A new popular video was circulating through the internet. Quite popular youtuber, Sais, uploaded something that sent tremors through the gaming community.
Jeremy sat in front of his screen when he noticed a popular thread on the forums. He was scrambling for information, raring to go from the excitement since the game's release date one year ago. Incapable of resisting the curiosity, he clicked the link and pressed the play button.
The screen flashed and a white young man in his twenties sitting in his chair appeared, waving to the screen.
"Hello dear gamers, it's your favorite youtuber, Sais! I know I've been gone for a long time, but real life isn't as easy as cashing out from youtube... Cough! Okay, let's get to the point. The reason you guys have decided to sacrifice your time for this video is its title - "Revealing the hidden content of Loiterous, the new VRMMORPG." However, before I start, let me tell you this. Record this video and post it wherever you can before it gets taken down! Tell your friends all about it before it's too late!"
Sais's face was solemn, showing the urgency and grave importance of the matter.
"With great effort and help from my friends who are quite good with computers... cough cough, they managed to borrow the footage from the Albatros Company, footage that none of you had the chance to see!" while saying borrow, Sais made two air quotes.
"For God's sake, we know it's "hacked", how else would it leak you dumbass undercover dev? Get on with it!" Jeremy cursed under his nose, yet he didn't want to skip the good parts so he held his hand.
"The three clips you've seen up till now on the official website were nothing more than developers in overpowered sets, shining like gold ingots in the sun, slaying some pitiful creatures that only looked ferocious, yet did absolutely no damage to them. That's no fun and it only shows the incapability of the developers to play properly and somewhat makes us drool seeing the graphic side of the game. Hehe, however, your favorite youtuber Sais has something great to show you all! Without further ado, let's begin the footage. Remember! Record it before it's gone so you can show it to your friends!"
Sais's figure disappeared and the new footage rolled out.
The sun was high up in the air, palm trees swayed under the wind, the sand glistened under the feet like ambers on a beach. The entire town was bustling with activity. Merchants, young, old, warriors, guards, people in cloaks carrying wooden staves and staffs, all kinds of faces could be seen.
Young player spawned in a large plaza, looking around in a daze. The camera changed to first person and all of the wonders of the city could be seen through his eyes. An almost whisper-like "wow" escaped his lips. The blue inventory screen popped up, displaying his shabby starting equipment, but when the man touched the sword, his palms were trembling with excitement!
As the camera switched through the first and third person view, one could see the newbie practicing his swings, stabs and slashes.
Swinging the damaged sword a few times, the player looked like a newborn calf, happy to see the world for the first time. He rushed outside the village to face the monsters.
Compared to the interior of the town, the surroundings looked like a burning hot desert. When the rush of heat hit the player, he looked around only to realize with a big "Oh" that he's in a place resembling an oasis. At the distance rippling air created a mirage. Outside the beginner village [Poisonous Scorpions] crawled and [Wild Dogs] ran madly, looking for prey. Their names could be seen above their heads, yet there were no stats shown.
The nameless player rushed forward and swung his sword at the nearest [Wild Dog], dealing 5 damage! The [Wild Dog] retaliated almost instantly, swiping its claws and dealing 15 damage which appeared above the player's head. The player's blood spurted like a fountain. Miserable shriek escaped his mouth. Vicious whelp didn't wait for player to recover and immediately followed with 12 damage, putting the guy out of his misery.
After a flash of light, the lone player respawned in the church. Scenes flashed, as if the video was fast-forwarded. Suddenly, the black light changed into a rear view of the player charging outside once again. He faced the [Poisonous Scorpion] with a swing dealing mere 3 damage! It could be seen that the scorpion has less HP, but much more formidable defense!
Paralyzed by the scorpion's sting, the player was unfortunate enough to aggro one of the nearby [Wild Dogs]. Soon enough, he was clawed to death.
The screen became black for a moment. Then the player was seen with his class information on the display, his class clearly stated: Druid, as for the level, he was still level one.
His statistics were blurred, so unfortunately there was nothing to be seen there.
"Goddamn scammer, not showing everything but mere parts to evoke curiosity!" Jeremy cursed again.
Exiting the beginner village, the man shouted 《Shapeshift》". His physique was enveloped by glaringly radiant yellow color, then his constitution changed. It wasn't a normal human player anymore, but a fierce white wolf! Furthermore, based on the wolf's posture it should be the long extinct Dire Wolf!
Drums sounded highlighting the scene, enhancing the moment. Dire Wolf stormed towards the two nearby [Wild Dogs], battling them simultaneously.
Its damage increased to 20, every swipe and ferocious bite let out blood, making the scene gruesome to the extreme. Two dogs on the side tried to help their friends but were pushed away with a savage slam of the body at least twice their size.
The music increased in tempo and then with a final paw the two wounded [Wild Dogs] died. As if satisfied with its overwhelming victory, the player let out a wild howl, echoing in the ears of the listeners.
Everything turned black again and soon after Sais appeared.
Jeremy didn't pay attention for a moment so he paused the video. His blood was boiling! The skill of the player wasn't something to look at, it was mediocre at best. But, when the blood splattered, it looked real! The damage increased whenever the attacks hit a vital area, dodging resulted in the opponent's miss. Counters were welcome! Scoring a critical hit wasn't a chance but a skill! What an awesome world!
Calming down a little, Jeremy played the video again.
"As you could see dear gamers, this is one of the classes available in the starting locations called Druid. I don't have much information on it, merely that it can, as you have already seen, 《Shapeshift》. How the shapeshifts are acquired and what its skills are, I do not know. Unfortunately, I do not have any more footage from the game itself, but I was able to get some screenshots. I put additional descriptions based on the files I got my hands on. Here we go."
A new scene appeared, there was a blue window atop which a holographic mage was casting a fireball! Based on the visible description of 《Lesser Fireball》, all of the steps were provided in the holographic animation itself.
Next on the menu was the warrior's skill called 《Overhead Swing》. It was a skill for both sword and axe users, only the damage done by axes was raised to 125%. Furthermore, the tooltip clearly stated that the skill can utilize elemental damage for additional effects!
Continuing with the Archer class, a skill called 《Ensnaring Dart》 appeared. Experienced Archer class players might recognize this skill as one called 《Net Arrow》or the like in the other games. Basically it was a skill that immobilized the target for a short amount of time. However, the tooltip once again clearly stated that some elements may add additional effect to the skill!
Rogues had their 《Stealth》 skill showcased, saying that its effect depends on the owner's 《Hide Presence》 and the opponent's 《Sense Presence》 skills. Aside from the slight movement speed reduction and the 《Hide Presence》requirement, it looked like a normal stealth skill. The tooltip didn't disappoint. "Special element can enhance the duration and hiding effect of the skill." it said.
Sais appeared again and after sighing resignedly, he said regretfully "Unfortunately, this is all the screenshots I could obtain. However, I have another piece of news regarding classes!" Sais put on his trademark smile, scratching his head in embarassment.
"From what I learned, there will be the following available combat classes. 《Druid》, five types of 《Mages》, 《Warrior》, 《Swordsman》, 《Rogue》, 《Archer》, 《Hunter》, 《Paladin》, 《Priest》, 《Sailor》and 《Mercenary》!" Sais's face was beaming.
"The rest, like artisan classes, all of us will have to see in the game itself. Remember dear gamers, there is no pre-order of Loiterous. You can get the device and the game as a set three days from now in your local malls and computer stores. The other option is to get one from the giveaways listed on Albatros Company's website. That's all for today. If you liked the content, please subscribe to my channel, there will be more after the game officially launches. It has been a long year of waiting, but we're finally at the finish line! Have a nice day and see you soon."
Jeremy had already signed in for all the giveaways. Three days. Only three more days and the new experience for the entire gaming community will begin. Feeling the blood in his veins surging, Jeremy rushed off to the nearby ATM to withdraw cash in advance.
Three days later, afternoon, Jeremy's condo
"Hey, that was my spot!"
"All of you! Stay in line! If you don't follow our instructions, you'll be kicked out!" one of the guards barked at the mob fiercely, his spittle flying all over the place.
Jeremy heard the clamoring people outside and sighed resignedly.
Blazing afternoon's sun rays illuminated his white skin through the small part of the rolled up window screen. Currently he was livid from anger. His pale face looked like he was about to explode as he cursed unceasingly "Goddamn giveaway site! "You won" confirmation email my ass! Where the hell is the package that I supposedly won?! I didn't stand in that long ass line to the mall across the street because I was assured of winning the device! Now there's at least a few thousand people lined up! Fuck, I even checked the email address and it's the official one!" he stood up as he continued mumbling "I'll rip them a new one" and "Even Jewish prayers won't save you".
Jeremy wasn't lacking money. In fact, he had enough to live through a hundred lifetimes and still have a lot to spare. After his grandfather died, he took care of his business. Over two years had passed since that unfortunate moment and he decided to settle in a small town, trying his hand at living like a normal citizen. The second reason was obviously staying low-key and operating from the shadows.
However, at that very moment, when he looked at the crowd outside that was slowly dispersing, and people who carried only one box each, he felt hopeless! That hopelessness turned into anger, his fists were balled, at the verge of cracking.
Jeremy was trying to calm down, to keep it cool, but thoughts of destroying the bastard who scammed him unceasingly flashed through his mind, gnawing at him.
He looked through the window again and at the sheer number of people standing in the line. It most likely exceeded the total population of the town! If he tried to stand in line now it would be too late! Those who drove here from afar to increase their chances were now struggling to get their hands on the product.
As for him? He was currently struggling to keep his sanity. Those mad gamers acting like dogs with rabies resembled his current behavior flawlessly. They waited for a long time, some for dozens of years until finally Virtual Reality that is also an MMO emerged, yet they couldn't get it! Supply shortage, what concept was that!
Jeremy's case of winning one of the giveaways angered him even further. It was supposed to be a formality, yet he had nothing, not even a chance at buying the product today! Did he really have to start late because of getting scammed?!
Seething with anger, Jeremy heard a sound. He thought it was a hallucination.
Someone really did knock! The heavens still cared about him! Opening the door, he saw a young courier in his twenties, standing there huffing and puffing, package in hand, beads of sweat dripping from his forehead.
When Jeremy noticed the package, his wolf-like gaze instantly softened, all of his anger instantly dissipated, turning into endless joy! He looked like he was unexpectedly visited by his bosom friend. Truth be told, if it wasn't a man he would kiss him a thousand times!
"Hello." said Jeremy in an amiable tone. He was so happy that he didn't even need to try sounding friendly.
"H-Hello." huffed the courier, visibly tired "Are you Mr. Jeremy Grand?"
"Indeed, that's me." his gaze drifted to the package and glued itself into it, as if its insides contained a ring to rule above all others...
"C-Can I see some ID sir? It's just a formality, but we need to make sure that the right person received the package. Please understand." slowly steadying his breath, the courier extended his hand.
"Oh right, here you go." Jeremy handed the document, recovering from his daze.
"Very well, Mr. Grand, it's indeed you. Here you go." the courier parted with the package without struggling.
Jeremy held the package under his left arm and patted the courier's shoulder with his right hand "You can call me Jeremy. And thank you, really, you made my day!"
"I'm Ron, nice to meet you Jeremy." the courier smiled wryly while shaking Jeremy's hand and continued "I have to say, Jeremy, if the employees didn't get a package like this for free, I wouldn't have picked this lousy job. I was worked like a dog! I worked for three months already, my goal of getting a VR headset kept me going. Hehe, it has paid off. If not for that, I would probably try to steal one..." his gaze flickered, as his face burned hot in embarrassment.
Jeremy laughed out loudly, he was so angry just a moment ago that he understood the man perfectly and didn't hold it against him. He had the device, it was afternoon and the servers were launching at 8pm. What did he have to worry about?
"By the way, I'm sorry for the late delivery, this place was so remote and it was last on my list..." Ron put on apologetic look as he explained.
"Haha, no problem." Jeremy smiled faintly, exuding so much friendliness that he seemed to glow.
"I heard the coworkers saying something about different starting locations. The probability we will meet is low, but if we do, let's help each other out!" Ron declared with his chest puffed.
Jeremy agreed, they talked for a while and then said their goodbyes.
It was 8pm. Jeremy read through the manuals, but there was nothing new. The most information players received was obviously from this undercover dev, Sais, who advertised the game "secretly". Jeremy did similar covert operations in his line of work, so he knew the ins and outs of the job. Recognizing a fellow "scammer" wasn't hard.
Despite being such an innovative technology, the VR headset was unimaginably easy to set up. It only required to be plugged to the power socket. How it was connecting to other players wasn't revealed, but there were rumors that Albatros Company had their own internet network which allowed the device to be safe from any hacking. Of course those were nothing but rumors circulating through the Internet.
Jeremy reclined on his newly bought leather chair, put the headset on and logged in.
Amidst the boundless darkness, Jeremy woke only to realize he couldn't breathe! He tried to inhale the air, but there was nothing, as if he was a floating object in the endless space! He closed his mouth instinctively. To his side appeared a bright spot that slowly became distinct.
He looked in shock to discover that it was a little fairy. "Welcome adventurer, create your character in the mirror in front of you." as soon as the melodious voice rang out, in front of the confused Jeremy appeared a mirror made of solidified blue flames. What was even more shocking was that he didn't need to breathe...
Gaping at his reflection in the solidified flame mirror, he didn't make any changes. His black hair was barely visible in the dark environment, but his amber eyes shone like burning embers in the moonless night, giving the impression of boundless power residing in his body. His lean muscles indicated that he was a healthy male. There weren't enough to call him ripped though. "I'm done." he told the fairy.
"Congratulations on making your character, adventurer. Please follow me." The little fairy flew into the window and Jeremy made a leap of faith, following blindly.
Slight tremors went through his body and when he appeared on the other side, he was speechless. It wasn't caused by the sudden appearance of air, but by the grand view before him!
Myriads of brightly glowing stars covered the firmament, they seemed so close, yet at the same time so far, somewhere in the galaxy. The starlight illuminated the cold, black granite floor. In front of him were rows of decorated tables with an innumerable amount of dishes placed on them, smelling fragrant and arousing taste buds. Crowd of players like him sat at the sides of the table, voraciously wolfing down the food.
To his left, there were dozens of sparring rings and circles where players could engage in combat. Some people already brandished their weapons against each other.
On Jeremy's right was a practice ground for solo players, consisting of target dummies, archery targets and immobile stone golems. Players could apparently practice their swordsmanship, archery and spellcasting before logging into the game.
"You will be transported to finalize your character creation shortly. Have fun, adventurer." as soon as the words left the little pixie's mouth she disappeared without a trace.
Jeremy looked at the middle of this place. There was a large platform around which a few players congregated. They tried to walk on it but they were repelled by an invisible wall. "Interesting." he thought, moving to the tables.
He grabbed a chicken leg and moved towards the practice ground.
Taking one of the empty spots, Jeremy noticed three menus hovering in the air in front of him.
He chose archery for starters. A wooden bow started materializing in the air, which Jeremy grabbed. He noticed red linear lights. Those lights showed an optimal trajectory for beginners. Jeremy drew the bowstring, trying to mimic the real archers by steadying his breath and aimed at the suggested trajectory.
The arrow flew and it hit the archery target, the value was displayed next to it - 7. Furrowing his brows, Jeremy looked at the targeting system as if it was faulty. Why didn't it let him shoot at the center of the archery target for a straight out ten? Not accepting such a result, he immersed himself in the archery, drew the bowstring again and diverted from the suggested trajectory.
What he didn't know is that archery like everything else required mastery. How could it be so easy to make your arrow hit right at the middle on your first shot? System's help was limited in that regard to balance things out
A few minutes passed and Jeremy couldn't hit anything more than the outer rings for a five or a six. His accuracy was improving slightly, but he knew he wouldn't play the Archer class, so he gave up. There were so many surrounding players making constant noise that nobody minded him. Just like him, those players were trying to practice as much as they could before the game officially launched.
Jeremy chose spellcasting and five spells appeared before him. 《Lesser Fireball》,《Compact Earth Wall》,《Lightning Bolt》, 《Soundless Cut》 and 《Water Prison》.
As one could imagine 《Lesser Fireball》was an offensive spell focused on dealing damage with a slight chance of causing burn damage.
《Compact Earth Wall》was a defensive earth spell focused on creating a wall of mud blocking the incoming projectiles for a short amount of time.
《Lightning Bolt》seemed like a grander version of a spark that flew extremely quickly and had 30% chance of stunning the enemy for 2 seconds. Based on the description its mana cost seemed rather high.
《Soundless Cut》represented air magic, dealing armor piercing magic damage. Its total damage was incomparable to fire and lightning magic, but the 5 seconds of armor shredding sounded like wind element mages would be a great addition to the party.
What caught Jeremy's attention the most was 《Water Prison》. Water based spell that trapped the enemy inside the bubble for 3 seconds. He immediately tried casting it.
The feeling of using magic was wonderful. Something sucked inside his body, as if trying to retrieve energy for conjuring the spell. Then in his line of vision appeared a blue light, indicating where the current 《Water Prison》would fall upon.
"So it's a skillshot, huh? Awesome!" Jeremy's mouth curled up into a grin. Casting it once, the bubble landed on a target dummy. The target dummy was lifted up in the air and hover there for 3 seconds before the bubble burst.
Jeremy's eyes shone. He used it again and this time tried to move the bubble sidewards. The distance it travelled wasn't large, but it actually moved! He quickly inferred that if the bubble were to be thrown aside with greater force, then 3 seconds of its duration plus at least additional 2 seconds of the monster getting back into a fight made for a terrifying immobilizing ability!
Awesome! Powerful! Overpowered!
Those three words reverberated in his head continuously. As Jeremy marveled at the wondrous class he discovered, he tried to calm down. He didn't know what other abilities of water element mage did after all... You can't rely on only one ability.
His musings broke like a soap bubble. A large pillar of light shone in the middle of the restricted area, thunderous voice resounding "Welcome to Loiterous, adventurers!"
Large figure of a middle-aged man appeared. Above his head were two words in a bright green - Game Master!