First, no pain is actually felt in any situation. As a result, gamers can undergo severe injuries and still only feel a tingling sensation. Second,Sword skills allow actions (such as fighting, cooking, fishing) to be performed with normally impossible speed, dexterity, and power, based on a gamer's stats. Fourth, there are some everyday actions that simply aren't done in the SAO world, such as changing clothes by hand or attempting to wield two items at the same time.
While playing Sword Art Online, gamers still feel fatigue and hunger (even if their real bodies are not hungry). As a result, it is an absolute necessity for all players to eat and sleep within the game. However, there is never a need to defecate or go to the bathroom.Environment
Sword Art Online takes the form of a giant floating castle called Aincrad, with 100 floors in it. Each floor has a medieval-themed setting and a dungeon with a boss, which has to be defeated before players can advance to the next higher floor. Like most RPGs, it implements a level based system.
Each individual floor has its unique climate, geography, fauna, and environment. Some floors are known for being fairly cold, while others are known for flowers and forests. Most floors on Aincrad have a theme. Seasons and Weather
Sword Art Online has its own «Aincrad Standard Time» (presumably the same as JST, UTC+9), and its own «Aincrad Calender» with specially named months. Known calendar months are listed:
- «Month of Sakura» (April)
- «Month of the Ash Tree» (Late October)
- «Month of the Cypress»(November)
Globally, Sword Art Online has seasons and weather settings that are effective throughout the floors. Aincrad's season correlate with the seasons of the real world, but they are generally much milder. As a result, it is not always snowy in the winter, or scorching hot in the summer. Weather settings are generally random and quite realistic. Physical Surroundings
In Sword Art Online, physical surroundings such as walls, buildings, monuments, and major features are considered "Immortal Objects
". A error beep and a notification will sound if immortal physical objects are struck, even if by accident.
All non-immortal objects have a «durability
» value. Durability is an important feature of Sword Art Online, and it a measure of how much an item or object has been used (similar to HP), and much it will last before it expires and shatters into polygon fragments. Clothes, equipment, weapons, potions, crystals, and food are all subject to gradual loss of durability.
Often times, players must invest significant resources into repairing and buying equipment. Many characters carry extra back-up weapons into dungeons (Asuna in Aria in the Starless Night
carries five rapiers in her inventory due to durability concerns in solo dungeon-hunting), others rely on merchants and smiths who regularly repair and upgrade equipment. Food always declines in durability with respect to time, and freshly prepared foods will disappear if not eaten soon enough. Merely dropping food can cause food to lose its durability and fragment into polygons. CombatParameters
Several factors go into the calculation of damage in Sword Art Online. Among them, include the efficacy of hits (a direct hit as opposed to a scratch), the skill level of a player, the Sword Skill used, and the weapon stats.Weapons have the following enhancement parameters that determine stats: Sharpness, Quickness, Accuracy, Heaviness, and Durability.
Status Effects, like many MMORPGs, play an important role in combat. Many attacks have a random chance of dealing status effects. They are generally not curable, unless the appropriate Crystals
are used. Most status effects expire after a set period of time. The following is a list of known status effects:
- Stun - Many Sword Skill attacks have a random chance of dealing Stun, which disrupts the next action of the affected player.
- Delay - Slows the movements of the affected player.
- Tumble - Disrupts the standing balance of the affected player.
- Paralysis - Prevents movement for several minutes.
- Hate - Attracts the attention of enemies, and causes NPC attacks to be focused on the player. It is automatically gained by being the most predominant attacker in a group.
Monster Battle Mechanics
There is no «Magic» in SAO except for the different colored crystals that bring instant effects. Instead players can fight using their «Sword Skills». Execution of Swords Skills are assisted by the system, and it can fall into any of the four properties: Thrust, Slash, Pierce and Blunt. SAO has no projectile weapon skills, with the exception of throwing darts, boomerangs, and chakrams.
Attempting to battle without Sword Skills is largely ineffective, and it is equivalent to waving one's sword around without doing damage. Defeating a monster brings up a Congratulations screen with a summary of results: EXP gained, Col gained, and Items dropped. Distribution of loot occurs automatically, and Col is automatically divided evenly between the party/raid members while items are placed in the inventory of the person who receives it.
In Boss Battles, being the player to deal the finishing Last Attack produces a rare drop for the individual player.
In general, monsters cannot enter safe zones, such as towns or cities.
It is generally much more efficient to battle in parties. While there are less emphasis on Classes in Sword Art Online, and monsters can only be engaged by one player at a time, the main benefit of battling in parties is the ability to «Switch».
Switching allows a fellow party member to take the lead spot against an opponent at any time. Most monsters and bosses have a short down-time in between attacks, so switching during the gap allows an additional blow to be dealt when a monster is stunned. Additionally, the AI algorithms are known to run slower when a change of attack style (which occurs during a switch), so monsters have marginally slower reaction times immediately after a «Switch». Kirito mentions that «Switch» is one of the skills that are improvised by players without the assist of the system, also dubbed by Kirito as "a skill outside the system".
The maximum number of players that can form a party is six. Eight parties (or groups) constitute a complete Raid Group large enough to challenge bosses.
Player vs. Player Combat
In Sword Art Online, it is possible to engage in combat with other players. Player vs. Player combat can either be authorized or unauthorized.
Unauthorized combat can be initiated by simply striking another player intentionally. This will render the aggressor's cursor icon as orange, which is visible to everyone for several hours (repeated offenses will render a player's cursor permanently orange). While anyone can be challenged in unauthorized combat, such player vs. player battle cannot occur in safe zones. Attacking a player in a safe zone will not decrease HP, but the recoil and impact of sword skills can be felt.
Authorized combat is essentially dueling. It is done by requesting permission from another player to engage in a duel. There are several different duel modes, which vary conditionally by concluding after the first clear blow, after HP decreases by one half, after a period of time, or death. Attacking someone during a duel will not turn any participant's cursors to orange.
Like most MMORPGs, Player Killing (PKing) is often a result of unwanted player-player combat. While death in the original Closed Beta test resulted in respawning in the Room of Resurrection on the 1st Floor, player death is permanent and real in the Official Server Service. As a result, PKing in Sword Art Online has a severity akin to murder.