Jules rather enjoyed hunting monsters. It was what he imagined a nature walk would have been like in the past, except of course much more dangerous. However, going around outside and seeing animals, plants, and natural terrain was rather nice. On Earth, most of the views of wild animals and nature were in movies. There was very little “real” nature left. Thus, here was an interesting substitution, with a different, but also real, version of nature. Though, this one seemed less real, because it wasn’t like what he was used to thinking of nature as.
Their party continued to look for monsters, but avoided the next “spined horror”, since they weren’t in good condition to fight one. They would be significantly less dangerous if the frontline had full armor, but for now they would do best to avoid them. John’s ability allowed his to extend his hearing far around, so he could provide warning against approaching monsters, though it wasn’t possible to keep his ability active constantly. However, even without that ability, he still had the skillset required for the role of scout.
The group looked for monsters that weren’t as well armored, since they would be able to defeat them more easily with their current equipment. The result is they fought a few smaller creatures, though they were still about the size of a human, and fought them. The creatures had six legs, fur, and sharp claws. However, they were relatively easy to defeat. After the first, which survived until it reached melee range, the next two were defeated just with their ranged weapons. If this had been an actual game, Jules probably would have wondered at the balance, but there was little to be done about it if it was real. Some weapons were just vastly superior to others, depending on the circumstances. For example, Jules learned those creatures could climb on walls or ceilings, and they would be devastating in small, cramped places such as their native caves.
After grouping with others for a few days, Jules “discovered” some more game-like systems that were implemented to make playing with others more feasible. People couldn’t always be on at the same time and for the same lengths, and it took significant amounts of time to travel. However, upon logging out, there was the option to “follow” someone. If you received permission to “follow” them, your “avatar” (though, Jules was aware it was a real body, more than just a representation) would follow after them, but would not participate in combat. There were some risks involved with having a noncombatant around, but the convenience of being able to keep a group together often outweighed it. In the worst case, they would die and suffer the penalties, and wouldn’t be too far from the city. In addition, players could teleport back to the “spawn points”, but they suffered penalties as if they had died. Jules assumed such a limitation was imposed because it took energy, and creating or moving bodies had to take a lot of energy, and the system in place had to limit how much was used somehow.
Outside of the game, Jules kept in communication with his friends Robert, Isaac, and Douglas. He still hadn’t told them about the game world being real, but they were working toward meeting up in the game where he planned to “unlock” their abilities. Plus, then they would finally be able to play together. Each of them were working toward gaining the money to buy a flight from one city to another. Although the cities were separated from each other, they did actually still have travel between them.
Although it seemed like a long time of saving money for something in a game, in reality it hadn’t even been a month yet. The fact that people with no established jobs or connections were able to make decent money at all was impressive enough. It helped that there were only a few million people spread across a planet, though that number would be going up soon, as more wristbands were going to be released at the end of December, about two weeks away. The planet itself was very prosperous, as well, even though it seemed like it should barely be able to function. Well, presumably it was picked as the first planet available because it had opportunities for players to thrive.
There was one point of the game that Jules had mostly forgotten about. The attributes were supposed to be complex, but only the ten were listed. After realizing the world was real, Jules had stopped thinking about it, but he became curious. Thus, he decided to look into it with his “Information” class abilities.
The results were rather interesting. Upon trying to gain more detailed knowledge about Strength in particular, he saw a representation of his body. There were various colors throughout the vision of the muscular structure, and they seemed to represent muscular density and power. Although he didn’t actually have any bonus points to spend, the system allowed him to see what it would be like if he wanted to add points of Strength to, say, just his left bicep. It also came with the warning that such things were completely not recommended.
Jules wasn’t surprised that such information was tracked, however, since real bodies were that way. Instead of tracking the information, it was better to say that it was probably reading it or observing it from the real body that had been created. Upon looking into the mental stats, it became much harder to visualize. Instead, the window broke things down into “analytical ability” and “processing power”, but made note that mental statistics were less precisely trackable, and even less recommended to be changed at the lower levels.
Having this information made Jules ponder. These seemed like somewhat fundamental parts of the gamelikeness of the world, but it had been hidden behind a barrier. Would other people really be able to access this? The answer came to him: yes, through various abilities, and most of them could also give others such access. It was quite convenient to have something like a personal “help” ability, though, it was only useful when whoever was controlling the information allowed him to have it. Jules wondered if he wasn’t learning things that were important, but there wasn’t much he could do if that were true.