Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty definitely starts off with a bang (almost quite literally) with its first boss, Zhang Liang.
The first level gives ample enough play space for players to familiarize themselves with the game mechanics. However, by the time you get to the first boss fight, you might encounter some problems.
While fans of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls and Bloodborne games will feel right at home with Team Ninja’s Nioh games, Wo Long takes more inspiration from the likes of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The combat has more focus on precise deflecting rather than tanking or dodging attacks. While this may be intimidating for some, don’t let it stop you from experiencing just how fun and satisfying it can be once you’re able to pull it off.
Zhang Liang is the first boss of Wo Long and initially, he may be an intimidating threat to players who aren’t all that experienced yet with deflecting. He hits fast and hard at an almost unpredictable rate. At least, that’s what it seems from the start. He is especially annoying given that leading up to his fight, you’ve only been dealing with normal enemies that take only a few hits before they can go down.
Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal to lose (a lot). You may think that you’ve hit a wall so early on in the game and be demoralized. However, the sudden difficulty spike in Zhang Liang’s fight is by design. Don’t worry, we got you. This guide will provide a couple of tips and tricks that you can use in order to finally beat the first boss of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
How to prepare for the Zhang Liang, the first boss of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
No warrior goes into battle without making the proper preparations. For Wo Long, that means increasing your Morale Rank. Zhang Liang’s boss fight doesn’t happen till the end of the first mission which means you have the entire area leading up to the boss arena to farm. Use that to your advantage.
A character’s morale rank determines how powerful it is compared to an enemy. The higher the rank is, the better your attacks and defense stats will be. The goal is to have at least 15 or more morale. Defeat as many enemies as you can in the area and try your best to not get hit by their unblockable attacks. This is also a perfect opportunity for you to practice your deflecting since enemy attacks are much more forgiving.
The most efficient way I found is starting from the flag right before Zhang Liang’s boss fight, backtrack and kill every enemy you encounter up until you reach the flag that’s positioned right before the woods area with a bunch of undead. Keep resting and going back and forth between these two flags while killing every enemy you encounter. Not only will this be able to quickly boost your morale rank, you’ll also get enough Qi points to level up your character a couple of times.
Now, for the main event.
How to beat Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s first boss fight
The key to beating Zhang Liang is being more aggressive. Yes, you heard that right. The typical Dark Souls passive playstyle just won’t fly anymore here. The entire point of the boss fight is to really communicate to the player just how different the combat flow will be and deflecting will be such a key factor moving forward.
Familiarizing yourself with Zhang Liang’s moveset, what his animations look like, and what the timing of an unblockable attack will be is so crucial for success. Avoid hanging back and take a more active approach in combat. Always try to close the gap and deflect every move he has. Usually, he does two to three swipes before you have an opening to unleash light attacks. I found that three to four light attacks after deflecting his completed attacks are the most effective.
Of course, aggression also comes with patience. You have to make sure that you’re not getting overly greedy with your attacks and look for the perfect moments to strike. Keep chipping away at his health until his Spirit depletes. This will give you the chance to unleash a powerful attack that deals massive damage.
Eventually, you will reach the second phase of Zhang Liang’s boss fight. Note that this will not replenish your health or your stock of Dragon’s Cure Pots so make sure that you try to avoid using all of them early on in the fight.
Zhang Liang’s second phase introduces a new unblockable attack which can be jarring at first especially if you’ve become used to what he usually does in the first phase of the fight. The second phase will begin with a giant AoE attack that can be entirely avoided or jumped over. Deflecting might be too tricky but it is still possible.
He also becomes a tad bit more aggressive this time around. Probably because he’s pissed about all the damage you’ve been dealing. Don’t worry, the same strategy still applies. Learn the timing of his new attacks, prioritize deflecting, and unleash light attacks once you see an opening. Rinse and repeat.
Do enough damage and your Divine Beast Gauge will be filled up. You’ll be prompted to activate it and a cutscene will play signaling that you’ve beaten Zhang Liang.
As with all boss fights in any soulslike game, learning the moveset and being able to predict when and how animations will hit you is the ultimate key to success. Once you get comfortable enough with this, fights become less of a grinding halt and more of an exhilarating thrill ride that is most definitely the highlights of any soulslike game.