Chapter 14 - Unbelievable
In the blink of an eye, Parallel World’s beta had already been up and running for an entire week. All the players strived to adapt to the changes brought by the new VR game. As a teacher, Gu Fei often heard conversations about the game everywhere in school. Gu Fei naturally could not join in these talks. Moreover, Gu Fei had originally requested Ah Fa not to tell anyone in school that he was playing the game.
In fact, teachers, just like their students, were interested in playing video games. However, they could only feign indifference toward their students’ interests to maintain their image as paragons of learning. Unsurprisingly, Gu Fei also abided by this unspoken code of conduct for teachers despite only being a P.E. instructor.
Nevertheless, the students and his colleagues still noticed a distinct change in Gu Fei’s behavior; for instance, he no longer constantly boasted about his kung fu skills to others.
In their minds, Gu Fei had finally become a normal person! This became quite a hot topic in school.
As for Gu Fei, he was more preoccupied with playing Parallel World whenever he had leisure time to be bothered by such gossips. He preferred spending his time in the virtual reality game where he could freely use kung fu.
Still, Gu Fei remained mindful of the fact that Parallel Word was a game; information was needed in games like it.
Gu Fei would look up relevant information on the game’s official website whenever he gained a few levels to choose the next map to grind.
When Gu Fei chose the monsters to grind on, he had three strict requirements: They must have a humanoid form, engage in close combat, and have a level higher than his.
A monster with humanoid form and melee attack was necessary to display his kung fu. After all, he was mainly playing the game for the sake of using his kung fu. So what others considered as a boring and mindless leveling method, Gu Fei viewed as a suitable martial arts training program. Hence, he would never find it tedious. Even if it required repeating a single action a thousand times, he would still devote his entire being into executing a move.
His choice to fight monsters higher than his level was a decision Gu Fei made in consideration of the game’s mechanics. Every monster in Parallel World gave a fixed amount of experience – the higher the level, the larger the experience gained – so fighting higher level monsters meant his leveling speed was akin to taking an express train to level-town. Gu Fei had no reason to give up this leveling method, especially with his ability to take advantage of it. Yet, even with his extraordinary kung fu skills, there was still a limit to the monsters he could defeat. Gu Fei had no means by which he could break through the defenses of monsters twenty levels higher than him, even if his speed could keep up with their attacks.
Such a situation suddenly reminded Gu Fei of his father teaching him martial arts when he was young.
“Your attacks are weak and full of holes,” his father said with amusement when Gu Fei punched him. A fast palm strike from him had sent Gu Fei flat on the ground as he said, “Watch the way my shoulder moved. Have you understood why you couldn’t avoid or block my palm strikes? Obviously, it’s because my movement is much faster than your eyes. You need more practice.”
Gu Fei missed the joy of challenging himself time and time again in the past as he grew up. Therefore, he could hardly contain his excitement now that he had an opportunity to experience that sort of enjoyment again.
Continuously leveling to improve his skills and fighting even stronger opponents; everything was really simple in online games.
On this day, Gu Fei finally reached level 30.
Every player had the habit of checking the amount of experience needed to reach the next level upon leveling up; Gu Fei was no exception. However, he was taken aback once he had a look.
This isn’t a mistake, right? Is this truly the amount of experience required to reach level 31 from level 30? Am I level 30 or level 300? Gu Fei muttered to himself.
The experience requirement that used to increase every level in 10% increments had risen by ten this time.
Ten times to be precise!
Prior to this, no one had ever heard of any MMORPGs that had such an abrupt huge leap in the amount of experience required to level up.
At this point in time, a majority of the players in Parallel World had rapidly ascended to level 30.
Each of them was equally dumbfounded at the sight of the experience points needed to reach level 31.
Everybody thought that it was a bug and incessantly reported it to the game company; almost no one carried on leveling.
The Parallel World’s officials soon released a statement.
The algorithm was correct and not a bug. The issue actually originated from the company’s adjustment of the experience cap to reach level 30.
This change was made in response to the alarming number of violent incidents that had happened on the first day of the game. Many players used their job classes’ inherent physical advantage, as well as the initial imbalance of stats, to bully weaker players. The gaming company’s inability to intervene in those incidents led to Parallel World’s setting adjustment to prevent such situations from occurring again.
After much deliberation, they decided to reduce largely the experience players needed to get to level 30.
This let the players reach level 30 quickly.
Level 30 was what the officials deemed as a stage where there would be a balance between the job classes. No matter the job class players held, this level was where they had enough power to protect themselves from others. The event where players could utilize their innate stronger physique to bully physically weaker players would never happen after reaching level 30. However, the game company could not be held liable if players were oppressed because of their poor gaming skills due to being complete noobs.
The statement effectively quelled the players’ rage. Since many of them witnessed the terrible acts that had happened on that first day, they naturally did not oppose the game setting adjustment. The players immediately went back to the game to continue grinding once they realized that the modification was permanent.
But Gu Fei did not know anything about this.
After confirming that he was not at level 300 yet, he had simply blinked his eyes and resumed his level grinding without bothering to count how many zeros there were. He had originally intended to ask Fleeting Smile about it, but he gave up upon seeing on his friends list that he was not online.
I better focus on my kung fu training instead. The game company will naturally fix the issue if it’s a mistake! was what Gu Fei thought. He followed the plan he had for level 30 and headed toward the map he had earlier decided on.
The map Gu Fei chose to grind at level 30 was where others would grind at level 40.
In fact, if he wanted to, he could even choose to fight monsters with higher levels than 40. However, those monsters had more health and stronger defenses. In terms of times spent and amount of experience gained, it was much more efficient to fight level 40 monsters.
This was what Sword Demon told Gu Fei when they met coincidentally in a map for grinding. The method was very similar to how Gu Fei trained as well.
However, Sword Demon might have had a similar grinding technique to Gu Fei, but that was the extent of their similarity. For Sword Demon, leveling up was simply leveling up. As for Gu Fei, leveling up each time meant his kung fu had improved yet again. Gu Fei would not be this enthusiastic to grind if not for this.
Sword Demon had reached level 30 faster than everyone else and had gained experience comparable to mid level 30, but just like Gu Fei, he kept on grinding after slightly getting startled by the experience required for leveling up.
After exchanging a few words with Sword Demon, Gu Fei said, “I won’t bother you leveling,” and walked toward another area to grind monsters alone.
Neither proposed teaming up to level together.
Sword Demon’s leveling style was suited for soloing. Adding another person would simply reduce his grinding efficiency, even though the experience gained was larger with two people.
Gu Fei also understood that Sword Demon’s grinding method did not require a helper. Furthermore, he himself had a different purpose for fighting monsters. Gu Fei wanted to train his kung fu so he naturally did not want anyone supporting him from the side.
The two tacitly understood this and kept to their respective grinding spots.
Before splitting up, Gu Fei glanced admiringly at Sword Demon’s Frost Memories. Xi Xiaotian’s judgment was truly sinister; Frost Memories’ asking price of fifty thousand dollars was just right.
The dagger’s most important feature was not its high damage output, its probability of causing fatality, or the chance of dealing frost effect; it was actually the 25-stat-point boost.
Players were only given 5 stat points every time they leveled up. Therefore, the dagger was equivalent to a player gaining five levels. The worth of Frost Memories’ 25-stat-point boost was apparent in this game where leveling sped up more when one fought monsters with higher levels.
Even if it’s not a weapon but just a stone I could sling by my waist, I would still be able to use it to head straight to maps five levels higher than my current grinding spot, Gu Fei thought to himself. Although he was envious, he did not regret helping Sword Demon get back his dagger when it got stolen. It was a matter of principle after all.
The two could not see each other as a row of small trees separated their grinding spots. All either could hear was the distant cries of the monsters. But while Sword Demon took the occasional pauses, Gu Fei grinded without stopping. This was proven by the incessant dying cries of the monsters by his side.
Sword Demon rested from time to time to recover his health. In Parallel World, HP recovery could not be induced through drinking medicine or similar stuff as long as the system tagged a player as attacking or under attack. Medicines could only help recover HP when one was not engaged in a fight. Official sources revealed that only certain special equipment or recovery skills could be used during combat.
Therefore, solo grinding in Parallel World could be considered as strenuous.
Gu Fei was indeed an exception. He was not using any skills except for a few basic kung fu moves, yet his leveling efficiency was still better. It was even better than the level 30 Thief, Sword Demon, who was currently using his every skill to grind.
The gap in the experience earned between the two only existed because Gu Fei still had to work every day. He also spent a large chunk of his time in reality practicing kung fu, something Parallel World could not replace.
Gu Fei did not know how Sword Demon played the game, just that his username always appeared online whenever Gu Fei logged in. He thought of Sword Demon while grinding, He must be what everyone calls a professional gamer.
On the other side of the trees, Sword Demon was thinking about Gu Fei as well.
He thought of how Gu Fei got to level 30 in the few days since they last met.
Sword Demon considered reaching level 30 in a week a lousy feat.
However, Sword Demon had kept an eye on Gu Fei every day; he knew very well when Gu Fei would come online.
Sword Demon made a horrifying discovery when he totaled all of Gu Fei’s gaming time: His efficiency was far beyond his level.
At the same time, he was very puzzled by Gu Fei’s attire.
He was a level 30 Mage, yet he had not even replaced his beginner robe. Was his waist filled with daggers again? The straw hat on his head looked like what a Warrior would wear, while the shoes looked like a gear that a Thief would use!
Oh, man! What in the world was he?