The Academy 3.12

Wake up, Eve sent.

Alan awoke. A jolt flashed through his brain. What? It’s 06:22.

You have an important message from Phantom. Alan opened his messages.

Phantom: Your first official guild assignment has been determined. You and Kitana will return to the Black Rose Guild within 30 standard days. The details will be discussed then; you are not to tell anyone that you are being sent on a mission, even fellow guildmates. We understand that this mission shortens your Academy semester, thus you have been sent five platinum marks. Depending on mission results, additional rewards may be given. If you are concerned about further training, guild trainers and facilities are up to academy standards and will be available for use once your mission has been completed. Please acknowledge receipt of this message.

Alan: Message received.

Phantom: Good luck, spend your remaining days at the Academy wisely.

A quest appeared:

[Black Rose Mission (Hidden):

Report to the Black Rose base within 30 days.

Reward: ???

Failure: Guild Expulsion]

Alan laid back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling.

So I guess we should throw away any hope of reaching Volta, he sent Eve.

Yes. Mastering two skills and acquiring ten Rogue Commendations in 30 days seems unlikely, Eve replied. We do not require Teachers or the Academy to reach a basic or intermediate proficiency in most abilities; I have acquired the data from Academy servers to do so. Instead, we should focus on acquiring specialized, advanced knowledge.

Like hacking, Alan sent. With the Revenant discount, Cerberus’s training will cost 13500C; we have an Enforcer coin worth 10000C.  Five platinum marks are worth 500 ability points, another 2500C, and we can buy two more for the last 1000C with the profits from selling the pet. We’ll have 100k credits left.

Very well. It should be noted that while you can only exchange marks for ability points equal to five times your level, once those ability points are exchanged to C they are freed up once more. We currently have bought 500 extra ability points, 100 levels worth, Eve sent.

Got it. Alan began to connect to the Administrator  and teleport to the Market.

Why hacking though? Eve asked.

Alan cut off his connection to the Administrator, making sure none of the conversation would be heard by them. He looked around the empty white space in his Home. This place almost feels like my base, doesn’t it?

Your base?

The hacker base-thing that defends my mind from attacks and lets me launch hacks of my own. Let’s call it the Citadel. The Citadel feels like my Home, there’s this same presence. Don’t you feel it?

No. I have no such feeling.

Well the two feel similar. My theory is that Homes, the places people go to spend ability points, their inner sanctums, are a version of hacker bases, just on another server or something. Disconnected. Somehow Cerberus connected the two when he did his operation. But that means that I could hack the Game, hack my character. I feel like all the answers about what the Game is, how it works, are connected to hacking.

Such acts and exploration would likely be deemed highly illegal, Eve sent.

I know, Alan responded. But I wonder. I’m never going to become as strong as a Predecessor following the rules. You’ve been teaching me about the Game, you know stats have diminishing returns. Even if I gain 1000 points in strength I won’t be as strong as a Predecessor with 10 points in the stat. Stat points are like percentage points of your race’s natural values, but logarithmic.

Let’s use base 10 as an example, Alan continued. With 1000 points in strength I might be three times as strong as an average human, 1000 log 10. But the Predecessor will be as strong as a single Predecessor, 10 log 10, hundreds if not thousands of time stronger than a human. With just 90 more points in strength, they could double their entire strength, while I’d never even reach their original strength with billions or trillions of stat points.

 Now, I know the scale also has a bunch of constants, and differs from player to player, species to species. It might not even be logarithmic and that’s just speculation on players, but even so there’s no chance I’ll ever be as strong as a Predecessor. With hacking, there’s a chance. I feel as though this ability is key.

Alan brought the ability up:

Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Data Interaction S* ??? S
Error.

What ability? Eve sent.

Oh, right, you can’t see it, Alan sent. Just trust me it’s there. It’s called data interaction. Now, I’ve wanted to try something for a while. I think it will confirm my decision to train in hacking.

Alan broke off his connection to Eve, reconnecting to the Administrator. He activated hypercognition and hacked them.

Alan found himself in the center bunker of his base, the newly named Citadel. He exited the bunker and flew upwards. The Citadel was a circle with the radius of a few city blocks. In the distance was an entire city, the Administrator’s “mind.” Alan began flying closer, trying to get a better look.

It was grey, divided into separate quadrants of buildings that Alan couldn’t begin to determine the purpose of. Most of them were just large grey rectangles, with large power lines extending outwards. A dark grey wall twenty feet high protected the city. Spherical turrets that had single straight barrels were spaced every few meters on the wall, thousands of them.

A shield appeared, obscuring Alan’s vision of the city. A ball of blue electricity emerged from the shield. It moved faster than he could dodge, hitting him square in the chest.

Alan’s vision flared black, and when he could see again he was back in his Home. The Administrator turned to him.

Player. This is your first warning. You are not to attempt to hack into Administrators or the Game itself. If you break this rule again you will be given a large number of penalty points. A third attempt at such unlawful actions will result in rejection from the Game and a temporary banning. You will not make a fourth attempt.

Got it, sorry, I was just testing a new ability, Alan sent.

Greetings traveler, how may I aid you today? the Administrator replied.

Alan stared at the Administrator for a second, then sent, How do I remove warnings?

Warnings may only be removed by Chief Administrators. They will often require a certain level of reputation with the Administrators, a fee, and a redemption quest to remove.

Okay, thanks, Alan sent. He collected the marks the Black Rose Guild sent, went to the market to purchase two additional platinum marks, exchanged the seven platinum marks for 700 ability points, and then proceeded to Cerberus’s chambers.

***

“I’ve decided to become a hacker,” Alan said. He was in Cerberus’s specialized capsule, about to spend far too many ability points.

“Very well,” Cerberus said. “Might I make a suggestion first? Buy the Thrifty rogue talent and specialize in hacking for Talented. Each will decrease the cost of training by 5%, allowing you to double dip by decreasing the ability points and the C you spend.”

“Why is your training cost decreased by those abilities?” Alan asked.

“This is the Academy,” Cerberus said. “Teachers discount as if you were spending your points with an Administrator. Now spend.”

Alan accepted Cerberus’s suggestions. Two messages appeared:

[You have learned the Thrifty skill! Costs to develop your character’s skills decreased by 5%. Discount is not retroactive.]

[Talented (Undeveloped) has become Talented (Hacking)! With your newfound talents the cost to develop Hacking abilities has been decreased by 5%. Additional Hacking upgrades unlocked. The Citadel’s capacity has expanded. The base is now at 3% of capacity.]

Alan felt a rush of knowledge as a light engulfed him, connections forming in his mind. He turned to Cerberus.

A message appeared:

[Accept Cerberus’s training for 12000C? 400 ability points will be converted to 2000C, resetting the total ability points bought to 800. One Enforcer coin will be exchanged for 10000C.]

Accept. Alan was left with 172 ability points.

A thin ray of light shot out from Alan to Cerberus; Cerberus stood straighter, a spark in his eyes that Alan had not seen before.

“Excellent. Let us finish what we stared.”

***

Alan stood at the center of the laser grid, back in the obstacle course, Cerberus beside him. Laser beams struck Cerberus, but appeared to cause no damage.

“There is but one path left,” Cerberus said. Alan turned towards the left, the forest clearing. He maneuvered through the laser grid with Eve’s help, wondering what type of training would be next.

As he entered the forest clearing four soldiers appeared, wearing basic power armor and wielding laser rifles. Accompanying them was a single psionic medic, identified by the white dot emblem on their power armor. The medic carried no weapon.

“Your first task is to escape the forest without casualties,” Cerberus said. “You may not help or hinder your squad in any way and you may not move more than five meters away from your squad. You may give out orders.”

Alan looked around, there was only forest. He looked at the NPC soldiers, then said, “Move forwards.”

The soldiers begin moving forwards.

“Stop.”

The soldiers stopped.

“Dance the Macarena.”

They began dancing in sync.

“Fire into the trees about 50 meters ahead, 10 meters to the right.”

The soldiers fired at the approximate location Alan gave while dancing. They missed a lot. He tried connecting to their minds, as he detected they had faint presences.

Cerberus stretched out a hand and stopped him. “That’s cheating. You’re leading this squad, not controlling them.”

“Alright,” Alan said, “not sure what the point of all this is.”

Have the soldiers take the following formation, Eve sent, an image accompanying her message.

Alan turned to the soldiers. “Find your way out of the forest, be wary of traps and enemies. Two of you in front, two behind, with the medic at the center of the formation. Keep an eye out for movement.”

As they continued walking through the forest Cerberus asked, “Have you done this before? There’s a game in the Arcade that is similar to this test.”

“It’s not too different from playing a RTS, except without the top down view,” Alan said. He didn’t mention that Eve was feeding him advice and commands.

Enemy detected ahead. Have the front two soldiers advance forwards slowly, the back two soldiers providing covering fire if needed. Keep the medic at the ready, Eve sent.

Alan relayed her orders. The two soldiers cautiously advanced, found two enemy soldiers, and eliminated them with the help of the squad.

“This is too easy. New scenario,” Cerberus said. “Defend the base.”

An explosion sounded in the distance.

“Forward, now!” Alan shouted. The soldiers began sprinting forwards; Alan ran along with them. They emerged from the forest to find smoke and explosions. Laser fire intermittently pierced through the smog, but it was all the same red color. There was no convenient color coding to tell friend from foe.

Alan rapidly switched between the different wavelengths of light that he could see; the only one that was slightly helpful showed the outline of a few buildings under attack.

“Follow me,” Alan said as he ran towards the nearest structure. A guard stood by the entrance.

“Status report!” Alan shouted, struggling to be heard.

“Why should I report to you? You’re a squad captain,” the guard said.

“Well what am I supposed to do then? Who’s in charge?” Alan asked.

“Aren’t you part of the raid party?”

A message appeared, notifying Alan that he was now part of the raid group entitled Defenders. An interface appeared, similar to group messages but with layers. Alan could send messages to either individual NPC’s, which were named Defender 1 through Defender 100, to a specific squad, or to the entire raid group. He could even customize how messages appeared to others. Alan’s squad were Defender’s 96-100. Defender 1 had a star next to his name, which Alan knew denoted the raid leader.

Alan contacted Defender 1.

Alan: Give me control of the raid group.

Defender 1: And why should I do that? Report on what you found in the forest.

Alan: Two enemy soldiers. They were eliminated.

Defender 1: Good. Defend the base.

Alan turned to Cerberus, who shrugged. “This is the scenario. Lead. It’s more than giving orders.”

Alan began to lead the squad back outside.

No, find the command center, Eve sent.

Listening to Eve, Alan lead the squad deeper into the building until they reached the command room. Two soldiers, Defender 2 and 3 guarded the door, equipped with intermediate ranked power armor and laser swords. Defender 1 stood before a command table. These tools for war displayed a 3-dimensional image of the battlefield, like a chess board, but real time and far more detailed.

Eve had been taught Alan the basics of reading these boards, and from what he could see the defenders were outnumbered three to one. The enemy also had a tank, while the base had no defense other than a laser shield.

Eve rapidly began making calculations that Alan tried to follow. He couldn’t follow all the details but he got the gist of things: they were screwed if they continued following Defender 1’s plan, which was to simply stand guard and wait for the attackers to advance.

“The base will be destroyed in ten minutes if you continue like this,” Alan said.

“Do not bother me, return to your station,” Defender 1 said.

“Look, if you just concentrate those defenders deeper in the structure here, move the snipers back there and prepare an ambush in that hallway our chances for success go way up,” Alan said.

“Cease your insubordination, return to your station,” Defender 1 said.

Alan stared at the NPC for a second, then told his squad, “Shoot Defender 1.” They shot Defender 1, killing them.

Defender 2 became the new raid leader. They immediately marked Alan’s squad as hostile and sliced through them with Defender 3.

There was a flash of light as the scenario reset. Alan found himself standing at the edge of the forest with his squad, the base under attack.

“Sometimes you will have dumb superiors that won’t listen to you,” was all Cerberus said.

Alan tried leading his squad on an assault of the enemy force, he had seen how they were arrayed and even managed to take out 75 enemies before his squad was wiped out by the tank and the scenario was reset. Cerberus offered no advice.

Alan tried hiding his squad in the command room. The defenders managed to eliminate a third of the attackers before they reached this point. Another 30 were defeated by Defender 2 and 3, but Alan’s squad still eventually fell.

Alan spent multiple attempts trying to take over the tank, waiting until it was damaged or had reached a certain place in the battlefield before charging it with his squad. It never worked.

“Just because they won’t listen to your commands doesn’t mean they won’t listen to your advice,” Cerberus said.

“What do you mean?” Alan asked. “The commander didn’t listen to my advice.”

“Yes, because he believed you were being insubordinate,” Cerberus said.

“Wait, these defenders have their own personalities?” Alan asked.

“Yes. They have their own abilities and level of ability too,” Cerberus said. “Did I not mention that?”

“No,” Alan said.

The next attempt Alan remained in the command center, but sent detailed advice to how the enemy would advance and where enemy snipers were to the defenders individually, information Eve had analyzed from previous runs. This time they managed to defeat half the attackers, and a minute before they all died Defender 1 even promoted Alan to be in charge of two squads rather than one.

The next attempt Alan split his consciousness; one half lead his squad to kill as many attackers as possible while the other offered advice to the defenders. Alan got around the need to stay within five meters of his squad at all times by leaving the medic behind in the command room; the advice he offered wasn’t useful if it wasn’t up to date and in this fast paced battle the medic was almost useless, soldiers often eliminated before the medic could do anything.

This time Defender 1 gave Alan a control of a second squad much sooner, the kills his squad racked up seemed to impress them. With the second squad Alan managed to eliminate two thirds of the attackers before the base fell.

Finally, on the eight attempt, Alan won the scenario by having his squad and the squads he gained control of loot fallen defenders and attackers with specialized weaponry, defeating the tank by kiting it around with a few snipers. The NPC’s driving it weren’t the smartest.

“Good enough,” Cerberus said. “The common strategies to defeat the scenario are to either convince Defender 1 to relinquish his command or discover you just needed to hold out till reinforcements arrive, distracting the enemy force with your squad, but that worked too.”

“What? How was I supposed to convince Defender 1 to follow me?” Alan asked.

“Maybe by talking to them more? The NPC is actually quite complicated, with an entire back-story and everything. You could have blackmailed him by discovering an affair with another defender or plotted with Defender 2 to throw a coup. Anyways, these scenarios are supposed to have multiple solutions, and yours was fairly unique. Moving on: Defend the planet.”

Alan was transported to the insides of a spaceship, a command table before him. Instead of showing a single battlefield however it showed an entire planet with nearly thirty simultaneous large-scale battles with a large amount of additional units moving about or preparing for battles. Alan could use the table to zoom in on a particular location, but many parts of the planet were covered in black, where the only information that came in was from messages sent by scouts instead of a live 3D video feed. Eve was overloaded by the information, it took her nearly a minute to digest it all and by that time two of the battles had already finished.

This time Alan was the commander, in charge of ten million defenders against an invading force twice his size with both space support and superior gear. Alongside the command table was a data terminal that contained detailed information about all the defender’s: their levels, stats and personalities were all recorded.

Eve began a list of orders that Alan communicated as quickly as possible.

“Move this unit there. Retreat. Chase them. Prepare an ambush here,” Alan said.

“Lose the bioform mindset,” Cerberus said.

Alan stopped giving commands. “What?” Alan asked.

“You are a machine lord, not some dumb ape that depends on their vestigial organs to communicate and show off how large their ego is. Use your abilities to their furthest extent.”

Activate hypercognition and give orders through in-game messages, Eve sent.

Oh, right, Alan replied. Alan activated hypercognition and split his consciousness. One half handled the macro decisions, overall movements of thousands of soldiers, while the other handled micro decisions, sending messages down to the squad level and combing through the data terminal to reassign individual defenders. Aided by Eve, he discovered some of the information on the defenders was incorrect and uncovered a few spies hidden in the ranks.

As the war progressed and the number of defenders decreased Eve was able to provide commands with finer and finer detail, which Alan followed.

“Do you feel bad at all, letting your AI do all the work?” Cerberus asked.

“No, delegating is what leaders do,” Alan said.

Cerberus waved his hand before him and the simulation sped up, time began progressing ten times as fast. Still, the numbers had progressed to the point that Eve was never too overloaded, and within an hour Alan defeated the final attacker.

Three messages appeared as Alan was teleported before a large metal door that looked like it would fit on an aircraft hangar:

[Managing to lead a large force to victory you have gained a new sub-stat of Charisma, Leadership! For every five points in Leadership you will gain a point in Charisma. +25 Leadership]

[Managing to effectively formulate a winning battle strategy you have learned a new Machine Lord ability, Tactical Analysis! +15 Intelligence + 10 Leadership]

[Phase S:

For completing the Chancellor’s Trial you have gained access to the entrance of the Academy Data Vault. To enter the Data Vault complete the following tasks:

Receive 5 Commendations of every type, 10 Commendations in your program (Rogue).

Win the Game of Assassins.

Receive 1st place in the Champion’s Tournament.

Complete a full course at the Institute.

Defeat either a level 1000+ rank A boss or a level 500+ rank S boss in the Hunting Grounds.

Gain the Chancellor’s approval.]

“You’re the Chancellor?” Alan asked.

“Finally catching on, are you?” Cerberus asked. Two titles appeared beside his name: Academy Chancellor and Revenant Agent.

69 comments on “The Academy 3.12

  1. Ephemerality says:

    Oops, uploaded without a title at first. Anyways, this is where I think I’ll move a large part of Alan’s hacker training, to after the first jump where it says “… and then proceeded to Cerberus’s chambers.”

    Thanks for reading🙂

    Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do you mean “complete ONE of the following tasks”? Rather than “complete the following tasks”? Because Alan didn’t do any but the last.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the chapter!

    Can he sell that information on the vault? He could make a killing. Or get exterminated. Both exciting options.

    With the hacking I cant get my mind around how its going to be set out in the future, but at the moment there seems to be a continuity error as it was said previously he would need 2 months to finish it off. Now he did it in under 15 days.

    His identity raises an intriguing question too. Why did he give a groveling lickspittle speech to Celeste? *ponders*

    Like

    • Ephemerality says:

      It’s been updated to 30 days (I forgot to account for me adding stuff back in) and I’ll probably add in some comment about Alan progressing faster than Cerberus thought he would.

      Like

      • aaaaa says:

        You and Kitana will return to the Black Rose Guild within 15 standard days.

        still some change to do🙂

        Like

      • rchampsy says:

        Wouldn’t that also be due to the fact he’s fully embracing Eve again? Making Sidestep’s comments in 3.10 more relevant.

        Like

  4. Anonymous says:

    chapter 3.3 – While in the Academy System, ability points and marks may be used to hire Teachers to gain and improve abilities. Abilities may not be directly purchased.

    getting thrifty seems to counteract that.

    Like

  5. Nikko Pfoser says:

    Hi Ephemerality,

    you used the word “both” and only after I read further did I realized you actually meant “each”. See the first “both” in this chapter.

    Explanation of the difference:

    http://www.english-for-students.com/Each-and-Both.html

    Best regards!

    Like

  6. Ifoldforweed says:

    I like the new direction and the logical approach, that alan needs some special tricks to be on par with the great names in thegam3

    Like

  7. Alan has started to unlock his true force abilities. Dude get in my way and I will hack the gam3 turning you into a miniature horse! Er uh. What Eve you think I need charisma? Muhahaha. 22billion charisma! Now you have to be nice to me AI scum!

    So that’s the direction my imagination took me at least.

    Like

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the chapter, I’ve been eagerly awaiting it;) Just a heads up- I’m following your website so get notified when you post here but I can’t see this chapter on the table of contents page….

    Like

  9. illinois1 says:

    How many days did this last training take? Did he complete the hacking training? For the data vault quest can you create a party to meet the requirements. He only gets one semester or can he come back if he leaves early?

    Like

  10. ShadowOfHavoc says:

    Sweet thanks for the chapter although I am wondering who Alan can get into the data vault he got eliminated from the assassin game already.

    I am also getting the feeling that Mqchine lords are typically leaders of some kind. Although I bet other classes could have abilities to do the same thing, I think a machine lord would be better suited for large scale leadership positions, general/admiral kinda thing.

    Overall I enjoyed the training in this chapte but what realtion does this have to hacking? Also don’t you think that Alan went a little overboard with the micromanagent of the planet battle if he was giving orders down to the squad level?

    Anyways thanks for the chapter.

    Like

    • Ifoldforweed says:

      thought about it, too. But I think he might win through the quest of the red tyrant, because the rewards were unknown.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      maybe assassinating the winner of the tournament gives you the title and they lose it. In effect the title itself becomes a hot potato until the person with the title finally finishes their 100 days and leaves the system, then the game starts over again.

      Like

    • this guy says:

      >I am also getting the feeling that Mqchine lords are typically leaders of some kind.
      Same. And between the statement last chapter about the Academy training leaders, and the fact that Alan getting into the Academy was indirectly orchestrated by Chief Administrator 170, I’m getting the impression that ~100% of Machine Lords end up going through the Academy.
      …which has some pretty sketchy implications, since the Chief Administrators would be explicitly sending every new Machine Lord to Cerberus for a Revenant initiation.
      I’ve sort of gotten the impression the Revenants have deep ties to the Administrators; but then again, just speculating.

      >Overall I enjoyed the training in this chapte but what realtion does this have to hacking?
      Hacking in the Game is about giving orders to virtual soldiers while attacking or defending virtual locations, so…

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      This seems to be training for Alan to lead either the assault or defense of Earth. Why else put him in a scenario where he leads whole armies if he’s otherwise destined to be lone agent? Having a machine lord with hypercognition and divided mind abilities seems rather a perfect choice for a commanding role.

      Like

  11. oblivious says:

    Interesting that he pulled off the planetary defense, given that planetary defense AI have been said to be B rank, and Eve is only C rank.

    Seems like the Administrators faction have an unfair in-game advantage if you’re not allowed to hack them. Still seemed pretty foolish on Alan’s part.

    Alan didn’t receive a notification that he’d mastered hacking, though I guess that might fit in somewhere when the training gets merged together.

    I interpreted the ending as “here’s the door. Complete these objectives and the door will open.” Everyone else in the comments seems to be interpreting it as “these are the normal objectives, but you get a pass.”

    It’s impossible for him to meet all the objectives alone. The only thing I can think of is that he’s allowed to bring a party in, and they only need to have satisfied all the objectives between them.

    Like

  12. aaaaa says:

    the MC job is more and more about leadership , and special mission
    i feel two minds are not enough, and he will need to upgrade eve if he want to play a role in the incomming war

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      if we follow the log scale, 100 int is enough for 2 x standard human intelligence (so 2 minds). suspect that 1000 int is enough for 3? so he needs a lot more int🙂

      Like

  13. Lednacek says:

    the ending makes no sense to me.
    [Phase S:

    For completing the Chancellor’s Trial you have gained access to the entrance of the Academy Data Vault. To enter to the Data Vault complete the following tasks:

    Receive 5 Commendations of every type, 10 Commendations in your program (Rogue).

    Win the Game of Assassins.

    Receive 1st place in the Champion’s Tournament.

    Complete a full course at the Institute.

    Defeat either a level 1000+ rank A boss or a level 500+ rank S boss in the Hunting Grounds.

    Gain the Chancellor’s approval.]

    Are you sure there is no mistake? Shouldn’t it be
    [Phase S: Gain the Chancellor’s approval.]
    and then the list of things one had to do?

    that would make much more sense to me.
    He finished the full course by going the full length of hacking and that by finishing the Phase S

    Like

  14. Anonymous says:

    Love the chapter. So to unlock the quest you need to fulfill a condition, or the chancellor approval condition, or be offered the quest by the chancellor? That isn’t clear.

    Like

  15. Gauntlet-KI says:

    You cant Master Hacking by what you have previously seen. The only skill that can be mastered OF Hacking is ‘Data Interaction (???)’. By the way you forgot the (???) that should be where the (Basic, Intermediate Advanced, Mastered) info location would be [The Gam3, Kindle Edition Location, 5912/5948].

    Like

    • Gauntlet-KI says:

      Seeing how the Data Vault seems like the Prize of Prizes at the Academe, I am really looking forward to seeing how he manages to get inside. Its to bad that Cerberus ass didn’t have him purchase Thrifty Skill before he took all his points the first time.

      Like

  16. rchampsy says:

    For all those asking. My assumption is that unlocking one of the conditions triggers the quest and shows the other abilities. Either there’ll be a workaround, or he is allowed to go in with a party (seeing as Kitana and him will also share a quest).

    Nice reveal turning into a cliffhanger though!

    Like

  17. Adevna says:

    Alan seems a bit scattered as a protagonist at the moment. He’s a rogue, he’s a sniper, he’s an assassin, he’s a (fairly mediocre without eve) hacker, he’s a ‘jack-of-all-trades’, a pawn of nearly every faction he knows about and some he doesn’t, and the list just goes on and on.

    I like that there is so much room to maneuver. I really feel the possibilities for this story, and I’m excited for the second book to be finished, but…

    Alan doesn’t actually have anything that is HIS. In the first book, he even admits that the only thing that made him special in the Gam3 is the fact that he has an AI; and he wasn’t even capable of creating that himself, or even developing it to its full potential. Having an AI isn’t actually special in the Gam3, from what you’ve told us. It’s not a skill or ability that makes him special, as the protagonist.

    So, no matter what Alan does within the current book chapters, I’m always left with the sense that he wasn’t the one accomplishing anything. It’s not even that Eve is being useful. I like that she’s being useful. A person is nothing without a proper tool in their hand. That’s what humans do: utilize tools to accomplish tasks, usually to build a better tool to accomplish bigger tasks. I would like to see her be more useful, even.

    I suppose what I’m trying to say is that Alan seems to lack a specific feature that allows him, as an authentic and distinct force in the landscape of the Gam3, to actually manage to accomplish anything of a higher order. So far, he’s had blind luck to help him stay relevant. I don’t even mind it so much; but it can only go so far before it becomes silly and detracts from the value of the protagonist. I feel that he needs that special spark or quirk of his nature or abilities, without being overshadowed by simply being a Machine Lord, that qualifies Alan to be that unique voice/vehicle that takes us (as the readers) along with him on his adventures.

    I don’t know if that’s helpful, but I’m trying to be constructive.

    Like

  18. Gauntlet-KI says:

    Isn’t the whole point that he is not special, just lucky. Luck was his largest stat. He isn’t the best gamer, but he was lucky enough to be given an amazing AI (unique, because most aren’t that great).

    Like

  19. oblivious says:

    I’m confused about whether this mission briefly interrupts Alan’s stay at the Academy, or cuts it short. Alan paid ten million credits tuition. If he can’t come back after the mission and is cutting his time by more than half, then 5 platinum marks isn’t sufficient compensation. Even if it’s temporary, if his mission involves going to Earth, then he’ll spend weeks in travel. Again, worth way more than 5 platinum marks.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      how much money converted from time is he missing out on by leaving early?

      Like

      • oblivious says:

        He paid $100 million (american dollars, not credits) in tuition for less than 25 weeks in the Academy. IIRC a platinum mark has a market price of $1 million (I haven’t double-checked that). So five platinum marks pays for slightly more than a week’s tuition.

        Like

    • Anonymous says:

      why does the remuneration have to be fair?

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      wait how much earlier is he coming back? (in 30 days =?)

      Like

      • oblivious says:

        it’s hard to say because we don’t know what the timeline will look like after editing, but he should be returning slightly less than 50 (out of 100) days into the semester based on what has been said in the webnovel.

        Like

    • Gauntlet-KI says:

      So if he leaves so that only 50/100 days area completed, and $100 million/ 100 days is 1 million a day. He is being gipped $50 million dollars. Then at a platinum mark equaling $1 million, then he is being given only 5 of the 50 platinum marks he should be given. That guild better pro-rate how much he owes them for covering the tuition.

      Like

  20. Anonymous says:

    I love this story but i have to agree with cerberus. Alan just seems to be a meat shell for Eve. She does almost everything for him. He just seems to follow her orders.

    Like

  21. Oak says:

    thanks for the chapter,
    hope you manage to find a good fusion between Alan actually doing some thing by himself (often failing so far) or Eve telling/showing exactly what to do and say.
    When he started his machine lord training it was already stated how he should learn and train to do things. So maybe if he got some memory improving ability so he better remembers what he has learned/done previously while being assisted by Eve so he might be able to replicate it and his other skills will assist in altering the specific actions needed. Will also help in making him more independent on Eves instruction, will allow Eve to focus on different issues and simply leaving cues for Alan to act upon according to his knowledge, instead of the micromanaging of Alan’s every action.

    Like

    • this guy says:

      >good fusion between Alan actually doing some thing by himself or Eve telling/showing exactly what to do and say
      I always found the parts that mention Alan seeing calculations to give that feeling the best.
      I imagine that would get old if it were mentioned constantly, but it makes Alan look competent even if he’s still not making decisions.

      Like

      • Oak says:

        yup, things like that make him seem more in charge of his body.
        Seeing calculations and cues from Eve on what is likely to happen (probability based) is fine and are in line with his class, but when it comes to sequences where he only follow the outlines projected by Eve or following her orders to the letter makes at least me less inclined to care about him as a character, because he gets demoted from a MC to a avatar, controlled by Eve, with socially awkward persona.
        So I want more passive help from Eve during battles, her marking targets, highlighting weak-spots, keeping track of incoming attacks, gathering information and finding and hacking appropriate targets, but Alan making decisions and performing the actual actions to the best of his capability/skills.
        And it should be easy for them to train Alan, since Eve can project onto his interface, they can make whatever virtual opponents or training courses she can come up with to get and keep the skills up to date

        Like

      • aaaaa says:

        I completly argee with oak, the scene when him “Seeing calculations and cues from Eve on what is likely to happen (probability based) is fine and are in line with his class,” made my day but after that the author changed his mind and decided to change it.

        eve is a tool, and he should use it to analys the situattion , improve it but don’t let him take the decision

        look at chesmaster for exemple, they can always win against an AI if they have enough time😉

        to be fair, the scenes when he is being ordered by eve always make me nervous, coz it’s reduce him from a human to a mere tool

        Like

  22. Ephemerality says:

    Alright, next chapter may not be out to Saturday/Sunday. I want to get it right and don’t want to stop in the middle with a cliffhanger. It should answer a lot of the concerns in the comments as well🙂

    Like

    • Shane Hamby says:

      Not trying to rush you as I would rather have you have the chapters exactly as you want them before putting out however was curious if a new chapter or chapters are coming out soon?
      Loving the book. Bought the first one for both my son and I and also have been following you here.

      Like

  23. Buggaboo says:

    kinda amusing how the author never replies to comments about the fact that Eve is more of the main character than even the MC is. He hasnt achieved anything himself and if he didnt have Eve he wouldn’t even be where he is. So why is he the MC? What makes him interesting enough to keep being the MC? Will he ever do anything for himself or will he always have an umbilical cord strapped to mama Eve? Will he ever actually accomplish something impactful by himself? Will he ever actually heed someones advice for once instead of forgetting his training after 15 seconds? Will he ever flesh himself out as a character? Will he ever actually attempt to talk to somebody instead of being such an unbelievable loner? Will he ever learn that hey maybe the people telling him to TALK to people know what they are saying instead of letting every bit of advice he gets go in one ear then out the other?

    Like

  24. oblivious says:

    I think Alan’s relationship with Eve needs to progress in this (and maybe the next) arc, but I don’t think it’s gotten to the point of being a major problem with the story yet. (re-ordering of this arc aside, that is). We read it in the middle of the arc, but Cerberus’ lesson on being less dependent on Eve will ultimately wind up near the end of the arc.

    In Arc 1, Alan receives and is trained in his basic tools. In Arc 2, he’s tested and we learn that his tools make him a rank B combatant. We also learn that he won’t improve significantly unless he can become less dependent on his tools. In Arc 3, Cerberus adds hacking to Alan’s arsenal and teaches him to be less dependent on Eve for physical movements, bringing Alan up to a rank A combatant. To me, that’s sufficient progress.

    (side note: Cerberus says you can hack things you’re looking at like it’s an inherent part of the game. But the description of Alan’s eye implant seemed to suggest this was a feature of the eye. This has confused me for a while.)

    Alan trained Eve with video games (I can’t recall whether this was removed from the more abridged book intro), and she pretty much treats him like her avatar. We want the protagonist to grow, but I actually find this to be an interesting and novel launching point.

    Alan is a puppet, yes. He’s powerful and has potential, but is also naive. He’s almost a literal puppet where it comes to Eve. I’m happy with the rate at which he’s losing his naivety.

    Alan only really has one skill – AI interaction. Everything else kind of piggybacks off this. We’ve gotten a few hints though, that he’s *really* good at it, even by the standards of Machine Lords. Dude contacted a Lord of Life. He also seemed to leverage this talent to learn Detect Presence in minutes.

    Alan is trying to progress in three ways, and that’s how we should evaluate his progress. 1) He’s trying to reach his personal ‘steady state,’ where he plateaus. 2) He’s trying to push up his plateau, partly through new tools and abilities, but mostly (at this point) by becoming less dependent on Eve. 3) He’s trying to cheat to escape the boundaries of humanity.

    There’s a lot of stuff going on and it makes Alan’s progress in any one dimension much slower. But the setting is probably most people’s favorite part of the story, and I’m happy with slower character progression on any particular dimension if it means more exploration and intergalactic politics.

    Like

  25. 14simeonrr says:

    To enter to the Data Vault complete the following tasks:
    To enter the data vault. second “to” makes the sentence wrong and weird

    Like

  26. Is there a way to get email notifications when a new chapter is uploaded?

    Like

  27. Anonymous says:

    First time poster, but I’ve been reading for a while and I really enjoy the world you built here. But I felt I needed to express my take on Alan, especially with all the frustration with him people have shared. Honestly, I like that him just following Eve’s direction is a habit that is hard for him to break. Think about it. Here he is, a fairly normal guy as far as we know, with his peers being mafia and cartel members, or raised directly by the head honchos of one of the most powerful guilds in The Game. His rogue mentor and friend is a self-proclaimed terrorist. He is caught between the major factions of a world civil war. Now normally he could say “Well I’m just one guy, no special background or anything, how much of a difference can I make.” However, he was specifically told by his machine lord mentor that Eve was sent to help give humans an advantage as newbies in The Game. Random algorithms (again as far as we, or he, knows) have made him humanity’s ace up their sleeve. Then he goes to school and has people tell him “Oh yeah, don’t use that A.I. too much. You gotta learn things yourself or you’ll never be any good.” So he’s supposed to learn how to shoot a gun, or wield a knife, or any of these things among the pros of the galaxy when the closest thing he’s ever done is click a mouse. So yeah, I can imagine him feeling a little over his head, and more than willing to cede control over to Eve for most things.

    The thing is, I don’t think people would be so frustrated with Alan if he hadn’t shown potential. To me, one of his greatest attributes is his willpower. Getting up and fighting even after being at point blank of a Predecessor sized meteor fall in his tutorial. Running past his limits to escape pursuit on his little errand for Phantom. Then forcing himself to do the same thing just to get back those skills in the Guild Training room. Walking to the point of collapse from heat exhaustion just because Eve told him he should be able. Yes, he’s had Eve shouting encouragement into his ear all these times, but the best coach in the world can’t make the athlete move unless they have that drive in them. So there’s that, plus he seems to have a knack for that A.I. interaction. Maybe just an effect from his Machine Lord class, but he seems a natural at it. Plus, he seems to question the nature of The Game itself more than the average guy, and especially in this chapter he’s shown trying to put what he knows of both the nature of games and programs and what he learns of how The Game works into practice to give himself that advantage. Put it all together, and we see that there is more to Alan than just being a fleshy avatar for Eve to play. He actually has some stuff going for him, now he just needs to realize it.

    Which brings me to what I hope to see in the coming chapters. Between being shot in the back in the beginning of the assassin game, losing the chance to compete in the coliseum, losing the chance to clear the virus at the pilot training area, and being told he has no talent with knives and should give up on mastering them, it’s been a pretty frustrating time for Alan. Not only that, but he has to deal with Ace and Daisy on one end, and Icewolf on the other, knowing that if he wants to help either, he has to push past this roadblock. What I want to see is Alan acknowledge and discuss these stresses, maybe with Eve, but even better with some of his guild mates or any player, really. I can just see someone like Kitana, with her single minded pursuit of the sword, excelling at the school while Alan is being pulled in so many directions at once. But like I said earlier, Alan has tremendous willpower himself, he just needs the focus. So I hope that in these 30 days he has left he grows in both skills and stats, as well as in person, realizing and appreciating his own value beyond Eve, so he can learn to work with her instead of for her. I want to see Alan overcome at least some of these struggles, so that when he goes back to Phantom and starts the mission that inevitably involves Earth and the s***storm that is happening there, he shows that he was a worthy pick by the covert ops specialist of the Guild.

    tl;dr I appreciate the struggle Alan is going through and the reasons for it, but I hope to see growth soon in person as well as in stats, so he can be the kick ass player we know he can be.

    Like

  28. illinois1 says:

    Alan seems to be losing out a lot of money, levels, and learning by leaving early. This seems short sighted of the black rose guild. Who would want Alan to reach level 1000 or 2000 as soon as possible.

    The Administrators are a faction. Probably a highly restricted Ai Faction only allowed to play because Their impact on the game is limited to Player Safety and Convience. The Revanants are an Archeologist/Scientist faction that have too many goals. When their goals are aligned they are one the most powerful factions, but if the members don’t share goals they are just minor rats in the walls. Currently both groups are very opaque to Alan.

    I hope Alan gets some tech skills like Pilot space/air , engineer, repair armor, repair spaceships, Forge usage beginner, and create weapons. Before he has to leave the academy.

    When is Alan going to leave the game and check out the Alien planet he is living on?

    Like

    • this guy says:

      >When is Alan going to leave the game and check out the Alien planet he is living on?
      When he gets there.

      It him ~23 in-game days to reach Khersath from Earth aboard the Titan during Arc 1. Assuming it takes him 23 out-of-game days to reach Khersath from Earth, he’ll get there in ~92 in-game days.

      He’s been in the Academy for 17 in-game days, plus however long he spent training in this chapter. It was mentioned earlier that this training would take 2 (in-game) months, but it seems like he spent less than a day (in-game) on it?

      >I hope Alan gets some tech skills […] Before he has to leave the academy.
      The way the story is going, if he gets any design/manufacturing skills they’ll probably be AI/hacking related.

      Like

  29. this guy says:

    How was Alan able to buy the Thrifty skill?

    I thought he couldn’t directly buy skills while in the Academy.
    Does getting discount advice count as being taught to be Thrifty?

    Like

    • Gauntlet-KI says:

      He got it through The Chancellor. If anyone could allow him to buy abilities while in the Academy, it would be Cerberus (Chancellor).

      Like

  30. Gauntlet-KI says:

    One point I am not clear on (or maybe just disappointed at) is why he didn’t already choose the Talent (sniping) when he got it. The Talented ability was undeveloped for so long and when he finally got something for it, yet he did nothing, Also he didn’t get the talent after his skills test??

    On another note:

    “Note that any attempt to hack an Administrator will be severely punished, and that mental attacks are considered just as harshly as physical attacks in the court of law!” Opening Moves (The Gam3 Book 1) (Kindle Locations 5908-5909).

    “Now, I’ve wanted to try something for a while. I think it will confirm my decision to train in hacking.
    Alan broke off his connection to Eve, reconnecting to the Administrator. He activated hypercognition and hacked them.” The Gam3, CH 3.12

    Seems a bit of a bad idea, and should have probably been worse than a warning. ask your teacher about that stuff before you try it you idiot. like asking him about being blacklisted?

    [I don’t really have a problem with this last part, it shows that he is still a very stupid character, and you only have so many avenues of getting information to the readers (his clumsy actions are a good (annoying) way to prompt giving more info to us.]

    Like

  31. Vipekoi says:

    Good story 😆

    Like

  32. Anonymous says:

    Hi, firstly i want to say that i am REALLY loving your story, and i know you recently decided to write more full time style, but i want to say. So far you have been doing great, and i have seen other story’s reach a similar level of development only to fail due to bad chapters rushed out. so i want to say that while i can’t speak for everyone else i hope you take your time to plan and write all the chapters to your own standards and are not too rushed by your weekly deadlines. keep it up!

    Also perhaps you would be interested in entering this? I just stumbled upon it and was wondering if it would be useful to you.

    https://www.inkshares.com/contests/nerdist-video-game-contest

    from,

    And avid reader!😀

    Like

  33. Anonymous says:

    Activate hypercognition and give orders through in-game messages, Eve sent.

    Cerberus waved his hand before him and the simulation sped up, time began progressing ten times as fast. Still, the numbers had progressed to the point that Eve was never too overloaded, and within an hour Alan defeated the final attacker. (Chapter 3-12)

    however, as he only has 500 computational energy at the moment he can maintain hypercognition for 50 seconds (according to the table that said it drained 10/s). This is ‘within an hour’ but the wording seems to indicate more than 1 minute to finish off all the attackers.

    Like

  34. Josef says:

    Chapter 1.11
    The machine-Lord implant would take up two mechanical slots and one biological one, filling up all the slots Alan had for implants. He’d gain another mechanical slot and one biological one at level 100, then another at level 1000, and so forth, if he remembered correctly. It looked like the talented, machine communication, and AI interaction abilities were requirements for the augment. This implant would develop the talent skill, and apparently also upgrade the hypercognition skill.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      at the time Alan was over lvl 10 and under lvl 100, so he had 2 x biological and 2 x mechanical implant slots available (something else which i just noticed worked on log10 scale. doh)

      when Alan first entered the game he got the human-computer enhanced interface ( or computer-human. forget which way around it was) mechanical implant and the general stat booster implant under Eves genteel guidance. This gave him 1 x mechanical and 1 x biological.

      After getting upgraded to machine lord the human-computer enhanced interface got replaced by the machine lord implant using 2 x mechanical and 1 x biological. In conjunction with the general stat booster that utilised 1 x biological he had all four slots filled.

      at lvl 100 he got another 1 x biological and 1 x mechanical slot that phantom generously used to install a kill switch.

      currently Alan is a far cry from lvl 1000 and his 4th slot in each. That is if he hasnt learnt to Hack well enough and say change the log10 acquisition system of receiving implants down to every log5 levels. Potentially (as sheer speculation) his machine lord implant will do something like that for mechanical slots in the future and the predecessor blood will do it for biological slots.

      Like

  35. Josef says:

    Chapter 1.4
    As a human, you are limited to one biological and one mechanical implant for each power of 10 levels you have. At level 1, you may have one of each, at level 10, you may have two of each, and so forth. For a significant cost, you may have implants added and removed. Please review your implants now.

    Like

  36. Josef says:

    This implant would develop the talent skill,

    This implant would develop the talent skill,

    Talent still is developed since chapter 1.11 already…..

    Like

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