LitRPG Podcast 146
LitRPG Podcast 146
Dec. 14th, 2018
Before we begin, I want to thank a couple new Patreon supporter: John. Thank you John for helping to keep the podcast free and ad free for everyone.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 6 new reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
War Aeternus 4: Harbinger of Ash (11:35)
Walk towards the Dark side
Score: 7.7 out of 10
Epitome of Slice of Life, but so interesting
Score: 7.8 out of 10
It is entertaining, but there aren’t a lot of surprises.
Score: 7.1 out of 10
Most of the RPG is hidden, story so predictable
Score: 5 out of 10
Card Game RPG mechanics
Score: 7.1 out of 10
Sentenced to Troll (34:00)
Good monster MC story
Score: 7.3 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
Shepherd Moon: Singularity Point 01 (LitRPG), is on sale for the holidays for $0.99. It’s a fun sci-fi LitRPG. It just got new series name and cover art, so you might have already read it as the Omegaverse series but if you haven’t, go pick it up. It’s also on KU.
Dave Wilmarth released the new cover art for book 5 of the Greystone Chronicles and it’s just too cute not to share. The book is not available yet, but hopefully before the end of the year.
James Hunter, LitRPG author and head of Shadow Alley Press will be moderating an online panel on the Fantasy Nation Page.
Online Panel: New Authors Anonymous
Publishing is a crazy business and it can be daunting for would-be word smiths to break in. Come hear from first-time authors Richard Hummel, author of Radioactive Evolution (Indie published); Michael Haspil, author of Graveyard Shift (traditionally published through Tor); and Xander Boyce, author of Advent, Red Mage Book 1 (Small press published, through Mountaindale Press).
They’ll share about their experience as new authors in the publishing industry as well as some of the ups, downs, and potential pitfalls in this business. Panel moderated by James Hunter, author of Viridian Gate Online, Rogue Dungeon, and the Yancy Lazarus series. Come join us Friday 8:30 EST here on Fantasy Nation and be sure to bring your questions!
Hello everyone, I'll be talking to Charles Dean about his latest release War Aeternus 4: Harbinger of Ash and asking him a bunch of questions LIVE on YouTube. If you're a fan of his work or the man himself or you just want to ask him embarrassing beard/bacon related questions you can join us on Sunday 12/16 3pm PST. If you click the link below you can set yourself a reminder so you don't miss a single moment with this amazing author.
Michael Scott Earle has sent out some information to people on his newsletter list asking for help with Amazon. According to the letter, which is long, he’s fairly close getting his publishing account reinstated. There’s a whole long explanation, but what it comes down to is that for a long time Amazon wouldn’t say why they suspended him, but thanks to lawyers, Amazon lawyers finally said that "Readers were going through MSE's books faster than humanly possible, so we think he was cheating our Kindle Unlimited system."
This is BS, but isn’t limited to MSE. Every month for almost half a year, authors on KU have been getting letters saying that they’ve detected unusual page reads. Before, they just suspended authors but more recently they’ve just been taking away any KU reads they think are suspicious without any evidence of wrongdoing. Heck, I just put my novels back on KU, and with in a week got a letter telling me that Amazon was not paying me for suspicious page reads. It’s a huge flaw in their algorithms that think veracious LitRPG readers are bots.
Now, back to MSE and his request to fans and supporters:
Amazon has asked to talk again with my lawyers in early January. They've asked me to provide a list of places where I have marketed my books and a list of any botting services I use. What I'm going to show them is a list of the Facebook ads I've run for the last year (it's the only advertising I do) and a huge stack of emails that you all have sent to Jeff Bezos (email@example.com).
So can you help me out?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and copy me on the email (email@example.com) so my lawyers and I can track them.
If my lawyers come to the meeting with a three foot tall stack of printed emails from my 22,000 fans. Amazon's lawyers will have to reconsider the whole cheating angle. It will be obvious that I'm just a great writer with a bunch of hungry fans, and not someone trying to game their broken system.
So, go help the guy out, he’s been banned unfairly and he’s a LitRPG author.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
The Song Matron: A LitRPG Journey (Uniworld Online Trilogy Book 3) (Dec. 14th, 2018)
Freehaven Online: Winter Dungeonland (Book 3) (Dec. 16th, 2108)
True Hero (Champion Is Playing Book #1) LitRPG Series (Dec. 17th, 2018)
Realm of Noria. [LitRPG series. Book 1. The Birth] (Dec. 17th, 2018)
Dungeon Mauling - A LitRPG GameLit Novel (The Good Guys Book 3) (Dec. 19th, 2018)
Finding a Body (The Dark Herbalist Book #4) LitRPG series (Dec. 27th, 2018)
Level Up: The Knockout (Book #1) LitRPG Series (Jan. 9th, 2019)
*A side story set in the same Level Up universe, different MC*
Neverfall: Catacombs (Book 2): A Gamelit Lit RPG Series (Jan. 29th, 2019)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
War Aeternus 4: Harbinger of Ash
Lee has managed to survive encounters with the Heralds of three different gods, but the price he that has paid has been tremendous. Every step he takes leads him closer to victory in the cruel game that he had been forced to play, but it also takes him further down a dark path and away from the man he used to be.
After receiving a request for aid from a beautiful and mysterious messenger, Lee and his inner circle travel to nearby Birnefeld, a large and prosperous city ruled by the Dragon King. Before he ever arrives, however, Lee encounters a group of marauders ransacking the countryside, meets a strange new Herald who has set up camp in the region, and receives the dire news that the hero Brigid of Kildare has gone missing. To make things worse, a powerful new enemy is stalking him from the shadows, toying with his dreams and striking at his closest relationships. With the seeds of doubt sown, Lee has to choose whom he can trust before his nightmares become reality and everything he has worked so hard for goes up in flames.
My Opinion: 526 pages, $3.99, Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I read an advanced copy of the story. I purchased the novel when it came out.
One of the best novels of the series. The depths to which Lee sinks is both inspiring and terrifying. It’s genuinely fun to see the character arc for Lee take this morally ambiguous or almost evil path. It’s like he is starting his journey towards the dark side and this book is where he starts crossing the line more. Of course it’s in the name of good that it’s done. Still, an interesting character development.
Other than that, there’s a better villain this time that I thought was done well. Same good action and adventure. Town building is a bit on the backburner but still exists, and those characters you may or may not like (Jade) are back to banter with.
Overall, this is a good action adventure story that is starting to lean towards the dark side which keeps things interesting.
Score: 7.7 out of 10
Hero (Level Up Book #2) LitRPG Series
A lazy and wussy ex-gamer, Phil becomes one of the few humans who receive a mysterious alien piece of wetware which allows them to see the world through an augmented-reality interface very similar to those used in a MMORPG game. Guided by its stats and messages, Phil begins to level up, gradually transforming himself and his life. He even opens his own business in order to help his friends and complete strangers who acquire a newfound respect for him, assisting him in his travails. As Phil continues on the road to self-improvement, guided by his own conscience rather than system messages, he tries to find out more about the mysterious third party which has bestowed such superhuman abilities upon him.
My Opinion: 593 pages, $6.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This novel is the epitome of slice of life. You're basically following a guy around as he gets his life together in a modern setting. He does things that you’d think would be boring to read about, like: Working out at the gym, spending time with his girlfriend, and starting a business. But the addition of RPG mechanics makes it all so fascinating. There are social game mechanics, stats increases, special skills that give bonuses, and item bonuses. It’s just so interesting how the main character (MC) uses his RPG interface to plan out and improve his life. I also like that there are negative consequences for failure and unintended consequences for poorly thought out actions. The MC loses XP if he fails an accepted quest or does something with negative social impact.
There’s also a sub story about alien time travelers judging the MC as to whether he can keep the interface system he uses, but that’s a minor arc for most of this book. Mid way there's a distinct theme change as the game mechanics start to have a bigger impact on the MCs life. Which is all I can say without spoiling things too much.
Overall, this is a story that I found entrancing enough to read through in a single sitting. For some reason I just really like this story even more than book 1. Probably because it just jumps into the Real Life RPG stuff from the first chapter without having to do any setup.
Score: 7.8 out of 10
Redemption: The Rise of Resurgence Book III
Resurgence is hiding a secret. It’s taken Alex months to find it…but find it he has! There is only one problem: it might just be an unbeatable force that he can’t defeat on his own. Luckily, Alex has never been without his group of friends, ready to join him for any challenge.
Fighting through a quest that shouldn’t exist – and acquiring items that no one else has access to – Alex thinks there may be hope. However, it will take more than a few pieces of unique gear to conquer the lands of Resurgence.
Say what you will about Alex – his teammates certainly do – but Chance is usually on his side, even when he doesn’t know it. While Alex pushes the boundaries inside of Resurgence, a cadre of special agents works on the outside to uncover any advantage to use against AltCon, the company behind the game.
Alex will face new foes, use his unique abilities in ways he never imagined, and maybe – just maybe – find a way to win!
My Opinion: 494 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review, I purchased the novel when it became available.
It took me a little while, like 15% of the story, to really remember all the details about who everyone was, their powers, roles, storylines, etc. It’s been over a year since the last book came out.
Book 3 in the series has solid writing, it is entertaining, but there aren’t a lot of surprises. The good things from the series are still there: the group banter, good MMO fights, and adventuring. There’s a minor amount of advancement of the evil corporation vs government arc for most of the story. The cyber thriller aspects in the novel don’t really exist anymore, and while the in game stories are entertaining, they feel a little disconnected from the real world storyline.
Overall, it is entertaining if you’re a fan of the series but it doesn’t really try to do anything new and instead coasts a bit on what worked with book 2.
Score: 7.1 out of 10
Wild Worlds: World 1: Crash Course: A LitRPG Novel
Uriel is having a bad day.
Ambushed by pirates, the legendary Valiant finds herself wrecked and alone on a hostile planet.
Bairn is having a bad day.
Lost on some strange, backwater planet, this inexperienced adventurer finds himself at death's door, surrounded by strange beasts and monsters.
Together, these two must join forces to survive on this unforgiving planet. Which means Uriel must take the inexperienced Bairn under her wing and try to level the fool up before he gets the two of them killed.
Can the two set aside their differences to overcome secrets of their pasts and new, overwhelming enemies to conquer the Wild Worlds?
My Opinion: 245 page, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a multi-narrative novel that feels more Sci-fan than LitRPG.
Ok, this is technically LitRPG since one of the two main characters (MC), Bairn, does gain some levels at some point and having combat levels is part of the novel’s universe. Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of any RPG stuff in the novel. Yes, other RPG words are mentioned in a couple of places: HP, stats, AR, stamina, mana, but nothing is ever shown to the reader. All of the details are hidden away. The only exception would be Bairn’s class Gadgeteer, which is only explained so that the reader understands why he can fix a ship and why bad people want him. The class could really be called a job though, and would actually make more sense since he literally has no levels in that class but can still use special abilities and magically knows how to repair complicated ships he’s never seen before. The story feels more like a sci-fan story that was modified to include MMO terms or the author wanted to write LitRPG but just didn't want to deal with any real RPG mechanics.
The story was predictable and without any real tension. The two main characters Uriel and Bairn train for almost half the book and it honestly doesn’t matter to the story. Not even to the plotline to get Bairn levels, since he ultimately doesn’t earn them himself but gets power leveled by the Uriel who is infinitely more powerful than anyone else in the story. Which is also how all the story problems are solved, by the overpowered Uriel. There’s never any tension, because she is so powerful that there’s no real risk of her ever losing and the story unfolds just like you’d think once the pirates are even mentioned.
Overall, the story isn’t badly written on a technical level. But as LitRPG it left much to be desired. There’s a serious lack of any detail to the RPG mechanics and I felt like they were really hidden from the reader. Some of the fights are good, but up till the 45% mark it feels like filler and it’s hard to push past that without seeing why it’s important in the story. So I, like other reviewers, got bored. While I pushed myself to finish the story and it improved a little, it wasn’t enough because Uriel was just so OP there wasn’t tension or real risk she’d ever lose.
Score: 5 out of 10
Realmstrider: The Multiverse Awaits
For one year Scott Duelman has experienced a peculiar delusion, his life has operated like a video game. Yet, despite the innumerable status windows and unlocked achievements visited upon him, he never gained anything tangible from his exploits. Each success was met with a disappointing lack of a usable reward.
It is said that video games rot the mind. Certain that he has lost his mind due to playing too many freemium games on certain websites, he is nearly at the breaking point. Little does he know that what came before was only the prologue. Things are about to get sexy.... Collectible card game cross-world LitRPG waifu adventure harem sexy.
Sanity is overrated. All power to the blue mullet!
Collect the cards. Conquer the multiverse! Get the girl! Get all the girls! Dial it back a little and realize that you can't handle all of the girls, and thus get only the best girls as nature intended!
A new story in the Project Scott multiverse unfolds!
All power to the blue mullet! Praise it!
My Opinion: 203 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The author is never afraid to take a risk writing a story that uses unusual RPG mechanics. In other novels he’s used RTS, and even Turn Based mechanics to great effect. This time, he’s incorporating Card Game mechanics and when they’re used in the story, it’s very interesting. There are cards that summon minions, trap cards, resource cards. Lots of the cards pull from the Scottie universe so you get cameos if you've read the authors other stuff.
Unfortunately, after the 50% mark, the card game mechanics mostly disappear as main character accepts a mission and the story shifts to a action, zombie apocalypse.
Overall, the author takes a risk with a new kind of RPG game system. I’m already a Scottie Futch fan, so I'm entertained but I don't know that everyone else will be.
Score: 7.1 out of 10
Sentenced to Troll
Punished for his toxic online behavior, Chad faces a thirty-day sentence of full-immersion therapy designed to improve his anger issues. For his endless trolling in real life, he's forced to play the most hated race in Isle of Mythos so that he can finally experience what it's like to be on the other side.
To make matters worse, the heroes sent to rid the world of evil aren't heroes at all—they're violent felons on their own twisted paths to redemption.
Now, Chad must survive his one-month sentence in a world where anything goes.
My Opinion: 274 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a trapped in the game story, where the main character (MC) is sentenced to 30 days as a troll in a full immersion VRMMO, for toxic behavior online. A troll becoming a troll. The action adventure side of things in the story is well done. There is good pacing, dungeon crawling, the fights are well thought out and described, and there is some nice character development for the MC. The only minor complaints with the story would be how rushed the last act of the story felt. I would have enjoyed a little more struggle for those final resolutions. Also, I would have personally liked to have seen a more striking cultural POV for the trolls. There is still some nice backstory for the race, but they felt a lot like a normal human barbarian tribe and not uniquely monster outside their appearance.
On the game side, things are mostly really good. There are loads of detail about the MC’s race, class, abilities, and the various skills he learns. The class choices the MC makes feel a bit planned out, but still contain good gamer reasoning and progression.
There are a few places in the story where things break down and feel a bit wand wavy. Story moments where it feels more like a fantasy story and less MMO. For example, when describing the trolls ability to manipulate magic, it’s described as imposing one’s will or suggestion instead of any hard coded RPG ability with set boundaries. Same for some cursed weapons, and spells. But the one that threw me off the most was when the MC talks to some NPC humans when he has a severe penalty to his reputation, but somehow still convinces them of his point. The reputation thing was made a huge deal of in the story yet, it didn’t ultimately end up mattering to the story. But these are only minor things. On the whole, most of the RPG mechanics felt like they were integral part of the story.
Overall, a nice entertaining story. Making the MC a troll adds some variety to character progression, though I would have loved to have seen that aspect pushed further. Still, good stuff.
Score: 7.3 out of 10
That’s it everyone!
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Thanks for hanging out with me today. Until we can hangout again, remember to go read some LitRPG!
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