Editor: JerryDaBaws and a tiny bit from darklord
Translator’s Notes (T/N): So I’m the new guy who’s gonna translate this completely new Chinese web novel you’ve never heard about. Yorokobe, Shounen! You will be happy about this, or else.
If any of you saw this post earlier, that was for chapter 1 alone and was meant to be released in a pack of three.
Chapter 1: Charisma?
It was exactly noon. Yue Qiang climbed out of his bed and walked to the grocery store to buy his lunch.
“I want a pack of bag noodles, chicken mushroom flavor please.”
The store clerk is a woman who carried a slight charm to her. However, the moment she saw Yue Qiang with his baggy eyes, unshaven beard and drab looks, she coldly hmped and tossed the noodles and his change at him without even look him straight in the eye.
Already used to being scorned, Yue Qiang indifferently walked out of the store. As soon as he arrived at his house, he started to boil his instant noodles and switched on his computer.
Yue Qiang readied himself for yet another day of gaming.
As of late, he was rather enthralled by the single player game named ‘The Witcher 3’ and had mindlessly sunk many hours of playtime into it. It was a free roaming game with great graphics and packed a reasonable amount of punch. He planned to continue playing it today at max level difficulty.
He double clicked the game icon. Huh? Was it his imagination or did Geralt of Rivia somewhat resembled him? Maybe his eyes were fogged up by the steam wafting off from the instant noodles? Not to mention the game had loaded surprisingly quick? Although he had spent most of his money to buy this computer, it should still take at least a few seconds for his game to load and it shouldn’t have loaded instantaneously like just a while ago.
It was then he realized that something was amiss.
The interface was definitely not displaying The Witcher 3’s title screen. He was instead greeted by an unfamiliar, yet incredibly gorgeous graphics that emanated an antique feel. At the center of the screen were two artistically drawn ancient Chinese characters, which he barely could read as ‘The Game’, below which was a start button and to the side three tiny progress bars of red, green and blue.
Yue Qiang’s curiosity was piqued. He was sure that he had not click the wrong icon and that he did not move the original icon anywhere else; not to mention he had routinely clicked it everyday so it was impossible for him to make such a mistake.
So that begs the question: What is this game?
Yue Qiang was certain that he had never installed this game before on his PC. Also, wasn’t the title a little bit too odd? You can call a game ‘World of Warcraft: The Game’ or ‘The Witcher 3: The Game’, but what the heck is a ‘The Game: The Game’? Furthermore, a single player game would usually have 4 options: ‘Start’, ‘Save/Load’, ‘Options Menu’ and finally ‘Return to Title Screen’. But this game only has one option, ‘Start’.
Yue Qiang did not click on the game. His first thought was to return to desktop and continue playing ‘The Witcher 3’. First, he tried ALT+TAB (Switch Windows) to no avail, then he tried CTRL + ESC (Open Start Menu) with similar results. WIN+D (Show Desktop)? ALT+F4 (Close Current Window)? CTRL+ALT+DELETE (Task Manager)? But nothing worked. Really? I can’t quit the game?
Although the game interface looked incredibly gorgeous, the textures and animations were all top-notch, Yue Qiang still did not want to play it. The reason was because that the game was clearly developed domestically: from its antique art style to the water paint background effects, plus the classic Sizhu a.k.a Silk and Bamboo music playing from the speaker; they all reminded him of homemade classics such as ‘Chinese Paladin’ and ‘Xuan-Yuan Sword’ series. While these domestic single player games weren’t too badly received, and when he was but a wee he loved them to death – let’s just say that the latest releases left much to be desired.
Anyways, Yue Qiang eventually came to the conclusion that this was probably a malvertisement installing a demo or malware into his PC, and he could quit only after he had progressed to a certain point in the game. Looks like force restart was the only way to quit the game. Yue Qiang wanted to do it right then and there, but knowing that a force restart would most likely damage his hardware, he gave in and clicked the ‘Start’ option.
At the very least, I should see what this game’s all about, right?
The character creation screen showed up right after the title screen faded into the background, but to his surprise, the character was already created.
Character Name: Yue Qiang
The character display was a 360 slow rotating model, he was again surprised that the character somewhat resembled himself. The only difference was that the model wore a traditional Chinese robe, and for whatever reason it made him look… weird, so to say. It wasn’t that the clothes were badly designed, it was just that his natural looks… left much to be desired.
Ouchies. Yue Qiang tried to change his appearance through the character customization screen but found that the option was completely grayed out. He then tried to change his username into something more V587 (T/N: a slang that means powerful and mighty, short form awesome), but found out that it was also grayed out and unchangeable. He continued to scroll downwards, There he found the game’s five initial stats, they were:
Strength: 12 (You’re strong enough to move bricks)
Vitality: 6 (You’re weak and you often fall sick)
Wisdom: 14 (You’re a perpetually calm person, and even the stark reality of your life cannot affect your mind. You can always find solace in video games)
Wealth: 2 (You’re a pauper)
Charisma: 7 (No one loves you, neither male nor female)
He didn’t know if these stats were randomly distributed, but they seriously somewhat resembled his own life. When he was at high school he often participated in sports, so he was pretty fit back then.
However, after he went to university the only things he did were gaming and fapping, the end result is being left with a sickly body. His highest stat was his Wisdom which stood proudly at 14 points – unfortunately, even after reading the description he didn’t know what kind of function it would serve in-game. There really was no need to look at his Wealth: he had just enough to feed himself a pack of noodles daily. As for his Charisma, it was a given. Disdainful looks from his classmates, pedestrians, and even store clerks were the norm to Yue Qiang.
As he scrolled to the bottom of the page, he found a single line at the very bottom of the interface.
It was written in Song Ti font and thus in complete contrast with the game’s antique design.
Free Distribution Stat Points: 8
Yue Qiang rubbed his eyes and glanced over once again. 8 free distribution stat points? Isn’t that a lot?
For a veteran gamer who had dabbled in all kinds of single player video games, 8 points really wasn’t a small sum. Looking at the base stats, Yue Qiang thought that 10 points would be the normal stat average for a new player, but if he had 8 free points and he pumped all of them into let’s say… Strength or Vitality, wouldn’t his character be broken?
It was really strange. Yue Qiang thought that this 8 free distribution stat points would cause the game to be extremely unbalanced. Adding on the jarring mismatch between the line’s font and overall art style only added to his confusion. On the other hand, Yue Qiang wasn’t planning to play this game anyway. He only wanted to play it until the malware allowed him to stop playing. So, he very carelessly dumped all his points into the stat ‘Charisma’.
His Charisma stat now reads:
Charisma: 15 (Everyone loves you, flowers bloom in your presence)
As he slid his mouse and clicked ‘Confirm and Enter’, he accidentally knocked over his noodles over.
Depressed, Yue Qiang set the game aside and went downstairs again to buy a new packet.
“I want to get more bag noodles, chicken mushroom flavor please.”
The somewhat pretty woman handed over his instant noodles – except this time it wasn’t a bag of noodles, but the bowl-type noodles.
We’re having a promotion right now, all bag noodles have been upgraded to noodle bowls.” the store clerk shyly said. Yue Qiang blanked out for a second.
“Also, since you’re our regular and you come here every day, this is my personal gift to you: An ‘Extra’ bottle of chewing gum. Get it?” she winked flirtatiously at Yue Qiang, “May you always have a smile!”
(T/N: There exists a brand of chewing gum called ‘Extra’, pun added for flavor)
Again, Yue Qiang blankly stared at her, he grabbed his goods emotionlessly and headed out of the store. From his back, he heard the woman calling after him,
You’re welcome! Please, come again!”
Single Player Only Chapter 2: Player Freedom
Yue Qiang thought that the kinda pretty madame must have had a screw loose in her head for her attitude to suddenly take an 180-degree turn. Eh, who cares. He didn’t think any further. Video games were the most important thing in his life anyway, and everything else came second.
As Yue Qiang returned home, he decided that he would first eat his instant noodles. While he was eating, he also decided that he would force restart his computer. It was obvious now that this malicious ‘demo’ of a game wouldn’t end anytime soon, and since it was impossible to force quit it through the normal way, he had no choice but to reboot and force an uninstall.
Yue Qiang slurped his noodles while blankly staring at his monitor.
Suddenly, Yue Qiang stared in shock at his monitor.
Everything still looked fine when he shut down the computer, but the startup process left him bewildered. Normally when a computer boots, the motherboard manufacturers would first advertise their hardware, such as ‘ASUS Motherboard’ or ‘ONDA Motherboard’ and so on. Next would be the Windows interface where its logo brightens with increasing clarity and depending on the version of the Windows there would be different effects. It is at the end where the users are finally greeted with the familiar Desktop. Depending on the hardware, the entire process may take between half to several minutes, but of course, if you have a Solid State Drive (SSD), then the startup process may theoretically be shortened to less than ten seconds.
But this was a second.
No. Yue Qiang felt that even a second was overstating it. The whole process took only an instant to complete. He hadn’t even managed to swallow his first bite when he saw the game’s icon appearing on the monitor instead of the usual manufacturer and Windows’ logo. There was no doubt in his mind that this was the malicious game icon that had somehow installed itself into his computer. Then, before he could react the icon clicked itself, and after a short tune of harmonious intro music the exact same character creation screen appeared before Yue Qiang’s eyes.
This time, Yue Qiang was shocked down to his very core.
He didn’t even know such a powerful malware existed. Not only it could execute itself automatically upon restart, it even came with the nice ‘perk’ of increased booting speed. Every other malware he had encountered such as Computer Manager or Baidu Anti Virus were dipshit compared to this champ.
But of course there are two sides to a coin, and the downside of it was pretty obvious: Now, he could ONLY play this game.
He didn’t want to.
Yue Qiang is a hardcore gamer, a hardcore single player gamer. Emotionally speaking, he had always held single player video games, especially domestic single player video games he played as a child with nostalgia, therefore he wasn’t actually averse towards this kind of game malware made with such traditional flair. The problem wasn’t that the game wasn’t good enough, but rather a matter of player freedom.
There is a saying that goes: China made video games have no freedom, and every time Yue Qiang saw this he could only sigh helplessly. He was part of the generation who grew up playing these types of games. Back at those times the only games that existed were ‘Minesweeper’ and ‘Solitaire’, so imagine what a boon it was for that generation to suddenly have a scene of Lee Xiao Yao peeking at a bathing Zhao Ling Er, even if the entire ‘Chinese Paladin’ game at the time was only 17 MB huge, or that a single high definition photo of a cute girl might already have exceeded this size.
During the 20 years Windows became the most widely used Operating System (O.S.) in the world, single player video games had been advancing massively in every corner of the world except for China. For example the’Call of Duty’ series of the First Person Shooter (FPS) genre, the car racing game ‘Need For Speed’ series, the stab-everyone-with-a-knife ‘Assassins Creed’ series, ‘Prototype’ Biohazard Bundle, the refreshing ‘Trails In The Sky’ series, the pinnacle of sandbox games ‘Grand Theft Auto’ series, the only game which boasts an infinite map that even a primary schooler could play, ‘Minecraft’, and finally the game where killing a chicken could inflict the entire town to hunt for your head, ‘The Elder Scroll’ series. There were now an endless variety of single player games filling into the PC gaming market, but only China made single player games had completely fallen off the radar and appealed only to a very small, and very niche audience.
There were many explanations as to why China made single player video games had declined, but to a hardcore single player gamer like Yue Qiang, the most damning element of it all was that there was no player freedom. When ‘Minesweeper’ and ‘Solitaire’ were the only games around, a game which boasts drama, monster killing and leveling up was of course very attractive. But after consuming the same thing over and over again, the plots which you could guess the ending from the opening, turn-based combat, one-dimensional character design and so on – they became poison, and no one would willingly consume poison unless they had no other choice.
Nowadays, China mostly made single player video games were adapted from TV series. Some examples would be the recent ‘Chinese Paladin 6’ or ‘Legend of the Ancient Sword’, or even more recently ‘The Gate of Firmament’. However, if all these games had turned into TV shows, then how much ‘gameplay’ was actually left in the game?
If you want to see plot then you can’t have freedom, and the true charm of video games lies in the ability to do all sorts of things in it, and that is a high degree of player freedom.
And that is the full reason why Yue Qiang didn’t feel like trying out a new China-made single player video game.
As he stared at the familiar antique interface, Yue Qiang suspected that this was a virus developed by some unnamed domestic game developer, forcing players to test out their new game. Yue Qiang let out a sigh, but in the end, he gave in and clicked the ‘Start’ button.
Might as well give it a look. At least the graphics looked better than even triple-A games out there.
As the background faded in and out an antique style room appeared before Yue Qiang. It looked just like a room in a China made game, such as the one where Lee Da Niang pummeled her son, Lee Xiao Yao blue and black in Chinese Paladin. The room was incredibly small, and there was a person who looked just like Yue Qiang kneeling in front of a low table and holding a bamboo slip, bumbling and wagging his head about as he read.
The protagonist, that is, Yue Qiang’s in-game character, looked like a thief. He looked as if he was reading, when in fact, he was constantly glancing about the corner of his eyes towards the teacher standing beside him. When his teacher looked at him with stern eyes, his character would act as if he was studying seriously; when his teacher’s attention was placed somewhere else, his character’s expression would loosen and relax.
The characters’ facial expressions were incredibly lifelike. Without a doubt, the game’s physics engine and its dev team’s dedication had reached unbelievable heights. Yue Qiang had never heard of a video game that could synchronize both expression and action together to such a degree. Combined with its inherently exquisite graphics, an interior design that was obviously created with a lot of hard work put into it even at first glance, exquisitely drawn layers, object shadowing, air flow, dynamic avatars; Yue Qiang almost could have believed that this wasn’t a game, but a movie starring him as the main character.
Yue Qiang tried to move his character tapping WSAD on the keyboard, and in the game, his character too started as if he was about to stand up and move around. But the second he moved he was discovered by the teacher standing beside him, and a dialogue box popped out of the interface. Inside the box was the teacher’s preaching,
“Young sir, you should not be distracted and study the Analects seriously.” The border of the dialogue box vibrated constantly as if to indicate that the teacher was speaking in a very loud voice.
Immediately Yue Qiang formed a notion about the game inside his mind. This is a product made in the veins of China made single player video games. The game barely started and already he was treated to a long winded story scene with no freedom whatsoever. If this was a foreign open world single player video game, they would probably acclimate the players with some combat or tutorials first to get them familiar with the flow. On the other hand, domestic games did it by first introducing their players to the plot.
Confirming once more that this is a game with minimal freedom, Yue Qiang felt an immediate surge of disappointment. Feeling bored, he began randomly clicking at every furniture he could see in the room, and at the same time his character too sneakily squinted about here and there. But his actions were spotted by his teacher, and again a dialogue box popped beneath the screen,
Teacher, Mr. Chen Zi Han: “Young sir, how could thou not study the Analects seriously and be quizzing about?”
Oddly placed archaic words and more border shaking. Yue Qiang let out another sigh in his heart. Really? Am I not allowed even to click at my leisure?
Amidst boredom, Yue Qiang brought up the system menu. In comparison to the wonderful interface, this system menu, on the other hand, was unusually simple. Even the good ol’ ‘Chinese Paladin’ had four options to choose from: Status, Items, Spells, and System Option. This game actually had only two options. One was Items, and the other was Character Status.
Is that it? No Spells, no Cauldrons, no Dictionaries, no Attributes, no Equipment, not even BGM or SE or Resolution or Shading or Frame Rate options NOTHING? How fucking lazy could you possibly be, dev??
Yue Qiang opened the ‘Items’ tab, and found that it contained only a single book, ‘the Analects’. Clicking the book, the first line he saw was,
“Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters? Is he not a man of complete virtue, who _____ though men may take no note of him?”
He found many more such quotations beneath this line, and there were many blank spaces in the sentences as well. Yue Qiang noticed that, when he clicked open the book earlier, the teacher standing beside him began stroking his beard looking incredibly pleased with his actions.
He closed the ‘Items’ option and opened the other ‘Character Status’ tab. Immediately his initial stats from the character creation interface was displayed on the screen. Yue Qiang was about to close this option too idly and check out what’s truly behind this game, when suddenly, he noticed something that made his eyes bulged round and wide. He reopened the character stats screen again and reread it thoroughly in disbelief.
Character Name: Yue Qiang.
Class : Student
Strength : 12 (You’re so weak you can’t even slaughter an animal)
Vitality: 6 (Your body is pretty weak, and you most likely won’t live past thirty)
Wisdom : 14 (Your attitude is barely passable, but you’re still far from hitting the average)
Wealth : 2 (You’re pretty damn rich)
Charm : 15 (You’re not particularly liked, but not particularly hated either. Excluding Teacher Chen Zi Han that is.)
Single Player Only Chapter 3: Quest Reward
Yue Qiang had always been sensitive about numbers, and he would remember in game character stats especially well.
Although this game wasn’t like most others that had quantitative data such as Speed, Agility, Intelligence, HP, MP, Rage and so on – Strength and Vitality were the only attributes that were slightly more common, and the rest Wisdom, Wealth, and Charisma being more similar to The Sims type of games – Yue Qiang still remembered the numbers and its secondary descriptions very clearly. He did not even need to bring up the character creation screen.
According to his earlier deductions, this game should have an average stat pool of 10 points. But the current stat description was a different story from the one he saw at the character creation screen. But with this current version of data, the game’s stat pool should be hovering around 20 instead. So here comes the question: Why are the descriptions of the character stats, before and after he began the game, completely different?
Yue Qiang was pretty sure that his stats was the same as it was at the beginning (before he purchased his cup noodles), and even his 15 points of ‘Charm’ was the total of 7 initial stats and 8 free stats. But the fact was the game had provided two completely different kinds of stat descriptions, and it really confused Yue Qiang.
As he pondered, he suddenly remembered something.
Yue Qiang suddenly recalled that, when he went downstairs to buy his cup noodles a second time, the store clerk’s attitude suddenly took a very flirtatious turn, as if she suddenly had a screw loose in her head. If he thought hard about it, could it be that it was because his Charisma had suddenly increased? Maybe she changed because he added 8 points into his Charisma?
Yue Qiang shook his head. Ridiculous. Now who’s the one who had a screw loose?
Meanwhile, Mr. Chen Zi Han a.k.a the teacher in the screen seemed to realize that Yue Qiang was lazing around. This time, he did not do his Lion’s Roar but instead pulled a study ruler out from his lap, went through the motions, and slapped it down hard on Yue Qiang’s skull.
He had to say the game’s sound effects was way too realistic. For an instant, Yue Qiang thought that if he was there in person he would have a huge bump on his head right now. Maybe teacher Mr. Chen Zi Han looked like a skinny man, but his strength was definitely nothing to scoff at.
At a whim, Yue Qiang right clicked at the teacher. While he was clicking around the room randomly he had not thought to click on him, and to his surprise, a status screen actually popped out.
Character Name: Chen Zi Han
Class: Teacher (A poor scholar who teaches for a living)
Strength: 22 (Since he often beats his student as punishment, his strength is slightly larger than a normal man)
Vitality: 12 (Studies non-stop and thus is quite sickly)
Memory: 25 (Well read in ‘the Analects’, ‘Le Memoir’ and some other books)
He was right. These NPCs do have an average stat pool of 20 points. Even a teacher had a strength value of 22 points, whereas his character’s sat at a measly 12. With a question out of the way, another one popped up.
The game was only beginning and this was just the first NPC he interacted with, but already there were three attributes that were hidden behind question marks “?”. Next, he was a player and he had only five attributes, whereas a mere NPC, Teacher Mr. Chen Zi Han actually had six. Other than the possibility that this NPC might be an important plot character, it also subtly hinted that the scale of this game might be far bigger than he initially imagined.
As a hardcore single player gamer, Yue Qiang knew very well that the more casual an opening appeared to be, the better it gets as you delve deeper and deeper into the game. There were two reasons to that. One was that the game developer was beyond using equipment or levels or skills as a selling point. The other was that a game that pays attention to minute details, combined with powerful logic and balance would naturally be incredibly interesting and long lasting.
“Looks like this game developer is shooting for the sky,” Yue Qiang thought to himself.
He clicked at Mr. Chen again, hoping to discover more interesting points. As he expected, after suffering yet another ruler slap a choice appeared on top of the teacher’s avatar,
Teacher Chen Zi Han offers you a quest: <<Learn the Analects>>. Will you accept?
Yue Qiang knew that this was most likely the main quest. Just to see what would happen he chose the option ‘No’, and of course, he was smacked with the ruler again.
System Message: You have taken damage from Teacher Chen Zi Han’s ruler attack, and due to your poor Vitality you have become Stunned.
System Message: Teacher offers you a quest again: <<Learn the Analects>>. Will you accept?
Yue Qiang could’ve sworn he felt pain on his own head as he stared at the two bruises on his character’s poor skull. After a moment’s consideration, in the end, he selected the option ‘Yes’.
System Message: You have accepted a quest: <<Learn the Analects>>
Quest Log: The poor teacher Chen Zi Han was entrusted by Mister Yue (your father) to teach you the Analects, a book about the rules of governing.
Quest Objective: Pass Mr. Chen’s test.
Quest Reward: None.
Yue Qiang stared blankly at the big word ‘NONE’ next to Quest Reward before he suddenly felt nostalgic: this really is just like the classic domestic single player games, isn’t it? The plot driven and game progression through NPC interaction; although this quest system was most likely picked up from Western open world single player games. Originally, domestic games did not have any sort of quest system whatsoever, and plot progression was reliant entirely on interaction with NPCs. Sometimes the reason a player became stuck at a certain segment wasn’t because they didn’t have enough levels to beat the boss, but rather because they forgot to talk to a critical NPC. Even worse, the earlier games would not provide you with any hints whatsoever.
Yue Qiang could still remember the time he played ‘Chinese Paladin’ and was stuck at a forest maze for the longest of time. There was a monkey blocking the path and no matter what he tried he just could not go past that point. After searching for a guide everywhere and consulting his classmates, he finally realized that he needed to find a specific banana tree in town and obtain the item ‘Banana’ to feed the monkey, and only then he could walk out of the maze. It was one of the most annoying things about these classic single player games.
As for ‘Quest Reward: None’? You’d be lucky to even get a quest notification!
While Yue Qiang was thinking, teacher Chen’s test had already started. The test itself wasn’t hard, after all, it was just filling in the blanks with some sentences from the ‘Analects’. Even if he had forgotten his primary lessons, he still had mobile Baidu, right? Sure he couldn’t check the Internet on his computer, but he still had his phone.
He quickly wrote down the answers to some questions.
Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?
The student of virtue has no contentions. If it be said he cannot avoid them, shall this be in archery?
Confucius said of the head of the Chi family, who had eight rows of pantomimes in his area, “If even if his uncle can bear to do this, his aunt cannot bear to do?”
And then his jaws dropped. The quest was far more complex than he had thought. At first, Yue Qiang thought that he could casually write a few sentences and complete the quest, but he soon realized that the game actually wants him to type out all 503 lines in the Analects. This wasn’t an ABC objective test question but a complete fill-in-the-blanks. Moreover, since his computer restarted directly into the game he didn’t have any internet connection and by extension no Pinyin dictionary. Yue Qiang quite literally typed himself dizzy as he struggled with all sorts of unusual words.
Yue Qiang had never expected this first quest to be this crazy. Still, holding onto his pride as a hardcore gamer Yue Qiang forced himself to type the hundreds of lines of Analect quotes all the way until the end. The reason was that he knew there was a pattern. In single player games, the harder a quest is, the greater its reward would be, and if this ridiculous quest required its player to do so much research and type so many unusual words to complete it, then its rewards would definitely not be the big ‘NONE’ indicated by the system.
And he was right. After a little past an hour Teacher Chen finally concluded the test, and as he examined Yue Qiang’s test paper his face grew more and more surprised. As if afraid that the player hadn’t noticed it, the system even dropped a huge exclamation mark on top of Teacher Chen’s head.
Chen Zi Han: Young sir, you are truly a dragon and a phoenix among men. Although you may be lazy and mischievous, in fact, you are smarter than most, with terrific memory, and hold the law in high regard inside your heart. This old man is impressed. Very, very impressed.”
More awkward archaic talk. Yue Qiang ignored the NPC’s completely and clicked his mouse to see if the NPC would give him with any hidden rewards, and sure enough, Chen Zi Han said,
“Young sir, you are truly talented. Please, accept this old man’s sliver of refined energy.”
Refined energy? What’s that?
Yue Qiang thought that the system would explain how this ‘Refined Energy’ works, but to his surprise, the quest ended just like that. Even no matter how many times he clicked at Teacher Chen, he would only say, “Young sir had completely mastered the essence of the Analects, this old man is impressed. Very very impressed.”
If Yue Qiang was completely disinterested in the game earlier, he was now slowly but surely changing his mind. Did you know? Games these days, especially online games were completely dominated with auto-mapping, fixed class, Pay-to-Win (P2W) players dominating everything and other dumb factors. Although graphics and hardware requirements improved by leaps-and-bounds every single day, various gameplay elements such as systems, skills, loot, titles and so on grew more and more complex, it just felt like they were missing some… ‘heart’.
And what is ‘heart’? Yue Qiang couldn’t really answer. He simply felt that games these days were played just for the sake of playing. Leveling up, killing mobs, training, PK, and that’s it. In the past, the old him would have racked his brains all day to the point he even forgot to eat, just to solve a puzzle or a maze without relying on a walkthrough. As his gaming age grew, it became harder and harder to rediscover that magical feeling.
But this game is different.
Maybe the installation process was a little malicious, maybe the quest system was a bit janky, maybe the archaic words are kinda lame, the game is…… a little interesting.
As an old school single player gamer, Yue Qiang’s desire to explore were completely drawn into the open. He began clicking around the entire picture with his mouse by instinct, and lo and behold, at a very obscure position of the bottom right of the screen there was a very tiny tricolor progress bar which caused his cursor to change the moment he hovered over it.
Suddenly, Yue Qiang remembered. This tricolor bar was already there during the character creation screen, but because it was so tiny he had overlooked it. Now that he think about it, the fact that the game was so graphically exquisite and yet the progress bar so bland and simple was by itself very suspicious.
After a careful examination, Yue Qiang realized that the red and green bars were no different from before, whereas the blue bar had increased by a tiny, almost unnoticeable bit. Accurately speaking, the blue bar was the exact point that had caused the mouse cursor to change.
Does this blue progress bar have anything to do with the quest reward ‘Refined Energy Points’?
Hovering his cursor over the blue bar carefully, he clicked once and as he expected a window had popped into the surface. It was a window that he was quite familiar with by now: the character creation screen. He saw his name, his character model, his five attributes and most importantly his stats descriptions. They were the same as the ones he read previously; the one with 10 stat points as the standard:
Strength: 12 (You’re strong enough to move bricks)
Vitality: 6 (You’re weak and you often get sick)
Wisdom: 14 (You’re a perpetually calm person, and even the stark reality of your life cannot affect your mind. You can always find solace in video games)
Wealth: 2 (You’re poor as a church mouse)
Charisma: 15 (Everyone loves you, and even flowers bloom in your presence)
At the bottom of these stats descriptions, he finally found the answer he was looking for; an inconspicuous line in Song Ti font that said:
Free Distribution Stat Points: 1
[E/N Just to clarify, the description for his stats IRL and in game are different, will be explained later on.]