Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Age of Wushu PvP Q&A

A couple of weeks ago, I saw some chatter and a Massively live stream about an upcoming game called Age of Wushu.  A number of things about this MMO interested me:  the Ming Dynasty setting, the attention to realism (not anime) and the focus on PvP.

Tyler, the content lead for Snail Games, was kind enough to answer some questions about this upcoming title.  I was most interested in the PvP aspects, so the Q&A revolves around that.  Enjoy!

1) Age of Wushu, what separates this new MMO from the current crop?

A lot! First off, we don’t have Classes or Levels in the traditional sense. Players start the game and will go through a tutorial of sorts There are 8 schools of Kung Fu in the game. They have basic skills that are unique to them and their martial arts style. So in a sense, this is like a class, but you are not confined to those skills. While you cannot leave a school after joining, you can learn the skills of other schools through events and rewards in instances. If I joined Shaolin and really liked one of the blade techniques that a Royal Guard or Tangmen have, I can try and pick up that skill so I can incorporate it with my staff or Shaolin Barehanded techniques. There are a lot of skills that can be interchanged with one another.

Leveling is also different. You don’t level yourself up, but rather the skills you choose to level up. I love this Parry(blocking) skill or my schools internal skill. I can choose to level those skills up, depending on my play style. So, since you don’t level yourself up, the experience you gain is nearly infinite as you can put that into cultivating any skill you choose.

Other big differences are the Combat; a rock-paper-scissor style that relies heavily on players watching and knowing what the other player uses so that they can react in time and counter, The
Economy; Professions and items created are used interchangeably in the betterment of players and even the creation of higher-end equipment. We have created a society and culture in the game that requires players to rely and work with each other. You cannot get a great weapon or armor without having to work with another player to make it.

The world has a life system that rewards players like achievements with new fashion sets or titles. When I become the best blacksmith I will have something to show other players my stature. This same life system occurs within your school and in general player interaction. So I can show my growth within my school with a special robe only the leaders wear, then I can also have a title present from all the murdering of other players that I have done…or prevented kidnappings (if that’s your thing).

2)  I recently watched a video about the game and it was mentioned the game has basically an open PvP ruleset, so it can happen anytime and anywhere.  Is that the case?  If so, will you offer different servers with different rulesets?

All servers will have open PvP. This Wild West world is important to players. It adds to that world where interactions and choices are important. A lot of the late-game interactions rely heavily on player interaction and activity with each other. We wanted this world to be ever living so removing those realistic encounters and the threats they present, take away from that.

3)  What mechanics are available to prevent PvP griefing? 

You cannot take part of PvP until your Main internal skill or your School’s internal skill has reached a certain level. This is a special trait only your School can learn and can never be learned elsewhere. This means you have to become experienced and knowledgeable before being thrust into the insanity. So you won’t see a fresh character getting kidnapped or slaughtered as soon as they are created.

We have a bounty system for those that are frequently taking lives of others or kidnapping other players. Once a bounty has been placed, the player will have an icon over their head in that region that will recognize them as the criminal. The player will be killed and simply respawn with minor debuffs if they weren’t too infamous. On the other end of the spectrum are beheadings that are publicly held and those players will be punished gameplay wise with significant loses in strength.

Other players can strive to be heroes to others too. They can see evil deeds occurring and prevent them. This adds to the life system I mentioned early, unlocking Titles, Outfits, and New Tasks.

4)  Is there any instanced PvP (scenarios, battlegrounds etc) in the game?  

There is a Team v Team battlefield option, but it currently is not available. We also don’t have a timetable to announce when it will be unlocked. The jist of that will be allowing the player to select a team and battle type to join, then they will be taken to that “Arena” situation. There will be rewards based on team and individual performance and a debuff placed on “deserters” that leave mid battle.

5)  What other types of PvP can occur? 

A few types of PvP that are to note are School Spying events. This is where you need to sneak through another schools main location and collect information from offline disciples in the school while evading detection.  On the flip side, you can participate in Patrols at your school and try to catch the spies learning information.

School Book Stealing is similar in the sneaking into the other schools grounds, but it’s a lot faster paced. You aren't hiding and relying on stealth, so it’s easier for others to see you and catch you. Plus you know if your school is a target that day which adds for fun when the schools create a defensive perimeter to keep you from stealing their skill books.

School Wars are server events that are declared in advanced. The school’s headmaster has to declare a war on another school. The system can also declare a war if a school has a hatred value over a certain number. Hatred value is calculated by the number of kills or spying you have committed on a specific school. Before the war, the Headmasters of the other schools decide whether they want to support either side. If your headmaster doesn’t support a school your friend belongs too, you cannot enter that war and help them out. Oh, and the Headmaster is a player that has earned that title, but can still lose it. The battle itself is also a complex beast filled with Boss Fights against NPC Bosses from schools as well as the actual players of the schools.  Even the supporting schools have their own smaller Bosses enter fights. The rewards here vary on individual score, more points for killing a high-member of the school as opposed to a lower disciple.

Guilds can declare wars on other guilds that own domains or properties in Age of Wushu. Coming out the victor can result in more rewards and even possession of the valuable property as well. There are also other guild-like wars. Guilds can escort cargo or subsequently rob cargo during the day. These acts against the other guilds are some reasons that guild wars could also start. And then there are Surprise attacks on guild properties. You can choose to stand guard at your guild or be a pyro and set fire to other guild’s buildings.

6)  Are you rewarded for killing other players?

You do not get loot from killing or kidnapping other players, unless that player has a bounty on them or the killing is part of a battle scenario. In normal situations, killing another player results in a reputation or infamy increase that goes towards the Life accomplishments in the game, unlocking new titles, tasks, or fashion sets.

7)  Is there anything for players to fight over at the 'end game'?

The closest thing that I can think of is the School Position battles. Schools will always be vying to be the best. This impacts all the other PvP events and wars I mentioned earlier, creating a catalyst for starting wars or getting revenge on other schools that made you mad in a guild escort or in general. Even the hierarchy within schools can be challenged. It can be quite a political struggle within communities.

8)  What's this I hear about you being able to kidnap other players and sell them?

HA!  This is funny. I show people the water running and wall running and they will be amazed. Then I briefly mention kidnapping and everything else pales in comparison now.

When you log out of Age of Wushu, your character stays in-game. It takes on the role of an offline NPC. These roles vary from sweeping a store floor, Offline Stall to sell goods, or patrolling your school. It depends on a lot of things. While offline you gain EXP to cultivate and level up specific skills later and you can earn a small amount of silver for the “jobs” you did. Being offline leaves you vulnerable to the fun of kidnapping. I’m online and I walk up to your offline role and use a knockout powder. Depending on how wise and strong you are and the strength of me and my powder, I can fail and paralyze myself for about a minute, looking like a big fool in the middle of a city, OR I can drug you and toss you into a bag and run off with you.
I now have a small window to get you to a store, a quarry, or someplace that will give me money for you. In that time I am fair game for people to stop me and rescue you AND even some players can kill me then take you and sell you themselves.

You sign in and are in a servitude situation where you have a debuff (no gear or money is stolen) you can choose to wait the buff out or spend money to get out of servitude. Kidnapping adds to the infamy and bounty situations I mentioned earlier. You get more money for players that have been offline longer. The max time an Offline NPC is active 24hrs though. This is too prevent a person from quitting and building up a year of exp and currency for being offline.

9)  Is there anything else you would like to add about PvP in Age of Wushu?

There is a lot more to talk about this game and some things I am still learning day by day. I am amazed at the depth this game has in it. From  dungeons to even more detailed talks about professions, to a rumor I am hearing about Dance Battles. Just get ready for a lot to do in this game. I know we have an early access deal which you can learn about on our site and I strongly advise this. There is so much to do, you don’t want to be left behind when it goes F2P early next year. Get in while you can.