Tempest of Strife showcases Age of Wushu's weather events

With Tempest of Strife rolling out today, Age of Wushu players will be able to experience the sandbox in a whole new way. In fact, it is considered AoW 2.0 by the community. This expansion not only ushers in six additional factions (including a healing class and a group of scheming eunuchs) and their corresponding headquarters but also introduces the ability to change factions or belong to two at once. Additionally, dynamic weather will alter the environment, and special raid-type events will randomly accompany the weather changes. It all sounds pretty intriguing, no? Thanks to a recent walkthrough, I was able to get a taste of what players can expect when they log in to Tempest of Strife. And while the depth that the new faction features add is pretty impressive, the weather raids stole the show.
Gallery | 45 Photos

Age of Wushu: Tempest of Strife

Eeny, meeny, miny moe

To start the tour of the new content, Community Manager Peter Kang showed off the new interface that appears after finishing the tutorial. Here, players will get a better introduction to all the schools, including the six new ones, in order to make a decision which to join. Of course, players can also take the new Vagrant path and choose no school at all or disguise themselves in order to join a second one. For the latter option, however, players will still have to meet all the requirements for the second sect; some things -- such as being a eunuch or being female -- can't be disguised.

Not sure which of the new sects you might like to try? Each one has its own special abilities as well as entrance requirements. While the Rootless clan takes measures to ensure that all members are eunuchs (and can even castrate other players), the healers of the Shem Family have the special ability to reattach castrated parts for those who regret their decision. The Villa of Beast adherents can summon legendary creatures to fight alongside them, while those in the evil Peach Blossom Island sect can summon a water mount with the Shark Writing skill. The latter followers also have a unique faction-only ground-based group buff. Similarly, the special ability of the Xu Village sect is to create campfires for players to cook food and create buffs.

For both Xu Village and Palace of Shifting Flowers, players cannot have more than 300 player-initiated kills over their lifetime if they hope to join. In addition to this, the Palace of Shifting Flowers also requires adherents to be single females; their special is to borrow from the strength of others to add to their own.

Braving the elements

As interesting as the new factions and their various idiosyncrasies were, the weather events grabbed my attention the most. Although weather effects throughout the game are a really nice (and appreciated) immersive element, the addition of the random events adds a new layer to gameplay. These events, which occur only when the certain weather and location conditions are met, are essentially a raid system that fits well into the theme of AoW. Each event is an instanced version of the area with a unique story and objective.

When available, a system message broadcasts to all players so that they can participate if desired, and players of all ranks and skill levels can participate. Kang noted that it should take 40 to 50 players one to two hours to complete a weather event. He also emphasized that PvP is open during the events; as such, it's expected that some players will focus more on assassinating each other than on completing the objectives. But make no mistake, there must be cooperation and teamwork in order to advance successfully. Luckily, there is no cap on how many players can join the event, so with enough players, it can be completed even with rivalries rearing up.

What weather should players be on the lookout for if they hope to participate? Two of the events -- Mayhem in Luoyang and School Assassination -- roll in with the fog. Rampage in the Streets comes during a heavy rain, whereas Palace Uprising and Flaming Clouds occur only during a rarer solar eclipse. Another event, Treasure in the Sands, is a tornado in the desert that uncovers treasure chests; during this one, you can make a group that ignores the overarching objective and focuses solely on finding and plundering the uncovered chests! After witnessing some of these events for myself, I better appreciated the added gameplay they offer. I don't think players will be disappointed when they jump in for themselves. I will offer one hint, though: If there are cannon in your event, it would be wise to make use of them!

Massively's not big on scored reviews -- what use are those to ever-changing MMOs? That's why we bring you first impressions, previews, hands-on experiences, and even follow-up impressions for nearly every game we stumble across. First impressions count for a lot, but games evolve, so why shouldn't our opinions?
This article was originally published on Massively.