Chapter 4: Talking to NPCs
In this game, every time you level a Talent to a multiple of 5, you will get 1 Talent Point. In general, Talents cost at least 5 Talent Points to be able to acquire them. Talents can also evolve, and those cost Talent Points too.
In some games, you are only allowed to equip a specific number of your Talents, switching your active Talents with you inactive Talents when you need to. OriginStory doesn’t have that limit. All the Talents you acquire are the Talents you have active.
Because of this, in order to deter people who enjoy trying to take all the Talents, once you have 15 Talents, the Points required for acquisition double.
Some Talents, however, are not listed in the General Talents list, and must be found out in the world, acquiring them either through achievements or quests. Those Talents include, but are not limited to, OS Talents.
The Talent limit doesn’t really bother me, because I hate having useless things just lying around, but the dev’s are still making a clear point about investing in your character, huh?
I’m also really interested in hidden Talents, but I wonder what they would be…
Well, I guess I won’t know what’s out there and what’s useful until I get some experience playing the game.
“Shortie… were you trying to be taller? You’re still kind of short, though…”
I measure Toru’s height with my hand. He’s gone from the height of my chin to the height of my nose. It’s a change of probably less than 5 centimeters.
“Shut up! Because you get taller when you trigger the werewolf form, they limit how much taller you can make your avatar…”
“Oh, so you chose Werewolf.”
He looks like a regular human, though his skin is just a shade darker than his real-life look.
“Not everyone can enjoy being boring and playing Human all the time like you, Nee-chan.”
What’s wrong with being a Human? It’s the Race with the most average starting stats in any game, so it’s easier to adjust your character however you want.
Ah, the stats for the Races are (with 〓 meaning base stats):
Human: STR〓, DEF〓, DEX〓, END〓, WIS〓, INT〓
Elf: STR↓, DEF〓, DEX↑↑, END↓, WIS〓, INT↑
Siren: STR↓↓, DEF↓, DEX↑, END〓, WIS↑, INT↑↑
Construct: STR↑, DEF↑↑, DEX↓↓, END↑, WIS↓, INT〓
Beastkin: STR〓, DEF↓, DEX↑↑, END↓, WIS↑, INT〓
Werewolf: STR↑↑, DEF〓, DEX↑, END↑, WIS↓↓, INT↓
Well, it’s not like you can’t take Talents that make up for the insufficiencies, but hard-core PvPers would probably be very picky with their Race depending on what kind of avatar they wanted to build.
I think the majority of people would rather build their avatar on what they’d like to be, regardless of how well it all fits, though.
To be honest, the differences in Stats based on Race that PvPers would be crying about are pretty small in the big picture. Talents greatly change your base Stat lineup, and we’ve already seen, game after game, that in a VRMMO, creative play can beat out high Stats. But there are always going to be people who swear by the numbers, na.
One such person should be this shortie over here, but …
“I’m just kind of surprised you didn’t carefully weigh the options and choose a high Dex Race. You’re going to play the dual-wield, evasion type character, right? Or no?”
“Jeez, isn’t it Nee-chan who said you should play whatever you want without worrying about the Stats in a game without classes? Even though you choose Human because it has the most average Stats…”
Hm… well, I guess if you’re happy.
“Fufufu, you just wanted to try out the cool new race that no game has ever had before…”
“Mou, Chie-nee, stop teasing – Chie-nee?! Nee-chan, Chie-nee is playing?!”
Toru blushes bright red as Chie leans in, her hands on his shoulders.
Don’t get it wrong, it’s not like he has a crush on her. Chie should be aware of the exposure that outfit has. Even though she normally worries about stuff like that, when it comes to cosplay, it becomes a different story.
Aah, my little brother is going through puberty…
Chie continues to pester him like she’s always done since we were kids.
Eh? When did her hair-style change? Wait. Jo already got a comb item in-game somehow?!
Chie grins and asks,
“Toru-kun, what’s you avatar name, hm?”
“Toru, don’t tell me that’s the ‘to’ from ‘Toru’ and ‘wol’ from ‘wolf’…”
I facepalm. This shortie’s naming sense.
“I’m just going to keep calling you Toru.”
“Seconded. Hello again, Toru-kun.”
Jo grinned and waved.
“Oooh, it’s Jo-san! Hello, you’re playing this too?”
“Aside from that … Toru. You wanted to compare Talents and stuff, right? I want to actually start playing the game soon, and SOMEBODY took so long that I’ve already been wasting my time sitting here…”
Well, to be fair, I was going back over my Talents and reading up on how to level them and stuff, so it’s not like I was completely wasting time.
What, I should have looked that stuff up before I started playing?
M-maa, recklessness is one of my charm-points.
“Oh, right. Ok, so the OS Talents I got are [Backstreet Striker], which increases critical chance and attack speed, and bonus to medium and heavy armor, and [Lithe Hand of the Fighter], which increases DEX, DEF, and WIS a little and has a Skill that increases parry rate for 30 seconds. And … heheheh…”
Oh? He has such a smug look on his face.
“What is it, shortie?”
“[Lithe Hand of the Fighter] was a blue Talent! Aren’t you jealous, Nee-chan?”
Oh, a blue Talent huh… so higher Rarity Talents aren’t that hard to get-
“Blue?! I only had 4 white options!”
“Ah, I only had 6 white and 2 green…”
The first response was Chie, the second was Jo.
“Hehehe, I had 7 white and 1 blue! No greens though … I wonder what the criteria was for everything…”
… Eh? Somehow … doesn’t it sound like the average amount of Talents you can choose from is under 10? I remember having double digits though…
“So, Nee-chan? What did you get?”
“… [Spirit of the Wild Hunt], which increases Dodge, Perception, and Nature; bonus to light and medium armor.”
“… Nee-chan, that’s … did you random all your answers? You hate playing scout-like characters.”
How did everyone come to this conclusion? Although they’re not wrong…!
“And? Your other one?
“I don’t really want to talk about that one until I try it out.”
“… Jeez, Nee-chan. You need to read the things you sign, ok? In real-life?”
My little brother is lecturing me on how to properly read contracts before I sign them…
“Ok, if you’re done, I’m going to go explore the village.”
“Eh-! Wait, I wanted to hear about the rest of your Talents and questions and stuff! I was going to upload stuff to the community for analyzing!”
Exactly why are you playing this game, little brother…
“Fufufu, Toru-kun, are you playing a game or taking a survey? You can always ask Naru at home, right? Look, she’s starting to get really fidgety.”
“Alright then, you guys have fun, I’ll see you later!”
Thanks Chie! With those last words, I run off before Toru changes his mind.
Seriously. I’ve been here for an hour and I haven’t actually played the game yet!
And people wonder why I prefer to play solo…
Let’s charge out to the wilderness-!
First, I want to check out that werebear Skill of course.
The village’s safe area extends a bit further out than the houses, so I’m looking for a safe spot that’s hidden away enough from everyone else.
I’m following the little creek that runs along the north of the village … at one point, the banks of the creek drop sharply into a waterfall. It’s actually still right next to the village, but it’s completely surrounded by cliff and the backs of houses, except for the creek bank I came in through, so it’s pretty hidden.
It totally looks like it’s just the edge of the environment.
Out of the way, heavily wooded so it’s difficult to see through, and still within the safe zone; ok.
Setting up the screenshot camera tool, I flip it so I can see myself in the viewfinder.
I have Light, ice-blue hair, but otherwise I look the same as my real-life self, wearing a kind of ranger-looking beginner armor.
Alright. And now…
The sensation of suddenly growing taller by several feet is really disorienting. My arms feel longer than normal, too… In one sense, they don’t feel like my hands – er, paws – but in another, they do. It feels like something you just have to get used to, so I’ll just bear with it for now.
I can see my hands – er, paws – are very bear-like.
Now, how does the rest of me look…
I glance at the screenshot viewfinder.
That’s … not a bear-like human, that is totally a bear! Though the proportions are a little different, the image I see in the viewfinder is fully a bear in armor.
I am SO fuzzy.
I wonder if …
I pull out my axe. It is completely possible for me to wield weapons in this form.
I am a bear, wielding an axe.
… I don’t think I have enough words in my vocabulary to explain how cool this is.
The merits to Werebear Form is extremely enhanced damage, reduced physical attack damage taken, and increased HP. The demerits are increased magical attack damage taken, and the inability to cast any magic on anyone other than yourself.
Also, Werebear Form only lasts 5 minutes, with a CD of 30 minutes.
Still, that’s one hell of a power-up in a fight.
It’s so cool.
But can I use it without being mobbed by players… PvPers would definitely complain if I used it in PvP.
I’m not interested in hiding it forever, but I’d like to avoid the attention at the very beginning of the game, when all the hardcore gamers are more hysteric than usual.
I guess I’ll talk to Toru about it in the morning. He’s a werewolf, which probably has a similar mechanism, and he’s probably devotedly keeping one eye on the forum as he tries to power-level his Talents, so he would know the pros and cons to having Werebear Form.
Caution didn’t stop me as I happily went and slaughtered 30 or so Horned Rabbits as an axe-wielding bear.
That some other new players panicked and wrote on the forums about an overworld boss that looked like a bear swinging an axe in the forest outside of the eastern starting village is only something I found out about later…
After Werebear Form wore off, I re-enter the village to check out the NPC Vendors and Quest Givers.
Maa, I like exploring freely, but it’s also fun to finish quests as I move through the regions.
Or, you can say investigating the NPCs and helping them do things is another way of exploring, ne.
Besides, if you just ran wherever you wanted right at the beginning … well, though I’d like to do that, being chased down by end-game level monsters would be a pointless waste of time, so I’m looking for some quests that can give me a general direction of where I should go.
Though, unlike the NPC venders who are all wearing similar outfits and standing behind stalls, it’s not so easy to tell the NPC quest-givers from the other NPCs…
So far I’ve gotten a quest to pick herbs and one to bring a lunchbox to a woodcutter from his wife.
The NPCs are surprisingly easy to talk to, like they were real people.
Although I ran into some guys who kept trying to have them glitch by saying completely random things.
After replying with several variations of, “I don’t understand why you’re telling me this,” the female florist NPC started saying things like, “Please stop wasting my time,” and finally, she actually got angry, saying, “Stop this at once before I call the guards!”
In the end, guards actually came and the two players got teleported to the town jail.
Two guys got put in jail for harassing an NPC … Just what are they trying to do?
Though having that kind of pseudo-realism in an NPC gives me a lot of hope for the rest of the game. It feels like OriginStory has a good balance to it. The devs tried to make it as realistic as possible, but they still managed to keep the fantastic feel a game world should have.
Hm… After talking to all the various NPCs and noting where all the shops are on the village map, I guess it’s just the herb collection quest and the lunchbox delivery quest…
Just as I was thinking that, I notice some movement down one of the alleyways.
I’ve come to the edge of town. In fact, I’m just on the other side of the houses where I had hidden to test out Werebear Form. There weren’t any other NPCs, or shops, or anything other than houses and scenery to flesh out the village.
If I hadn’t wanted to explore every corner of the town, there’s no question that I wouldn’t have come this direction.
I look down the narrow alleyway that caught my eye.
It’s not like it’s a dark alleyway, but with ivy from the neighboring house draping over the alley gate’s top arch, it was easy to overlook.
Not to mention, the alleyway looks more like a garden filled with plants, included just to fill up the background, but if I looked closely, seated amidst the leafy bushes and flowers is a person.
I push through the ivy and duck underneath the branches of the bushes that overhang the barely visible stone path, entering the alleyway.
The man is sitting quietly at a table on the patio of the house, looking up every now and then, then back down, writing something, no, drawing something, into a large, leather-bound book. When I look at him, he glows a light yellow and the name “Andre the Traveling Scribe”, also written in yellow, pops up for a few seconds. An NPC, huh?
Andre the Traveling Scribe looks up and smiles, then nods at me.
Hm. It’s unusual for an NPC not to say something back if they have a quest, but if he was just made to populate the village, it’s a little weird that he’s so out of the way and hidden.
“Is now a good time to talk?”
He sets his book and pencil down.
“Certainly. Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Ah, I’m a traveler just passing through, and I was just wondering what you were doing here, or if you knew of any other hidden spots like this.”
… I kind of feel like I’m trying to pick him up.
“A traveler, you say. I am also a traveler. I am called Andre, and I’m a Traveling Scribe.”
“Ah, I’m Naruesin. So you’re a Traveling Scribe? What does a Traveling Scribe do?”
He smiled, saying,
“A Traveling Scribe is merely a Scribe that travels. Scribes are those who decipher ancient texts, decode secret messages, and create maps of unmapped places. We are people who use the [Scribe] Talent to open up a world that people otherwise would be unable to reach.”
“The [Scribe] Talent?”
What the heck? That sounds like a lot of fun!
“Ah, I see you’re interested. It is possible for me to teach you how to acquire the [Scribe] Talent, but it will take a lot of effort, and it is recommended that you be a more experienced adventurer than you are now in order to accomplish it.”
Fumu. My average Skill Level is too low, huh?
“Could you at least tell me a little bit more about [Scribe]? Is it something like helping you read and write?”
If that’s all it is, it wouldn’t be worth the trouble.
“That’s not the case. [Scribe] opens up <Decipher>, a Skill that allows you to attempt to decode ancient languages, as well as secret messages written in code, as well as <Mapping>, that allows you to use Map Crystals in order to make maps of areas without maps.”
… Maps of areas without maps. That means, there are areas without maps to explore, right? I’m getting really excited.
“I understand I don’t have the ability now to master [Scribe], but is it ok to hear the criteria needed anyway? I’m a little curious.”
Andre the Traveling Scribe tilted his head to one side and pursed his lips together, as if he was thinking.
“Why does Naruesin-san wish to learn [Scribe]?”
Eh? A philosophical question? Nnn… I guess I’ll just be honest here.
“It seems like if I have [Scribe], I could explore the world with more confidence. It seems interesting.”
… Oh no, did I fail the speech check? I thought that, but…
“Very well. I shall teach you the method to acquire [Scribe], although I will tell you again, you must become stronger before you can master it.”
“I will give you this special Testing Map Crystal. Although Map Crystals are things that you cannot use without the <Mapping> Skill, this one has been enchanted to activate when you enter a certain region, as well as being the ‘key’. There are ruins in the Valley of the Fire Worms. Use the Testing Map Crystal as the ‘key’ to enter a level of the ruins most cannot enter. When you completely map out the hidden level of those ruins, you will be able to acquire [Scribe].”
As Andre finished telling me this, the Quest Notification, [You have triggered the quest, ‘The Hidden Ruins in the Valley of the Fire Worms.’] popped up.
“… Thank you very much, Andre-san. I will follow your instructions as best as I can.”
Andre nodded, and as I left, he picked up his book and continued to scribble in it.
Opening up my quest log, I check the Avg Level requirement… hm. So it takes an Avg Level of 5, and consumes 2 Talent Points on completion, huh? That’s something Andre should tell you upfront, or else you’d be surprised when 2 Talent Points are missing.
But still, 2 Talent Points is a huge discount from the usual amount it takes to acquire a Talent.
[Bolstered Endurance]Lv2 (+1)
[Sharp Senses]Lv2 (+1)
[Spirit of the Wild Hunt]Lv2 (+1)
[Inheritance of the Forest Guardian]Lv2 (+1)
About the Game Pt1
The NPCs in OriginStory are very well-developed with a huge wordbank … but in the end, they’re still NPCs.
A player is expected to try to stay on topic when talking with an NPC, but of course the devs aren’t naive enough to assume that all players will try to play the game in the way it was designed.
If a player asks a really weird question the NPC is unable to understand but still has the keywords that the NPC recognizes as belonging to the topic they’re supposed to be talking about, they will answer something along the lines of, “I’m sorry, can you rephrase your question?” or “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.”
If the player just randomly says things completely unrelated to them, the NPC will first respond politely by suggesting you get back on topic. After 4 or 5 consecutive times, the NPC will respond more aggressively. After another 4 or 5 consecutive times, the NPC will angrily give 2 more warnings before NPC guards show up and teleport you to the local jail. You must pay 10% of your money to leave jail.
Things you can say off-topic that won’t incur this situation are:
Asking for local directions
Asking if there’s anyone else who needs help
Asking about rumors the NPC has heard
Every NPC might not be helpful for all of those off-topic questions, but they are all programmed to be able to respond adequately to them.
<A/n: thanks JW and Michael C for you donations!>