I wrote about Age of Wushu, the Chinese fighting style MMO from Snail Games, after I got my hands on it at E3. Of course the play time I got there was somewhat limited and very scripted so when we got home I put my hands on the beta and I have been giving it a bit of a play through so that I could get some real experience with it.
So what’s the verdict?
So far, I am undecided. Let me start by telling you that the game is very pretty and very well optimized. I have my graphics set to the higher end of custom and I’m rocking 60 fps on a decent (not amazing) rig. The cherry blossom trees, the water, the character models, even the horses are all very well done and this gives the game a lot of life.
From there, we have to look at the gameplay and that’s where things start to get a little strange. First off, the game doesn’t use the traditional XP > Level system for advancing your character. Instead, it uses an odd XP > Cultivation point > time based training system that is an odd mix of the traditional MMO and Eve Online. So here’s how it works. When I do things I get XP. Over time, those XP are converted to cultivation points and I can then convert those cultivation points to skill based levels by taking the time to train the skills I want to raise. For the third level of a skill, the time needed is about 1 hour and 22 minutes. Level 2 was 1 hour, 4 minutes and level 1 was 30 minutes.
You can do your training via a couple of different methods. You can use the strictly time-based or you can spend some of your in-game currency on various herbs and salves during a manual version of the training which will speed it up a little. I did this once but since then I have just let it go by time and do itself.
The game is “free to play” which means that you don’t pay to get it and you don’t have to have a subscription BUT free players have to be online for their cultivation time to tick off where subscribers can cultivate skills while offline.
There’s also the situation with dojos. In order to get underway, you will have to select a school at which you want to train, of which there are 8. 2 of these are gender specific (i.e. Shaolin is male characters only) and the other 6 are general and seem to all require you to choose a profession (I chose the beggar profession). Once you make your selection you are able to start training to fight and will learn heaps of attacks and defensive moves, with which you can run around and do combat, both PVE and open world PVP…
And therein lies the rub. Open world PVP.