Choose My Adventure: Learning and seeking revenge in Age of Wushu

Age of Wushu screenshot
Age of Wushu continues to impress and confuse me at the same time, but I can see much of the appeal behind many of the systems. As a reader noticed last week, many sandbox MMOs have the same in-depth systems and mechanics that Age of Wushu does, but as I have said many times before it is not only the specific systems that make a great game, but how the game has taken those systems and combined them in a package. Age of Wushu takes much of the appeal of many of my favorite games and wraps it in a beautiful package that can run on lower-end systems. I crank it all the way up, turn up the music, and enjoy exploring and trying to slowly figure out some of the harder-to-understand mechanics.

This week I wanted to try out the two options that were put up for polls, and once again Age of Wushu Community Manager Earthquake and Massively columnist Patrick Mackey joined me to explain, hand out tips, and to help me remember how much of a newb I still am.

Age of Wushu screenshot
On a quick note, I would like to point out how relaxing Age of Wushu can be. There are a few games that are as immersive and fun to just hang out in, like Wurm Online, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and a few others. As I write this I have the game running in the background with its lovely music playing. I might maximize the game, chat with the guild I joined (Exalted, a fun group) and then get back to writing. If you're like me and have enjoyed meditation in real life, you'll get it when you find a lovely spot in game.

But the game is notable especially for its awesome combat. The combat in Age of Wushu reminds me a bit of The Matrix Online. Granted, MxO was a semi-turn-based MMO, but Age of Wushu has a similar feel. Perhaps because, while watching duels and taking part in combat with powerful foes (thanks to my guild), there is a definite need to take time and make the right decisions. It's very likely that at my lower level the combat is going to feel much slower, but players who face off with each other can easily overwhelm an enemy who does not know which button to push next.

I continued to play around with the Demon Heart Chain Hand, the set of abilities that won a poll a couple of weeks ago. I'm definitely enjoying it but need to expand on it a lot more. It doesn't seem to stack up to my twin-bladed abilities, but it's not really supposed to. Demon Heart can be used as a supplemental skill set, and Age of Wushu is a game that allows players to learn as much as they'd like. If I cannot master Demon Heart right now, I will continue to at least utilize many of its coolest abilities like Crossing the Demon's Breath, an area-of-attack skill that can help take down an enemy's health while it hurts me as well. The fact that my character punches herself in order to fire off the ability makes it to hard to resist.

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Unfortunately my curiosity for abilities with shiny effects made me forget to pay much attention to my twin blade's abilities. I hotkeyed everything at one time, shuffled things around and generally toyed with my powers like any common newbie might. Sure, I can survive this way but, as was pointed out to me while on the livestream and by my own guild, when you combine the proper abilities and the correct timing with a careful eye on your opponent, you can take him or her down much faster. Even though I'm in no hurry, there were times when taking my opponent down quickly meant saving a villager, as in the case of the Twilight Village instance. Luckily my guild mates were with me and dished out most of the damage.

The Twilight Village instance had won the polls from the week before, so my guild was nice enough to take me through it. It was difficult to livestream and fight at the same time, but I got to see just how dynamic and interesting combat can be.

If you watched my very first livestream, you'll know that the Twilight Village is not only an instance, but a beginner area for people who paid for the retail release of the game. In it you play alongside a character played by Jet Li. It's basically a much quicker introduction into the world of Age of Wushu that is wrapped inside a fun single-player storyline.

You'll experience much of the same in the group instance, but everything is tuned up to work with a group of players. My guildies and I attempted to save the villagers from a few waves of baddies and then moved on to put out fires that were burning the place down. Unfortunately I found out that the water bucket I used in the single-player instance did not work in this group version. It took me a while and I felt like I was holding the guild back, but eventually we moved on to the next boss and the loot started pouring in. The instance went rather quickly but the last fight should be noted because it represented another one of the great systems that make Age of Wushu fun.

When we attacked one of mightiest bosses, he literally put out a call to real players who were within our own level and abilities to come and help him fight. So, as we attacked the boss we also had to contend with other players attacking us -- in an instance! They appeared all in black, taking on the roll of assassins, but we survived relatively easy. I talked to Earthquake about the instance and how it was not only matching a group to the content but also keeping players balanced against each other. Earthquake let me know how popular the instance is, and I can understand why.

Age of Wushu screenshot
During the livestream I was even able to witness some cold revenge being served up to a player who had wronged me before thanks to the game's revenge system. Essentially, players can place a bounty on another player's head and an NPC will be dispatched to take care of the situation. It was a day or two later before I saw the results, but I was even able to watch as the NPC demanded money or death, and felt the satisfaction as the player chose to pay the fine.

Now, on to the votes for this week. Earthquake and Patrick have both helped me a lot during this run, simply because predicting what should go up for a vote in such a wide-open sandbox is a bit difficult. The next stream I am co-hosting will be on Monday, the 30th of September at 8:00 p.m. EDT. It will be the last stream with Earthquake, and the one after that will be the last stream of this run through Age of Wushu.

Now go vote!

For this round of Choose My Adventure, Beau Hindman is trying something different -- different for him, anyway. He's diving into the list of MMOs that have lost in previous Choose My Adventure polls! Come back every Wednesday to vote on what he does next; goodness knows he needs the help. Tweet feedback to him at @Beau_Hindman!
This article was originally published on Massively.