Naraka: Bladepoint has been out for about a week, and already there are some expert sword swingers who are unpicking the combat animations frame-by-frame to find tiny advantages. That's useful stuff, but in this guide, we're focusing on the basic advice we've picked up over the course of a few solo and trio wins in the martial arts 'n magic battle royale game: how the tricky melee combat works, and how to win.
If you haven't tried Naraka, it's out on Steam as of last week, and pits 60 players (alone or in teams of three) against each other in a shrinking battle royale arena. Although there are guns, they're clunky, and the focus on melee weapon combos, magic abilities, and Assassin's Creed-like climbing combined with zippy grappling hooks. It took some warming up to, but it's fun. We're still working on a review, but this guide may help you determine whether or not it's something you want to try.
Getting started in Naraka: Bladepoint
- Play the tutorial. It'll show you the basics of movement, comboing, and countering. Don't worry if you're confused on a few points when you're done, that's normal.
- Look through the Narakapedia. You can find this in the game menu accessible at the top right (the gear icon) or by clicking the ? icon up there. It's full of stuff you'll want to know about that the tutorial doesn't teach you.
- Try the training mode. It's in the mode select menu, which you reach by clicking the button above "Start" on the main menu. Suggestion: Press F4 to open the training menu, set the bot mode to parry training with a certain weapon, and turn combat on. It'll come at you with blue strikes so you can find the timing for counters (left mouse + right mouse). You won't die if your health depletes, so don't worry about that.
- Play your first match. Set matchmaking to The Herald's Trial and jump into your first game to fight... bots. Your first match won't be a real one as Naraka: Bladepoint tries to ease you into the experience. It'll start matching you with real players after you play a game or two with bots, though, so it's just a rite of passage.
How to party up with friends
Naraka: Bladepoint doesn't use the Steam friends list, and instead has its own simple friends system. Click the people icon at the top right to open the friends panel, then either type in your friend's alias or paste their ID number (yours is listed under your name). When they appear in the search, click on their name to open a contextual menu and send a friend request. When you're friends, click to open the same menu or the banner icon to invite them to your party.
If you want to queue into trios with two players, you can either keep "Quick Party" checked in the mode select menu, which will find a third player for your group, or uncheck it to just play with a party of two.
Above: Performing a counterstrike with a spear. Just after he started the blue attack at the end of his combo, I held left mouse + right mouse to counter, and then clicked the left mouse button repeatedly to follow up with a counterstrike combo, which glows gold.
Melee combos, clashes, and counterstrikes
The only way to really get Naraka: Bladepoint's melee combat is to try it out in the training mode (mentioned in the 'getting started' section above), because it's all about timing. It helps to know what it is you're trying to time, though, so here's what you need to know about close-quarters fighting.
Common attacks: The left mouse button throws horizontal attacks and the right mouse button throws vertical attacks. With any weapon, these are your basic strikes.
Combos: After initiating a common attack with the left or right mouse button, combos can be executed by clicking one mouse button or the other again. Combos are listed in the Narakapedia (F2), and at most involve three clicks (eg, left click, left click, right click). Naraka is not very picky about the timing.
Focus attacks (blue attacks): Some combos end with an attack that makes your character glow blue. You can also perform blue attacks by holding down left or right mouse button to charge the attack, and then releasing it. These are called focus attacks, but are often referred to as blue attacks. Common attacks cannot interrupt blue attacks.
Clashes: If two players throw the same level of attack (common or blue) at each other at the same time, their weapons will strike each other, losing durability and doing minimal damage.
Counterstrikes: Blue attacks are powerful, but dangerous, because if your opponent has good timing, they can disarm you with a red counterstrike. A counterstrike is performed by pressing the left and right mouse buttons simultaneously, and only works against blue attacks. The timing is tricky to master: you're not trying to click when the blow hits you, but just as it's initiated. Charged blue attacks (as opposed to those that result from combos) are the trickiest to counter, because they can be released before fully charging.
Choosing a weapon: The melee weapons all behave differently. Blue longsword attacks, for instance, fire waves of energy. Familiarize yourself with them in the training mode.
Above: The Scale Rush and uppercut attacks.
Grappling and advanced melee attacks
The grappling hook latches onto surfaces or players and pulls you toward them, so long as you have some grappling spools in your inventory. In combat, it serves two purposes: pulling you close to an enemy so you can launch into melee attacks, or getting the hell out of combat to heal.
Retreating is an important skill in Naraka: Bladepoint, as is hiding so you have time to heal. Sometimes, sticking yourself to the other side of a building will cause your enemies to completely lose track of you.
There are also a few special attacks you can perform mid-parkour. Attack while climbing upward to strike in that direction, say, if you're chasing someone up a tree. While grappling toward someone, left or right mouse button performs a flying attack. Finally, while latched onto the side of a ledge or wall running, clicking or holding and releasing a mouse button will perform a "Scale Rush" attack that launches you in the direction of the reticle.
On the ground, pressing C to crouch and then right clicking performs an uppercut attack that launches enemies into the air, a good way to reset the pace.
Which melee weapon is the best?
Don't tell anyone, but right now the spear seems to be the best melee weapon. See why for yourself by doing counter training against it: It is quite hard to pick up on the spear's combo timing compared to the other melee weapons, making it harder to counter and disarm those who are using it.
Using ranged weapons
It's nice to have a ranged weapon equipped most of the time, unless you've got a teammate on ranged support. These include bows, crossbows, muskets, pistols, and cannons. Some can aim down sights, others just start charging when you left click. They're pretty straightforward, and there's no blue attack or countering to think about.
If you're good with the bow, it does a lot of damage. The repeating crossbows can pick apart enemies while your friends stab them (they also have a way of making people panic). Pistols can be helpful at midrange. I haven't found muskets to be useful for much other than giving your position away, but perhaps I just haven't unlocked their place in the meta.
Souljades: green thingies that you want
Souljades are green items that provide stat boosts or bonus effects when stored in your Souljade bag. Don't ignore them! Most of them do things like increase your health, increase your resistance to ranged or melee attacks, and increase your damage output. Some Souljades do cooler stuff, like modifying a certain weapon's attack, or making you near invisible when you dash, but the basic stat buffs shouldn't be looked down on. They're a necessity if you want to win by more than luck.
While you play, be on the look out for green loot piles, which always contain a bunch of Souljades, and be sure to replace Souljades you collect in the early game with rarer, more powerful ones in the late game.
You can use the in-match currency, Dark Tide Coins, to purchase random Souljades from Rift Dealers, possibly getting one of high rarity. Increasing your Souljade bag size is also a great idea. Don't forget to loot Dark Tide Coins from the bodies of players you kill!
Out of game progression
Naraka: Bladepoint is full of little progress bars and currencies. These two are the ones you need to pay attention to:
- Cultivation: This is found in a button on each character's screen in the Heroes menu. When you unlock the first tier for a character, you unlock the ability to customize their special ability, so don't ignore it.
- Talents: Unlock and equip glyphs which give you bonuses such as increased grapple range. You get more slots as you level up, and spend the Tae currency (earned by playing) to buy new glyphs or upgrade existing ones.
- Don't forget to top off your health and armor after a fight. Repair your weapons, too, and then replace the consumables you used via your downed opponents. This might be the most tedious part of the game, but forgetting to repair your armor is like forgetting to protect your head while boxing—not a minor mistake.
- You probably aren't going to win a melee fight if you're outnumbered. Run away.
- When you see other players fighting, watch and wait. When one group has won, they'll pause to loot and heal. That's when you attack.
- Sick together when playing in a group. For a coordinated trio, a player off on their own is an easy target.
- Don't be scared to be aggressive early, dropping into a loot rich zone and fighting it out. If you die early in the match, you can turn into a ghost, respawn with common gear, and try for a comeback win. Plus, you'll never get the hang of the melee combat if you never initiate fights.
- Try not to spam the left mouse button. It can be better not to complete combos, because many end in a blue attack, which can be countered. Harass an enemy with normal attacks only and they might get tired of waiting for a blue attack and throw one of their own, which you can then attempt to counter.
- Keep looting throughout the game. The golden circles that sometimes appear on the map and slowly fill up mean that a Morus' Blessing is incoming, the equivalent of an airdrop in PUBG. Near the end of the game, you can get some wildly good stuff in them.