Titan Online: How to be a Trader in a Fantasy World
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[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]
Instead of enjoying early retirement, Jason, a young fast food tycoon, has decided to buy a stasis pod for the popular fantasy RPG Titan Online. Now that he has all the money in the world, Jason would rather focus on making friends and having fun, but along the way some of his old habits might return. But Jason will find that Titan Online is not as simple as he first imagine. Join Jason on his adventure into Titan Online.
Titan Online is a LitRPG with a noncombat MC with a focus on class and profession advancement as well as wealth accumulation. Magic and Combat play a part but will be explored through the MC's companions and other characters.
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I have mixed feelings about this one. The writing is good, the story is interesting (I like merchant/building stories) but I can't get around the fact that the "game" they are playing has almost nothing that would draw people to play it. Pain is felt (from what's been shown, 100% pain), hunger, tiredness. No cool abilities or skills. Moral dilemas of Murder v.s. Self Defense. Actual sentient A.I.'s that have become so real as to experience misery and sorrow (meaning actions of players have real moral consequences). No monsters to fight, corrupt officials, caste systems etc.
It just sounds miserable, like trying to go back to the medieval age and live a normal life as a commoner.
To sum it all up I would say this story would be better if the entire "game" premise were dropped and it was just a story about a Peddler in a medieval fantasy world trying to get by, either that or introduce something that is actually fun and worth paying the, most likely, exhorbitant fees to get a full virtual reality pod.
As of now, I quite like this story. It also has a good potential. The most important thing is that the MC is really a merchant. No cheat skills, not a genius, no preferential treating as of now. Just a peddler, for better or worse, which is quite rare nowadays.
There is, of course, some foreshadowing for later power-up possibilities (magic etc.), but the world is build in a way that suggest the personal power is just one, not most important aspect of the game and quite hard to achieve (at least on the level that makes a difference).
The other side of this world setting is that it looks barren as a game. There are skills, but they are mundane and not a main focus of the story (yet). The level of difficulty for players is almost the same as for a random immigrant in the real world. There is no easy way to earn money, to hunt monsters (true monsters) one needs to get a rare license from authorities, magic is inaccessible for normal people, most of the trade/crafting is closely regulated by existing groups. It is literally a HARD mode, which as of now is almost suffocating, but has the potential to bring a really satisfying story.
For me this book is also quite dark. Again and again, we see the dark side of humanity, be it in NPCs, Players or MC's friend. Add to it the hard mode and the results are quite depressing. This is only my subjective impression, though.
The MC sometimes irks me. He seems to be too pure/naive for his age, especially in contrast with his environment. I also expected him to be more competent as a merchant, considering his RL experiences.
The grammar needs some work, but I am not the right person to judge it. It is not interrupting my immersion enough to be a real bother.
Like others wrote, the difficulty of the game is ridiculous. But what I didn't like is mostly that the backstory of the mc doesn't match his actions. He should be very experienced at haggling, but instead he just accepts the fist offer. Also I would have wished for a stronger focus on the trading .
This review covers up to Chapter 37 of Volume 1
Overall: This story is not for everyone. While a fantasy LitRPG, it does not focus on combat or magic use, or quick level-ups. It is heavy on narrative, on problem-solving. It involves some very realistic scenarios, and apparently some pretty long story arcs, without necessarily having an end-goal in sight. This is not to say it is a bad tale, What it is, is a good story about "the little people" in a game. It is like literary fiction version of a LitRPG.
Style: Tital Online has a consistent style, a stable point of view. It fits the story, as the reader is learning about this new world along with Jason.
Story: I really enjoy a tale of non-combat centered world-building. The most glaringly obvious concern is the game itself. Most immersive games would be heavy on combat and magic use, and interaction with other characters, that provides an easy escape for players from Real Life; so the story blurb about this being a "popular' game seems misplaced. For example, there have only been 2 Players in the story so far. This is still in the early stages of story and game life though, so please do not let that turn you off.
The pacing is slow, yet methodical.
Grammar: In terms of grammar, it is true that more than a few chapters have spelling errors or word choice. That means that that a good pre-reader would help the story, but it does not -for me at least- interrupt the narrative flow enough to be a bother.
Character: Initially I had a concern that there was a disconnect between "real life" Jason and game Jason, considering that he was a successful businessman who specialized in logistics, as his actions in the game did not seem to match what he did outside. However, there are many reasons in-game why this could be the case, so I am no longer worried.
I'm enjoying this one (currently at chapter 37) as its providing a bit of a different experience from othere VRMMO stories as the difficulty of the game is a lot higher than what you would expect. Would of been nice if the players heading into the game were forwarned about the realism but then again who would actually believe them until they tried it for themselves. With the realism of the virtual world it makes it feel more like an isekai story.
The story is going at a good pace as of right now and I like how the main character didn't get all sad or depressed with his early set backs but instead comes back from them stronger then before. Its a good start to a new story that you should definitely give a chance.
Sorry, but the prologue and the actual story clashed too much for me to get really involved in the story. The MC is a pretty generic John Doe-Morpgamer and doesn't behave like a shrewd businessman.
It's not badly written otherwise, but little is standing out to all the other gamer stories.
The characters are good but
sometime the characters actions do not seem to really match backstory.
the main character is a 100mil air but acts like he never had money.
Also did not seem to know how to nose about for deals in first town.
second main felt disconnected from her back story as well. The characters are good don't get me wrong just disconnected. The world is gritty and feels deep. The events along the mc journey feel real thought out and have weight. He is starting small but its what he wanted and is good for the story. Feels like a good early author getting to know his characters. Good talent though and seems to have connected well with them.