By Jordan Hall(ApocaRUFF), OnRPG Journalist
So it has been a little over twenty days since the official launch of Age of Wushu. So far, I am loving the game. I have almost no qualms suggesting it to anyone that loves PVP-centric gameplay, and I would be willing to debate with anyone that says the game isn’t great. Unfortunately, there is one thing that I just cannot defend, and in fact I even agree with a lot of people on. Snail has been messing up big time so far, and now that they no longer have the title of “beta” protecting their mishaps, people are beginning to get very angry.
I’ll begin with the recent big issue that everyone is still raging about. Snail made the mistake of implementing an automated system that would ban those that did the worst possible crime (in their eyes) and buy Taels, the in-game currency used to trade with other players, from third-party sites. Unfortunately, this backfired massively and hundreds of players were wrongfully banned for doing something as simple as selling a rare item for a large sum of money. To make this even worse, they were slow to respond when players began to cry out at being banned for no reason. They were even slower in helping those that were wrongfully banned, so slow that they are still investigating accounts that were banned today, well over a week after the incident.
I personally know several people who were banned just for selling rare scripts for a lot of money, and they are just now getting their accounts back. This has caused many, many players questions whether or not they can trust Snail. Some have left for games like Neverwinter, or even Darkfall: Unholy Wars. Some users have taken up arms and begun working on spreading awareness about the things that Snail has done or failed to do. As much as I love the game, I’ve got to say that these people were completely right in their decisions.
It’s not just this monstrous debacle with the mass-banning. There are other issues that are testing the patience of the players as well. One of the biggest strains is the fact that a majority of people, who live in North America, are getting pings that range from 400-800 on a regular basis. As I sit in the game, writing this article at 6:30AM, I am sitting at a near constant 403 Ping. This has me questioning whether or not the game server is even hosted on the North American continent. It’s very hard for most North American players in combat, and near impossible for non-North American based players to stand a chance.
A lot of people feel that it is quite obvious that Snail is more interested in punishing people for buying gold rather than stopping the botters or gold spammers themselves. Although, quite recently they did implement a feature to report spammers. And it actually works, at least during regular hours when support staff is available. And botters are still a major issue. For example, my guild mates have trouble finding open spawns of plants for poison making or herbalism because they are constantly being camped by bots. And you can’t kill the bots, because you gain way too much infamy and end up going to jail, or even being whipped and receiving a 24-hour -30% damage debuff if you’re part of a good-aligned school such as Shaolin.
On top of the possibility of being banned for simply trading with other players, on top of the laggy servers, on top of the near constant issue with botters and spammers. On top of all that, we still have issues with lack of information on the game and horrible translations. Every bit of knowledge I have gained about the game has been explained to me by other players – I have had no luck finding any official source of meaningful information. The translations, despite the game being in beta for months and having been officially released, are still bad, or even completely wrong in some cases. The most notable example of this, in my opinion, is the lowest tier divinator cultivation buff, which will tell you that it is for 450% when you receive it but is really only 10% when you actually look at the buff.
There is one other issue that may or may not affect Snail and Age of Wushu in a bad way. Xsolla, the company that does Snail’s billing, has recently lost its ability to use PayPal as a payment method. When I spoke to a customer service representative at Xsolla, I was told that they are working to get it back, but could not tell me why it was gone or when it would be available again. For players like me, who prefer to use PayPal for online purchases, we will have to make a decision on whether or not to use some alternative means or just let it go and move on to a new game. I am still trying to decide on if I will trust my Credit Card to this company when my VIP runs out on the 17th and I need to renew.
All of this is adding up to giving players a bad experience and marking Snail Games with a bad reputation. I fear that if Snail does not get its act together and make some drastic changes – either on the Chinese side, the USA Side, or both – things will begin to fall apart and an otherwise great game will go to waste. And with it the time, effort, and dedication of thousands of players. Things are probably much better for players of the original version of the game, but for North American players it is quickly becoming a headache just to log on. It is for this reason that I am begging Snail to please, please make some changes and save this game from becoming another forgotten failed foreign project.