Before I got into anime blogging, I was a member of an RPG community, focused on RPG creation. Back then I spent a lot of time fiddling with stories, level designs and gameplay (in fact, this blog started out as an experiment during that time), and during that time I also played my share of MMORPGs, so I know what it’s like to play one. And I also know that SOA brings in one major difference that makes the mindset of its players completely different: the fact that you die once your HP reaches zero.
Generally when I played, I’d run around in areas that would give me the fastest experience with the least amount of hassle. I would then turn on the auto pilot until my SP (or skill points or however it was called) run out, after which I’d probably die from a lack of healing items or efficient ways to kill monsters. Now, would I have done the same if my life depended on it? Hell no. I’d stock up on healing items and focus on running away from monsters.
In fact, it surprises me that Kirito still is alive: his playing style is incredibly risky. Apparently he was this awesome player during the beta test, but back then dying still was a momentary annoyance. I’m surprised that he managed to turn off his automatic pilot that is so prevalent in MMORPGs due to all the repetition. Someone said that in the first month, more beta testers lost their lives than new players, and I can very well believe that: these were already used to the rules of the beta, while the new players were probably extra careful.
So yeah, I’m digging this concept, I’d just wish that the plot of these past two episodes made better use of this. The concept of this episode for example was good, as it showed how the jail system evolved and how this game’s moral system is. But the characters were just boring. This yet again was Kirito interacting with the cutest girl around. Have some variety. What I find particularly annoying is how this series looks down upon the rest of the people in this MMORPG. The girl actually had friends, but she decided to ditch them and go with Kirito. The evil players? We never knew what goes on inside their heads: I see no difference between them and NPCs.
Also, why were all the monsters suddenly equipped with tentacles?