Bitter 225

Britta transferred her stats from the back of the printout Dad had helped her with, to her computer. Once she had it on there, she felt like she’d made some kind of progress.

She hadn’t really. She still didn’t know which sub-class to pick, how to get out of the gnome village or where to put her available attribute point, but at least she now had something to stare at while she pondered these matters.

Having a copy of the skill tree didn’t help much, either. Each quirk had a name next to it, in very tiny print, but that didn’t tell her what each of them did, or what skills they would give her when combined.

Even if the game was still in development, she considered these things to be important enough to sort out as quickly as possible. They would make for a much better gameplaying experience once they were fixed, in her view. She had half a mind to to call Dr Reedy back and ask to speak to the lead designer again. He needed to know he had his priorities all wrong.

Dad knocked on her door and walked in with a mug of tea for him, and a hot chocolate for her. She immediately began listing more complaints to him.

“Don’t forget,” said Dad when she paused to take a sip of her no-longer-hot chocolate, “your experience of the game is very different to everyone else’s. The little bugs that stop you doing what you want, most people wouldn’t even notice them. They aren’t affected by gryphons getting annoyed with them or unique quests not working properly.”

“So I shouldn’t say anything?” said Britta.

“I’m not saying that, but be a little more patient. Give the poor guy a break,” said Dad. “Just write up a report and send it in.”

“Will they even look at it?” said Britta.

“Of course they will. And then they’ll file it away and forget about it.”

“Then what’s the point of—”

“Britta, it’s not that they don’t get what you’re saying, it’s just that they have a bunch of other stuff they need to take care of first. Things you aren’t even aware of. It’s not as simple as you think.”

Britta understood Dad’s point, and he was probably right, but she still had a strong instinctive suspicion they were cutting too many corners and leaving things to be corrected later when they should have been dealt with already.

“So it’s not because they’re lazy and clueless and they lied about their programming skills when they applied for the job?”

“That anger you’re feeling right now?” said Dad calmy, a slight smile on his lips. “That righteous indignation? Don’t get too caught up in it. You can’t change anything just because you know you’re right.” He had gone into wise old man mode, which was always annoying, especially when he was right. Britta breathed out and let go of her frustration as much as she could. It was a long breath.

“What class is your character?” she asked him.

“Ranger, Level 7.”

“You’re Level 7?” He had only just started a new character, and he was already way ahead of her.

“It’s not that hard to level up, especially early on. You just have to be prepared to grind a bit. And kill things.”

That had always been her problem. In a world where everything was designed to appear as real as possible, killing living creatures was not very appealing.

She handed him a piece of paper. “Can you write down your stats? Just the main ones.”

Dad quickly scribbled some numbers down and handed the paper back. She looked it over. All his numbers were higher than hers. By a lot.

STR - 12

CON - 11

AGI - 17

WIS - 9

INT - 10

CHR - 15

HP - 58

Her highest attribute was ten in Intelligence. Dad also had ten Intelligence, and that was his second lowest score. He was a better mage than her as a ranger.

Her numbers looked positively anaemic next to his. He was in double figures for just about everything. And he had 58 hit points when she had 18. It was completely unfair.

“How can you be this much better than me at everything?” she whined.

“There’s lots of bonuses you can pick up along the way. You get a big bonus when you choose your first skill. Well, I did. I don’t know what happens when you pick your sub-class. You’ll find your scores will start going up quite quickly, now. Probably.”

She hoped he was right. Once she picked her sub-class and picked her skills, perhaps that would be a turning point. Better abilities meant easier wins, which meant faster levelling. She had been spending all her time exploring and getting familiar with the town. It was time she focused a little more on improving her character.

Dad picked up her empty mug and stopped in the doorway before leaving. “It really doesn’t matter where you put your points at the start. It’s all training-wheel stuff to get you used to the game. It only really starts getting interesting after you get some decent abilities.

The Great Gnome had said more or less the same. Just choose one and make the best of it. Perhaps she was obsessing over small things that didn’t make that much of a difference in the long run. The best skill, the right sub-class, the perfect set-up… she could succeed with any of them. And fail with any of them.

She had school tomorrow. Best to wait for Dr Reedy to sort out her respawning problem and concentrate on her schoolwork. But first, she would write up a short report and send it to APE. Let the devs know where to focus their energies. Clear, concise explanations of her issues with the game, without making it sound like she thought they were a bunch of idiots. Which they were.

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