JohnWillStab is the poorly-named shut-in on a quest to get into MMOs after a failed online career backfired leaving him uninterested in his speciality, strategy games.
He discovers an old, abandoned game with an active, albeit very eccentric, community of no more than five-hundred players on a single server maintained by an unknown individual.
Unbeknownst to him, the game he found is more than just an ordinary WoW clone and after many adventures with his group, they make the terrifying discovery that after two full volumes this story becomes a god damn isekai.
What’s worse, JohnWillStab, the number-one edgelord on the server is somehow ending up in positions of power despite literally being an undead rogue with evil magic tentacles!
Will John’s edginess ruin the isekai? Why does the doctor have the highest kill-count in the game? Is 👑 really a valid character you could use for your username? Can the chef perform an exorcism? Why is God asking John for chicken nuggets? Really, he could just spawn them in - in fact, we saw him spawning food in before!
Find out like… two of those within the virtual pages of Binary Progression!
Post-Chapter Banner by @ThatNoLifeArti1 (https://twitter.com/ThatNoLifeArti1)
Icons for end of chapter image by 'Lorc'
Story updates and shit-posting available on twitter @MrBadWithNames1
Old cover by @EldricthAnomaly
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When I first started the story I thought, "Oh hey, cool. This is about a crappy MMO for an introvert."
I continued reading and thought to myself, "Man, I wish I had a friend like Bonifacius."
I could tell you about the story, how it's pretty solid, how it's good at explaining various concepts and letting you fill in the blanks for more basic things so it doesn't get bogged down.
Sure, the environments are described really well, they don't go on for too long, yet they aren't too short either, giving you a great mental picture of where they are without getting too lost within the details.
Sure there are a variety of quests that we see within the first few chapters, a variety of ways that the developers of the game seem to really have no idea how to run an MMO, and sure, there's a variety of characters and memelords within the story.
Sure, the skills are pretty cool and the defined roles are fairly consistent, giving everyone a fairly unique presence within the story.
Sure there are funny moments and ridiculous antics that will get you to smile, chuckle, and perhaps even giggle.
Let's face it though... You're going to be here for Bonifacius.
Who is Bonifacius?
Bonifacius is one of the funniest characters. He's a real bro. If you're caught by some banditos, he'll come and save you. If you need some sweet gear, he'll be there to grind with you. Bonifacius will never let you down. If every other character was garbage, I'd stick around only for Bonifacius.
Yet... the other characters within the story aren't garbage. Each is unique in their own way; we've got frog lovers, trolls, people far too into roleplaying (you know the type), and newbies who don't really understand the game, but have a fresh view on the game since they haven't been tainted.
I do have some minor gripes with how sometimes the format changes every so often, although that's rare and it only happens for a single line out of maybe a few chapters or so, and that whenever a character speaks it should always be a new line rather than it happen midway through a line, but those are mostly personal gripes.
I have to admit. I didn't think I was going to enjoy it as much as I actually do. I normally don't read so many chapters in one go, but I read it about five chapters at a time.
So yes, I think it's a solid 5* because Bonifacius is bae.
EDIT: Okay, so I completely forgot to mention something that I really enjoyed. One of the things that you'll see at the end of most chapters is a little drawing that is relevant to the story, sometimes it's even in the middle. I really enjoyed the way MrAwfulWithNames incorporated these into his stories. In fact, in chapter 11(?) there's one in the beginning that really blew me away, so actually I'm going to bump up the Style score up from the original review that I wrote 5 minutes ago.
Years after the developers have abandoned it, players still roam freely in an MMO, having fun and exploiting glitches, and in that way it's the most "slice of life" feeling MMO adventure I've ever read--the characters are constantly going on quests and fighting things, but it feels a lot more like some online friends hanging out in a shoddy C-tier video game.
Binary Progression in a Broken MMO is very silly. All the characters are eccentric in their own way, half of them outright roleplayers, and they inhabit a world that is decaying, almost literally, to great comedy. We have buggy quests, long-established factions that have taken over far more of the game than intended, and hackers that blaze through the code without a sweat. With lots of fun adventures in this shoddy MMO world, you get a real sense of friendship and fun that you just don't find in other MMO/isekai/LitRPG type stories.
Unforunately, the prose is very sparse and doesn't paint a very vivid picture of this world; the vast majority of the story is chatlogs of the messages the characters send each other. This is very entertaining, but I always yearned to see more of the game itself and see the hackneyed fantasy world and glitchy mechanics that the players mostly ignore in favor of making their own fun. I also want to learn more about the characters outside of the game, especially our protagonist John, who through several small hints has some really interesting characteristics to him.
These things can still happen, especially as the story is surely very early in, but without them the story does feel like it's missing a little bit. Still, that doesn't take away from the fact that this serial is great fun and will be a really entertaining time for anyone who likes MMOs or quirky online communities.
I literally laughed out loud while I was reading this at points. Keep me giggling and I'll read it. This is the first time I've read a LitRP where the game is abandoned, and the playerbase MAYBE a little toxic. However, I sure as hell have PLAYED those games. It's fun to read it without having to actually, you know, deal with it!
Biggest things that hold this story back is the Style. I hesistated between putting it between grammar and style, but the biggest issue I have is the formatting, and I'm. Throwing that unders style. I'd have the chat lines. Seperate from actions of the characters, personally. Having said that, it doesn't throw me too much, or too often.
I didn't know what I'd think of John at first, but he grows on me. Our main characters so far are pretty interesting. Very real to how people tend to act in games in general.
The story is starting to take off. New player in a game picks all the wrong stuff to start, and gets in trouble. I have been that person.
To be fairly honest, the grammar and spelling mistakes in Binary Progression In a Broken MMO make it a hard book to recommend.
However, if you can look past that - like I most certainly did - then you will find what is probably one of the funniest MMORPG novels here on RR. The content that the author has given us is so hilariously ridiculous that at some point I even stopped caring about those errors. Just something to consider when deciding whether or not to pick this up.
Majority of the story is written in chatlogs. Which, for those who prefer vivid detail, may be off-putting. But for those who don't mind a little light-heartedness, then this is perfect for you. Personally, I don't mind the style - especially if what it tries to achieve (in this case, humour) is accomplished. And boy, is it accomplished.
From silly interactions to wacky quests, this novel does a good job at capturing one's first dive into an MMO (With some comedic exaggeration, of course). If you are a love of such games, then you will find yourself suffering from plenty of nostalgia when reading this. I couldn't stop thinking about my own MMO adventures. I was even tempted to text my friends and beg them for a new playthrough of World of Warcraft!
With that said, for me, the character interactions are what carry the story. They are absolutely hilarious. The main character, John, finds himself surrounded by the goofiest and strangest of people, which makes for an entertaining read. The author has done a great job at creating a big cast, each character with their own unique sense of humour and way of speaking. Even the main character is funny. His reactions to the silliness happening around him is enough to trigger a giggle from anyone.
In all, Binary Progression In a Broken MMO is a great comedy. If you're looking for something to simply kick-back to and get a laugh out of, then you won't want to miss this.
A note for the author: If you were to polish this - such as revise the grammatical issues and improve certain parts - then I truly believe you have something great in your hands. Something worthy of being considered a comedic masterpiece. And you know what? I'm sure you can do it.
Overall Score: 4/5 The further you get into this book the more its quirks become enjoyable, that said this is as far from a typical novel as I have read on RR. The characters in a way really bring out the archtypes of players one would meet while playing an MMO. The newbie who has no idea what he’s doing. The Arrogant Player who talks down to everyone, even someone miles above him in levels because its inconceivable that anyone could be better than him. The veteran player who stays not for glory but enjoyment of the game and doesn’t mind helping new players. The hacker who only knows how to create trouble and doesn’t care who it affects. They were all pretty enjoyable and make this story worth checking out. This is also my first litRPG so bear that in mind as you read this review. For more in-depth info on things mentioned in this review please see my comments.
Style Score: 3.5/5 There were a few elements of style that I questioned as necessary or inconsistent. The first and most apparent being the writer's aversion for paragraphs, to the extent that I saw several run-on paragraphs that should have been two or more sentences but would/might have forced the writer to have more than 1 sentence in a paragraph. I really couldn’t wrap my head around this. Why it was necessary? I don’t know. It didn’t work for me.
Second. The use of emotions in the narrative. Example Blade used /cry or Blade cried. Was inconsistent and while it was a minor thing it was noticeable.
Third the overall Point-of-view. At one point I thought we were just witnessing John’s humorous adventure into the world of MMO but then we started seeing screen pop-ups on other character screens John could not see. Or told that characters rushed to click friend requests and other things that would only be visible from the other side of that character’s screen. I wouldn’t say its horrible, but it confused me enough to jar me from the story especially when it would only last a few lines, and then we’d shift back. Which makes me question why it was important enough to break from John's 3rd person limited POV at all? I think it might just be the use of 3rd person omniscient in litRPG that just makes it more noticeable/disruptive.
Story Score: 4/5 If you like mmo/mmorpgs and are a bit of a gaming nerd this had a nice nostalgia that made me realize how longs its been since I started a new game and mindlessly learned and enjoyed the new experiences.
That said, as I mentioned in my comments, it does read a bit like a game guide at times which made the appeal of the story a bit muted for me personally. It was pretty bare-bones with the occasional description. I don’t know if this is typical of LitRPG, just stating my impression.
That said, if you enjoy the throwback appeal of a broken WoW type game with the player drama of hackers, hazers, and pvpers it does bring out a fair bit of realism and enjoyment. It was the areas that focused on those stereotypes that actually made me crack a laugh while reading this. Comedy is subjective so I’ll let the readers form their own opinion on what comedy they find in this story.
To me, it also felt at times like John was set up to just experience the worst of the worst as a new player. His first MMO is junk that’s either broken, abandoned, or doesn’t work in his favor. He chooses undead and is basically grieved by the game for the first half-hour as he’s killed by NPCs trying to escape a town he’s forced to revive in. A Hacker sent him gold which he lost when he finished or skipped the end of the tutorial, so the hacker basically set him up to be ganked by a guild of players who “monitor” illegal actions. And, last I read, he’s being carted off through an area where monsters will be attracted to his weak level and swarm him(?)
There were so many times where I couldn’t help but ask. Why is he still playing? Why doesn’t he make another account and character? But if there was one redeeming light in all of this, it’s a name that has probably been mentioned in just about every review of the story. Bonifacius. More on him later.
Grammar Score: 4/5 Again. The run-on sentences, improper use of commas vs periods, and single-sentence paragraphs were what stood out the most. There were a few typos. Though I’ve learned that armour is the original British form of armor.
Character Score: 4.5/5 I didn’t get much from John, despite him being the MC for the most part. He was described as antisocial but seemed to converse with everyone he met pretty normally. Sometimes there’s just a difference in how people talk in real life vs games though. But otherwise, he didn’t stand out much.
Bonifacius stole the limelight pretty early on. Unique doesn’t even begin to describe him, eccentric comes closer. First, his dialect of talking which is apparently generated through some program. Second, his character/personality seems to be a good combination of simple, kindness, and honor. He doesn’t like killing, even if another character attacks him first and he’s justified to retaliate. Though he does accidentally kill John at the start.
All the other characters are still pretty new at this point but I hope to see their personalities developed more as the story progresses.
Binary Progression takes a distinct, comedic tone which helps it stand out from most LitRPG stories. While held back a bit by its presentation, it is certainly a fun read with some unique scenarios and whacky characters. More details in the 'Overall' section.
The way the story is structured is a little messy. Some of the stylistic choices, like how the dialogue is presented, makes the flow of the prose a bit disjointed. Still, I can definitely see what the author was going for in making it seem more like an MMO chat, and in certain ways it does pay off, so it's more of a personal thing.
Mostly good, probably nothing that'll put you off as a reader. Within what would be considered normal for a web serial.
Binary Progression shines through its whacky tone and strange scenarios, heightened by its chosen setting of a janky MMO that has lost developer support. It's a subversive take on the genre that makes fun of things like fetch quests or killing X whatever. This is by far its greatest strength, and while I'm personally not a huge MMO buff or anything, I still got plenty of enjoyment out of that aspect.
The story is fairly light so far, mostly a string of standalone quests and chapter-by-chapter set-ups for gags. I think this suits the story very well, and makes it easily digestible and enjoyable.
The characters do what they're supposed to. Some provide more laughs than others, but I suspect this will vary from reader to reader, as they are fairly distinct. My personal favorite is the hacker simply because of their devious, impish attitude.
The MC is also competently written. I like the twist the author chose to give the usual LitRPG protagonist, John being a person who doesn't play MMOs or know anything about them, making for some funny gags at his expense since he doesn't know his way around the basics.
I recommend this to anyone who's looking for a more light-hearted, comedic take on the genre. It has a fairly immediate payoff in terms of plot, characters, and gags, so it's a low investment on the reader's part.
Early review, forgive my grammar.
I won't write long, the story is interesting and quite funny. One guy talked in Shakespearean English, hard to understand at first but it set the atmosphere of the story. And don't worry, it gets better.
Some mistakes about the grammar and typo but nothing major, it's very much readable.
The novel is mostly about the character's dialogue, some of them are about silly/funny situations... depending on your take.
Overall, you may or may not like it but you should give it a try.
This story is an interestingly written mmorpg novel with some pretty hilarious moments, so far the interaction between John and Bonifacius works really well, i'm curious about what other kinds of friends he will find.
Most of the story is written in dialogues, so giving a proper style score is rather hard. I would like a bit more descriptive paragraphs and the old-english dialect dragged on for a while to long.
Similar to the style score, the grammar is hard to evaluate for dialogues, but there were not few punctuation errors as well as some missing words, definitely should be revisited when the story is done.
This is one part, where this novel shines, even tho the overarching story seems somewhat generic (not much choice for a mmorpg novel tho) the subplots are great and entertaining.
The characters are fun and work well together, their behaviors are somewhat exaggerated, but this fits well with this kind of novel, so full rating from me for that.
This is a very good light-hearted comedy. Crazy and broken quests really add to the story. There is no overarching plot for now, but in a way this is like a good sitcom, characters in a weird situations really cary the story. Quests, boss fights are all well done and always give something new to laugh about. Humor isn't recycled which is really good.
One issue I have is with style. There were some cases where character would say something in chat but author would continue with the description without some indication that character was done with talking. So it made it confusing.
Grammar was mostly fine, but I am not an expert. Anyways, it's readable and it doesn't take away from the experience.
I enjoyed the characters, like other reviews mentioned, Bonifacius is awesome. They really reminded me when I had my own gaming clan.
This is a good story if you want to relax, chill and have some laughs.
A good overall story about a guy trying a new MMO. There is a lot of chatspeak in the story, and most (if not all) of the dialogue is like this:
Character A: Says something
Character B: Replies
On one hand it does evoke the setting of an MMO where people are typing to each other at all times. On the other hand it can feel a little jarring if you're used to reading 'normal' speak in a story. I do think it helps more than hurts though.
There are also a lot of images and drawings making this story feel more alive and setting up the world in a great way. There's a bestiary and a whole 'chapter' for maps. If you love in-depth worldbuilding this is a good start.