*You’re now logged into Destruction of Elysium*
The message appeared in the middle of Willow’s view as the world around her started to materialise. The low buildings around her looked like they were about to burst out a whole family of ghosts, and a low fog fuzzied all the edges of things and made the lights at the end of the street look creepy and haunted.
Willow’s ‘low sensory’ settings muted most of the voice announcements in the game, instead showing them up as message notifications in the middle of her view, and it also ran a constant soft background music when she was in friendly areas. She always thought it was one of the best inventions ever, being able to decide on your own world settings.
When almost all of the world switched to the BASE platform and ran in either Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality, it opened up so many possibilities. It allowed Willow to set her own volume and intensity on almost all sensory inputs, touch, temperature, you name it. This was something often requested by people who had sensory issues, like Willow’s autism. Though, for her, the sound and light dimming options were most important, those bothered her the most.
'VR is awesome,' she thought, 'even more awesome than AR.' And she walked down the street, sitting down on one of the benches that were scattered through the area.
The thing was, the muting option in AR was just an imperfect rendering of what they already had running in VR. Since it was just not as easy to mute things inside a brain as it was when the inputs could just be muted before they reached the brain in the first place. Though, she hoped that the AR would get more advanced soon. There were places outside of the building she lived in that she’d love to visit for real, but for now, she just couldn’t, it would send her into sensory overload and trigger a panic attack. Bummer.
She looked around, quickly locating where she was as she saw the name of the city over the almost translucent map in her top right corner. Araepolis, city of the cursed spirits, in the residential district. Okay, good. She quickly tried to remember what she was up to before she’d logged off earlier.
A red exclamation mark slowly pulsed in the lower right edge of her view. She moved her eyes in that direction and a screen popped up in front of her.
300 XP for daily logging in
Message from Violet
Update on Guild Ship Items List
1 Quest almost complete
150 items have been sold in the market place
As she read the list, the top message’s glow disappeared and the XP message slowly faded away, the others moving up a row.
She focused on the update of her item list and a new list appeared.
Guild Ship Item List
500 Cedar Wood: 490/500
250 Linseeds: 250/250
200 Ghost Leaves: 189/200
300 Juicy Olives: 276/300
100 Titanic Cassava: 100/100
100 Cedar Lumber: 75/100
50 Titanic Varnish: 37/50
The numbers for Cedar Lumber and Titanic Varnish glowed as the game registered her most recent crafting attempts as successful.
Good. They were now one step closer to finishing the guild ship so that they could trade with bigger guilds without having to depend on the in-game system, which meant more profits for them. If they could complete it before the new game came out, it could even help them pay for the game. But that meant that she really had to set up the next crafting sequences soon.
Willow switched back to the notification list, the item list update row now also gone. She ignored the message from the market place. No use checking that until she was actually going to invest time in it and setting up new items to sell, which probably wouldn’t be until later.
She took a quick peek at the updated quest, but it was only the quest to open a new raid area. The dungeon she finished last night had finally registered at the main registry and now she just had to do three more of them until she could enter the new area. She didn’t know why the updates on dungeons had to be so slow to register, though it probably had something to do with giving people enough time to recover from doing a dungeon or event before going onto the new one.
Okay, that was all the other stuff taken care off.
She focused on the notification of a message from Violet and a new screen showed up.
Did you hear yet? They’re sending out the new batch of beta keys for Helheim Fallen today.
I’m so excite.
I so hope we both get one, but if only one of us gets it, we have to tell the other what it’s like.
Okay. Off to bed.
Most people these days would send like voice or video messages, but Willow preferred things old school, just typed messages, not as much chance of things blasting her eardrums out and stuff.
A keyboard appeared in front of her and she quickly typed a message back to Violet. They sometimes missed each other when they were both on different sleep schedules, though it didn’t matter much. It’s not like time had much of a meaning anymore these days.
The economy, the games, it all ran 24/7. Day and night had become meaningless. The only thing that really structured people’s days was the fact that everybody still had to sleep. And since basic things like sleep, food and using the bathroom still had to happen in the real world and according to people’s ‘biological clock’, the BASE platform would detect when that was and would kick people out of the system if they pushed it too much. There had even been reports of people getting suspended from playing for hours or days if they pushed the system too much, and they could get a visit from like... a special bodily care unit. Scary!
The world Willow lived in existed within two systems, the AR and the VR system. Both systems were connected to the BASE platform, the Bioelectrical Augmented Synapse Enhancement platform, which was a small device connected to the base of the brain. The BASE unit was able to not just read out a person’s brain waves, but also simulate different parts of it so that the Augmented Reality was just as real as ‘real’ reality.
It used to be this big dangerous thing and people would warn against giving companies such easy access to people’s brains. But these days, most kids were implemented with them within a couple of months after being born. It was a normal procedure, that and the battery of tests that would determine so much of a kid’s future. They’d run sensory and social tests and did all sort of physical exams and other things. These were then ranked almost like ‘stats’.
Or, that’s how Willow imagined them anyway, that there was probably a sheet on her somewhere just like she had a character screen for her mage in Destruction of Elysium. Willow had scored median on intelligence, very low on social skills, below average on her physical and ‘problematic’ on her sensory processing. That got her a diagnosis as autistic and got her a pre-sorted place in the ‘low sensory housing’ she lived in, or ‘nothingness prison’ as she liked to call it.
The AR system enhanced daily life around the house. From things like ordering groceries or anything else a person could want to have for their house right where they were standing, to reading a book or even calling friends. It was all done in the AR system, right there through the BASE unit in their brain.
And when someone wanted to go to the Virtual world, they’d put on a headset and be transported to the Global BASE platform, from where they could choose from any game or program they owned or browse new games and programs. The Global BASE platform worked all around the world, so no matter where someone logged on. So they could be playing with someone from the other side of the world and not even know.
Willow moved her head slowly side to side, letting her eyes go over the empty windows around her, trying to decide if she wanted to dive into a new dungeon or that it would be better to get to her crafting skills first. Crafting, probably, especially if they were going to get the guild boat done before the new VRMMORPG came out.
A message showed up in the left corner of her view and she focused on it.
Sage: Where you at?
Willow smiled. Sage was another one of her friends from the guild, though she wasn’t as close with them as she was with Violet.
Willow: Just logged on, going to set up the next round of supplies, and then going to queue for a dungeon, would like to open the next raiding area before the weekend. Get it out of the way.
Her fingers flew over the projected keyboard hovering in front of her. She’d seen real keyboards when she was little, and since she preferred to play in mostly quiet or silence, this was actually a great way to communicate with others.
Sage: Cool. I’m about 80% done with my part. Do you have some flax in your inventory?
Willow: Sold it last night. Sorry!
Sage: No problem, can go grab it myself. The money is more important for you anyway.
That was true. Willow lived on benefits because she was deemed ‘unemployable’ because of her ‘autism issue’ and the money she got each month was... well... not that much. They said it was enough to live on, but that was only if you never bought any new games or wanted to drink more than water all day.
Luckily, she could make some extra money by selling items on the market place. The exchange rate from game-money to real world-money was crap, but that didn’t really matter, anything extra was helpful right now, especially if she was going to buy Helheim Fallen on release. That could set her savings back quite a lot.
She opened the game menu with a swipe of her hand and scrolled through it until she hit ‘Guild House’. She clicked on the button and a new screen popped up.
Are you sure?
’Yeah, yeah,’ She thought and the game interpreted it.
The next moment she felt the insistent pull on her whole body as she was transported to the housing area, spawning in the middle of her own room in the guild house. The room was filled with plush toys, cute trinkets she’d collected and everything that made her happy. Plus, of course, two crafting benches, one for alchemy and one for carpentering.
Willow opened a chest near the crafting tables and grabbed the supplies she needed. Then she went over to the alchemy table and collected the bottle of Titanic Varnish.
[Alchemy +250 XP]
Then she put an empty bottle at the end of the distiller and grabbed the three other ingredients she needed. The Juicy Olives, Ghost Leaves and Titanic Cassava. She first carefully peeled the cassava root, making sure to take all the outside off, as this was the base of the varnish and leaving any on would mean certain failure of the recipe. Then she cut up the cassava root into small pieces and put it in the bowl at the start of the distiller.
[Cooking +10 XP]
Then she finely teared the Ghost Leaves, they stabilised the mixture, before throwing it into the bowl too.
[Cooking +1 XP]
Finally, she took the Juicy Olives, throwing them into the small centrifuge Violet had made her, before throwing in a couple of marbles and closing the lid.
She turned the lever, spinning the centrifuge, and the oil from the olives collected in the outside bowl, slowly seeping into a beaker at the base of the centrifuge. When no more oil came out, she stopped, catching her breath for a moment. That thing really needed an improvement or something, it was still too much of a hassle to handle.
[Cooking +25 XP]
She poured the sap into the bowl at the start of the distiller and with a flick of her wrist put a fire under the bowl. The upside of being an elemental mage. She may mostly be specialised in nature and some ice magic, but that one skill point into fire bolt came in really handy.
She kept a close look on the mixture as it was starting to heat up, the root slowly dissolving and as she saw the first of the leaves shrivel as they browned, she put the top of the bowl on and opened the distiller valve.
[Alchemy +100 XP]
Now the recipe was set up and she just had to wait. The game would turn the fire off automatically when the recipe was done and she didn’t have to wait around. Titanic Varnish took about two to three hours to finish. There were better things she could do with that time.
She went over to the carpenter table and took the Cedar Lumber from it.
[Carpentry +300 XP]
Then she took the Cedar Wood from her inventory. It was always funny how these big items could fit in her inventory all tiny and still become this huge thing when it hit the table or when she crafted with it. Game mechanics, right?
She placed the Cedar wood on the table and grabbed the small bag of linseeds. Then she slowly put linseeds into the funnel on top of the machine. The addition of the linseeds meant that there was a greater chance of the end product being of extra high quality. Which would mean a better boat once it was finished.
It wasn’t useful on all the items they were using, but it was good to try and get extra quality where it wouldn’t add extra time or money. Staying sensible, right?
She turned the machine on and watched the wood slowly go towards the rotating saws.
[Carpentry +100 XP]
The best thing about doing this in VR? She didn’t have to worry about the noise or the dust that would normally go everywhere.
Willow quickly took another look at the varnish in the distiller and then left her room, walking into the rest of the house.
She loved having a house with the guild, it was cosy and she felt at home here, much more so than the house she actually lived in.
They were only a small guild, five people in total, her, Violet, Sage, Juniper and Opal. Enough for queueing up for dungeons and as a small group when doing raids, but not much else. Which was fine with her, they didn’t need much else.
They just needed each other.