The gameplay of Sword Art Online: Integral Factor follows certain conventions and mechanics.
- 1 Monster Mechanics
- 2 Movement & Gameplay
- 3 Weapon & Armor Mechanics
- 4 NPC Mechanics
- 5 Shop Mechanics
- 6 Fishing Mechanics
Every monster usually has 2 or 3 skills. In the open world they will only attack the player after taking damage. The exception to this is in a dungeon, in which they will attack the player by proximity. Monsters typically will give a special signal before they attack.
Nearly every enemy in the game can leave some drops (also called "loot").
Movement & Gameplay
The player moves their character by using the joystick on the left side of the screen and execute various actions by using the button on the right side of the screen. You can equip up to 4 skills at a time per weapon set, as long as you have enough "Cost," which increases in availability alongside the Player's level. There's also a "Step" button to dash forward or any direction by combing "Step" with the joystick. You will step back when pressing "Step" while targeting a monster. To target a monster, either press the attack button or execute a skill in close proximity to it, or tap on the monster. Double-tapping on the monster will cause your character to run to it and begin attacking.
After finishing a quest, the player will receive quest rewards in the form of currency, XP, upgrade materials, or other various items throughout the game. Typically the player will also receive Arcana Gems for completing missions along the Main Questline.
Weapon & Armor Mechanics
There are many Weapon Types available to the player. Each weapon has one of three Damage Types (, , and ), and most monsters are weak to one of these three damage types as well as an elemental damage type (, , , , , and ). Dealing damage with weapon matching its weakness increases damage dealt by 50%, and dealing elemental damage matching its elemental weakness increases it by additional 50%.
Every weapon type has some unique features related either to its base mechanics or possible advantages gained thanks to Weapon Proficiency skills.
Below you can find short descriptions with most significant features of every weapon type:
It's the basic weapon every player starts with (which makes sense, considering the name of the game). Among all weapon types, sword has the most Skill Records and most Skill Records possible to obtain thanks to permament events and quests are intended for sword users. Thanks to that, it's a perfect weapon for beginning players, who cannot build decent skill sets for other weapon types, and thanks to free Burst skill record available right from the beginning, it makes clearing lower floors a breeze.
After gaining enough proficiency, it's possible to restore some HP on every kill and restore some SP on switch, also buffing own Attack and Defense in the process, which helps in creating sets with skill records requiring high amount of SP and relying on Switching often.
Basic thrusting weapon, which player's partner starts with. After a sword, it's the second weapon type with largest amount of Skill Records available. Most Skill Records intended for rapier users focus on dealing damage against a single target, making this weapon mostly ineffective when dealing with large amount of mobs, but the main focus of this weapon is dealing Critical Hits as often as possible.
After gaining enough proficiency, chance to Critical Hit can be increased by performing a dodge or Switch, and Critical Damage can be increased permamently, which naturally helps in building sets focusing on dealing frequent and powerful Critical Hits.
Basic blunt weapon. Compared to all other weapon types, this one focuses on using buffs and debuffs. Many Skill Records intended for club users can be used to increase not only the user's effectiveness, but also its party members' as well. It's important to keep in mind that many Skill Records created for this weapon have relatively long activation time, which makes it a risky choice when dealing with swift enemies, but club's potential to support others in raids and other team events.
After gaining enough proficiency, it's possible to learn constant HP regeneration. In addition to that, every attack might debuff the enemy decreasing its Attack or Defense, and on Switch it's possible to decrease damage taken by all party members. Thanks to that, it's recommended to build sets which make use of various buffs and debuffs.
Quick slash weapon added alongside implementation of the 8th floor. It's definitely the quickest of all weapon types, very useful when focusing on dealing as much damage as possible with basic attacks. Many Skill Records focus on making use of Status Ailments - either just inflicting various types of ailments, making them stronger or dealing more damage while being affected by them.
After gaining enough proficiency, it poisons enemy on Switch, making every attack against such enemy more powerful. From time to time any attack might debuff an enemy, making him take even more damage with another attack. Dagger can be very useful against tough enemies with complex attack patterns, because while the player is low on health, he has a chance to evade any attack and deals more damage with every attack. Thanks to that, players can make builds focused on Status Ailments and making use of low HP left.
Slow blunt weapon. Although it's the slowest weapon in the game, being a two-handed weapon deals more damage than any one-handed weapon in the game of the same level. Having no additional defense in the form of shield at close distance, axe users should focus on increasing their max HP, especially since several Skill Records increase various stats accordingly to the amount of max HP, which can result in tremendous increase in efficiency.
After gaining enough proficiency, axe users are even more encouraged to take the role of "tanks", decreasing damage taken from the most powerful attacks and decreasing it even more after Switch. Axe becomes most effective against enemies with less than half HP. It also reduces cost of all Axe Skill Records, and considering how proficiency skills focus on further increasing this weapon's power, it has the potential to be very destructive when making builds focusing on large stats numbers.
Thrusting weapon with AoE effect. It's the only weapon with a basic attack able to hit multiple targets at once and it has the longest basic range, making it one of the best choices for clearing areas with high density of mobs. Similarly to dagger, it can be used to inflict various Status Ailments and make use of them, as well as of several buffs.
After gaining enough proficiency, spear becomes even more effective against enemies with Status Ailments. It also shortens cooldown times for all Skill Records and restores some amount of SP with every kill, which makes it even more efficient against a large number of enemies. Stepping increases user's Attack for a short time, which encourages to make builds with Skill Records which require short activation time. With often quick attacks, it's best to focus on making effective Critical Hits.
Long-range weapon with thrusting attacks, added alongside implementation of the 9th floor. It's the only weapon which should be considered non-canon to main SAO's Aincrad. Thanks to its long range, it can be used to attack most enemies several times and easily escape to safe distance, being able to safely attack again while the enemy is using its skills. Many Bow Skill Records deal bonus damage if the player is in specific distance from the target and it's the only weapon with Skill Records, which attacks can be "charged", dealing more damage and in some instances activate some additional effects, like buffs.
After gaining enough proficiency, it encourages the player to keep a distance and keep HP at high level to have increased Attack. Additionally, using Switch increases Critical Rate as well. When creating builds for bow, it's best to focus on increasing damage against enemies, which are aggro'ed by other player or Assist Character, since thanks to that the enemy can be easier kept at safe distance to deal bonus damage with various Skill Records, which require optimal range. Also since most Skill Records feature Sinon, it's the best weapon to make use of Skill Records which effectiveness depend on such Skill Records equipped.
Although the shield itself cannot be used in basic combat, it has its own Proficiency skills and Skill Records. Because of low number of Skill Records dedicated to shield alone and low damage by themselves, these should be used in supportive role. Best example is [Shield of Loyalty] Kizmel, which timed properly can massively increase damage of the next attack.
Proficiency skills mainly increase player's defense, his flinch resistance and resistance against Status Ailments. When creating builds which are based on making use of buffs, Shield Skill Records can be very useful, since its buffs last for a long time, allowing the player to switch to his weapon of choice and make use of temporarily increased stats.
The NPC's talk with you about life and the game's world, help to obtain specific materials or kill enemies, create equipment, potions, armor and refine equipment.
If an NPC has a green symbol above its head, it can be interacted with. These interactions might result in chatting, accessing crafting, involvement in Quests or accessing areas such as Dungeons and Labyrinths
Some NPCs can function as Assist Characters, which the player can interact with in several ways, including forming an Assist Party.
Skill Orders allow the player to purchase random skills, typically in Orders of 11 at a time.
Avatar Orders allow the player to purchase random Avatars which are typically themed for a specific event or outfit type.
It is possible to go fishing on the 22nd floor by speaking to Nishida in the Town of Beginnings. From time to time there are also events dedicated to fishing, during which another maps can become available for limited time.
Fishing is a mechanic completely independent from the character's parameters and equipment related to battling. New parameters are being introduced, which affect fishing only: Power, Technic, Control, FExp (Fishing Experience) stat gained with every single catch and Fishing Rods as a single piece of equipment affecting the efficiency of fishing.
When fishing, player can fight with the fish either unless he catches it, decides to let it go or runs out of his three "hooks". Fish have an Escape Rate, which shows the probability to take one of the "hooks". Escape Rate increases whenever the player misses, fails to pull at all or deals a "Good" hit.
If the player runs out of all three "hooks", the fish runs away.
Character's fishing stats
There are three parameters unique to fishing, which can be increased only by leveling up and equipping rods:
- Power - affects damage dealt to fish
- Technic - affects damage dealt when dealing a "Perfect" hit
- Control - affects damage dealt to fish, chance for fish to escape and the speed of the fishing slider
When the character gains a level, base damage increases by 1 or 2 per level. Reaching level 5, 10, 15 and 20 let's the player use more effective rods. As of December 2020 the maximum Fishing level is 60.
FExp gained depends on the fishing area, rarity of the fish and its HP.
Floor 22 offers four fishing sites - 2 during the day and 2 during the night.
Day maps are meant for players with fishing levels 1-10 and 11-15. Following fish are available to catch on these maps:
- Sunset Goldfish
- Sunny-sky Goldfish
- Turquoise Gill
- Onyx Gill
- Jade Gill
- Tiger Piranha
- Shiny Marine
- Lightning Zapfish
- Flying Ribbonfish
- Red-Eyed Slicer Shark
- Dark Shelly Fish
Night maps can be accessed by talking to the Night-Map Guide on the Serene Shore (which is the starting fishing map) and are meant for players with fishing level 16-20 and 21+. Following fish are available to catch on these maps:
- Sunset Goldfish
- Cloudy Goldfish
- Jade Gill
- Violet Piranha
- Monochrome Piranha
- Iron Bi-colored Carp
- Lightning Zapfish
- Flying Ribbonfish
- Red-Eyed Slicer Shark
All fish contain the following variable statistics: Size, Weight, Score and High Score. Score is based on the size and weight of the fish and is taken into consideration during Ranking Events. High Score saves the highest score the player was able to achieve on the device.
Basic Fishing Rod can be bought at a Merchant for Col, while better Fishing Rods can be crafted using some rare fishes. Basic baits are also available at a Merchant, and there are also baits which grant increased chance to receive a rare drop - such baits can be traded for fish and received from some events.
To be able to fish, player needs to acquire one of available Fishing Rods and a bait. Fishing rewards player with a FExp and one of different possible catches: one of many types of fishes, Lost Epic items, Memoria Niter S/M/L, Release Crystal S/M/L, Arcana Gem Trade Tickets and Core Metal.
When fishing, rarity of the catch is indicated by the number of exclamation marks appearing when the fish gets the bait - one usually means a small fish, two usually mean a medium fish and three can mean either a medium fish, a rare fish or one of the other precious items (like Memoria Niter, Core Metal etc.)
Fish can be traded at a Trader for various rewards, including weapon crafting and enhancement materials, Golden Bells, materials for crafting fishing rods, Release Crystals S/M/L, better baits, Moon Stones, Star Stones, Martial Arts Text, Medals of Combat Arms and Arcana Gems.
There are three types of baits with three levels of rarity each:
- Aqua Worm - higher chance to get a small fish
- Corogia Cricket - more or less equal chances to get small or medium fish
- Force Mackerel - higher chance to get a medium fish
Merchant offers all three types of baits with the lowest "Usual" rarity. At the Trader fish can be traded for baits with the "High" rarity and during some events the player can receive baits with the "High Rare" rarity. Higher rarity grants a higher chance to get a rare fish or an item.