled for the HP leeching effect to work: it must be used to deal the last hit (kill the target with this skill) and the target must be of elite level (typical mobs do not give you any HP recovery).
This actually brings forth a very interesting battle dynamics, instead of the typical tank-dps-healer combination. During tough boss battle in instance, normally the boss will continuously summon elite mobs. These elite mobs effectively serve as your “HP potion”, if your party can manage the mobs properly. One has to plan the combo to land the Blood Drain skill as last hit on these elite mobs to recover HP if needed.
Killing Intent (shown in the octagon at the middle) is accumulated as you land hits in high combo count on enemies: the higher the combo count, the faster Killing Intent grows. Killing a target with Blood Drain skill also increases Killing Intent as well. There are two ways to use Killing Intent: Clear Mind state and Ultimate Skill.
Clear Mind state can be activated by expending 50% of your Killing Intent. Upon activation, you and your target will be warped into oblivion. All surrounding enemies/allies will disappear momentarily and you can fight with the target in 1v1 mode. Normally, this is used for assassination of a player/npc (more on that in future review) or sometimes it can be used in boss battle to buy your allies some time (only last for 5sec on boss) to recover their HP. Take note that, activation of Clear Mind can also be performed by your enemy as well. For example, the final boss of level 51 instance will summon 2 clones, which pulls two party members into Clear Mind space.
The second and more common way to use Killing Intent is to activate Ultimate Skill of each class. Ultimate skill can only be activated when the Killing Intent gauge is full, shown by fiery octagon at the middle. Press “~” key (beside 1) and a very powerful skill will be unleashed. All the killing intent will be depleted instantly. Killing Intent can be accumulated before any battle and the value is retained after you log out /in.
Palm Lock & Inner Strength Battle
Most bosses have Rage Gauge, which is something similar to player’s Killing Intent gauge. When the gauge is full, the boss will force a player into a palm lock for inner strength battle, which is a typical scene in ancient martial art movies/stories.
Both parties cannot be damage in palm lock mode. Your allies can actually help you by channeling their inner strength to you if you are lock in inner strength battle. The inner strength bar at the top will be depleted gradually; whichever side hits zero first, will lose the inner strength battle and receive some damage.
If your side lost, the boss will become Berserk and turn invincible for a fixed duration. He will be using high damage skills in Berserk mode and it is best to be running away from him with Qing Gong.
After the Berserk mode ends (typically last for 15~20sec), the boss will go into Weaken state. This is the perfect chance to deal damage to the boss because he just sits there for ~10sec. If your side does win the inner strength battle, the boss will immediately go into the Weaken state without Berserk.
While many may think that 3 vs 1 during palm lock battle is cheating, the fact is, most powerful bosses have very high inner strength. They can often win in 3 vs 1 scenario if your party members are not up to the level. Another strategy would be to leave the single party member who is already locked to lose the inner strength battle on purpose. Only the palm-locked member will be damaged while other party members gain valuable time to heal with meditation or use Blood Drain skills on other elite mobs during the palm lock period. This strategy should only be adopted if you are expected to lose anyway in 3v1.
In Moonlight Blade Online, MP or cost/resource to cast skill is called by different names for different classes; the MP system varies significantly from class to class as well. I will only explain the mechanics of Ying & Yang (MP for ZhenWu) in the skill introduction section, along with the skill description.