He stares at the shiny black helmet in his hands. It has a label 'Dream World' on it and comes attached with giant goggles that blink green, indicating that the game has completed loading its data and is ready to play.
He thinks about what it can change for him. The company said that once you die, the game ends for you, and if ever you had spent twenty years or more or even less in Dream World, the time that would elapse in the real world will only be about two years, which is a huge time difference. However, the game also allows players to log off whenever their minds get tired or overloaded from playing.
He thinks everything about the game is a tad unbelievable, but it's worth a try.
He does not have anything else to do in the real world, after all.
The moment he enters the game, finding himself in a monochromatic room, an NPC — or a non-playable character — appears in front of him.
The NPC is a girl about three years younger than him, and she has short black hair cut into a fashionable bob along with an oval-shaped face and cheerful grey eyes. When she smiles at him, he notices a dimple on her right cheek.
"Hello, gamer!" Her voice is soft, yet having that computer-like lilt to it. "Welcome to Dream World, the Earth's most popular Virtual Reality Game. I am Shara, your beginner's guide. Nice to meet you!"
He nods slightly, feeling a little uncomfortable.
"Now, gamer," Shara continues on cheerfully, "I am sure that you are eager to get it on with, so I will now proceed to the Looks category. What would you like to change about yourself?"
In a flash, he is surrounded by buttons with labels on them. A mirror is then placed in front of him.
There are seven buttons all in all. The first one is labelled Hair, the second Eyes, the third Face Paint/Mask, the fourth Makeup, the fifth Beauty Marks/Facial Hair, the sixth Scars/Tattoos, and the seventh Accessories and Clothes.
He looks at them for a brief moment, then presses the Hair button and then the Colors button. He taps on the reddish-brown palette and waits for the transformation to take change. Afterwards, he presses the Accessories and Clothes button and selects an outfit consisting of a white shirt, a brown vest, dark pants, and brown boots.
He then turns towards Shara. "I don't have anything left to change," he tells her quietly.
Shara smiles. "Okay, then. I shall now proceed to the Type category. Please choose what type you would like to become."
The buttons and mirror are immediately replaced by seven radio buttons with texts beside each. The first is labelled Usual Type, the second Rune Type, the third Sorcerer/Sorceress Type, the fourth Sword-Magic type, the fifth Inventory Type, the sixth Demon Type, and the seventh Alchemy Type.
"The Usual Type is the most basic yet, in a way, the most powerful if you know how to use it well and if you have the potential. In this type, you can attack, steal, equip different weapons, and summon Guardians.
"Rune Type is a rather difficult yet damaging type; purchasing Runes in stores is very rare, so you'd have to find them yourself most of the time—and even fight for it—because what the store merchants sell are often the common ones. When you equip a powerful Rune, you can deal your enemy with a lot more damage than you can imagine. But you can have one Rune when you choose this type to begin with.”
Shara continues on. “Now, in the Sorcerer/Sorceress Type, you initially have two magics of your own to start with; you can choose from the different magics in the selection. In Sword-Magic, you start out with an ordinary-looking sword, but in truth, that sword can take on different forms once you level up and it will also release its magic once you utter its command. So, it's sort of like a mix of the Sorcerer/Sorceress Type and the Usual type."
He listens closely, eyes closed.
"Next is the Inventory Type. This type allows the player to make use of various items to power themselves up. This can prove to be very powerful, provided the player has a lot of money in order to buy high-level equipment and additional inventory slots for himself.
"Then there's the Demon Type. This is a very dangerous type. You become a Demon and can change into several forms—namely, a beast, a werewolf, a vampire, a bear, a bat, and a crow. You will have the ability to use Dark Magic and Shape Shift. However, even though this type sounds really powerful, it is only for those who know how to control themselves. This is not recommended for players who have trouble controlling their own tempers! It’ll take a toll on your brain!” Shara warns, wagging her finger.
“I see,” he says blandly.
“And lastly, the Alchemy Type. This type is, in a way, the weakest of all types, since a gamer who chooses this type is only going to mostly — or rather, commonly — be a support character. The Alchemy Type gives you the ability to heal, make power-ups with the right ingredients and give then to your comrades, and also the ability to fight, although you have to figure out how, because there are various ways on how to make an effective offense in Alchemy. But then, most gamers give up trying. The most important pro when you become an Alchemy Type is that you have an unlimited supply of potions." Shara takes a deep breath, then smiles earnestly. "So then, what will you be, gamer?"
He does not hesitate. "Usual Type."
Shara's smile grows wider. "All right, then! Let's get started."
Suddenly, a 480/480 appears above his head along with a 200/200 below the 480/480 and a "Level 1" above the latter.
"The 480/480 is your HP or Hit Points. Once they run out, you become a KO. Someone has to give you a Revival Potion in order to bring you back to life. Once you become KO-ed for four days, you're out of the game. Namely, you're dead already. For good.
“The 200/200 is your MP or Mana Points. They decrease when you use magic or summon Guardians. Only you can see your HP and MP. They will not be shown to you above your head like right now, but in your mind only, and only if you wish to see them. If you are in danger of running out of either of them, they will alert your body and flash inside you, so there is no way that you cannot know your state.
"The level which you are in now is 1. You will level up once you fight monsters and creatures and also other opponents and sparring partners. The number of Experience Points or EXP you will obtain will depend on how strong the opponents you fight are.
“Now, I will send you to the town of Lucis where beginners are usually sent. Good luck.”
He nods, understanding.
As he starts to disappear little by little, she asks, "By the way, gamer, what is the name you want to use in Dream World?"
He looks at her for a moment before turning away.
"Scott," he says slowly. "Scott Wayland."