Updated Thu, Feb 07, 2013 by Xerin
I had the delightful chance to sit down and talk some wushu with Age of Wushu’s QA Analyst John Lynch. Age of Wushu is an upcoming MMO bringing players back to the Ming Dynasty in China, with a player driven economy, 100% open world PvP (even a disclaimer when you login), and some out of the box concepts. We were able to sit and talk about the recently released Second School Internal Skills along with some brief back and forth about the game.
If you’ve never heard about Wushu, hopefully after reading this you’ll have a better idea about what the game is about. If you’re a Wushu fan, be sure to stick around for some exciting info direct from the developers.
Wushu isn’t your average run of the mill fantasy MMO, which makes talking about the Second School Internal Skill a bit difficult for those of you who aren’t Wushu experts. Basically Wushu doesn’t have an experience bar, per se; it has an experience pool which in turn converts into cultivation points. These cultivation points are spent like skill points in EVE Online to upgrade skills over time (the timer runs offline with VIP).
One of your skills, a passive known as your internal skill, gives you attributes and defines your character. This skill is similar to your level, the higher it is the overall stronger your character is. Wushu isn’t very level intensive, there isn’t a ton of focus placed on a character’s internal skill, but more on combat preparedness and skill, but it does play heavily into things, like access to instances and quests and your overall character's growth.
When your school internal skill reaches level 30, you can visit your school’s Sifu (that is Chinese for sensei) to unlock your second internal skill. This feature was recently released and you can read more about the specific details on the Wushu site, but needless to say it adds a lot more depth and power to your character.
I asked John about how long it would take a player to reach this point in the game and it appears it’d take about 2 ½ to 3 weeks to get that far along if you’re dedicated and working really hard and from there it takes longer the less time you’re devoting to the game.
We discussed the VIP system at length and one of the neat things about Wushu is that while it’s F2P (the time restriction should be lifted at some point), you gain so much more with a subscription – that so much more being time saving features that apply mostly when you’re offline. Sort of like All Points Bulletin, the Wushu VIP grants you the ability to cultivate while offline (converting XP into usable cultivation points), run a stall while offline, use a few life skills that aren’t available to free players (and makes the Musician skill a bit easier), and a few other miscellaneous features that don’t naturally alter playstyle outside of quality of life changes.
What’s neat here is that it’s only $9.99 a month too. My take on it after our discussion is that while the game is playable without VIP, the quality of life improvements are so much that it’s definitely a game where players who want to play the game for any solid period of time will want to upgrade (much like All Points Bulletin). It’s not a perfect system, by any means, and does really force your hand into upgrading if you’re going to be playing a lot, but such is the way of the MMO industry and it’s rather inexpensive.
You can find the lengthy list of features on the official site.
One of the other major points we talked about was how Wushu is ultimately an open world sandbox. The community has a big impact on development, but Wushu itself is mostly a community game. The biggest comparison is EVE Online in China, pretty much. Players run the markets, players craft needed supplies (like food, which is only available from players), players participate in events, and so much more.
The sandbox MMO genre is expanding and more and more games are finding that niche where they give players a giant world and let them decide what to do with it. This is one of the key defining features, especially in a game with open world PvP. One of John’s favorite moments is when a brawl between two players turned into a large scale fight with everyone joining in a manner of minutes – the world lives and breathes, and players are the emperors of their own entertainment.
John was adamant about Snail Games working their hardest on polishing the game, so outside of the upcoming tutorial (which features Jet Li, no less), they are doubling down on bug fixes and game polish. The reason closed beta was extended was because they needed more time to deliver a product that their fans would be satisfied with. I personally find statements like this to be reassuring, many games do need additional time and when the developers decide that time is needed, it’s best to let them have it.
So there isn’t any big features coming up in the works for Wushu that they could divulge to me, but they did let me know that they’re 100% committed to both community feedback and making Wushu run and play as solidly as possible. If you’re a Wushu player, be sure to go on the official forums where Snail Games has a heavy presence.
That’s pretty much the key points from my playtime with John Lynch. I’d like to thank Snail Games for giving me the chance to talk so much Wushu. If you’re interested in learning more about the game, check it out at their official website or check out our Wushu beginners guide.