Chapter 6: Nekomimi Neko Offline
New Communicate Online has given birth to many a legend, but what’s most impressive about this game is how single player it is.
There’s stuff like Communicate and Online in its name, and yet, not only is it not an MMO, but there’s not even the function to play with others at all.
What a damn shock that was.
According to what I investigated before on the net, this Communicate didn’t come from a VR game or an MMO, but from an action game series, and the company then tried to make a VRMMO which was the craze at present.
And so, the production of New Communicate Online began.
It was a new VRMMO game of the Communicate series, so it was called New Communicate Online.
It was truly a straight to the point name.
But, obviously, the company had no knowledge in making MMOs.
Moreover, there was an incident of cyberterrorism related to VRMMOs (they hacked into a part of the VRMMO servers, and forcefully played strong lights and sounds to the people playing.
No deaths, but several lost consciousness and were hospitalized).
Since then, the regulations about it have been really strict.
In the end, the idea was abandoned because of lack of expertise, and was remade into a normal VR game.
You would think ‘then change the damn name’, but because of the cash used for publicity and all sorts of areas, they decided to just jam it in as it is despite it being reckless.
That said, a buzzing VR game having changed to single player was actually a plus factor for me at the time.
I have been a loner the whole time even in college, so why should I get involved with others in the game world
I was thinking that and, among the many people who were raising cries, wailing at the broken dreams of playing with others, I bought New Communicate Online gleefully on the release date.
But the real legend of this game began there.
The final product was riddled with bugs and had no proper form as a game.
It was the worst piece of work you could find.
Characters would suddenly teleport while they are talking, and depending on the order of events, characters who should be dead would show up as if natural.
If you gather the conditions well and activate 3 specific events at the same time, you can achieve the mass shadow clone secret technique where 3 of the same NPC will appear at the same time.
This bug invited a weird laugh from many a player.
If it is just that much, you could wash it off with a laugh, but there’s also cases where, if you drop a quest item you think was not useful anymore, you wouldn’t be able to get them again, and it would be impossible to clear the game; if two events with the same NPC overlap, the progress of the other one gets erased, leading to a situation where it is impossible to clear the game.
There was a whole feast of bugs that would make it impossible to progress the game.
What’s worse is that it is not only exclusive to story and events.
Its selling point was supposed to be the exhilarating combat brought from the countless skills, but the combat system was a complete mess.
The one with the worst reputation was everything surrounding the times when monsters die.
When they die, they turn into light particles, but those effects were so overloaded that the speed they disappeared was extremely slow…leading to being attacked by monsters that should have been dead.
No, it is not like monsters would come back to life, but if they are in a combat animation just before they die, the attack will still resolve.
As a result, there was a pitifully high amount of players who were killed by 0 HP monsters, and added to the infamy of New Communicate Online.
But wait, there’s more.
Weapon proficiency should be the cornerstone of combat, and yet, despite using a sword, your axe proficiency is what would increase; you use axe skills with spears; not being able to use bow skills despite having a bow equipped.
And the final blow: the moment people learned that weapon proficiency had nothing to do with the power of the weapon skills in the first place, countless players who were playing the game seriously lost their marbles.
The combat balance was also a mess and a half.
Even enemies that would fall in the category of metal slimes, after going through the pains of defeating them, would only give experience equal to that of small fries; the opposite is true as well, there would be enemies that give a lot more experience than the boss of the dungeon.
There would be cases when monsters would phase through floors and die from fall damage all on their own, ending up with dungeons that have almost no enemies in it; in the worst cases, you could encounter a high difficulty dungeon boss wandering in the field, ending up in an instant-death fest.
They inflated expectations with pre-rendered videos, creating talk about how pretty and flashy the effects of the skills, which obviously came back to bite them.
The most famous bug when it came to skills was the so-called ‘Late Friday Skywalker Incident’.
By fulfilling a number of conditions, you can walk in the sky after a midair jump.
Depending on the situation, you would have no other way of returning to the ground aside from killing yourself.
Aside from all those listed, there were as many bugs as there were stars in the sky found in this game.
The light animation of normal skills being actual solid objects, or how the effects and animations of skills don’t match its range was practically the natural state of the game.
The specially unique bugs would be the butt of many jokes on the net, and there were even people who began giving them names in amusement.
A famous one is when you use two spells with intense effects at the same time in your field of vision.
The too strong light and sound effects would activate the safety mechanism that was added after the cyberterrorism incident, and you would be forcefully logged out.
This was called: Forbidden Fused Spell – Death Flash.
Even though the effects would lead you to believe you are attacking in a radius of 5 meters, it is actually a disappointing ability that doesn’t even have an aoe of 2 meters.
Called: the Empty – White Flash.
If you are within range of your own aoe, there’s a high chance that you will end up dying.
AKA: One Hit One Suicide – Bloody Stub.
I don’t know if it was a mistake when setting the damage values, but there were times when the damage multiplier would be negative, and when you attack the enemy, you would instead heal them.
AKA: The Fist of the Living – Assassin Rage.
And many more.
A whole trove of unintended skills were born.
Leaving aside those bugs that could still be enjoyed in their own way as jokes, there were a lot of things that you couldn’t reach despite being right in arm’s length, and that annoyed a lot of players.
I have touched on it before.
What you can change from the character’s outward appearance is the color of your hair, skin color, and the accessories that can be placed on your head.
Aside from all those, you have no choice but to utilize your own body data.
Moreover, despite only having 3 patterns of hair and skin color, the cat ears accessory you can put on your head has as many as 8 different designs.
‘Their resources are so misplaced’, ‘just how much do these dudes love cat ears’ -topics like those heated up in a bad way on anonymous forums.
It was at that moment when New Communicate Online began to be called on the net as Nekomimi Cat Offline.
After that dumpster fire, New Communicate Online is now called affectionately as Nekomimi Neko Offline, or simply Nekomimi Neko, or Nekomimi Neko(lol).
Only god knows if they are actually calling it that affectionately.
The game itself came out in that state, so there were of course cries of protest, complaints, and questions like: ‘I demand a refund!’, ‘Being online was a load of bull!’, ‘Do something about these bugs!’, ‘It suddenly went all dark and I couldn’t move at all.
What should I do to fix it’, ‘It is burning, everything is burning!!!’.
This trainwreck was so intense that it even showed up in the news.
And ironically, this resulted in Nekomimi Neko becoming online in the true meaning of the word.
The fix patches were distributed around the net.
Because of this, Nekomimi Neko finally became an online game (if you were not online, fixes would be impossible to apply and you can’t play properly).
The new patches coming out one after the other, and the bugs that were found at paces surpassing those.
By the time those patches had gone over the 30th, most of the playerbase had given up on it.
Even the net bunch that were making a fuss about the bugs, these guys that were in a sense the number one fans of the game, lost interest with time as the novelty of it dimmed, and began searching for other **ty games to bash.
…The festival was over.
But, even with that, I still continued playing this game.
There weren’t many other VR single player fantasy games, and despite all said, I had grown to love Nekomimi Neko.
Even after 1 year passed since it came out, Nekomimi Neko was still the faulty product it was, and it stopped at version 1.37.
It barely managed to fix all the bugs that made the game impossible to finish, but the bugs that were judged to be low priority -like the ones related to skills- were barely touched on.
But depending on how you think about it, that’s one ‘feature’ of the game.
If you enjoy the bugs as well, it can be a unique part of it.
Skills, weapons, and enemies; leaving aside their quality, the variety was there.
Finding useful and amusing things from those was unexpectedly fun.
That said, I don’t think Nekomimi Neko is the best game.
I even think that I would be able to find more enjoyable games if I tried searching for them.
Anyways, I swam the seas of the net, gathered more information than anyone, and most of my time aside from the times when I go to my college classes, I would pour them into Nekomimi Neko.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that around 80% of my college memories are of Nekomimi Neko.
“To think that I would end up actually living in the game world…” (Souma)
It was at that moment when I finally opened my closed eyes.
What was reflected in my opened eyes was the scene of a room I have grown tired of seeing, yet it is my first time seeing.
I have passed countless nights here in my gaming days -a room in the inn at Lamurick.
I slowly raise my hand.
In those fingers, there were two rings which were not there when I came to this world.
The ring that increases your stamina to its highest value and the ring that increases the recovery rate of said stamina which were both found in the Heritage of the Thief Meripe.
I don’t remember the other items from the heritage that well, but these ones, I do remember well.
Stamina is one of the stats that you can’t increase with levels, so you have to do that with equipment.
Equipment that increases the stamina value is already scarce in itself, so this ring that has a high effect despite it being possible to obtain in midgame has taken care of me a lot.
“So pretty.” (Souma)
I look at the ring shining a beautiful hue which I would never have been able to wear in real life.
These magic rings that change size according to the user fit right in my fingers.
I stare absentmindedly at it while thinking…
It is not like I have no lingering feelings towards my previous world.
“[Energy Arrow].” (Souma)
I did a short chant and shot a basic magic skill, Energy Arrow.
The small magic arrow born from my finger tip headed to the place I targeted, drew one big circle, but couldn’t manage to make the full turn so it went way off, and because it went way off, this time around it turned the opposite way…and so it ended up spinning around like a dog chasing its tail.
This is what happens when targeted skills are set in the inner circumference of the skill range.
AKA pinwheel firework.
It is a slight trick that can’t even be called a bug.
It is not like you use it to fight enemies, and it is not like it brings any sort of harm; not harmful but not beneficial, just a small party trick.
“It really is pretty.” (Souma)
I end up feeling that way.
I didn’t think I would be able to see this sight outside of a virtual world.
Just from that, I ended up thinking that it was worth coming here.
The arrow of light eventually disappeared.
Even so, I closed my eyes as if keeping in the afterimages.
I knew it.
I won’t say I have no lingering regrets from my previous world.
“…This world isn’t bad either.” (Souma)