- Traumatising content
In the process of COMPLETELY rewriting up to chapter 30 (flesh out characters, add more descriptions, and more drama!) >> chapter 1-2 revised! I strongly recommend you to wait until all 30 chapters are rewritten for a better first-time experience 😉
Naomi Turner works for a massive VR company, Snowstorm Inc., that created and engineered the best-selling MMORPG game, "World of Disasters." Herald for its hyperrealism, the game's notoriety spread far and wide and is now the number one sold and most played game worldwide.
One day, the company sent a firm-wide email ordering everyone to work overtime. All employees must log in to "WoD" and celebrate with the CEO launching the game's first big update in over five years. In the name of solidarity, and a handsome bonus cheque, everyone naturally complied.
Like something out of a B-rated film, the mastermind of this ploy reveals that everyone is trapped in this game! They must band together to beat this game and escape! The deadline? Until every player dies.
Companies that have mandatory overtime suck!
[Participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]
- Power gamer and noob gamer tries to co-exist without trying to strangle each other in a game where if you die, you die for real
- Non-crunchy LitRPG
- Focus on character development
- Slow burn 🔥
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- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
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Style: Overall, the author's style is excellent. The POV is very stylized, making it easy to understand how the characters think and feel. The descriptions are brief yet vivid, giving the reader enough of an idea of what's going on how things look without bogging down the pace with unnecessary descriptors. Humor is plentiful; from events in the story, to how characters act as well as how they're perceived in POV, this story is bound to at least get a few chuckles out of you.
Grammar: Pretty much perfect. I think I noticed one or two typos, forgot to hit "submit comment" and couldn't find them again.
Story: The premise has been done before; players are forced to live (and most likely die) in a VRMMO world. At the point of this review, the game world itself hasn't had much of a chance to shine, but the events and occurances behind the scenes leave open a lot of mystery and potential development. The system seems to be standard fare so far as well. Although I'm not versed in the genre, almost all of the typical conventions are present; typical DnD stats, skills, a class system, etc. There are a few twists that will show up however that give the story its own unique flavor.
Character: So far, two characters are running the show: Naomi and Gib. They serve as the "all around noob" and the "lone-wolf pro" duo. Their banter with each other is witty; they like each other but at the same time don't. Their dynamic allows for a dynamic and endearing relationship. There are other characters present as well, but so far they don't get anywhere near as much screen time as the main two.
Even though I'm not a fan of LitRPG, I did have a lot of fun reading this one. The author is also very active in the comments which adds to the fun of the story! Would definitely recommend if you're a fan of similar stories here on RR.
You all know LitRPGs, they are the bread and butter of RoyalRoad but VRMMOs? They've been awfully quiet the last few years. Mandatory Overtime is a revival of sorts, or at least it could be. For those who loved Log Horizon and Sword Art Online (when it was good) and those spending a lot of time in MMORGPs (Guild Wars 2 fans, where are you?) this could a good way to relive those glory days. Let's see what we're working with here.
Characters. You either have a knack for them or you don't. Our author here has it. Distinct, realistic and with some depth. For now they still lack a lot of characterization and depth but the promise is there and these first chapters are giving me faith. There's a lot of characters already introduced and they all have some idiosyncracies and details that just make them click.
Style. Is it great? Poetic? Pulitzer price winning? No to all of them. You won't notice it when you're reading it. Style vanishes and story becomes all that matters. Our first setting is a barebones island and I was there with the players and the mods. This really feels like a VRMMO because I dived into this world. Only difference? As a reader you can log out whenever.
As of now there's only tendencies so I'll treat lightly
One of them is consistency. This'll be a nightmare for people who look for plotholes like mice look for cheese. The story blends game elements with a second 'real' virtual life. Rules get blended. Is it a game or a fantasy world within a game? Might be both, so which rules apply? Maybe this will get fixed, but I doubt it. However, it's not really a problem, only something I'm weary off for now.
Tempo. We have a bit of a slow burn for a start here, which I don't mind, just be aware that you're strapping in for a slow development here. Not necessarily a bad thing, but be prepared for the sign of many first time authors: a strongly linear plot progression imaginable where no step, no matter how unimportant will be left out. You can be sure that the good parts will also be part of the package, so there's that.
The format goes like this: what I think was well done, what I think could be done better and what I think might turn people away from this story. It's also a clint eastwood reference.
Willing Suspension of Disbelief. How does the Deep-Dive technology work? Why can't you just drag people out of their VR gear to wake them? How can some hacker improve a game to the point it becomes life-like? Why would he do that? This aren't critic points of this story, but of the genre of VRMMR-LitRPGs. If this is your first time reading in the genre, be aware that some things have to be handwaved by necessity. If you want a clear answer to these questions, this story might become frustrating for you.
The only really ugly thing here is that this story will have a rough start in rankinsg and popularity. I don't see an immediate rise to the frontpage in the cards and this story will run risk of vanishing in a sea of stories glamoring for attention, which is why I'm writing this review this early, to maybe help it that tiny bit along because it has the promise, it has the potential, now it only has to deliver.
TL;DR: Great take on the dying VRMMO-LitRPG genre with great execution, a lot of promise and a lot of good stuff going for. If you want to know what, read the first part of my review - or the story itself. I think the latter is more enjoyable though.
Let me just preface this review by saying that I really liked this fiction. It was funny, emotionally engaging, and had me hating certain moments while holding my breath for others.
With that being said ... let us begin:
STYLE SCORE: The writing style is humorous, the world is defined, and I can totally see things going down the way they did if they ever really happened. I was a tad, and I mean a tiny bit, put off by the fact that the story itself is in a "trapped in a video game setting", however this comes from me reading too much of that genera lately and has nothing to do with the quality of the writing.
STORY SCORE: Loved it. Once of the better reads, even if it was a shorter read so far, that I have consumd in the genera as of late. Too often I find myself hating the MC, Antagonist, and plot lines. This story seems to have the standard, "escape back to the real world", trope going on. However I can see hints of a larger story. I am excited to see where it goes.
GRAMMAR SCORE: I found a few odds and ends here and there that needed a correction. A few personal preferences and a few run-on paragraphs. Nothing egregios or that detracted from the story.
CHARACTER SCORE: Now, this is a personal preference thing but ... The MC seems like a bit of a ditzy airhead who works for an MMO company and hates MMO's. She doesnt seem to grasp the social ques of those arou7nd her well, not does she relate to others. I can see this potentially being a roadblock in future character development unless some in-roads are made to this early on.
OVERALL SCORE: I am gonna slap a 5 Star on this bad momba jamba. Low milage, all the bells and whistles, and can be yours for the low, lo9w price of a few hours of reading. If that. I cant wait to see where it goes.
Mandatory Overtime is a strange story.
Not in the way it was written though. That part of the story is relatively well done, without any stylistic or grammar errors I could find.
It is strange in what it wants to say.
It is story about people trapped in the virtual world to be tormented in the Game of Life and Death only because they wanted to play a computer game. It has strong anti-escapism message, that's obvious.
But I can't see what all those people which supposedly died for real did wrong, aside of playing the game. Escapism (they played the game) wouldn't have tragic outcome if it wasn't was Euthro, the madman that locked them there.
Euthro, orchestrator of this torture, is Evil Genie. Not in literal sense, but in the figurative one. He fulfills the wish in most cruel way possible and turns in against the people, i.e. against people who wanted just to play computer game for a little while.
Wishes made to Evil Genies aren't Evil. Evil Genies are Evil.
Story breaks its own logic in way how he achieves it, as it would probably be largest conspiracy in history of mankind, while he somehow got everyone still alive to some statis pots, but fine, it is premise. But still, I can't agree with a VR Jingsaw teaching you morals about escapism.
It even gets worse in character of Gib which is probably the most erratic character I've seen, he goes back and forth from trying to teach the most asocial messages like "everyone for himself" while he does help the protagonist, Naomi, noticeably. I can't understand him, at all, and what he was supposed to stand for. If existence of Euthro, the Virtual Jingsaw, can be excused by need of truly evil villain. Gib doesn't have an excuse for him going back and forth.
On the other hand, protagonist, Naomi, helpless girl and unwitting employee of the Evil Inc. (whatever it is called in the story). She is a good person, very relatable, very sympathetic, and I like her all around. Too bad she stands out because she is surrounded by madmen and psychopaths.
In light of this I am not entirely certain how to rate the story....
But I will give it 5-stars overall. Because I want to read it, and will continue reading it. It wouldn't be fair otherwise. And well deserved 5-stars given to style and grammar.
But Story and Characters gets 4, due to mixed messages and mad Gib. It's a shame, especially when it comes to characters, as Naomi would be 5-star characeter alone.
Let's shuffle the usual order in which I review the work because there is something important to clarify there ...
Story - I actually hate Sword Art Online. So much I had to put it in the title of this review. Luckily for me, and for anyone all like-minded people who might run into this novel, this story isn't Sword Art Online. It does have a shared theme, being trapped in the video game, but that's about it. Even though there are weak parts here (more in the character section) I was drawn into the story soon enough and now, by chapter 10 I think I can't wait for the next chapter.
I can forgive the story it's a strange leap of logic where no one expects the plot to happen even though they did have context and precautions against that situation. It is even confusing whether they are in-game, or it magically becomes a fantasy world. Confusing.
But again, I forgive the story this now because I do want to see the continuation
So, when it comes to the story, 5 stars.
Characters - I think characters in this story are handled quite well. Naomi, the protagonist, is quite a relatable, and sympathetic individual and desperate people trapped inside the game pictured briefly are handled quite well too. The weakest part of the story is Gib the Power Gamer, which initially acts like a gamer sociopath, out of place for the situation at hand, but becomes a more sympathetic person afterward, a guide to Naomi. Or have the potential to become her biggest motivation should he die.
I subtract the half-star and half-star only.
Style - Story is actually well written, with an effort put into it, with no obvious mistakes, and nothing that would take me off the story. A well-deserved 5-star.
And finally, Grammar - I didn't put any skill points in Grammar, so I don't know what it does. English is not my first language. 5-stars by default.
Overall, I would suggest this story to all fans of LitRPG. 5 out of 5
This is a great take on a virtual reality build. Well developed characters, and lots of dramatic buildup. I'm excited with the way she is taking the characters and developing them like real people with honest motivations. Not just another "I am am hero, I take over world because I am awesome." It's good to see characters who believe in others.
Great writing style, interesting plot, and unique characters. I'm really enjoying this novel. The first few chapters are heavy on backstory, but it gets going quickly. There's the standard 'trapped in video game' disturbing backstory, but it looks like it'll play heavily into the plot so it should be enjoyable. Overall I'm really digging the tone, it feels genuine. Also the dynamic between characters is really fun. If you're looking for a solid read, check this out.
I'll start this review out by saying, I'm not typically one to read a new story. I usually prefer something I can binge for 3 days straight. That said, this story is so good it's worth eagerly awaiting every new uupdate. If you take nothing else from my review take that, this story is worth the read and the small wait for each update.
Style: This story has an easy to follow style. The subject matter is grim, to say the least. Yet the authors writing style somehow manages to keep the darkness of the events from turning this story into something grimdark. A fairly difficult feat when one of the first few chapters has an event deserving of the gore tag it boasts. The progression is phenomenal and you don't have time to get bored, yet the action and events don't feel forced either. It's a perfect balance.
Story: well maybe I'm a bit biased but a good trapped in an MMO is definitely my jam. This has a unique twist on it however. The MC is not your typical gamer and it awakened a remembered delight of times long passed when I too was once a newbie in MMO games. The slightest feel of nostalgia this story evokes is welcome. And who can't empathize with an employee trapped in all of our worst nightmares, neverending overtime? Truly a fresh and unique take on both the LitRPG genre and Trapped in an MMO trope. Yet still keeping to the bits a pieces that make all of us love LitRPG so much.
Grammar: I am always highly lenient in grammar. It has to be bad enough to make me pause in my reading and rip me out of immersion to irk me. I cannot say that has happened during my time reading this story. Top marks.
Characters: oh now this is my favorite part. The main character is wonderfully written. Realistic in both her weakness and her inner strength. And her strength is not defined by OP skills, it's defined by the strength of her spirit and personality. Naomi is not one to break, she may bend but I feel that this spitfire will not shatter. No, she will be forged into something truly great through her journey, though we've only just begun I can feel hints of the person she will one day be. Mary Sue who? No Mary Sue's here, just a very real girl trapped in a situation she is woefully underprepared for yet trying to make the best of however she can.
Now into what I think is the real test of a writers skill in characterization. Side Characters.. Writing side characters is always a gamble for new writers. Its hard to not write them as one dimensional NPCs. However Nina write truly human characters. So realistic that I can actually compare them to people I myself have interacted with personally. From realistic rude Karen's, albeit with some reason behind their antagonistic nature, to slimy womanizer who harass female staff (a well known issue in any CS role. We've all met at least one, right ladies?). To normal, self serving people who are neither good nor bad, just looking out for themselves. I won't describe all the characters, there's simply too many well done ones already! But let's just say the rainbow of human personalities is wonderfully painted through the words of this story.
It's actually to the point that I legitimately mourned the death of a very minor side character. Just because his small interaction so masterfully invoked empathy within me.
You will be missed CoffeeLuver!
All told this story has earned a 5 star rating from me. I hope one day to see this story sitting in a bookstore, I truly believe it, and the author, have the potential to become one of the greats. Its most certainly worth it to jump on Naomi's journey and see where this wild ride takes us.