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GDC 2013: Age of Wushu's world is your playground


As Age of Wushu is just a couple of weeks away from launch at this point, catching up with Snail Games at GDC this year was one of our highest priorities. We tagged and bagged Associate Producer Colin Miller for a brief interview about the latest pre-launch decisions and preparations that the team is making.

Miller had a lot to say about the tweaks and improvements that have been done to this martial arts sandbox. A huge amount of work has been poured into cleaning up the localization over the beta period, not to mention the interface. "Most of our feedback was pretty negative on the UI that we had in place, so we've been trying to rework that a bit," he said. "Hopefully there's going to be some improvements there."

All systems are go for an April 10th launch, Miller assured us. Keep reading after the break for more on what Snail Games plans for Age of Wushu after it goes live.

GDC 2013 Age of Wushu
Four days in prison

We asked Miller what his favorite feature was from the game. Not surprisingly, he cited PvP "hands-down" as his preferred pastime. Miller said that when he was learning the game, he got tossed in jail after killing a few of his coworkers. Because he didn't understand the mechanics of the jail system as the build wasn't being fully localized at the time, he ended up languishing there. Miller said that he gambled away all of his money (unsuccessfully) with the guard before just sitting there for four days. Finally (and probably not with the help of his slain coworkers) he figured out how to get free.

Fortunately, the options available to get out of jail are clearly explained in the current build, so hopefully nobody will suffer as he did.

With all of the PvP going on, does Snail Games honestly think that the constable/jail system will keep things from spiraling out of control? Miller thinks it does. "It polices the game from being a total grief-fest," he promised.

Blacksmith vs. cook -- fight!

Combat isn't the only way that PvP plays out in Age of Wushu. Miller said that he enjoys taking to professions for a little one-on-one competitions. An example he gave was a blacksmith squaring off against a cook, both engaging in a strategy game that whittles down hit points as successful moves are made. If the cook wins, then points are added to his or her profession advancement. As you level up in those professions, you also gain more moves for the strategy PvP sessions.

The standard MMO professions like blacksmithing and mining have been popular in beta, although Miller cautioned us to look beyond the norm to other professions for essential services and goods. Food will pretty much be attainable only from cooks, which means that making a gourmet chef your best friend (or your own self) is just as important as being a rockhound.

All the right moves

Miller encouraged players to really seek out and gain all of the movement skills to get the most out of their gameplay. Moves like running up walls, double-jumping, and dashing across water serve to transform the experience.

"When you get all those working, that's when it becomes fun," he said. "It turns the world into a kind of playground. Combat takes on a whole new tone."

GDC 2013 Age of Wushu
No wipe, what?

Unlike most MMOs, Age of Wushu won't be wiping its current (beta) server but will keep it in place for players who have spent time leveling up their characters over the past few months. However, Snail Games will be launching a second, fresh server so that players have a choice.

That doesn't mean you can go hog-wild on both. As you can make a lot of progress while offline, the studio is limiting players to one character per account. Choose wisely.

A look ahead

So what's on the horizon for Age of Wushu once the game gets out the door? Miller didn't have specific details but hinted that the "next chapter" of the storyline was already in the making along with a summertime content update.

As the Chinese team primarily creates the content while Snail Games focuses on localization and polish, there can easily be content in the works that the western devs don't know about until it's sent overseas.

There are a "ton of events" planned for the game once it launches, and all of these will be posted on the website. Many of these give you bonuses for completing challenges in-game, including dailies.

Miller also talked up the boxed edition of Age of Wushu that will be delivered to stores on April 23rd. He feels that it has the best value packed into it compared to the pre-order packages that Snail Games has been saving: "More than making money off this [box], we want to get our name out there."

Miller predicts that most of the free-to-play title's revenue will come from VIP subscriptions instead of microtransactions, as VIP adds a lot of value to the game.

"If you're tired of the same old MMO, give this a try," he encouraged. "I'd be surprised if you're not having fun."

Massively sent its ace reporters to San Francisco to bring you back the biggest MMO news from this year's GDC, the largest pro-only gaming industry con in the world! Whether it's EVE Online or Star Wars: The Old Republic or that shiny new toy you've got your eye on, we're on the case, so stay tuned for all the highlights from the show!

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