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«Asuka Empire» (アスカ・エンパイア, Asuka Empaia?) is a Japanese-style, free-to-play Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) in the Sword Art Online universe. Asuka Empire was the second ranked game in terms of concurrent users connected at any given time in 2024, losing only to ALfheim Online. Although players have levels in Asuka Empire, a level up does not grant a significant increase in stat points.
Asuka Empire features a class system. All new players start the game as «Novices» (新参, Shinzan?), but by completing a five stage initiation quest, the player may choose one of the three basic classes: «Swordsman» (剣士, Kenshi?), «Thief» (盗賊, Touzoku?) and «Spell user» (術士, Jutsushi?). The swordsman class is specialised in frontal fights with weapons or hand-to-hand combat. The thief class is specialised in nimble movements, creating disorder and miscellaneous tasks. While the spell user class is specialised in attacking and supporting with magic.
The player may later complete a special quest to upgrade to one of the advanced classes, including samurai (侍, Samurai?), bowmaster (弓師, Yumishi?), ninja (忍者, Ninja?), miko (巫女, Miko?, lit. “shrine maiden”), and warrior monk (僧兵, Souhei?).
Asuka Empire uses a system called «Ground Circle» (グラウンド・サークル, Guraundo Sākuru?) to activate skills or spirit spells. To use this system, the player has to step down hard on the ground with their weapon at the ready for icons of usable skills or spells to be displayed at the player's feet in a ring. The desired skill or spell can then be chosen with a second step. However, there are no consecutive hit skills in the game.
Player versus Player combat
Players may challenge each other to duels. The challenger can issue by selecting the duel option and selecting the player to challenge from a list of nearby players. The challenged party has the right to choose the type of match. The known types include «Bout» (手合い, Teai?) mode, where the players fight to the death, and «Match» (果たし合い, Hatashiai?) mode, where the players fight until one of their life points falls below fifty percent.
- «Himukai» (ヒムカイ, Himukai?) - an anti-air type skill.
- «Suminagi» (スミナギ, Suminagi?) - an iai-type skill.
- «Return Blow» (打ち返し, Uchikaeshi?) - a skill unique to samurai.
- «Double Jump» (二段跳び, Nidan Tobi?) - an ability unique to ninjas to make a jump mid-air.
The top-left corner of the player's vision displays two bars: a green life point (ライフ・ポイント, Raifu Pointo?, abbreviated as LP) bar and a blue soul point (生命力, Seimeiryoku?, abbreviated as SP) bar. If the player focuses their vision of them, the numerical version of the two bars appears within the respective bar. The life point bar is the equivalent of a hit point bar in other games and indicates how much damage the player can endure before dying, while soul points are required for using arts and skills.
Asuka Empire is a game that allows players to customise their avatars upon creation, rather than generating randomised avatars like ALfheim Online.
As Asuka Empire is a free-to-play game, there is no charge for playing the game. However, the game does offer special items and equipment for real world money.