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The Art of Wushu

The Art of Wushu: Finishing the job

Historical, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

Last episode, we talked about getting a bounty and the mindset of a career criminal. Unfortunately, this is the last Art of Wushu, but that doesn't mean we can't finish what we started. And that means talking about the art of killing good guys.

Having a bounty means living on the edge. A lot of the time we take for granted the fact that we can walk around in Chengdu without too much fear. This is not true if you have a bounty. Every moment you spent logged in is spent on edge because a constable could jump you at any moment. You are constantly doing 360 degree camera spins looking around for trouble. You position yourself where you can easily run away, and you have escape plans in your head if things go bad. You worked really hard for your bounty, and you don't want to lose it because you lost focus for a moment.

This kind of thrill is the most satisfying thing for me about Age of Wushu. When I get to log in, have that bright red star swirling around me and know that I need to be on the move immediately is the best feeling in the world for me.

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The Art of Wushu: Getting yourself a bounty

Historical, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

We all know what side of the law I fight on in Age of Wushu: the bad guy side. However, there's a marked difference between being a professional criminal and an indiscriminate mass murderer. Being a criminal means that you need to be more discreet in which targets you kill.

If I don't have a bounty, a kill that doesn't get me a bounty is pointless. Infamy is a resource, and if I ramp it up too much, I could be looking at jail time without even getting a bounty. Nothing is more frustrating than having to idle for hours in some out of the way place because my infamy shot up over 2000, but it's pretty easy to get there. Being selective in whom I kill helps prevent those kinds of mistakes.

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The Art of Wushu: Hacking and account security

Historical, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

When people say they get hacked in online games, I always assume it's the user's fault. The one time I was ever hacked, I could trace it directly back to a situation where I knew my username/password was compromised and I used the same set anyway. Ever since then, I've used more secure logins and passwords, and I've never had an issue.

Age of Wushu has come under fire recently for a large string of hacks, and I jumped to the same conclusion. These hacks always seem like a big deal to the people who get hacked, and Age of Wushu is the kind of game where people are incentivized to steal other peoples' stuff. It's natural that people would hack forums or other less secure places and use that information to get whatever accounts they could find.

But I've started hearing rumors that people are getting hacked in spite of randomized passwords. One player told me of a friend who deliberately posted a valuable commodity in world chat, traded it to an alt, and logged in the original character later to find that the first character had lost all of her money. Is there something going on?

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The Art of Wushu: Doing the time for doing crime

Historical, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

Bounties are the primary way that PK victims in Age of Wushu get to fight back against their assailants. If you murder someone, your victim can force you to spend time in jail and pay a constable for the service of putting you behind bars.

Much as in EVE Online's original bounty system, there are a few kinks. Overall, it works reasonably well, but there is a disconnect between the intent of the system and how it actually works. As a career criminal, I feel that having a bounty and dealing with it is what separates professional killers from mass murderers.

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The Art of Wushu: Tricks of the royal chains

Historical, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

Soul Chasing Claw is one of the most common and hated styles in Age of Wushu, and last week we went over many ways to counter it. However, on the flip side there are a lot of options for trickery. Like most ranged styles, Soul Chasing Claw is devastating as a switch to a melee style. Its main weaknesses are well-known, so cunning is needed against a skilled enemy.

Fortunately, it has a lot of advantages. The chain pull is near-instantaneous, so you only need the right opening. It's technically possible to pull people out of the startup of moves like Submerge the Lotus, though it's kind of difficult in practice since the pull has a minimum range. It's a powerful tool, and we'll discuss a lot about getting the most out of it today.

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The Art of Wushu: Chasing down Soul Chasing Claw

Historical, Classes, Game Mechanics, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

Soul Chasing Claw is the eponymous skill of Royal Guards and one of the most frustrating styles to counter for a new player. It's a nice, robust style with clear strengths and weaknesses, and it's one of my favorite styles in Age of Wushu even though I don't use it myself.

Unfortunately, Soul Chasing Claw feels a bit unfair when it's used against you at first. It has long-range, high-damage combos that seem unstoppable, but for the most part it's smoke and mirrors. It's simply a set of tools that are useful rather than all-powerful. Most RGs that rely exclusively on this style are easy to beat for experts, but it is a useful addition to any external Yang martial artist's toolkit.

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The Art of Wushu: Taking all comers with Shaolin boxing

Historical, Classes, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

Of all of the fighting styles in Age of Wushu, Shaolin Long Boxing is the one I hate the most. It has no counters or easy answers. In a close-combat fight, Long Boxing is unmatched. The only real option is to run away, and in the narrow confines of a duel arena, even that option is limited.

However, I don't dislike Long Boxing because it's the best. There has to be a "best" style, though that can be obfuscated a bit with counters (which is the case for many other top-tier styles). The reason I hate it is that it has no counterplay. Even if you understand exactly what your opponent will do next with Long Boxing, there are only a tiny handful of style-specific answers if your opponent just follows a basic flowchart. Everyone else just loses. It's really that frustrating.

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The Art of Wushu: Rewarding good and bad deeds

Historical, Patches, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

Last time, I mentioned that I might talk about the new school instances in Age of Wushu's Infinite Scrolls expansion, but the truth is that very little is known. I haven't done them (I'm guildless and I'm not really looking), and the guilds that have done them are very closed-mouthed about what is in the dungeons. I've heard they're pretty easy, if it's any condolence.

However, I do have something more fun to talk about, and that's killing other people. You guys may have noticed, but I like PvP a lot. Infinite Scrolls released a new system called Big Jianghu that rewards people for open-world PvP. I have wanted more consequences for PKing for a long time, so I was really excited about this feature. Unfortunately, as with many things in the new expansion, I was bound to be disappointed.

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The Art of Wushu: Thoughts on the winter expansion

Historical, Expansions, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu

We looked at a lot of the details of Age of Wushu's Ultimate Scrolls expansion last time, but we should also reflect a bit on the implications of the new changes. The Mt. Hua expansion was mostly positive, and I was very excited to see the new mentoring program and token systems. I'm not as hyped for Ultimate Scrolls.

Whereas Mt. Hua added accessibility, a new battleground, and more fun things to do for everyone, Ultimate Scrolls is primarily an expansion for top players. There is very little to do in this expansion if you don't have leveled meridians and a maxed second or third internal skill. Even though I'm in the one percent, I don't think it's very fair to the majority of players who are not.

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The Art of Wushu: Lifting the veil on the winter expansion

Historical, Interviews, Patches, Free-to-Play, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

The Art of Wushu Lifting the veil on the winter expansion
Some of you may have heard about new content coming to Age of Wushu in the winter in the form of the Ultimate Scrolls expansion. Although it contains some new content including the much-anticipated marriage system, Snail Games has released scant few details about new features.

We went behind the scenes and asked the studio what we can expect in the winter expansion and what we can look forward to in the future. The developers were pretty open about what was coming soon, which -- like Mt. Hua -- is chock-full of new features.

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The Art of Wushu: Harnessing demons to slay lovers

Historical, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, Sandbox, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

The Art of Wushu Harnessing demons to slay lovers
Demon Heart Chain Hand is one of the most likely choices for a player's first new martial art. Although many other styles in Age of Wushu are expensive or difficult to obtain, DHCH is relatively easy to farm. It also adds tons of extremely useful utility in the form of a ranged knock-towards, a PBAoE flight disable aura, and a silly self-exploding super move. It works very well in group combat, and proper use of the set can turn the tides of battle even if your internal skills are much weaker than those of your enemies.

Even after you're a powerful master, you'll rely a lot on this set in many cases. It does many things (especially its ranged knock) that have very practical uses. As a dueling set, it's a bit on the weak side, but people tend to underestimate it for that reason too.

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The Art of Wushu: The facts about autoguard

Historical, Game Mechanics, PvP, Free-to-Play, Guides, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

The Art of Wushu The facts about autoguard
The automatic blocking feature in Age of Wushu is treated as anathema by players. You guys have no idea how many people I have talked to about it who tell me, "I would never use something like that!" It seems that in general, people don't like the idea of something that takes decision-making out of their hands.

However, autoguard isn't as bad as people think. In fact, it is an exceptional answer to poor latency and is completely controllable. The truth is, not many people understand it at all, and even fewer realize the benefits of the system.

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The Art of Wushu: The limits of human reaction time

Guilds, PvP, Opinion, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu

The Art of Wushu The limits of human reaction time
We're finally back on track with the kung-fu lessons, and today we're going to talk about something very important: how being human limits what you can do in an Age of Wushu duel. Like a lot of skills relating to dueling and strategy, this is a fairly broad skill that can be applied to a lot of games.

Reaction speed is one of the most difficult things to train in Age of Wushu, especially for old-timers like me. Reacting to things in a timely matter is a massive advantage; it lets you punish feints, interrupt sluggish normal attacks, and stun people out of dance-like moves. The trouble is, we're human, and humans are slow. This time, we're going to look at exactly what that means in hard technical terms.

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The Art of Wushu: Talking Mount Hua with Age of Wushu's Peter Kang

Historical, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

The Art of Wushu Talking with Snail's Peter Kang about Mount Hua
A day or two after writing about the Mount Hua expansion last time, I had the chance to sit down with community manager Peter Kang -- better known to the Age of Wushu playerbase as Earthquake -- and talk about the various changes in the expansion.

We had a fairly long talk. Like true wuxia fanboys, we derailed quite a bit to talk about Legend of Condor Heroes, but we discussed where Wushu is, where Snail would like it to go, and the relationship between Snail USA and the dev team in China. It was pretty enlightening because he clearly plays the game and is acutely aware of the impact the company's decisions has on players.

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The Art of Wushu: Climbing the Mount Hua expansion

Historical, Patches, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Age of Wushu, The Art of Wushu, MMORPG

The Art of Wushu Climbing the Mount Hua expansion
I always have misgivings when I'm covering an expansion early. I rarely have enough time to really delve into the various features. You guys should know by now that I really like writing in-depth stuff, and since Age of Wushu's first expansion has been out for only a few days, I really haven't had enough time to make a solid opinion on it.

But either way, the expansion is out and I have to talk about it. It includes a new, cool PvP battleground, some new features I'm not really fond of, and some other features I really like. It also had quite a bit of controversy at launch, and the player response was... interesting, at least.

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