The Art of Wushu: Finishing the job

Patrick Mackey
P. Mackey|02.26.14

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The Art of Wushu: Finishing the job
Last episode, we talked about getting a bounty and the mindset of a career criminal. Unfortunately, this is the last Art of Wushu, but that doesn't mean we can't finish what we started. And that means talking about the art of killing good guys.

Having a bounty means living on the edge. A lot of the time we take for granted the fact that we can walk around in Chengdu without too much fear. This is not true if you have a bounty. Every moment you spent logged in is spent on edge because a constable could jump you at any moment. You are constantly doing 360 degree camera spins looking around for trouble. You position yourself where you can easily run away, and you have escape plans in your head if things go bad. You worked really hard for your bounty, and you don't want to lose it because you lost focus for a moment.

This kind of thrill is the most satisfying thing for me about Age of Wushu. When I get to log in, have that bright red star swirling around me and know that I need to be on the move immediately is the best feeling in the world for me.

The fear keeps us honest

The real difference between a professional criminal and a thug is that getting and keeping a bounty is the criminal's goal, while the thug doesn't care. Most people with bounties just dump them on friends and split the cash. A professional criminal might do this, but only after killing a few dozen constables.

Because keeping the bounty is key to getting criminal kills, you need to be alert. If you're not ready to be hunted, then either dump your bounty on a friend or log out. It's a lot better to split your bounty than it is to lose it because you got jumped by some constable who just maxed his inner 2.

For this purpose, we need to be good at moving around. Practice parkour when you aren't wanted so that when you are, you can run from threats. Practice managing your flight meter. Memorize city layouts, especially walls you can run up and places you can get to that are hard for the average player. Knowing how to run is at least as important as knowing how to fight.

Constantly be diligent. Look around yourself regularly for constables. You're hunting them, after all, just as they're hunting you. If you're spotted and the constable appears fairly strong, disappear. There's nothing wrong with burning a teleport or breaking meridians to keep a cop from getting to you. Don't be stupid and think you can 1v1 someone who is stronger than you and ready for you. Of course, if a lowbie constable thinks he can beat someone twice as strong as he is, feel free to teach him a lesson.

Above all, avoid being in a place where someone on the beaten path can see you. I always try to be where I am not visible at all from traveled areas, but I can see those areas myself. Understand how the game's camera works, and you can avoid detection while you're on the hunt easily.

I fought the law, and the law didn't win

Storytelling would be a better teacher here than going through all the little things I think about when I'm hunting, so here are a few little stories.

Once upon a time, I was wandering around Luoyang, looking for sheriff stars. I'd killed a few already, but things were starting to dry up. I saw a Beggar from a very infamous guild walk up to the escort NPC. I was kind of friendly with these people at the time, so I politely asked him in PM if I could murder him in the face. He politely let me know that he would fight back. I declined to engage, as we were even in level. It's likely that my meridians were better at the time, but there were too many variables, and I am not a fan of gambling.

I ended up killing one of his guildies a little later. The guildie was a relative lowbie and thus a free kill to me. We entered into a polite conversation and he mentioned that his guild was hunting some other guild in Chengdu, so he picked up the constable status to clear bounties on his friends and arrest enemies so they couldn't reinforce. I really wanted to kill that Beggar, so I went to Chengdu.

I arrived, and the battle was taking place on the main escort gate. I stalked the battle for a few minutes, looking for the right moment. I saw a constable in the enemy guild, and I showed my face in front of several non-constable guildies and helped murder the enemy constable to make it appear as though I was friendly (which, to be fair, was true). I hung out some more and saw that Beggar and another constable, and they were getting ganged up on pretty badly. I think it was like a 5v3 or something like that, and they were losing. So I waited until the last moment, then with flawless timing (unusual for me, honestly), I swooped in and got the last hit on both of them. I then ran for my life (the chase lasted only a couple of city blocks) and politely taunted the Beggar as I left. He congratulated me. It was nice.

Who is a friend, really

Occasionally you get lucky and constable friends will just let you kill them or their alts or something. But I was wandering through Suzhou (at least, I think it was Suzhou) and all of a sudden I got jumped by a friend's alt, partly because I wasn't really expecting to get attacked. We were both Tangmen, which kind of sucked because if she got the kill, I went to jail, and if I got the kill, I got 40 school discipline (bad!). This was pretty much lose-lose for me. On the plus side, I taught her everything she knew about Tangmen, so there was roughly zero chance she was going to beat me.

Unfortunately for me, Tangmen vs. Tangmen is still kind of difficult, and I took some damage (I got really overconfident and ate a stun dart combo). I still easily won; I just lost 30% more health than I should have. Literally right as I was killing her, another person on my friends list came up. This other person was a school elder, a really skilled player, higher-level than I, and in a school I had a bad matchup against. She was also a constable on my friends list. I did not hesitate. I ran.

Fortunately she decided to switch to Wind-Chasing Blade instead of a real fighting style (WCB is not very good if you have a Yin inner, guys), so she got into range and used her long-ranged air cut on me; each time, I took some negligible damage or dodged it and continued running. If she ever got close to me, I threw a stun dart at her and fled.

Despite my parkour skills and the fact that my stun dart gave me some space, she would not give up. She chased me literally halfway across Suzhou, into the water and across the water until finally I ran her out of flight meter when I was still just a bit under 100. I sent her big, gigantic, teary-eyed smileys in private message once I had safely teleported away.

Unfortunately, this is how this story ends. I wish it didn't, but that's the way it is. To everyone out there journeying in the Age of Wushu, farewell and may you kill hundreds of PvErs.

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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