LitRPG Podcast 125
LitRPG Podcast 125
July 20th, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 125 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 6 new LitRPG reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
Some issues, but it won me over by the end.
Score: 7.1 out of 10
1st half, kinda boring. 2nd half of the story is good.
Score: 6 out of 10
Lots of action and a cook off. Good playlist too.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
Even better than book 1. Action. Crafting. Magical research. Yaay.
Score: 8 out of 10
War Aeternus 3: The Culling (37:14)
Darker story but still has good humorous moments.
Score: 7.7 out of 10
Everything I liked from book 1, only more refined.
Score: 8 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
Blaise Corvin (author of the Delvers LLC series, Nora Hazard, and Secret of the Old Ones) revealed the cover for a new LitRPG series he’s writing with Outspan Foster (Slime Gods, Branded) that is titled First Song. Blaise also mentioned in the same post that he hopes to have this novel available in September.
Blaise also mentioned he’s looking to publish Nora Hazard book 2 in August and a secret project he’s working on with William Arand in October.
An interview I did with Game Reads was published recently. Come listen/watch me talk about LitRPG and the stuff I write. There may have been a neat story about me driving a 1,000 miles for a doughnut too.
Also have the first episode of the LitRPG Audiobook Podcast that’s come out. It’s a weekly LitRPG Audiobook review show hosted by Ray, an audiobook fanatic.
Dakota Krout’s latest novel, Regicide (The Completionist Chronicles Book 2), released earlier week and hit it out of the park. On the novels 1st day of release it shot all the way up the top 100 list to #24 of ALL books on Amazon and hit the #1 spot in many categories as a best seller. Days later it is still in the top 100. Congratulations man, I’m super proud of you.
Michael Scott Earl is the author of over 65 books, including several LitRPG series. This week he was hit with the suspension hammer from Amazon.
Currently (07/18/18), Amazon only shows his audiobooks available for purchase. None of his ebooks or print copies are available. (https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B019QSNVA2 )
Thousands of his fans are writing to Jeff Bezos and Amazon customer support complaining about their favorite author having his ebooks removed. Fans have posted Amazon’s responses to their questions on the author’s reader page. Responses range from free ebook credits to assurances that the author hasn’t actually been suspended but rather that there is a content issue with his novels. All include some statement that the issue will be sent up the investigations chain.
Responses from the Jeff Bezos emails have usually had the same one sentence response, “this issue will be amicably settled soon.”
Michael-Scott Earle explained his position in a statement:
“...I've got nothing from Amazon, but I've sent them a few emails.
Other authors are scratching their heads, I wasn't stuffing, so the only other things that could have caused it was paying click farms to push my books, or formatting. I didn't pay for click farming (but maybe I was set up), and my formatting is the same as other authors...
...If they decide to ban me, I'm pretty much done. The other ebook distro sites don't have enough traffic to pay my bills, and Pateron is fueled by traffic from people picking up books through Amazon- so I'd never be able to grow it past the people that are in this group. Even the best paid authors on Pateron don't make a living wage.
TL;DR version- Please email email@example.com. You don't have to be rude or threaten, you can just say that you love my work and you really want me to re-instated. From what people have said, my account is still up in the air, so your help could ensure that I come back.”
There is also an online petition for both Michael-Scott Earle and J.A. Cipriano to be have their accounts reinstated.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Our review of the ebook: Score 7.2 out of 10
Our review of ebook: Score 7 out of 10
External Threat (Reality Benders Book #2) LitRPG Series (July 23rd, 2018)
Rogue Dungeon: A litRPG Adventure (The Rogue Dungeon Book 1) (July 24th, 2018)
Sleeping Player (Project Chrysalis Book 3) (July 31st, 2018)
The Curse of Hurlig Ridge: World Tree Online: 1st Dive (Aug. 1st, 2018)
Death March (Euphoria Online - Book 1) (Aug. 7th, 2018)
Bitter: Book Four (Aug. 24th, 2018)
(Aug. 30th, 2018)
(Sept. 26, 2018)
Kingdom of the Dead (An NPC's Path Book #2) LitRPG Series (Oct. 8th, 2018)
Freehaven Online: Winter Dungeonland (Book 3) (Nov. 21st, 2108)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Call of Carrethen: (Wellspring Book 1)
Call of Carrethen,the world’s first real Virtual Reality game, powered by the Wellspring device. Growing up broke in The Sprawl, I knew I could never afford one. But then I won a contest and the next thing I knew, I was diving into the most incredible world living out my wildest fantasies.
But now I’m being held hostage with no ability to log out, and the penalty for in-game death? Brain death. My soul will be lost forever in the “electronic void.”
The world has been taken over by a black knight calling himself The Ripper. I don’t know him—but he definitely knows me. He turned the entire server red and returned everyone to level 1. Everyone but me.
He’s gifted me 20 levels—with one single, deadly caveat: anyone who manages to kill me gets a free ride home.
I'm a marked man. In order to survive and to get back to my family, I have to level up and defeat The Ripper. But with more than half the server out to get me, that’s not going to be easy...
My Opinion: 437 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full Disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.
The story takes the Sword Art Online premise of ‘trapped in the game’ and ‘die in the game, die in real life’ and adds a bit of a twist. In addition to beating the big evil max level bad guy to get free, another way one of the many trapped players can get out of the game is by killing the main character, Jack. To make it a challenge for the other players, they’re all reset to level 1 and the MC is bumped up to level 20. This incorporates a race between the MC and the rest of the server to level up. It’s good motivation for everyone to continue risking their lives playing this game.
I was a little disappointed at how little progress the MC had made with a two week time skip forward, but understand that the author had to give the other characters a chance to catch up some. From there on it’s a story about how far the MC is being pushed to kill the other players to protect his friends and the guild that helped him out. There are many discussions about the morality of the subject, and while some people will find the MCs point of view to come off a bit whiney (i did), it’s the challenge he has to overcome by the end of the story.
On the game mechanic side, the author says he based the story and the game mechanics on Asheron’s Call. He even gives the game a nod in the story. There’s loads of detail about skills and how players can create truly unique builds. Most of this detail is front loaded in the story and as it goes on much of that variety and detail is minimized as the story shifts its focus to the PvP and PK combat. Crafting does happen in the story, but you don’t get much detail since it’s not the main character doing any of it.
Combat is good, mostly. There are several fights where things feel fixed or wand wavy and where the MC or more of his friends should have died. But overall, the descriptions are well done and there is a variety of combat scenes that kept me interested.
The things I liked:
In a story where death is permanent, the author was not afraid to kill off characters. Don’t be surprised if some characters you like end up dead.
The addition of the plot point that a player could get free if they killed the MC was a nice twist on what is otherwise a standard premise.
The twists at the end were foreshadowed but still came as a neat surprise.
The resolution was satisfying.
Game mechanics had good depth in principle and I could imagine many of the builds possible.
Running gag where one character quotes movies constantly. Good personality trait.
The things that bugged me:
Combat got a bit wand wavy sometimes. There were several fights where the MC or his group would fight characters 10-20 levels higher than them and struggled until the MC used a particular magic spell and then suddenly they just won. The math on the spell just didn’t seem like it would have made that big of a difference.
Crafting felt wand wavy. Most game mechanics are setup to let crafters make things that are just a bit better than what they could get from loot drops. But here, the crafters seemed to make items that made players 10 levels more powerful. Sometimes doubling or tripling the power of an already above high level item. All while the crafter themselves was 10-30 levels lower than the min requirements to even wield that weapon.
Why weren’t there any healers in the story? No one with a resurrection spell? In Sword Art Online, this is explained because there is no magic in the game. But here, healing exists, but no one decides to focus on it and get a simple resurrection spell to save people?
There’s just this dissonance in the MCs motivations and how he treats death. The MC cares enough about his survival to flee from everyone, so he clearly has survival instinct for self preservation. So much so that he jumps off a cliff and trusts that his friend is right about an exploit will save him. But when faced with men that are clearly described as remorseless murderers, who have clear intent to murder him, that same instinct disappears. Instead he has the presence of mind to whine about not wanting to be a murderer even though he knows these same guys killed people he cared about and will kill many more.
Overall, despite some of the issues in the story, I ended up liking it. The twists and resolution at the end was satisfying enough to just push it over into the 7 out of 10 range. But it was a close one.
Score: 7.1 out of 10
The Station Core: A Dungeon Core Epic (Station Cores Book 1)
Milton Frederick was arguably the best player of Crowned Lieges of Destiny in the entire world. As the strategy coordinator for one of the top guilds, he was beginning to actually make a living from it. That was, until he was abducted by aliens.
Instead of your stereotypical grey aliens with big black eyes who like to perform anal probes upon unsuspecting victims for unknown reasons, The Collective had a more altruistic purpose. Sure, kidnapping 100 humans from Earth, ripping them away from their lives and families, and erasing their memories doesn’t sound great – but the way they saw it, the benefits would far outweigh these side-effects. Seriously, who wouldn’t want their consciousness trapped in a Station Core, subjected to the whims of a collection of alien races, and then ordered to defend against other hostile aliens for all eternity? They’d be immortal – so…bonus!
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), the Station Core now known as Milton never arrived at his destination. Severely damaged and confused about what happened to him, he woke up to find himself trapped inside a massive chicken egg on a strange, primitive world filled with curious – and deadly – creatures.
Now, in order to survive the harsh environment, Milton has to rely on a snarky, foul-mouthed AI guide to show him what it means to be a Station Core. With her help, he might just live long enough to figure out a way to get off the planet – if only he wasn’t so afraid of squirrels…
The Station Core contains elements of LitRPG including level progression and experience, optional tables, and a heavy Dungeon Core emphasis.
Contains foul language that might not be suitable for young readers.
My Opinion: 345 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
**Warning: There is a lot of cursing in the story. Mostly from the fairy guide AI.**
This is a slice of life LitRPG story that tries to do a few new things with the dungeon core genre. Some work. Some don’t. At least for me.
The game mechanics in the story have good details. There are detailed character sheets, tables listing upgrades, lists of creatable creatures, and more. However, the author has chosen to hide a good portion of those detail. There are still some quest notifications but the stat pages with loads of detailed numbers and tables are all hidden away in the back the novel as an appendix. So to see them, you tap an appendix note, which takes you to the back of the novel and then press another note to go back to the story. It’s awkward. But I understand the author's desire to balance showing these details. It just didn't work for me. I would have preferred to see those details in the story.
Storywise, the 1st 10% of the novel has a good setup even if part of it ultimately doesn't matter to the story. By the 6% mark you have your sentient dungeon core and explanations about the possible progression for the story.
Then, there’s a huge swath of the story where the main character (MC) builds a primitive dungeon and fends off animals. It’s honestly kind of boring. Mostly because the dungeon never felt like it was in any danger and the opponents and progress felt limited. I really thought about putting the novel down at this point.
At the 50% mark, the story gets so much better. It introduces a sentient race of people with their own culture based on fighting monsters. I don't want to spoil it but it’s a much more interesting story once people come into the picture. The story gets emotional, has interesting characters, and it still connects to the dungeon. It finally feels like there is some purpose for the dungeon existing in the story.
I’d easily give the last half of the story a 7 out of 10. But the 1st half really dragged for me. Outside that first intro section, it would get a 5 out of 10. So, I’ll split the difference and give the story:
Score: 6 out of 10
Warrior Academy: A Tournament of Hiroes Part 2 - Episode 4
The MOB Hunt is on. The other schools are here and the battles ensue.
After the world is destroyed humanities survivors start anew. Now in a world forever changed, a place where magic is real, and monsters have come to life. A place where magic and science blend with pop culture… Welcome to Warrior Academy.
Welcome back to Warrior Academy. Rejoin Hiro and friends as they continue their journey. Meet new friends and enemies. More food, fighting, and music.
If you like video games, music, anime, and just pop culture in general… you will love Warrior Academy. Its Harry Potter meets Naruto with a little Dragon Ball Z and Dungeons and Dragons thrown in for fun, oh and don’t forget a smattering of High School Musical…
This is the fourth episode in a 13 episode series.
My Opinion: 383 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The story begins with the epic level boss fight that was started in part 1, it then continues the MOB hunt and tournament. There are also two flashback storylines, which make for good breaks in the almost non stop action of the MOB hunt and tournament.
I’ll admit, my absolute favorite part of the story this time is the the Shokugeki fight and I got really hungry after reading it. I always appreciate that the author is never afraid to pull from recent anime and pop culture as influences in his stories.
Of course there’s also a playlist that provides a theme music for each chapter. This time my favorite new songs are At Your Funeral by Saves the Day, and Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson.
Good stuff all around if you like the series.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
Regicide (The Completionist Chronicles Book 2)
The second installment of Dakota Krout's best-selling Completionist Chronicles series!
After the encounter at the Mage's College, Joe's name has become well-known in Eternia. While the majority of his guild is ecstatic over the bonuses that he brings them, not everyone is pleased with his rising influence. In fact, someone has been spreading rumors that Joe is unbalanced, sacrificing comrades for personal power.
As a result, Joe is forced to recruit a team of misfits and discovers that their unique abilities complement his own. With their assistance, Joe moves forward with his plans to specialize into a more powerful version of his Ritualist class. But when the dust settles, he will be forced to ask himself a simple question: was it his actions that lit the fires of war?
My Opinion: 331 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.
This is a great novel. It starts out kinda slice of life, but gets more purposeful in the 2nd act. Joe, the main character (MC), puts together a new team of quirky players, his guild gets handed a complicated task that doesn’t go as planned, and of course the MC still has to make time to study and experiment with magic and rituals.
In addition to the good action and adventure in the story, I really liked the crafting and magical research elements. These elements are detailed without being monotonous. Even something as simple as scroll making is broke into pieces that allowed for logical progress. No magic button pressing here! I really like that feel that hard work pays off.
The game mechanics in the story are really detailed but also interesting. I really liked how the MC’s character progresses in the story and don’t want spoil things for other readers but I want to be a ritualist so much now!
There are a few small rough spots with the social dynamics of the new group, but that’s about the only thing in the story that I could find to even remotely complain about. Which tells you just how good the story is.
Overall, a great read. Especially if you like punny humor. I do and I found myself liking book 2 in this series even more than I did book 1. I can’t wait for book 3.
Score: 8 out of 10
War Aeternus 3: The Culling
Struggling to recover from his losses in Kirshtein, Lee is swept back into the fray when a dangerous new Herald sets her sights on him. Hell-bent on reshaping the world in her own image and with her own ideals, she is willing to commit even the most immoral acts in her pursuit of righteousness. At risk of losing everything he has worked so hard to create, Lee has to find a way to defend the weak against a madwoman whose deranged sense of justice has twisted the limits of the game.
To make matters even more difficult, Lee is forced to face these problems while dealing with an increasingly erratic system he doesn't understand and the Goddess of Blood's own strong-willed Herald.
My Opinion: 428 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review and did light beta reading on the novel. I purchased it when it became available.
This is a good series that only gets better with each new book. The action is always visceral. The plots are interesting and never simple. It’s one of the few series where the IRL story is interesting and I enjoy reading about it.
Each book in the series, has done a really good job with a character development arc and this one is no different. The main character (MC) gets pushed harder by this villain than any he’s met in the past and it’s an interesting read to see just how far the MC is willing to go to win. The character is definitely shifting a little toward the dark side and I’m curious if he’ll go full Sith at some point in the series.
Even though the story lost some characters last time, there are new interesting characters introduced in the story that I think may become fan favorites. Especially the Goddess of Blood's Herald that’s introduced. I can’t tell you how much I like that character. Some of the dark moments are nicely but balanced out with some very funny moments from this character.
The only thing that I think could have been developed a little better, is the villain. While she is a doer of bad things and some people may hate her for the philosophies she espouses, I personally neither hated her nor empathized with her sad backstory. Still, she does push the MC towards the dark side which is something that’s interesting for his character development.
Overall, I liked the story and had a good time reading it. Some of the twists were very unexpected and I liked the addition of town building mechanics in the story.
Score: 7.7 out of 10
Life Reset: EvP (Environment vs. Player) (New Era Online Book 2)
After defeating the hobgoblin threat, Oren is now faced with an even more tenacious enemy: the players themselves.
His old guild have discovered his village's location and a deadly strike force is closing in. With time running out, Oren must build up his clan and recruit an army of monsters if he's to have any hope of withstanding the coming attack.
My Opinion: 794 pages, $4.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
Most of the story is still slice of life, with the main character (MC) switching between town building, level grinding, and crafting. I personally, love to read about town building, crafting, and action adventure. This has all that in spades.
In addition, the novel introduces a couple new elements. One, new beta players join the goblin village and they get their own adventures. Two, there’s a mystery who-done-it subplot where the MC tries to track down a saboteur. Both are good added elements that help break up the longer chunks of crafting and town building.
The last 25% though could easily be its own stand alone novel, there’s a full plot arc and lots of purposeful action with a great story climax.
Overall, the story maintains all the elements I enjoyed from book 1, refines them, and even adds in some new interesting ones. It took a while to finish this massive novel, but I had a great time doing so.
Score: 8 out of 10
That’s it everyone!
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