Age of Wushu New Player’s Comprehensive Guide



Age of Wushu New Player’s Comprehensive Guide by HieprSA

Table of Contents

Your First Day
Story
Controls
Quests
Tutorials
Advanced Questing
Kung Fu
Yet More Story
A Word About Mobs
Almost Done With Story
Picking a School, Finally
Welcome to School
What the Hell is a Jianghu?
Real Kung Fu
Back Home
Life Skills
Martial Instances
MORE Story
About Hotkeys
Game Systems
Experience and Cultivation
Flying Skills
PvP
Arrays
Money
Life Skills
Equipment
Internal Skills
Spying
Maps

Your first day

I’m going to walk you through the first session of play, all the way through choosing your martial arts school and finishing off your starting story. These steps would, in any other game, be the tutorial, and you’d finish it knowing how to play. In AoW, you’ll finish it just as baffled as you started, if not more so. So I’ll try to make things as clear as I can, so that when you reach the point where the game actually starts, you’ll hopefully want to keep playing.
Story

Your first choice when you launch the game is typical AoW: there’s no real indication as to what you’re choosing or why. There are four starting stories, each of which starts you in a different town, and each of which has slightly different rewards. If you don’t care one way or another, pick Nameless Sword; it has a unique and totally useless skill as a reward that’s occasionally fun to use. Otherwise, choose the one that sounds most interesting to you. Fair warning: A Scholar’s Legend will dump you in Chengdu, the busiest town in the game.

Story

Your first choice when you launch the game is typical AoW: there’s no real indication as to what you’re choosing or why. There are four starting stories, each of which starts you in a different town, and each of which has slightly different rewards. If you don’t care one way or another, pick Nameless Sword; it has a unique and totally useless skill as a reward that’s occasionally fun to use. Otherwise, choose the one that sounds most interesting to you. Fair warning: A Scholar’s Legend will dump you in Chengdu, the busiest town in the game.

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Controls

When you enter the game, you’ll be offered a choice between ‘traditional’ and ‘special’ controls. Do yourself a favor and pick ‘special’. Mobility is extremely important in PvP in this game, and the traditional controls are slow and will get you killed. If you’re a veteran of other MMOs, it may take a bit to get used to the controls, but you’ll be a better and more effective player for having done so.

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By the way, you’ll probably notice lots of text that ends with an ellipsis. This is because Chinese is a very compact written language, and English isn’t. They didn’t change the UI much at all when they localized, so long English strings are trying to cram into spaces that are only big enough for two characters of Chinese. You can sometimes mouse over the label to get a pop-up with the full text, but sometimes you can’t. Get used to it.

A piece of UI will now appear, labeled ‘Experience Guide’. Feel free to read it, if you like, but I’m going to cover everything that’s in it, and I’ll do it in English instead of Google-translated English. Close it and move on.

You’ve got some other configuration to do, as well. Press ESC to bring up the main menu, and click the Interface Options button. On the left side, select the Mouse button. At the top, change Left-Click to the second option, Control Camera. You’re thinking, ‘But I use the right button to do that!’ Not in this game you don’t. You’ll be using the right button for something else. Trust me.

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Next, click the Battle button on the left side. In the lower right corner is a button that says ‘Advance’. Click it for the advanced battle settings. I’ll quickly run through the ones you should set.

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Switch the unlabeled radio button from Manual Mode to Auto Mode. This will make you automatically parry when attacked. This is not always a good thing, and in PvP it’s very dangerous, but as a new player you’ll find it comes in handy (Note: If you suffer from High Ping you may want to keep it on). You can turn it off later when you start to see its limitations.

Next, turn off Super Skill Movie Effects. This makes a cinematic moment out of using your Rage skill — more on those later. The thing is, you’re going to use the Rage skills a lot, and you will get sick of the cinematic really quickly. If you want to play with it on, go ahead, but remember where this setting is for later when you’ve had enough.

Next turn on the option that begins with ‘Under Non-Fighting State…’. This lets you block when you’re not in combat. You will want to be able to do this, for a variety of reasons.

Finally, turn on Practice Quickly. This makes your ground-targeted AOE skills execute as soon as you release the button, instead of requiring you to click again. It’s amazing how much faster this makes you, and in PvP you will need to be fast.

Don’t forget to click Apply when you’re done, and then Confirm and Apply your way out of these menus.

Quests

Ok, on to the game. In the upper right, just under your minimap, you’ll see the quest guide. Notice that there’s a green name there. That’s clickable, and when you click it you will start walking to that person automatically. Get comfortable with autopathing; you will use it constantly in this game, and it’s by far the simplest way to navigate the tangled mess that is their quest system. Click the name now to start your story quest.

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(The game suggests using F9 to hide players. Remember this as it can come in handy later, but you probably don’t need to do it now.)

When you get to the target you’ll automatically start talking to him (assuming you autopathed there; if you didn’t, click on him to talk to him). When you talk to NPCs, the little scroll icon means ‘start or continue a quest’, and the door means ‘leave the dialogue’. Make your way through the NPC’s conversation.

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You’ll get a quest rewards screen in the upper left. All the rewards you get are important, but for now just ignore it and continue; the rewards are automatically given to you so don’t worry about missing anything. Occasionally you’ll need to make a choice of one of a set of items for the reward; do that by clicking the icon of the thing you want, and then continue the conversation.

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Tutorials

The game’s tutorials are sometimes helpful and sometimes baffling. Generally they start with a popup like this one: a mouse and an icon. Click the icon to continue the tutorial. This first tutorial is totally useless: it tries to teach you just how amazing it is to give them money. It is amazing, but you won’t realize that for a day or two at least. Eventually, in any tutorial, a button that says ‘Skip Guide’ will appear. Skip this one.

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You’re looking at the Experience and Cultivation UI now. It looks like a space station. I’ll explain how experience works later, after the walkthrough; you really, really don’t need to know it yet. Close this UI. Don’t try to make sense of it.

Advanced Questing

Use the quest guide in the upper right to autopath your way to the next NPC — it might be the same one, or it might be someone different. Generally, if the guide isn’t telling you who to talk to next, talk to the last guy again. This is a good rule of thumb when doing quests: exhaust an NPC’s conversation options by talking to them again and again, because many quests require three or more interactions with the same guy to complete.

At this point you’re probably wandering across town and you’re seeing a lot of characters. There are three types of people you’ll see.

NPCs have green names and can sometimes be talked to.

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Online players have white names and a symbol next to their name. The symbol tells whether they’re a jerk or not, but don’t rely on it. Like so many of the game’s morality systems, the symbol is totally gameable. One use for the morality system is how it interacts with the Random Encounter system.

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Offline players have white names and no symbol. They also act like NPCs, and have boring titles like ‘Waiter’ and ‘Courtesan’. When you’re offline in AoW, your character might take a job and earn you some money. That’s what those people are doing.

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You may also run across some enemies; attackable non-aggro enemies have yellow names, and attackable aggro enemies have red names. Don’t try to fight anything yet; you have no kung fu and will just die.

Kung Fu

Time to learn some terrible kung fu. Your quest will eventually take you to a kung fu master who will teach you a skill. All skills in this game are learned from books (generally referred to as ‘Scripts’). You’re about to learn your first real skill, the Self Recollection Internal Technique.

Right click the skill book and the skill book interface will appear. You can click ‘Preview’ if you want to read more about the skill and see an animation of the skill in use; otherwise, just click ‘Study’ to learn it.

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The tutorial will take you into the skills book, with the new skill selected and the Activate button highlighted. Click it. This is an Internal Skill. Your Internal Skill is basically your character class. It gives you increased stats, hit points, mana, and generally has other benefits. This particular skill, Self Recollection, is terrible and we’ll be unequipping it as soon as possible. But if you ever need to be a gimpy newbie again, you can always switch back to it (and there are sometimes reasons to do that).

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Your master wants you to talk to someone new. Autopath to this person and you’ll run into a big blue glowing arch. This is a zone transition — in this case, into a dojo instance where the game will try to teach you how to fight. Talk to the guy inside the dojo. I believe he’s always named Chi Huiye, but if not, he’s the one in the middle your quest is pointing you towards. He asks you to get punched by his minion.

First, you’ll need to get a punch ready. Press K, or click the skill book button, to get to your skills.

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The one you want is Unarmed Normal Attack. Click the icon once to pick it up, then click it onto the first open slot in your hotkey bar, labeled 1.

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Now you can punch dudes by pressing 1.

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Okay, talk to the guy with the blue crossed swords over his head. He’ll tell you how to block. By default this is the right mouse button. You should leave it as the right mouse button. Trust me, it’s a pain in the ass to set it to anything else. Once you finish talking to him, he will start punching you. You can hold block to stop his attacks. If you set up your options like I suggested, you won’t have to; you’ll automatically block him — but use the right mouse button anyway, just to get used to it.

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He’s now going to teach you a new skill — a block skill. Block skills modify your basic block to give it additional effects. The one he teaches you is very basic; it just makes the block a little more effective. Learn it and put it on your toolbar. Click it to turn it on. Block skills stay on until you die, so you don’t have to worry about it once you’ve activated it.

Now talk to him again and he’ll beat you up some more. When he’s done, go back and talk to Chi Huiye. He’ll send you to his next minion to learn how to break blocks. This guy will just block you while you punch him; punch him a lot and you’ll see a tiny bar under his main healthbar, slowly going down. That’s his block strength. When it runs out, he stops blocking for a bit and you can hit him. Just keep punching him till he calls you off.

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He’s going to teach you a new skill, a Feint. Feints instantly break blocks. Feints are very, very important and you will use them a lot. Learn and equip the skill. Now when you fight him, feint to break his block instantly. Do that until he calls you off. Then it’s back to Chi Huiye again.

He’ll give you a new skill, and send you off to beat up another of his minions. Learn the new skill. It’s a Rage skill, which I mentioned earlier. You get rage in a variety of ways, and I don’t entirely understand them all, but right now you’re going to build rage by blocking attacks.

Under your portrait and health bars are five empty circles. As you gain rage, each circle will fill with flame. Notice your Rage skill is red? That means you don’t have enough rage to use it. Go fight the next minion, and block his attacks. Your rage will slowly build. When it’s high enough (around 3 fire-circles) the Rage skill will become available. Use it. (If you left cinematics on, you’ll see one now.) Now repeat the process a second time.

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Looking at your bar, you will see three colors of rings around your skills. Red rings mean attack skills. Green rings mean block skills. Blue rings are feints. You can organize your bar however you like, but I like to put the feint in slot 1, because I use it a lot; the attacks in slots 2 through 6; the rage skill in slot 8; and the block skill in 0, because I turn it on and then forget about it.

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Talk to Chi Huiye one more time, and you’re done with the dojo. Autopath back out of here to the next step of your quest.

Yet More Story

Your kung fu master will now teach you another skill, the sit-and-rest skill. It looks like hands praying. You will probably have to talk to him over and over before he gives it to you, so do so. Once you have it, learn it and put it on your bar. I like to keep it on the secondary bar above the main toolbar, so it’s always available.

Now he’s going to teach you a flying skill. Sort of. Follow the quest until you trigger a cutscene, and you’ll find yourself at the bottom of a well. Unless you picked the Chengdu story, you’ll have no idea why you’re in a well. It doesn’t matter. Find the skeleton, marked with a yellow glow, and click it.

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Then find the script, behind you and also marked with a yellow glow, and pick it up. Learn it, and now you can double-jump. Use double-jump to get out of the well. The blue markers to show you where to jump will appear one more time in AoW and then, as far as I know, you’ll never see them again. Click the rope to leave.

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Back to your master again! Talk to him to continue the quest. Before you leave, though, you need to get two more skills. See the ‘Purchase’ button when you talk to him? Click it. Welcome to the shop interface. Find and purchase ‘Break Meridians’ and ‘Vigorous Strides’. The latter is a passive speed increase; the former lets you instantly kill yourself. Yes, there are plenty of times when that’s not only reasonable but really damn useful.

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Your new skills are in your backpack. Close the shop interface, and open the backpack by pressing B, or clicking the bag icon. Right click on each skill to learn it; put Break Meridians somewhere handy. Don’t put it somewhere you’re likely to click it by accident; killing yourself in the middle of a dungeon is just embarassing (I speak from experience).

Follow the quest autopath to find a girl with a kite. Help her by using double-jump. Depending on which story you picked, this will be either trivial or frustrating. Keep trying till you get up on the roof and can click the kite. Then drop down to talk to the girl again; she is the best and most awesome NPC in the whole game.

At this point your quest is going to take you to a chef, who will then take you to a hunter. This is weird because the game won’t let you learn skills from either of them yet, so you’re just… talking to them. Anyway, get to the hunter, and keep bugging him until he gives you some throwing darts and a skill to use them. Equip the skill somewhere. Then talk to him until he finally gives in and tells you to kill two dogs.

The dogs are probably within sight, but if they’re not, the quest will autopath you to them. Kill two of them. Don’t try punching them; for whatever reason, your kung fu is useless against Fluffy the Pooch. Just use the dart skill over and over till they die.

A Word About Mobs

Did you see what you got for killing those dogs? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You don’t kill mobs in AoW to get more powerful. You kill them for materials they drop, or because a quest requires it, or because you’re bored and want to use your awesome kung fu skills. There’s almost no benefit to killing mobs otherwise. These dogs, for instance, have some random drops that are totally worthless, even as vendor trash. Don’t bother looting them.

This isn’t a case where mob killing is less efficient. It’s literally useless. Don’t bother. Avoid mobs unless you can’t.

Almost Done With Story

Autopath back to the chef, who will then send you back to the kung fu master. Kung Fu Master will try to teach you about cultivation. Just follow the tutorial; we’ll cover cultivation later.

Picking a School, Finally

You’re now sent off to the coachman, who is apparently an authority on martial arts schools. Talk to him and ask him to tell you about the schools. I’m not going to go into detail about them; I only know one of them well enough to say anything intelligent about it. Read his summaries, read information online, and pick a school that sounds interesting to you.

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Note that the schools are divided into good, neutral and evil schools. This is completely irrelevant. The biggest jerks in the game are in ‘good’ schools, and the coolest dudes in the game are in one of the ‘evil’ schools. Just pick based on what looks fun. You can be a jerk in any school. The only restriction you need to care about: only dudes can be Shaolin, and only girls can be Emei.

Wait, that’s not entirely true. If you want to join the Scholars, you have to know one of the cultural life skills. I’m not sure if there are trainers for these in every starter town, but there should be. A quick summary if you want to be a Scholar: Weiqi is Chinese chess, and gives buffs to your group if you’re leading an array. Music gives various buffs and debuffs but you have to play a Guitar Hero minigame to activate it. Calligraphy/Scholar and Painter are used to make and enhance skill books. They are not great choices for a character you intend to play in battle. Pick Weiqi or Music.

Also note that If you want to join Beggar’s, you must learn the Begging life skill.

Tell the coachman you want to find a shifu (that’s Chinese for ‘master’). You’ll be instantly teleported to the school of your choice, standing right in front of the school guide. Talk to him and tell him you want to join the school. He’ll send you off to the headmaster.

Welcome to School

Now you’re almost ready to start learning some real kung fu, the kind that actually damages small dogs. However, the guide will have to be less specific because every school is different. I picked Wudang for this character; if the guide isn’t precisely what you have to do, muddle around till you’re back on track.

Go to the headmaster and talk with him about joining the school. He may want you to take a quiz, or complete some task. I know the Royal Guards have to fight some guys using only their crappy newbie kung fu; Wudang has to answer some very obvious riddles. Finish the task and he’ll teach you the school’s Internal Skill.

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Read the book he gives you. Then immediately activate the skill and turn on cultivation. You don’t want to waste any more of your precious experience on Self Recollection; you’ve got a real internal skill to level now. You’ll also get an icon that, when clicked, informs you that you can learn life skills. You’ll be doing that soon, but for now just click Cancel and move on.

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An icon should have appeared now; if you click on it, you’ll be taken to a page with some kind of… medallions? tokens? I don’t know what they are. One of them says ‘Claim Now’. Click on it. This is your new identity, as a member of the school. Click ‘Gain Id…’ and then ‘Gain R…’. You’ve just gotten a title and some clothes.

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This next part is optional; if you don’t care about cosmetic clothing and titles, you can skip to ‘Real Kung Fu’.

Press C to open your character information page. Along the bottom are four tabs. Click the third one to look at your available titles.

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Along the top is a new row of tabs; click School. You should have a title listed there. For Maryjane the Wudang, the title is ‘Little Taoist’. Click it.

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A button will appear at the bottom, ‘Use Title’. Click this button and now everyone can see who you are. Feel free to browse the other tabs, but I don’t think there are any other titles available yet.

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Press B to open your backpack. There are four tabs on the right. In order, they are your gear, your stuff, your crafting supplies, and quest items. Your new clothes are in the gear tab. If it’s not selected, select it and right click to wear your new clothes.

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They didn’t appear. Right, because this game doesn’t ever do anything the simple way. Press C again to open your character sheet. At the top are three radio buttons: ‘Jianghu C…’, ‘Identity Outfit’, and ‘Ornamen…’. Click ‘Identity Outfit’ to switch to your school uniform.

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What the Hell is a Jianghu?

It basically means ‘the world of martial arts’. It’s everyone who’s involved in kung fu. AoW uses it to mean basically anything in the world. The game world is ‘Jianghu’. Here, read more about it on wikipedia: Jianghu

Real Kung Fu

Talk to the headmaster some more. He wants you to learn about Martial Practice. This is a way to spend money to train your skills. You don’t need to know this yet, but he won’t let you continue till you try it out. So follow the tutorial until it’s done, then talk to him some more.

Finally! He sends you off to learn some actual fighting skills. Before you go, look above your health bar. See where it says ‘Not Yet Activated’? You never, ever want to see that message. Click the little buddha guy to open the cultivation interface, and click ‘Internal Cultivation’. The Martial Practice turned it off. No, there is no good reason why it did that. It just did. That’s AoW.

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Autopath to the trainer. He will give you some skill books and a weapon. Learn the skills and equip the weapon by right clicking on it. It’s in the first tab of your backpack; the skills are in the second tab.

Now it’s time to clear all that newbie crap off your hotkeys. Get rid of it all. I’d keep break meridians, basic throw, and meditation on the secondary bar, but otherwise toss it. (Your school may give you throwing weapons; the Royal Guard does, for instance. In that case, ditch the basic throw, too.) Put your new skills on your hotkeys.

Keep talking to the trainer and he will keep feeding you skills. Eventually he wants you to try them out, so autopath to the person he indicates and talk to them to start the fight. Try out your new skills. They’re probably awesome, especially compared to the crap you were using. Kung fu is cool.

You may not have any idea what your skills actually do. Don’t worry; you can just button mash to win the fight. If you want, you can read their descriptions, but the skill tooltips in this game range from simple to incomprehensible, so be ready to be baffled.

When you’re done, head back to the trainer and he’ll give you more skills and a new target. Learn the new skills, get them on your hotkeys, and head off to beat up another person. When you come back, keep talking to him until he gives you the last of your new skills. Make sure to learn them! He won’t insist on it, so it’s possible to forget.

Whoa. You know kung fu.

Back Home

Follow the quest autopath and you’ll eventually be sent to the Guild Guide. This is bizarre because you can’t join a guild yet. No idea why AoW is telling you to visit these guys. But you have to do it, so talk to the Guild Guide, who will send you to the Guild Administrator. Do the usual: keep talking to him until he runs out of quests, and you have a new quest called ‘Homesickness’.

Back to the headmaster. He’ll ask if you want to go home. Even though you probably don’t, you still have to say ‘yes’ to proceed. So say ‘yes’.

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The game is going to try to teach you about teleports now. Read it or skip it, your choice. When you’re ready, press T to open the teleport menu.

Because you’re in a school, you have a school teleport; mine is Wudang Mountain Herbal Hall. You also have a Jianghu teleport, which goes back to your hometown. You can add more teleports by clicking ‘extend’, but this costs money, so we’ll ignore it for now. Click the teleport for your hometown, and then the Teleport button. Whoosh!

Follow the quest autopath to start what’s probably going to be a long and totally incoherent line of quests. There’s at least one of the four stories that I couldn’t follow at all, even trying to read carefully. If you get confused, remember the two rules of AoW quests: follow the autopath links, and keep talking to people until they’re out of things to say.

Life Skills

Now is a good time to pick up a collection skill. Press I to open the life skills menu.

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The icons across the top are the collection skills. You can learn all of them, and you should, as soon as you can afford it. The first one is dirt cheap, though, so pick one. I like Mining as a first skill because it’s low-maintenance and easy to understand, and ore is always useful and valuable. Click the skill you want, and find the icon of the mustachioed man in the lower right. Click it.

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The bouncing arrow on the map shows you where the skill shifu is. Click on the map and you’ll start autopathing there. The red dots tell you the path you’re taking. You may see that it’s a stupid terrible long path; feel free to make your own way over to him.

Talk to the shifu to learn the skill, and keep talking to him to get a variety of quests, advice, and other nonsense. You’ll also get a new identity and a new title. Use it if you want. There’s no clothing, though.

It’s a good idea to get as many collection skills as you can, as soon as you can. Don’t worry about using up all your money; you’ll soon be swimming in money, so spend away until you’re broke.

I’ll talk more about life skills later, but if you want to do the quests for the shifu, feel free.

At some point your school internal will level up to 2, which unlocks the ability to learn a crafting skill. That’s the second row of the life skills UI. You can only learn one craft skill, so choose carefully. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:

Tailoring makes clothing and bags; Blacksmithing makes weapons; Craftsman makes jewelry and boxes. These skills are not self-sufficient; you’ll have to do a lot of trading and interacting to get use out of them. Chef is totally self-sufficient; you won’t need anyone else, and you’ll be able to keep your character fed, but chef lacks a lot of high-end utility, as food buffs are only so-so. Herbalist and Poison-maker come with their own special collection skill; herbalist is fantastic for a mostly solo character, as it lets you make pills that accelerate your skill training. I don’t know anything about poison-maker except that one of the things they make is necessary for the other skills to produce upgraded equipment.

If you’re not sure, just hold off on your choice. If you don’t care, pick herbalist.

Then get back to your story quest.

Martial Instances

Eventually your story quest will send you to a martial instance. You’ll know you’re there when you’re asked to talk to a ‘Herald’. This could be the Shen Family Estate, the Tiger Mountain Clan, the Tea Forest, or the Salt Gang, depending on your story.

Talk to the herald and he’ll give you a quest to form a team. There’s a tutorial associated with this, but once you click ‘create’ just skip the rest of it, because you’re not going to be inviting anyone else. Talk to him again and finish the quest.

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He’ll next teach you about arrays. Except he won’t really teach you a damn thing. Get the Three Talents Array skill from him and learn it. I’ll talk about arrays later, but for now, just put it on your secondary toolbar and use the skill. You’ll make a cool pattern on the ground. Move to cancel the skill; you need two more people to make it work, and you don’t have them. It’s good enough for the herald, though! Talk to him again to finish the quest, then keep talking to him until he gives you another skill, Wind and Thunder on the Plains. Learn it.

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Once you’ve got both skills, talk to him again and tell him you want to send a letter of challenge. You’ll get the Challenge Letter interface; click Deliver to start it up. You’ll see a new screen with a bunch of boss names on it. When you do a martial instance, you get to fight a random boss chosen from this screen. The ones at the bottom are the easiest; the jade guy at the top is the hardest, and the loot scales accordingly. I think, for this tutorial, you always fight the jade boss, but I’m not sure about that. It doesn’t matter, because you’re not going to be fighting him at all.

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Click ‘Select’ and then click it again to choose the boss.

You’re in an instance now. Head towards the entrance where you see some red-named mobs. A friendly NPC will now appear and rush past you and start killing everything. Stay near him. Let him do the fighting. These mobs will destroy you. Feel free to help him out, but don’t wander off on your own. If you get aggro from something, pull it back to him and let him deal with it.

The friendly NPC will make his way to the boss and start fighting. The boss won’t pay any attention to you, so you should be safe. However! Some bosses will do AOE attacks that will one-shot you. To be safe, try to keep well back from the fight, but be careful not to pull any more aggro mobs. (Also, some people have had problems with the Salt Gang helper NPC, who apparently punches guys right out of the instance. I’m not sure what to say about that other than ‘keep trying’.)

Eventually the NPC will kill the boss. It will take a long, long time; AoW believes firmly in boss fights that feature giant bricks of hit points you have to slowly grind down. If you don’t see the boss doing any AOE, feel free to get behind him and use your skills on him to speed things up.

When the boss is dead, he’ll drop some chests. Open these by clicking on them, and loot the things inside. It’s possible you’ve just gotten a new skill! If you pick up Whirlwind Step or Leap Across The Clouds, learn it! Those are your next two flying skills. Otherwise, hang on to any other skills; they may be valuable.

After a minute or so you’ll be teleported out of the instance.

MORE Story

Continue following your story quest. It might go on for some time after the martial instance, or it may wind down almost immediately. Keep at it until there’s no more left to do, and you get a new quest to return to your school.

Press T and select the first option under School Teleport Points, and click Teleport. Time to do your school story!

The school story is largely the same as the town story, in terms of how you do it. Click names and autopath around. It starts with your headmaster, and will wander all over your school zone. I’ve found the school stories to make a bit more sense than the town stories, but it’s still going to leave you baffled at points.

Your ultimate goal is to get your headmaster to authorize you to learn your school’s next fighting style. To do this, you’ll need to complete the entire storyline. You’ll also need to complete a quest called ‘Guide to Cultivating in Sacred Places’. I don’t know why you need to do that, but you do. (You don’t have to do the follow-up that’s a Team Practice tutorial, but you may as well.)

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Learning the second skill set is basically identical to learning the first; you’ll go to a trainer, talk to him over and over, and occasionally be sent out to beat up an NPC. However, they’re going to want you to walk through a tutorial on hotkeys first. You should skip it and read this instead:

About Hotkeys

You can quickly swap between weapons and hotkey bars with the F1 through F5 keys. To set up a shortcut, drag a weapon from your backpack down to the shortcut bar. Note that it has to be from your backpack, not your character sheet, so you’ll have to right click your equipped weapon to put it back in your bag before you put it on the hotkey bar. Why? Age of Wushu.

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Now you need to associate the shortcut with a hotkey bar. Each of the shortcuts has a little dot in the upper right corner. Click that to open the hotkey bar selection.

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Pick the bar you want associated with this weapon; the bar number is off to the right.

Your trainer probably just gave you a new weapon (though for some schools the second style doesn’t have a weapon, or uses the same weapon). Make a new shortcut with that weapon, and associate it with a blank bar. Now, when you learn skills for this weapon, drag them to the bar you associated with it. You’ll be able to switch back and forth between your weapons and the complete set of skills for those weapons with one button press.

Here’s my setup for my Emei. I have my Dual Stings weapon in slot F1, my dagger in slot F2, and I’ve put my internal skill in F3 to be a placeholder; the second Emei style is a bare-handed style with no associated weapon. F1 is tied to hotkey bar 3, F2 is tied to bar 1, and F3 is tied to bar 2. No, there is no logical reason for how I picked those; it was pretty much random.

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At this point you’re basically done with the tutorial portion of the game. You still have one more style to learn, which you’ll get when your school Internal Skill reaches level 10; go back to your headmaster to start that quest. Now you can explore the world, take quests, spy on other schools, farm, craft, run dungeons, grief people, and level your skills.

If you’re not sure what to do next, skip down to Spying, below, and go on a spying mission. You’ll get bound Liang, experience, and school honor tokens.

Game Systems

Experience and Cultivation

Here’s how experience works in AoW. You gain experience for doing… things. Lots of things. Jumping a lot. Spying for your school. Completing instances. Making and harvesting things. It accumulates into five pools, each of which has a vague tooltip describing what it’s for.

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Over time, your experience will convert into cultivation. Cultivation is what you use to actually level up your kung fu. Your pool of cultivation is limited; when you use it up, you have to wait for more experience to convert over. There are ways to accelerate this process; in your inventory, you almost certainly have some Jackdaw Herb, which you can eat to accelerate the conversion from experience to cultivation. Buying VIP also speeds up your conversion rate, and Herbalists can make pills that are basically turbocharged Jackdaw.

Your cultivation pool drains into whatever skill you’re currently working on. For the first few days (at least) this should be your school’s Internal Skill. You want to raise that to 21 before you start leveling anything else. Cultivation turns into progress on a skill in three ways.

Internal Cultivation is passive transfer from your cultivation pool to the skill. This happens while you’re online (and if you have VIP, when you’re offline too). If you’re not actively using one of the other two methods, make certain you have Internal Cultivation turned on.

Martial Practice is a way to spend money to move cultivation into a skill. You can buy one of three drugs, listed across the bottom, to instantly push cultivation into the skill. You can only spend a limited amount of money each day on this, but you should make an effort to spend as much as the game will allow, every day. You can also spend an unlimited amount of unbound currency on this; see the Money section for more information on unbound. Spending unbound on Martial Practice is what people are talking about when they say the game is ‘pay2win’.

Team Practice is the best way to get cultivation into your skill. You’ll see people in your school and guild chat shouting for ‘TP’. It’s group Tai Chi, like old people in the park do. You join 9 other people and do a kung fu dance. You should do TP every single day. Find someone shouting for TP, and ask how to find them. Go there and you’ll see they have a big blue glowing thing over their head. Click on them, right click on their character portrait next to their health bars, and select ‘Apply For Team Practice’. You’ll automatically move to the right spot. Now you wait for the TP to fill up; you can do TP with fewer than 10, but it’s less efficient so why bother?

Each person takes a turn; you can see whose turn it is on the list to the left. When it’s your turn, you’ll be prompted to press keys — arrow keys and the letters J and K. Press them in order, and try hard not to screw up because it makes people cranky. Depending on how long the TP is, you’ll have to take 1 to 3 turns. The rest of the time, watch your skill progress rocket up.

Typically groups do one TP of 25 rounds, and a second TP of 10 rounds. This puts you at 100% Fatigue, which you can see in the upper right corner while you’re in a TP. At 100% Fatigue, TP will no longer push cultivation into your skill. That value resets at midnight server time, so you usually see lots of TP groups forming at midnight. It is also important to note that you should always do a TP in a Sacred Area. Each school has at least one sacred area for TP. The easiest way to find them is just asking in school chat.

So that’s the basic principles of experience: experience points of five different types are converted automatically to cultivation, and then cultivation is pushed into your chosen skill.

Flying Skills

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You already have at least two of them: Skyward Feint is the double jump, and Vigorous Strides is the passive speed increase. You might have Jump Across the Clouds or Whirlwind Step. If you don’t, someone is always selling them for cheap; you can also ask your guild, and someone will probably send you one or both.

There are two more you’ll hear about frequently: Step on High Ladder, which lets you run up walls, and Wild Goose Flying (or just ‘goose’), which makes you slide across the ground. The former is fun but only really necessary once in a while. The latter is one of the best PvP skills in the game, and is pretty much required after a certain point if you want to be competitive. Both are rare drops from Twilight Village, the game’s first real ‘dungeon’.

You will either have to run that dungeon until your eyes bleed, or buy the skills. Wallrunning is relatively cheap; Goose is ridiculously expensive. Save your pennies.

There are other, later flying skills, which are awesome and fun but not really game-changing the way Goose is.

PvP

You have probably already been killed by another player. If you joined an unpopular guild, you’ve probably been killed repeatedly. AoW is open PvP; you can pretty much attack anyone anywhere. You are never really safe. I’ve been killed while standing quietly at the Cooking shifu making bread; I’ve been killed while walking through town; I’ve been killed while riding my horse across an empty zone. If you suspect that’s going to bother you, you’re playing the wrong game.

To kill people, you have to turn on ‘Jianghu Mode’. There’s a shield to the left of your character’s portrait. Click it to bring up a menu. If you click on ‘Jianghu’, you will get a red smoke thing around you, and you will be able to attack other players. The buttons next to it are exemptions for your attacks. You probably don’t want to attack your guildmates, so turn that on. ‘Camp’ means teammates, so turn that on too.

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If you kill people, you will gain Infamy, which goes away slowly over time. You can tell if someone has infamy because their name is orange, red or purple. You may also get a bounty placed on you by your victim. Bounties can be claimed by players who have paid to become a Constable; they will have blue swirls around them, they will hunt you down, and they will kill you, sending you to jail. Jail is a timeout. I’ve never been to jail, so I’m not sure what the exact mechanics are, but it’s basically time for you to go afk and do something else for a while.

You can also get into PvP while doing certain missions and events; school wars, script stealing, spying, and guild wars are all PvP events where you will get attacked and probably killed repeatedly.

The most awesome PvP mechanic is assassination. Every so often you’ll get a popup asking you to come help someone in Twilight Village. Say yes! You’ll be teleported to the instance, put in a neat uniform, and turned loose on some hapless players trying to run the instance. If you can keep them from killing the boss, you’ll get good rewards. If you fail and they kill the boss anyway, you’ll get ***** rewards. It’s always worth giving it a shot, though, and it’s consequence free — for you, anyway.

Arrays

Arrays are super power-up lets-form-voltron skills. You already have the 3-man array, Three Talents. You’ll eventually get the 6-man array, Return To Origins. The group leader can use the array starting skill to put a symbol down on the ground. Go stand in one of the glowing circles. When there’s someone on every circle, the array starts.

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Now there’s a large red circle on the ground, that moves around as the group leader moves around. That’s the array boundary. While you’re inside it, you can use array skills. You should immediately turn on ‘Unified Spirits’ (or its equivalent in the 6-man version); this gives you a damage boost. You can also use the array attack skill, Wind and Thunder (or Return Tiger to the Mountain in the 6-man). This does a crapload of damage. Really, an astonishing amount. It’s the primary way bosses are killed.

If you have the Weiqi cultural skill, you can provide additional buffs for any array you’ve started.

One person in the array is the ‘key’, with a glowing circle around their feet. If they leave the array area, the array will break. If that’s you, stick close to the group leader.

Money

There are two kinds of currency in AoW: Bound Liang and Unbound Liang. Bound is what you’ve been getting for all your quest rewards. It looks like a bunch of silver pebbles. Unbound is real money, and looks like a little silver ball on a string.

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You can only spend bound money to buy things from NPCs. You will have a lot of it. You’ll be swimming in it. You won’t know what to do with it. Spend it freely.

Unbound money can be spent to buy things from players, can be traded with players, can be used for martial practice, and is generally used for anything interesting you might want to do in the game. It’s real money, and it’s not as easy to get.

The simplest way to get unbound is to pay Snail Games for it. If you bought the Deluxe Edition for $20, you have gold already; you can convert gold into unbound at a rate of 10 gold to 100 liang. You can buy more gold from Snail’s website. For a better conversion rate, some people use the gold to buy fast horses in the shop, and sell those for unbound. It’s more work but you get more money. Your call.

Otherwise, you’re stuck trying to sell things to players. Or, alternately, you could kidnap people. You should kidnap people. (Be aware that if you are not VIP — meaning you haven’t given them some money yet — kidnapping will pay very, very little. You’re better off using gathering skills and selling the materials to players.)

Go to a Jianghu Doctor — they’re all over every zone — and buy Nine Hells Powder with your bound liang. Buy 10 of them, if you can. Then find an offline player wandering around doing a job. Use the powder on them to knock them out and stuff them in a sack. Pick up the sack. Now anyone who wants to can kill you with no reprisals! Run!

You need to find someone who’s buying slaves. Press N to bring up the missions interface, and select the first tab that says ‘Jianghu’. Conveniently, kidnapping is already selected. At the bottom, find the tab that says ‘Exchange’, click it, then find your current zone in the list. You’ll be given a list of people who will buy your victim. Click one to autopath to him, and sell away! I usually get 12 unbound liang per kidnapping, but you can get more, or much, much less.

Kidnapping is not popular with the good schools. They will chastise you. Hell with them, you’re broke and need the cash. As you kidnap people, you’ll accumulate Discipline Value. When you reach 100, if you return to your school you’ll be given a fairly nasty debuff, and you’ll have to repent to get your Discipline back down. Each school has its own repenting area, with little cushions to kneel on. If your discipline is too high, go there, kneel, and go find something else to do for a while. You’ll drop 10 points of discipline for every 10 continuous minutes of repenting.

Life Skills

You should already have all the collection skills. You may also have one of the manufacturing skills, and one of the cultural skills. If not, pick one of each that appeals to you and go learn it from the appropriate shifu. No time like the present to start learning.

When you use a life skill, you use up vigor. (It’s also called ‘strength’ and ‘energy’; hooray for sloppy translation). You recover vigor slowly over time. If you have no more vigor, you can’t use life skills.

Down in the lower left corner is a button that says ‘My Life’. Click it and your interface will change to the life skills interface. This is mostly useless but your health bars are now different.

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The top brown one is your vigor. The bottom blue one is your nutrition. To get vigor back, you need nutrition. If you’re starving, you’ll take damage over time until your health reaches about 75% of max, and it will stay there. Eat food. If you can’t make your own, ask your guild for food, or go shopping with your tiny, tiny stockpile of unbound liang.

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Your maximum vigor is increased by leveling up your life skills. Each time you use a life skill, you get some experience towards leveling it up. You can see your current progress on each skill by pressing I and clicking the icon for the skill; the blue bar at the bottom is your progress. Leveling up means you’ll get better stuff from collection skills, and better results from manufacturing. It doesn’t actually gate any use of craft skills; if you have the skill, you can make any recipe you know, or try gathering any resource you see.

Leveling up your manufacturing skills also unlocks more special moves for the Skill Challenge. Talk to your shifu and challenge him to a duel. Welcome to Bejeweled! If you’ve played Puzzle Quest, you already know how this works. If not… it’s bejeweled. Learn by doing. Bejeweled is a great way to get skill experience. Bejeweled against other players is an awesome way to get skill experience. Right click their portrait and select ‘Skill Challenge’.

Cultural skills are a miscellany of functions. Weiqi gives buffs if you start an array; Music gives buffs while you play (though you’ll only ever be allowed to play a healing song, over and over until you want to die); Scholar/Calligraphy and Painter are used in some mysterious way to make or upgrade books. Each of these has its own attendant minigame, except for Weiqi which isn’t a minigame so much as ‘the foundational strategy game of Asia.’ You can play it against other players. Some of them are very good at it.

Equipment

Equipment comes in tiers. You probably have a bunch of Wood gear you’re wearing. You can tell by the color of the name, as well as an almost unreadable icon in the corner of the item’s picture that says ‘Wood’. You probably have one or two pieces of Iron gear as well. After Iron comes Copper, Silver, Gold and Jade. You’ll be using Iron or Copper for a very, very long time, so get used to it.

Gear is not as important as skills, though, so don’t despair. By the time you need better gear, you’ll know how to get it. In the meantime, your school has a weapon merchant and an armor merchant; talk to them and see if anything they sell is an upgrade for you.

Internal Skills

You already have at least two: Self Recollection and your school’s internal. You might have a third, Lucky, if you did the Nameless Sword story. Lucky internal makes you very, very fragile; this is great for tricking jerks into one-shot killing you and getting infamy. Rush at them with Lucky on and they’ll kill you over and over, building up vast stacks of infamy and getting a nice long trip to jail.

Your school has a second internal skill as well. It becomes available when you reach level 30 in your first internal. When you hit that point, talk to your headmaster and get the quest. It will require running a martial instance; ask your guild or your school chat for help. Once you’ve unlocked your second internal, switch over to training it exclusively. Around level 15, it will be better than your first internal, so you should Activate it and never look back.

Your second internal will require more instances to keep progressing. To get past level 9, you’ll need to complete Twilight Village. There’s almost always someone running it, and your guild is also likely to help if you tell them you need to unlock your second internal. Getting it past 18 requires a trip to Green Cloud Castle; getting a group for that is a harder task but still shouldn’t take more than a few days.

You can learn the internal skills of other schools, by acquiring the scripts that teach them. You can steal those scripts in the nightly Script Stealing event, or buy them for absurd prices from other players. Right now there’s no real reason to do so, except to learn the skills of another school, but eventually we’ll get the Meridians system, which relies on knowing lots of internal skills.

Spying

Spying for your school is by far the easiest way to make bound liang and get experience. It also rewards you with school honor tokens, which you’ll eventually need in large quantities, and which can be sold to other players for lots of unbound liang.

First, go to your headmaster and get the Weekly Spying Task quest. The important thing about this quest is that it gives you 20 Master Detective Tokens, possession of which will enable you to teleport directly to another school to start the spying mission. You don’t have to use these tokens; you can just ride to the school of your choice, if you like. But that takes a long time.

Talk to your headmaster to get teleported. Once you’re in the enemy school’s zone, you can start the mission. Press N to bring up the mission interface, and find the School Spy task on the list. Click it and then click the Join button. You’ll be teleported again, to a random location in the zone. (Yes, they could have done that to begin with, but this is AoW, and it is mysterious and strange.)

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Open your map and find your location. Depending on which school you picked, and the whims of the random number generator, you may be very close to or very far from the actual school grounds. Start walking.

You’ll notice you have a new toolbar with three new skills. Their descriptions are impenetrable, so I will explain them. The first skill is for stealing information. The second skill is also for stealing but is more aggressive and has a higher chance of failure. The third skill is for knocking patrols down? It’s useless so don’t worry about it.

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You’re looking for Scouts. Scouts are offline players with the Scout job. They wander around, stand in corners, and generally loiter around the school grounds. Go up to one and target him, and then click your first spying skill. Hopefully you got a message that you gained information. At this point you can actually just quit if you like; you’ve earned some rewards, and just one piece of information counts as completion for the purposes of the quest. But you want more money, right?

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You can collect a total of 10 pieces of information. You get one for using your first spy skill on a scout. You get three if you use your second spy skill on a scout. You can also get one by talking to an agent in the school; each school has three agents standing or wandering around and each of them will give you a piece of information.

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You’ll also see patrolling offline players. They wander around or stand guard, and periodically a pulse appears on the ground around their feet. If you’re standing too close to them when this happens, your Exposure value will go up by 10.

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Your Exposure value is the progress bar underneath your three spy skills. It starts at 0. When it reaches 80, you are ‘revealed’, which marks you with a very visible glowing icon over your head. It turns some of the NPCs in the school hostile, and allows players who are currently doing the Patrol mission to attack you freely with no consequence.

Patrolling players — people actually doing the patrol mission, not the offline players — are marked with an orange icon over their heads. They have a skill that will increase your exposure value by 30, which they can use every 60 seconds. If a patrolling player kills you while you’re on a spy mission and you’re exposed (with exposure of 80 or higher), you will lose all your progress so far, and have to start over. Dying in any other way — breaking meridians, falling off a cliff, being killed by a player who’s not doing the patrol task — doesn’t reset your progress. This means that breaking meridians is a great way to get away from a patrolling player before being exposed.

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The most important thing to remember while spying: even one piece of information counts as success. If you’re in trouble, or you’re tired of spying, teleport back home.

Teleporting back to your school is the way to get out of a spy mission. Don’t use the ‘leave’ button on the spy task interface. What that button actually means is ‘give up and abandon the task’, which is probably not what you want. Teleport back to your school, and look for the school information manager. You’ll be able to recognize him by the massive glowing circle around his feet and the icon over his head. Talk to him to turn in the quest, and get bound liang, jackdaw, experience, and school honor tokens.

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Your weekly spy task for your school’s headmaster requires you to spy on five different schools, four times each. That’s 20 total spy missions. You are allowed to do 5 spy missions a day. The spy task resets on Sunday, so you want to turn it in before then so that you can get a new quest and a new set of detective tokens. If you miss the deadline, turn it in anyway, but you’ll need to wait till the next Sunday to get the task again.

A few spy missions a day and you’ll be completely set for both experience and bound liang.

Maps

When you open the map, you’ll see your current zone. In the upper right is a button, ‘Last Level’. Click it to zoom out to your current region. Click it again to zoom out to all of China.

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You can set various filters on the map to show you where useful landmarks are located. Look down at the bottom of the map, where there’s a row of buttons. Click on Merchant and then click on the icon next to Grocery; every Jianghu Doctor in the zone will now be marked with an icon on your map. You can click on any of these icons to autopath to it. This is by far the easiest way to find what you’re looking for and get to it.

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You can also use the map to find specific NPCs. If, for instance, you need to kill boars for their meat, the map makes finding them easy. Click on the ‘Search For N…’ tab in the upper right (it’s finicky so you may have to click around it to make it work). Click on the various categories and you’ll be able to mark NPCs of that category on your map, as red dots.

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Your map can also be used to track down quests, if you don’t want to autopath. Any quests you have in the zone will be listed under ‘Current Scene Tasks’ and marked with a brown circle.

And that’s the end of our guide.

Other Age of Wushu Articles
Age of Wushu Exploring Jianghu Guide
Age of Wushu Arhat Fist Guide
Age of Wushu Martial Brothers System Guide
Age of Wushu Gaining NPC Guards Guide
Age of Wushu Jianghu Menu Guide
Age of Wushu Artifacts and Treasures Guide
Age of Wushu Youyan Sixteen Prefectures Invasion Guide
Age of Wushu Thousand Year Fire Turtle Guide
Age of Wushu Fire Turtle World Boss Guide
Age of Wushu Guild Events Guide
Age of Wushu Guild Escorts Guide
Age of Wushu What to Do Guide
Age of Wushu The Nameless Sword Walkthrough
Age of Wushu A Legend of the Scholars Walkthrough
Age of Wushu Choosing a Life Skill Guide
Age of Wushu New Player’s Comprehensive Guide
Age of Wushu Phoenix Pledge Walkthrough
Age of Wushu Script Stealing Guide
Age of Wushu Gaining Reputation Fast Guide
Age of Wushu Factions Mini Instances Guide
Age of Wushu Tale of Tianshan Sword Walkthrough
Age of Wushu Crafting Basics Guide
Age of Wushu Random and Miracle Encounters Guide
Age of Wushu Shopping Guide
Age of Wushu Meridian Guide
Age of Wushu Scholar 3rd Inner Skill Guide
Age of Wushu DPS Theory
Age of Wushu Beginner’s Leveling Guide
Age of Wushu Emei Damage Build Guide
Age of Wushu Martial Arts Guide
Age of Wushu Emei 3rd Inner Quest Guide
Age of Wushu Shaolin Guide
Age of Wushu Blacksmith Guide
Age of Wushu Martial Art Skill Cultivation Data
Age of Wushu Team Practice Data
Age of Wushu Miracle Encounters Guide
Age of Wushu Guild Castle Information
Age of Wushu Combat System Guide
Age of Wushu Green Cloud Castle Guide
Age of Wushu New Player’s Basic Guide
Age of Wushu Dueling Guide
Age of Wushu FAQ
Age of Wushu User Interface Guide
Age of Wushu Beginner’s Guide
Age of Wushu Inner Skill Cultivation Data
Age of Wushu Cultivation Introduction
Age of Wushu School Sacred Place Guide
Age of Wushu Gameplay Tips
Age of Wushu Power Titles List
Age of Wushu Feng Shui Cultivation Guide
Age of Wushu Kidnapping Guide
Age of Wushu Experience Conversion Maximizing Guide
Age of Wushu Tang Men Guide
Age of Wushu Wudang Twin Sword Skill Set Guide
Age of Wushu Scholar Skills and Nei Gong Guide


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