Chapter 1 – The Wrong Job (1)
The moment the blade slashed empty space, the world got split.
The ground shook, and part of the dimension was cut off.
This happened after SeoHyun’s ultimate attack, «Space Divider», was activated.
Tens of thousands of monsters were oxidized at once into darkness.
The sword that had just slashed many demons began emanating white light.
SeoHyun, who had kept the number one position in the rankings for many years, was about to clear a quest.
‘I can beat it.’
In the past, 40 rankers had tried to beat this quest, but they had gotten defeated as soon as the battle started, so they were forced to walk away from it.
But SeoHyun was about to beat that quest alone.
He had been planning this assault for three months, so he felt very confident.
‘I just have to make no mistakes.’
Whish- SeoHyun jumped at the enemy’s forces. He impaled the air and activated the chained skill of his ultimate attack.
The light emanating from the sword cleared all the visible opponents.
All kinds of monsters were wiped out in a single attack—from trash mobs to elite monsters; even named bosses disappeared while screaming.
The laser-like attack pierced all the hills and reached up to space.
SeoHyun celebrated the success.
His ultimate attack had successfully pierced the great demon Keidrial’s heart.
‘I’ve almost cleared everything up.’
What was left was defeating monsters that were still standing, but most of them were on the verge of death.
SeoHyun slowly killed the enemies that were left, one by one.
A couple of hours later, he had finally defeated the quest’s final boss.
[You’ve successfully cleared the quest ‘Demon World Annihilation’!]
[You’ve single-handedly ended a multi-dimensional war that has been going on since 1836! Everyone in the heavens will praise your accomplishment!]
After hearing the mission cleared message, SeoHyun smiled bitterly.
He had just accomplished something that most people couldn’t even fathom. Despite this, he didn’t seem happy. The reason was simple.
<Total Amount of Players Online: 287>
By coincidence, he saw the current server’s status in the lower part of the screen.
‘Another person has quit.’
He was the number one player of Asra Online!
He was the emperor who had managed to conquer all 21 castles.
—All users and members of different races looked up to him.
With one step, he managed to clear a castle, and with another, received the cheering of tens of thousands.
SeoHyun, an average first-year university student, was the king of the world of Asra Online.
But the king’s world was somewhat shabby.
Asra Online only had 300 users online at one time.
Video games resembled the water’s flow. Just like a stream of water flows in and then spreads in the ocean, most games have new players coming in. Then, some users get tired and stop logging in—this is how the pluses and minuses were balanced.
Once new players disappear, the water that doesn’t flow stagnates.
Since no new users are coming in, the entry barrier becomes higher.
Then, users are left with two choices: either leave or resist.
The moment new users stop showing up, the game basically becomes their private league.
The ecosystem stagnates and starts to rot.
The Asra continent was rapidly decaying, and SeoHyun was the emperor of that dying continent.
‘Why is nobody playing such a fun game…?’
‘I just can’t understand.’
A planetary-level scale and vast world-building…
A Well-written story and countless easter eggs…
It was as if they’d used the most advanced artificial intelligence to create each NPC—they were all very humanlike and had characteristics that made them unique.
There’s no reason not to play this game.
‘Is it because it wasn’t originally made for virtual reality?’
From what they said, Asra Online was first developed as a PC game, but because of popular demand, developers quickly ported it to 3D Virtual Reality.
The problem was that many similar games released around the same time were made for virtual reality from the beginning.
For Asra Online, it was hard to survive in this era where capsules and virtual reality games had become widespread. The bad user interface and poor graphics were Asra Online’s fatal weaknesses.
‘If only Asra Online had been developed as a VR game from the beginning…!’
He felt angry.
If only it had been able to gain some popularity from the beginning, there would be at least ten thousand players online.
He thought about deleting his account many times, but in the end, SeoHyun couldn’t give up on Asra Online.
For eight years, he had focused on one game.
SeoHyun couldn’t move on from Asra Online.
But one day…
A new opportunity was presented in front of SeoHyun, the king of a dying game.
<Pre-orders for Asrian Online are open>
‘What is this…?’
Just like any other day, SeoHyun had accessed the online community boards of Asra Online. An with an eye-catching font caught his attention.
His hands were shaking. After he clicked on the , a page opened.
SeoHyun’s eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
There, he could see Gluna, Asra’s moon. The purple light it emanated was illuminating the background of the page.
In the sky behind the floating castle, you could see an ancient dragon fighting a Divine Mage, one of the top jobs for a magician. He was attacking the dragon with a pillar of fire. Sparks were flying everywhere. Underneath that, a number so big that it was hard to read was going up continuously.
<World First Sensory Synchronization Mechanism! Pre-Orders for Asrian Online are open>
Amount of Pre-Orders: 78,739,952.
‘Sensory Synchronization? Are they referring to that same technology that was recently covered on the news?’
Even if it was called Virtual Reality, it only covered two of the five senses: sight and hearing. Compared to reality, it was lackluster. If you wanted to move, you had to use the controllers and not your muscles.
But a few months ago, there was news in which they had said that a realistic virtual reality that satisfies all five senses had been developed. Gamers were excited.
After calming down his rapidly beating heart, he searched for Asrian on YouTube.
“This is crazy.”
The teaser video of Asrian Online had been viewed 108,374,234 times. He hadn’t started watching the video, but he already felt intimidated.
SeoHyun became immersed in the video.
The 20-minute video was so great that SeoHyun became dumbfounded.
He couldn’t believe what his eyes were seeing—NPCs he knew very well were moving three-dimensionally.
‘Is this really footage from a video game?’
It was more realistic than the CG of a movie. One wouldn’t guess that they took the scene from a video game.
Asra Online had been reborn as a real virtual reality game.
But it wasn’t your average crappy virtual reality. Unlike others, it used cutting-edge technology!
SeoHyun became so overwhelmed by feelings that he almost cried.
The 20-minute video finished playing.
That short video was good enough to know that everything—including the story, world-building, system, and gameplay—was perfect.
‘Did NFM have enough money to build such a great quality game?’
It was a medium-sized company; its only source of income was the 300 active players of Asra Online.
SeoHyun had doubts about how they could’ve built a game like this. But he quickly stopped thinking about it.
‘That’s not for me to worry about.’
<Pre-orders for Asrian Online are open>
Amount of Pre-Orders: 79,634,754
In just a few minutes, pre-orders had gone up by a million.
From what he could see, the pre-orders must have started that day since the number was going up very fast.
While reading what was written under the number, he kept opening and closing his hands.
<Asrian Online, available worldwide on May 1st!>
One week from then, Asra Online would be reborn as Asrian Online.
Nobody would be able to make fun and call it a dying game from that moment on.
‘I’m going to show you the skills of the number one player.’
That night, he couldn’t sleep because of the excitement.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
SeoHyun wasn’t planning to play Asrian Online half-heartedly.
‘There’s going to be at least tens of millions of players…! There will probably be many professional gamers among the users. By playing casually, I won’t be able to get far.’
The following days were some of the most intense in SeoHyun’s life.
At first, he tried to get more information on the official page, but he soon became disappointed.
‘There’s only basic stuff here. There’s no useful information.’
It was as if they were planning a surprise on the opening day—they were hiding all information very well.
There was no information about jobs, skills, or items; the explanation about the world was also very poor.
The only information available was about changing the user interface or settings.
‘I won’t be able to get any useful data here.’
SeoHyun changed his focus to the community boards.
Korea’s biggest online community was already very active.
<Daily Asrian Online opening hype post. Only five days leefffttttt! (0)>
<Warning! If you click on this post, you’ll be linked to the world of Asrian (5)>
Most posts were useless posts, but once he entered the popular section, threads with helpful information started to appear.
<Teaser Video Analysis! (349)>
SeoHyun clicked on the video that was on the top of the page.
The user ‘Stuck in a Dying Game’ started the thread by presenting himself first.
– I’m known in video games as Steel Rock. I’m an active player of Asra Online, which is the previous game made by NFM, the people who made Asrian Online.
SeoHyun tried to remember him.
‘Steel Rock? Is he maybe that guy?’
He was one of Asra Online’s rankers but not a high-ranking one.
That was because all Asra Online players were rankers.
The fact that he remembered the user ID of most rankers was a grim reminder of how few people played that game.
All users on the server knew each other—they were either friends from the same guild or enemies from opposing ones. It definitely sounded more like a social/chatting game than anything.
‘There really isn’t a game in a worse state than that one.’
SeoHyun left the bittersweetness behind and kept reading.
– I guess everyone has seen the video of the magician fighting the dragon, right? The floating castle that you can see in the background is called Lacrenzel. The ancient dragon Kerber makes an appearance as a named enemy. As you can see, he’s using «Triple Fire Brass». But… This skill is the same as the one he uses in Asra Online!
Steel Rock had attached two screenshots, which added credibility to what he said.
He also commented on similarities between the NPCs and skill effects.
– By now, you should’ve noticed. It seems that Asra and Asrian Online share more than the world. They probably also share things like skills of the different classes and quests, among other things.
SeoHyun nodded in agreement.
He had thought the same things as Steel Rock while watching the video.
From what he’d seen, there were many similarities, but there were some differences—mainly new places and skills.
Even if there were differences, right now, when there was no information about Asrian Online, the possible similarities were very important.
‘There are five days left.’
SeoHyun was about to enter Asra Online to gather more information. What he saw on the login page surprised him
<Total Amount of Players Online: 4323>
The number of people inside Asra Online was the highest he had ever seen.
It felt like he was back on launch day.
After seeing ten times more players than normal, he became tempted.
‘What would happen if I, the number one player of Asra Online, started streaming right now?’
But after thinking about it for a while, he decided not to do it.
‘I could probably acquire some wealth and fame because the number of people interested in the game has increased.’
The downside was that if he started streaming, he would end up revealing a lot of information.
All the information he had acquired through the years was too valuable to give away for some clout.
From hidden items to the best skill sets, he also knew about the location of NPCs that gave you hidden quests. It was information that only he, the number one player, knew. It was all thanks to the fact that he could freely move in normally hidden places.
He couldn’t just give away that type of information.
For the people that were just starting, that information would probably be as valuable as gold.
‘I shouldn’t broadcast.’
After SeoHyun reached that conclusion, he decided to log in. His character was standing in the middle of space.
He warped five times and landed in a secret place.
After extending his arm to the void, the space started to change, and the gravity barrier crumbled.
A dimensional door opened. From inside it, you could see a blue light coming out.
The Library of Knowledge.
This was a place where you could find all the information and knowledge about Asra Online.
SeoHyun, who was familiar with this place, entered the other dimension.
Armed angels guarded the entrance gate; they bowed their heads. Even the emperor of Acresia couldn’t stop him from going there.
Among all the players of Asra Online, only SeoHyun had access to this place.
‘There’s no need to be grandiose.’
SeoHyun couldn’t find any new useful information.
He just remembered the past eight years.
Thankfully, he had access to everything in the Library.
SeoHyun read about Asra’s history; he also checked out the theory behind magics, skills, and how to combine them.
He also tried to remember all the magical beasts spread across the world.
SeoHyun tried to remember as much about Asra as he could. At the same time, he looked back at the eight years he had spent playing the game. After all, this was his farewell.
While doing that, five days flew by.