New Player Walkthrough
Notes: Large Post will take several goes to do probably. Original is here 
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Switch the unlabelled 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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 worth mentioning yet and will just die.
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 Sitting and forgetting 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.
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, Sitting and forgetting is very basic indeed and we'll be moving on to something better as soon as possible, its only benefit is that at level 20 it opens its associated Meridian channel which is actually somewhat useful at lower levels. 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).
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.
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.
Now you can punch dudes by pressing 1.
Note: Some of the new Intro Quests diverge here, the exact details will vary but you will be taught how to Strike Block and perform other basic functions in all of them
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.
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.
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.
Kassariane Note: You gain rage points by following methods: Getting hit Getting hit while parrying Attacking Damage does not affect the amount of rage gained, it counts off the number of hits. So multihit skills generate more rage than singlehit skills. Also, when you parry a move, you gain more rage than if you get hit in the face. End of note
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.
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.
Talk to Chi Huiye (Or whatever the name in your storyline) 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
After your first taste of battle your kung fu master will now teach you another skill, the meditation 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 lightness skill. This allows you to jump like a Kung Fu master - or at least start to do that, as you progress new skills will come your way allowing you to perform more impressive feats.
A Word About Mobs
Did you see what you got for killing those dogs? ALMOST 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 though hitting mobs or players in AoW raises your "Chi" which is used to cultivate meridians, but this is by no means the only or even the most effective way of doing that. 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 almost useless. Don't bother. Avoid mobs unless you can't or if you later wish to trigger whats called a Jianghu Hero encounter.
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 on line, and pick a school that sounds interesting to you. Interestingly this is your best chance to become a Vagrant (one who follows No school) this is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Vagrants get some special advantages that no other school or faction does, and while it is possible to become a vagrant later the process often involves a lot of special requirements or losses of existing skills. So consider going vagrant now and learning their Unique skills early.
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 Beggars, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.