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So I noticed something this weekend during my time in Age of Wushu. As the game progresses I find myself seriously challenged with how I am going to spend my day. Everyone wants to be a great martial artist of course. But what I have found is that by the time I finish doing my daily black-smithing quests, running an escort or two in order to keep the experience clicking in, maybe taking an assassination mission or three just to keep my skills sharp and earn some scripts, mining, and converting what I've mined into a few reasonably upgraded high level weapons.....
There's really not a lot of time left to go and team practice. Definitely not enough time to go on a spying or patrol mission. Not enough time to run through Twilight Village or 6 times through some influence mission, and GCC, Peacock Village? Forgetaboutit!!
I am a blacksmith. That's what's up. And if I want to stay on the cutting edge (pardon my pun) of being a blacksmith, then I need to focus on being a blacksmith as much as the cutting edge martial artist focuses on being a martial artist.
There are a lot of people in the game who have blacksmith alts, chef alts. poison making alts, etc...but none of them can kick out a weapon of the quality and refinement that I am capable of. I believe that this is a good thing too, because it defines my character in a way that makes being what I am, even amongst others who share the same craft, something special.
That's something new for me. Something very non-orcish, and I like it.
In the past I have been able to not only be a high level whatever, but a high level crafter as well. In Age of Wushu I feel more like my guilds blacksmith (who just happens to be able to kick a little butt on the side) rather than my guilds tank, dps, support character, who just happens to know how to make swords as well.
I hope that this doesn't change as the game progresses. As I only just got a few recipes capable of making weapons for characters of realized potential (that's right, most of you are running around using substandard swords and don't know it), I look forward to the days when my characters name will be attached to some of the finest weapons in the land.
Sure, it's a grind, but not the worst grind I've ever been involved in. The daily exp limit makes that grind wider rather than tall, and that allows me to fit in what I need to do without having to spend blood clot creating amounts of time behind the keyboard.
I even like the fact that it takes unbound to create these weapons as well as buy them, because I know it slows down the process for a lot of folk who might otherwise just grind their day away in order to be the best.
In Age of Wushu you have to make your sword, invest in your sword, and either go broke spending real money, or SELL your sword in order to continue on being the man when it comes to making swords.
I can roll with that. It means that yeah, there might be that Hattori Hanzo guy out there in the world, that guy who was willing to spend all of his time and a lot of his money to make the finest blades in the land, but with the time it takes to even make these things, there is still very little chance that he is going to corner the market. He will fit into the world where he fits, making gucci swords for high rolling characters, and I will fit into the world where I fit, making some pretty nice stuff for those who can afford my wares.
I write about this because I find it yet another innovation that this game has thought out that hasn't been as well thought out in other titles. The concept of making it utterly impossible to really play an alt to any level of efficiency without really, actually, and quite literally, burning your life away.
Like I said, a lot of people have Chef alts, but only a real chef can make you the bomb assed food. A lot of people have poison making alts, but only a real poison maker can make you the really good poison.
You simply have to focus. The game doesn't give you any other choice. I think that's pretty tight. It also gives value to having a real craftsmen in your guild because if you have to actually go out and buy this stuff as the game progresses, your guild is just going to get weaker and weaker over time, no matter how much you practice.
Think about that when you are selling off your recipes instead of taking care of the crafters in your guild. Every single thing you sell in this game to anyone other than someone in your guild only makes those other than your guildmates stronger.
But don't let me just make crafting seem to be the focus. The same thing goes for being a great warrior. There are tons and tons and tons and tons of different kinds of martial arts forms in this game, and in order to get your hands on them you have to go into certain places over, and over, and over, and over.
Being a premiere martial artist then takes as much time, effort, and focus as being a top level crafter. It all takes time and teamwork. Thus, the idea of a school or a guild becomes all the more realistic as someone is going to have to take on the roll of the protector and someone else is going to have to take on the role of making sure that protector can do his job.
Old martial arts movies where students travel to other schools to challenge other masters and take their students pop into mind every time I think about it.
Bots of course can circumvent this design, but I really hope that both of these companies (Snail and Gpotato) remain diligent in their pursuance and removal of such cheats. This is because I believe that this effect brings even more life to the game, and helps make it even more like a real environment where each person can have some measure of power based on how much they are willing to experiment with the world.
Age of Wushu, truly is turning out to be the game that is wider than it is tall. And just like a lot of us knew it would be, it is really making the game worth sticking with.
My suggestion to the other companies then is to get your genre straight and study what this game is doing, because although it may not be a WoW killer (figuring that WoW has its own, completely different kind of demographic), it is indeed a magnet for those who like something a little deeper.