Clint needed an escape from his hectic 10 to 12 hour a day job and almost non-existent social life. Mary, his only friend and game store employee, suggests he try a new Virtual Reality MMORPG, Unexplored. At first, he’s hesitant. He has enough crap going on in his life. He doesn’t need something else to bog him down. However, the mounting pressure of his hectic life has him looking for an afternoon of escape.
Clint spawns in the game as Cleave, a helpless elf with minimal fighting ability and no skills. Feeling the similarities between this game and his real life, he’s about to leave when he chances upon another player, a Kobold named Tarka. Along with Krug the Thud, a half-giant warrior, they enter the Wilderwood.
Throughout their adventures, they meet unique friends and have harrowing adventures. When the group comes across a powerful player’s guild bent upon the destruction of a peaceful community of dryads, they must come together with their new friends to stop the dryads from meeting a bloody end.
As Clint travels through the land of Unexplored, he wonders if he and his friends can make their mark in a world as merciless and unforgiving as his own.
Warning: This book contains erotic content. Reader discretion is advised.
My Opinion: 212 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Clint has a master’s degree in mathematics and works a job where people complain to him while he fixes their simple math errors on spreadsheets. He’s had his pay cut twice already as the company’s profits soar and he’s burnt out.
Mary, a friend from the game store he used to work at convinces him to try a new game, Unexplored, that lets players do whatever they want. Build kingdoms, establish trade routes, or even have sex.
Clint logs in thinking he’ll relieve his boredom before he starts his weekend work and finds an experience that changes his life.
All that setup takes 7% of the story and by the 8% mark Clint, the main character (MC), is in the game. He stays there mostly with small jumps back to real world to work and chat with game store girl, Mary.
Sex scenes comprise 14% of the story. They are graphic but are the least interesting thing about the story.
That’s game mechanics: character sheets, interface systems with NPCs, spells learned from scrolls, health and mana bars. In interesting game mechanic is that a small amount of health restored through sex. Rest based on challenging realism. Want a fire? Rub some sticks together. Want a weapon? Make one or kill enough monsters for their loot to trade for one. Can steal from merchants but don't be surprised if they notice their stuff is gone after you leave.
One incident illustrates the flexibility of the game world. The MC steals from a merchant and is able to bluff/lie his way out of getting arrested by pointing out the merchant had no proof of the theft. Instead, forcing the merchant to admit he gave the potions to the MC for work done or admit to the gathered crowd he got robbed while paying for sex.
I found the option to solve a problem through intelligence and not combat or some button press interesting.
Unfortunately, at about the 43% mark the novel becomes fairly standard. It loses most RPG game parts and feels like portal fantasy where the MC goes home sometimes and someone says, ‘this games great’ or they’re NPCs’. The story also becomes: evil group up to no good, bring good people together to fight them. Oh, look we won. And throw in some sex sometimes.
I really liked the first half of the story. The emphasis in-game on challenging realism and using smarts and role playing to get out of trouble made the game feel interesting. But that’s all lost in the last half of the story as weapons, spells, and adventure are just handed to the characters. That and that the fact that some of the sex almost feels like it was inserted after the main story was written, lessened my enjoyment of the story.
I’d give the first half of the story a 7. The last half a 5.
So overall score 6 out of 10.