The Elemental Arena
*A Rational-Adjacent litRPG Survival Series.*
The time for the trials has come, pitting the mortal species of the galaxy against one another. By completing challenges, clearing dungeons, and defeating rival species, the players may forge themselves stronger and smarter. But only one species will be declared the winner.
Earth has finally qualified...
...and participation is mandatory.
A twenty-nine year old data entry clerk works together with a group of internationally diverse players to survive. Learning synergistic skills and using teamwork, can humanity achieve an upset? If they don't, their lives are forfeit.
Author's note: Chapters will be anywhere from 6k to 10k in words, varying based on the plot beats instead of specific word counts.
Realistic actions and teamwork will be important aspects of my story. I'm trying something a little different in writing a realism focused litRPG, hoping to capture the essence of how real people would react to their situation. People are complex and don't always get along. I don't recommend starting the series expecting wish fulfillment tropes just because it's tagged litRPG. It's a survival story with the game settings on Hell difficulty. The plot hasn't gotten there yet, but in the future of the series I want to recreate my nostalgia of forty person raids on Ragnaros, but with the high stakes of boss battles in Sword Art Online. I also love puzzle rooms so expect one of those each book.
Warnings: mild PG-rated language, graphic violence and gore, and graphic medical content.
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I want to start by saying that this story has been vastly over rated, and if I had to say why its that the author labelled it 'rational' and the readers took that to mean 'dry' and ran with it.
The idea behind the story is certainly as unique as you can get in isekai/system apocalypse/team survival stories on this website, and it serves to provide a nice and interesting "hook" to grab a new reader's attention, unfortunately the narrative direction breaks down a bit there with some kind of confluence between evil aliens, xianxia cultivation ideas, and high tech magic.
Its an odd fusion, and aside from providing a rough framework for the 'game system' doesn't seem to matter much at all, a little dissappinting but whatever.
The style feels like trying to eat a pack of crackers and only getting an occasional sip of water. It's so damn dry. There's no real style here at all, and if you told me an accountant wrote it after a day of number crunching, I wouldn't be surprised. The jokes are stale by the second time, and attackmy sanity by the hundredth. We can only read about beavers/rats or taking too long to shit, so many times before our eyes roll right out of our heads.
The fights are good and flow nicely, but everything in between was a slog.
The characters. They're a diverse bunch, but they also feel like the most shallow caricatures imaginable. All characters are either great or shit, and there's no prize for guessing which of the 2 sides support our MC and oppose him, it's a shallow effort to try and make the MC feel more 'rational' by turning up the irrationality of everyone else around to 11. Except his friends of course.
I can help but think about when Ilya is burned by the fire obelisk and while she's screaming in pain in the river our MC is having a nice conversation with Lilly and can't help but forget about the woman screaming in pain next to him while having his ///rational\\\ discussion. It was ludicrous to read, and wasn't helped by Ilya then going crazy about her... Looks? And picking a dress over weapons in the death arena???? Yeah, dumb caricatures of 'people' to make the MC look smarter.
Lots of random Gamers Rise Up style moments, like Nathan trying to describe DPS as if it has any bearing at all with their situation, as if the death arena and actually fighting will be like a ttrpg. It's cringe inducing.
As of chapter 5 this is well written with very few (no?) errors. Neat idea about the arena and good worldbuilding with the elements and such. I'm looking forward to the next chapters. Give it a read.
Review written after reading 9 chapters.
The premise is decent, and the worldbuilding is ok, but the characters constant discussion of their stats really annoyed me. It felt less like reading a story, and more like a DM discussing a ruleset with his players, and giving examples of how things work.
I'm here to read a story, rather than get ideas for my next rpg setting. The next time I'm doing the latter, I might check this out again.
Humans are 'spirited away' in an apocalypse survivor scenario and land upon a giant artificial arena wilderness. The story focuses on abilities and group dynamics. Style-wise the author does a great job at giving the characters distinct identities and motivations but uses too much RPG-like descriptions in their frequent stat boxes. Characterization is well done.
I had this on 'Follow' for months and when it stopped updating, I moved it over to 'Read Later.' It's been a year. As a reader, while the author excelled at characterization, it meant they really got into writing the characters, as in multiple perspectives and redundant scenes. After a great beginning, the plot went into 'slog through' meandering mode instead of developing itself forward. The pacing tended to substitute skirmishes and battles for development and while the characters were growing, only so many 'toughen up survival style' scenes to write before you want something fresh.
Had no issue with grammar and found this a readable story that needed faster pacing and more plot. If it's ever picked up again or rewritten, I'd be interested in giving it another try. Leaving a review as thanks and encouragement to the author. I did enjoy this.
As a reader seeing this review though, I would not recommend starting here since the story isn't finished.
This is a system/system apocalypse story that does a pretty decent job of focusing as much on the mental state of the "players" and MC as it does on the physical. There are certainly times in the story where I'd argue this makes both fall a little shallow but for the most part I was content with what I was given.
Yes some of the characters behave in ways that might feel a little jarring and grating, but considering how much time the Author has spent investing in these characters mental and emotional reactions to pain, death and trauma I'd say he'd pulled it off with far more success than failure.
Perhaps the biggest compliment I could give it is that I'd caught up with it a few months ago before he'd finished book 1. I only now, months later, came back and saw he'd finished his first part. I picked it up without any re-reading and found I was able to remember most of the events of the story as well as most of the more important characters.
I have a shit memory. That is not common at all, I often find myself having to COMPLETLEY re read a story if I drop it half way. So well done Author, if nothing else I found your story engaging enough to remember most of it.
As someone who has literally re-read an entire first book of a trilogy... before remembering I'd actually read the WHOLE friggin triology just a few years before... that's just about as much of a compliment as I can give.
I am happy that you are back. 3 months without you was not nice.
Please don't stop !!
Courage and thanks for the story !!
If I was in the situation as these characters I would be more focused on staying alive than sex.
Maybe I'm just weird but I would be more about living than sleeping around.
I'll start with the bad stuff, because I have to start somewhere, right?
The setting is as common as it can be without outright copying other people's works. Hunger Games meets LitRPG meets... Metal Gear Solid's nanomachines? Or maybe Generator Rex's? Anyway.
Nanomachines. They can do absolutely anything apparently, including magic. So, they're the driving force of this story. Something happens? Nanomachines. Sounds familiar? It is. Metal Gear Solid.
Earth and other aliens (which, at the time, wheren't really shown, beside ONE of the species) are thrown into a death match, where only one can survive. Sounds familiar? It is. Hunger Games.
And so on.
Some of the stuff that happens is pretty predictable, including the final so called plot twist revealing who's the mastermind of this whole setup. It was all pretty obvious. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, because it was only the logical solution to the various hints the author dropped throughout the whole book. So I guess the hints were too good maybe?
Anyway. Now the good stuff.
The story is good. I read this ages ago. As chapters were uploaded (and not yet edited, I should probably re-read everyhing once the editing is done). It must be almost an year. I come here from time to time to see if the second book's first chapter came out, because I want more. I want to see where the story goes, and how the author wants to resolve things. The plot is nothing to be spoken of in legends, but it is engaging.
The world building is literally Tygerion's doing, because he's built it. And he built it well. The RPG system though. It's nothing much. Just some RPG setting like any other. Multiple attributes, skills and the likes. Not bad, but not extraordinarily good either. It's ok.
The characters all have their own personalities, flaws and virtues. The author made a pretty good job there. They don't always go for the best possible solution to the problem, but they do try to think, and by that I mean that the author tries to make them think like real people who try to tackle such problems. They're by no means geniuses, and they're not always doing the best thing. First thing that comes to mind is this (and this is for the author as much as an example to you readers of what kind of missed opportunity those characters are... well... missing)
At least one character is an RPG player, and he's the one people ask when there's questions about RPGs and how to best exploit the situation. And he never suggests to centralize the decision making of character optimization? Not likely. It's the first thing that comes to mind right? Not a bunch of players making decisions about themselves, but small teams (parties) of 4-5 "characters" with different "roles". Never heard of glass cannons, Nathan? Of Tanks? Really? What about Healers or scouts? Yeah, convincing the team to go along with a centralized decision making system is not a small task, each wants to decide what they want to become probably, but at least the suggestion should have been made. Optimizing one character and another character and optimizing TWO characters? Two different things. A whole team? That's a lot of synergy they're missing there!!
Just one major example.
Now, beside this, the characters are good. Again not CRAZY good, but at the very least really good. Some are more likeable than the others, and that's probably by design. Good job on them!
For grammar, I can't say much. I'm not a native english speaker, but it seems pretty solid to me.
The style is kinda that of a beginner. I can't put my finger on how I reached this conlcusion, but it's... too simple. Descriptions of what is around the characters is done mostly well. Not bad, but not "whoa... I feel like I'm there with them!".
The aliens are humans with funny costumes. And I don't mean that like "they look like us, two hands, two feets..", I mean they THINK like us. The artificial intelligence Tygerion speaks with? It's basically a human. More intelligent, sure... but where's the alien emotions we can't even understand or have names for? Where's the lack of some of human's emotions which are incomprehensible to THEM in turn? They think like us, like it was the most natural thing in the world. Nah, not buying it. Make aliens that are really really difficult to understand. Seriously, go read a little Eliezer Yudkowsky's sequences about alien minds.
Without going more into details about the characters, the main character is also not really likeable, nor does he have any kind of good virtue. He's Default Character. Nothing worth fawning over. That's for you, Maya.
I'm still going to wait the rest of the story, because there's always room for improvement, and the author seems to listen to people, which means this story is probably going to skyrocket to greater goodness, because lots of people have been even worse than me in being critical. Still, it's a good story. Let's wait.