Wuthering Waves – Illusive Realm Guide

A general beginner guide to Illusive Realm (IR), a rogue-like game mode in WW.

Illusive Realm Basics

By Houseplant.

Please see “Cheese Strategies” if you want examples of abusable strats for a particular patch. However, please learn the basics first. Cheese strats often rely on specific RNG and buffs, but learning the basics yourself can carry you in the long run.

What is it?

You will go through different “rooms” with different challenges, pick up buffs and items, and try to get strong enough to challenge the final boss. You do NOT need good echo builds, because they won’t be imported.

There are multiple rooms in a complete Illusive Realm run and each attempt of IR will be randomized. Pick 1 character, complete a room, then get two door choices to the next room, rinse and repeat. Gain buffs and helpful items along the way until you get to the final door and challenge the Boss.

Quick Illusive Realm Terms

Memory ZoneRefers to each “room” inside of IR
MetaphorThe game technically uses “Metaphor” to refer to all obtained general buffs, companions, or items. However, usually “Metaphor” just means a chance to choose a buff.
Character EnhancementBuffs for your active character
White CatGives you Metaphor Buffs
Mask GuyGives you Character Enhancement
Dream FragmentsCurrency that is only used for the IR run you’re on, used to buy upgrades and metaphors.
Memory PointsPoints granted per IR run to unlock permanent upgrades in the “Thought Evolution” IR menu to help with all future IR runs
Illusive SpecimensPermanent currency granted from IR runs used to buy EXP, tuners, and echoes. The shop resets periodically.

List of Memory Doors

Door TitleRoom ContentCompletion Reward
Memory of Training1x battle1x mask guy (Character Enhance)
Memory of Fierce Struggle2x battle2x cats (Metaphor) (Sometimes only 1x cat if you’re unlucky)
Memory of Deathmatch1x tower defense1x battle2x cats (Metaphor)
Memory of UnknownRandom eventRandom
Memory of Dreams1x tower defense2x cats (Metaphor)
Memory of RestPartial healTransaction Shop1x cat (Companion) if not before Memory of Endgame 
Memory of CalamityOverlord Enemy battle1x mask guy (Character Enhance)1x cat (Metaphor)
Memory of EndgameFinal BossVarious rewards

Free Surprises?!

As you play, you might find breakable rocks, random white cats, and mask dudes just standing around.

Breakable Rocks (Common)

  • Will grant you either 1x white cat or a random number of Dream Fragments
  • Rooms can have up to 3 breakable rocks per room
  • Multiple rocks can each contain cats in a single room
  • Bigger rooms = more potential rock spawns

White Cats (Rare)

  • Sometimes cats will be found just standing by themselves in random areas (such as the bottom of a ravine)  for no reason, not hidden in a rock.

Mask Guys (Rare)

  • Can also be found randomly for no reason, not hidden by anything.

Illusive Realm Strategy

Recommended strategy for beginners. As you gain more experience, you’ll be able to customize your runs and freely adapt to what you’re given. There are good cheese strategies, but learn the general strategy first so you know what to do in most situations.

Picking a Character

  • IR only takes your character’s level, weapon, and sequences into account. It will NOT copy any echo stats over. Because of that, you can use characters that you haven’t finished echo farming for.
  • You can only pick one character. There are no swappable teammates. Later on, you can pick other characters to perform an assist attack instead of having swappable teammates.
  • All difficulties except the last difficulty offer a choice of trial characters.
  • Main DPS characters are best for beginners, but sub DPS characters can also work. Support characters might have a harder time but well-chosen buffs can still carry you.
  • Most of your damage output is carried by Metaphor buffs and the provided main echo.

Picking an Echo

  • The IR-provided Echo you choose at the beginning will determine your playstyle and buff choices. 
EchoMain ElementPlaystyle
CrownlessElectroEcho-focused damage; spend the majority of field time transformed as Crownless for DPS. Also specializes in Liberation damage.
Inferno RiderFusionCharacter-focused damage; gain stacking attack and attack speed buffs and summon bonus attacks the more you hit the same targets. Also specializes in basic attack damage.
Bell-BourneGlacioShield and defensive-focused damage; gain shields to trigger strong on-hit effects such as damage bursts and Freeze crowd control. 

Picking a Door

If You’re Healthy HP:

  • Prioritize Doors with multiple rewards. Non-boss doors have no time limit, so you can take your time if it is difficult. Large rooms also tend to spawn more breakable rocks.
  • Be careful of Doors containing “tower defense” challenges if:
  • Your aim with the explosive spears is terrible (right now in IR, the explosive spears tend to misfire and hit the ledge you’re standing on instead of launching).
  • You don’t have enough DPS for the tower defense version that doesn’t include any explosive spears.

If you’re half or low HP:

  • Pick Memory of Rest, Memory of Unknown, or easy doors with only 1 reward.
  • If it is a combat room and  you have a healing companion or healing buffs, you can drag the battle long to regain as much HP as possible.

Choosing Metaphors

Metaphor Buffs and Transaction Shop Items.

  • Toggle the  “Outline” setting off in the top right corner to see detailed and specific buff descriptions.

Choose buffs/items with elements that will level up your Echo and rush level 4.

  • You will see that each Echo has 4 levels, each with a powerful ability. Collect Metaphor buffs/items with elements that match your Echo’s level-up requirements.
  • Echo abilities make a massive difference and synergize with the buffs for that element. It will usually outperform a character that is collecting buffs of random elements and specializing in none of them.

If no matching elements are available:

  • You will need to judge. Take a careful look at the available buffs. Do any of them synergize with your other buffs? Do any of them buff a major part of your character’s kit?

Choosing Companion Characters

You can’t swap to them, but they can perform an assist attack.

Do you need defensive support?

If you’re not confident in your dodging and parrying skills, consider choosing a healer or defensive unit

Do you want to level up your Echo faster / increase the chances of maxing out the Echo?

Choose a companion with a matching element for +3 of that element, even if their assist attack is not that good. Otherwise, choose what you want.

Good Luck!

If you fail, try again and upgrade your Thought of Evolution tree.

After Your Run

Spending Memory Points for “Thought of Evolution” permanent buffs.

Safe / Defensive Investment:

  • Unlock the first middle node (1 Refresh when choosing Metaphor) as it’s crucial for helping you reroll buffs and getting an ideal build.
  • Ignore the attack boost nodes and focus on unlocking all of the HP boost nodes.
  • Unlock middle nodes that offer utility as wanted.

Offensive Investment:

  • Essentially the same strategy as above, but focusing on the attack boost nodes to patch up your lack of DPS output.

Balanced:

  • Exactly what it sounds like: unlock them all evenly, focusing on the middle nodes because they provide valuable utility.

Illusive Realm Cheesing

Disclaimer: There are MANY ways to cheese a run. Below are just examples you can try for fun. Experiment and try out your own strategies!

What You Need

Flaming Turtle

  • Character: Anyone with ranged basic attacks.
  • Echo: Bell-borne turtle.
  • Metaphors: Mostly Fusion, some Glacio to unlock echo levels.

Strategy

Why It Works:

  • Bell-borne’s echo skill gives shield and anti-interruption (critical)
  • Fusion metaphors skyrocket basic attack DPS and reward you with stacking buffs for repeated attacks, but the buffs fall off if you get interrupted or stop attacking
  • Combined together, you can stand in one spot and spam basic attack and delete enemies without getting interrupted or dying

Metaphors to Focus:

  • Some Glacio metaphors to unlock lvl 2 or lvl 3 bell-borne.
  • Fusion metaphors that focus on Attack Speed.
  • Anything having to do with basic attack.
  • Crit rate/Crit damage.

If you can get 1 Echo cooldown-reducing metaphor, that will help give you 100% uptime on Bell-borne’s anti-interruption.

I hope this was helpful to you!

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13526 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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