LitRPG Podcast 046
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 46 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.
New Releases and Reviews:
Mundis Mori: A LitRPG Adventure (12:25)
Nigmus Online (16:23)
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From the author, Michael Chatfield. "Hey Ramon, I've just been able to start to try and figure out release dates and the like. I will have Stone Raider's Return (Book 6) out on the 6th of June. I will also have The Trapped Mind Project out in audiobook format this May! It's being narrated by Tristan Morris. Hope you have a great week!”
Luke Chmilenko released the cover art for his upcoming novel Hell To Pay and it looks pretty cool. He also plans to get the first book in the Ascend Online series redone too. Hell to Pay is out May 1st.
R.A. Mejia Patreon
Lots of rewards for supporters of the Adventures on Terra novel and me as a writer. I’ve actually decided to quit my day job and do podcasting and writing full time. It’s a HUGE, SCARY risk. But I’d rather take the risk and fail, than live my life always wondering what could have been if I wasn’t so afraid. So, here’s hoping that it works out.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Out Now, Will Review next week!
Ascend Online: Hell to Pay (Book 2) (May 1st, 2017)
Gank: A LitRPG Adventure (The Crucible Shard Book 4) (May 3rd, 2017)
The First Player (AlterGame Book #1) (May 9th 2017)
Stuck in an RPG (Sucked into an RPG, Book 2) (May 27th 2017).
The Eternal: Dragonborn - A LitRPG Saga (World of Ga'em Book 2) (May 31st, 2017)
Hero of Thera (June 1st, 2017)
Conquest: A LitRPG Story (The SciFan™ Universe Book 1) (June 1st, 2017)
Fantasy Online: Hyperborea (June 2nd, 2017)
Stay on the Wing (The Dark Herbalist Book #2) (June 2nd, 2017).
Stone Raider's Return (Emerilia Book 6) (June 6th, 2017)
Hero of Naught (July 1st, 2017)
The Curse of Rion Castle (The Neuro Book #2) LitRPG Series (July 6th, 2017)
The First Planet: The Space Masters 1 (July 14th, 2017)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Soulblade (The Genesis Gates: Stage One Book 1)
Is it a game or is it reality?
And is it the end... or just the beginning?
WEBB-G. isn't ready for the Soulblade scenario.
He doesn't have a choice.
Memories gone, he has only his instincts to guide him. And a compulsive drive to complete what he's started.
Find the Soulblade. Kill the Demon King. Or die in the attempt.
PLAYER WEBB-G. Selection complete. New stage activated.
Soulblade scenario commencing.
My Opinion: About 200 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Written by Patti Larsen. She’s written dozens of books, mostly in the teen paranormal fantasy and mystery genres.
WEBB-G, wakes up in a cell and finds himself imprisoned with a group of fantasy characters. They all seem to have the goal of finding a mysterious object called a soulblade to stop the demon king from ruling the land. Only our main character, Webb, doesn’t remember anything about his past but has a strange set of symbols and numbers tattooed on his arm that he calls an ‘embed’. Can the group make their way through maze of a prison and survive to find the soulblade and stop the demon king?
For me, this is a fantasy story with the barest of hints at game mechanics. Early in the story the main character references an ‘embed’ which is writing on his wrist that has what I can only assume are character stats and a health counter. They’re abbreviated: PH, ME, SP, EM, HW, BL, and FH and each has an associated number. I think, if the number is high enough that feats of strength, will, or belief are able to be accomplished. Also, items, armor and weapons give bonuses to these stats and not defense or attack bonuses. Again, at least I think they don’t.
This brings me to the biggest problem I have with the story. Every potential game mechanic is hidden away. Not to the extent it would be in a straight fantasy story but how things work in the world aren’t really explained beyond stating a what an abbreviation stands for sometimes. Most of the story is straight fantasy and only in the last few pages of the story is it revealed that this is some type of game and this one of many levels.
I honestly had a hard time deciding if this was LitRPG or not. From the author’s notes at the end, she’s made an honest effort at writing LitRPG. What decided it for me is when I actually counted how many times any game mechanic was referenced. The most common one was the word ‘embed’ which refers to the mini character sheet embedded on the main character’s arm, that one word only appears thirty times in the entire story. Even assuming the other stats appeared as often, which they don’t, that means only a bit over two hundred words refer to any kind of game mechanic. Out of the hundreds of pages and tens of thousands of words, that’s how little the ‘game’ part of the story mattered. If I can remove the handful of instances where the game stuff is referenced and the story is almost identical, then they weren’t important to the story, and this isn’t LitRPG.
There are hints that this could have been a great LitRPG story but the game stuff was so subdued that it ended up not mattering for the majority of the story. In the end, the story read like it was fantasy and never satisfied my LitRPG itch.
Score: As a fantasy story, it would get a 6 out of 10. As LitRPG is gets a 4 out of 10.
Mundis Mori: A LitRPG Adventure
Haye's life sucks. Hard. But playing Mundis doesn't. All he wants in the whole world is to ride his Demon Steed. On his way to get his steed, naked and helpless, he is betrayed and left for dead at the bottom of the Black Hole of Calcutta. He swears to destroy his betrayer, and using the last of his meager savings he hires the Thrill Kill Cult to help him. The closer they get to revenge, the stranger things get, until his virtual vendetta leads to real blood.
My Opinion:263 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The first third of the novel is a story about the lengths one player will go to enact his digital revenge on a ganker. There’s no PVE in this section, it’s all PVP. It’s more a story about player behavior and some of the crazy things motivated players do in game. At just about every level of play in the story, I can recall stories or experiences from my own gaming past. Nothing as extreme as what happens in the story but there were times I wanted to. Especially playing games like Shadowbane.
At about the 33% mark the story turns to the real world and stays there for the rest of the novel, another 40%. The group of four has to try to figure out what to do when they stumble on some shady stuff happening in game and the bad guys come after them in real life. It become about these four online cohorts meeting IRL for the first time, becoming friends, and dealing with these bad guys. It does a good job of staying interesting but doesn’t have much to with the game.
Last 25% is a sample of another author’s story and a large footnote section.
Score: 7 out 10.
Virtual Dive technology is coming out of the workplace and into homes. Nigmus Online is the first MMO to use this new device. The only caveat to the game; there is no manual. The only instruction the player gets is how to interact with the user interface. That's it. Nobody is going to hold their hand or give out rare items. Players begin life as a level zero commoner. Its entirely up to them what class they become. Explore a world that spans five continents.
Liam is tricked into trying an expensive and innovative online MMO. On his first trip into the game he stumbles upon a hidden class. The Undead Necromancer. Intrigued by this turn in events he continues to explore this mysterious world.
In another part of the country Kathrine(Kat) suffers from a debilitating and paralyzing disease. Taking part in an experimental research could offer her a new lease on life (of a sort).
Even further afield Russia and China are undergoing a massive spike in suicide rate. What could be causing so many young adults to dire ends?
My Opinion: About 400 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The first few pages of the story set my expectations high. Oh, zombies? Yes. Players fighting gun wielding dwarfs? Yes. A little bit of romance between the unholy paladin and the Necromancer? Sweet. Unfortunately, those expectations weren’t met until about 60% into the story. There are also many places I would have liked to get more information about how the game worked. This is in part due to the story being originally written on the royal road as a serial. The nature of the format means the story are written over the course years by amateure enthusiasts.
There are some really cool moments in the story and the premise is very interesting. There are slew of interesting classes like the Necromancer, Reaver, Unholy Paladin, and more. Later on in the story there’s even guild versus guild combat and some kingdom building.
The relationships between characters are well developed. There’s even a romance.
The villains are very villainous. You can’t have a hero without some villains and the ones in this story are very unlikable.
The main character Liam, goes from level 1 to 7 to 10 to 20 with only snippets of story in between. Main female character, Kat, does the same, but even more disappointing, she gets a race change and all the reader gets is the cliff notes version of the story.
Any LitRPG necromancer story is going to be compared to Awaken Online. The game mechanics in this story aren’t nearly as detailed as they are in Awaken Online. The reader is mostly just told ‘this is what I decided to take when I reached level whatever’ then it’s used in battle.
Score: 6 out of 10
The Thousand Years War: The Trilogy
Four Joes (Angel, Dayvon, Maria, and Luis) are introduced to a virtual world where anything that happens inside happens on Earth. An alien race looks to take advantage of the situation to capture Earth from under mankind's nose. The four chosen ones only have 10 days to reverse the effects that have been done or risk living in a world invaded by aliens and being in their debt.
My Opinion: $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Besides not being well written, the story is not LitRPG. It may be going for a Duke Nukem vibe but the story itself doesn't have any game mechanics. The closest it gets is setting the story in a virtual copy of earth. It feels like the author is rebranding the story he published last year as LitRPG for sales.
The author has commented on Facebook that he was told that his story was LitRPG from some of his readers but that he didn’t actually look into what LitRPG was himself.
Score: 2 out of 10
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