The golden rays of dawn were shining in the sky. It was a cool and refreshing morning.
Whilst driving a truck, Han Xiao made his way toward Big Horn Mountain. He had based his directions off a radar. Despite him driving all night, he was not tired at all. In fact, he was alert as he had pulled over to nap the night before.
The public beta had started a few days ago, yet the forum was already buzzing with comments. Han Xiao specially took notice of Planet Aquamarine's forum, and through the tags of the players, he managed to understand the situation of each and every newcomer. He had always wanted to join in the commotion.
The best chance to interact was when the players made their first appearance.
Just a few days back, Han Xiao had used his authority to obtain a tip-off from the dark webthere was a batch of newcomers in Big Horn Village. Hence, Han Xiao decided to advance toward Big Horn Village to get rid of them.
In the distance from Big Horn Village, one could see the silhouette of the settlements. Han Xiao could tell with one glance that the settlement was filled with countless tents, just like a refugee camp. A swarm of players could also be seen busy bustling about.
The moment Han Xiao parked his truck, he caught the attention of the players.
With a cigarette dangling from his lips, Han Xiao got out from his truck and leaned against it while puffing out a cloud of smoke. He put on an air of arrogance, misleading the players to think that he was an important character.
A deep understanding of players' mentality was Han Xiao's specialty. He had analyzed the situation. With the new game being released, all the players were thrilled. No matter what kind of tasks were given to them, they were all willing to try. This was known as the 'hunger' stage, and since there was an overwhelming number of new players, there would definitely be a few players who could not obtain any missions.
Therefore, Han Xiao knew that as an 'advanced player' character, he was influential. All he had to do was appear in front of the players, and he could definitely rile up the players. The players were all new and did not have skills yet. However, he could benefit from their large number. Han Xiao also happened to have a way to reap benefits from these newcomers, and he could take this opportunity to further test the functions on the NPC interface.
In Han Xiao's eyes, the players who were walking about resembled walking wallets.
After a while, the players were finally starting to get curious and some walked over.
Black Phantom Unknown (Yellow Name)
Risk Level: Extremely deadly
"What the heck? This is a high-level NPC!"
"This is the first time that I've seen one."
"Why is there such a high-level player in a novice village? Is he the Boss?"
"Doesn't seem like it though. It looks like we can trigger a mission."
The surrounding players were full of astonishment and were hesitating whether they should approach Han Xiao.
Han Xiao raised an eyebrowhe was now at LV 40, which was thirty levels higher than all the other players. This time around, he was fully aware of the players' abilities. Hence, he cleared his throat and said, "You all seemed to be a capable bunch of people, and I do need some help at the moment."
After making his statement, Han Xiao sent out the missions that he had prepared earlier on.
The dozen players received their missions.
[Mysterious Stranger]: You have encountered a mysterious NPC, and he seems to have some work for you. Try to please him as much as possible, and you might receive unexpected surprises.
The mission was to collect a plant known as 'Snake Venom'. These players realized that the reward given was more generous than the novice tasks that they had received in Big Horn Village. It was reaching up to a thousand EXP. Thus, the players received their missions excitedly.
Snake Venom was a relatively common plant. This plant could be collected near Big Horn Village, and it was also sold in the settlement to make poisoned arrows.
At this moment, many players could not afford firearms; instead, they used cold weapons. Han Xiao set up this mission for the sole purpose of experimenting as well as to allow his subsequent activities to not be suspected.
The limit of my missions now is much higher than before; it has reached D-level.
With that thought in mind, Han Xiao opened the interface, and the detailed numbers appeared.
Highest reward limit: 36,940
Level 40: +12000 (Advancement Level Limit +300)
Rank D: +10,000
- Germinal (Enemy): -3,000
- Division 13 (Friendly): 2,130
- Blood Pact Society (Respect): 3,950
- The Rothschild Family (Friendly): 1,300
- Farian Company (Friendly): 1,200
- Black Phantom (Aquamarine) +5%
- Mysterious Zero (Aquamarine) +5%
The bonuses from his Universal Reputation was a ten percent on his current limit. Different regions had different Universal Reputation bonuses, but usually, the bonus from one Universal Reputation was 5%. In addition, the bigger the area, the higher the bonus.
The main objective of the Universal Reputation was for the daily limit; one Universal Reputation resulted in double the limit, and originally, his limit was a five times addition. Now, it was at seven times the original limit, nearing 26,000 experience points.
The players who had not received any missions huddled together and were quietly discussing among themselves while looking at Han Xiao curiously.
"This is the high-level NPC? It feels like he's no different from us!"
"Black Phantom does sound very old-fashioned."
"I wonder which profession he is from."
It might not have been mentioned before, but most of public players' profession was Esper!
The other four schools of players required basic knowledge to change their profession, but Esper was capable of many things. Of course, even though their abilities were strange, none of the players had the ability to use them. Espers required a huge amount of energy, and it was dependent on the players' current levels. They were simply unable to use their powers and hence appeared very weak. The players were at most able to exert their power for around ten seconds, which meant that the players were weak and vulnerable.
Not long after, the players who had completed their mission were returning with a bunch of Snake Venom. Their faces were filled with excitement.
Once Han Xiao realized that there were enough onlookers, his eyes flashed. "I will stay here for a few days. I can provide some weapons for you should you need them."
Han Xiao then opened the window containing goods that he could sell to the players. He had only set up a few types of weapons: Foldable Machete, ordinary pistols, and submachine guns. He did not sell other machinery as he knew that the novice players did not have that much money, but he was selling many types of ammunition and special ammunition.
However, Han Xiao also had a powerful setup called 'Lightweight Mechanical Arm', the price of which was so steep that the players were unable to afford. It was actually bait that was as effective as hanging a carrot in front of a donkey.
Offering the Lightweight Mechanical Arm meant nothing to him as it was useless to him because of two main reasons. Firstly, the equipment did not match his capability, and secondly, it was not a rare product to begin with. It was just introductory machinery, and since it would be developed by other mechanics in the future, it was better to release this machinery now to earn short-term profit.
One issue was that the Foldable Machete and Lightweight Mechanical Arm that Han Xiao had created in Stardragon seemed to have a risk of being exposed, but Han Xiao was not too concerned as Stardragon and him were not enemies. Furthermore, his own whereabouts were erratic. Even if his identify was known, it did not matter as the circulation of information between the players and the organizations was very slow.
Hence, his sale of this machinery in a short period of time would not pose any problem. The profits from the players' market was too awesome for him to give up, whereas in the future
Once I'm stronger, there will be absolutely no need to continue hiding my identity.
Not to mention Han Xiao's psychological activities, but all the players who saw the equipment put out for sale were shocked!
"This is the mysterious businessman!"
"Lightweight Mechanical Arm! Oh my God, this is an artifact!"
"This machinery costs 20,000 dollars! This is way too expensive; who can even afford it? Besides, it requires twenty-five points of strength to use it; I think you would need to be LV 10 at least to reach this attribute."
"Those firearms are cheap though. They only cost 1,500 dollars for one!"
The player then called their friends and flocked over, eager to have a look. Han Xiao was surrounded by them in an instant.
The novice players were attracted to the firearms like a moth to a flame. Since they are using cold weapons now, it would require a dozen people to even defeat a weak beast. Not only were Big Horn Village's firearms expensive, they needed money for the ammunition too. The novice players simply could not afford it.
The cost of Han Xiao making a pistol was only about 800 Aqua coins, and the selling price was twice the cost price. He was considered kind because his price was affordable; he doubted that anyone could find a cheaper pistol than his. Furthermore, Han Xiao's pistols were of great quality. It was not as if he was trying to cheat the players' money by offering inferior quality pistols.
Because there were limited firearms, the players rushed to make a purchase. Those who managed to get their hands on the guns were exhilarated, while those who did not manage to get one were disappointed.
The closed beta players had also squeezed in with the crowd. SliceYouUp, who had killed the world guild's leader, bought a pistol from Han Xiao and realized that the quality was much better than the gun sold in Big Horn Village. How regretful he was! Had he known earlier, he would not have bought his weapons from Big Horn Village.
Having sold all his weapons in the truck, Han Xiao earned thirty thousand dollars in that short period of time. Yes, the players' funds were limited, but there were at least ten thousand of players in Big Horn Village, which meant the combined purchases were earning Han Xiao big bucks. After selling the firearms, Han Xiao could use the cargo compartment in the truck to manufacture new firearms and ammunition.
The real profits from selling firearms were the sales from ammunition. Having bought the firearms, the players would have to buy ammunition as well. This was known as bundled sales, where one product generated the demand of the other because they had to be bought together. This was also what Han Xiao had realized previously when he had bought instant noodles without the seasoning from the shop downstairs.
The players loved their newly bought guns so much that they refused to put them down. Some were shooting at trees faraway; the recoil strength was so strong that the players' wrists shook, and the bullets flew aimlessly.
Those who had no shooting skills were unable to unleash the gun's power fully. A lot of the players realized they had this problem, and their excitement slowly turned to distress.
This was what Han Xiao had been anticipating. Now he could offer his after sales service!
Han Xiao smiled to himself and set up a window for shooting lessons. This time round, he did not announce it to the players. He set it in a way that to learn from him, the players would have to have a reputation of five points.
The players discovered this service almost immediately.
"We can actually learn skills from Black Phantom!"
"Oh my, there are so many abilities to learn."
"We need five reputation points to learn though. How do we increase our reputation?"
"I just discovered how; for every 500 dollars spent, your reputation with Black Phantom will increase by one!"
"It is still too expensive!"
The players only had a thousand dollars with them now, and they had accumulated this from completing missions. Han Xiao had a deep understanding of their financial status as he was, after all, once a novice player. This move was to enable the players to feel that learning a skill was not easy.
Humans are as such; they would not appreciate things that were given easily. Only when they are unable to obtain something instantly would they feel the need to upgrade themselves to get what they desired. In this case, once an ordinary player and a character developed a good relationship, it would also increase their reputation with the NPC. Of course, Master Han's main purpose was to also rake in a large sum of money from the players.
If I don't earn the players' hard-earned money, am I still human?
To continuously create demand from his customers and force them to buy products was a tactic used by businessmen. Han Xiao touched his chin and mused, Oh if only I had gone into business instead.