Chapter 2 - Class Selection

I clicked on "Select Class" text. Nothing happened. My hand went through the window. I looked at the interface for a while. I tried touching the tilde symbol. Same nothing. I looked about and saw others going through similar ordeals.

Eventually, Taro whined impatiently at Betty, "Nothing is happening, my finger goes through it! How do I click on this?" Betty immediately answered, "Physical interaction with the Status Window was phased out 254 major versions ago, to 'click' on an item, simply focus on the same. While a bit unwieldy at first, statistics indicate that such interaction is 28 times more efficient than the previous one."

I focused on the text more than I normally would - like how one does when trying to glean the time instead of just looking at a watch face, and immediately the screen was replaced by a bunch of sections - six, to be precise. I slowly scrolled through each section, reading the brief description of each.

KNIGHT - Base Class

Knights are adept at mêlée combat; very high Strength attribute with the ability to use quick Skills in addition to a sword and keep up a good defense simultaneously.

SCOUT - Base Class

With high Agility and Stealth attributes, Scouts generally prepare for the arrival of the main party - be it by securing the route ahead or scoping out the enemy camp for potential incursion points.

HEALER - Base Class

With a good leg up on Intelligence and Endurance attributes, Healers take care of their health, and that of others, by topping it off with pre-defined Skills or customized spells.

CRAFTSMAN - Base Class

Low but well-rounded attributes, Craftsmen get an extra utility Skill on each Class Upgrade. They modify or create items, enchantments, and structures from scratch with the right materials and Skills.

ARCHER - Base Class

Focusing on Dexterity and Agility, Archers either distracts an opponent so the party can get close or goes in for the fatal shot on a distracted one, adapting to the situation as required.

MAGE - Base Class

Very high Intelligence at the cost of other attributes. Instead of getting a pre-defined Skill when leveling up, craft highly specialized and equally deadly personal spells.

Ha... My Class was set a while ago when Betty mentioned them for the first time. Any RPG game I played, it was always as the high-powered ranged magical attack type character. As Pyromancers, Wizards, Sorcerers, and other similar ones. Here I focused on selecting that Class and the window went back to the main screen describing my Class and current status.

[Novice] Mage - Level 0

Status Points
Health 100/100
Mana 800/800
Stamina 20/20
Experience 0/100
Attributes Points
Strength 1
Vitality 1
Agility 1
Dexterity 2
Intelligence 9
Perception 2
Wisdom 2

Special Effects:

I was feeling quite good about my choice. I looked around to see that others were still absorbed in their screens. I waited a minute, then another. After 5 minutes, I was quite sure something was amiss. I asked Betty about the Tutorial to while away time. According to her, there were 20 levels going down until the "Exit Portal" at the bottom. We were currently on level 0. You couldn't enter a higher level unless you were at that level or higher. She mentioned that the tutorial was tailored to get us to level 20, which was the baseline of adult humans in this (well, the "outer" simulated) world. She wouldn't go in-depth about the environment of any level and other details, so I figured it was more "explore-and-exploit" kind of thing the creators were going for. She wouldn't answer who the creators were, what or who the test was by, and for, or absolutely anything that had nothing to do with the Simulation itself. I tried several different variations but her lips were sealed tight. This back and forth went on for another few minutes when people started coming to. I looked around to hear what they had chosen. Hopefully, not everyone had chosen the Mage Class.

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"Man, the Mage Class is so nerfed! And here I was, foolishly looking forward to it." Taro exclaimed. 'Wait, what?'

"Yeah," Carol agreed, "When I looked at the detailed description and attribute distribution, it was even below the Craftsman Class. Anyway, I chose the Scout. What about you two?" 'Heh?'

"I chose Knight," he said - as if it should have been obvious, and looked at me expectantly.

"Ummm, what do you mean when you say the Mage Class is nerfed? And what's this about attribute distribution?" I asked them instead. To which Taro replied, "Well when you focus on a certain Class, you could see in-depth information about their capabilities, roles, and growth potentials. I say Mage is nerfed because that Class does not get any Skills as other Classes do. They have to create spells on their own to use magic. Why would anyone want to do research here?" After a pause, he continued, "Also, all the attributes were lowest I could see compared to others - even craftsmen had a good 3 on most. What's the point of starting with lots of mana when you can't even use it, right? And I don't even know how one would go about building customized spells - sounds like a lot of work to me." Taro concluded. All I could think of was - 'Well, shit!'

Carol chimed in, "Yeah, I even got 3 special effects for my Class. I believe Mage had only one. What Skills did you get for the Knight, Taro?" The conversation continued; eventually, the rest of the girls joined in. Arya took the Healer Class, Julie the Archer. Finally, Divin joined in too. Apparently, he had taken the Knight Class as well. There was a bit of hubbub over there not being any Craftsman, but I was too engaged in cursing my own stupidity and impatience to notice much of what was being said at the moment.

¤ ¤ ¤

After a while, I told them that I had taken the Mage Class. All I got were a few confused looks in return. It seems that the attributes were also dependent on the Class. As such, the Knight Class had a "Vigor" attribute that resulted in extra HP regeneration, while the Scout had "Stealth" attribute - I had neither. Healer had an "Attunement" that affected the rate of healing applied to others. I realized I had no clue what effects attributes had, so took another look at the Status Window, this time willing it to show me attribute description.

Attribute Affects
Strength Physical attack damage dealt and received
Vitality Health Points
Agility Physical speed
Dexterity Physical range
Intelligence Mana Points
Perception Magical range
Wisdom Magical attack damage dealt and received

'I see. Brief and not much description about the intricacies but enough for the bad news. I have no special health regeneration; and every monster and their mother would notice me without the stealth attribute.' Others also had a "Skills" section below "Special Effects" with one Skill each already. While I was reading the attribute description, Carol was trying out a Skill to silent her footsteps. With magic. And here I was - a Mage, twiddling my thumbs. Yeah, I was pretty pissed at myself.

Chapter 1 - Chat Bot
Chapter 3 - Level 0