Bitter 383

“You think a war would be good?” Britta asked Dad.

“No. Not good, exactly. But it would get the economy going. Plus, there’d be more XP to go around. Wouldn’t have to spend all day gathering herbs.”

“I thought you were hunting and fishing.”

“I am, but you don’t earn much for that. There’s a nice herb gathering quest you can get from one of the potion merchants, but once he’s filled his quota, you have to wait until he sells out, and no one’s buying potions, because no one’s fighting.”

It seemed the game wasn’t exactly going as planned. Or maybe it was. A slow grind so no one got too powerful too quickly.

“Isn’t there already a war going on?” said Britta. “ If you want guaranteed XP, you could join the King’s army, or the rebellion. That was the whole point of the opening ceremony, wasn’t it, to recruit people?”

Dad pulled a face. “I don’t really want to be tied down to one side, not until it becomes a little clearer which is the better one.”

Typical Dad. He didn’t want to commit to the wrong side and miss out on the best loot. Better to let others feel it out, and post a walkthrough online. Not that he would ever admit to using other people’s strategies, but key information that affected the rest of the game was always worth knowing.

“Can’t you switch sides?”

“Nope. Or at least, if you can, it’s a lot further down the road. If you desert, you become a wanted man. Or woman. Or TBD.”

“Well, then, can’t you make another character and try both sides?”

Dad looked at her across the kitchen table. “Are you really a daughter of mine? Did I teach you nothing.”

“Unfortunately the answer to both your questions is yes. What are you talking about?”

“You should understand the core mechanics of any game before you start messing with your character. You can’t make secondary characters. It upsets the server load. You have one character which you can delete to start fresh. And I do not intend to play for one faction and then kill off that character and start back at Level 1 to try the other faction. That would be extremely dumb.”

“So you’re going to spend your days picking flowers?”

“Herbs. They’re very powerful, in the right hands. And worth 25XP if I can find a quest-giver.”

Twenty-five experience points didn’t seem very much at all. It would take forever to level up like that.

“You should make your own potions,” she suggested.

“You need to find a recipe to do that.”

“I’ve got one.”

“What? Did you use it?”

“Yes, but it wasn’t very good. It was one the Alchemist had thrown away.”

“Who?” said Dad.

“The Alchemist? Lives in the scary house near the graveyard?” Dad continued to look blank. “Nevermind, maybe she isn’t around anymore. Anyway, it was a dud, so no point making more. But you could make potions your focus. Open a shop or something.”

“I didn’t join the game to be a shopkeep. I’m only going the hunter/gatherer route until I level up and can get better gear so I don’t get insta-gibbed.”

“What level are you now?” asked Britta.

“Nearly two,” said Dad. He got up and took his and Britta’s empty bowls to the sink.

“Wow. Nearly two. You must be crap at hunting.”

“You can’t just power-level like you could in the old days. It’s a whole new system.”

“I thought everyone would pass me by in a couple of days, at most.”

Dad stopped doing the dishes and turned around.

“What level were you again?”


His eyes widened. “That makes you the most powerful player in New World.”

“Really?” That didn’t sound right. But if everyone was doing as poorly as Dad, it was possible. “Cool.”

“No, not cool,” said Dad. “Fantastic. We have to team up. We can do the dungeon together.”

“The Mines of Korlath?”

“Yes. No one’s completed it yet. We’ll be world’s first.”

“Nobody? Are you sure? Not even the players from before?” Even though the game was filled with new players, the old beta testers were still around. They had the experience to beat the lowest level dungeon, surely.

“The kobolds have organised. Most people can’t get past the first room. I’m telling you, Level 4, you could grab all the loot before anyone has a chance.”

Britta recalled what the kobolds were like. She found it hard to believe they had gotten that much better. She also remembered the loot. “They didn’t have much worth taking, did they?”

“New rules, Britta. Everything’s worth more when all you have is crap. We could farm the place. Make a mint.”

“I thought the dungeons level up every time you beat them.”

“It does. And we’ll be the only ones with enough XP to have a chance. We could clean up.”

She could see Dad was about to go into celebration mode. Prematurely, as usual.

“Nah,” said Britta, “I don’t think I can be bothered.”

Dad sat down and took her hands in his soapy ones. “Come on, Britta. I’ll buy you a new tablet.”

“An iPad?”

Dad let go of her hands in disgust. “It’s just a game, Britta. I’m not going to allow you to corrupt your soul over a game. This is your mother’s influence, isn’t it? That woman has always had low morals.”

“Is that why she married you?” asked Britta, drying her hands on her tee shirt..

“Haha, yes, actually. You won’t believe how much better she could have done.” He paused, looking shocked. He leaned across the table and looked out of the door, down the hall. “You don’t think she heard me, do you?”

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