Darren pushed the lid of his gaming pod open and groaned as he stretched his body. After leaving Hekrin's shop Thomas had walked back to The Swans Nest and spent yet another 27 gold on a nights stay and laundry service. He had barely paid any attention to his food and the moment he was in the bed in his room he logged out of AoG. Despite the advancements in things like gaming pods, nothing felt better than a nice stretch after a long session. He'd been in AoG for nearly 48 hours in real time and after the incident with Hekrin he needed a small break.
With two hours before morning in AoG, Darren decided to spend some time making himself feel better. The first thing he did was head for his bathroom to take a nice long shower. The gaming pod provided many services, cleaning wasn't one of them. Even though he'd just been laying around for two days he still felt 'dirty' so the shower was a welcome reprieve from just wiping his body down with a warm cloth. He knew that was only in the game, but that was one of the downsides of VRMMO's with time dilation implemented. Although it had been less than 48 hours in reality, to Darren it had been a solid week since he'd had a real shower or bath.
After the refreshing shower and a fresh set of clothing, Darren headed into his kitchen to cook himself something. The food in AoG was delicious and felt filling but he'd actually been living off of the equivalent to an IV food supply thanks to the gaming pod. Sure, it kept him from starving to death but it wasn't the least bit filling. As the smell of cooking bacon, eggs, and frozen waffles being toasted filled his kitchen his stomach demanded to be filled. After his meal, Darren headed into his gaming room once more and sat in front of his computer terminal.
He wanted to take a look at the forums for AoG and see what people might be saying. The hardcore players likely hadn't logged out since the launch, unlike him, but the casual players would have. Browsing through the topics Thomas found an interesting one related to crafting.
Zero_Sum_Game: Has anyone else tried manual mode Alchemy? It's way too hard! I had to switch to Automatic mode! And don't get me started on Automatic mode either! It's so creepy to have the game take control of your body like that. Sure you succeed in making the item, but it's like you're not even playing at that point!
MoonShackles: I know what you mean! Automatic mode is just weird feeling!
VapeLord: Noobs. Just use manual mode until you get better!
Darren didn't read the whole post, but he got the gist of it. He hadn't used automatic mode for any of his blacksmithing, but at least now he knew how it worked. Having the game take control of your body would be disconcerting, to say the least. Browsing a little further he found another interesting topic.
Princess_Vanessa: What's up with this game?! After I broke through ten in my power and endurance I turned into a monster! I got all big and covered in muscles! This is even worse than the pain they put me through! What the hell?! I just wanted to be a warrior princess! This sucks!
Buff_Wizard: What's wrong with big rippling muscles?
[email protected]: Just increase your agility. If you go beyond 10 in Power or Endurance first your body morphs into a powerful body. If you want to thin yourself out, just up your Agility. Your body will morph based on your attributes, so just try to remember to put some points into your agility if you wanna stay skinny.
Buff_Wizard: @[email protected], Why did you have to tell her that? Do you know how hard it is to find a woman with luscious rippling muscles?! DAMN YOU!
From there it just degenerated into an argument between 'gentleman' about whether having or not having bulging muscles was better. Not Darren's cup of tea. It did tell him how to fix the problem with his oversized body though, thankfully he had plenty of experience points to crank up his agility attribute to thin himself out. He'd probably put himself into the camp for saying no to having big muscles.
Darren continued to browse the forums for a bit looking for anything interesting while he relaxed. He saw a lot of threads posted by people who were disappointed or angry over their Innate Abilities. Most of the complaints seemed to stem from Innates that pushed for certain playstyles. One example was a guy who liked to be a warrior in games, but his innate quadrupled the effect of his magic attribute on his mana, an innate that would be perfect for a wizard character. Obviously, it wasn't useless since he would never have to worry about his mana as long as he put enough into his magic attribute, it just wasn't a great match for his preferred playstyle.
After browsing for a while he came across a thread that really caught his attention.
MajorPain: What's up with this Transmutation ability? It sucks! Literally. To try and use it I pumped a huge amount of my exp into magic to try and rank it up, but even at 30 I don't have enough mana to do more than reshape some small stuff before I am knocked out! What the hell man?!
Hidden_Expert: What grade is it?
Hidden_Expert: It looks like most A rank and below abilities with active components have some sort of 'flaw' in them that keeps them from being higher ranked. My guess is for Transmutation to be ranked at A instead of S is the mana consumption. You will probably need a much higher magic attribute to be able to really use it. I'd suggest grinding it in your spare time, the cost might reduce as it increases in rank. Or maybe not. Who really knows at this point?
Darren leaned back in his chair and thought for a bit. He hadn't really spent any time trying out his own Transmutation ability yet. He'd been tempted, but he was just so busy working at getting to rank 25 in blacksmithing. Even though he was an excellent blacksmith he'd taken all seven days to get to rank 25 at a profession he considered himself to be rather excellent at. Granted he'd wasted almost a whole day, but he would have to push himself to get Tailoring done in seven days. It was unlikely he would get time to experiment with it for now, and if what MajorPain said was true, then he needed to get his magic attribute pretty high first anyway.
After browsing for a bit longer he didn't find any more topics that were interesting or relevant to him so he logged off and made his way over to the gaming pod. It was nearly time for him to wake up in the game and begin his first day learning about tailoring in AoG. He'd been a tailor once or twice before but it wasn't his favorite thing to do. With a heavy sigh, he crawled back into the gaming pod and logged back into AoG.