Merlin scanned his environment, it appeared that eight slimes had been spawned. Due to this being the tutorial stage, each slime was level zero, meaning they would not pose a threat to Merlin at all.
"Open combat settings." As Merlin spoke these words, he received a mechanical jingle, and a window appeared in front of him.
[Settings â Combat Settings]
'¢ Fighting Assistance - ON
'¢ Pain Synchronisation - 20%
'¢ Damage Given Notification - Floating Numbers
'¢ Damage Received Notification - Information Box
'¢ NeuroControl - Further Synchronisation Required.
Merlin made sure to turn fighting assistance off. It was an unpleasant feature that gave some of the control of your body to the system when fighting, the closest thing to auto-attack you could get in New Genesis. It was good for casual players but only those who broke away from it could rise up to become rankers.
Merlin took note of a couple changes, that he personally contributed to, floating number damage notifications and the NeuroControl system, unfortunately it seemed he couldn't utilise the NeuroControl system yet.
Merlin swiped his hand through the settings window, causing it to fade away.
Merlin brought his attention back to the slimes, they didn't appear to be moving. Nevertheless, he took a cautioned fighting stance. He held his shield out in front of his torso and kept his gladius by his side, extended out slightly past the shield.
Merlin slowly approached the nearest slime. As he entered within it's detection radius, about two metres away, it began to wobble, indicating that it was about to pounce. As Merlin took a step closer, the slime pounced into the air towards him.
Merlin quickly responded by swinging his shield at the slime to slap it away, much to his surprise the slime exploded into a splash of blue viscous liquid. Merlin couldn't help but laugh, his memories had tricked him into believing the first slimes were harder to kill than that.
In the previous timeline, Merlin had originally struggled with the slimes to start with due to not realising that they didn't take damage if you just slash the jelly. You had to specifically damage the core inside to deal them any damage.
A major part in adapting to New Genesis is to stop thinking of it as video game, unlike other games where you could just spam an attack key to kill creatures, you have to physically do the work yourself, some creatures required special methods to kill them. Although this brought more strategy to the game than the min-maxing button mashing grind that other MMORPGs tend to fall into. There was still a lot of grind within the game, especially at the excessively high levels, although that unfortunately just came with the genre.
Merlin regained his bearings, returning to his cautioned stance, he located the next nearest slime and made his approach. As similar as before, the slime began wobbling, but before it could pounce, Merlin rushed forward, stabbing it with his sword.
The first attack had pierced the slime's core, causing the creature to melt as if a stationary water balloon had just been popped with a knife.
Continuing on with his current pace, Merlin rushed through the next six slimes, each dying in a single hit. "This didn't feel like much of a tutorial." Merlin unintentionally mumbled, kicking the last slime hard enough to shatter it's core, the viscous liquid now covering his shoe.
"Ohoho, confident are we?" Gaia's voice resounded once more, however this time her voice contained a hint of mischievousness.
Merlin was taken back slightly, he never expected Gaia to respond to his mumbling, perhaps this was a secret challenge within the tutorial stage. He responded with confidence. "Sure, got anything stronger?"
Suddenly a quest window appeared before Merlin.
[Hidden Uncommon Quest]
The Tutorial's Challenger.
Entertain Gaia, Survive her onslaught.
'¢ Reward: ???
'¢ Requirement: Must be in the tutorial stage.
There were a couple ways of interacting with quests. Two buttons appear below each quest window, a blue one that said "accept" and a red one that said "decline". They could also be interacted with via speech, especially when talking to an NPC, the wording typically did not matter, as long as the meaning was clear.
"I accept your challenge." Merlin's face lit up, he hadn't even left the tutorial and he already found a hidden quest, an uncommon one at that.
"Very well, entertain me mortal." Gaia's voice travelled across a strong gust of wind. Merlin covered his face to protect his eyes from the loose blades of grass that were buffeting his body. When the wind subsided, Merlin could hear several strange gargling growls.
Lowering his arm, he was met with the sight of five hideous little green creatures, with pointed ears and an elongated nose jutting out from an angular face.
Like other games, New Genesis went with the easiest way to convey enemy strength to the player. A status bar floating above the enemy's head, it typically had the creature's health, level and sometimes name. More information could be gathered about monsters and creatures, but it typically took special methods to accomplish, such as a title, knowledge or soul ability, such as appraisal or inspect.
"Oh, level one goblins in the tutorial." Merlin took note of the enemy's status bar, he was surprised to find that there were five of them, let alone that they were level one in the tutorial. Goblins were nasty creatures, although each was weak separately, their strength multiplied when they grouped together.
Two of the goblins were equipped with nothing but a crude club. Another one had a mangled dagger, the one at the furthest back had a makeshift short bow, with what looked to be scavenged old arrows with rotten shafts. The last one, the one closest to Merlin, was more well off than his teammates, armed with a wooden buckler and a rusted short sword.
The ranged goblin started the fight, sending an arrow flying through the air, aimed towards Merlin's thigh. Merlin parried the arrow away with his shield, the rotten wood shattered on contact, leaving the arrow unusable. Merlin bent down for a moment and ripped out a handful of grass, only to stand up once more, he decided to kill the shielded goblin first, as he posed the biggest threat.
Merlin marched towards the shielded goblin, he noticed the other goblins start moving to surround him. This was a common goblin strategy, usually amplified by the darkness in the caves they lived in. If he attacked their leader, the shield bearer, the dagger wielding goblin would attack his flank in an instant.
Even knowing this, he continued on towards the shield bearer, as he entered combat range, he could see the confident grin on the monster's hideous wart-covered face. Merlin lifted his gladius overhead and began swinging his sword down at the shield goblin.
'Three, two, one.' Merlin finished counting in his head, and if by clockwork, just before the his sword made contact with the shield, he could feel a presence behind him.
"Gotcha" Merlin's face contorted into a confident grin. Taking the opportunity to deal with the rogue first, he swung his shield arm behind him while delivering a Spartan kick to the shield bearer.
The shield bearer was caught by surprise, it had braced itself for a sword attack from above, but instead was met with a forceful kick from below. Unable to recover it's footing, the goblin fell backwards, leaving it unable to retaliate for the moment.
On the other side of this manoeuvre, his shield arm wasn't close enough to connect with the dagger goblin. But that wasn't what he was aiming for. Merlin opened his hand at the apex of his swing, and within an instant the dagger goblin's vision was suddenly obscured by a handful of grass.
Taking advantage of the dagger goblin's sudden vulnerability, Merlin pivoted his supporting foot and twisted his upper body, allowing him to redirect his sword mid-swing. Before the grass could dissipate away, the dagger goblin's throat was sliced open by the gladius, it was a critical hit.
"One" Merlin's eyes scanned his surroundings, noticing the positions of the remaining four goblins. His eyes narrowed in on the archer, who had just finished pulling back another arrow, although this arrow gave Merlin a bad feeling. As the goblin released the arrow, Merlin noticed a faint red glint from the arrow head.
Merlin instinctively grabbed the dagger goblin's corpse and threw it in the way of the arrow's flight path. The arrow pierced the goblin's corpse, and a moment later the corpse was suddenly set aflame.
"A shield-punisher at level one, that's not fair." Merlin grumbled.
Ignition arrows were the bane of all early game tank players, due to wood being the most common and one of the cheapest materials used for low level shields. Ignition arrows would ravage wooden items, this included wooden shields, leading to the nickname shield-punisher.
"You're going to be an issue." Merlin sighed as he leaned down, picking up the charcoal goblin's mangled dagger.