The Art of Wushu: Getting yourself a bounty

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.

A man without friends doesn't live very long

If you have friends, the best thing you can do is just get them to bounty you. You'll need to kill their alts or kill a "friend" who isn't on your friends list such as a guildmate or friend of a friend. It helps if you pay your own bounty so your friend isn't losing anything.

I really don't like this method, just as I don't like the idea of farming friendly constables for criminal ranking. I have done it on a number of occasions, though, since I really like hunting for constables and sometimes it's hard to find someone to put a bounty out for. Taking my friends' money for a bounty takes away part of the fun of the game, and putting a bounty on my own head also feels sort of silly.

Ain't no money in that

Killing poor people is the biggest waste of time for a professional criminal. A person who doesn't have the cash to put a bounty on my head is a person I don't want to get involved with. A person in vendor gear is almost certainly not someone I want to mess with, at least on purpose. I also have a certain code of ethics that says I should not ruin anyone's new player experience.

Sometimes my ethics means that I will end up killing weaker PKer types who prey on newbies, even though my chance of getting a bounty is basically zero. The newbies generally say I'm nice, but I remind them that the purple skull over my head is a sign that I'm a killer too.

There are a number of targets that are good choices among those who have money. The first is the lower class, the people who are just starting to figure out the game. They're probably selling their goods on the market occasionally and have no idea how to actually play the game. These people are the most likely to put a bounty on me because they don't know how the bounty system actually works. They just see a bounty popup and assume that by putting a bounty on me, they will get justice. Again, I try not to interfere with new player experience, and these people are free kills even if I'm using Shallow Boxing or some other joke set.

The better targets are the people with tricked-out gear. One would think that having really good gear would make someone a dangerous target, and for the most part that is true. However, in Age of Wushu player skill is really important, and most people panic when they get jumped. Players tend to forget most of their PvP skills during a gank, which makes them pretty easy to kill. Rich players especially are the kind that feel entitled to win a fight because of their better gear or skillsets (and a lot of the newer Jianghu sets are disturbingly P2W). Taking them out with a standard martial art makes them pretty mad. Many will ask for a 1v1 duel or something, but you should know better. Sometimes it's necessary to kill one of them twice to get my message across, but getting a bounty is pretty likely in these cases.

It's not about the money; it's about sending a message.

Getting a bounty is all about communication. I need to tell my victim, in the language of violence, that I am deriving pleasure from murdering him and that he will not get revenge in any other way than forcing me to do jail time.

I try to avoid using verbal "text" communication for this, since I tend to be very nice when I am typing. People are much less likely to get mad at me if I am polite and honest about my intentions. If asked, I will certainly explain that I would really like to get a bounty, so I targeted someone who looked as if he had some money to spend. When I explain it this way, sometimes I get my bounty anyway. Of course, if my victim is illiterate or acts like a jerk, I won't take the time to be polite. I don't really like doing that, though.

A good trick is simply to know who is who on your server. I tend to favor people who are "hardcore PvErs" because they usually have an overinflated sense of entitlement regarding Age of Wushu (and MMOs in general). These players tend to believe that because they can do a dance in a raid group with a bunch of other people and their gear is much better than the average, they are entitled to win fights against other players. I also think that the disclaimer we're forced to click when we log in (Age of Wushu is an open PvP world!) means that we should kill people who attempt to avoid that message.

I admit that I have a bit of arrogance regarding my disdain for PvE and that all playstyles are certainly valid in Age of Wushu. However, this means that my playstyle of murdering raiders is also valid, and they must cope with my actions too. Certainly I have to react to their overinflated market prices on drop-only goods, so getting bounties from them serves as a bit of a tax.

It is much easier to get what I want when there is a discordant belief in what violence means in the game. These people tend to view my actions as "trying to ruin their fun," when my actions are "trying to provide the complete game experience" for myself while simultaneously trying to get a bounty. As long as they believe I'm trying to make them unhappy, it makes it more likely that they will try to force me into jail.

Age of Wushu is a wonderous place, full of hidden secrets, incredible vistas and fearsome martial arts. Join Patrick as he journeys through China, revealing the many secrets of this ancient land. The Ming Dynasty may be a tumultuous time, but studying The Art of Wushu will give you the techniques you need to prevail.
This article was originally published on Massively.