No Class, Lots of Style
There are a lot of things to like about Age of Wushu (Age of Wulin in Europe). First and foremost, it's set back in the oft-romanticized time of the Ming Dynasty, and it features a huge helping of eye candy in the form of its beautiful world design and not-too-shabby graphics. Second, it'll be free to play. Third, there are no player classes.
At first, you're going to remain locked into a single school, which somewhat limits the abilities you'll have access to, but as you progress through Age of Wushu and master your starting school, you'll be able to pick up moves here and there from other masters and opponents. All the moves in the game are based on real martial arts styles, and abilities follow a basic "rock-paper-scissors" format. Red abilities are purely aggressive, green skills are primarily defensive, and blue skills are made to shatter those defenses.
Naturally, Age of Wushu's focus on skill over gear and experience shakes up the playing field more than a little. Mobility's the word here, both in and out of combat. If you expect to be able to stand in place and mash your skills in order to take down your opponent… you're probably going to die as your enemies dash, jump, and roll circles around you. Aerial combat is going to play a pretty big role as well, as most of the moves in the game can be used while airborne.
Outside of beating the crap out of your adversaries, you'll be able to move just as you'd expect from a superhuman martial artist: triple jumps, air-glides, water-walking, and wall-runs will all play a part both in battle and in getting around the world, and in-game mounts (a staple of the MMO) won't just be transportation: they'll actually level up with you and participate in combat.
That's not even what sets Age of Wushu apart from the competition. First off, let's talk about guilds: players can join guilds of up to 300 people and stake a claim to an area of the world. Once they've done this, that area is theirs. Basically, they get access to a city-builder within an MMO. The crafting system is pretty standard fare, though it's a lot more in-depth (and pretty much vital for the day-to-day operation of the game world).
What Snail Electronic is trying to do here is essentially create a world that feels very real, very persistent, and very alive. To that end, when you log off, your character remains in-game as an NPC. What they do during that time offline depends on your faction, your location, and your profession. Got a job as a guard? Then your character is going to be defending a settlement and earning some gold. Are you a craftsman? You'll probably have some items and materials in your inventory.
Do note that being offline also means that any enemies you may have made could attempt to kidnap your character. At this point, your character will be transported to whatever location your captors deem fit, at which point you can either break out or hope your ransom gets paid.
Hey, if you find out who captured you and decide you've got a bone to pick with them, you can add them to an enemies list, posting wanted posters and offering a bounty for anyone with the stones to take them out. Oh, and one thing… if you grief, you're going to run afoul of the guards and get labeled as a villain until you either serve time in jail or hide for a while.
Taking that a step further, if you're feeling particularly villainous, you can actually fight on the side of boss mobs. While you're probably not going to be welcome in town if you choose to go the path of the infamous villain, there are certain other perks (we don't know much about the "hero" and "villainy" ratings system at this point).
Either way, Age of Wushu / Wulin looks particularly unique, and very, very cool. This is one to keep a close eye on, folks.
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A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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