The youngsters nowadays have no patience and tend to immediately put the blame on someone else.
Ironically, the elders tend to say ‘the youngsters nowadays~~’ and this is not restricted to just recently but almost always though. Well, there are times when I think they’ve got a point.
For example; in the walkthrough pages of popular games, at the frequent questions section (or the faqs or Q&A), there’s always one question mixed in the group.
Q: I can’t do ***. Bug?
The *** parts can apply to many things. I can’t do this, I can’t defeat this, I can’t get this, or similar scenarios to that.
The answers for it also follow a certain pattern.
For example, something like…
A: It is not a bug. To do ***, read the instruction manual (page ***).
Please read the instructions before asking.
You normally should understand that bugs aren’t something that you encounter often, but they are so dependent that the more selfish that person is, the more they seek the reason for the mistake from the outside.
They don’t investigate or try it out for themselves, and not only would they ask things that you would be able to solve easily just by investigating for a bit, they would blame anything and everything to bugs.
But New Communicate Online is a different story.
The walkthrough page of New Communicate Online, the Nekomimi Neko Wiki, doesn’t have such wordy stuff written on it.
In the Nekomimi Neko Wiki faqs, there’s only:
Q: About ***. Is it a bug?
That one word answer encapsulates everything about New Communicate Online.
“This place is…” (Souma)
When the changes in my vision had subsided, I was standing on a vast road.
At the left of the road, there’s a forest; at the right, a prairie.
I remember having seen the bulletin board closeby and the vegetation of the forest before.
The outskirts of the first town. This is most likely the neighboring zone of the low level area called the Forest of Beginnings.
“I should have been inside a city just a few moments ago…” (Souma)
Just what in the world happened in that brief moment?
No matter if we are talking about the infamous New Communicate Online, there’s no such thing like being suddenly thrown somewhere else from just standing in a city.
Even when I called her, there was no response.
The call had been cut off.
“Eh? It isn’t working?” (Souma)
Not only that, the phone, the mail, and the internet connection functions were unresponsive too.
I can’t bring up the menu window.
“A bug again? No, for a bug, this is a bit…” (Souma)
It is strange that even the phone is not working.
That’s not a feature of the game but one that is present in all VR spaces.
It is impossible that a bug of the game would affect that.
“Then, there’s an anomaly in the VR machine itself…?” (Souma)
I mutter this while still doubtful about it and try to open the game menu.
There’s no reaction at all there either.
“What’s going on?” (Souma)
Uneasiness spreads in my mind.
The game menu should have the Save, Load, and Logout functions.
If I can’t use that…
The wind brushed my cheek when I had begun to grow uneasy.
“No way!” (Souma)
I hurriedly crouched on the spot and began touching the grass.
Each blade of grass, each grain of dirt had a proper sensation transmitted to me.
Even if it is a VR game, there’s limits to how much it can process.
It is normal to skim through parts that are not that necessary to the gameplay.
New Communicate Online is a game with high realism, but even with that, the sensation of wind brushing your cheeks and the scent of the trees were not recreated.
The ground and the vegetation you see around is almost the same as the real thing, but even when touching the grass and the soil, you would only get an inorganic feel like that of plastic.
And yet, the grass and soil I am touching feels no different from that of reality.
The last shout I heard of Maki replays in my mind.
—If you love games that much, live inside one!!
At that time, Maki had something similar to the fortune mallet in her hand.
According to tales, when you swing the fortune mallet, you can grant your wishes.
Thinking about the situation, Maki was shouting, so she probably swung the mallet down in anger at that time.
Is it possible that her wish got granted at that time and I ended up inside the game…?
“No, that’s crazy…right?” (Souma)
I asked to no one in particular.
Even I think this is a stupid thing to consider.
But there’s no other way to explain this situation.
When I look at my own attire, I see that I am wearing leather armor and leather boots.
There’s a shortsword scabbard at my waist and a small pouch wrapped around there.
This is clearly the beginner equipment of New Communicate Online.
I suddenly thought of something and put a hand into the poach at my waist.
The moment I did so, the image of two types of bottles, red and blue, showed up in my head.
When I chose the blue one and took my hand out, the blue liquid bottle was tightly in my grasp.
…There’s no doubt about it.
This is one of the 3 healing potions that you possess in the beginning of the game.
Moreover, even though I brought out something that big, the size and weight of the poach showed no signs of changing.
If this were to happen in the real world, it would be a sleight of hand or paranormal activity.
“If this really is a game world…” (Souma)
I resolve myself and smash the potion on the ground.
The potion bottle was broken into pieces on the ground, and an ear-piercing sound was made as the fragments of the bottle flew about…not.
A blue light spread in the center where the potion was smashed, and a second after that, a silly *powa~n* sound effect was made.
When I got close to confirm it, there wasn’t a single fragment of the bottle at the place I smashed it at. It had disappeared without a single trace.
“This really is the world of New Communicate Online…?” (Souma)
I look up at the sky and space out at this way too ridiculous of a situation.
New Communicate Online has 3 types of ways you can use potions.
Drink, pour, or smash.
If you drink the liquid, you will of course restore your HP, and if you pour it on your wound, your wound will close up.
And in the case when you use it on your allies in battle, you can throw the potion at them.
It is impossible in real life, but when you get hit hard by the potion, the part that got hit by it will recover, and the bottle will disappear right after.
With just this alone, you can tell that this is not the real world, and that it is working with game logic.
But that’s not all.
In New Communicate Online, there’s a famous and, moreover, a still not fixed bug yet that happens when you smash a potion.
Also known as the bug: The sound…is…delayed…
I don’t know how you mess it up to make that happen, but the light effect and the sound effect that happens when the potion is smashed has a 1 second delay bug (or more like, they failed to set it right).
…Right, just like what I witnessed a few moments ago.
“What’s with this place?” (Souma)
The wind, smell, the feel of the grass and soil; I can tell that I am not playing New Communicate Online here, but the item setting mistakes and everything about it have faithfully replicated the logic of New Communicate Online.
This is just in case such a happening is possible, but the most logical conclusion I can come to is that I fell into a real world that is exactly in the image of the New Communicate Online world.
“?! What is it?!” (Souma)
But my thoughts were forcefully put to a stop there.
I feel like I heard the scream of someone from further into the road.
“Could it be…” (Souma)
I thought for a moment there and soon had an idea of what it was.
If this world is the world of New Communicate Online…
That might happen…
There’s no point thinking about it.
I ran to where the voice rang.
My body was far lighter than I anticipated.
That’s right, there’s no doubt.
This sensation is not that of my body in the real world, but the sensation of when I move my body in New Communicate Online.
With this, just maybe…
When I say that, the scenery around me flowed in one go.
An intense acceleration that would be impossible to experience in real life attacked me.
A few moments of floating and landing, and then, stunned briefly.
I shake away the stiffening that happens after using a skill, and I begin running again.
Looks like I can use skills normally.
Moreover, the way to use Step is the exact same as the game which you could say is a big plus.
Step is a basic skill that anyone can use in the beginning.
But it is a basic skill that has a lot of utility which cannot be ignored.
I continued on while confirming the state of my body, and it didn’t take long to see the location of the struggle.
The first thing I saw was a big wagon.
An old fashioned wagon that you would rarely see in the real world was stopped dead in the middle of the road.
And in front of the wagon, there’s people fighting.
There’s 5 people.
The first one that comes to my eyes is the back figure of the woman that’s holding a sword.
And then, I see the 4 lizardmen that have their weapons out with the wagon at their back as if surrounding the woman.
When I saw this, I grew certain about it.
I knew it!
It has begun already!
The unreasonable starting event that’s said to have brought the death of more than 90% of the playerbase; the infamous Lizardmen Trap!
- Chapter 2: The Lizardmen Trap
You left your hometown desiring fame and fortune, strength and authority, and most of all, seeking thrill and adventure.
The place you are heading to is a savage land where there’s still monsters and monstrosities prowling about in the mountains and forests, where sword and magic rule; the Rihito Kingdom.
Beastfolk and demons stroll the cities as if natural, and rowdy fellows called adventurers live by the day -a world where survival of the fittest prevails.
You continue on your journey in dreams of such glory in those lands, and you finally arrive at the entrance of the Rihito Kingdom, at the place leading to Lamurick Town.
At the pace you are going, you will be able to arrive at Lamurick by today.
You were relieved by this, but a scream resonated further into that road.
“Bandits! Someone, please come!”
After a second of hesitation, you held your treasured sword and ran towards the voice.
Sounds of metal clashing, and voices of conflict.
You strain your eyes, and just at the other side, you could see an intense battle occurring.
Bandits aiming for the stopped carriage, and the merchants protecting this.
One of the merchants shouts: “An adventurer? I will reward you, so help us out.”
You nod at the merchant without saying a word and lunge at the bandits.
Your adventure has begun…
I remember the introductory story that was written at the official homepage while I once again look at the scene in front of me.
It was such a long time ago, I don’t remember it clearly anymore, but it should be safe to assume this is the starting event judging from the positioning.
The quest that’s also called the first time killer, the Lizardmen Trap.
I don’t remember the official quest name, but it was probably ‘protect the merchant’.
It is not like there was an accurate statistic for it, but it is said that more than 90% of the players were killed at least once by this event.
As for me, the first time I did this, I had no idea what was going on at all and was easily killed.
I only understood what was going on after the 2nd time I was killed.
What’s so difficult about this event is in part because the enemies showing up are strong, but it is also because it is a situation that’s hard to gauge for a first timer.
Moreover, people who are used to games get caught by this trap more easily.
I reconfirm the situation.
The closest one to me is the sword wielding woman who has her back turned to me.
And then, there’s the lizardmen who have their weapons out with the wagon at their back and surrounding the girl.
Now then, do you understand?
At a glance, this situation looks like the lizardmen are attacking the human woman.
But the Lizardmen are fighting……with the wagon at their back.
On top of that, if you observe more calmly, compared to the woman who has leather armor, a shamshir, and a shield; the lizardmen are wearing normal clothes, and what they have are knives or clubs that seem more like used for self-defense.
…In other words, this is the picture of a fearsome completely armed female bandit who is attacking innocent merchant lizardmen riding the wagon.
If you read the story written on the official website and the instruction manual, you would know there’s several merchants, but there’s nothing written about the most important point -them being lizardmen.
Most players have the preconception that lizardmen are enemies, and coupled with the assumption that there’s no way the side with the numerical inferiority is the assailant, you end up going after the lizardmen.
When you do that, the NPCs that were your allies will become your enemies, and while you are fighting the lizardmen, the female bandit that you thought was your ally will stab you in the back in the most literal meaning of the word.
This truly is the Lizardmen Trap.
No, the lizardmen themselves have no ill-intentions at all. Just because they look scary, they end up getting attacked; a pitiful role they were made to take.
There was even a player that got killed more than ten times getting caught in this Lizardmen Trap without understanding what was happening. There was a middle schooler who was traumatized by this and was unable to play VR games for a while.
I don’t know if it was on purpose or it was an oversight, but this unbelievable starting event served to raise the infamy of New Communicate Online.
Of course, I already know the trick here, so there’s no way I would mess up.
But even without that, the difficulty of this quest is high.
The female bandit is someone strong enough that can fight 4 merchants at the same time regardless if there’s a difference in their equipment.
If you don’t fight while coordinating with the lizardmen, a beginner would easily get killed.
I take out my sword, and once I get close enough to see their faces clearly, I begin to grow nervous.
The faces of the lizardmen and the ferocious laugh of the fighting female bandit could be seen in detail.
Realism that I have never experienced in the game.
It speaks fluently about the fact that this world is not a game.
If it were in-game, I would be able to fight.
No matter if my stats have been reset to their initial ones, I haven’t been playing so casually that I would have a hard time with an enemy at the very start of the game.
But I am not inside the game right now.
At the very least, this place is so real that I can’t even tell it apart from reality.
Also, I don’t know if you respawn after dying in this world.
Even in the game, NPCs won’t respawn when they die. The respawn system of New Communicate Online was technically loading your save file.
You simply are returned to the last save point you were in. I am not sure if that is still applicable in this world.
(Can I do this?) (Souma)
I am suddenly assailed by uneasiness.
If my experience in the game still applies here, I should be able to win.
The uneasiness was beginning to take hold of my body and was accelerating my impatience.
I was way too consumed by my thoughts.
I ended up making more noise than I expected and dropped my sword.
The female bandit and the lizardmen that were fighting both noticed me, and all faced this way at the same time.
I hurriedly picked up my sword again, but it was already too late.
I was exposed to five gazes that I would find hard to say are friendly, and my legs buckled.
This is bad.
I had to manage teamwork with the lizardmen, but leaving aside the game world, would the lizardmen ally with me in the real world?
I am a human just like the female bandit, moreover, came from the same direction as her.
Wouldn’t you normally misunderstand that I am her ally?
My heart grew faint at that thought.
I couldn’t think of anything, but even with that, I still tried to say something, and opened my mouth…
But there was no need for that anymore.
The female bandit clicked her tongue and moved to action.
She turned around without hesitation.
She understood the danger of getting pincered here and it seems like she will be retreating.
‘That’s a relief’ -that thought of mine was naive.
She didn’t give up the fight.
She simply changed the priorities in her objective.
Her next target was…
In order to avoid the danger of being pincered, she would kill the unknown factor that’s me, and then attack the lizardmen.
This ain’t no joke!
That’s what I thought and I wanted to do something about it, but my body wasn’t responding.
The female bandit was approaching.
The shamshir in her hand shone eerily, and her cruel smile showed certainty in her victory.
The distance between me and the female bandit shrunk further and further.
The 10 meters I should have had was now close to 0 meters.
This time for sure, the female bandit raised her sword with killing intent.
Seeing this, I…
- Chapter 3: Cancel
I activated Step practically on reflex at the approaching deadly blade and retreated.
The speed at which the female bandit swung her weapon wasn’t actually that fast.
If I had been playing as normal, I should have been able to avoid it without using any skills.
Also, if I had been my usual self, even if I did choose to use Step, I wouldn’t have used it to go backwards, but to the side.
But fear made me jump back.
Seeing that, the female bandit showed scorn in her face.
My spine shook.
(The stun after using a skill!) (Souma)
That wicked smile made me understand what the female bandit was aiming for.
Step is an excellent evasion skill for emergencies, but as long as its nature as a skill remains, it creates a stun time after the animation is done.
Make an attack that you expect to be avoided, and after you make them use Step, you proceed with your real attack.
That was her aim.
Even if you are aware of the enemy’s aim, you can’t stop a skill midanimation.
Step excels in granting a burst of speed, but everything aside from its initial velocity isn’t that fast.
The female bandit easily caught up to me and…
“This is the end. [Slash]!”
The female bandit activates the skill while shouting.
Slash is a beginner skill, but the damage multiplier set by the game is far and above that of a normal attack.
Considering the difference in power between me and the female bandit, this one attack could easily take my life.
As the drawn blade approaches, I think.
Aah, why did I think that my experience in the game would work in this world too?
My game knowledge and experiences, in this world, are…
Obviously invaluable assets!!
The Slash that I did…came out one instant later…yet it reached the female bandit an instant faster.
The attack was hindered by the armor, so it didn’t deal much damage, but that damage interrupted the skill of the opponent.
Why is it that my skill, which I activated later, ended up hitting the female bandit faster than the skill of the female bandit?
Of course, for this woman who has no game knowledge, it is probably a concept she wouldn’t even be able to imagine.
By chaining Slash after Step, the initial motions are omitted and the activation is faster. There’s no way she would be able to reach that conclusion.
But my attacks are not over with just this much.
As if I would let it end there.
Slash passed through the body of the enemy, and just when the signs of the slash ending could be seen, at that instant…
I didn’t let that brief Cancel Point escape, and override the Slash motion with Step to cancel it.
The face of the female bandit dyes in surprise again.
Slash and Step may be beginner skills, but they are veritable skills.
Skills: due to their powerful effects, require long initial motions, and are paired with creating an opening after the skill ends.
In the first place, in the instruction manual of New Communicate Online, it is written that skills are powerful, but because of the recoil of it, you can’t move for a while after the animation ends. We call that Skill Stun.
You normally can’t move because of the recoil from overexerting your body, and yet, you further overlap a skill that pushes your body. There’s no way it can be possible.
But…only I know this world is a game.
In the game of this world, there’s a technique…no, a system called Cancel.
It is a technique that was originally born from fighting games, but many games with action elements to it have been implementing this system as well.
In the middle of certain motions, or at the times when you are about to perform the next motions after you finished the action, you can skip those frames by Canceling.
This has been included in the latest VR game, New Communicate Online, as well.
That’s why, having gotten diagonally backwards from her with Step, the moment my feet touched the ground, I shouted once again.
Normally, Step and Slash both create a short stun time after use that doesn’t even reach the second, but it is still a fatal opening nonetheless.
Because of this stun, it is not possible to use them consecutively.
That’s why I connected both to animation-cancel the opening it creates.
If the female bandit had the time to turn back, I am sure her eyes would be wide in disbelief.
In the first place, Slash is an attack where you lift and swing down.
And yet, despite me having swung down my arm with Slash just recently, I had already raised my arm all the way up.
I don’t even know how I moved my own arm.
But the moment I shouted Slash, my arm was already aloft as if it were natural.
My sword was swung in one smooth strike onto her defenseless back.
This unimaginable attack that came from an unbelievable location led to the female bandit being rendered incapable of doing anything against it, only surrendering to the fate of collapsing powerlessly to the ground.
“Leaving the rest to you!” (Souma)
When I shouted this, the lizardmen who were absentmindedly watching my fight finally returned to their senses.
With the order of the lizardman that seemed to be the leader, the stopped time began to move again.
The 4 lizardmen jumped at her at the same time, and captured the female bandit that’s still unable to move.
Even while I was watching this, I couldn’t move.
My heart is hammering and breathing is painful.
I am clearly out of stamina.
I can use skills consecutively by applying the cancel mechanic, but it also comes with the disadvantage that the stamina consumption gets intense.
My shoulders were heaving up and down, desperately trying to recover my strength.
I simply watched the lizardmen swarming onto the female bandit and tying her up while I said this to no one in particular.
“Just how many hours do you think I have trained to master the SteCanSlash? Don’t underestimate a loner gamer with unlimited free-time…!!” (Souma)