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Accel World: Setting, advantages and problems.

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Accel World: Setting, advantages and problems.

Post by Royal Duke on Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:37 pm

Well, since I was thinking about this at the right time, I might as well go ahead and throw my two cents in this and game theory.

First, where are we trying to get with this?

We're trying to make this an enjoyable experience for all involved. Even if we do not know each other personally, I still can't help but think of us as a group of guys calling each other and meeting IRL in a room. A very large one. Once we've all set a common ground, we'll be able to proceed faster.

We're trying to use Accel World as a basis for our setting, and for a single purpose: awesomeness. For this purpose, it has its own advantages and inconveniences. With the advantages greatly outweighing the problems, or vice versa, depending on your point of view.

Let's start first with what I think are its most bothersome parts, or at least the ones that give me more of a headache when thinking from a newcomer's point of view. However, even in its flaws I can find strengths, so I will list them there as well.

Today, I will talk about what all systems place first and foremost, and so should we:

1. Character Creation

This is my first and foremost issue. On one side, I can understand that every single good RPG setting should let itself be played without needing a PhD in the setting, except for the GM/DM who needs to have a bare idea of what he's doing.

In this sense, Accel World is not easy to manage. Your character's attributes in combat are, to put it in layman's terms, determined by your character's personality and wishes. Someone who faces his problems head on recklessly will end up with a melee fighter. Those who want to run away from their problems, to stay at a safe distance will be long range specialists. Those who don't want to fight at all end up with debuffs and status buffs.

There are middle terms, and even there is a third option, the Metal colours, who repress their emotions and thoughts, becoming somewhat of a Wild Card because not even they want to know what's going on with themselves.

The setting works like this: In combat, you head into a virtual world inside an avatar created exclusively for the sake of combat. The Duel Avatar. As I said before, its affinities are thise which the character is more comfortable with.

Furthermore, each Duel Avatar gets a unique, exclusive ability based off its dearest wish, which originates from his childhood scars: a person who has been lonely since birth will obtain an ability that boosts his mobility so he can be with others, someone who has been bullied with thrusts during kendo practice will obtain a weapon specialized in piercing his enemy, someone who has had everything stolen from him will have an ability that allows him to steal everything. To make matters even more complicated, depending in the sort of feelings the character has, he will get either utility abilities or combat oriented abilities.

This seems unnecessarily complicated, but it makes a great deal of sense. Even in the most basic of DnD you choose your classes depending on how you like to play. There's always those who go 'We kill him! Yay!' regardless of wether he is a zombie lich or the chancellor of Aerithia. There are those who prefer to play it safe and hide behind the long range weapons to not risk a painful death, and those who would rather work their way around things sneakily to powergame and get the items they want. This is just a more extreme version of that, and it's nothing new.

Also it makes for good checks to stay in character. If you make a melee fighter, he does not necessarily have to be a retard who is unable to speak, but he will always prefer action over thought. Case in point? Cyan Pile. Whenever he's facing an issue, acting is more important than the consequences it will have. And if you make a ranged fighter, he is not going to be able to easily grab a knife and go LEEROY JENKINS when his opponent charges in. One thing is awesomeness and another is going meta. Meta is not fun.

Abilities cannot be rolled. Furthermore, potential can be substracted from the avatar's attributes to specialize into a single point. This means that you'd need a fucking /longass/ table of things to roll for or a system that lets you input points for hwta you wanna do. I'm more inclined for the second part myself.

Freedom is harsh.

But it also lets you have these things from level 1:

-Have a dragon's head and be able to breathe fire.

-Have sword limbs that can cut anything weaker ignoring defenses.

-Ride a Harley across the battlefield.

-Own a pile bunker as a close range weapon.

-Be a time mage.

-Have your own jetpack.

-Be a badass yamato damashii shrine maiden with a bow. Which fires arrows literally made of flames.

-An ability that inflicts double the damage taken to the opponent.

And so onwards. In other words, absolute and complete customization. All Duel Avatars get the same amount of stat points, which /cannot/ be rolled.

This, in other words, means that you have to be aware of what you're doing if you want to be awesome. If you have a good concept of a character all you literally have to do is do the math and go join the high speed shounen battles.

Thus, times vary a lot. There have been people I've spent weeks working with without success, yet at the same time there have been guys who were 'hey man is this idea cool', 'yeah but I'd change x and y' 'okay' and in 15 min we had a full character to play with.

The key here, as with all tabletops, is communication. The player should be ready to listen to the GM (who usually could get a PhD in the setting he's RPing, because he /made/ the setting) and at the same time, the GM should be aware of the player's wishes and needs, and find a middle term.

The GM should neither be a tyrant nor a puppet for every single player's unimpeded wish fulfillment. He has to do what is best so all the players can awesome up. Have wizards faint from the spells they cast. Not as a weakness, but because they are so fucking awesome that they make a living out casting spells even if they could be sucked in by the things that lurk dimensions where it is customary to shake one's teeth and brotentacle each other.

Give them the sun, and make them fight for the moon.

If you want a bike, I'll give it to you but in return you need to put a lot of points that could be invested in combat stats. However...

You don't really need those because you already have a fucking Harley to be Giga Cool, yo~ You already have wings. You have a goddamn pile bunker.

Specialization does not make your characters less awesome; rather, it's the opposite. Instead of being a mediocre fighter who needs to have a thousand items and spells prepared to win, all you ever need to fight is one thing:

I want to ride my biiiiike, I want to ride my Night Rocker, no matter where I aaaaaaaaaaaam~


So after all this, what's my current standing? Players really need to step it up a little. Most of the concepts I've seen here don't keep up with what the setting offers.

However, the status system also needs to respond to the awesomeness. It needs badly a simpler, more flexible system. My own tabletop system is still far too flawed, so I can't really say I have an answer: all I can do is pose this question.

Can I make a Cyan Pile, who is a melee fighter with a pile bunker?

Can I make a guy with a dragon's head without the rest of the players having the chance to keep up with it?






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Re: Accel World: Setting, advantages and problems.

Post by Royal Duke on Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:29 am

Today I decided to look back on my post from some time ago, where I ranted about what I believed were the problems the site had. Back then, I think I was pretty rigid. I still think the points made about the former site are valid, and I don't regret its contents as much as the way they were said.

Here I won't discuss as much as the finer details of the plot as much as what makes this a interesting setting to use. Still, spoilers abound.

If I had to say, Accel World as a setting is pretty much a mixed bag in all regards in the sphere in MMO-like settings. .hack is pretentious all the way, SAO mixes some retro in its pretension and Log Horizon, while it has one hell of a convienently retro setting and design and a pretty serious theme, it doesn't even try to be as serious as Sword Art Online is, producing yet another of my favoutite settings.

Log Horizon balances out the retro feel by having classes, subclasses, exp, skills, and so onwards, the stupid of the Adventurers being mechanically adept immortal war machines while the NPC are at a large disadvantage, while managing to have a serious plot and background behind the whole game. Yet it's pretty well aware of what it is. Even when certain things happen, it's no different from robotic wizards in a Dungeons and Dragons session; it still sticks very close to the classic swords & sorcery theme at its core, and you can feel how at its the retro feel of classes, subclasses, levels, NPC knights, quests, and so onwards plays a central role in almost every instance.

Accel World is different from Log Horizon in that it has no specific theme besides 'Highspeed battles in the middle of the streets'. It's core game, Brain Burst, is a strange yet well thought mix between a VR fighting game and a MMO. Originating from an unknown source, it uses the information from cameras placed across all Japan in which we can assume it's pretty much some sort of less extreme and sorta benevolent Big Brother (For example, even if you are an 8 year old if they see you carrying a knife a policeman will go see what's going on, and punching someone in the middle of the street will get you inmediately arrested, making crime as we know it nowdays hard) to generate a strange blue world, that can be accessed via a voice command by those who have the program. Inside this world, their rate of thought is accelerated by 1000, meaning that 1.8 seconds inside equal 30 min. of real life thought.

This program has two conditions: You can only install it in people who have had a neurolinker since birth, and you can only install it face to face. This makes for a interesting gimmick, as only people who can install it in the setting are kids no older than 15 years old, and it's not like you can make a Internet post detailing its contents. Here we have a glimpse of what the author is thinking. We've got a bunch of adolescents given what one at a point describes accurately as a 'Real Life Hacking Tool'. With this you can ace all tests easily, win all fights and brawls, be a skilled musician in no time.

The moment you own this program you become something like the Wraethuhu minus the yaoi tentacles. By virtue just having it in your Neurolinker, you are already superior to your own parents.

However, in a similarly interesting twist, Accelerating costs Burst Points. The first thing the protagonist does is ask: can I purchase the Burst Points?

No.

The only way to earn them is to take them from other kids who secretly have the same program.

Allright, so what happens if I reach 0 points and lose? Simple. The game uninstalls itself, deleting all your memories of it and disallowing installation ever again.

This seems like it's not as bad as dying. However, it's again an elegant twist. By losing your memories, you can no longer affirm to be the same person anymore. Philosophers have talked loads about how the kid dies to give way to the adult, and in a way, can you consider a person with amnesia who cannot recall who he was prior to his memory loss the same individual?

PC death can happen if you get careless. While your 13 year old kid may survive, all his bonds, skills, and things he learned will be lost and he will go back to being a background goon. Which to your average RPer is a fate worse than a badass death.

This can, and in fact is sometimes used as an element for conspiracies, infiltration, etc. But mostly what it does is give every single of the players of the game a primal motivation to seek victory above all else. The fact that if they lose, they'll lose all what they gained from the moment they installed Brain Burst.

This is the Pretension part. While it's not mentioned in the setting, Brain Burst's software is directly based from a JDSF experiment, so yeah, up to this point BB is as pretentious as SAO.

Now here is where it gets funny.

In order to battle, you don't get to make your character like in MMOs, but you get something called a Duel Avatar, which is what I mostly talked about in the Character Creation section. As its name says, it's an avatar made for combat.

The funny part is that it's made suited to each player's way to face his problems, and its ability being what he/she desires the most.

The last part seems a bit wishy washy and all about hope and stuff like that, but keep in mind that this program gives you exactly what you want, regardless of societal pressures. When I was a kid, there was this asshole that would never leave me alone. I wanted him dead when he got me ticked off, yet as he was larger, I couldn't do anything to him.

In that case, Brain Burst is more than happy to oblige to give you a massive chainsaw, a laser blade, or whatever funnily gory weapon there is so you can freely express your feelings of hatred, anger, and despair.

At the same time, well, we all saw Silver Crow. He was a kid who spent most of his time lonely (his parents couldn't even be arsed to teach him to speak, they used a program to make him learn instead) and was left behind by his friends and everyone else. So, he wanted to be with others, reach out his hand more than anyone. This gave him wings.

From a mechanical standpoint, this translates into the most delicious clusterfuck of combat I've ever seen.

It's a organized chaotic battlefield where there's no such thing as a preset list of 'here's what you can/can't do'. Instead, it tosses the ball at the player and asks him 'what do you /want/ to do? Do you want to have a pile bunker that rips off limbs? Do you wanna be a half dragon that spits flames through his mouth? No? Then how about I give you twin machineguns and anti-materiel ammo so you can shoot down fuckers, or a Harley so you can run over your enemies from Level 1?'. As much as SenZar was criticized for its testosterone filled approach, it was right on something. No player should ever be forced to start out as a helpless wimp, unless being a wimp temporarily or not is a part of his own approach to RPing.

In this sense, Accel World delivers. A lot. This is part of the reason why I'm still a little butthurt towards the old site. Accel World isn't about mediocrity, with everyone roughly being the same. It's exactly about the opposite. It's about a Level 1 Silver Crow suddenly discovering his wings, and giving the smack down to a delusional Cyan Pile who thought he could predict everything. It's about bikes that climb walls and shoot missiles, and about a world where regardless of the path you take, stats alone will hardly take you anywhere because when you think you've seen everything there's this dude whose hands are literally handcuffs or this other fucker with INMUNITY towards direct physical blows.

AWRP failed to deliver in this regard spectacularly.

Moving on, there's more. Every Ward of Tokyo is divided into Battle Areas. Inside these, well, there are some strange rules, but the important part is that no matter where you go, as long as you have your Neurolinker plugged on, you'll risk being challenged to a random battle. The Stages. There are more than a hundred different attributes the battlefield can take, from clearly Sci-Fi oriented ones like a city covered in a jet black substance or made out of steel or a steampunk factory, or PRETTY ones like a stage which is a meadow with marble white buildings in the middle of a perpetual sunset, or... Even here, the setting shows genius in its apparent madness, by giving you the possibility to go wild when making your battles.

You can make it so that a battle happens in the middle of a storm, with lightning and everything in a barren city if it suits your goddamn fancy, or at the border of a volcano.

And this is the /normal/ stage. There's the Unlimited Neutral Zone, which due to time restraints I will talk about later.

I hope this random drabble full of nonsensical ideas due to a sugar high helps anyone.
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Re: Accel World: Setting, advantages and problems.

Post by Royal Duke on Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:20 pm

A'ight, so as requested today's topic will be the Unlimited Neutral Zone. So, what does everyone need to know?

Upon reaching Level 4, you gain access to the second half of the core of the game Brain Burst via the command Unlimited Burst, which consumes 10 Burst Points. Unlike the Normal Dueling Field, the amount of time one can stay accelerated inside the virtual version of Tokyo generated using the Social Cameras is limitless, hence the name Unlimited. Furthermore, unlike the former which exists solely for the purpose of Player versus Player, various actions can be performed here, hence the name Neutral.

One of the most popular is hunting mobs, or as they are called by Players, Enemies. Unlike in your typical MMO, the average Enemy can slaughter a careless Linker due to the difference in strength and endurance, so they are to be approached with maximum precaution. This is a Normal Enemy. A Large Enemy requires assembling a party of usually 20 or so Linkers to have good odds of victory as well as preparation.

A Legend Class Enemy is even stronger than this, and only a few can expect to put a dent on them. They usually have their own territories and never stop outside of it, such as the Legend class Enemy Jormungandr, who unless aggroed will just off you once and then go back to lazing around.

Enemy hunt usually provides a tiny amount of Burst Points for the effort that it takes slaying them, and perhaps a rare drop which may cause great amounts of in-fighting, so it's not really as convenient as it sounds. It's more of a support for the classic method of dueling than a method of leveling up in its own.

Since there's not much of a time restriction, to the point where 2 seconds outside are roughly 30 minutes inside, it makes the ideal place for going off and training, too.

However, not everything is earning Burst Points. It's also possible to enter Shops and spend BP in exchange for utilities such as weapons like guns, mines, grenades, rocket launchers, swords... Or the classical 'pay me and I'll talk about metagame things'. You can also participate in Legion level quests made by the program for juicy rewards, or even purchase a house for yourself as a base of operations that cannot be destroyed in any way or food like ramen or alcoholic drinks.

It's less like a videogame, more like a second reality.

There also exist dungeons with rare items inside them, whose difficulty ranges depending on how much do you expect. Exploration of a normal dungeon can take days, while exploring one of the four main dungeons could quite possibly take up to years in Accelerated State, needing refresh parties and such. Unlike we thought previously, they're quite the large deal.

The most dangerous dungeon is without doubt, the Imperial palace. Just like IRL, it cannot be entered in any way normally in the Normal Dueling Field as there is an impenetrable barrier. In the UNZ, this barrier is lifted, but there is a gravity vortex that sucks in all Duel Avatars, and thus the only way to get inside is via the four gates, which are guarded by God Class Enemies, each so powerful that they make Legend class Enemies, which are already powerful enough to destroy 99% of the Linkers, like a chiwawa. Not only they are stronger than the Seven Kings together, but unless they are all faced simultaneously they will heal and cast buffs on each other, making defeating them impossible with a mere party.

In other words? Stay away unless you wish to be put into a state of Infinite Enemy Kill.

Oh, haha. In trade for all these benefits, the Unlimited Neutral Zone has a large disadvantage. You cannot log off at will, but have to leave through Leave Portals set in specific locations such as landmarks. When dead, one will be locked in place, like a ghost, only able to move 10 metres from the death spot, and respawns an hour later.

This means there exists another fun possibility. Ambush someone from behind, and then proceed to kill him and wait ad nauseam until you get tired, easily gaining more points than any Duel could give you.

And... Yeah, think we've covered almost all of it. Only thing left to mention is that once a while, the Field undergoes a Transition where its properties vary heavily, much like Stages in the Normal Dueling Field does, and every Enemy and such is reset, making it sometimes a matter of time to get things done.

So, this was a fun post to type. Looking forward to getting stuff done so we can start soon.
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