These are the true accounts of a player who we shall refer to as Brenno.
The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
'Twas a cold winter's day in the Shire of Victoria (southern Australia), and a plucky young adventurer known as Brenno awoke from a restless slumber and staggered into his lounge room (henceforth known as Command Centre Noob).
Having purchased the game ‘Xsyon’ from an online vendor of unknown repute, and awaiting delivery via the less than stellar bandwidth in his home, Brenno was thrilled to see that the portal into the post-apocalyptic realm of Lake Tahoe was finally open to him.
'Gosh', he whispered to himself. 'How utterly exciting.'
This journey was not without some risk, for very little was known about the world known as Xsyon, and those who spoke of it did so with mixed thoughts and feelings. There was some general consensus that the land was as yet unfinished by the 'Creators', and while all agreed that the concept of the adventure was sound and full of merit, many feared that the delivery may have been lacking. This does not deter Brenno, for he had consulted the oracle 'Google' and asked for 'MMOs which feature exploration and crafting', and in a vague reference at the bottom of an old scroll he saw the fabled words 'dood, try Xsyon. It's sweet.'
Sweet, you say. Good enough for me.
And so, with a click of his mighty right mouse button, the journey commenced.
After staring blankly at the massive amounts of customisation regarding skills, statistics and body types, Brenno made some poor choices for his avatar and finally scribed the name of his first avatar. 'Vaganza he shall be called', declared Brenno out loud, scaring his cat and prompting a grumble of discontent from his wife of many years. 'For surely none in the land of Xsyon would see such a name and twist it into anything unsavoury.'
As we know now, Brenno was wrong.
For what seemed an eternity, the land was cleared, the world was loaded, and finally Brenno (then known as Vaganza) appeared.
Brenno spotted movement out of the corner of his screen, and immediately turned to face the threat. Having seen drawings of the Xsyon world, he had expected to see a terrible beast of some sort - bear, coyote, maine coon, pine tree - but instead he saw a man in a flannelette shirt, blue jeans and funnel hat. His name was 'Revenant'. Revenant wandered over and gave him a wave.
Wow, Brenno thought, 5 seconds in and I already have a friend. This is truly the epitome of the MMO concept, and has really reinvigorated my faith in the global community.
'Oh, hello there, Revenant.’ Brenno chatted cheerfully. ‘Very nice to meet you. My name is Vaganza and I ..... ouch ! hey ! stooopppp !'
It seemed that the oracle 'Google' had not been quite informative enough about the risks that Xsyon offered. This new friend was not named 'Revenant'. He was A revenant. An undead, marauding, bloodthirsty, noob gear stealing, fornicating zombie!
And Brenno was dead.
1 minute into the game, and he was dead. 1 minute ... that's probably a record, he thought. As he was to find out, 1 minute for a noob in Xsyon can seem like a lifetime.
If Brenno thought he looked like a 70's porn star before, his appearance on Founders Island in nothing but undies, dodgy moustache and backpack confirmed it.
'Well, this is awkward ...' he muttered.
He looked around and saw that a large building spanned one side of the island, and a wall stretched right around it, providing some kind of protection from the evils that lay beyond. It was while Brenno looked around at his new surroundings that he saw another person, also wearing undies and a backpack. His name was PussBunny.
Brenno's mother had always said 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.' She also had a fondness for words like 'Obtuse' and 'Table', neither of which seemed relevant in this situation. Brenno was not to be fooled twice by this evil game, and after being killed by a Revenant, he was NOT going to be killed by a ‘PussBunny’. So he ran, across the grass, past buildings, and out through the main gates ... and straight into the loving arms of three more Revenants lurking outside.
The bonus of being killed on Founders Island 2 minutes after spawning is that you don't have anything left to steal. So there Brenno was, standing on the Losers Platform, next to PussBunny again (who was obviously not at his typing device), and pondering his $ 40.00 purchase. It was time to make a decision, would he head out from here, wielding nothing but brown stained undies and a backpack that looked a little like the ungainly tattooed scrotum of a feral Hill Troll - or would he start again, somewhere else, and give it a good old Aussie go.
It was a slightly less porn-star-looking Vaganza who materialised on the edge of the mighty Lake Tahoe - just over from a pile of ugly dirt, and a stone's throw away from a pile of ... well ... stones. Having purged his initial ill-fated character, Brenno decided to do some background research amongst the many scrolls and texts that the great oracles 'Google' and 'DuckDuckGo' had provided him. While he still had the moustache of one who 'cleans ze pool', he was now equipped with a fishing rod, pick, pants, shirt and hill troll tattooed scrotum bag.
His stats had still been thrown together with all the finesse of a retarded monkey peeling a football, but his spirits were high, and he was ready.
Ready for anything.
Except what happened next.
'If in doubt, head south!' It was the last thing his gradfather had told him on his death bed. The fact that Grandpa had been as senile as a pigeon was beside the point. In the world of Xsyon, where everything is out to kill you, sometimes the words of our forefathers are the only things that stand between us and certain demise.
So Brenno hitched up his pants, adjusted his scrotum, and headed south.
It wasn't long - well it was, because he ran really, really slow - before Brenno encountered his first native wildlife. A hamster had wandered onto the path. It stood smaller than a goblin's dog, was fatter than a sack of mucus, and looked bloody delicious.
To the uninitiated, hamsters are cute. They are cuddly. They are furry, smelly, insanely promiscuous - but otherwise safe, and mostly edible. Brenno, having weighed up all this information, decided to approach. While not a killer by choice, he knew that survival in a post- apocalyptic world would call upon his most basic instincts to maim, kill, eat and poop. And it was a hamster, right? What could possibly go wrong???
It is a little known fact that Genghis Khan, the great Mongolian Warlord and ruler of more than half the civilised world during the 13th century was deathly afraid of hamsters. True story. In fact it was hamsters that actually prevented him from realising his dreams of conquering all of Europe. And this is why.
Hamsters hunt in packs.
Sure one hamster in Xsyon is a killing machine. At least prior to the great balancing of September 2012. But more than one, forget about it. Hamsters are the incarnation of evil, worse than evil ... imagine something that evil is scared of, and that is what hamsters are.
One hamster is the embodiment of death. Two or more hamsters .... *shudder*.
It was actually hamsters who brought about the calamity that saw Lake Tahoe becoming the last vestige of humanity in the world. It wasn't nuclear war, it wasn't disease, it wasn't a meteor from space. It was hamsters.
The famous scientist Albert Einstein once stated "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but world War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
He was wrong. World War IV will be fought with Hamsters.
But I digress.
Brenno had no sooner raised his pick to smash the little guy on the head when a piercing shriek shattered the forest. From the bushes on either side of the track, hamsters flew (like smelly furry arrows from an insane cupid wannabe). There were at least 4, possibly 13, but each was a deadly reminder than in Xsyon, small and furry does not equal safe and edible.
The first struck Brenno on his neck, the second his scrotum, the third his other scrotum. Needless to say, it wasnt the only high pitched shriek heard that day. Flailing wildly with his pick, and blubbering like a fat kid who forgot to hand in his lunch order, Brenno when down fighting. It was over quickly ... so quickly. If it had been a one night stand, his partner would have been miffed.
Brenno looked down proudly at his crop of grass (8 bunches), his habidashery of cloth (4 rolls) and his sculpture of scrap metal (14 bundles), smiling like an idiot. Such wealth ! Such splendour ! This, he mused, this was the beginning of an EMPIRE ! He envisioned a time when travellers from all over would come to marvel at the greatness of his tribe, and he would always remember that this was where it all started.
He now wore a snazzy grass hat that he found in an abandoned pouch, a pair of designer sneakers, and a blood smeared turtleneck jumper. He also had a scavenged basket next to his shiny new totem, which contained a veritable smorgasbord of crap (er, treasures); pull tabs from various beer cans, the rubber sole of a boot, 4 dimes, a recipe for something called an Awl, a rusty Fondu set, 3 spikes, a well-worn axe, 3 editions of Big Breasted Mutants, and a rather suspicious looking Pine Martin keychain.
All in all, things were looking up ...
His tribe stretched out as far as the eye could see (assuming the viewer was short sighted, or it was incredibly foggy), and sat on the shores of a lovely little river, apparently full of fish despite his unsuccessful attempts to catch any. Brenno shared his neighbourhood with the Browns, a newlywed couple of Revanants who owned a small Ebay company which sold ornate doorknobs, a family of Douglas Squirrels who occassionally ate him, and a tree called Frank. Frank had so far not caused Brenno any trouble.
A few days had passed since his ill-fated rendezvous with the Gluttonous Hamsters of Sector 782. In this time Brenno had rerolled 6 times, dropped 8 totems, and been killed in the following ways, each etched deeply into his memory ;
* walking down hill, hit small pebble, be catapulted 300 feet into the air, splat on granite outcrop.
* death by ninja bear
* death by mule deer
* death by ninja bear # 2
* death by same ninja bear # 2, but with alternate claws.
* fall into hole left by retarded terraformer, get stuck, type /unstuck, get eaten by hamster waiting outside hole.
* death by bear # 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 23.
* death by coyote
* death by coyote AND bear
* Drop totem, spend 3 hours collecting cloth, abandon Totem to move over slightly for better view of junk yard, get jumped by 3 rabbits, try to drop totem again, get told that there is 6 hours to wait, end up on founders island, forget location of cloth. Cry.
* Death by bear ... pretty sure same bear as # 6. Something about the way it ate him afterwards seemed familiar.
* Venture into green mist in search of safe haven. Find no such thing in green mist.
* Death by multispecies street gang ... Pine Martin, Rabbit and Hamster, a terrifying mix of cuteness and gore.
* Spot actual player terraforming his trading post. Say 'hi' in local. Receive 'if i find you, i will kill you' in return. Run into the woods, screaming like a girl, get eaten by bear.
Despite these trials and tribulations, Brenno was rather enjoying himself. He was yet to craft anything, his hit points were on par with a new born slug, and his attempts to flirt with Mrs Brown over a sprig of Wild Oak Tea had yet to produce dividends ... but Brenno now had his own patch of Lake Tahoe, he had his sneakers, and he had a plan to one day be the most powerful survivor the New World had ever known.
He decided to announce his plan to the whole world, and damn the consequences.
/Y Hey everyone, I am going to rule the world !!!
Vaganza : Hey everyone, I am going to rule the world !!!
PussBunny : Hey Noob shut it !!
RandomGanker : Haha, your name is like Vagina !!
Well, that did not go as well as hoped ...
… time to reroll. And maybe a new name for good measure.