The novel has been voted the best Russian LitRPG release of 2018 and won the first prize at the LitRPG competition held by a leading Russian literary site litnet.com. Read the opening chapters here - magicdomebooks.blogspot.com/2019/01/disgardium-class-threat-by-dan.html
Our future. Noncitizens and individuals of low social standing can only find work in one place – the virtual world of Disgardium. And that might mean mining ore; it could just as well mean cleaning pigsties or washing dishes in a tavern, but that’s about as glamorous as it gets.
Fifteen-year-old schoolboy Alex has dreams of working as a space guide. All he can think about is the stars, but life gets in the way and now his only path to achieving that goal is through the game.
My Opinion: 517 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review, I purchased a copy when it became available.
There are some minor translation issues with a few phrases not quite getting translated quite right. Nothing that breaks the story though.
This is a Russian translated novel from the author of the Level Up series. It has a few things in common with that series: it’s a slice of life story, and has themes relating to hard work causing self improvement and power gains, not just luck.
The main character (MC) initially has no interest in playing this state run game since he messed up his character during creation. But he has to because of the law. So for an hour a day he mostly just sits around like he’s pictured on the cover. That is until he learns that he’ll have to earn money on his own to pay for college and accomplish his dream of going to space. Now, he has to figure out a way to take his broken character and make enough money in-game to pay for college. But it’s not easy, especially when he gets cursed by an angry NPC that turns him into the games version of villain, a ‘Class Threat’. He not only has to figure out some way to level and get money but also avoid letting other players see or learn about being a ‘threat’. If he can grow in power, the company may reward him, but if the other players find out they’ll kill him for the same rewards. It’s a game of cat and mouse with the main character’s future at stake.
I had to push through the first 15% a little while the premise is setup, the game is explained, and most of the characters in the story are introduced. After about the 15% mark, it’s mostly a slice of life action-adventure story where the MC is a bit OP but he works tirelessly to take advantage of his unique disadvantage. There are some additional guild politics, PvP, a little high school/social stuff. But mostly it's the MC figuring out how to use his unique circumstances to work toward his goals. The ending is a bit rushed but overall the story is fun.
One of the things that I liked in particular is how the author addresses potential issues with how the MC levels, not making things work out perfectly but showing logical consequences to a game system where people pay for information or pay to win and beating a villain threat like what the MC becomes can pay off big.
Game mechanic-wise, it’s mostly going to be familiar MMO stuff. Levels, stats, abilities, skills, a little bit of crafting. A slightly higher emphasis on gear that improves stats or gives skill bonuses. The most unique mechanic is the one that assigns players as threats and encourages them to become more evily powerful and for other players to kill them for special rewards. It’s a neat PvP concept and the MCs power set is pretty cool.
Overall, once I got to about the 15% mark and the MC finally started to dungeon dive I liked the story. But it took a little bit. Still, good action, good RPG adventuring, and I’d absolutely buy book 2 if it were available today.
Score: 7.6 out of 10