Dylan is your average nerd. He works downtown for an architecture firm during the day and enjoys all manner of games and media in his spare time. But while Dylan likes all forms of sci-fi and fantasy, he really likes the genre of superheroes.
So when an indie company releases a virtual reality MMO where players choose to play as heroes or villains, Dylan immediately buys into it. He has a specific type of character he really enjoys watching, something that always makes his inner child laugh in delight. The Saturday morning cartoon villain.
Yes, those inept, bungling, yet highly dangerous villains found in so many of Dylan's cartoons as a child. He loves how they always come up with strange ways to conquer the world and how they get thwarted every weekend. He remembered laughing at every silly antic, every cliched shout of "Curses! Foiled again!" He loves it so much he decides to take this idea into the MMO.
But to grab a playerbase, the company has announced a promotion that players with a high enough reputation can get contacted to become permanent raid bosses in the game. Those chosen will be paid as if employees of the company. Serious players all hoping to live the dream of playing videogames all day rush to purchase copies of World of Supers!
What will happen when Dylan, someone playing the game for fun, clashes with these overly serious players?
- Overall Score
- Style Score
- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
- Total Views :
- Average Views :
- Followers :
- Favorites :
- Ratings :
- Pages :
Leave a review
Overall an easy read with some fun characters. If you're intrigued by the blurb give it a try.
If your eyes glaze over at exposition just skip to chapter 2. The setup is lengthy but really comes down to what's in the blurb, i.e. a person uses a future VR game to have fun and frustrates a bunch of people taking it too seriously. Alas, this was a sign of things to come.
The concept allows for a lot of enjoyable supervillain shenanigans with extremely low stakes.
Grammar is good, mostly typos and autocorrect issues, and the author's good about fixing issues when pointed out.
The number of shenanigans drop off precipitously by Chapter 125. There's a lot more details of planning, working on resource grinding with other players, and straight-forward fights between new characters. But there's no narrative heft behind them and it's not fun like the original fights with Zlo doing things no one thought possible.
Maybe this is where an MMO series was always going to go, maybe the author ran out of ideas and is treading water. But in either event I do not care one iota about anything related to the RP guild.
This is a story that understands the appeal of alternate-world stories better than any other story on Royal Road:
The stakes are minimal, in fact almost literally zero, because it's a story about a game, and even if money or internet fame is at stake, it's being played by a functional adult with a real job in his spare time. The author has confidence that the characters and story can hold our interest without any cheap soap opera inflated stakes, and he's correct.
The story doesn't address any of Dylan's real life beyond what someone in game would know (oh, man, I couldn't play because it was a long week at work, let's go do some gaming now) because for once the author has actually played a video game in his life and doesn't feel the need to make it a speculative fiction novel written by an alien about the mechanics of your hew-monn gam-ezz and how numbers work and such. He's telling a story about Dylan using the game to create a persona and mischief, and trusts that to stand on its own... and it does.
There are no deep insecurities or tangled motivations intentionally concealed for dramatic reveals: Dylan wants to build the ultimate classic villain in the snidely whiplash / bond villain mode and execute convoluted schemes until his hubris is his downfall, that's what he does, and that's what the story is built on. Again, the author trusts his premise and the clear, stated motivation of the protagonist to hold up the story, and is again completely correct to do so because it works amazingly.
As for the story built upon one protagonist and his one desire overcoming the obstacles in the way, I can only say that the trend of the author trusting in his ideas enough to let them play out continues to pan out. Every character has their own distinct deal going on, even the NPCs, all clearly defined and not overcomplicated. Dr Zlo's approach to everything is delightfully loopy and indirect in keeping with Dylan's goals, the schemes themselves and the fallout is always creating new encounters that show us interesting facets of the world or show us new characters with interesting deals, and most of all it's all SUPER funny in a way that trusts the reader to get the joke instead of holding their hand through it.
The video game humor, especially, is something done really well here that's apparently surprisingly hard for most litrpgs to manage. The fact that the company has the most amazing graphics ever invented and technical expertise to implement features beyond the realm of science fiction, but can't do actual game design to save their lives and are continually overlooking basic things like the physical size of interface boxes making some features not work and having to desperately patch them in post launch may be the most realistic and hilarious depiction of an MMO in prose ever.
Tl;dr: it's good and you should read it, whether or not litrpg is your thing.
An entire story from an old school villain's point of view is an amazing premise. It's a story of Whacky hijinks, absurd plots, and cackling laughter that bring back fond memores of Saturday morning cartoons. It's a premise that could be a lot fun, the equivalent of literary candy. For the most part, it is fun, but the writing style is distracting enough that it's hard to sink into those fun moments.
Stuff It Does Well:
Easy-going: For a story like this, it is imperitive to keep things light and fun. Vaudevillain does a great job of that. There aren't any stakes, and there shouldn't be. It's like a slice of life novel that's set in a "monster of the week" saturday morning cartoon.
Unbounded Silliness: The world runs on 7 year old make-believe logic, and it's a delight. If everything is intentionally hand-waived, then it is easier to sit back enjoy the ride. I don't have to worry about something making sense, because it's not supposed to.
Caricatures: This is another story where I would be honestly disappointed to find out that somebody had complex motivations and a serious backstory. The story is based on the idea that old school mustache twirling villains are great in their own right, and it delivers on that point. You don't need depth when you've got style.
Bone-Dry Action: The action scenes in this story are lacking punch. They tend to read as list of descriptions and don't flow very well. Scene descriptions are always tricky, but action scenes benefit from more impressionistic writing. Additionally, certain verbs are getting overused, such as "connected." More dynamic verbs may help as well.
Conservation of Detail: In general, this story focuses too much on insignificant details. Unless its important to understanding the character or the story, the reader doesn't need to know it. Gettting caught up in stuff like the main character's favorite sandwhich just bogs the story down. That's not to say that details need to be cut entirely, but they need to be used with intention. Plenty of small character actions can help me understand them better; it's just a matter of discerning what's important and what isn't.
Overly-analytical Descriptions: This one ties into my above point. The majority of the descriptions talk about every facet of the object. It's good to try to flesh out the environment, but at a certain point it becomes white noise. Using similes and trimming out unnecessary info can streamline descriptions and make reading flow easier.
I desperately wanted to enjoy this story. I like the central concept, and the story struck me as the sort of light-hearted fun that I needed. I did find a lot of the story fun, but I also found it a slog to get through. The writing style got a little bit better as the story went on, but not enough that I wasn't constantly dragged out of the story. There's a lot of promise here, but I'm going to have to drop it for now.
A well written, MMO supervillain romp. No heavy-handed "If They Disconnect From The Game They Will Die!" here.
I feel like the villainous Dr Zlo would be a fun guy to share a cup of tea with.
I've read about 100 chapters of the story, which is written competently. Characters are fun. There's no "plot" to speak of, which is fine. But...
There's not enough villany and fun hiests and way too much of guild-building/guild-talk that amounts to nothing, really. It just feels like filler.
Our MC, Dr Zlo, suddenly becomes second character of the story and it just feels.. boring.
It was fun in the beginning as the description of the story implies. We have a someone playing as a Saturday morning cartoon villain creating chaos within a game full of serious players.
And then it all changes.
The concept of a Silly Saturday Morning Cartoon villain going against serious players cease to be. Now the story is just a story about a bunch of silly villains and heroes. None of them of them are able to stand out.
It's midling I guess.
On average it does well. The narration is fine, dialogue is fine -- things are often just fine. Nothing great, just fine. But is does have its snags. It does become very boring when it goes into infodumping about mechanism and details. It is just so dry. There are attempts to liven things up by adding weird details like random materials or ingredients or some weird details, but after it was repeated all the time, it just lost its effect.
The multitude of POV is also hurting it. I almost never see multiple POV done right and this one is no exception. The way it handles the POV shifts is just confusing and disorganized. We are just constantly thrown from one character to another in no apparent order or meaning. We would suddenly be in the heads of random characters that we never meet before. It is just difficult or impossible to follow the flow.
The narration style is also kinda neutral. It doesn't try to illicit any emotion or mood. This is not a bad style in other kind of fiction but it doesn't fit in this story. There is a need to be more energetic and imaginative to deliver the story fully.
I don't think there is any plot here. Things just happens.
Okay, having no plot is not always a bad thing (Disney's The Jungle Book or a Picaresque novel). But, if there is no plot, it can't be the centerpiece of the story. Instead, character or humor (or possibly setting) should be. But here is the thing, this story focus on the plot, its weakest element, instead.
Focusing on plot when there is no plot just makes it clear that there is no plot. Well, most readers would not notice as there are things actually happening, but many would find themselves not particularly invested by the events. That is because, they are just that, events. Things that just happens. That isn't plot. There is nothing deep or meaningful going on.
And even if the story focuses on the the characters and the humor, the character and humor of this story kinda sucks. I'll talk about the characters in their section so I'll talk about the humor instead.
Actually, there is really no humor here, or the author just isn't able to bring out any humor. Sure, the characters does act silly and, as I mentioned before, there weird details here and there that could have provide some humor, but just plopping these things onto the story doesn't make them funny. You have to deliver them in a funny way. I haved discuss a bit of this issue in Style section where I said that the style is just too neutral. The humor is the most affected by this as any attempts to be humorous would just fall flat with the dry delivery.
And there is the pacing. It is so slow! Well, it started kinda nimble at the start of the story, but it slowly gets bogged down. The POV that switches from one character to another is one reason as these POVs often doesn't add anything meaningful. The fact that these characters are often doing nothing but talk while standing around or just moving from point A to point B drags the story even more. Actions are burdened by too much description, uninteresting details and lack of focus. This seems to be the result of focusing too much on the plot/events, on what the characters are doing.
And it tries to be serious and failing at it. It is just clunky at its attempt at being serious/dramatic. I know that comedy can have its serious elements too but how it is done here just dampens the humor. The homorous elements and the serious elements should be together but distinct from each other. The homorous elements should not make the serious elements frivolous nor should the serious element weigh down the humorous elements. But this is practically what happens here. For example:
Earlier in we have a character that hates the protagonist, Dylan, for taking the game too frivolously. The author creates a lot of drama from this. However, this drama weighs down the Saturday Cartoon Villain element of the protagonist's character where a lot of the humor is taken from as this drama is also also directly taken from it. It now becomes a conflict against two playing styles. It is now where Dylan has to take his Villain persona seriously to make a point instead of doing it becuase he that is what he likes to do. Sure he still like doing it, but there is now the burden of making a point. At the same time we can't take him playing a Sunday Cartoon villain as just a fun thing if it is burdened by a serious phillosophical conflict about the two characters regarding how to play a game.
The focus should have been on character and humor, specifically on Dylan and his antics. And in the start, it does. We follow Dylan and have fun with him and his antics. However, this story seems to be unaware of where its strenghts lie. The story focuses more and more on the events and rarely make the characters take center stage while even bringing in elements that practically eliminates its strenghts. It have become akin to Micheal Bay's Transformers franchise where it is nothing but hollow spectacle. Look at all the bombastic stuff happening! But there is no substance at all behind it.
What development here kinda reminds me of Blue Sky Studio's Ice Age in the way is strays from its core. The Ice Age narrative's strenghts comes from the drama between the characters. How it builds rapport with the characters and draw your emotions. The comedy and the plot is just there to complement and draw the drama out. Now think of the sequels. See how it strays farther and farther from its dramatic core and instead focuses more on comedy and plot with each installment. The drama becoming really shallow while the comedy overpowers everything and the plot becomes more and more bombastic. From a deep emotional story to a dumb kids flick.
This is what I fear is happening here. It is losing its way. Instead of showcasing a cast of fun characters it instead try to dazzle you with glitters.
Not bad. I'm not really good at grammar and quite tolerant so… I'm not going to complain much. Better that most I've encountered.
This is one where this story is weakest at.
There is just too many characters to follow and most of them are just randomly added almost on a whim. Our attention are just spread thin as we follow what feels like dozens of character at the same time. We also don't really get attached or invested in any of them because there are just too many for us to care.
This is also where the premise is slipping. The premise, after all, hinges on the characters: "What will happen when Dylan, someone playing the game for fun, clashes with these overly serious players?" So it is a story about a player who plays for fun clashing against ones who play the game seriously… or is it? If you actually look at it, there are actually as many people (or even more) who plays the game for fun as there are people who plays the game seriously. Dylan isn't really unique in that sense. In fact, there are characters that are more easy going and frivolous than him. In essence, this has become your typical MMO story instead of the clash between Dylan and serious gamers as it advertise itself to be.
And with all the multitude of characters, most aren't really fleshed out. In fact, most are deliberately made one or two dimensional. They don't really add anything aside from mooning over the protagonist. While, sure, our protagonist is kinda well rounded enough but considering how the story is told, we are rarely following Dylan. Instead, we following an army of one or two dimensional characters.
Overall, It starts quite unique and fun but then turns into a typical MMO webnovel as it gradually drops its premise. Just another story of an MMO player that does amazing stuff, amazes people, become popular and become the center of attantion. Not really bad per se, especially if you are into such things, but it isn't really anything that special as it starts with.
For anyone who likes those MMO webnovels, this one isn't so bad and it has the superhero and supervillains gimmick that might keep things interesting for you. it might also be adequate for casual browsing without being invested in it. It just isn't the fun story it says it would be.
Honestly, the setting and premise of the story is really cool, but i think you'd do better focusing on the light hearted and comedic aspect of the story. While trying to include serious elements like the conflict might be good to include depth to the story, it comes out quite...clunky and awkward.
The story is well written but doesn't take itself overly seriously (so far), or at least the mc doesn't which is a breath of fresh air on RR. In my opinion it gives the impression of a something very fun to read and the characters while not significantly fleshed out as of yet, are far from two dimensional. On the whole, the story is highly enjoyable and i'm very excited to see where it is going :)
I love the name
I loved everything at the start and it was really cool how the protagonist was losing himself in playing his character. It was a nice comedy and tragedy dynamic where you wanted to read more about Zlo but can't help but feel sorry for Dylan who has nothing in his life but this game and work. But after a while, when it becomes clear that the game isn't real, and after the introduction of his new guild the story stops being so entertaining. First off, at the beginning you get the impression that the world is full of AI that might be self-aware or are learning to be self-ware and that gave the story a cool horror edge because Dylan and all the other players are doing bad shit. It feels like that whole angle is being dropped and we don't hear anything like that for a long time. It kind of makes the story feel more shallow. Second, as more characters are introduced Dr. Zlo gets less and less screen time and that sucks, because I picked the story up for Mad Scientist shenanigans in a world that might or might not be real, not about boring larpers grinding out mats to open the gates to Ahn'Qiraj. I will continue to read the story but it's going down a path I don't like.
I can fully recommend this novel
The antics Dr. Zlo gets up to are incredible combined with the creative apporoach that he takes for every mission leaves a fantastic impression. The other side characters all have their own distinct personality making them each memorable.
The setting is a sprawling VRMMO world of the modern era with numerous superheroes and supervillians duking it out over who will win control. What stands out is the fact that is an entirely believeable VRMMO, there are bugs, some NPC's didn't get the same polish as others, mechanics get tweaked this isn't just a LITRPG with a coat of VRMMO lacquer over it this is a faithful rendition of a VRMMO world.
The style and grammar are both top notch. For grammar I've only found one error (granted I'm not the best at grammar myslef) and this was a fairly minor one. The style though is outstanding it truly makes you feel like you're reading about the life and times of that devious villian and the man who plays him.
Overall this isn't just a good VRMMO or LITRPG novel this is just a good novel of quality that I would argue deserves at least a 3 chapter read to see if you like it or not.