By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF)
The latest expansion for Age of Wushu, Tempest of Strife, launches today. With this new expansion comes a plethora of changes and new features to add to the already extensive gameplay options in Age of Wushu. With six new factions available for players to join in, a new weather system, and a bunch of new content, this update will surely change the face of the game. It has been referred to as Age of Wushu 2.0 for a reason. On top of the new expansion, a new server is being made available starting on the same day.
There are three major features being added with Tempest of Strife. First is the factions being added to the game. These factions are similar to the original eight schools, in that players can join them and gain access to unique techniques and abilities. Unlike the schools, these factions have various requirements that must be met before you can join them. For example, one sect requires that you be a castrated male to join their ranks. While another requires that you are a single, female lunatic. These factions will add a new and interesting twist to the game.
The second major feature is the new weather system. This system will improve the weather effects in the game to make them more pleasing to the eye. It will also make the weather more dynamic and interesting. For example, the Northern deserts are more prone to dust storms, while the areas closer to water will suffer from storms and fog. Along with the weather comes a new day/night cycle and solar eclipse. Normally, a new weather system wouldn't be much to gush over (even though it's nice), but this time it's worth mentioning due to the inclusion of dynamic events that are based on location and weather.
The third feature is the dynamic events I mentioned. These events will be triggered when certain weather patterns or astronomical events occur, such as thick fog in Luoyang or a sand tornado in the Northern Deserts. An eclipse could also trigger an event. These events will be massive in scale and will require the participation of 50+ players to even have a chance at success. While killing mobs in these events, you will loot special tokens which can be turned in for reward boxes. Needless to say, this new system will add a whole new layer to the game.
Other features that are worth mentioning are the face-lifting surgery and equipment inscription. The face-lifting surgery will allow those who aren't happy with their current appearance to make alterations. Apparently only a special doctor is capable of doing this, so you will need to search for him. Equipment inscription will allow you to personalize your gear with unique names. The face-altering will be welcome by a huge portion of the community (such as myself, as I made my character insanely ugly...) and more customization never hurt anyone!
Another important feature being added to the game with this expansion is the ability to leave your school. Now, there's two ways you can do this. You can either graduate from your school by meeting certain requirements and completing certain tasks, or you could simply betray your school. You may even find a way to hide your identity for a period of time, instead of leaving your school. Or, if you're a new character, you could simply forgo choosing a school and wander the Jianghu as a vagrant, learning whatever bits and pieces of martial arts you can get your hands on. One things for sure, these new options will change the face of the game, especially when it comes to the school conflicts.
A Deeper Look at the Dynamic Events
I was lucky enough to participate on a press tour where we were shown several of these weather-triggered events. The one that caught my eye the most was the thick fog in Luoyang event. In the event, a disgruntled noble wishes to back-stab the emperor by stealing from the treasury and fleeing the city. When the event was triggered, a pop-up asking if you wanted to participate appeared. From there you were transported into a separate instance of the city with anyone else who wanted to participate. I was told that there was no cap to participants in these events, but most would require at least fifty people to complete.
In the Luoyang event, you have to fight through hordes of extremely difficult enemies. At one point, you were required to make use of cannons to kill archers who could deal massive amounts of damage (basically one-shot anyone). In Suzhou, there is an eclipse-triggered event where one of the objectives is to create medicine by playing a mini-game to heal wounded civilians. These two examples show that you don't have to be a high level and jump into the thick of battle to participate or be rewarded from these events. There's something for everyone to do, weather you're tanking the archers the best you can, escorting citizens to safety, or even following around massive sand tornadoes to collect uncovered treasures.
The Factions Explained
The new factions are split into three “Emerging Sects” and three “Hidden Forces.” The emerging sects are the “ferocious” Villa of Beasts, which will have an affinity with all things wild and will have the possibility to bond with deadly animals. There is also the “vigilant” Xu Family Manor, who use their unique martial arts to fight evil and crime. Last of the emerging sects are the Golden Needle Sect, who use acupuncture to heal themselves and others. It may be useful to know that it is possible to re-apply your “lost member” (if you've chosen to become a eunuch) via a miracle that can be done by the Golden Needle sect.
The hidden forces are the Palace of Shifting Flowers, which is a female sect that will only accept you if you're single. There's also the Peach Blossom Island (A favorite for those that are fans of the Wuxia/Jianghu fiction), which acts a retreat for talented hermetic musicians and martial arts experts. Last of the hidden forces is the Rootless Clan, who will only accept the those who have been castrated and put wealth and power before all else.
It seems to me that Tempest of Strife definitely deserves the title of “Age of Wushu 2.0,” given by the Game Director, Hao Han. With its revamped graphics, new weather system, six new factions to become a part of, and more to come. This update seems so promising that I've considered returning to the game to take part in all the new content. Weather I will choose to return to my old character or start a new vagrant on the all-new server, Silver Viper, being released with Tempest of Strife, has yet to be decided. For those of you that have left the game in the past, now may be the time to make your return.