Chapter 3 – Haggling
Nie Yan glanced back at the clock, it was already half past three. Conviction’s game servers were open from five in the afternoon to nine in the morning—sixteen hours total. In this way, it wouldn’t be a hindrance to the common person’s work schedule. Thus, everyone’s game time was more or less equivalent. Hence, it made it unlikely for any single player to create a large disparity in level compared to the rest of the player-base. In addition, Conviction’s Virtual Reality technology exceeded perfection. As a result, it gained increasing popularity, eventually becoming popular all over the globe. It gradually transformed into an absolute necessity in everyone’s life.
This was the world that had become dominated by Virtual Reality technology; it had become a perfect system. Five months later, Conviction would complete this system by connecting virtual currency with the real world economy, thus completely merging into humanity’s livelihood.
With such a high rate of player retention, the player-base was able to grow to a tremendous amount. It spurred the increasing consumption of Virtual Reality in the rest of the world. The amount of time the world spent playing Conviction every year was so astronomical, it was to the extent that it surpassed the amount of time they spent in reality. The emergence of numerous new consumer groups caused the creation of a great number of service industries, a vast majority of which targeted the professional gaming community.
Almost every financial group had established a presence in Conviction. Following the establishment of his father’s business—after the company had produced decent earnings—Nie Yan’s father also began participating in Conviction’s rising popularity. He put up a large sum of money into the game as well. Though in the end, due to suffering a crushing defeat, it resulted in the company and its assets being brought to ruin. This allowed Cao Xu the opportunity to seize even more of an advantage… Nie Yan absolutely wouldn’t allow such a situation to occur again.
Establishing an early presence in Conviction was essential, and it was crucial that he mustn’t fail. Nie Yan needed to first help his father by paving the road ahead. Only when his father begins injecting funds into Conviction, will he be able to establish an uninterrupted chain of funding and take the first steps towards success. This would prevent any problems from arising in the future.
Nie Yan made a stop and ate out for dinner, spending thirty dollars. By the time he had arrived home, it was already nearing five o’clock.
After putting on his helmet, he calmly waited for Conviction to boot up.
Twelve minutes had passed. The helmet’s display gradually illuminated, revealing the time to be [05:00 PM]. Abruptly, a lively jingle began playing, echoing through his ears. The tune felt familiar; it had been something he’d heard countless times in the past. He never felt any particular attachment towards it. However, it currently felt strangely pleasant to his ears.
「System: Do you wish to create an account?」
「System: Please select your country.」
There were three factions you could choose from when entering Conviction. The first was the righteous faction who guarded the light. This faction consisted of the Viridian (Ge-lín-lan) Empire and Satreen (Sa-te-en) Empire. The Viridian Empire was a nation ruled by humans and governed by an Elder Parliament. The Satreen Empire, on the other hand, was a nation formed from the alliance between dwarves, beastmen, and elves. The second was the evil faction who guarded the darkness; it was ruled by a tyrant who reigned over both the devils and undead. For people who didn’t enjoy conflict, there was a third faction which was neutral and ruled by the irenic giant tribe.
In the past, Nie Yan had chosen the Tempest Thief-profession of the Viridian Empire, which meant he was also quite familiar with the landscape of the empire. Furthermore, he was well acquainted with the Tempest Thief’s skills and profession missions. If he had chosen a different starting nation, then the superior advantage he had gained from being reborn wouldn’t be worth much in the end.
Nie Yan held a special type of affection for the Tempest Thief-profession. After all, he had dedicated nearly a decade of painstaking effort into it. The Level 180 Thief represented the height of his glory.
When he considered all these factors, he selected the Tempest Thief as his profession once again—just as he had in the past.
「System: You’ve chosen to start in the Viridian Empire.」
「System: You’ve selected Tempest Thief as your profession.」
「System: Please name your character.」
“Nirvana Flame!” Nie Yan chose the same name as he had in the past. “Nirvana Flame”—though these words were pronounced in the same way as his real name when they were spoken, they presented the meaning of a phoenix entering nirvana and being reborn.
「System: Successfully created character name. The character Nirvana Flame has been created.」
The game automatically blurred the player’s true appearance after entering. Then, the system would conduct minor alterations to the face of the player’s character. Under normal circumstances, the appearance of the player’s character and the player’s actual appearance were vastly different. It would actually be quite difficult to recognize a player in real life. However, the actual beauty or ugliness of the character was more or less equivalent to how it would be outside the game.
Nie Yan opened his status window and took a look at his own stats.
These were the base stats for every type of Thief in the beginning of the game. Furthermore, at Level 0, the system gave five stat points and one skill point.
Nie Yan took a glance at his status window. When he had chosen the Tempest Thief profession in the past, he had added one point in Strength, two points in Dexterity, and two points in Physique in order to make himself more durable. In turn, it caused him to have a very weak attack power and slow attack speed during the initial stages of the game, causing him to waste a lot of his time trying to level. In reality, thieves never required a lot of HP at the start of the game. In the past, when he thought about this failure and all the time he had wasted, Nie Yan couldn’t help but drop his shoulders down and sigh many times, wishing he could delete and restart again. This time around, he wouldn’t repeat such a disastrous mistake again.
This time, he added three points into Strength and two points in Dexterity. He had concluded this was the most optimum ratio, after taking into account the leveling habits of his previous life. He took another glance at the status window after allocating all of his stat points.
Attack 5 → 6
Hit Rate 10.0 → 10.6
Movement Speed 5.0 → 5.4
Attack Speed 5 → 5.6
There were also profession masteries. Regarding these Thief profession masteries, a majority of thieves from the Human race would choose to add their first skill point into either Evasion, Weapon Mastery, or Cloaking. Nie Yan was also prepared to add his first skill point into Weapon Mastery, but he stopped suddenly. After a moment of careful consideration, he decided to add his first skill point into Marksmen.
Beginner Marksmen → Intermediate Marksmen: Rapid Reloading +3, Firing Range + 3, Attack when using crossbow/bow +3, Ignore Level difference + 3 (Thief Profession Modifier + 1),
Profession skills were divided into five levels. Beginner→Intermediate→Advanced→Expert→Specialist. One could not advance further after reaching Specialist. However, there were many types of profession skills, and different professions were allowed to upgrade different profession skills.
Human thieves were proficient in a variety of tools and enchanted items. Bows and crossbows belonged to this category, which is why those with Intermediate Marksmen received an additional attack bonus when they were used.
After assigning his stats, Nie Yan’s scenery shifted and he soon appeared at the transport point within Calore (Ka-luo-er) City. Encompassing the surroundings were rows upon rows of towering buildings. Every building in Calore City was pure white and possessed an incomparable brilliance. At the center of the city stood a white spire which towered through the skies. Not too far from the spire was an equally magnificent pure white sculpture that stood several hundred meters in height. Holding onto a Magician’s scepter, it had a solemn and dignified expression. This was, of course, the protector of the Viridian Empire, Qiao Biya the Great.
People were arriving and departing as they moved through the main streets, which were bustling with noise and excitement.
Evening in reality was actually early morning within the game. The light of daybreak enveloped and warmed the top of every building as if a blanket of silver white light had been laid over all of Calore City.
Calore City was the capital of the Viridian Empire; it was a floating city that lay suspended over the Calore Prairies. From the city, numerous transport points connected to various other cities, towns, and villages.
“Selling top rate White-tier dagger (Attack +2)! It’s better than the novice dagger (Attack +1), and only costs two copper coins! Only three left in stock until they’re all sold out!” A Level 3 Arcane Mage had currently set up shop near the transport point. Many beginners were crowding in front of his store.
Every new person who enters the game receives ten coppers in their inventory as their starting capital. Even though they felt their hearts ache, many people still purchased one of these daggers for the sake of training a little bit faster in the initial stages of the game.
Nie Yan snorted in disdain. On the map, the same daggers could be found in Level 1–5 villages being sold for only one copper. Furthermore, Level 0 players could easily walk up to a transport point and teleport to one of these villages free of charge. They could purchase one of these daggers from an NPC, and then come back—all within two or three minutes.
In his previous life, he had also foolishly bought one of these daggers, only to find out he had been cheated later on.
The nearby towns each had their own stores; the small town of Link had a clothing shop, Joseph Town had a hat and shoe store, and Locke Town had a shop that sold weapons. Nie Yan teleported back and forth three times through the transport points. He spent six coppers to switch out his defenseless beginner equipment for better gear. Each piece of equipment gave him an increase in Defense. He gained 1–2 Defense each from equipping his new footwear, headgear, shoulder guards, and leg protectors. He also gained an additional 2–3 Defense from equipping cloth armour.
These were all lessons he had learned from his past experiences. Taking a look at his Defense, it had now become 8–13. If beginner thieves at Level 2 or 3 weren’t resourceful enough in keeping their equipment up with their levels, they would also have this little bit of defense.
After taking a stroll around the marketplace, he discovered a Level 3 Paladin selling Thief profession Stealth skill books. He was selling six books for six coppers each in his store. Many of the low-level thieves could only gaze from afar due to the price of these skill books being so expensive.
The Paladin had the appearance of a man in his twenties. His stature was tall and robust. it would’ve been pretty good if he had chosen to be a Warrior, but he was still passable as a Paladin.
Paladins were guardians of the Temple of Light. They could learn holy skills passed down from the Temple such as certain offensive enchantments or healing skills. Furthermore, they had decent close combat skills and could provide supportive party buffs for teammates at the same time. They were a pretty balanced profession in every aspect. Silencing Paladins were Paladins that could learn Silence—a divine skill that could suppress Mages, Priests, and other Mage type professions.
“How much for this Stealth skill book?” Nie Yan asked as he bent down and picked up the skill book from the cloth mat that was spread out on the ground. The Stealth skill was an essential skill for a beginner Thief. Luckily, though, the Stealth skill book had a very high drop rate from the various monster spawn points, so it wasn’t too expensive.
“You’ve already seen it, the price is six coppers,” the Paladin replied, pursing his lips into a frown.
“Aren’t you just trying to rip people off? A Silencing Paladin like you can easily hunt down the Fallen Shamans around Link Town. You could easily farm out six skills books in a day, and still not lose any health. It’s definitely much easier to make money this way compared to farming Goblins. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself, selling at such a high price? Three coppers, and not a copper more.” Nie Yan haggled down the price to half.
“How could it be as easy as you described? Do you even know much I spend on potions a day? If I sold it to you for three coppers, I basically wouldn’t be making any money! My lowest offer is five coppers.” The Paladin was shocked by Nie Yan’s words and had taken quite a while to reply. He definitely wasn’t the type of person who was calculating and skillful at deceiving others. At a glance, this new player in front was definitely a well-informed customer, definitely not someone to be easily fooled.
“That’s because the place you’re farming monsters at is inefficient. If you farm the Fallen Shamans at these coordinates, 1, you can easily get at least ten skill books a day. Not only that, you won’t waste a lot of money on potions as well. Three coppers, not a single copper more. If you don’t want to sell, then I’ll just take my leave.” Nie Yan had inspected this Paladin. He had a squarish jawline with slightly grown out stubble, and his appearance didn’t seem too despicable.