Bitter 85

Britta impatiently waited as the little dragon told her the importance of taking regular breaks and drinking fluids.

The tutorial took forever. It did tell Britta a lot of things she didn’t know—where to find various settings; how to log out during battle (the 24 hour penalty was unavoidable, though); when she got new abilities—but it really wasn’t worth the time it took.

There was a whole new screen that allowed her to send bug reports and contact support for assistance if she got stuck or needed help. It wasn’t that she hadn’t realised how to access it, she was pretty sure the page hadn’t existed on her other character.

At some point the talking stopped. Britta had been zoning in and out so she wasn’t sure how long she’d been standing there, lost in thought.

“Britta?” said Dad. “You have to press the button.”

“Oh, sorry.” She snapped out of it and hit the Yes button in front of her without knowing what it was for.

A goblin appeared. It had a club and it was wearing basic armour. It had a blank look on its face and held the club up stiffly. It didn’t move, it just stood there, waiting.

“What am I supposed to do?”

“It’s a training dummy,” said Dr Reedy. “For you to practice hitting with your weapon.”

Did she really need to learn how to hit things? Apparently so.

Britta swung her hammer and struck the goblin on the arm. A red '8' bounced off and floated away. The goblin didn’t move. It didn’t look hurt either. Once she realised there would be no screaming or bleeding, she felt much better about using her full strength.

'15' flew into the air.

The goblin collapsed. Then got up again.

There was a Ding! and the goblin began moving around. Britta hit it again. It took a little more effort this time as the goblin tried to dodge. Her movements felt incredibly slow and ponderous. Moving and hitting at the same time required her to aim where she thought the goblin would be rather than where it was. By the time the hammer came down, the goblin could just walk out of the way.

It was a lot slower compared to her gnome character, and made her miss being short and quick. It would probably just take time getting used to, just like it had with the gnome. And she would get faster once she levelled up and was able to assign some points to agility.

She knocked down the goblin again, and it got up again. This time it tried to parry her blows, but still didn’t attack. She was being very slowly taken through the basics of fighting with her opponent gradually becoming tougher. It was useful, but she’d much rather just work it out for herself while playing the game.

She had no idea how many more times she would have to knock the goblin down. The dragon had probably said when she wasn’t paying attention.

Britta stopped fighting and turned around. She started walking until she hit the invisible wall. They wanted her to try and replicate what she’d done last time. Well, last time she hadn’t finished the tutorial so...

“Players aren’t allowed to leave this area until they have completed the tutorial,” said the dragon.

“Which way is the nearest town?”

“Players aren’t allowed to leave this area until they have completed the tutorial,” repeated the dragon.

This was definitely not the same as before. Everything was much more what she would expect from a game, but it was also a lot less interesting. She swung the hammer, ignored the goblin and smashed it into the dragon.

There was no reaction and no red number showing damage.

“What are you doing?” asked Dr Reedy.

“This isn’t anything like how it was last time,” said Britta. “It doesn’t even feel like the same game. It doesn’t feel real. Nothing’s reacting to me.”

“I see,” said Dr Reedy.

She carried on the tutorial, knocking down the goblin again and again. Eventually there were two goblins and she learned how to do her spin attack, hitting them both at the same time. Unlike the illusionist, she didn’t have to rely on mana. A bar was added to her screen and every time she hit something, the bar would fill up. Once it was full, she could trigger a special attack. The Whirlwind attack was fun, spinning like crazy, but it was difficult landing blows. It would work a lot better in a big crowd. The Berserker mode did double damage for a short time, but left her with zero stamina when it ended. If she didn’t kill her enemy she’d be in big trouble.

Finally, the tutorial was over and her map was opened in front of her with a trail showing her the way to the nearest town which was just over the next hill. She was sure it hadn’t been that close by in her other game. Was it the same town as before?

She set off to find out.

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