The Depths of Magic
- Traumatising content
It's the year 2052 and the release of the new next generation full dive VRMMO game called The Depths of Magic is hitting the world by storm. The games technology will surpass all other games before it and shock the masses. Hector who goes by the name Locke inside the game is an an experienced player of the genre. He is looking to continue his goal of enjoying gaming as well as the competition that goes along with competing for the top ranking spots.
The Depths of Magic is a LitRPG novel focused in a Fantasy VRMMO setting. This is not a harem novel.
In Game systems
The Depths of Magic features state of the art technology never before seen in Hector's world. The key system the novel will bring up often is the Second Brain. The Second Brain system is more like a guidance AI for the players in the game that acts as if you had a second brain assisting your every action. How much guidance this AI will give is based on its experience; or mastery skills a player will receive in the game. The guidance is seamless to a point where a player won't even realize they are being assisted, it's will feel like what they are doing is something they could always do. However once they leave the game it will become quite apparent that they were receiving heavy guidance.
The purpose of this system in a writing sense is to explain why a player can realistically become more powerful, more agile, or more skilled then they would otherwise be able to as a human. To give an example if someone could move faster than a bullet, how would a a normal human brain be able to perceive and control this movement properly. Or how could a player who has never held a sword before become as experienced as someone who has trained with the sword all their lives.
The magic system will be another focus of this novel. I don't want to spoil anything here but it should be an interesting one. The hopes is that the system I have made will spark discussion between the readers on what combinations will do what. I already have most of it, but it will be fun to read as the author.
My general focus for this novel is to attempt to make the in game systems make sense. To give an vague example I have read a lot of novels of this genre and some have the habit of just creating such powerful items that it just breaks the system, and somehow the MC keeps finding challenging situations even with those items. What tends to happen when I read a novel like this I just ignore the stats of the items he is getting, because the numbers don't even matter anymore.
The chapter release schedule will be every Wednesday and Sunday.
1 chapter early release/discord access. Free content up to current chapter includes an excel sheet that contains Locke's current stats at the end of the chapter. This is extra information for those that are interested.
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The begining is very "tell you things you already know" heavy. Explaining what a vr capsule is, what an mmo is, etc. This isn't per se a bad thing, but we all know we have seen sao. No need to pretend.
Some of the early chapters are also very stilted? I'm unsure how to put it. The grammer is all correct technically but it's weirdly passive. That seems to be getting better as it goes.
The magic system is not a let down. Very much a "god damn this is a good magic system. Guess I have to come up with something to do with it" kind of story.
I guess moral of the review is to have a little more faith in your reader.
The review button says I need more words so I guess spoilers happen here.
The main character Locke seems like his own person which is good. He isn't the super op protag who is "definitely not the writer in a wig". While he can feel stilted at times, no other characters really feel that way. Is this just the fact that the writer is improving and we don't meet another character other than tutorial botmans until chapter like 5? Maybe. But that's not really a problem.
The sigils are a cool concept. Very moriwind in that there is theoretically infinite complexity there. I like the little detail that his method has the drawback where he has to practice each way of casting a spell and can't just learn the bass version and pump 60000000²³⁴⁵ mana into it and make it super broken.
God 200 words really is a lot huh.
The major selling point of the game was the "second brain" because you can't learn XYZ skills from a video game and have it translate to real life, yet somehow our main character skips all physical training, and is perfectly adept at it, despite spending several days working on his magic. And speaking of, the timing is all over the place, from watching every spare minute and detail to suddenly "meditated for days" "studied for a week" makes a weird choppy flow. While learning the magic it was certainly unique, and then was suddenly forgotten for mostly swinging a sword and using a spell when he was out of range to stab the target. I recognize that things should develop over the course of the story, but at 173 pages after what started around a magic / mage based character there was a quick 180 into "I don't want to be entirely a mage". The latter half of the story so far was all about how he used a sword, which he was supposedly competent in due to his past gaming experience, completely contradicting the "second brain" to assist in advanced movements that needed to be trained & taught.
The main character disregards his companions and has a wishy washy prove myself complex when first meeting them, then abandoning them for dragging him down after some of them are sent to respawn because the purely melee guy who trained in melee / combat skills as long as our MC trained in magic is somehow inferior to his physical skills, as he goes on to handle three of the creatures that killed him solo.
Te story started awesome, discovering & using magic, and then out of no where took a left turn into "enhancement magic" to buff his physical stats so he could melee all the time. Double down he took a class specifically for this. I guess you could make the argument he's magically enhancing his stats, and in passing throws a spell, but why imply a magic centric story when it's heading in the direction of physical stat buffs to melee the whole time?
Further the main character is somehow adept with weapons from other games despite the "second brain" system since games can't actually teach your muscle memory (according to the story), feels like a major plot hole that seems integral to the entire story.
The author has created an interesting setting with no purpose. The MC has no motivations and no goals. He is starting a new game purely to play a game. While that's fine for real life, it doesn't make much of a story.
The main conflict is his struggle to learn the difficult magic system. While that's not a particularly compelling conflict, it could work. However, there are no stakes whatsoever. He doesn't have to make money or reach a certain level. He's not trying to race to the top or be the best. He doesn't have to do well in the game for any reason. There isn't even any time pressure because of the time dialation. The MC could stay in the magic training room for the next 100 years and it would have no effect. Since we know absolutely nothing about him outside of the game, there's no pressure for that to affect him either.
The result of this lack of stakes is the reader has no reason to care about what happens. The author has created a complex and interesting magic system, but it doesn't matter if you don't need it for anything. I don't care about how the magic works if it doesn't affect the plot or character development. I don't care if the MC succeeds on his quest if there are no consequences.
To be fair, I'm still in the early stages of the book. The prose is pretty good and it is very likely that later the MC will find some goals or a plot will emerge. However, I can't bring myself to be care long enough for that to happen.
I like the MC and his reasoning. It's actually obvious he is a good and experienced player, which often is not the case in other books. I didn't have to be told he is good by a narrator, it is visible in his play style, in what he does and how. Descriptions of his thought process clearly show the main points of his decision-making, where and why he has to compromise, and are written well enough to see when he is changing his mind, without explicitly stating it.
The game itself isn't that unique, but the mechanisms of how it works are well-thought. Both the in-game mechanics and the technology solutions behind implementation of certain game parts (like Skills and Stats). The reasons why some mechanisms work in certain ways are arguably the best I have seen yet. Not like that many were shown, there wasn't enough occasions, still it adds much to worldbuilding and overall consistency, and those are a very important parts of a book for me.
The game focuses on realism, which allows to introduce interesting magic and fighting systems. The reason behind less-realistic parts is always explained and the whole is coherent enough, that the MC is able to make assumptions based on "what developers had to do, and why".
I didn't spot any uncalled-for behavior from the characters. There is no idiocy, or pervasive stupidness. Some are cocky or pushy, but it's normal for a player. The interactions could be described better, but the dialogues feel natural. The characters are expressive and alive, that is for sure.
I didn't see any obvious grammar mistakes. Though, some of the more technical descriptions (like the process of constructing a Spell) gave me a pause. Probably because some information is often omitted, for example a relative size of the magic construct and sigil, or the size of the "fort". The second one actually caused an inconsistency in what I imagined is happening, but it's not that jarring. I think most people would just ignore it. More thought is placed on what the characters (especially the MC) is doing - details like checking the environment before going down from a tree, or always accounting for inventory weight.
The story starts very good, I have huge hopes for it.
Very enjoyable read!
Dialogue between characters is well done and graciously includes some inner voice/thoughts to help flesh out Locke's emotions. Very eager to see what happens next!
I hope that in the future we'll see a bit more connectivity to the real world just to add more depth to the Locke character. The use of stats/magic and the consistency of the game world have been excellent. I'm looking forward to see what else will be unlocked. The vibrancy of the spell usage so far has been very well conceived.