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The Art of Wushu: Exploring China with true parkour

Patrick Mackey

I'm a bit spoiled by Age of Wushu's flying skills. Parkour in Wushu is one of the most satisfying things in any game, as heroes can truly go anywhere and do anything. When I was first playing the game in beta and was unsure about everything else, I said with certainty, "Any game with airdashes can't be bad." As it turns out, the parkour in Age of Wushu stands head and shoulders above the travel in any other game.

Other games have jumping puzzles that are awkward, and some games have flight or other Z-axis travel that allows players to freely go wherever they like. In Wushu, it takes effort to get to hard-to-reach places, but the feeling you get when you climb the highest heights and explore places no one else might ever see is truly satisfying.

Movement has its limits

Before we go too far into a discussion of parkour, you'll want to pick up a few flying skill books. Jump Across A Cloud, Whirlwind Step, and Step on High Ladder allow you to go pretty much anywhere. The other flying skills are fun, but they aren't required. All of these skills are fairly cheap, and if you're in a guild, you might even be able to get them for free. Step on High Ladder is the only skill that is even somewhat rare, and it is quite common in Twilight Village on any difficulty setting.

Flying is governed by Flying Skill points, which most people colloquially refer to as the "flight meter." This meter has a maximum base value of 150 points and regenerates based on how much is remaining. You recover ten points per five seconds if it is above 100, five points if it is between 51 and 100, and two points if it is below 50. For maximum efficiency, you want to keep it between 101 and 140 while you're traveling.

Flying skills consume differing amounts of meter. Double jumping consumes seven points, airdashing consumes 15, triple jumping 10, and sliding (Wild Goose Flying Skill) 13. Wall running consumes a small amount at set intervals while it's active.

The Art of Wushu Exploring China with true parkour
Intermediate flying techniques

Probably the most important element of flying skills is simply mastering airdashes. You need to be airborne for a small amount of time before the game will register you as performing an airdash, but this is a relatively small amount of time. You can slide, input the command W, spacebar, W (and hold W afterward) in order to get a very low airdash. In order to do this, you want to double-tap W as if you were going to do an airdash but then press the space bar as you lift your finger off of W. If you do it right, your airdash will be very low to the ground. Even if that is a bit too hard, just practice getting the W, W command while airborne down so that you can do it 100% of the time, and try to do it as quickly as you can after leaving the ground.

Once you've gotten airdashing down, the next step is what I call "jump resetting." Age of Wushu has three states that your character can be in while in the air. The first state is present later in a normal jump and after an airdash or wallrun. During this state, you cannot execute any midair flying skills. If you try, they won't come out. To demonstrate this, just airdash toward a wall and hold both the wallrun key and W. You won't start wall running until you land on the ground. Likewise, if you run up a wall, you can't airdash until you land and re-jump. You also can't airdash or multiple jump if you fall more than a certain distance during a normal jump.

The second state is during the inital rising part of a normal jump; it lasts until slightly after you apex. This state is actually determined by time spent jumping and not by how far you fall. If you walk off a ledge, you'll be able to fall a bit longer before losing your flying skills than if you jumped off of it. This is the default flying state where you can perform all your actions: multiple jump, airdash, or wallrun.

The third set of states is only for counting multiple jumps. When you double jump, you are set in a state where you can triple jump, airdash, or wallrun. Likewise, when you triple jump, you are set in a state where you can't multiple jump any more but can still airdash or wallrun.

The trick to going everywhere is that you can reset your jump from the first state to the second state. To do this, simply perform any action that is allowable while airborne (such as attacking) that roots your character. While most actions qualify, a few don't. Most importantly, most attacks that consume projectile ammunition do not reset your jump. This is by design, as these attacks can be done in the middle of an airdash or multiple jump without stopping.

By doing this, you can do all of the following:
  • Airdash into a wall, attack, then begin wall running without landing
  • Run up over a wall, attack, then airdash forward without landing on the wall
  • Airdash, attack, then airdash again in midair, repeating as often as your flight meter holds out
  • Triple jump, attack, then triple jump again, again repeating as long as you have flight meter
  • Simply attack repeatedly in midair to slow your fall and avoid taking fall damage
There are a few other fun tricks you can do, so experiment! You can go a lot of places with just this trick.

Template diving for fun and... well, fun

A few styles in the game have what I call "dives." The cheapest is Soul Losing Blade, if you're interested in doing this. These skills, when executed in midair, create an aiming template. When you aim the template at a valid location, your character will fly to the spot where you aimed and execute an attack. You need to aim at a place with walkable ground; you can't aim at a horizontal wall or at empty space.

First, you probably want to enable smart casting in the advanced combat menu for template skills. You should do this as a general rule, but it's important for parkour because you might need to mash the dive button a lot for your character to go to harder-to-reach places.

Diving costs 15 points of flight meter and counts as an attack. It can be done at any time that your character could do an attack (in all three jumping states, but not in the panicked falling animation). It also resets your jump; you won't always land exactly where you want, and you may end up in midair instead. If you do, you can just use your double or triple jump to get on the ledge you intended.

Diving travels farther than airdashing, so it is very useful for traveling further distances with the same amount of flight meter. However, it is most useful for getting extra Z-axis movement. Jump resetting your multiple jumps is very taxing on flight meter, since you lose height when you use your reset attack and your multiple jumps don't give a lot of height. If you jump away from a ledge above you after a wallrun, then dive onto the ledge, you can go basically anywhere.

The Art of Wushu Exploring China with true parkour
The joy of parkour

This article is a guide, and there's quite a bit of technique in parkour. However, I want to really emphasize the joy of simply running around and exploring. I feel totally awesome when I'm running up walls, flying to the tops of tall buildings, while my feet don't touch a horizontal surface for 20 seconds or more. Yes, there are games where you can just fly around as if you're walking, but that's not as fun. By imposing limts on how you get to places, Age of Wushu gives a truly amazing feeling when you finally reach the top of that impassable mountain or the roof of that 30-story pagoda.

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.

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