In Wo Long, every character (meaning you and your enemies) has a Morale level. In its most basic form, that Morale level represents a character’s general strength/difficulty. If you encounter an enemy that has a much higher Morale level than you, then you will have a harder time defeating them. If their Morale is lower than your own, though, then the fight should be “fair” or even in your favor.
However, Morale levels can change through the course of play. As you defeat enemies and discover key locations, your Morale level will rise. Get that Morale level high enough, and you’ll become significantly more powerful. Indeed, those with high enough Morale levels may start to feel like an unstoppable force of nature capable of tearing through many foes with relative ease.
Before you start feeling too confident, though, you should know that your Morale level will be reset each time you die. Specifically, it seems like it’s lowered to match your current Fortitude rating whenever you die (though I’m a little hazy on that part of the system at this time). To make matters worse, enemies can actually raise their own Morale levels by killing you. Not only does that mean that already tough bosses can become tougher each time you die to them, but even basic enemies can become bigger hurdles over time. Do you know how you can sometimes get caught up by a basic enemy’s surprise attack pattern in Dark Souls? Well, imagine that same enemy getting a little bit stronger each time it catches you off-guard.
To be honest, it’s a little too early to say whether or not that system will remain engaging/balanced over the course of the full game. Even in its early stages, though, Wo Long‘s Morale system accomplishes a few key things.
First off, it lets players know roughly where they stand in relation to certain enemies. Historically, Soulslike games have favored “trial by error” systems that encourage you to explore (or avoid) certain areas based on how quickly you die in them. Wo Long utilizes a similar approach, but Morale gives you a slightly clearer indication of how dangerous certain locations and enemies really are. You can still go in above your head if you’d like, but some of the guesswork has been removed.
Second, Morale allows players to more efficiently “farm” their way out of roadblock areas. There’s more to winning a battle than your current Morale level, but anyone looking to get past a particularly tough enemy has a much better chance of doing so if they take the time to raise their Morale. Again, farming for levels is one of those things that most Soulslike players already do, and Wo Long‘s Morale system just makes it a bit easier to understand how much more farming you should do before diving back into a tough fight.