A guide to help new players who want to learn to play Blade Symphony. It goes through some terms used in the game, optimising settings and includes some basic combos.
This guide was made for new players who are trying this game out and are looking to get better. The community in this game is quite small right now, and those that play regularly are usually quite skilled. In addition, the main game mode are 1 vs 1 duels. So, some new players will understandably find this intimidating, especially when they face off against more experienced players.
The good news is that most of the veteran players are friendly people and would be more than happy to help if asked politely. Don’t be afraid of challenging them either, the only way to get better is play against strong players – we have all been there. However, be wary of their sarcasm.
The reward for sticking with this game are the duels – the feeling one experiences during a good high-levelled duel against an equally skilled opponent is pretty amazing.
When in-game, one should press tab and swap to classic mode (look at the bottom left-hand corner). More attacks become available, and everyone plays the game this way.
Also, currently when a new player starts in FFA (free-for-all), they will default to Arcade mode after every duel. The permanent fix for this is simple: go to a duel server, select Classic mode and tick the box to never show it again. Then classic mode will be permanent.
Some important settings changes will be shown below. Ultimately, these are all personal preference and as one gains more experience, they may want to tweak some of these.
Disable motion blur, tone mapping and cascade shadow mapping.
Disable Attack+Block Grab and Double Tap Shuffle to prevent accidental key presses. Enabling the developer console under Allow Developer Console (F10) is also recommended; as the name says, press F10 to view the console. Raw mouse input should also be enabled.
Editing key/button bindings is also done here, if desired. Playing this game with a controller is not recommended.
To enable/disable in-game voice chat, go to Settings->Audio and toggle the
Enable Voice setting.
Most of the settings here are self-explanatory. The workshop can be enabled/disabled here. The most important settings to change here are the camera settings and are shown below.
Camera settings are important as they can allow the player to see more clearly in game. It is recommended to change the camera settings to what the player prefers as it can offer a better in game experience. The following are good widely used settings, but obviously depends on personal preference.
Set camera height and field of view to the max value. Leave distance and spectator camera motion to the default value and set everything else to 0.
Defining Terminology Used
This guide is not meant to and cannot replace actual interaction with other players – most of the more experienced players would be happy to help with your queries. However, some understanding of the in-game terminology is important for effective communication.
The game has four stances – air, fast, balanced and heavy. Each stance contains several different attacks, and this is referred to as a string i.e. heavy stance on Judgement has three different attacks that make up that string.
Each attack has three different tiers. Higher tiers are reached by holding down the attack button and charging the attack. Attacks are different for each tier. Some simple experimentation by the player will quickly demonstrate the basic mechanics of charging, while more experience will be needed to become familiar with how each tier modifies each attack.
When players describe attacks, a simple nomenclature is used i.e. F2T3 means fast 2 tier 3 which stands for the second fast attack charged fully, while FRT2 stands for a fast right attack (fast attack while holding down the movement key D) charged to tier 2 and FLT1 is a normal fast left attack (holding down movement key A).
Other Basic Mechanics
Shuffle [SHIFT] – Quickly moves the player a short distance. Players should aim to become familiar with this distance as shuffles are very important. The player is vulnerable during the animation and can be caught in transition, although it is more common to be caught at the end of the movement. Shuffling is used for a variety of manoeuvres such as basic evasion and surprise attacks. It can also be combined with an air cancelled attack, see the guide on Air Cancel, and be used to perform other advanced mechanics such as the shuffle jump, which is discussed in a different guide.
Roll [CTRL] – Rolls for a distance that is greater than a shuffle. Does not tend to be used as the player is vulnerable for the duration of the animation. Can be combined with an air cancel at the end of the roll.
Dash – Pressing roll [CTRL] after having charged an attack to tier 2 will make the player dash. Dashing to attack is risky – the player is vulnerable to shuriken’s and will receive more damage if hit for a duration after, signalled by the flashing of the player’s character. Hence, if using dash to run, it is recommended to turn around quickly and throw a shuriken so that if the opposing player attempts to do so as well, they will also receive damage.
Wall Climb – Pressing roll [CTRL] while facing a wall and holding [W] will make the player wall climb. Used to get out of tight situations, such as when cornered or to evade a specific charged attack. Also used to perform fancy air attacks.
Shuriken [E] – Throws a shuriken that has a bit of tracking. Players autoblock the shuriken as long as they are not mid-animation (although striking the shuriken with one’s sword during the animation will block it also), have not dashed, are not wall climbing, and are not facing the other way/too much to one side. Shurikens can be cancelled and used to feint an attack.
Grab [Q] – A quick grab that is good when up in each other’s faces, usually after a parry, that knocks the other player down if successful.
Parry – A parry is when two swords collide. Who wins the parry depends on the stances used. For parries of equal stance, the player using a higher tier attack will get to attack first.
Poke – Pokes are generally longer ranged / higher priority attacks which offers a relatively safe way to initiate, usually into a combo.
Spacing – Spacing refers to controlling one’s own positioning. Used in conjunction with angling to avoid parries with other players i.e. attack over a balanced attack with a fast attack.
Angling – Controlling the tracer of one’s attack.
Hit stun – When a player gets hit by an attack, they get stunned and knocked back for a small amount, unable to do anything which can allow the opposing player to continue to attack. Hit stun cancelling is when a player jumps at the correct time to use the volatile change in momentum caused by the jump to cancel the disruption in momentum caused by the attack. Usually used to jump out of a fast string i.e. Ryoku’s F1, F2, F3 combo. It is generally difficult to time.
Multihit – After the initial hit caused by the sword coming into contact with the opposing player’s hit box, the remaining hits begin to decrease in damage as the sword follows the tracer of the attack, continuing through the opponent’s hitbox. The damage of the multihits is capped at a minimum that is determined by the sword type used. Side attacks usually have the most amount of multihits. The interval in which these occur also depends on the sword type used.
Chip Damage – The damage one takes when using the block defensive tech on longsword caused by the initial hit of the attack and the following multihits – chip damage is fixed at 2.
More on the Camera
The camera can be manipulated by the player to control their movements and attacks:
- When shuffling, if close enough, angling the camera to the left or the right can arc the player around the opponent to hit their sides or behind. Good with attacks that happen quickly.
- Some attacks can come in contact with the opposing player quicker, or later, by angling the camera correctly.
- Some attacks cause the player to move forward slightly, such as heavy attacks. Starting these attacks turned the other way, or to the side, then turning back around, can be used to deal with this and is generally safer. Can also be used to slightly mask the attack. This can be combined with a shuffle in the other direction, or simply shuffling backwards. Air attacks are good with this.
- Angling attacks to avoid what would be parries can allow the player to follow up with a quicker attack or run, while the opponent is recovering.
- Running directly forward is faster than running directly backwards. Hence, turning the other way when running may help to evade some attacks. Additionally, running diagonally backwards moves the player at the same speed as moving forward – the camera can be angled to use this to back away from an opponent while still facing them.
- Looking up or down can avoid the opposing players attack going over or below your attack.
Learning what the stances of each character looks like and the charge animation of each attack,while moving and staying still, is usually a big hurdle for newer players. This is important as it will indicate what action to take in a duel. Failure to learn these essentially means playing blind. The good news is that they come naturally, just by playing the game and being mindful of your opponent.
This is, obviously, by no means a complete way of playing the characters. Actually fighting in duels is the best way to learn. If new to the game, however, the following may give you some ground to stand on, and to then adapt to the opposing player during the fight.
This also illustrates the basic strengths and weaknesses of the characters. At the higher levels, some of this still holds, while most is obsolete and depends on what the opposing player is doing. As always, feel free to experiment.
Balanced stance is the best stance for this character, followed by fast stance. The attacks from heavy stance are generally not as good as they are slow, with the exception of HLT1. Judgement’s air attacks are good and can be used to continue combos or even initiate.
Best Attacks: B1 / B2 / F3.
- B1 > B2/F2T2 > F3/B3
- F1 > B2 > F3/B3
- FR-> B2 > F3/B3
The move will depend on whether one is attacking or defending in that moment; if the tier is not specified, use whatever tier the situation calls for.
Good with Longsword, Katana and Jian.
*The shorthand used to describe the attacks is explained above under ‘Describing Attacks’ in the ‘Defining Terminology Used’ section.
Fast is the best stance for this character, followed by balanced stance. Heavy attacks are more reactionary, and players should learn to not overuse this stance when not necessary.
Best Attacks: B2 / FL / FR / BL / HL.
- F1 > F2 > F3 > FL/FR/FL
- FR > BL > FR
- FR > HL
Good with Longsword, Katana, and Jian.
Pure is one of the more complicated characters to pick up as she depends on most of the moves available to her. Fast is her best stance.
Best Attacks: FR / B2 / F2 / F3.
- FR > F2 > F3
- FR > B2 > F3
Good with Jian and Longsword.
Fast is the best stance for this character. Use of balanced or heavy attacks will depend on the situation.
Best Attacks: F2 / F4 / HR / B1.
- F1 > F2 > F3
- F4 > B1 > HR
- B1 > F2 > F3
- FL > BR/HR
Good with Longsword and Jian.