“So... how do i play this?”
Nico sighs as she repeats the controls once again to her sister. She had opted for a more “relaxed” game that she had found interest in the last couple of weeks... and easily mastered it. She was rank 1, the rank right below “Master”. The game had a heavy skill curve midway the rank system, but she had adjusted just fine and adapted her strategies. Despite its relaxing nature, the game demanded more of control and working under pressure instead of just regular reaction time or mechanics.
Ships of War
“Either way, we’re playing on newbie ships since you just started out. So don't worry, no one will have super advanced mechanics nor specialized ships”
Despite Nico’s attempts of comforting her, she felt insulted. She had no time to dwell on such thoughts tho as the announcer blared.
That was the go signal. Slowly, her ship (a basic English Royal Navy based ship) began to speed forward. It was interesting to watch the water at her feet, as if she was skiing over it. She was in a bubble, which was gridded and projected coordinates, altitudes and distances, information was a key factor in this game apparently. She only understood half of it all, but it felt interesting to be “inside” a warship, watching the beautiful scenery, the smooth water mechanics as she cut through it, her cannons as they moved up, down and rotated to where she was aiming. It was... fun, and relaxing.
“Wake up, Lou!” Lou swerved her head to look at the ship beside her, a rather tough looking ship but with few guns and a waving USSR red flag. It was an ally thankfully, probably Nico’s... but the 3 ships up front weren’t allies. Lou begins to turns as she tries to aim her guns, it wasn’t easy- the boat’s tilting and the roughness of the sea made aiming imprecise. She watches as smoke and the sound of cannon fire spurts from the 3 ships, shells coming her way. The shells hit and explosions cloud her vision for a second as her HUD goes red and an alert with a Fire indicator shines on the spherical HUD.
“Move!” The yells from her sister orient her as she begins to turn her ship, taking a deep breath and shooting her guns at the ship leading the group of 3. Her shells fly forward, falling on the water beside the ship, 2 managing to hit and cause damage. Apparently the game had a lot of physics, the shells weren’t laser spot on, their trajectories varied- displacement and dispersion. Annoying. The leading ship suddenly explodes as Lou is hit with a couple more shells- this time not being hit by all of them as she tried to dodge them. Upfront, now almost sailing parallel to them, was Nico, shooting her guns at the full broadside of the enemy ships. Explosions popped with a slight delay but sure on the ships, the second inflating like a balloon at its center before suddenly bursting into a column of steel and fire.
“No advanced mechanics huh?” muttered Lou as she adjusted her trajectory and tried to catch up with her sister. The fire alert still blared, making her use a consumable to put it out. At least the game wasn’t that hard.
“Fuck. FUCK. FUCK!” Lou watches as the camera rips her from her ship, showing her how it exploded, burned and slowly began to sink. She felt tense, that was not pleasurable nor relaxing at all. She had been cut off guard by 2 ships and a third one had come from behind. She had been flanked. As she fought off the ships, she was shelled constantly from all directions. Movement was slow, she couldn’t dodge at all, the shells hit her broadsides every time and alerts blinked everywhere in her HUD.
Pressure soon came, she had to keep calm, make decisions and act on them on the fly- regardless of how much information she had. Sadly, she was blown up by the time she understood this. As she sighed and decided to use the in-game camera to watch her sister, she was able to appreciate the difference in play style. She was a monster.
Sitting at half health, and their team tied in ships remaining (4-4) her sister was charging straight at enemy ships, strafing occasionally, looking to not give a clear opening for their fire. Her bow took most of the hits, keeping damage at a minimal, turning to port or starbound at fast speeds to give her broadside only when she could get a good full fire on the enemy. Her shots differed between volleys and single burst, causing shots to scatter throughout the side of the enemy ship, or to pinpoint hit a certain place- the damage was significantly greater. She looked for weak spots in armors, and exploited them.
“VICTORY” chanted the announcer as her sister’s burning and near dead ship froze and the stat screen came up. She had barely survived but she had killed at least 5 ships in that game. A monster.
As she removed the visor once more and sat up with the chair, she took a look at the hour- 11:26pm. She stretched her body as she felt tired and somewhat more relaxed as games and the special gaming chair her company had developed helped a lot. These chairs had been made specifically for Immersion gaming, and designed by herself. It was light and flexible, with a full head rest and leg rest. It’s main features were the fact it could bend back completely, altering its shape to become an ergonomic resting chair with arm-rests that could be adjusted in height and length. The arm-rests were interchangeable, one with a modified keyboard and the other with an integrated joystick controller sideways. The controller functioned as a mouse while the controller had removed most buttons, leaving only 2 rows of 9 buttons and a side board for typing. It required some getting used to but it had begun to be used a lot more in Esports (not only immersion esports) as it gave players a more relaxed and comfortable position to play. She felt proud of them.
“Ok, it’s late.”
“Aww, just one more game please.”
“Nah, i’m good. I’m going upstairs to shower and change. I’ll give you ’til midnight. Otherwise, i’m coming for you myself.”
“Ugh, fine fine.”
Her sister quickly maneuvered the joystick to select something from the console HUD- probably. She smiled and leaned down to kiss her forehead as she left.
The two chuckled at Nico’s exaggerated reaction. She was probably too doting on her, spoiling her... but she just wanted her to be happy. Besides, she was still a good girl, and her grades hadn’t dropped despite it all. She simply worried if she’d ever be able to live a normal life. She had shut herself in this world of games since the incident. Honestly, she was just too afraid to take her out of it; in this world, she was so happy.
As the log in animation played through, Nico got herself comfortable. She had no reason to log in so late, it was too late for dungeons, the raid was over, PVE event hunting meant she’d have to solo them mostly herself and her guild wasn’t very RP heavy. Still, she had grown fond of the group... her friends.
Nico materializes outside the castle overlooking their “Kingdom” at the top of a cliff. The location allowed for attacks to come only in 2 directions (Sky and Front), their genius tactician had developed all these plans and battle countermeasures for defense- most of which they never used. Truth be told, challenges to them came around rarely. She stretches her body as she took in the clear sky scenery. For server time, the game was about to enter dusk and... bring DUSK, about them. However, something was off. She materialized at a heap of corpses dematerializing around her and her friends gasping for breath surrounding her.
“Ok, she’s back, now can you guys leave?” shouted a cold and uncaring voice from the castle walls. Her friends looked at her with glee.
“NICO!” they all cried and hugged her, quickly composing and assuming position.
PVP haven areas were only inside NPC cities and towns she and developers had created so players could have actual safe locations to spawn at or gather. However, while cities and capitals where independent and functioned as small kingdoms run by NPCs, some towns could be annexed to Guild Kingdoms. The town would generate some sort of income for the guild consistently (food, gold, materials, etc.). And, a bit of cheating aside, she had used her developer knowledge to cease a small mercantile town at the base of their cliff called “Dahl’Sum”. It was the only haven after crossing the “Wandering Dunes Desert” and a player mercantile hot spot. Their guild placed a fixed tax of 8% all trade revenues, and it made the location not only trade friendly, but very lucrative. That was, however, as long as the guild was the ruler of such territory.
“What happened?” her question was met with silence. She understood. Their castle had been taken, they had stayed behind to make sure she wasn’t spawn killed constantly by them. Noble, but it made her mad.
“FUCK!” She screams while stomping the ground. She looked at the castle, a red flag with a golden chimera on it and a blue sphere on a corner. She knew that logo.
Current Rank 1 Guild: Golden Chimera, sponsored by T+T Global. A gaming house that participated in various esports, dominating in most, reigning champions in some, and current “Kings” from the BETA: 5-man Battlegrounds Competition the company had made to test the competitive aspect of PVP in the game as it was. It had been her idea... to create a competitive side of the game so the game could thrive as a Free-to-Play, sponsored by other companies and with a strong community that liked both the PVE and PVP world aspects, as well as a competitive PVP aspect where Guilds could extend their fame even further.
Maybe she made a mistake. She glared at the leader of the guild who stood looking down at her from the castle walls.
[Mage: lvl 20 |PVP RANK: Challenger| Gear Score: 220 (MAX)]
[Gender: Male| Race: Elf |Guild: Au-CH]
“Move it, i’m tired of beating your asses around. You may challenge us for your dear castle next week. You lost...” spoke a short hooded figure in red armor with gold lining and cat ears. A Kemonomimi Warlock, a figure many people in the game recognized now-a-days.
[Warlock: lvl 20 |PVP RANK: Challenger| Gear Score: 220(MAX)]
[Gender: Male| Race: Kemonomimi |Guild: Au-CH]
“Hey Nico. Been a while. Sorry we had to do this to you.” The user from which such word came, it hurt Nico more than anyone else. Her friend, the one person she enjoyed just “kicking it” while they idled. The one she wanted to see right now... but not anymore.
[Priest: lvl 20 |PVP RANK: Challenger| Gear Score: 216]
[Gender: Male| Race: Human|Guild: Au-CH]
"Nico, we'll talk about this later"
"Shut up you piece of shit." She wished she had typed those words, but they had been taken by the one at the wall. Nico felt her cheeks hot, she was burning mad.
"Nico, let's go." Her friends try to tug at her, but she refused, she wanted to murder that piece of shit at the wall. And she would.
Only her friends and possibly the other Challenger class players among them had noticed what happened as a straight line of players (nearly 20) were left floating in the air, mangled and mutilated, evaporating into red data flakes. She had cut herself a way towards that son-of-a-bitch in seconds. She had read the warlock's abilities, barriers and slow areas, using the appropriate skills to "i-frame" them and remove their debuff. She was now in the air, swinging her scythes in a wide overhead arc, infused with heavy energy, making them glow dark blue (like the night sky). She wanted to murder him, with that smug smile as he simply watched her.
Her hit doesn't connect. The chain bends around him as if being protected by a solid shield. The priest. She had ignored him, she didn't think he'd protect him. Her mistake. As her body slowly falls back down, she watches as 3 massive ice shard materialized over her. She had left herself exposed. They shoot down and she managed to proc one of her special abilities, a counter move that cancelled any and all damage she could receive while active (about 3 seconds) and she uses it to use the ice shard as a new method to reach him again. The third ice shard met her at the end. He had not used it, he had read her.
It punished her, sending her crashing down onto the ground, exploding along with the other crystals. Her character was badly damaged, the large puncture mark on her belly, her armor cracked throughout her body.
"I know you, Nico." came the cold voice of the mage.
"You don't know shit."
"I know you are a girl irl. A shut in who loves games and has a collection of records. A top tier player... but never the best."
"What?!" Nico would swerve her head to the priest who averts his gaze, pain in his face.
"I told you all that in confidence!"
"Honey." The cold elf chuckles. The animation used made it actually look like an evil character from an anime.
"Dont blame him. You are just a girl after all."
Now it was HeXXXtia who jumped into the discussion.
"Fucking excuse me?!"
The cold voiced simply answered back.
"Yes. You should know this by now. ESports, video games, it's a place of men. Have you ever seen a girl being a pro-player? Emotional, irrational, they are a hindrance for any team in any game. Unreliable and just dumb."
"Wrong. video games fun and for all. Girls play 2. Good 2."
"Yes... but you aren't good. Neither of you is."
Eldreon loses it.
"Listen you fucking piece of shit, good for nothing kid. Just because you play this game all fucking day doesn't make you fucking better than everyone else. Just because you don't have a fucking life doesn't mean we have to be like you just to 'be good' you moron."
"Yet, i am...far better, and even getting paid for it. I am that good."
Nico's rage sends her into this calm and cold state of mind, the mindset with which her words carried enormous weight and threat.
"Really? Well, i do know the game wants to go ESports MLG, and that you are among the faces to promote it. But i don't think that attitude will get you far. So, since you say girls cant play games. Lets make a bet."
"A bet? Why should i accept a girl's bet?"
"Because if you not, everyone here will see you chickened out on a 'girl's bet'. And, because if you win, i will disband this guild and surrender this territory to you."
"Did i stutter?"
"And if you win?"
"You surrender your ESport seat on the team"
The warlock jumps at the last.
"Sir, i beg you to not accept this challenge!"
"I accept. I have nothing to fear against a girl. I do place actions on my words, unlike others."
The warlock grimaces and glares at him at the remark.
"Very well... what is your challenge?"
"In 2 weeks the First Season of the Competitive Battlegrounds will begin. We will meet along the way. Whoever wins."
She turns on her heels and makes her best effort in walking effortlessly down the hill. Her friends look at her with shocked eyes.
"We'll talk later, away from them. Let's teleport to the town."
"Right away" replies HeXXXtia as she begins immediately to cast a Teleportation spell. As they disappear from their location, Nico glares one last time at the priest she had called friend. His face of anguish angered her even more.
Nico wished the glare and rage in her could be expressed by her character. She typed furiously, hoping he'd read it before she left.
"You are not my friend."