My First Two Days in Age of Wushu

Not long after posting on Age of Wushu: Dynasty I downloaded the client for the original title on my laptop, eager to give the game a try. My primary reservation to Age of Wushu in the past had to do with the open PvP nature of the game however the mobile version had me interested in the combat, the progression, and the action animations had me hungry for some Wuxia style combat. However from the moment I logged in it turned out to be a great big mess. Despite my first two days being almost entirely negative, I’m still determined to push further into what the game has to offer.

So what went wrong? What didn’t go wrong would be easier to describe. The first hurtle I ran into was in downloading the client itself. Navigating to the Wushu website was easy enough, but then once there I had to create a folder of my own and download ten listed files into that folder. Only after this was completed was I able to use any kind of installation program. Although unusual, it was simple and painless. In very little time I was staring at the launcher ready to log in to my account with Snail.


During those first few steps into the game I selected a server, the Golden Panda, a backdrop of some kind (which it repeatedly asked me to choose every log in until I realized how to make it stop), and then I was prompted to make my first character. Customization was limited which I was expecting and after tweaking the few options available to me I was able to choose one of eight Kung Fu schools to join followed by a main storyline to progress through. Quizzically, when I created a character on another server the story was the first thing I chose and it was presented as an animated library and my school was not selected until I was past the tutorial. Why the difference, I have no idea.

The first twenty minutes or so of gameplay went smoothly, although they were a bit confusing. Age of Wushu features a combat system that is antiquated but has an interesting “rock, paper, scissors” twist to it. The storyline began exactly how I expected it would with my character meeting an old master, facing off against the big bad, and ultimately turning out to be a hero with untapped super-human Kung Fu potential. And then the tutorial was respectable despite the many complex systems being introduced. When I ran through it all a second time I was able to pick up on even more but even the first run through was enough to get started.

Eventually I reached a point where I was shuffled off to my school of choice—the Shaolin—where combat was taught for a second time along with a few of the other progression systems in Wushu which I’m not going to even begin to describe. However about twenty or thirty minutes into my time with the Shaolin I turned in a quest to the head of the school, the Abbot and then… nothing. No quest popped up, no prompt to move to a different part of the map or to go back to the starter village, just nothing. So I asked another player nearby who had been vocal in chat and he was also unable to explain the sudden tutorial silence. “Just do whatever you want, go explore,” he said and so I did to no avail.


I get that this is a sandbox game, but it seemed pretty clear to me that the game either did a terrible job indicating it was time for me to leave the nest or (far more likely) just didn’t complete the tutorial experience and left me at a loss as to where I could pick it back up. I ran all over the school grounds, clicked on nearly every NPC, and even explored the surrounding area where I had a right good time punching things in the face until even tougher things spawned that I would also punch in the face but even more. Faces were punched all around and I enjoyed it but I still had no clue what I was doing.

I googled everything I could on the new player experience, the Shaolin, the tutorial sequence but nothing helped. At that point I tried a couple of things in desperation. Firstly, and quite impulsively, I bought the VIP status for 30 days for the low, low price of $9. My whopping 18 slot bag was constantly filling up, mostly with the free crap they were giving me at the beginning as a “gift” and I (wrongly) assumed that being a VIP member would help with my storage woes. It did not.

Secondly, I went ahead and focused on leveling up my Inner skills or whatever they’re called until they reached level 5 as I remembered reading somewhere that this unlocked other options. It’s another reason why I went with the VIP service because it would allow me to continue training them while I was offline. Reaching level 5 did open up a few new quest options, but not the school storyline or main storyline that I was hoping for and that the game was telling me I had yet to complete. I still felt like I was lacking the second half of the tutorial experience.


In frustration I decided to start over again with a character on a different server. I would have rerolled on the same server but you can only have one character at a time and deleting that character requires a 48 hour waiting period before creating a new one, even if you have the VIP membership. About twenty minutes into my second play through I was feeling much better about both the complex progression system and the school I had chosen, the Tangmen. Then I noticed something. The bonuses I should have been receiving for having the VIP subscription weren’t active, in fact the game was telling me I did not have the service at all. It turns out it only applies to the server you were on when you first purchased it.

That should have been the straw that broke the camel’s back—and it almost was— but there’s something alluring about this game and I really wanted to continue playing, so instead of rage quitting, I went ahead and deleted my Shaolin character on Golden Panda and prepared to wait the two days before starting fresh with the Tangmen on the correct server. This is probably one of the worst starting experiences I’ve ever had with an MMO and why I’m still determined to play it is either a testament to the game’s intriguing systems or my own stubborn streak. Either way I’m going to go a little further before calling it quits.

I did write a letter to Snail USA letting them know that I was stuck on one character and irritated that the paid VIP service only applied to one server even though this was never stated (at least that I saw) at the time of purchase. Their response was quick, which I applaud, but it was clearly written by someone using google translate to provide a response in English which I though odd given that this was supposedly the western office for the Chinese publisher. As was expected, it was not a helpful reply, merely a request that I provide more information about where I was stuck and confirming that yes, the VIP service was just for one server.


Hopefully in a couple of days I’ll have something more positive to write about with regard to Age of Wushu, but for now I’m in limbo. I still have about 24 hours left to wait before I can play the character I want on the server with the VIP membership I paid for because that makes all kinds of sense. Maybe Snail is just preparing me for the end game in Age of Wushu. By the time I get back in the game and reach the point where I can be openly killed by another player character, I’ll be ready for the kill or be killed scenario. I mean, two days in and I’ve already been griefed by the developer. How much worse could the players be?

Age of Wushu: Dynasty, First Impressions

Mobile MMOs aren’t something I actively seek out, but with the amount of traveling I’ve been doing lately and a failing battery in my laptop (recently replaced) it seemed an alternative worth exploring. LEGO minifigures was on my iPhone for some time until the 1.5 gb of storage required became too much and I had to remove it. It was a fun game though, and over a 3-4 month period I reached the end of the story and leveled a few minifigures to the cap. Having purchased it on Steam as well, I actually found the title better suited for mobile. It never offered the depth of gameplay found in most MMOs but as a mobile alternative I found it to be charming.

During my most recent travels, I noticed an ad on Massively OP for Age of Wushu: Dynasty, a mobile version of Snail’s Wuxia MMO by the same name, sans “Dynasty”. I’ve never played Age of Wushu (it’s on my list though) but was curious about Dynasty so I clicked the ad and was promptly taken to TaiChi Panda on the App Store, another one of Snail’s titles. Nice one, Snail.

After manually searching for Age of Wushu: Dynasty on the App Store I was able to download the game and take a look. To begin you have to create an account with Snail. After registering you’re provided with five schools to chose from with two being gender locked, the Shaolin and Emei. I chose the Royal Guard for my first character which uses a clawed chain, and the Tangmen for my second which uses twin daggers. Not a lot of description is provided on the selection screen so I just chose the ones with the weapon sets I liked best.


Character customization is nil beyond choosing the gender and age— there is an adult and teen version for each gender which I thought was interesting. Each class does have a unique costume however and your appearance can be selected separately from the gear you are wearing in game, so you can keep this starting outfit indefinitely.

After choosing a class, gender, and name you can log into the game where the first prompt you’ll receive is to click a quest indicator on the left hand side of the UI in order to be autopathed to an NPC. This will lead to a tutorial sequence where combat and base gameplay functions will be explained. This autopathing and directed progression will be a running theme with Dynasty, many features being automated and only requiring a single click to initiate or complete.


That’s cold, Wang. Somewhere, a newly orphaned ninja baby is crying shuriken tears.

Gameplay is straightforward with your character running from NPC, to questing location— often in a separate instance— back to NPC for turn in and more story dialogue, all of which will be navigated by the autopathing feature. The game does an excellent job walking you through the many features of the game, including equipping and upgrading gear, improving class abilities, learning the various movement skills, and progressively teaching the combat system. You may not know why you’re doing any of it, but by golly you’ll know how.


Combat is interesting in theory but by level 10 has required very little effort, it’s mostly just mash buttons—especially the glowing ones— and win. There are three ability types available: overt, feint, and parry. Feint attacks will break through an opponents parry, parry will block your opponents overt attacks, and overt attacks are your basic abilities that will mostly be spammed and occasionally will offer a combo. At level 5 you even have the option to automate combat, meaning you can sit back and watch the game play itself. I’m not sure what the purpose of this is, but it’s useful for getting action screenshots.


Surprisingly the cash shop has not been invasive or necessary as of yet. There appears to be an energy system (called vigor) at work which limits game time and can be bypassed through cash shop purchases. However unless this becomes more restrictive at higher levels, I’ve never used up all of my vigor and it appears to be unique by character rather than to the account as a whole which means if you do run out you could always continue playing with an alt. You also receive rewards for logging in, leveling, and for playing certain lengths of time which include potions that refill a portion of vigor and even cash shop currency.

So far I’ve played for no more than an hour or two and it’s been entertaining if nothing else. The gameplay is weaker than LEGO Minifigures and the UI is a cluttered mess— at least on an iPhone 6— that would make the game unplayable were not everything automated so efficiently. But the combat animations are fun to watch, the feint/parry/overt system at least has potential to become interesting at higher levels, and overall Dynasty more closely resembles a traditional MMO than Minifigures does with regard to progressing class skills and gear. It also has a longer lifespan given what Funcom’s recent financial report suggests, which saddens me a little. However if you’re curious about trying an MMO of the mobile variety, Age of Wushu: Dynasty is probably worth a look; for science if not for meaningful gameplay.

My Favorite MMO YouTube Channels

Whenever I’m interested in learning more about a new MMO on the market or an older one I’ve yet to try there are three YouTube channels I frequent the most to get that information. With how many new games I’ve been playing as of late, I’ve been watching a lot of videos and thought, hey, maybe others would benefit from these channels as well. A quick disclaimer though before getting started; if you’re a kindergarten teacher looking to introduce your class to the world of MMOs well good for you but I wouldn’t recommend playing any of these videos for your class. While the content creators are all very funny, they definitely use language that is not suitable for the kiddos.

The HiveLeader

If you’re looking for a quick overview of an MMO with hilarious commentary, this is where you want to start. The HiveLeader reviews MMOs in about a 5-8 minute video which is perfect if you want the general feel of a game without investing a lot of time into a more thorough video. However don’t let the short video length and focus on humor fool you, there’s a lot to be gleaned about an MMO from these reviews. Of the three listed here, I’ve been watching The HiveLeader the longest and have even gone back and watched through his entire backlog of videos as well. This channel is entertaining to watch whether you care about the games being reviewed or not.

MMO Grinder

If you want a thorough review of a game from someone who has spent more than a couple of hours with the title, I would highly recommend the MMO Grinder. This channel primarily takes a look at free to play games and spends a good 20-40 minutes going over the graphics, sound, gameplay, community, and cash shop of every game featured. Each game reviewed has been played for a couple of weeks by the host and a few of his guildmates so there is plenty of first hand research. The MMO Grinder is probably the number one source I rely on for gathering information before trying a new game.

The Lazy Peon

This is a new one that I only recently discovered however what I like about The Lazy Peon is that you get a very real experience of what your first 5-6 hours of gameplay will feel like but in a condensed 18-25 minute video. Unlike the MMO Grinder, what you’ll find here is video footage and commentary taken during those exploratory hours of gameplay. What I like about this channel is that it gives you a really good sense of what your own experience will be like. If a game’s tutorial is confusing, the optimization is poor, or a feature is bugged you’ll see firsthand how those things affect the new player experience. There’s overlap here with what the other channels offer but it nevertheless stands out as a useful source. Be forewarned though, of the three The Lazy Peon is by far the biggest potty mouth of them all. This channel is definitely not safe for work or around young kids.