Big Horn Village was one of several starting zones on Plant Aquamarine.
As Frenzied Sword's consciousness slowly adjusted, he found himself standing atop a loess field. The warmth of the sun felt just like it was real and so too did the earthly smell of the soil. When he looked down to see his two arms, he was shocked by how realistic they looked and felt.
It was a small field, and Frenzied Sword noticed that there were hundreds of other players around him; they, too, were curiously examining their 'bodies'. Each player's name was displayed on the top of his head.
Following the mini-guide shown during character creation, Frenzied Sword opened up the character information window. It displayed that he was Lv. 1 and also showed the default starting equipment that he was equipped with: a shirt, a pair of pants, and a pair of shoes. They did not come with any stat bonuses.
"Damn it, I can't strip!"
A fellow player nearby was causing a commotion. He appeared to be trying to remove his pants unsuccessfully.
'What the hell are you even trying to do that for?'
The alarmed Frenzied Sword decided that moving away would be a good idea.
Frenzied Sword was a professional gamer, albeit not so well known. Aspiring professional gamer would be more accurate. He had only recently joined the scene, so he was, by all counts, a newcomer. He had been keeping a close eye on Galaxy ever since learning of its promising e-sports prospects, so when the beta test was announced, he immediately asked his association for a slot.
As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. Frenzied Sword was determined to succeed in this new game.
Conversation broke out amongst the crowd.
"This is so realistic!"
"What should we do now?"
Suddenly, a white-bearded, fearsome looking white elderly man appeared before the crowd and bellowed, "All of you outsiders! If you want to eat, then find yourself a job! Loafers are not welcome in our village! The crops in our farms need picking, and the shops to the south need workers! As long as you work hard, you will have food to eat!"
Beside the players' health bars were two other bars for hunger and thirst. Upon reaching 0, the player would gain a [Hungry] or [Thirsty] debuff that would cause their health to drop.
Frenzied Sword 'examined' the old man.
Based on your level, you acquired the following information:
Xander - Big Horn Mountain Village Chief
[I am your village chief now.]
Danger Level: Middle
Players had an 'examine' function that allowed them to learn an NPC's name and information. However, the amount of information obtained differed based on their level difference.
"The weapons store sells guns, bullets, and other weapons, the marketplace is where people sell food and water, and the amphitheater is where you will find mounts to rent. If you wish to leave, there is a train station several kilometers north of here. If you wish to learn a craft, the blacksmith's or the tailor's are good choices..."
Xander's explanation filled in the new players on their situation. There were only a few sub-classes and one combat class - [Novice Hunter] - available in this village, and they cost money to learn.
Frenzied Sword opened up the map to find it mostly shrouded in fog. Before he explored the planet, he would have to first earn money.
"Is it possible to take on hunting quests straight away?"
Frenzied Sword recognized the man, SliceYouUp, as the guild leader of the guild 'Kill-all'. His IGN was telling of his personality.
Upon hearing his question, Xander burst out into laughter.
"You weaklings think that you stand a chance against wild beasts? See those mountains over there? If you are not afraid to die then by all means try, but it looks to me like none of you are even strong enough to even take on a Silver Hyena."
The players looked towards where the old man pointed to see a range of forested mountains in the distance. Some of the mountains stood so tall that the clouds seemed to encircle them like huge, coiling pythons, creating an extremely scenic view that stole the breaths of the players. The graphics were incredibly life-like. Galaxy was clearly ahead of the competition.
Refusing to believe the old man, SliceYouUp took his party to purchase some basic equipment with the starting money of $100 and headed for the mountains.
It did not take long for them to return.
SliceYouUp, in particular, was shaken up quite badly. The first beast that he had encountered was a gorilla larger than an adult man. As soon as he raised his dagger, the gorilla threw its excrement at him, the force of which blew up his head. And it only got better. He respawned in the middle of a stampede.
'Why the hell would that freaking monkey know how to throw its excrement Must everything be so realistic'
For some reason, the foul smell still lingered around even after respawning. The developers were definitely trolling when they decided to add in this smell.
"WTF, aren't those monsters too strong?"
"They didn't even stand a chance!"
"He only managed to do 1 damage!!"
"Damn it, I dropped the knife I just bought!"
The amount of experience lost upon death depended on the character level. The respawn time also increased with each death. For the first death, respawning only took 10 seconds, but it would take a minute for the second, five for the third, and half an hour for the fourth, increasing up to a whopping six days.
Death was very costly in the Galaxy. Each character could also only die up to 10 times every day (6 days in-game). Reaching this limit would result in a character lock until the next day. It was an anti-addiction system that proved to be more effective than the 'exhaustion system' of certain mobile games.
The Kill-all party's sad state immediately deterred the other players from thinking of hunting monsters. They quickly dispersed to find work to do.
As Xander watched over the buzz, he stroked his beard with a smile.
"The reward is so low! I only got $50!"
"Leveling is so slow! It took me half an hour of quests just to earn enough experience to level up!"
"Everything feels so real!"
"I hit myself to test, and blood actually came out! Amazing!"
"Something is wrong with you dude."
The start was not as easy as the players had expected; everyone was at least put on a level playing field. Furthermore, there was an extremely high degree of freedom for them to choose what they wanted to do. As the players went about their quests, many started to find themselves enjoying the game. Quests were tiring yet felt so fulfilling.
'Today is a blessed day!'
"Are you a pro gamer, too?"
Frenzied Sword recognized the trio walking towards him. They were also famous pros: Twinkle Fried Rice, a genius lauded for his mechanical skills, Sleepy Winter, a super veteran of e-sports, and Rainy Kim, a female idol gamer with tens of millions of fans.
In the face of these big gods of the gaming world, Frenzied Sword felt as though he had shrunk a few feet.
"Is something the matter?"
Sleepy Winter laughed, replying, "I was wondering - did you notice that the map sold in this town costs $3000?"