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Again, she wasn’t wrong. But this had been a goal of mine since my time in the beta. Could dual-wielding actually be useful in Aincrad? It was already available for anyone to use: the problem was efficiency and usability. You had the benefit of two weapons boosting your stats but at the same time you couldn’t put these stats to effective use because your damage was tanked into the floor because of your inability to launch powerful Sword Skills. I tested various tactics over the next hour with only marginal success. It was certainly possible to dual-wield — all it required was the equipping of two one-handed weapons, and that was what gave me the impression it was implemented on purpose. Why else would it be possible? If it couldn’t be used wouldn’t it make more sense for the off-hand to be relegated to shields? There was probably a Skill for it and if there was it would certainly be interesting.
~ Excerpt from SAOK: The Twin Sword Conundrum, were Kenji observes the practicalitity of wielding two swords.
Dual-wielding (Kenji)
KenjiP2sword2
Skill Info
Kanji 両刀
Romaji ryoutou
VRMMORPG «Sword Art Online»
User(s) Kenji Hiroshi
Appears in SAOK: The Twin Sword Conundrum

The art of dual-wielding (両刀, lit. Two Swords) was an equipment state in «Sword Art Online» that involved the player equipping two one-handed weapons in their main and off-hand weapon-slots. Kenji, Morte, and Kirito were some players who improvised their own version of dual-wielding.

As a style, dual-wielding was highly impractical, to the point of being a detriment to one's damage outside the use of exploits. The system in place that governed and regulated SAO focused primarily on the use of Sword Skills as the cornerstone of a player's damage. Equipping two weapons without a unique and highly specialized Skill with extremely restricted access forced the bearer into a state referred to in-game as «Irregular Equipment», which locked the use of Sword Skills. Unlike the Unique Skill that allowed for the use of dual-wielding with all the pros of a traditional weapon category, this particular avenue was laced with more downsides than positive returns. Despite this, it had some situational use and saw some limited use by a number of players on the early Floors of Aincrad.

It was used specifically by Kenji as a means of creating a pattern and then suddenly breaking it as a means of tricking the system's learning capability.

Overview

The conclusion I came to when we finally returned to Urbus was that dual-wielding was certainly possible. The style had its pros and cons, with more of the latter than the former, with one glaring con being its impracticality. Still, it was usable, and anything I could add to my arsenal that gave me an option — even if that option only applied to once in a million situation — was something I’d grasp with both hands. Sword Art Online was a death game. Survival didn’t always boil down to skill and luck; at times it came from plain old ingenuity and how well you could adapt the few Skills you did possess to the situation at hand. If that meant abusing the mother-loving hell out of the system that governed everything in this game, then so be it. I’d abuse it willingly.
~ Excerpt from SAOK: The Twin Sword Conundrum, were Kenji makes his feelings about system exploits known.

During the beta period many of the players attempted to utilize two one-handed swords as their primary combat style, but the consensus was that one sword was used for attacking whilst the second was used for defence. It was accepted that, in this scenario, a shield was more effective. Thusly no one could truly be said to have mastered the use of dual-wielding before the beta period ended.[1]

Kenji Hiroshi, despite the weaknesses of the style and despite his preference for one-handed swords, managed to develop an effective means of utilizing dual-blades by exploiting the system governing Sword Art Online itself as an exploit. He did this by restricting the majority of his damage to the «Martial Arts» Skill-tree, specifically Sword Skills initiated by the player's legs alone.[2] In addition to «Martial Arts» Kenji devised a means for swiftly switching between one-handed combat and two-handed combat through use of the «Quick Change» Mod, and launch Sword Skills by either switching out his second blade or otherwise relieving his off-hand of the blade, namely through dropping or stabbing the blade into the ground. By the end of 2022 he was practised enough in this exploit to use in the heat of battle.[3] As far as standard attacks were concerned his acquisition of a refillable Poison vial aided the overall strength of his standard attacks by offering DoT effects.[4]

Kenji was not the sole player to experiment with or actively use dual-wielding in the early days of Sword Art Online. Morte employed the technique when he attempted to kill Kirito and Asuna on the 5th Floor. Despite suffering the «Irregular Equipment» state, Kirito stated that Morte's weapon -- the «Harsh Hatchet» -- remained dangerous because of its high-attack and high-weight, which Morte had enhanced to allow it to cut through plate armour. Morte's second weapon in this instance was a throwing weapon featuring Level 2 Paralysis, which he used as a traditional knife rather than throwing it.[5] Kirito would later employ the same principal as Kenji had on the early floors of Aincrad, specifically the use of leg-focused «Martial Arts» Sword Skills, before he discovered his acquisition of the unique «Dual Blades» Skill during the month of March 2023.[6] His most noteworthy use of the technique was when he fought off a group of Elves on the 6th Floor of Aincrad during the «Elf War» campaign.[1]

Although not strictly dual-wielding the special attributes of Airi Natsume's «Sheath Knife Belt» and Fujimaru Nakamura's «Robes of the Outlaw» allowed them to use a finite number of «Throwing Picks» in battle without entering into an «Irregular Equipment» state.[3] Airi could hold upwards of three such «Throwing Picks» whilst Fujimaru could hold upwards of five, with the trait in question being referred to in-game as «Quick Draw».[7]

Pros

  • Two weapons boosting the player's stats, including magical effects.[2][1]
  • Easy parrying against multiple opponents allowing for a parry-and-counter tactic.[1] This is especially true in tight confines, such as cave tunnels or interior corridors.[2]
  • High-rate of basic attacks.[1]

Cons

  • Traditional Sword Skills are unusable due to suffering an «Irregular Equipment» state.[1]
  • Low damage output without Skills like «Martial Arts».[1]
  • Equipping a shield is more effective from a defensive view-point.[1]

Sword Skills

There are no Sword Skills inherent to a player employing the dual-wielding feature. There are, however, Sword Skills that can still be used despite the «Irregular Equipment» state associated with dual-wielding.[2] Most of the Sword Skills used are from the «Martial Arts» «Extra Skill» and feature exclusive use of the player's legs.[1]

The effects of «Mods» also carry over to the player regardless of whether they are dual-wielding or not. This was demonstrated by Kenji through use of «Quick Change».[2]

Below are the known Sword Skills usable whilst employing two individual swords without being a user of the «Dual Blades» «Unique Skill»:

  • «Crescent Moon» -- a backflip-kick.
  • «Water Moon» -- a roundhouse-kick.

Known users

Author's notes

Behind the scenes

  • Kenji experimented with dual-blade as a proof-of-concept more than a usable Skill.

Trivia

  • Kenji speculated on the existence of a dual-blade Skill as early as December 2022.[2]
  • Although certain weapon types visually use two weapons, namely claws, these are considered to be one weapon by the system and are thus exempt from the usual rules.[1]

References & notes

References

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