Soulshard: Willbender

by pyrowind

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

Real Fantasy Online. The flagship product for the latest generation neural-interface headset. Touting: "The Best NPC AIs", "Better than Life Realism" and "Total Immersion", RFO promises to be a virtual world like no other. But when the line between one's real self and one's digital identity becomes blurred, and the "Gods" have their own agenda, who is the player, and which is the game?

 

Marcus has played any number of VR games, beta-tested dangerous and unstable systems and lived to tell the tale. He even has a certain amount of fame and influence within...certain circles. He usually disdains the idea of pre-orders and their respective "perks" as blatent commerical exploitation, but this time the bonus is too tempting to pass up. The ability to craft your character's backstory and have it integrated into the game's lore is enough for him to sign up for the Early Access program. He isn't interested in being all-powerful. Frankly, he's been there and done that enough to be bored of the whole thing. Instead, he opts to make a character purely for the purpose of having fun. Things aren't quite what they seem however, and his "backstory" and character class have implications he never would have imagined.

 

Author Note: First time posting a story online, and I'd appreciate any feedback. Updates may be slow, as each "chapter" will likely be in the 10,000 word range and I tend to revise several times before being (tentatively) satisfied. If people seem to like this I'll try to establish a regular post schedule.

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pyrowind

pyrowind

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Rustencel
Overall
Spoiler: Spoiler

 

Love the story.  Starts out a little shaky dialog wise but characters arent hollow and reactions and decisions made by them fits with characters stories extremely well.  Story feels well thought out.  Biggest issue is that its ends at point where its really starting story wise.  Worth the read anyways though.

Chronosource
Overall
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Grammar
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A wonderfully written story that sucks you in at the first chapter.  Stories that start strong instead of "taking a while to get good" and keep that momentum are precious treasures.

 

The divide between character and player felt weird at first, but I fell in love with it.  It's a unique mechanic that I haven't seen before, which is saying something given how much litrpg I read.  Having the experienced genre-savvy player comment on his naive character's actions after every session lets the author perform a brilliantly humourus deconstruction of the "teenage boy's fanstasy overpowered MC harem story" genre in a way that isn't jarring or fourth-wall-breaking.

 

Weirdly enough, despite the separation of the MC in his RL and IG personas, this story integrates the real world and game world better than any other VR litrpg I've ever seen.  The worldbuilding is exquisite, with how life under nanotech and TAI's is portrayed.

 

5 stars.

Casille_V
Overall
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Way better than I dared to hope for! Amazing!

Oh my god, this story is amazing. I don't want to spoil anything, so let me just say that I, as someone who reads on average four books a week, was surprised by some of the twists and ideas in here. I really hope the hiatus won't continue indefinitely, as the last chapter has me insanely curious to find out what the author has planned!

All the characters are varied, believable and full of personality without making it too hard to keep track of who is who. The grammar is pretty much perfect, and the writing as a whole just sucked me in from start to finish.

Thank you, pyrowind, for having written this! It's guaranteed to stay with me for a long time, as I really like the main character and the world building you've done! 

Hemetmine
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This story is great. Recommend highly.

I love this story. I've read up to chapter 7 where as the author said something like that it's the true ramp up or something ike that to the story.

It's got alot of dept. alot of intriguing concepts. I like the main character. he's smart and quickwitted. 

So this is a story about this better than realism vr game. the newest vr gear. and it explores the real world consequences of the game and the game Mark is playing. He's in contact with people and trying to warn them and make them try the game at the same time. And it's an ever evolving plot wich you come to understand mostly in chapter 7. 

I do hope and beg the aoutor to plz try and continue. because this is awsome. read it as much as i've could last 2 days. my rewiev doesn't do it justice. i love the premise of the story and where it looks to be heading.

Boyo_cat
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Story
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Character

Oh damn. That was insane. 

Amazing story, hooks from the beginning, and I couldn't stop reading until I finished it. Unfortunately, that was chapter seven, so I didn't get a whole lot of content.

It takes some serious influence from Sword Art Online in its backstory, but it's just different enough to be called another story. Besides that one thing, a lot of the story elements are so fresh and exciting. I wasn't able to predict the story at all which was great. Honestly, it's better than a lot of other LitRPGs out there, and deserves recognition. If it ever gets a continuation, I would immediately make it my number one story.

PLEASE READ.

Elina Violets
Overall
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This could be our future reality

Wow, just, Wow.

It's amazing how many words one 'session' is, and although the author hasn't updated the story in a while I'd still recommend it for how innovative and immersive the story is O^O

(also, love the references you seeded in it)

Now for 'why my ratings are so high':

- The author's style makes the story really, as stated before, immersive, which is awesome (also how much is written in one 'session' is always appreciated).

- I already stated how much I praised the story, but I can't really find faults with it as the pacing is handled pretty well and the Pov changes are welcomed instead of unnatural. The research/knowledge the author has on real-life information and how they implement it into the story brings a chill of threat down my spine as this could actually be a future humanity can imbark upon.

What makes this story so different from others is that it handles 'virtual reality' so very different, as it truly shows the meaning of 'full-immersion' and 'what is real?'.

- The author seems to sometimes have issues with their space-bar, or write so fast that they sometimes forget to make space between words. This is the only thing I've seen negatively when it comes to grammar, so I couldn't give a 5/5, but don't want to give the author a lower score just because their keyboard acts odd or somethin'.

- Last but never least; the characters.

I don't have a lot of empathy for the characters, neither positive or negative. Sometimes it feels like they're just, there. I mean, they aren't bad or 2D cardbox characters or that stereotypical, but it doesn't really feel like the have a goal for the most part, or not a goal I would be all like "Yes do that I support you!" Or "That's so evil! But I want to see where you'll lead me to if I keep reading". I feel very neutral on that, but I did almost shed some tears at some cases so they aren't bad characters, just that I can't really sense their trive for what they want.

Though, I see the author has something quite interesting planned, and would love to see where that's heading :3

 

Have a nice day~

- Elina Violets ^-^

kroked
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Absolutely Excellent, Here's hoping it returns

God this was a good read, probably the best of this particular genre in my opinion, which makes me incredibly disspointed that the author seems to have dissapeared into thin air. I hope he's ok, and want him to know, he's still got fans here eagerly hoping he makes a return to continue this truly amazing work of fiction.

bluebug
Overall
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Grammar
Character

Best story. Pls finish

Style: Doesn't distract (+3), Adds to the story (+1), Feels like I'm the MC (+2) 6/5

Story: Interesting take on LitRPG, Scifi and VR (+3), Huge plot (+2), characters focused on plot (+1) 6/5

Grammar: Doesn't distract (+4), One mistake in 321 pages found which could easily be fixed (+1) 5/5

Character: Entirely believable (+1), Makes me relate to them, care for them (+3), Feel like I've become them, along with the fears and such (+2) 6/5

Pls...finish the story... There's a void in my heart I can no longer close...

djeruknipis
Overall
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Character

The Author Took on Challenge, The Author Shied.

The summary is off-putting. I know right, there's so many story centered around uber-realistic virtual world with very capable AI. But prospective reader, be at ease! Because this novel's high rating is well deserved.

We started with a group of gamer whom already gone through thick and thin (not at 1st chapter, mind). They've built mightiest party and enjoying revenue they generated, they've also escaped death caused by Deus Ex Machina gone insane. The party dynamic is realistic, to say the least. They are cautious, when caution is well warranted. And they're excitable, when their new toy is worth to be excited about. This alone earned more than decent rating on character score!

The story, however, was where it shined. I have trouble writing an inviting review without spoiling it for you. Because it was written organically. Narated as experienced by one of party member (leader?), chosen by the group to examine the safety, on top of worth, of the soon to be publicly released game. If he found interesting things, he dived in to explore, intent on getting the most of it. When he found worrying spot, he didn't dwell on it, opting to act quickly and accordingly. You know, the exquisite balance between carefulness and carelessness, whatever that may be.

And through his eyes, a sinister plot unfold. The game is more than a game, he will find. It was not about the opportunity to gain money through interesting playthrough; that's old. It was also not about the game AI went batshit crazy again. Sure the game is immensely capable, creating life-like environment and protocol to guarantee full immersion. But it is all to be expected, he lived in the world that was more prosperous than any point in history thanks to technological advancement big and small. So what is it to be worried about 2nd life experience inside the game? Oh, there will be surprise.

The story is good and the author is a good storyteller. Give it a chance. The regret of tasting this non-concluded story -- is a regret you'll be willing to bear. Uh, I mean, please author come back. Take responsibility damn it!

AliBB
Overall

Amazing! My new favorite.

This story has Arthur C Clarke levels of awesomeness all over it. There are few stories that actually impress me this much. I have been reading on this site for months and never left a review. That is how good this story is. READ IT.