Kung-Fu Kidnapping: Age Of Wushu Now Live

By Nathan Grayson on April 11th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

We could be fighting in an exciting and aesthetically pleasing fashion right now. But let's not.

Woohoo, it’s Wushu! Excellent, I have fulfilled my dumb joke quota in the first line. Now then, come reverently kneel in the dojos of intrigue. Age of Wushu, you see, might look like a typical MMO with high-flying wuxian trappings, but – at least, on paper – it actually sounds far more daring than that. Case in point: kidnapping. When you log off, your character stays in the world as an NPC. Said NPC can actually be kidnapped by other players, which I imagine will either prove cinder-block-choppingly infuriating or absolutely hilarious. Wushu also makes bold claims about being sandbox-y, pointing to systems for bounties, crime and imprisonment, random emergent PVP, a level-free advancement system, and more. Be warned, however: it also sounds dauntingly complicated, and F2P doesn’t help matters. See what I mean – first in the form of a gentle, open-palmed video and then with harsh, skull-wobbling words – after the break.

That combat actually looks rather enjoyable, which is something I really, really, really wish I could say about more MMOs. But OK, what about everything else? How does it all fit together? Well, uhhhhhhhhhhhh:

“There are 17 life skills that fall into four categories: Gathering, which includes Miner, Hunter, Farmer, Woodcutter and Fisher; Manufacturing, which includes Tailor, Chef, Poison Maker, Craftsman, Blacksmith and Herbalist; Arts, which include Musician, Chess Master, Calligrapher and Painter; Market, which brings up Beggar and Diviner.  Careers are practiced and gradually mastered via in-game events and quests.”

BUT THEN.

“In order to restore the true mastering process of learning, there is a cap for the amount you can learn every day.”

Now, logging out and leaving behind a ghostly shell of yourself in the game world allows you to accrue bonus XP, but only if you’re a paying VIP player. Plus, you apparently have to log-in and log-out pretty frequently to keep the process going. So that’s all pretty yucky.

Age of Wushu still sounds jam-packed with potential, but the sour-faced fun police guarding all the exits certainly have me wary. Has anyone given this a go? Are the caveats as bad as they sound? I love the idea of an MMO that proudly does its own thing, World of Warcrafts of the (non-Warcraft) world be damned, but I’m only willing to pay so much. And if the price, ultimately, is my good time, well, I imagine I’ll be taking my fists of fury (not to mention my feet of even-tempered restraint and a willingness to compromise) elsewhere.

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48 Comments »

  1. Trillby says:

    The life skill system looks intriguing. I don’t know if I’m gonna taekwondo.

  2. echoon says:

    I tried the open beta a few days ago, but the latency for me was horrendous (it displayed as 800ms and more) so i didn’t play much. It seems there will also be an European release (http://en.wulin.gpotato.eu/) but it is still in closed beta.

    • Allenomura says:

      Age of Wulin is slowly preparing for closed beta. They’re focused atm on bringing the client up to appreciable level for them to release to public for testing, according to the first news article on that site.

    • baozi says:

      Wait, one is Age of Wushu, the other is Age of Wulin.
      I IS CONFUSED!

  3. Valvarexart says:

    I’m not sure about combat where you and your opponent are propelled five hundred metres up into the air by the furious uphand blows of your gigantic swords. Something about historical accuracy or something, I think…
    The skill system seems interesting, but I don’t see this becoming anything out of the ordinary unless they actually, well, do something out of the ordinary. There is already Mortal Online, Darkfall, and several other sandbox MMO’s coming up in the future like ArcheAge and Embers of Caerus and I don’t think any of those have/will have such infuriating Skinner-box systems that are more suitable for Farmville than for games that you are supposed to enjoy (it IS tempting for developers to build the game around addiction rather than enjoyment, but it also makes it much harder for them to gain an initial audence, at least here in Europe/NA).

  4. GhostBoy says:

    I have. It is a mixed bag so far, but the potential for fun is there.

    VIP (subscription) status only lets you advance faster, by virtue of converting 100% of your XP into cultivation (which then will slowly drip into actual skills ala EVEs skilltraining), rather than 70% for non-vip. Offline cultivation may be the biggest factor, letting one skill train while you are offline. On balance though, the reports from players in the beta seem to be that it isn’t much of a factor. A non-vip may advance at 4/5ths the speed of a VIP. Generally cultivation speed rather than gaining XP seems the bottleneck. A level in a skill takes anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours.

    The interface is confusing though, and the client in general rather rough around the edges (including the translations which while better can still have some weird sentence structures and typos). On the plus side, you don’t get XP for killing things, but for completing tasks (flying, dying, reading books, completing events and missions etc) so that encourages people to become involved with the content. There are tons of skills to get and inprove, so there is definitely some timesinks in there to get better. The F2P is no worse than other games that sell boosteres of various kinds, though the sheer amount of stuff to cultivate may make the temptation stronger here. Crafting also isn’t so confusing as the number of skills suggest. 5 gathering skills, 1 manufacturing (like blacksmithing) skill and 1 flavour skill (like muscician which give team buffs) is what you get, more or less.

    A surprising upside is that the 8 schools seem quite well balanced, and a fair bit of the percieved imbalance comes down to player skill (using the right combos of abilities, parry and blocking at the right time etc), which should be nice for the PvP aspects in the world (of course a longtime player will still flatten a newbie in 2 seconds, but will be sent in jail if he does it too much).

    My impression so far is that if you can live with some unpolished translation work and a rather complicated progression system, there should be plenty of fun to be had even from day one, and you don’t have to pay to progress at a reasonable pace (there are also non-paying means of speeding up your advancement).

    • Ureshi says:

      Also, you have to eat so you need to learn cooking and farming or find a friend to make food for you, because when your hunger reach 0 you lose HP.

      • mujadaddy says:

        @Ureshi: Hunger only drops your HP down to 70%. Casual play doesn’t require that last 30% of your HP, and you get 3 steamed buns for being logged in 15 minutes a day. It’s honestly not a limiting factor, just something to keep you motivated.

        More in a non-reply post.

    • Spengbab says:

      Alright, downloading this, but at 70 Kb/s, it’s going to take a while before all 7388 Mb are done…

      Fake edit: Once I hit the 70 Mb, it suddenly sped up with 5 Mbit/s, so it may not be all bad. Guessing this a P2P downloader.

  5. Screwie says:

    That kidnapping sounds like a potentially very interesting idea. I wonder what the gameplay repercussions are.

    Do you have to complete a jail break quest when you log back in? A possible extension of this could be custom, player-made prisons (as part of some player/guild housing) too.

    • GhostBoy says:

      The kidnapper gains unbound money (that is, money that cannot only be used with NPCs), opens himself up to PvP attacks during the act and possible accumulates a reprimand from his school (which translates into time he must spent later to sit in a corner and repent).

      The kidnappee loses whatever offline bonus they would otherwise have gotten, and gains a 5 hour debuff, that prevents them from earning offline rewards. This can be cleared with in-game cash or just waited out by staying online.

  6. Tams80 says:

    Still not good enough. I will only be satisfied when this is a VRMMORPG and death in game equals death in real life.

    On a serious note: This looks like my kind and game and the kidnapping sounds intriguing.

  7. Lobotomist says:

    For people that wanted : skill based , complex , sandbox MMO. For people that wanted EVE but with Avatar. For people that complained about lack of community interaction.For people that cry that there is no innovation in MMOs.

    This is it!

    But i regress. Comparison to EVE is not entirely accurate. So dont dwell on that.

    But here you have MMO so complex you will have to read tons of guides just to figure how to play.
    PVP system with real consequences ( jail time ! ) Real roleplay (Your ingame action are what your character is – villain or savior ) Economy 100% dependent on cooperation between players. Skills thought by players. Work , offline learning , training …. Not to mention great setting and wonderful graphics.

    In short. MMO complainers now have something to play :)

    ps
    No building houses….ok

  8. TwoDaemon says:

    Read through the site, some stuff in there which might be interesting to see if it works.

    For example, once players enter an instanced PvE dungeon, it becomes possible for other players to accept a quest to help protect the boss of that dungeon from the attacking players, according to this: http://www.ageofwushu.com/material/view/65

    The defending players get some rewards just for participating, but much better ones if they can successfully repel the invading players. Intriguing way of solving the fact that players will just learn the pattern necessary to kill every boss fairly quickly. If there’s a European release coming I might just check it out and see.

    • GhostBoy says:

      I think you’ll be waiting a while then. I play on the NA servers (Black Tortoise) and latency looks somewhere around 100-200, what little I have played so far. Which is perfectly playable. I do get the odd disconnect at times, but it *is* launch week, so servers (and newbie zones) are packed. I’d suggest giving it a go now, if you have time for another MMO.

  9. strangeloup says:

    Wushu! When I feel heavy metal
    Wushu! And I’m pins and I’m needles
    Wushu! Well I lie and I’m easy
    And I’m never sure if I need another MMO
    But I’ll give it a go.

  10. SuicideKing says:

    Well, if this were a single player RPG, would have probably wanted to get it.

    Also, +1 to lack of needlessly sexualised women.

  11. Seraph says:

    Quick note for the confused: China is in fact not Japan. I know! I had to go through this revelation too when I was about 6. Japanese things: dojo, karate, sumo, Tokyo, samurai, ninja, Chinese things: kung-fu, shaolin, wushu, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan. Hope that helps guys kbai

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      did i miss something?

      you’re the first person saying anything about japan.

      • Seraph says:

        Yes, you apparently missed quite a few things. I’d suggest buying glasses and developing your reading comprehension because this article has a dojo joke by the third fucking sentence. Suggested reading: the entire pun thread.

        • Spider Jerusalem says:

          many thanks for your courteous reply!

          you are a paragon for sino-japansese learning.

        • jrodman says:

          Pro tip: Pun threads riff on a topic. The topic chosen here was martial arts, not China.
          Also, you may want to see an herbalist about removing the stick.

          • Seraph says:

            Sorry, but I get in a huff when I feel like someone’s culture is being disrespected. Japan is exceedingly well-represented in the cultural landscape, but games about (or based in) China are tremendously rare in comparison. China has it’s own fascinating cultural heritage, which is why I find it frustrating and dispiriting when an article about a game called Wushu produces puns almost exclusively about Japanese culture. Again, I apologize for being rude though, that wasn’t very constructive.

          • jrodman says:

            That’s just how it goes sometimes. Japan interacted with Europe and the United States for a few hundred years while China was relatively isolated. Because of your comment I went looking for Chinese martial arts words to use in puns and found almost nothing. Partly it’s the lack of phoneme overlap, but largely it’s just a lack of recognizable relevant terms.

            But really I find it hard to take seriously the idea of a free-to-play MMO as being a meaningful cultural conversation piece.

  12. Oathbreaker says:

    Please do not ever again link or embed a no-UI promotional trailer. It’s just pandering to the developers and marketers. Pander to ME, PLEASE.

    I looked at the trailer and liked it. I googled a gameplay trailer and saw the cluttered game UI/world and said TO HELL WITH THAT.

  13. Arglebargle says:

    Even fans of the game have problems with the management. Lots of bait and switch, poorly thought through money grubbing, and such. The translation of the game to the west seems to be somewhat haphazard. Too bad, I am a sucker for some kung fu action.

    Chinese sword and sorcery, as a genre, is apparantly over a thousand years old, and has an internal gradiation based on the reality of things. Sadly, very little seems to be available in any translation. Not sure if this game is going to help that or not.

  14. Snoken says:

    Downloaded it in about half an hour this afternoon, have been playing it for about 8 hours in a row today and I got to say that I have not had that much fun in an FTP-MMO like this one in a very long time. I would go as far as to say that I prefer it over GW2 and boy did I waste time playing that -> three chars lvl80 -> mindless grind for hours for what? GW2 endgame was not that enthusing tbh. So far I can only advise you to try this game for yourself, it may not be as polished as GW but at least the skill system and passive skilling is fun, I even started crafting even though I basically ignore that in all of these games because it is usually boring as hell. I had fun leveling my tailoring skills by beating the trainer at some kind of mini game. And I found some Jet-Li medals or something. I guess if you like martial arts movies like Tiger and Dragon or Fearless you will really enjoy this title. :D

  15. oaie says:

    aw sweeeet its finnaly out~ downloading now.

  16. Bangjie says:

    The PVP of the game is really well designed, I enjoy slaughting ppl there xDDDD

  17. WangYinglun says:

    A feast for eyes. You can see beautiful sceneries everywhere.

  18. MrBRAD! says:

    This is a pretty sad post for a game that does many things very well. Going to be another, better one in the future?

    I play a drunken Beggar and I enjoy blasting unsuspecting Shaolin and Emei off cliffs and piledriving them head first into the ground 100m down. The open world PVP is really great, and I know that sooner or later Chinese Robocop is going to jump down off a roof and kill me for my crimes.

    • mujadaddy says:

      This is a pretty sad post for a game that does many things very well. Going to be another, better one in the future?

      This. I know it takes time to play this game, but there’s at least one of you RPS’ers who would really love this game, and could write something amusing to read about it.

  19. chaof says:

    will we have an EST server? how i wish to plunder books during prime time.

  20. yuiaop says:

    the one thing I regret is that I didn’t a key for the beta, but finally its out

  21. Devan says:

    I tried this out because it’s a “sandbox MMO” apparently. It does have some fairly interesting features, but I found it pretty hard to get into. This is partly because of the poor english translations, but also because it’s got a hard-to-follow learning curve; many hours into the game, it was still teaching me about this and that other confusing system.
    NOT that I’m against complexity in games (it’s better than a simplistic mass-market MMO clone), but here’s the catch:
    Most of this complexity was related to the leveling system and how the game is monetized. When you get XP then it is split into two pools and the points in the second pool slowly convert into the first pool over time, and you use points from the first pool to level up one ability at a time passively over time while you play, but if you’re a VIP then it works differently and if you purchase/use this or that consumable then you can make certain parts faster, and if you hang around waterfalls then it makes other parts faster, or if you spend 10 minutes doing group synchronized quick-time events then you can make it even more faster and blah blah blah.

    I didn’t get far enough to determine whether it’s a grindy game, and I could tell that there was certainly some interesting concepts and fun gameplay there, but there was also a thick layer of un-fun complexity that you have to work with the whole time and it feels like it’s just there for time sinks and to provide the incentive for “convenience” purchases, which is pretty deterring to me.

    • mujadaddy says:

      About being confused, you’re absolutely right that the game is dauntingly huge and poorly localized and official guidance is at best useless.

      But don’t get hung up on min/maxing.

      The game almost forces you to roleplay, in the sense that you are building a real participant in a living, breathing world. You will advance just for participating in the world; learn how to play, learn where things are, then you can worry about whether or not you’re playing it right.

  22. Snoken says:

    I played it for a couple of days now and the game still keeps me motivated. I think I have never played such an ungrindy MMO and I love it. You can spend most of your in-game time chasing kidnappers or spying on rival school’s and that involves a lot of random pvp encounters and is good for making tons of money and get good or bad reputation. There certainly are some aspects of the game that would throw people off, like the fact that some items can only be used for a couple of days and other stuff that was previously mentionned. Also the chinese translation is not the best and the game is quite challenging when it comes to leveling. Actually that part makes me wonder why people cry so much about the game being too complicated, do they all just want a casual boring MMO where there is no interesting things to be learned about? I enjoy how this game keeps me going when it comes to finding out and googling stuff I did not know about or plain and simply asking more experienced players about more complex aspects of the game while being in a ten man training team. The leveling system is a lot more complex than the one from EVE. So long I need to go fly and spy some more! Join me on White Tiger and look for Qiala or RiotDay guild. ^^

    • mujadaddy says:

      I absolutely knew I was hooked when I found myself compiling and prioritizing a list of about 40 things I needed to do, immediately; not things that I would need to do when I hit high enough level, not plans for the future, but actual tasks as a new player that I needed to complete as soon as I got a chance.

      The game’s enormous, and deep, and there’s only a time advantage to Pay-More. There are about 70 information screens you can go through in your interface, but you’ll find there are just a few you use most.

      It’s simply the biggest game of Tekken (actually, I’m more of a Dead or Alive fan) you’ll ever play.

      Oh, Hi Qiala, we’ve not met, I’m Peni on White Tiger.

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