Winter's Tale

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Back to the Game

Getting home, Kyle decided to wait a bit more before logging back into Winter’s Tale. Most games had different and more powerful opponents appear at night, and it was just starting to get dark when he’d logged out. Since the game time had a four-to-one ratio to it, it meant that ten hours of darkness in game would take two and a half hours of real time to pass. He’d only been logged out and down at Franklin’s for about an hour so far. If he logged in now, he’d end up logging in during the middle of the night where he couldn’t see a thing, and when the forest was probably the most dangerous!

Instead of logging in, he went upstairs to his bedroom and grabbed his book bag and decided to take the time to go ahead and do his homework. Kyle wasn’t the best student in school, but he wasn’t the worst either; at least he was passing all his classes with C’s and above. Of course, if he was honest with himself, part of the reason why he did so well was simply because he never went out of his way to push himself with anything harder than the minimum requirements. He was smart enough to be in the Advanced classes, but instead chose to take the normal ones simply because they required less work and study on his part.

It didn’t take too long before he’d finished his homework, and it was still going to be dark in game. Giving a slight sigh of frustration, Kyle went to the bathroom and spent the next half hour or so relaxing in the shower, before all the hot water gave out! Drying off, he slid on a clean pair of blue boxers, and then finally decided that it had to be close enough to daylight to log back into the game. It was around six when he’d logged out, it was now a little after eight. With two and a half real hours of darkness, it should be just a little before daylight in the game now.

Grabbing up his V-RIG from where he’d tossed the helmet across the room, Kyle went over and relaxed back on the bed before he placed it on his head and turned it on. Within moments, he was floating back in the darkness with the blue screen of the OS hovering in front of him. “Log In, Winter’s Tale,” he said, and the darkness faded and slowly everything changed as she reappeared back in the forest in her nightgown, cloak, and heels.

Looking around, the forest was still extremely dark, with what little light that might be available in the early morning sky being blocked by the canopy of branches and leaves above him. The natural sound of the forest was all around; insects buzzing, birds chirping and singing as they began to awaken for the fresh day. The wind was blowing lightly and the sound of the leaves rustling was soft and gentle to the ears.

“First things first,” Kyle said to herself. “I need to get a weapon of some sort. Even a stick is bound to be better than trying to kick things to death in these shoes!” Straining his eyes to make out things in the dark, she slowly moved through the forest until several fallen tree limbs caught her attention. Feeling a few different ones, Kyle was uncertain if he should go with a shorter one and use it like a club or a bat, or a longer stick and use it as a walking stick or staff to help him navigate the uneven terrain better? Finally he decided that a longer staff would be better for him – especially since he was trapesing through the forest wearing high heels – so he settled for what he thought was a sturdy wooden branch that would work for his needs.

“Identify!” He commanded to the stick, and a pop-up appeared, which basically just showed him the name, "Rough Wooden Staff", and informed him, "you don't have a skill high enough to identify that item".

“Awww.. hell.” She didn’t have sufficient skill in identify to even know the basic attributes of a stick in the forest! “Damn, I’m worthless,” Kyle muttered to herself. “Identify. Identify. Identify” When she muttered identify the first time, the same window as before popped back up. The other two times, a different window appeared which told her, "You must wait 10 seconds before using that skill again."

“Well, shit!” It was still too dark in game for him to travel or try and do anything, and he couldn’t just chain-spam his identify skill to try and raise it where it might be useful. Skills had delays between them, and apparently Identify was only something a person could use once every ten seconds. Sighing with frustration, he counted to ten in his head before trying again. “Identify.”

Once more the window of useless information popped up before him, and he made a mental note to start counting. Every ten seconds he’d repeat the command to pop open a new window, and slowly he counted as time passed as the forest slowly got brighter as the sun rose higher in the sky. Two identifies. Three. Four…. After a hundred times, a different window popped up which let him know he wasn’t just wasting his time completely.

"Congratulations! Your skill in Identify has improved (1)!"

Kyle now could see a little more information about the stick she was holding. It was still a "Rough Wooden Staff", but now she could see, "Durability (5/5)", as well as, "Damage (1 - 3)". It wasn't a very durable, nor very damaging weapon; but what could one expect from a stick they just picked up laying in the forest?

A hundred times, at six skill uses a minute for over fifteen minutes, and now he had a skill of one! If healing worked the same way, and it seemed that he couldn’t use that ability unless someone was actually hurt, that means they’d have to cast the heal spell over 4000 times to get it as good as his! “Dammit! I wasted points on something worthless that I could’ve taken up just by using the skill repeatedly.” Kyle grumbled slightly to himself and had to wonder if all the other people who made characters on the first day were having the same problems as him. There just wasn’t any information out there to go on, and the learning curve for Winter’s Tale was just too steep!

But, one thing he was certain of, Kyle wasn’t going to tell anyone about the flaws in character creation! The rest of the world was his competition. Why would he ever help them out, since he couldn’t even restart and take advantage of what he’s learned so far, for the next thirty days?

Grumbling in frustration, Kyle continued to spam identify commands every ten seconds while waiting on the forest to get light enough to travel in. This time, when she got to a hundred, she was expecting his skill to increase, but it didn’t. Uncertain, she continued to count skill uses until after another hundred a new pop-up appeared saying, "Congratulations! Your skill in Identify has improved (2)!"

“Daaaaamn!” Kyle whistled in shock. A hundred tries to get a skill of one. Two hundred tries to get the skill up to a two! Was it three hundred for a skill of three, or did it double each point? If it just went up by a hundred times each level, then he’d need… Crap! He’d need to sit down and do some math. Upper plus lower times upper divided by two would be forty plus one, which was forty-one. Times forty divided by two would be times twenty. Forty-one times twenty was Eight hundred twenty. Times the hundred would make it close to eighty-two thousand skill uses to get a skill of 40! 82,000!!

And, if the number of uses doubled each level…. Kyle didn’t even want to try and do the math on that! It’d be a hell of a lot! He’d definitely overspent on his starting ability to heal! If most fights only required a few heals – or even no healing if the person could take the opponent down fast enough – then she was probably the most skilled person in the whole game as far as it came to the basic heal spell!

If he hadn’t spent so many points on a single skill, maybe he would’ve had time to think and could’ve gotten the elven sight so he wouldn’t have to just sit here like this. Feeling almost like crying, Kyle stubbornly kept repeating “Identify” to himself every ten seconds and counting. Even if this was a complete trash character, at least he could take his time and learn as much about the game as possible. After all, there really wasn’t anything else which he needed to be doing while waiting.

This time he counted to three hundred before the window popped up once again notifying him that he’d raised his skill to three! A hundred times per skill level, before a skill improved! And that’s if the formula didn’t change any as the skill got higher! Holy shit! She was THE healer, apparently! It’d be a looooong time before anyone caught up to Kyles level in that skill, he imagined.

Over an hour and a half had passed in game with him spamming identify skills over and over, and the sky was finally starting to lighten to the point where he was feeling brave enough to start traveling. Kyle had no idea where he was, no idea where to go, and no idea what dangers to forest might bring to him, but he knew he simply couldn’t sit in one spot forever and wait to be discovered. Chances are, it’d be assassins which found him, more so than anyone friendly. She had to level up and grow more powerful, and simply sitting here and practicing identify alone wasn’t going to do it.

Slowly and carefully, Kyle started to wander through the forest looking for anything to help him decide which might be the best way to go from here. All the while, she kept muttering “Identify” under her breath, as if it was some sort of good luck charm to ward off the dangers around herself.



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