It’s very lively in here.
Erika reached the area where players could manage their own farming fields. Alas, there was no player in sight. Only one field stood there and it was entirely flat.
Strangely, the entrance to the field was blurry, covered by a white haze. It reminded Erika the back of Silveria’s farm; the area leading outside the Water Temple looked foggy and inaccessible too.
Maybe I’ll see something different if I take a closer look?
Erika approached the white fog, but it looked thicker and thicker. She stuck out her hand and tried to pierce through the fog.
Her hand couldn't go through. This must have been the game’s equivalent of “invisible walls”, which stopped players from wandering into undesired areas. She pushed against the fog with both palms, but the fog didn’t budge.
【TIP】【Dimension Rooms are personal areas which can be bought or rented by God Vessels. They are invisible from outside and exist in a different dimension accessible only to you, same as your Dimension Vessel.】
In other words, this field is no more than decoration.
Erika tilted her head as she examined the blurry field beyond the fog. It appeared empty and unused, but that wasn’t really the case. It was probably put to a good use in some alternative dimension, which was invisible and inaccessible to Erika.
As an RPG veteran, Erika was familiar with such mechanics. Games allowed many different players to buy the same exact area, but each player had a separate instance of the field generated for them. This way, the same area could be recycled to satisfy as many players as needed.
There might have been farmer players around, tending to their fields at this very moment. However, Erika had no way to contact them, and there was no indication whether anybody was coming out.
She considering giving up for today, but then something invisible bumped into her.
She was pushed away from the fog, almost tripping. A teenage boy suddenly appeared from the other side of fog, seemingly out of nowhere.
He made an awkward expression and played with his blue hair, which entirely covered half of his face.
“It’s alright. My fault for standing this close to the field.”
Erika recollected herself and smiled back.
“Um, that’s good...”
The boy was at least 6 years older than Erika’s avatar, putting him somewhere in his late teens. He must have been a fairly advanced player, even though his gear didn’t seem particularly impressive. He looked like just another farmer, almost like an NPC.
One thing that remarkably stood up, was the boy’s blue hair. Even though GoVe was a fantasy game, this was still a rare sight; the hair must have been modified in some way.
The username informed Erika that Zack was most likely into Japanese RPGs. Erika decided to exploit the opportunity and to learn more about the field.
“Do you own a field here?”
“Um, yeah. I have a medium field.”
Zack walked away from the white fog as he spoke, to not bump into anybody else. Erika followed suit, realizing it wasn’t a safe spot to linger in.
“I’m a total newbie, so could you please teach me how these fields work?”
Zack scratched the back of his neck and continued.
“Um, you can rent a field or to buy it. Most fields cost at least 1 million, so people first rent them. That’s like 10k a week or 30k a month, depending on what you pick.”
“My, that sounds costly. Is it worthwhile?”
“Um, depends. If you wanna profit from it, then better study the prices in different areas.”
Zack explained that items rarely had a universal price in GoVe. A carrot could be bought for 4 pieces in Murph Village, then be sold for 10 pieces in another village. The NPC market could be exploited this way to make quick profit.
However, a careful market investigation was required to find such good deals. Prices went up and down all the time, and the game employed a counterbalancing system, to ensure players couldn’t abuse the same deals all the time.
Farming existed to take a better advantage of this economical system. Rather than buying a stack of carrots and then reselling them, a player could grow carrots for free and then sell them for greater gain. To make profit with farming, it wasn’t mandatory to investigate each and every corner of the world to find the “best” deals.
“Um, basically... well, you can just grow the same stuff that NPCs offer in their shops. But there’s more you can do, like...”
All the time Zack was speaking, he kept giving Erika weird looks. He kept switching between twirling his blue hair and scratching his neck.
Erika activated [Communication] to read Zack’s emotions. There was a vague icon beside him, which indicated something similar to nervousness.
“Is something wrong?”
Erika tilted her head and blinked.
“Um, no. It’s just rare to see a gamer girl...”
Zack shifted his eyes and scratched his neck again.
“My, that’s such an outdated statement. There are plenty of girls playing games nowadays.”
“Um, yeah. But not in Gove... this game is kinda messed up, heh.”
Zack smiled wryly and hanged his head.
“My, you don’t like GoVe?”
“Um, it’s alright, I guess. But the combat is too much for me... I should have picked Skuld Online instead, meh.”
“The combat is really a little hardcore, isn’t it?”
Erika spat a sigh, recalling her challenges from yesterday.
“I was ran over by a dragon in the tutorial. Then, a flower beat me to death.”
“Heh, I feel you.”
Zack nodded with a worn out smile, no doubt reminiscing over his own share of “fun” war stories.
“Are girls really that rare in GoVe, though? There’s Rosemary Queen, for one.”
Truth to be told, Erika had a very different impression of God Vessel Online when she watched RosemaryQueen’s fluffy videos. She imagined it as a colorful game with many cute critters. Instead, she got troll NPCs and assassin flowers.
“Um, yeah... there’s Queen, I guess.”
Zack didn’t sound too impressed. As far as Erika knew, the net idol “RosemaryQueen” was among the top tamers in the game, which should have been a big deal.
“Not a fan of Queen?”
“Um, nah she’s fine. Though, there are all sort of theories about her.”
Erika knew that there were many 18+ fanarts and fanfictions about Queen, which made Erika frown at humanity. However, she never heard of any conspiracies which cast doubt on Queen.
“Um, well... for example, most top players right now are beta players. But... nobody from beta ever came across the username ‘RosemaryQueen’ before game launch. Isn’t that weird?”
“My, that sounds like conjecture.”
“Um, well... the thing is, they say she knew a lot about the game right away. Like, even stuff hardcore beta players didn’t know.”
“Is that so.”
It made sense for beta players to be at the top of the food chain right now, since GoVe wasn’t even one year old yet. These players had the most chances to experience the many aspects of GoVe, as the game evolved in beta version. Therefore, their experience was way superior to fresh newbies.
However, that didn’t mean a wild genius couldn’t appear. Perhaps Queen was a very resourceful player and gathered a lot of information in a very short time. She could even have beta players as friends as far as Erika was concerned.
“Dare I ask what’s the actual theory about Queen?”
“Um, well... there are a few. The common theme is that Queen is a hoax, that the actual tamer is a beta player.”
“You mean, Queen is used as a pretty face for advertisement?”
“Um, yeah... pretty much.”
Erika couldn’t argue with this conspiracy idea. She didn’t like it, but it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility. With all said and done, Queen only released videos about playing with her fluffy critters; there was no game footage of her combat or taming tactics.
“Maybe Queen has somebody to fight for her, and she only handles the taming; like a princess and her knight. Isn’t it possible to tame without fighting?”
“Um, I dunno... but it’s sure possible to make a living without fighting,. These days, I only take care of fields and trade goods.”
“Huhu, you ‘farm’ in your own way.”
“Heh, that’s true, I guess. Combat is just so hardcore...”
They giggled as kindred spirits, who both had a bad time with GoVe’s combat. If Queen chose to avoid combat, then it was a decision they both could relate to.
In the end, they didn’t reach any conclusions regarding Queen’s “mysterious” skill. However, the casual conversation helped to break the ice. Zack now appeared more relaxed and his speech sounded more laid-back.
“Bah! What a wuss! That farmboy’s a waste of time, Titan!”
Mina objected to the weakling in front of her. From the whole conversation, she only paid attention to how “good” of a player Zack was,.
“Now, now. No need to be so harsh, Mini. There are many ways to play an RPG.”
“Huuuh? Why would ya wanna play an action game to grow some dumb vegetables!? I don’t get.”
Erika just smiled back, unsure how to explain this deep topic to the weak-brained beastie.
From Zack’s perspective, Erika just started talking to herself all of a sudden; he was completely out of the loop.
“Oh, there’s a spectator connected to me.”
It was the first time Erika had to explain this to someone else. All NPCs ignored her random chats with Mina, as if they were somehow aware of the spectator’s presence.
“Um, I see. A sibling of yours?”
“No, it’s my kid.”
Exclamations roared everywhere while Erika smirked, huhu.
“Who’s your kid!!? You dumb Titan!!”
“U-um, I-I didn’t think you were so old... u-um, I mean, not old but... eh, adult, I guess?”
Zack became entangled in his own words and his face was pale as a sheet. It was a huge shocker, the little girl in front of him suddenly transformed into a married lady.
“Huhu, just kidding. She’s a little friend from school.”
Erika giggled playfully, while her neck was snapped by Mina’s imaginary hands.
“Um, haha... you sure pulled one on me.”
Zack smiled faintly and color returned to his face.
“My dear spectator here is wondering why you play GoVe if you don’t fight.”
“Um, because I paid for five years in advance, I guess. They know how to make attractive deals, but they aren’t too hot on refunding.”
Zack sighed as he recalled his negotiations with the company, which were equivalent to to banging his head against a wall.
“Um, well... it’s not that bad, though. Farming is sorta interesting when you get deep into it, I guess.”
His soulless words weren’t very convincing. They sounded more like an attempt to comfort himself after an embarrassing defeat.
“Bah, what a loser!”
Mina sneered at the feeble excuses. Luckily, the insult didn’t reach Zack.
“Um, anyways. About more things you can do with products...”
Zack continued to give more helpful tips about farming. Most of it couldn’t be utilized any time soon, but it was all valuable knowledge for higher levels of play. Erika hoped that Rosemary Queen gathered information in the same manner, thus justifying Queen’s position as one of the top players.