|Author: Starving Wind||Original Source: Joara||Word Count: 4028 characters|
|Translator: Anonymouss||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2588 words|
There’s an interesting element within Blue Sky’s guild system1.
Although other people may call it differently, I see it as a mercenary system. To be honest, before Blue Sky came out, there were many MMORPGs that came out before it and since their most important feature is often the guild system, it naturally gets quite a lot of features added into it to make it interesting.
But the first game to systematically add the mercenary system to the game would be Blue Sky.
The outline of the mercenary system goes like this. Five hours before a war between two guilds and right until the war begins, the guild can recruit mercenaries, users that have not joined either of the two guilds that are going to be at war with each other. The mercenaries that are hired by the guild would receive a user-created quest from the guild leader and join the war that way.
Of course, since they are not officially part of the guild, they cannot engage in guild chats or receive guild messages, but they can still be controlled strategically since it was the guild leader who had hired them. They would always work to the best of their abilities in order to maximize their reward and gain at the end. It means that they could use it to turn the tide or create unexpected outcomes, generally being a high risk for high reward2.
Of course, the guild leader should gauge whether using the system would be worth it, but for a war of this scale, not making full use of the mercenary system would be too risky. When it’s known that the size of the enemy is similar to your own forces, even if you decide not to make use of the mercenary system, there’s no telling that your opponent wouldn’t either.
“So you’re going to enter as a mercenary?”
“That’s right. Though I’m not completely sure, many high-ranking users would join up for this war. When you are registered as a mercenary, your ID becomes temporarily altered, your face covered with a bandana, and your attire becomes the same as theirs, so if you’re careful, you wouldn’t need to worry about having your identity revealed. Considering how much experience points you can gain from this, you could level up tons through it, so there’s no real reason to let this chance pass. Especially for me, since mages who specialize in AOE spells are nearly essential for wars.3”
I decided to join in as a mercenary as well.
In the past when I was back in Korea, I also went around as a mercenary for various wars between guilds, so I also knew just how much experience points you could potentially gain from joining these battles4.
Although the mercenary quest that gets put out by the guild leader who declared the war can differ depending on each user’s levels, on the baseline the amount of experience points you gain from it is immense. This was because the developers of Blue Sky wanted to encourage and support any war that starts between guilds. But the actual amount of monetary reward for the completion of the quest is the guild’s decision, as they would have to fund it themselves. Since monetary reward differs from how much experience points you gain, whether to join as mercenary guilds are often decided by just how much the guild will offer as a reward5.
Ah! Of course, the amount of experience points and rewards you gain are much lower if you joined the side that has more numbers of mercenaries than the opposition, while you may gain much more if you joined the side that has less amount of mercenaries. Definitely a ‘No risk, no gain’ situation.
Not only this, but the users that have survived until the end of the guild war duration will receive 3 times the amount of experience points they were to receive as bonus experience points. Of course, this excludes the additional experience points you gain from defeating users at a much higher level than you or from defeating enemy users consecutively in high numbers6.
Therefore, as long as you have great skill and a good amount of luck, you’ll be able to achieve a week’s worth of hunting experience points by participating in a war between guilds just for a single day. Meaning that it’s natural for high-ranking players to be attracted to become a mercenary because of this.
But this meant that there were guilds that tried to abuse this system, and developers of Blue Sky were not willing to easily let them. In the first place, wars between small-sized guilds don’t allow the mercenary system to be used7, and even if you engaged in a full-frontal war to maximize the experience points you gain, the bonus experience points you gain doesn’t activate unless the size of the guild exceeds 10,000 in numbers8, and if you reach that number and declare an all-out war, you must first pay a hundred thousand gold to declare it, and put up a minimum five hundred thousand gold as a reward for the mercenaries to take. On top of that, you need a certain amount of guild reputation in order to declare war, and guild reputation is something that guild members earn meager amounts at a time by completing quests related to the guild. Of course, the guild that loses the war gets their reputations decreased tremendously, while the winning guild gets much more.
It means that if you try to abuse the system because your greed blinded you for more experience points, you’ll end up losing a lot more9.
After deciding to enter as mercenaries, Katalina and I arrived at the central plaza of London city, where it’s a neutral ground city and is the main place that mercenaries are hired.
“Wow~ I expected quite a bit, but there really are hordes of people here.”
“Yeah, you’re right. There are so many people.”
The number of people there was probably comparable to the number of crowds that showed up at the Seoul central plaza during the 2002 world cup series. Even though London city is quite large, it was still nearly impossible to move around due to the number of crowds here.
Considering there was still at least an hour left before they accepted mercenaries, it really showed just how much fervor there was for these amount of people willing to take part in the war between the two guilds.
“Ellie, I think it would be best to wait in your mansion for a moment instead. At this rate, we’ll be swept up by the crowd.”
“That sounds good.”
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There wasn’t any room to be spared by the vast amount of crowds that were filling up every inn within London. This place was already a busy place with large crowds every day, but this was really out of control.
In any case, we hurriedly went inside my residence, sat down in the living room and once again checked our inventory. As Katalina is a mage, she has a much higher chance of having situations where she could suddenly die, so she was much more thorough when checking her inventory.
“Ellie, you have the title ‘Zero Deaths’, right?”
Katalina suddenly asked me.
The title ‘Zero Deaths’ is one you have for not dying a single time throughout your entire time in the game, and as I had one, I nodded lightly in reply.
“For people like us, not dying is our number one priority, so let’s not push ourselves too much, alright?”
“Alright. But how far do you mean by pushing ourselves?”
“Hmm… Something like, when your forces are clearly disadvantaged, but you act cocky as if you’re going to win. Or not retreating because of your silly pride.”
“Yeah, so please don’t do it.”
She was more begging me rather than asking me to keep the promise.
It was understandable since it was a war between guilds. It’s true that there is a much higher risk for death than the regular hunting you often do. This was why the top ranking users who are afraid of losing their levels or experience points don’t want to join these kinds of wars. No matter how powerful you are, there was no way to win against a group focusing down on you. There was no guarantee that you would make no mistake or have something unfortunate happen to you either.
It wasn’t like I wasn’t able to understand Katalina’s worry. But if there is one reassuring thing, it’s that if you were to die as a mercenary, while you’d still receive a reduction in your experience points, you would never drop your items on hand.
One reason many high-ranking users join as mercenaries is because of this reason, as some are more sensitive about losing their items than losing some experience points.
“But this tacky mercenary uniform, seriously, it’s so bad.”
Sitting on the sofa and yawning as if she was bored, Katalina picked up the uniform and complained for no real reason.
“Well, its goal is to make sure your identity is hidden, so of course they would try to make it look tacky and uninteresting.”
Even though I said that, I had some complaints about the mercenary uniform as well. Of course, it’s something you’d only wear while working as a mercenary so you wouldn’t be wearing this all the time, but the clothing which was designed to be unisex and single-colored, made it look the worst in terms of both usefulness and design.
However, it’s hard to really complain about it since it’s something the system is giving for free rather than something you buy with your money.
“I should just make a suggestion to the developers already. Have them implement a ‘Mercenary specialist’ system and be able to buy different uniforms for mercenaries.”
“I’m not sure if the developers would listen to you, since they are pretty deaf.”
The developers of Blue Sky are famous for almost never listening to the users’ requests. The situation is like telling someone to go find another game if they don’t like this one for its problems, but they find that this game is too fun to leave.
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To be honest though, there are nearly no bugs to speak of in the game, and the stability of the server is great, so it’s not like the management of the game is bad. But whatever request or suggestion you make as a player, they only reply with something like ‘We’ll take care of it ourselves so don’t worry about it’, so it’s a valid criticism to say that the developers are deaf to their players.
“But put in a request, at least. I think that sounds like a good idea.”
“You think so as well, Ellie? Fufu.10”
If I knew that the Blue Sky developers were likely to accept a feature request if they were asked multiple times, I would have also requested the features I want repeatedly, which was why I didn’t dissuade Katalina from putting in that feature request. I had a small hope that perhaps a top-ranking player and owner of a massive guild would have more weight in their request than the feature request of an average user.
Finally, the time came.
“Let’s go! Random Unit 1!”
Katalina called me out for using my alias. For reference, Katalina’s alias is Random Unit 2. Although it is an embarrassing name to be called by, it wasn’t because of my own will that the name was made, so please don’t doubt the creative ability that I have11.
Once we came out to the main plaza again, we saw a wave of solid colors in front of us. They were users who had already completed registering as a mercenary and had their uniform colors vary according to the level they were at.
Users whose levels are less than 300, the ones who are considered mid to low-level players are wearing yellow-colored uniforms, the ones between level 300 and 600 wear green uniforms and are considered mid to high-level users, and finally, users who are above level 600 wear red-colored uniforms. The ones who have not been registered yet have white color as their uniform, and many of them have their uniform change color as they register as mercenary.
Although we didn’t register yet, once we do, Katalina’s and my uniforms will turn red. Funnily, the weapon you use will also change into a basic weapon model with its color changing to match the uniform’s, which leads to nicknames being put on each color, that being ‘Chick’ for yellow users, ‘Orcs’ for green users, and ‘Red Devil’ for red users. This nicknaming is prevalent all throughout each nation’s servers, just the words are a bit different from each other.
“Right now it’s not possible to look at the online forums, so I’ll have to go to the website in Virtual mode.”
Hearing Katalina, I nodded my head and disabled my Real Mode. Soon, I went to the online forum site and checked the advertisement for the mercenary recruitment of the two guilds at the top of the website.
(Current situation of Shining VS Chaos guild all-out-war mercenary recruitment.
Shining-(Yellow 54% Green 51% Red 48%) Total 50.1%
Chaos-(Yellow 46% Green 49% Red 52%) Total 49.9%
Remaining time for recruitment: 4:50)
As I had suspected, there was virtually no difference in the numbers of mercenaries that the guilds have hired. Strategically, they are evenly matched, and the rewards you receive for either side are the same, so it was an obvious result. There were many posts about other things being put up on the forums, but my interest was only focused on the number of mercenaries hired for the all-out war.
-Just as I thought, they’re virtually even. I wonder which side I should join.
Katalina sent a whisper to me, as if she was torn on which side to choose.
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-I wanted to choose a side which was slightly disadvantaged, but it’s become way too balanced, as you said it would. Well, now I don’t really care which side I go to. How about you chose the side, Katalina?
-Really? Then promise you won’t whine when the side I chose ends up losing, okay?
The probability of winning was exactly 50%, so it’s a pretty good odds if you were a betting type, but you still shouldn’t disregard the high-risk probability. Actually, I think people who bet find the probability of 50% the hardest to think over.
Perhaps due to that reason, Katalina cautiously asked me if I will regret it.
-I won’t blame you.
-So you mean you won’t blame me, but may hate me?
She’s pretty quick thinking, isn’t she?
Only after I assured again that I wouldn’t blame her, Katalina accepted it.
-All right then. I’m going to choose the Chaos guild. The Shining guild’s guild leader is an a̲s̲s̲h̲o̲l̲e̲, which is why I chose Chaos. Not only is he a total turnoff, but very petty as well…
It sounded like she already somewhat made up her mind without needing to wonder about which side to choose. On top of that, the guild leader is probably the user with the ID ‘Lucas’, who’s also in the top 3 of ranking players.
-And not just because he’s 3rd on the top ranking players and is competing with you for the 2nd place?
-Shut up! No, it isn’t.
- Robinxen: You guys it’s your resident cool boy Englishman Robinxen here, nobody else left any comments today so I’m going to leave extra just for you!
- Robinxen: EVE had this covered eons ago though…
- Robinxen: Okay this system actually sounds pretty cool…
- Robinxen: To balance this do they have a death penalty that’s really high? Otherwise it seems like guilds would just start wars for no reason for the exp gain.
- Robinxen: This is the only balancing? This sounds to me like the major guilds just need to make a pair of puppets, have the two puppets go to war, the major guild split half and half and reap the exp from both sides. Rinse and repeat.
- Robinxen: This is still sounding suuuuuuuuper exploitable…
- Robinxen: Oh okay I take all that back
- Robinxen: WAIT WHAT THE ELF?! 10,000?! 10,000! WHAT ON EART HIS THE GUILD SYSTEM IN THIS GAME?!
- Robinxen: Well at the author abated my concerns.
- Robinxen: Next thing you know she’s related to the developer or something…
- Robinxen: You should use an alias like some famous knight from histo…oh wait nevermind.
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