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Before we start, let me make clear that I don't play on Age of Wushu, I play on the European Age of Wulin, where the third internal was just unlocked, alongside random encounters for the rare flying skill "Speed up without a trace" and for powerful Ancient skills.
In my 3 months + of playing the game and participating in the constant progression race of inners (they've been releasing very fast in the EU version), my biggest grievance with the game has been how incredibly random everything often is.
From crafting, to the daily scriptstealing events, to instances, to random encounters and so forth. The player is the plaything of RNG instead of the other way around. Luckers can skyrocket up the rankings while others have to count their losses.
Let me go over a number of things (wall of text inc):
The three crafts that can actually make you substantial money in Wulin now, are craftsman, blacksmith and tailor. Herbalists, poisonmakers and cooks will have a much harder time.
But even if you rolled right and have a highlevel character with those three crafts, you still need luck. In AoW, gear needs upgrades which rolls for stats and a certain "affinity" (Taiji, Yin or Yang), this affinity relates to the different internals and schools. If you use a certain internal, you need to match the gear with the affinity of the internal, or the stats are useless.
The problem comes from the fact that the upgraded stats need to be useful for the users of a certain element. Yang users generally have very little use for breath or vigorous qi for example (intelligence and spirit in the US version), while Taiji users find little solace in bodymethod (dexterity).
All of that is of less concern with day to day crafting of low level recipes, but when you've just spend a boatload of money + work on a worktable and high level materials for advanced recipes, you can easily either ruin yourself by rolling the wrong stats or swim in endless riches by rolling right.
Every day except for Sundays, players can partake in a scriptstealing event. Which allows you to go to another school and capture their scripts, or stop the invaders and gather scripts of your own school. These scripts contain fragments of the skills of the school, or of the internals. Every skill is currently divided into 4 different fragments (chapter 1,2,3,4), you need to learn these in the right order to get the skill up to a maximum of 4. Learning internals works in a similar fashion.
RNG enters when the first chapters of valuable skills are worth enormous amounts of money. However, the chance of getting one of those amidst the large amount of available fragments is very low.
It really stings however, when a player who otherwise spends far less time than you on the game, has not invested anything in crafting and is generally less helpful than you to others, gets lucky and suddenly finds himself rolling around in wealth.
A friend of me was lucky enough to get the first pages for the Wudang skill "Pegasus" (a powerful heal and the most wanted script) several times in a row, together with other desired scripts.
In a couple of days, he made over 18 ding. An amount of money most can currently only dream of. With the money, he was able to godbuff his character with all manner of gear and skills. All the while he had never even touched crafting or put effort into gathering / selling materials.
Instances in AoW generally have very disappointing loot, even though they require a lot of effort just to get people together (after the normal versions of the first two instances, you're off to making 12 to 24-man raids right away).
However, at certain times worktables (for high level crafting) or powerful skills will drop. When they do, cross your fingers and pray that you are in a solid guild group with strict loot rules.
But even then, you will see dollarsigns in people's eyes and their greed amplified a thousand times. If you thought looting behaviour was bad in WoW, you haven't seen it in AoW yet (and unlike WoW, it's usually mature people playing this).
Overall, expect to spend a large amount of time in instances with nothing to show for it. Still, people keep doing them while praying to the RNG gods.
And now we come to the complete epitome of anything RNG.
In AoW, you have a chance for an NPC to run up to you and give you a certain item. The value can vary between a piece of cow dung and a worktable to an ancient skillbook that can learn you a skill which makes you almost invincible and allows you to wipe out whole groups of people by yourself in wars.
The first big problem with the RE system, is the fact that it is completely untransparent. Part of this is because of the bad translations of "gossip" messages which are supposed to point you to active RE's, or because the western publishers simply neglect to make certain RE's work (which can cause you to get stuck in the middle, or do pointless work trying to trigger one that isn't open).
Another issue is the fact that people guard the secret to certain RE "triggers" more carefully than Smaugh guards his gold.
But in the end the biggest problem, is that even if you do everything right and spend hours upon hours of gaining reputation with certain NPC's in the world (by giving them gifts, meditating near them, etc.), even if you know every secret, the whole thing remains completely and utterly RANDOM.
In Age of Wulin, people can currently get a random event in the Wudang sect which grants them a complete skillbook of the "Ancient Tai Chi Fist" skillset. The rage move from this skillset is supremely powerful because it stunlocks a large group of people while granting yourself complete immunity to CC, in addition, it also deals very high damage. Players will only have the chance to acquire a complete skillbook for a month, then the Mount Hua expansion will be released in Europe and the whole process will become infinitely more difficult. The value of an account with that skill over the internet can quickly rise to a thousand euros.
A guildie of mine spent months leveling up affinity with all the NPC's in Wudang that are reported to give out the items, long before the event got released. Imagine now his face when a random noob who had just started to play the game got the random event next to him for zero effort. To make matters worse, the event triggering for other people, actually completely reset his affinity with the NPC's.
On the "political" level, it also means destabilisation: the English Wulin server currently has two big alliances fighting each other, one of the alliances has had the luck to acquire more than five of the rages over the past week, the other one (which ALSO has the secrets and people playing on the Chinese servers and databases etc.) hasn't gotten any. If that trend continues, it means one of the alliances will find themselves in a severe underdog position when the wars pick up again.
Those are a few of the many RNG - related game mechanics in AoW. Now I'm sure that a number of people might reply with arguments like: "It keeps the competition fresh!", or: "It gives an interesting twist on things!" or: "It allows newbies to catch up!" etc.
I call bullshit on that though.
The greatest thing about Age of Wushu / Wulin is that you need to make long-term plans and that you can spend a lot of effort and time building something great. Both for your character and for your guild and community.
But all of that is suddenly worth a lot less when a concrete wall of RNG hits you in the face, even though you've carefully spent hours upon hours of carving out your professions and PvP skill, while random others go from zero to hero through the blessing of the RNG gods.
At least I heard that things get a little bit better when the Mount Hua expansion finally hits, I hope in the future Snail will try to get rid of this annoying element of an otherwise great game (and not solely through cash shop solutions).
Feel free to use my referral link for SW:TOR if you want to test out the game. You'll get some special unlocks!