Bitter 84

“Welcome to New World,” said the little dragon in a cute, cartoony voice. “I am your guide. Are you ready for your first tutorial?”

The words were the same as the previous time she had begun the game, but the speaker was very different.

“Um, have you guys changed something?”

“What do you mean?” asked Dr Reedy in her ear.

Britta walked forward. It was surprisingly difficult. She was a lot heavier and everything took more effort. It had taken her a while to get used to the gnome body, so presumably she would have to acclimatise to this one, too. Otherwise, she’d die of exhaustion every time she ran into battle.

The dragon was purple with small wings that didn’t look like they’d be much use for flying.

“The dragon, it’s… smaller than I remember. Did you change it in the patch?”

Dr Reedy had mentioned a patch being uploaded while they had lunch. Britta didn’t know why they would want to swap the magnificent dragon she had encountered for this one, but it would probably be fairly easy for them to do.

“No. The patch was just routine maintenance. There shouldn’t be any user-end updates. Perhaps it’s the change in character perspective.”

She was a lot bigger this time around, but it wasn’t a subtle change in the dragon’s size. It had been the size of a house before, and now she could pick it up. Things looked pretty different from this user’s end.

“Is your name Nigel?” Britta asked.

“Are you ready for your first tutorial?” repeated the dragon. It was sitting on the ground in front of her, scratching itself with its back foot. They had definitely tried to give it more of a canine vibe. Perhaps this was a pet you could get in the game. Or buy.

She didn’t get the impression it was anything other than a regular NPC here to robotically take her through the tutorial.

“Yes,” said Britta. “I’m ready.”

“Open your status screen by placing your palms together and pulling them apart.”

She did as asked.

Her stats were very different from her other character. She was strong and she was tough. She only had two MP, so she wouldn’t be casting many spells this time around, but that could only be a good thing. She was unlikely to hit herself with a sword the way she had with her magic. At least, she hoped so.

“You are a level one barbarian. Your health is at twenty six. When this number reaches zero you will die. If you are killed in battle, you will be locked out of New World for twenty four hours, after which you will respawn at the nearest save point.…”

The dragon droned on and on, going over basic information Britta already knew. None of this had happened with Nigel, but it was all so obvious and general, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

“I’ve got it. Next. Skip forward. Hello?”

She tried to get the dragon to hurry up but it ignored her. It had its spiel, and it was going to deliver it. The perky voice quickly grew tiresome.

Eventually, she was offered the choice of three weapons. A club, a sword and a hammer. She really didn’t want to cut and slice her enemies. Too much blood. She went with the hammer which was about the length of her forearm (which itself was quite long), with a big, square head made of metal. It felt surprisingly light in her hands. She gave it a few swings, switching it between hands and spinning it over her head. With the right clothes, she could have done a pretty good Thor cosplay.

She noticed her clothes, although simple peasant garb, were not as basic as her gnome outfit, which had practically been rags. Another change.

The dragon went through the basics of fighting. Apparently, hitting things damaged them.

“Isn’t there a way to speed this up?” Britta opined.

“We want you to do whatever you did last time,” said Dr Reedy.

“I can’t,” said Britta. “Everything’s different. The dragon’s the wrong size and he won’t talk to me.”

“Okay, well keep going until the end of the tutorial. We’d like to see if the rest of the early stages are the same or not.”

Britta was sure they would not be the same. It was strange how much less interesting it was this time around, and how much more annoying. Being taught obvious things like she was too dumb to understand was highly irritating. But there were players who needed to be spoken to like they were children, probably because they were children. It was a game, after all. Still, they could have installed a fast forward button.

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