Today is Day 2 of NaNoWriMo!
Because I work full-time at a company, not as a writer, I won't be able to start my word count seriously today until I get home. I'll get a few words in, but it'll be crunch time after dinner. But let's talk about yesterday's count. If any of you follow my posts on Twitter or Facebook you would have seen my updating my word count during the evening. For those who don't (why not? lol), I had quite the impressive day, with distractions inlcuded. My total for day 1 of NaNoWriMo was 4,992 words!
All passages were in order from yesterday's post, and as promised in that same post, here is what I wrote:
With little time to prepare myself for a fight in such close quarters, I rolled out of the way and ran through the opening in the building. The hole led me outside where I found the town to be run down and abandoned. The Orc charged out after me and I rolled to the side to evade him. When I stood up, I readied myself for a close combat fight. Orcs were best fought at a distance, but since I was using my beast tamer class, my only available weapons were fist weapons, my current equipped ones being metal claws.
The brutish creature swung it's club wildly at me and I did my best to dodge his attacks, but he was far quicker than the average Orc, making it difficult. I yelled in pain when I misjudged his swing and the club crashed into my abdomen. The heavy hit sent my crashing into the ground, stunning me. The Orc howled with victorious battle high glee, and rushed for me to finish me off, or so he thought. My body may be stunned, but I still had use of my summoning ability.
My class's ability resource was based on two aspect, will and rage. Will was out main resource, what most of our abilities utilized. It drained over time from use and required special potions or spells to regenerate during battle. Rage was out enhancement resource. It built up over the course of a battle, boosting the strength of our abilities. The summoning skill I was going to use, only required the use of will, but the blow from the Orc had raised my rage bar enough to do more than a basic summoning.
Mustering up the resources required for the ability, I activated my tamed beast summon and watched as my Calacour, a large horned cat-like beast with dragon-like legs and talons, and feathered antennae whiskers, appeared out of thin air. Well, single Calacour wasn't correct. By using my built up rage I had activated my multi summon ability and managed to summon three Calacour. My black Calacour, Vortex, my striped one, Zaro, and my tan Calacour, Thunder.
Unable to move still, I sent my pets to do my bidding. "Kill it."
Zaro attacked first, followed by Vortex and Thunder. The Orc, undeterred by the appeared of my cuddly beasts, focused his attention on attacking them, but they were too much and my pets ripped the creature apart. The sweet scent of the Orcs black blood wafted into my nose.
Once my Calacour were done ripping the brute's body apart, Thunder and Zaro walked back over to me, while Vortex laid down and began consuming the humanoid. Zaro nudged me since I had yet to get up still and I chuckled. "I'll be fine, boy. Just need a few more seconds to recover from that's brute's blow.
Zaro licked my cheek with his textured tongue and purred as I managed to reach up and scratch his head as a reward for a job well done. The updated sensors of the game pod enhanced the sensation of touch and I marveled at the coarse texture of his fur.
My ear pinged I looked to find a party invite on my collapsed menu. Curious, as I thought this was the only working prototype, I lifted my hand and pointed to the air in front of me. A gray dropdown appeared with several text options. I searched the menu options and found the party invite to accept. Normally it took several minutes for the party to active with the new member, but I could hear breathing on the other end instantly.
"Hello?" I asked.
"Rinneth, it's Ramos," Ramos replied.
"And Nazre," Nazre added.
"What's going on? I asked. "I didn't see any other active gaming stations in the room."
"That's because there aren't," Ramos said. "We're speaking to you through communicators."
"You heard me. The team has integrated external communication to these new gaming systems. People will now be able to communicate to others in the simulation as well as out of it."
"No more missed calls," Nazre joked. "We've also updated the controls on message sending. You can now send messages from the game to someone's messenger instead of only being able to write one to their in game box that then would need the tedious coding task to send it to the messenger through expensive third party applications.
"The players will love that. Those applications are way over priced."
"You may have noticed we've also fixed the connection time so acceptance of the communication invite and joining the connections happens instantaneously."
My body stopped being a pain and I finally managed to sit up, Zaro and Thunder choosing to lie down next to me. "I did notice that. I'm impressed. It was a major flaw in the systems since their inception and one of the biggest headaches to fix."
Nazre chuckled. "Well this was by no means a walk in the park for us to fix either. But we managed it."
"So what do you think of the experience you've had so far with this new system?" Ramos asked me.
I leaned over and deeply inhaled Thunder's scent. The mix of Petrichor and musk had me sighing. "I want one. Now."
Ramos chuckled. "Looks like we have the Rinneth stamp of approval. That will give you leverage with getting Fallon's approval to begin production."
"Production needs to start now," I muttered.
Nazre chuckled. "Once you own the company Rinneth, I'll jump on those kinds of orders. But unfortunately I need Fallon's approval to begin."
I sighed. "Fine. I guess I'll have get my hands dirty to speed this up."
"Do you have any legitimate concerns, Rinneth?" Nazre asked. "Anything at all you may be worried about?"
"Well, battle is going to be something players will need to get used to again. I fought an Orc and it hurt like hell to be slammed with that club of his."
"Do you think we should lower the intensity?" Nazre asked worriedly. "None of our testers mentioned a problem with battle."
"I'm honestly not sure. I believe players will get used to it, and if not, they'll find another game, but just in case it is too much for most of the play base, is there a way to patch in a reduction?"
"Oh yes, of course. That would only require a software modification patch."
"Then we'll be fine out of the gate. If you don't already have a way to monitor player's vitals, you may want to look into adding that feature. This way you'll be able to figure out if battles and death cause too much stress. And for players who are paranoid about being monitored that way, they can have the option to turn it off, but be given a waiver warning so no one will be liable if they do harm themselves."
"Excellent proposal, Rinneth. We had worked on a monitoring system but were worried about the ethics and how users would react to such a system. But your idea should worked very well. Now tell me, what is your opinion of the enhanced senses we worked so hard on?"
"I've been able to utilize my smell and touch senses well in here and I'm very impressed with those. I haven't paid much attention to hearing, but that may be because everything sounds like it would outside this pod."
"Good, good. What about taste? That was the hardest sense to work on."
"I haven't had anything to eat yet. Well, that's not true. I hate dirt a little while ago and that tasted pretty much like it always has in life."
Ramos laughed. "Try picking some food from your inventory to test out. I'm sure it couldn't hurt after your battle with the green skinned creature."
"Good idea." I activated my menu and searched through my food stores until I found an apple. Perfect for testing. Selecting it, the apple was transported to a bag attached to my hips. I pulled it out and didn't hesitate to bite into it. My eyes widened and a squeak escaped my throat when my mouth was flooded with the succulent taste of fruit flesh and juice.
Ramos snickered. "Sounds like she approves."
"Yes I do!" I said with a mouth full of fruit. "I said it before and I'll say it again, I want this gaming system."
Nazre laughed. "We'll forward everything off to Fallon today, including your approval and suggestion, and see what he comes back with. If we can get the approval within the next week, we'll be able to make enough pods to send out to tournament participants after the big conference reveal in a few weeks. This way they will all be able to get used to the systems themselves."
"I'm assuming once these are sent out, gaming helmets will be next on the list to upgrade?" Ramos asked.
"Of course. We need to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have the same experiences. The space required to house a full simulator pod shouldn't be what divides users."
"I agree," Ramos said. "Rinneth, why don't you log out so we can finish up here and head downstairs to mingle."
"You don't have to ask me twice." I activated my menu and pressed the logout option before closing my eyes. Once the pressure in my head ceased, as well as the spinning sensation I usually received from the gaming simulators, I opened my eyes and was met with a closed lid above me. Slowly I pushed it open and blinked several times to get my eyes adjusted to the light.
"How do you feel?" Ramos asked.
"Like I usually do when I use the pod for gaming," I admitted.
He nodded. "At least that's not worse with all the modifications. I'll finish up with Nazre while you get yourself settled back here in reality."
I nodded and sat on the pod.
"Sorry I cause you so many problems with these machines," Rashta said.
"I'm still not convinced you're the cause of it," I replied. "A lot of people have the same reaction as me to the game stations. And it's not like I have this problem with the gaming helmets."
"Those helmets connect to your mind differently."
"I'm not going to argue about this with you, Rashta. You're not going to convince me you're the cause of all this."
Ramos walked back over to me when he and Nazre were done speaking. "All set?"
I hopped to the floor. "Let's go check out the convention downstairs."
Ramos nodded and led the way back to the elevator.
Ramos and I had nearly lost each other five times since we had come down to check out the convention. There were so many people packed into this place, it really drove home the reality of how many played this game.
We had managed to attend a two team Q&A panels like I had hoped. None had been the top five teams, but listening to Lords of the Storm, rank eight, and Minions of Terror, rank eleven, were good enough for me. It was interesting learning about them and hearing the advice they'd give out when prompted.
Now we were looking for a good team to watch kick some serious ass on the PvP battle stations, but none were really catching my eye and I wasn't sure why. Any ranked team should be good enough to watch, but I couldn't settle for just any team.
Ramos nudged me and pointed. "Found a top five team. What about watching them?"
I looked at the sign hanging above the battle station. Maiden Sacrifice. A smile crept onto my face. They weren't just any top five team, they were ranked number two in the PvP lineup. Excitement taking over, I grabbed Ramos by the arm and dragged him with me to the battle station. Onlookers protested as I pushed my way to the front, but at my height, there was no way I'd be able to see much unless I was closer, even with the Playback screens hoisted in the air, so I pressed on.
I leaned against the metal rail of the battle station when I finally made it to the front and watched the novice player get his ass handed to him. The time on the screen showed fifty seconds. Pathetic. This player obviously had no experience in the PvP side of this game. Even someone with a few battleground runs would have been able to last longer than that.
The two players shook hands with good sportsmanship, and went their separate ways. My eyes followed the short-haired, dark skinned Maiden Sacrifice player, Rial, back to where the rest of the team sat casually. Maiden Sacrifice was the one team I knew the most about. One of the longest running teams still active in the completive field, Maiden Sacrifice had sat as a rank five team for the past few years. It wasn't until they took on their newest member, Rial Numar, did they jump up in rank this year to the top two spot. Prior to becoming a member he had been some nobody player like everyone else who worked an eight to five job as an IT guy at some unknown computer company, though he was so ripped with muscle, geek wasn't the first word that came to mind. Then somehow, he got noticed by the team and was picked up when they lost a member right at the end of the last season.
Rial sat down next to his teammate Thuldren Metalbasher, one of the only known Dwarves to ever do anything but craft in his life. The man fit stereotype Dwarf to the T. Short, muscular, lots of hair, except on the top of his head. He even had an eye patch from when he lost it as a young boy.
Next to him was a piece of work that went by the name of Tyden Cero. Toned and young, the human wore a flat-rimmed ball cap, loose fitting jeans and shirt, and several piercing, he was a well-known, grade A douchebag, and a player not many wanted to be paired against. He was one of the worse sore losers I knew of, and even though he was a great player, second to their team leader, I couldn't see why a team would allow a guy like him to remain. It generally made them look bad.
Vamir Saelethil, sat next to Tyden. He was an Elf that didn't match his racial stereo type either. While not overly muscular like his human counterparts, his light-skinned, tattooed body was toned, and instead of long, flowing locks, his hair was cut and styled short.
Sitting next to Vamir, was the leader of the team, Vesser. I had a hard time keeping my eyes off him. If looks were currency, this guy would be a billionaire. Green hair with an off-centered black stripe, piercing golden eyes, piercing and tattoos covering his muscular tanned skin, he was nothing to sneeze at. Course, that was to be expected when you're a Dragon. Looks came with that racial territory.
Maiden Sacrifice. As ironic as the team name was, he didn't actually pick it. Vamir was the one to come up with the name when he and Vesser started the team, several centuries ago. The only team still going strong that was older than theirs, was an elven only team by the name of Woodland Warriors. Of course they weren't a high ranking team anymore, but they were still serious players. Now, the highest ranking elven only team, Punisher's Delight, held the top rank in all of Evenstar.
"It's him," Rashta said.
"No it's not," I said.
"I know my energy, Rinneth," she quipped. "I've been helping your soul find it for many lifetimes."
"He didn't even notice me here. I'm invisible--just another face in the curious crowd."
"Then change that."
I almost snorted aloud. "Yeah, not going to happen. I'm not an idiot."
"You can't avoid it for much longer, Rinneth. If he does catch on, he'll pursue you."
"Not only is he some super star gamer and I'm some nobody, I'm a Halfling, Rashta, he won't."
"That's what you've said before in previous lives. You've been wrong each time."
"First time for everything."
Thuldren stood up and addressed the crowd. "All right, lads and lasses, who be next 'n challengin' me?"
People cheered and begged to be picked as Thuldren scanned the crowd. He then pointed to two people.
"Ye, little lad. Ye be facin' me. And ye, lad, will be next."
I stifled a laugh when the tall man jogged up onto the stage. The crowd also found it amusing Thuldren called him little. The two shook hands and then sat down on two facing chairs and put their portable gaming helmets on.
Once the two were both in, and had their classes pick, Thuldren a warrior, and the challenger and risen knight, a knight class risen from the grave, giving them undead abilities, the two squared off.
"Challenger is open on the right side," I murmured to myself. "Thuldren, that was stupid, why would you attach him there?"
"Are you seriously critiquing them?" Ramos questioned.
"Yeah, of course."
Ramos rolled his eyes and went back to watching the two players fight it out.
"Roll away," I murmured. "No, not that way. Watch your left, watch you left. Other left…"
I rolled my eyes. These two were ridiculous. I couldn't tell if they were just putting on a show, or doing a one-on-one battle wasn't something either of them was used to. Whatever their reason, I wanted to smack them for such sloppy fighting.
Thuldren swung his mace and smashed his opponent's second weapon and then dented his armor.
The attack off balanced his opponent and Thuldren quickly capitalized the situation and beat the challenger into submission. Once the challenger's health depleted to zero, the match ended. The crowd cheered as the two removed their gaming helmets and shook hands.
Thuldren sat down and Vamir looked at Vesser and jerked his head. Looked like the leader was getting his chance and his challenger, didn't look all that impressive to me as he climbed up the stairs. Glasses, round face with curly hair, bit of a weight problem, and clothes all decked out with pins and nerd patches, he was the stereotype of geek. The two shook hands and then went to fighting.
I found myself correcting their battle as well, even though their display was far better. It was a bad habit of mine. The crowd cheered when the match was over, and the two combatants removed their game helmets.
Vesser shook hands with the novice gamer and gave him a few tips. I smiled. This team, aside from Tyden, was known for their sportsmanship and lack of ego to accompany for their high skill. It was another reason I didn't understand how Tyden stayed on the team. He didn't fit.
Vesser then turned to face the crowd. His piercing golden eyes made contact with mine briefly, but it was long enough to send a tingling sensation down my spine.
"Anyone else want to give this a shot?" Vesser asked the crowd.
People cheered and begged to be picked. One guy actually pushed me to be seen better but I shoved him to the ground.
Vesser pointed at the man. "None of that, you hear?" The man nodded and the Vesser looked at me. "You okay?"
I waved him off and he nodded.
Ramos nudged me when Vesser went to looking over the crowd. "You should jump on this."
"I'm good, thanks."
"C'mon, you'll school them."
"They're not going to pick some chick."
"Isn't that why you came here? Fallon may have assigned us to check on the progress of the new gaming stations, but you had already planned to come here months in advance. To see if you could be picked up on a team."
"Well, yeah, but there's no way I'm getting on one of the top five PvP teams in all of Lumaraeon. Besides, I'm more looking for a top raiding guild."
"Don't lie, you're tired of that side and want to get in on the PVP action." He nudged me again. "Just raise your hand or I'll do it for you."
"Don't you dare," I warned. Ramos began raising his hand and I tried to yank it down."Don't do this, Ramos!"
I stared him down and he smirked as he fully extended his arm and then pointed down at me. To my horror, Vesser noticed and I pulled Ramos' arm down. He laughed at me and I hit him in the chest.
"Too late." Vesser leaned on the railing and chuckled."Your friend seems pretty confident and you’ve been correcting battle choices for the last two matches. You have something to hide. Might as well share with the class."
I sighed and glared at Ramos. "You're so dead after this."
"You said that yesterday and I'm still here."
"Step one, lure your prey into a false sense of security." I winked at him and he swallowed nervously before I climbed over the rail, ignoring Vesser's offered hand. "Alright, who will I be facing?"
Vesser didn't respond. Instead, he stared at me, making me a bit uncomfortable. Thuldren, pointed to Tyden. "Tyden is next up, lass."
Perfect. He was the last person I wanted to face, and the feeling ended up being mutual.
Tyden crossed his arms. "No way in hell am I going against some girl. I want to skirmish against someone with actual skill. Go sit back down and look pretty for us."
Yep, here we go. I placed my hands on my hips. "What's wrong? Did a little girl beat you up on a playground when you were little? Or is your tiara too heavy, Princess?"
Tyden scowled as the crowd roared with laughter. Even Vesser couldn't contain his amusement.
"We got a live one, lads!" Thuldren nudged Tyden. "Laddie, if ye'd rather fix yer tiara than brawl it out with the lass, I'd be more than happy to take yer place."
Tyden threw his hat on the ground. "No. I'm going to teach her a thing or two. I hope you don't expect me to go easy on you, little girl."
I waved my arms in front of me in fake fear. "Oh no, whatever shall I do with no handicap?"
Vesser chuckled quietly as the two of us walked over to my seat. I sat down and he handed me the portable gaming helmet and patted my shoulder. "Good luck."
I nodded my thanks and strapped the helmet onto my head. Crossing my legs and arms, I closed my eyes and relaxed. A tingling sensation pressed on all sides of my head as I slipped into the virtual realm.
I opened my eyes after several minutes to find my helmet and the convention building gone. Instead I stood in a white room with a single potted plant and a couch. Well, this is different. I wasn't expecting a lobby. These headsets had to be programmed differently than the standard ones.
"Welcome to Evenstar's official match making system," a computer voice echoed through the room. "This system you are currently using is handled on a separate server for the sole purpose of game convention matches. You will not be able to access any of your items from the main servers. When prompted speak your name. We will analyze your voice and will access your character database to replicate class types and armor sets you own, and equip you with tournament regulated items."
A ping echoed through the room and I spoke. "Rinneth Fallon."
"Analyzing." I waited and a ping echoed through the room again. "Analysis complete. Welcome Rinneth. Please use your menu prompts to access the class you wish to use."
I lifted my hand slowly and pointed to the air in front of me. A gray dropdown appeared with several text options listing the classes I played. I thought about Tyden and figured he'd use his warrior class. He wasn't known for picking much else. So what class did I have that would be good against him? My multi-class most likely. Besides my ability to utilize the beast tamer heroic class, I was well known in the PVE community for my ability to create strange, but effective multi-class choices. It would be best to stick to what I knew, even if others found out who I was. It wasn't like I was getting on any team.
Choosing my favorite multi-class, elemental rogue, I watched as my clothes changed into leather armor in a seamless fading fashion. A rogue class wasn't the most ideal class against a warrior, and I could have picked my beast tamer class which would have fared better, but with the way I specialized this class, made it an ideal choice based on deception. This guy wouldn't know what hit him.
A menu prompt appeared asking if I was ready, and once I selected yes, the room around me disappeared, leaving me in an empty coliseum. Well, nearly empty. Tyden, clad in full top tier plate armor, was waiting and he didn't look happy.
"Bout time you showed up. I don't like being kept waiting." He looked over my armor and class. "And it looks like you made me wait for nothing."
I smirked. "Looks are deceiving, Cupcake."
He scowled. "Let's get this over with."
I drew the daggers strapped to my hips and spun them so the blade faced behind me and Tyden unstrapped the two large battle axes from his back. Dual-hander. Figured as much. There weren't many who played a warrior any other way and most used the same set of skills and abilities too. That's what made this battle deceiving. Because most played warrior classes so similarly, it was easier to find their weakness, since all the class weaknesses were well known. I just had to figure out Tyden's personal ones.
Typical of the warrior class, Tyden charged in without any thought of strategy. Meathead. I, no matter what class type I chose, always assessed the situation. My leather armor wouldn't protect me as well as his plate would him, but I was less encumbered as the trade off, making me faster. And speed and agility was what I needed in this fight.
I ducked and rolled when Tyden came into range quicker than I was expected and swung his axes wildly. Tyden forced me on the dodge and evade defensive quickly but that's what I wanted. I wanted him to think he had the upper hand while I figured out his weak points. Of course he was swinging so wildly it was hard to picky any out. Normally, when a warrior used such a wild tactic, you'd let him wear himself out, but Tyden was known for his endurance, throwing that easy tactic right out the window.
I needed space between us so I could catch my breath and strategize. Slipping my hand into a pouch I pulled out several flash bombs and threw them at the ground, careful to shield my eyes so I wouldn't be caught up in my attack. Tyden roared with anger and rubbed his blinded eyes while swinging his axe wilding around him to attempt to keep himself safe from me like I assumed he'd do. It's why I was choosing to back off and activate my stealth ability than recklessly attempt to attack him.
Keeping my movements slow and precise I moved farther out of his range, fully aware of one ability he may have spec'd for when going against a rogue. The ability was an AoE, area of effect, that was good against most melee classes, but had the ability to knock a player out of stealth. Luckily, it had a specific range I was able to calculate and make sure I stood clear of it.
I analyzed Tyden as he swung around and noticed how he always moved in way he was sure I'd be unable to get behind him for long. I was sure that meant he had a vulnerability there. But where? He swung again and that's when I saw it. By his neck.
Tyden calmed down with realization I wasn't near him."What's wrong, girl?" he taunted. "So pathetic you can't even beat me when I'm blind?"
I knew better than to give in to such a petty taunt and give away my location. Tyden rubbed his eyes and blinked several times before looking around. The blindness was wearing off quicker than I had hoped it would, but now that I knew a good weak point in his armor, it didn't irritate me as much.
"Where are you?" he murmured. When I remained still he snarled and slammed his foot on the ground, releasing a gigantic shockwave through the ground. Figured as much. There weren't many warriors who didn't spend the extra skill points for that stealth killer.
I threw my voice so it'd sound like it was coming from another end of the arena. "Missed me."
Tyden moved closer to where he though he heard my voice and used the ability again only to miss. His anger began to boil.
"Gotta do better than that, Princess," I taunted with another voice throw.
Tyden stomped out a few more attacks while he moved around to find me, but I was already several steps head and prepping for a diversion. When the skill was ready, I activated my decoy and had it stealth towards the back side of him, while I stealthed around the other side of him. When we were in position I had the decoy move into range of his AoE and reveal herself.
Tyden chuckled. "You make this too easy."
Next day's installment