Many of the NPCs that you see milling about the game's cities and towns are in fact offline player characters going about their business. Your offline avatar can be a fire-breathing street performer, a cafe owner, a blacksmith, or one of several other professions depending on where you log out. There are both risks and rewards inherent in the the game's offline systems. The former include the ability to be kidnapped (and to subsequently log in to an unfamiliar location) while the latter allows you to collect money and items earned from various tasks.
Read all about it at the official Age of Wushu website.