The world faded in around Musette, like she was slowly waking up. She could see the buildings around her, mostly made of wood and clay. She could smell the scent of the river, and feel the humidity in the air. Mostly though, she heard the sounds of a bustling city. Conversations and transactions were going on all around her. As she looked around, she seemed to be in a large square at a crossroads in town. Around the square was an open air market, with stalls selling food, clothing, weapons, armor, furniture and all sorts of items gathered from across the continent.
The square was busy, with a lot of people around, and it seemed just before midday. Some of them were going about their business, probably NPCs. Others were looking around in wonder, similar to the way Musette was, and she figured those must be other players. Some were moving their hands around oddly and staring at something in front of them, probably looking at their menu and configuring their settings.
Musette needed to check her settings as well, and with a thought of, *Menu*, a menu appeared before her with several options. There was a tab for streaming options, but Musette would do those after she got everything else setup.
The first thing Musette did was enter her bank information. Chronicles of the New World had a real money auction house setup in game. This was primarily to prevent people from selling items on other sites with lower security or oversight. With this, it was possible to trade items for money directly, through consignment shops, or through the auction house. Direct transactions could be done between any two characters, and there was no fee. Consignment sold items for a fixed price, with a small percentage taken out by EPG, however everything in consignment had to have an in-game price, even if there was a real money price set as well. Buyers could buy with either type of currency. In the auction house, the real money and in-game money auctions were separate, and an item could only be listed in one of them at a time.
The one thing that was not allowed was trading in-game money for real world money. The economy of Valia was tightly managed, and direct money exchange would adversely affect it. Of course, people would find ways around this, but most people wouldn’t bother since there were easier systems to use in game. Once the account was set up, Musette could even see her current bank balance from in game.
There were sensitivity settings, to adjust how sensitive the player would be to various things in game. Musette decided to leave this at ‘intelligent adjustment’. Supposedly it would adjust the sensitivity dynamically to accommodate the player, building a profile of optimal settings for each player. In addition to this, there was a blood setting, which went from invisible all the way up to realistic. This game strove for the greatest realism, so when you attacked creatures they would bleed, as would players when they took bladed attacks. The blood would be there regardless of what you selected, but if you set it to ‘invisible’ you wouldn’t see or feel the blood on your character. Other players would, however. Musette set it to the lowest setting above invisible. She wanted to be able to tell if she had blood on her clothes, but didn’t want to see mobs lying in pools of it as she travelled.
There were no graphical or volume settings, but there were settings that allowed you to turn battle music on or off, as well as choose what type of battle music you wanted from a list of categories: rock, orchestral, operatic, progressive, electronic, 8-bit, dubstep, dance or pop. Musette decided to turn battle music on, just to test it out, and set it to orchestral, which would hopefully be less distracting than most of the other options. She was curious though, and figured she’d try them all, eventually.
There were settings to change the way system notifications were sent, either by system window or by system voice. There was an ‘intelligent’ option for this one as well, so Musette left it. There were also language settings, but Musette left those at auto-translate for all since she didn’t speak any other languages. The system was supposed to translate all languages in real time, allowing people from all over the world to play together. There were also settings to update manually or automatically, and she left that set to automatic as well.
The next group of settings were for character routine. In Chronicles your character did not disappear when you logged out of the game, all characters were persistent. You could set up a routine for your character while you were logged out. By default this was set to have the character return to the nearest safe location and sleep. However, you could set an entire routine for your character to perform in a given game day, and your character would perform it every day. This was too much to deal with right now, especially since a lot of the options wouldn’t unlock until she advanced her character, so Musette left that alone. There were also settings for alerts. You could turn off all in-game alerts except emergency alerts, including reminders that you had been playing too long, which Musette immediately turned off. You could also set up alarms and scheduled reminders, but she didn’t need any of those right now.
Finally she went to the streaming options. When she activated streaming there was a brief pause while it searched for a connection, then the options lit up for her to select. First she was able to select a command to start and stop the stream, so she set it to ‘Stream On’ and ‘Stream Off’.
Next were a few content options. She had to choose which streaming service she was using from a list, even allowing her to choose if she had her own personal streaming site, and what type of software she used to stream. The nudity and profanity filters were on by default and she left them that way, so it would blur any nudity and bleep any profanity. Even in Musette’s body she didn’t want nude pictures of her all over the internet, and she figured other people wouldn’t want that either. Plus there were terms of service to consider with the streaming services.
There was a way to change the name of her current stream from inside the options, but no way to see her stream chat or interact with them directly. There was also an option to stream all sound, only nearby sounds, or only words she intentionally spoke to the stream. That last option wouldn’t transmit any sound unless she concentrated and spoke to her audience. It seemed like more trouble than it was worth though, so she left it transmitting all sound, including the battle music. However she chose not to show system windows or notifications in the stream. In a game this vast, character information was valuable, and was best protected even if you were going to stream your activity.
Next she was able to set the stream rate to Earth-time or Valia-time. If it was set to Earth-time, everything would be 3 times as fast, so it would look accelerated, but the stream would keep up with her actions. If she chose Valia-time, the stream would play out 1:1 with what she was doing, but would take 3 times as long for viewers to watch. After much consideration, Musette set the stream to Valia-time. That way she could speak to the audience and they would be able to actually hear it at normal speed. For her stream today she wasn’t going to be interacting much, so she would switch it to Earth-time after speaking to the stream, but Valia-time seemed best for normal streaming.
The last thing to set up was the camera options. When she selected the camera she was able to actually see where it was placed. A small cube only slightly larger than a pixel appeared in front of her, differently colored from the background. When she touched it, it felt like a largish grain of sand, and she could move it around freely to pick her camera angle. There were also basic options to select such as overhead, isometric, first person, over the shoulder, behind and in front. However, Musette noticed there was also a dynamic option. If that responded properly, dynamic might make for a better picture. It would also mean she wouldn’t have to constantly grab the camera and move it around, so she decided to try that out for now, and leave the camera turned on so she could follow where it was. For now it was hovering in front of her at a slight angle to her left.
She was all set up now, so she closed the menu, and thought *Status*, bringing up her Status window.
Frowning, Musette studied her status. Somehow her MP was higher than her BP and SP. BP stood for Body Pool, MP for Mind Pool and SP for Spirit Pool. Unlike in most games, where BP would be Health and determine whether your character lived or died, in Chronicles of the New World, managing your 3 Pools was vital. Abilities in game could as easily cost BP as MP or SP, and it was possible to attack the Body, Mind or Spirit, depending on whether you were using weapons or magic. If any pool was reduced to 0 or less, your character would fall Unconscious. This would be the equivalent of being dead in any other game and carried a penalty of reduced stats for a period of time that increased each time you were defeated.
If any pool was reduced to negative equal to half its maximum value, a player would die, and death was permanent. The world of Valia was separated into areas, and in most areas it wasn’t possible to actually kill a player. However in open areas, marked red, and free areas, marked black, a player could be killed, either by other players or just by mobs, so it was always important to be aware of what area you were in. Cities and towns were generally protected areas, marked blue, which meant that PvP was possible, but it would be stopped by the city protectors after a while, so it was very limited.
In addition to her life pools, her status also showed the recovery rate for each. That was useful, with a little math she could figure out how long it would take to recover to full health. It also showed her Energy, which was currently 69. Energy was the most important stat in Chronicles, as every action, even just moving, required Energy. Running out of energy wouldn’t kill you, and didn’t have a penalty, but without energy you would be entirely defenseless. Thankfully, energy recovered much more quickly than health.
Satiety and Hydration had to do with food and drink. According to her status, her Satiety would drop from 100% to 0% in 5.84 hours, and her Hydration in 6.6 hours, however she knew from information revealed earlier that Hydration would go down faster if your character were particularly active.
Her status also listed her Attributes and their current Rank, except Technique and Discipline which always started at 1. It also listed her derived stats, although Attack and Magic were currently blank, probably because she didn’t have a weapon. Defense and Resistance were currently 1, while her Dodge was 23.3...which didn’t really tell her much. Without a better idea of what standard accuracy was, it was hard to know if that was a good Dodge or not.
At the top in large characters was her Threat Level. There was no overall character level in Chronicles of the New World, with each Class and Skill having its own level. Threat Level was a system calculation that gave a general idea of how powerful a character, npc or monster was. Although in Chronicles the mobs were just called ‘Enemy NPCs’. Supposedly Threat Level went up to 100, but currently Musette’s Threat Level was a lowly 0. Completely harmless.
At the very bottom there was a place to add her character description, but Musette left it blank for now, and moved on to the Experience tab. Which was completely blank. Musette started out with no skills, and no class. No wonder her Threat Level was 0, but everyone started out this way, so at least it was even.
The Gear tab was next, and it displayed an image of her character, with slots for all of her equipment. Within that tab were additional tabs, one for each of the five equipment layers: Underwear, Clothing, Armor, Outerwear and Jewelry. Currently Musette’s equipment was Standard Bra, Standard Panties and Rough Socks for Underwear. For Clothing she had Linen Tunic, Linen Trousers and Raw Shoes. The Tunic & Trousers each provided 1 Armor, while the Raw Shoes provided no armor but did have a special effect of “Environmental Protection”. The Rough Socks had the special effect “Insulation”.
Next was the Ability tab, which was even more blank than the Experience tab, so she moved on to the Reputation tab.
This tab was packed with data, and was a trifle confusing. It listed her starting location and current base as Arkeport, but her Home was blank. She was currently Untitled, and under that were charts of some type, showing her alignment. Currently all of them were blank, except the Good/Evil/Neutral chart, which showed she currently had a Neutral rating of 1...whatever that meant.
More interesting than that was the Elemental Affinity Chart. There were 10 elements in Chronicles: Air, Lightning, Water, Light, Life, Earth, Metal, Fire, Dark & Death. Currently Musette’s elemental affinity was 3 Dark, 1 Air and 1 Fire. Did it give her a Dark Affinity because she chose the Dusk race when creating her character? Well, it was the first day, so information was sparse on the game. There could have been any number of reasons.
As Musette scrolled down, there was all sorts of information in the Reputation tab. It showed her reputation with the other Species, as well as the different races among her own species, most of which were “Neutral”. It also showed her reputation in Arkeport, which was “Fair”, and her reputation in each of the surrounding countries, which ranged from “Scum” in the Makit Imperial State, all the way up to “Tolerable” in Feylan Pestoral. In Arianed she was considered “Pitiful”, and only in Devan Kingdom was her reputation “Neutral”.
It also showed that she had no Affiliation, no Clan, Guild or Party, and had never been part of any Groups, so her reputation for all of these was blank. She also had no Achievements.
Reputation was the 2nd most important thing in Chronicles after Energy, and changed with pretty much every action you took. Whether you completed quests, and how long it took to complete them, who you took quests from, if you refused quests, if you attacked mobs, and whether you killed them or just left them defeated, as well as if you attacked other players or not, all of it went into determining your reputation. Reputation was determined by what area you were in, and who you were dealing with, however. A good reputation in one country could result in a very bad reputation in the neighboring country if the two were enemies. The reputation page was already huge, and would only get larger as you played.
What’s more, reputation for each character only traveled as information about the character did. Achievements were primarily localized, and only local NPCs would know about your reputation. That was one of the considerations to starting in a bustling city like Arkeport. Any NPC she ran into would communicate her reputation to any other NPC they ran into. If the NPCs only moved around a small area, then even if you had a bad reputation, you could just escape to an area that had no communication with that area, and your reputation would be effectively clean, at least until news of you could catch up to you. Reputation traveled with players as well, although not as extensively as it did with NPCs.
This was another reason to avoid black areas, at least for regular players. Black areas were ‘off the grid’. Nothing that happened in a black area would affect your reputation unless it was witnessed by someone, either another player or NPC. As long as there were no witnesses, no one would ever know about what you did there, at least as far as the game was concerned.
Finally Musette was done checking her status, since she knew the Group tab would also be blank, since she’d just started. So the next thing to check was her Inventory.
There was a bag on her hip, and she could open it up and look in it, seeing coins and other stuff shoved inside, but it was hard to tell what everything was as it appeared to be miniaturized. Thinking *Inventory* accomplished nothing, but *Bag* did, bring up information on her bag.
There wasn’t much in her bag, just a bit of money, food, and the item she’d received for completing the tutorial. The money system in Chronicles was base 100, so 100 Tin was equal to 1 Copper, and 100 Copper equal to 1 Silver and so on. It went Tin, Copper, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Expatine, Adamantite and Nirvanum, the last three being fantasy metals with special properties.
Musette’s bag was the standard bag. There was no limit to the number of items it could hold, but there was a weight limit. In addition to being able to store any volume of items, however, it also reduced the weight of any item placed in it by 5%. Musette decided to check the items in the bag that were taking up over 3kg of space.
Hardy bread that can be kept for a long time and which is quite filling.
Restores 10% Satiety and 10 BP over 60s. Cannot be eaten at 100% Satiety.
The Wheat Bread appeared to be the most basic food. Unlike in most MMOs, potions weren’t cheap and plentiful in Chronicles. Food was the primary method of healing, but instead of healing instantly like potions, it healed over time. Of course, food also restored Satiety and Hydration as well as HP, and could even add temporary stat boosts. The better quality the food, the more useful it would be. The advantage of potions was instant healing, but they had a cooldown, so couldn’t be used in quick succession. Food could be eaten as long as your Satiety wasn’t maxed, and the effects of multiple foods would stack.
Reinforced Knee-High Boots (Leather)
Foot Armor : H
Integrity 100%/Durability 100%
Knee-High Heeled boots made with layers of leather for increased protection.
Cannot be worn with Shoes.
The boots she’d received for completing the Tutorial were very nice, stat-wise. They were only a White Item, the lowest Rating, but they were Quality H, which was slightly higher than basic. They added 8 points of Defense, which was more than all the rest of her clothes combined. However, they were knee-high black leather boots with a 4-inch heel. This didn’t exactly go with Musette’s current clothing, plus she wasn’t that into heels, especially if she was going to be moving around a lot. She decided to leave them in the bag for now, she could sell or trade them later.
The Journal was interesting. There were many blank pages which it seemed she could write on to take notes; not that she had anything to write with. However, some of the pages were already filled in with today’s date chronicling her arrival from another world into Arkeport. It seems the Journal kept track of her travels and activities, and was also sort of a quest log. It had a special note in its description saying it was Soulbound. That probably meant she couldn’t drop it or lose it.
The only thing left was the flint & steel, which appeared to be a basic item for starting fires. Musette took it out of the bag, literally pulling it out of the menu, and it was just two short sticks. One was the flint, the other the steel, and if struck together they would make a spark.
That seemed to be pretty much it. Having set her options and examined her status, Musette was set to go. Thinking *Stream On*, she looked for the pixel that represented the camera and smiled into it.
“Okay everyone, meet my new character Musette! As you can see, I decided to go with a Miriam, Dusk race. What do you think?” Musette turned her body left and right, posing, then showed off her long, braided hair, draping it over her arms.
“I like it so far, although I haven’t done much yet,” she grinned. “Sorry I couldn’t stream the tutorial or character creation, since there were no options. Right now I’ve got the camera set to dynamic, so we’ll see how that works. Let me know in the chat what you think, and I’ll make adjustments later.
“For now, I’ve started out with pretty much nothing, so I need to go find a class trainer and get started. Oh! I chose to start in Arkeport, if you want to meet up. I plan to solo for most of today though, and I’ll check out the chat after I get off. Okay, gonna switch the stream to real-time in a minute and get started. Enjoy!”
Musette did as she said, switching the stream to Earth-time, then looked around. There were a lot of other new users around, who seemed to be doing the same thing she had been when setting her options. She got a few glances, being one of the few Miriam around, but no one was really paying attention to her, even with her talking to the air earlier.
There were all kinds of species and races of characters around, but Miriam like her seemed to be pretty rare, even among the NPCs. That would make her stand out more, which was a bit uncomfortable, but she didn’t have time to worry about that.With a bit of concentration Musette brought up the map and then just stared at it. It showed her immediate surroundings, and nothing else! How was she supposed to find her way around this large city?