LitRPG Podcast 122
LitRPG Podcast 122
June 29th, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 122 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 1 update, and 3 new LitRPG reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
New Cover, older book
Technical writing errors distract from a potentially neat slice of life post apocalyptic LitRPG story. Score: 6 out of 10
West World inspired LitRPG that heavily separates RPG parts. Score: 6 out of 10
Good mini story arcs and interesting use of game powers in a fight. Score: 7.4 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
Harmon Cooper has some nice merchandise for his novels that he’s put up on his site. Some of it’s pretty cool, especially if you’re a fan of his work.
Aleron Kong put up some new artwork for Scion, the friend and companion for the main character in the Chaos Seeds saga.
Additionally, Book 7 of the Chaos Seeds saga, written by Aleron Kong, is out as an audiobook finally. There are reports of download issued because it’s a massive 47 hour audiobook, one of the longest on audible that’s not a compilation. To celebrate this, Aleron is doing a 7 day giveaway, giving away merch that he’s had made: calendars, maps, physical books, mouse pads, and more.
Vasily Mahanenko revealed some more artwork this week from the Way of the Shaman series. This time for Mahan, who I always personally thought would have dark hair.
In the last few weeks I’ve talked about Amazon’s response to black market paid for page reads. While the company has tried to address a problem, they’ve also taken away legitimate page reads, suspended innocent author’s accounts, and threatened them with permanent bans for the bad acts of other people. Even though Amazon has more recently lightened their response by not automatically suspending author’s accounts, they are still taking hundreds and even thousands of dollars worth of page reads from author’s enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program without proof of wrongdoing and with the vague evidence of ‘suspicious page reads’.
As a result, many author’s made the decision to take their novels out of the Kindle Unlimited program, which requires exclusivity. A group of LitRPG authors who were negatively impacted by Amazon’s responses have not only published their titles to Amazon now but to iTunes, iBooks, Google books, Barnes & Noble, and a host of other sites including Scribd and Kobo, who have a KU like unlimited reader subscription programs.
I’ll be highlighting each author’s work on the LitRPG Podcast Facebook group and on our website to help spread the word about their work.
Universal Links for these Author’s works
-R.A. Mejia - Adventures on Terra, Project Alpha
- RJ Castiglione's Fjorgyn: A Rebel Rises: https://www.books2read.com/ap/xdyJQR/RJ-Castiglione
- Dawn Chapman's Desert Runner: https://www.books2read.com/ap/8GGNM8/Dawn-Chapman
- Michael Chatfield's Emerilia:
- G.R. Cooper - Author's Shepherd Moon: Omegaverse 1: https://amzn.to/2MpnpHT
- K.T. Hanna's Initializing:
- Lars Machmüller, Writer's The Wayward Bard: https://www.books2read.com/u/bzPWQ2
- WD Nix, Author's Avatar Online Launch: https://books2read.com/u/m0gkpP
-Stephen Morse : Continue Online
-Prax Venter: Enthralled
1st novel, and moderator in some LitRPG Facebook groups.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Apocalypse Gates 2: Valley of Death (July 1st, 2018)
The Two Week Curse (July 4th, 2018)
**Ooohh, Michael Chatfield has a new LitRPG story, so excited!!**
Restart (Level Up Book #1) LitRPG Series (July 10th, 2018)
External Threat (Reality Benders Book #2) LitRPG Series (July 23rd, 2018)
Sleeping Player (Project Chrysalis Book 3) (July 31st, 2018)
Death March (Euphoria Online - Book 1) (Aug. 7th, 2018)
(Aug. 30th, 2018)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Stormbane: A soft LitRPG adventure
My Opinion: 124 pages, $2.99, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
I purchased this story, it’s not on KU, only to realize as I was going through it that I’d already read it. Originally published July 2016, this is a relaunch of the same story with a different cover. I personally don’t mind paying twice for it, I’ll support an author whose work I enjoy, but other people might feel tricked because there is no mention of it being a republish anywhere in the novel description and this is a completely new novel page from the original, my original links don’t work.
From the novel’s back material, it seems like part of the reason for the relaunched is to try and promote/market a video game the author links to.
The author contacted me to clarify why he decided to do an relaunch instead of updating the original version. He also said that he'd be updating the novel's description to be more clear that this is a relaunch and should rightly be considered a 2nd edition of the novel.
"Also, here's my reasoning behind the relaunch rather than simply updating the original version. It's all down to the Amazon algorithms. The original Stormbane sold very few copies, mostly due to my complete inability to do marketing at the time, but also partly due to it being the very early days of LitRPG back then. You were one of a select few, Ramon. I honestly didn't think there'd be any crossover and so didn't make a big deal about it being a relaunch. My mistake.
The problem is that Amazon's algorithms are both wonderful and brutal. If sales are good, Amazon automatically promotes your book harder. If sales are bad, Amazon actually pushes your book into the background in favour of better sellers. Once you're in that terrible position, there's honestly no comeback. It's like an Obscurity Curse! The only way to get around that is to relaunch your book with a new ASIN.”
The author also mentioned that he did do some revisions to the story to keep it in line with the game he promotes in the back material of the novel.
It’s still an enjoyable read and has a strong female main character. Though it is light on the game mechanic details and no real numbers. But there’s leveling and a story told from the POV of the NPCs. It’s humorous and sad sometimes too.
Glitch Book One (The Glitch Series)
Max, a rather plain guy, finds himself inside a post-apocalyptic survival roleplaying video game. He has no idea how he has ended up in the virtual reality or how to quit it. He has no choice but to play the game.
Shortly afterward, he learns that the game is quite harsh and cruel. Max finds out that in order to survive he has to scavenge, gather various resources, craft warm clothes and armor, upgrade weapons and vehicles, and so on.
Moreover, the entire game world is a full-on PvP zone. So Max has to not only fight brutal mutants but also protect himself against gamers who have teamed up in order to ratchet up their chances of survival as well as against high-leveled players who take great pleasure in murdering newbies.
And all the while Max has been trying to find out what has befallen him, how he has gotten in the videogame, and whether or not there is any chance of exiting the game. Bit by bit he gleans more and more information about the game. He finds out that the game is full of bugs. Later on he also learns that he himself is some kind of a glitch. Unlike all the other players, he feels pain in the game and can interact with some game objects while all the other players cannot…
My Opinion: 109 pages, $1.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Note: This story is filled with technical writing errors. Many of the sentences, while technically ok, are just worded oddly and feel like they were almost translated from another language. It’s going to bug some readers. Examples: ‘I bended over’ instead of ‘I bent over’. ‘I clenched the fist’ instead of ‘clenched my fist’.
I’m not really sure how to describe the novel. It actually feels like a combination of two different shorter stories that were put together.
The first half of the story is very on the rails. The main character (MC) Max, wakes up and discovers very slowly that he’s trapped in a game. He follows quest after quest learning the game mechanics until he leaves. No interactions with other players here, but notifications about their deaths.
The second half of the story is almost the opposite. It’s just the MC running around a sandbox world killing stuff, getting some levels, being killed by other players, and upgrading his powers a bit. There really isn’t a plot or even a goal and the story just ends with a promise of more serialized stories to come.
Game mechanics-wise, I like the combination of survival elements with a psychic magic system and post apocalyptic theme. The game mechanics themselves felt well thought out and balanced. I wouldn’t have chosen the same class that the MC did but there was definitely enough detail for me to plan a character.
Overall, I think many readers are going be heavily distracted by the technical writing issue. The story itself ends up being very slice of life, just following the MC as he does stuff without a plot. While I liked the described game mechanics, everything else felt very unfocused. I’d probably read another novel in the series, but this one didn’t quite reach good for me.
Score: 6 out of 10
Gunslinger's Code - The First Exploit: A litRPG romp through a Wild, Weird West that never was...
Delphi isn't a gamer, and just because practically everyone else has embraced Absolute Reality doesn't mean she sees the appeal.
But High Noon is fundamentally different from the games that have come before it. It takes place in your mind, and once she steps into that Wild West that never was, a raucous free-for-all filled to the brim with Demonic pacts, body-modders, steampunk Technicals and Gunslinging miscreants, the game's most-lauded feature takes the reins:
None of the players know they're playing. High Noon is as real as life, right up until it isn't.
And if Delphi wants her inheritance in the real world, she has to find the township of Hope Springs.
Gunslinger’s Code is the first book in a sprawling litRPG series that will rebuild a Weird West that wasn’t. Once readers finish each episode, they’ll be able to influence the events that take place in the next book. So, strap on your six-shooter, power up your mini-boiler and hope the Devil himself don’t come calling!
My Opinion: 183 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is an interesting take on LitRPG and is heavily influenced by the TV show West World. The main character (MC) Delphi Valentine is trying to find her inheritance in a game world that takes full immersion to the next level by making players forget they’re in a game. Instead they have memories implanted and experience adventures as their characters.
Game mechanic-wise, there are some original stats, standard leveling, and some well themed skill and abilities that the MC can get. Unfortunately, the only time you see these game mechanics is during sleep periods or when the MC finds a special place. Then the MC is fully aware of the game, upgrades skills, levels, sees how far she’s advanced in quests and achievements. But once she wakes up, all that is supressed and it’s not mentioned. About half way through the story a way to introduce these game elements into the story pops up with another player having ‘the sight’ and is able to see percentages about weapons and upgrades that have added extra damage. But the MC herself doesn’t have this.
Storywise, this is very slice of life. There are long term goals the MC has and there’s a nice introduction to the world section, but it’s mostly the MC adventuring, talking to herself, and exploring this world. The West World influence is clearly seen by the western theme, but also the plot idea that everyone you meet in the story is either a NPC construct or a player with their memories suppressed playing a role without knowing it. The small adventures that the MC goes on are interesting, but they feel like a series of short stories that are connected together. Also, the ending is a little abrupt. The story is meant to be part of a longer serial series so it kind of makes sense that it’s a sudden ‘to be continued’ kind of ending but it left a lot of things unresolved.
Overall, I think this just barely has enough to be considered LitRPG and that’s only because of the introduction of game mechanics to the main story at the half-way mark. Otherwise the RPG aspects felt very isolated and there is no clear impact of them on the story which makes them feel less important. There are hints that this may change in future novels, but for now it just wasn’t a satisfying read for me.
Score: 6 out of 10
End of an Era (Project Chrysalis Book 2)
Test your might.
This world is bigger than you could ever imagine. Chrysalis is full of danger, giant raid-bosses, guilds of skillful fighters and gods, whose power is both enormous and infinite. Too bad Anji has unwillingly crossed the path of so many of them.
His simple wish to be happy with at least virtual parents has turned into a disaster. To delete the character and start over again was the simplest way out. But not for Anji. He has already faced Death himself, walked over fire fields of Hell and his crusade is far from over.
In order to face this world with his head held high, Anji will do his best to become stronger, no matter what it takes him, no matter how much of forbidden magic he will have to use. Even if it means becoming a monster people fear more than Death.
Still, Anji’s social skills, psychological and emotional conditions continue to worry adults. Betrayed and wounded so deeply by people he thought he could trust, will he ever be able to communicate properly, to find his own place in a real world… to find someone, anyone, to trust, a friend, a comrade-in-arms? And what if that friend is not quite human?
Life changes for those who are full of determination and ready to act. And Anji is not the only one willing to fight for his selfish goals. The world of Chrysalis is at the edge of a new era. The hordes of undead, led by ancient gods, prove again and again how easy it is to tear apart young guilds. This is not a war fought by humans, as they might have led you to believe; this is a sphere for the gods to fight.
My Opinion: 176 pages, $5.99, Not on Kindle Unlimited
Definitely a bit expensive for the page count but if you enjoyed book 1, this is a worthwhile read. In just about every way, this is a more refined version of book 1. It leaves behind much of the real world drama and focuses on the in-game storyline. It’s still very slice of life, but there main character (MC) has some very clear goals he’s looking to accomplish and the story overall feels more focused. In addition to the interesting combat situations where the MC uses the powers he established in book 1, there are some really neat story arcs that include his search for his parents, a test for a elite Hunter organization, and some gods looking to put the hurt on the MC.
Overall, I had a good time reading the story and it went by surprisingly quick. I’ll definitely pick up book 3 to see where the story goes.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
That’s it everyone!
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