'Help centre?'

Standing at the entrance to the village, Wilbert shook his head, trying to get rid of the strange square filled with text in the middle of his vision. The square had a little red box in the top right, a long rectangle online the right-hand side, and large chunks of text everywhere else.

A panicked expression appeared on Wilbert's face as the box still had not disappeared. 'I really am going mad!'

His arms flailing madly in front of him, he tried to make the box disperse as one would a cloud of smoke.

One of his fingers passed through a blue, underlined word, and the content of the box changed.

'So I interact by touching it? How do I get rid of it?'

Seeing as he could not get rid of the box by ignoring it, Wilbert decided to play this little box's game and read the updated contents of the screen.

[New Player Introduction]

[Welcome to New Dawn, the world's largest MMO due to our innovative approach and the freedom granted to players.]

[There are fifteen main races in the world of New Dawn. Players will start in the village of their race, and your starting stats will be affected by your choice, but the limitations do not go beyond that. Click here for more information.]

[There are nine main starting classes. Your race will not limit the class that you wish to choose, but if you choose a race that does not compliment your chosen class, you may find the game tougher in the beginning. Click here for more information.]

'That term again—players. Classes? MMO? Stats? What are all these terms?'

Wilbert stood there in a daze for quite some time before dismissing those thoughts.

"Just what the hell is this box?" he muttered under his breath.

[Searching for 'Just what the hell is this box'…]

'Huh? It heard what I said?'

[User Interface]

[The user interface in New Dawn has been designed to be as intuitive as possible—simple where it can be and detailed where it needs to be.]

[By default, the user interface will be enabled. This can be turned off from the UI settings window.]

[Along the bottom-right of the screen, you will find your quest menu, friends list, and inventory among other panels. At the bottom-left is the chat window to direct message friends. The top-left shows information as your mouse hovers over an object. The top-right shows the mini-map and button to view your discovered world map. The world map will show more information the more you explore.]

[To further customise your menus…]

'I don't understand much of this… Well, if my understanding is correct, I just have to change something in another box.'

With that thought in mind, Wilbert muttered, "UI settings."

Immediately, another box appeared.

[UI Settings]

[ … ]

[Visible User Interface ( )]

'Ah, there it is!' Wilbert grinned. He had no idea what was happening, but it seemed like he was about to get rid of these damn boxes. He extended his hand and tapped [Visible User Interface].

The boxes disappeared, but as soon as they did, a sharp pain assaulted Wilbert's mind as an influx of new information poured in. His vision flickered, and words appeared in his eyes.

[NPC has activated player interface.]

[Impossible event.]

[Error log updated.]

[Rebooting NPC instance.]

Wilbert staggered forward across the road and into some woods, eventually collapsing on the ground against a tree. He forcefully bore with the pain and prevented himself from passing out as his vision flickered, splitting and merging, distorting and straightening, like a drunk man's sight after a bar fight.

When his eyes eventually fluttered open, he immediately clamped them shut, overwhelmed by what he saw.

After taking a deep breath to calm himself, Wilbert opened his eyes.

'Fuck! Still there?!'

Instead of the huge boxes in the middles of his vision, there were now small icons all around the edges of his sight. If he looked straight ahead, he could not exactly see them, but they were obvious enough that they were distracting and immediately noticeable.

As described in the [Help Centre], there was a small circular map in the top right of his vision, icons like a backpack and heart in the bottom right, and a small speech bubble in the bottom left.

Coming to the conclusion that he could no longer get rid of this, Wilbert tried tapping on one of the icons—the heart.


A new window popped up, and when Wilbert read through it, he was astonished. The window contained information about him, but it was broken down in a truly bizarre way.


Name: Wilbert

Age: 14

Race: Human

Class: Villager

Attributes: 1 STR, 1 DEF, 2 DEX, 1 (2) INT, 1 (2) WIS, 2 LUK

Abnormal Statuses:

- [Bug]: The developers have been told of your changes.

- [Shock]: After a traumatic event, you still have not processed what has happened. -1 INT

- [Slight Madness]: Tragedy has warped your mind. -1 WIS


"Hahaha!" Consumed by the ridiculousness of the situation, Wilbert burst into manic laughter. "What the fuck is this? Everyone dies, but then they're replaced, and these new people act like nothing happened. Now I see some imaginary pictures and boxes? Fuck off!"

[Stats Window Closed]

"Hahaha!" This announcement from the system induced another bout of hysterical laughter. "Of course that worked…"

When he recovered, Wilbert's eyes glimmered with a steely determination. 'I don't know what's happened to me, nor do I know what any of this is, but I want to find out. I'm sure that the massacre earlier has something to do with all these changes.'

He was about to go investigate the village and see how his changes would affect his interactions with the villagers when a familiar, obnoxiously loud voice interrupted his thoughts.

"Finally allowed back online!"

He looked up, and standing on the exact spots that they had disappeared from stood the short, ill-tempered gnome and quiet, almost subservient human.

"Where is that child? He shall be the first to taste my wrathful fist as I bring vengeance to this village!"


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