Saturday, January 21, 2017

My "Sword Art Online" / Trapped in a game book, Trapped: Body and Soul Tutorial/Part 1

Tutorial – The Decay Begins
            The current year is 2100 and the next step in virtual reality is here with the VR game Rule Humanity Online. No it isn’t a slave simulator or anything like that. It’s a hack and slash RPG where players of different skills and play styles fight to rule over the online world they play in called In Mote Homines Fluctantur or The Floating Mountain of Humanity (FMH). The player or players that make it past all fifteen challenging levels get to rule over these castles where they can do things like change the difficulty of the game, spawn rates of the enemies, and drop rates of items. Now there are limitations such as you can’t make the game too difficult or easy and this applies to drops, spawn rates etc. There are also multiple castles and the higher your castle is on the mountain, the more influence you have on the game like changing the level layouts, switching enemies types, and level gimmicks all of which are balanced but there’s enough change that it forces you to play the level differently. The player(s) at the top are also given a stat and money bonus however if another player(s) overtakes them, they will get half of the previous player’s money and bonuses.
            This game started out as a crowd funded project, but was then funded by many international governments after they saw how big the project is and the historical significance it brings as it creates a virtual world that you could live in and move around unlike prior VR games that were just games where you could only stand in place. The alpha of this game was admittedly pretty shitty since you could only use swords and physical weaponry, but you have to start somewhere I guess. So after that, they put in magic, bows, crossbows, and other kinds of special weaponry and classes that you can use in trade of your normal class. Now the game is going to be fully released with extra features not put in the beta versions and about nine hundred and more people are estimated to play it at launch since the tech required to play it is so expensive, though others are expected to join after launch week. You would think more people would be more excited to play as the first one to get to the very top castle gets ten million USD. That’s right ten million dollars! That’s enough to set someone for more than a lifetime!
            My name is Kaylen and I’m going to be the first one to beat the game you can bet on that! I’m an eighteen-year old senior high school graduate who’s been playing all kinds of games since I was a kid ranging from shooters, RPGs, sports, and yes even hentai games. You aren’t a truly experienced gamer unless you try those out. I’m pretty good at all of them and despite winning tons of money at gaming tournaments, my family doesn’t believe I can make a living this way, I’ll show them! I’m living comfortably by myself anyways on the money I’ve made…in an apartment, but that’s beside the point! I’ll be living in an actual house with a wife and all in a few short days. I’m going to dedicate my life to this game to reach the top, with breaks of course so I don’t kill myself, but full devotion none the less.
            I relax sitting up in my bed, put on my VR headset, turn it on, and say, “Begin!” to enter the game.
            Everything around me turns white then a few seconds later the game prompts me to enter my name. I enter Cazzuto Salvatori then the game shows me an intro cutscene explaining the story of the game. Humanity started out on this mountain and couldn’t really get along with each other so God lifted the mountain to the sky and will keep it here until humanity learns to get along with itself. I’m then prompted to choose my primary class. I choose sword and shield, aggressive type, then the Town of Ferrum or the town that specializes in swords and up close and personal classes. You see in this game there are five different towns you can choose as your starting area; Ferrum, Magus for magicians and sorcery, Furcifer for bows, crossbows, and thief/stealth classes, Pugno for martial arts, and finally Clypeus for defensive and support classes. If you chose mage then chose to spawn in the sword city, then you’ll have skills pertaining to both classes, but you won’t have as many mage or sword skills as someone who chose the same class for their city. You can still change and fix your character to your liking later in the game, but choosing a particular city can give you a head start in making that mixed build that you want. It feels like there’s so many options for different playstyles and yet it’s also limited so the devs can balance everything. Sure you can become a mage with martial arts (element bender) that can shoot fire or whatever magic you please out of your hands and feet (probably should make that character later) if you want, but you can’t master everything. From the way it looks, it would probably take years to build a class that can master every single skill and ability from every class. I’m not doubting someone will try, I’m just ruling out that character build in my head.
            After I finally finish customizing my character to look like myself and loading into the game, I see the town of Ferrum and all of its medieval glory. Though the town looks somewhat gloomy, the lively people in it, and the shinning sun brightens it up. Man I saw gameplay of this and didn’t think everything would look and feel this real. Without further ado, I go to the training area to test out how to play the game along with other people then go to the quest board, which is packed. After managing to get enough quests, I go out into the field out the city.
Someone puts their hand on my shoulder and says, “Hey, do you mind helping me with my quests?”
The man has crimson red hair, a short beard, brown eyes, and an average body size. He has a big buster sword on his back so he might be compensating for a tiny dick. He’s pretty much your average twenty-year old if I leave out that last detail. He appears to be going for a swordsman who can enchant his weapons.
“I’ve been following you to see what to do…. Sorry if I seem creepy.”
I respond to the awkward man by saying, “Naw man it’s cool. I can be creepy to others to. It’s probably why people like us can’t get girlfriends.”
We both laugh at our struggle in the friendzone.
            “So what’s your name? Mine’s Kason543.”
            “Cazzuto Salvatori, just call me Cazzuto. Is Kason your real name irl?”
            “Yeah. I thought someone would pick up on that. Is Cazzuto your real name?”
            “Nope, but since we’re being so formal, it’s Kaylen.”
            “Alright. I’ll still call you by your gamer name.”
            “Cool. So do you want to do the quests now? I’d really hate to fall behind everyone especially with that reward waiting at the top.”
            “Oh shit I totally forgot about that! Let’s hurry up!”
            Once we do our quests, grind some enemies, find some secret equipment and items, we go back to town to turn in our quests.
            “That was a fun start to the game wouldn’t you say?” I ask Kason.
            “Yeah, but I still gotta practice my sword skills.”
            “It’s like I told you. You just do the correct movements the game shows you then the system will do the rest.”
            “Alright, but I still need practice.”
            “How’s this for practice? We’ll be the first to beat the first boss.”
            “What? People are still getting used to the game like us so what makes you think we can beat the boss? Were you a beta tester or something?”
            “Nah I just watched videos of the alphas and betas. It doesn’t matter if I was in the beta or not since the devs changed a lot in the game.”
            “You guys are going for the first boss?” a girl says.
            A girl with dual axes and heavy armor approaches us. Boy she’s cute.
            “That’s his idea.”
            “It is. You want to come with us cutie?”
            “Sure, but don’t call me cutie. I like being called sexy instead.”
            “Ok cutie, do you want to join us?”
            Despite her somewhat looking baby face, her voice is pretty mature. I’d say she’s around my age and she’s got attitude. I like her already.
“Sure. I’d like to see my name on the Wall of Firsts.”
“What’s that?” Kerano asks.
I tell him, “It’s a wall that shows the players who did things first like first players to beat the boss, first players to find a secret, and first players to beat the game.”
“Ah alright.”
“So now do you feel confident in beating the boss?”
“Uhhh I guess so.”
“Let’s go then before other people get the same idea,” says the girl.
As we go to the boss room, we kill enemies along the way to get some extra XP to level up a bit.
            “You’re pretty good with those axes,” I say to her, “You like being aggressive in games?”
            “I like being aggressive everywhere.”
            She winks at me.
            “I’d like to fight you to test how good you really are later.”
            “And I’ll kick your scrawny ass. Hahahaha!”
“Oooooh hahahaha!”
We finish off the enemies at I stop us at the boss gate.
“So what’s your name cutie?”
“Temere La Cagna. What’s yours? BangedYourMom69?”
            “That was actually my name in a different game, but not this time. It’s Cazzuto Salvatori and I see you did the same thing I did with your name.”
            “It’s fun putting a language you learned from your family to good use, isn’t it?”
            “It is.”
            So she took Italian from her family too? This girl is way too similar to me to be true. She even knew that I used a second language of my family. Is that just a thing that’s commonly known from where she’s from? I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.
            “My name is Kerano543 by the way. Do you want to tell us your real name irl too? Cazzuto and I already exchange ours.”
            “Maybe if we win after the fight. I’ll even add that fight you want with me afterwards as well.”
            “Let’s get this shit started then.”
I open the doors. We go through the boss fog and see the first boss of the game. It’s a giant hollow giant with holes in its face and body. The lore that I read for this boss says that he used to be a human that tried to become big enough to safely fall to the bottom to reach the planet and pull the mountain down to put humanity back on it as well. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for him as there are limits to human strength and him surpassing them turned him into a monster and lead to him being imprisoned here. The area around him is a huge cave with parts that we can run up to, to plunge attack him, but it’s only one spot so we have to work together on this one.
“Maybe we can bring it down by cutting at one of its legs?” Cagna asks.
“That’s a good idea, but I was thinking we could plug attack it from those ledges over there,” I say, “What do you think Kerano?”
As Kerano finishes enchanting his weapon, he says to me, “Temere and I can bring its down by its legs while you go to the top and ready for the attack.”
“Good idea man.”
We enact Kerano’s plan and I watch Cagna and Kerano attack the giant while avoiding its attack with well-timed dodges and even countering the attacks with their own. I’m starting to think that I got the boring part of the plan. The giant goes down by the time I get to the top and I immediately jump down and plug my sword into its spine, finishing off the boss’s HP. The body disappears, we get XP and money rewards, and displays in big golden words ‘VICTORY’.
“That was great!” Kerano says.
“See? Told you we could do it,” I say.
“With my help of course,” Cagna says.
“It’s true Cazzuto. I don’t think we would’ve won without her.”
“I admit it, but we’ll see how good you really are when you 1 v 1 me.”
“Yeah we’ll – Oh I almost forgot!”
She poses at a light in the cave. What is she…Oh that’s right! I do a little funny pose in front of the light.
“What the hell are you guys-”
Kerano looks in time for the picture which is taken after every first moment. Something we probably should’ve told him about so I guess now’s a good time.
“No it’s not!” he yells at me, “Everyone’s going to see me with that dumbass expression on my face and it’s always going to be there!”
“And that makes it a special photo!” I say to try lessen his embarrassment.
“Ugghhhhhh. Fine.”
We make it back to town and set up our dual. For players to fight each other, they must both agree to the fight otherwise players cannot harm one another. During the fight, an invisible barrier forms around the players so no one can run from the fight. The barrier also keeps the players not too far away from each other. There are also some PVP locations in the world for bigger groups so any number of players can fight each other at one time. Cagna and I decide to have our battle in town to be show offs and for the loser’s humiliation. The countdown for the fight begins and a crowd gathers around us.
“Don’t cry when I knock you on your ass,” she says.
“Same to you cutie.”
The countdown reaches zero and she charges at me. How predictable. I counter her attack with my shield and parry her resulting in two major slashes to her health bringing it down to near half. I manage to take some damage myself because of her piercing skill that comes with her being an aggressive class of warrior. She then almost instantly goes back on the attack with a dual heavy hit with both of her axes that pushes me back a fair distance. Our health is now pretty much the same.
“You were right about you always being aggressive…I like it,” I say.
She comes at me again and I use my shield skill which makes it like a brick wall to lower or even leveled attacks, lessens piercing damage, and makes her attack bounce off it. I move with a straight stab. She tries to use the mid-air back step, but I manage to hit her which leaves her with only about one more hit left to her HP.
“Damn!” she says.
Cagna recovers and comes at me again and keeps hitting my shield with a series of fast and hard hitting slashes until the skill reaches the maximum amount of damage it can take. She then backs up and charges at me for one last hard hitting attack that may end the duel. I back up and press a small button on my shield.
“Watch this Kerano,” I say to him.
The shield’s spiral turns and stops Cagna’s assault as it makes her dizzy. Kerano and I found this shield in a secret area in the fields. It can make an enemy or a player dizzy for a few seconds and it has good parrying abilities. I might as well finish her off now that I have the chance, so I go for a lunge attack skill. I pull my arm back and lunge forward. The game propels me forward and my sword goes through her chest and impales her to the ground. ‘VICTORY to CAZZUTO SALVATORI’ is displayed above us and the crowd cheers for my victory. I give Cagna a helping hand up and she accepts it.
“Wow. If you could feel pain, that would’ve really hurt,” says Kerano.
“You can feel pain in the game,” I say to him.
“You can? So I guess it wasn’t my imagination when I took small amounts of damage.”
“You can adjust the levels of pain in the menu. Just think about which option to want and a slider will appear to adjust how much pain you want to feel ranging from real to nothing.”
“I’ve got mine close to real,” says Cagna, “I’m not a bitch.”
“Contrary to your name. Speaking about that, you told us you’d tell us your real name irl,” I say.
“It’s Angel.”
“Angel huh? My name is Kerano,” says Kerano.
“Mine’s Kaylen.”
“You got a cute name you know?” says Kerano.
“I don’t do pretty. So did you adjust your pain levels?” Angel says.
“I think it’s good.”
“Let’s test it out then.”
Angel sets up a one hit duel with Kerano and she kicks him in the nuts. Unfortunately, Kerano set his pain levels to what Angel said so he’s in bad pain right now. After he gets up, we go to look at the Wall of Firsts to see our names, sell extra equipment we found, buy better ones, and go to the town square to relax.
“That was a fun few hours of the game,” I say.
“It was more than I expected,” says Angel.
“Same here,” Kerano says as he goes through the menus to get used to using the thought controlled and the hands on one.
“This is definitely going to be one of the best games of all time. Welp, I’m going to take a break for now. It’s time for dinner. I’ll be back in a few.”
The two say bye to me, but then something strange happens…the logout feature isn’t working. I try to manual version and it still doesn’t work.
“What’s wrong? Don’t know how to use a menu?” asks Angel.
“No I do. See if you can logout, I can’t.”
Both of them try to logout and can’t manage to.
“What the hell is going on?” Angel asks.
“I don’t know. I swear this button was lit up a few minutes ago,” says Kerano.
Everyone around us try to log out as well and can’t which starts a panic in the city. I can even hear screams of panic and fear coming from the other nearby town. The sky turns a dark purple and red color before several figures in cloaks come down to each town.
One that hovers above our town says, “Do not panic as this is now your reality.”
What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Are we really trapped here?
“If you want to escape and know the real why you are trapped here, you must reach the top of the mountain otherwise your body will die of thirst in three to five days a little bit longer if you have loved ones nearby.”
Well I’m fucked.
“The people on the outside are told that the first people here are going to speed run the game to reach the humongous prize at the top and because of that hundreds and even thousands of people will be here shortly to give you support. However, beating this game won’t be easy as you only have three lives. Lose them and you will be put into a permanent coma unless someone frees you from the top.”
At least we won’t die, but then again, a permanent coma sounds worse than death. Escape one prison just to be put into another you can’t escape from.
“Be sure to use each other and extras hidden throughout the land to survive. Do be sure to inform new players about the situation. Ut felix sit in te”
The figures disappear and the sky goes back to the what it was before, but the sunset as been replaced with the night sky.
“May luck be with you?” Kerano says.
“You know what that meant?” I ask.
“Yes, it’s Latin.”
Angel runs away to the fields.
“Angel, wait!” I say as I grab her arm.
“Let me go! I’ve got to finish this before I die!”
She must be living by herself like me.
“I know, but we should go with you. It would be easier with a group don’t you think? Even the figures said it.”
“Besides what idiot goes into a game like this alone? Besides you.”
“Kaylen!” Kerano yells at my attempt to lighten the mood, “Don’t say th-”
“No Kerano, I understand what Kaylen was trying to do however mean it was.”
“I apologize anyways since I don’t know how to lighten the mood in any other different way.”
Angel laughs a bit.
“I guess you’re the idiot then if you know so little.”
“Hey I don’t claim to be a genius. We should probably get going.”

They both agree and we head off to a race against the clock in this fantasy world turned horror. Man, someone should hire me to write headlines!

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