I don’t know what kind of crazy fighting stance that is, but it looks awesome.
|Sword Art Online continues to be one of my favorite shows for this season, but I suppose I enjoy it a lot more because I get to blog about it every week. So are the rumors true for this series? Are we finally headed for the main story or are there more side stories left to reveal? In MMORPG related news Guild Wars 2 recently started up and I have been playing that! So if you are playing that game please let me know!|
|I apologize if these posts start coming out a bit later than usual. Fosh is always lightning fast, but I’m going to be a bit more sluggish in organizing these posts and writing my parts because I have to do the entry test for medical school soon. Sorry! I’ll do my best to stay on track because I don’t want to give up blogging SAO :3|
Making a Killin’ Playing The Villain
Overcooled // Enter Kuradeel: the creepy escort who has no shame in lurking outside the house of a girl that looks half her age. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with older people playing MMOs, but this guy looks like the kind of man you tell your children to stay away from. The sunken-in cheeks and straggly hair that seems to suggest an acute lack of showering really make his first impression incite wariness. A classic predator. I took one look at him and didn’t like him. In fact, this whole episode seems to be structured to make us instantly hate the guy. I think he’s a dick, but I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a minute. Kuradeel is just following orders and trying to protect Asuna. He doesn’t want her to go off alone with someone who could potentially betray her. He has noble intentions – he just goes about them in a really pompous way, as if he knows precisely what is right for Asuna at all times. Asuna and her guild is incredibly famous – and that fame will only continue to grow. People are out for her, and he doesn’t want to take any chances. The irony is that because the Guild is recruiting people so rapidly is that there may be more danger from within the Guild than outside of it. The Blood Knights may fall apart in time, giving Asuna more of a chance to hang out with Kirito. That PKer from The Laughing Coffin in the audience seemed pretty chuffed about what he just witnessed, so there may be some dead Blood Knight members when Asuna is done traipsing about the dungeon with Kirito. Or perhaps Asuna herself will feel their wrath soon. Either way, Kuradeel might actually be on to something about Asuna’s safety (or lack thereof).
Kirito throws the best parties
Foshizzel // After that fantastic meal provided by Asuna she invites him to a group because she wants to go out on some adventure with Kirito…or maybe you could just call that a date? Either way, Asuna wants to leave the boring home life behind and go kill some monsters. I don’t think he really wanted to tag along with her in the first place; however he was in no position to turn her down unless he wanted a quick death from a sharp kitchen knife! I really liked how Asuna reminded Kirito once again there are certain things you can’t do as a solo player, but do you think she is sounding like a broken record? I know she already said that quote to him before. Did anyone else notice they have used just about every scene from the opening video? This week we saw the strange black world, cooking scene and finally with the reveal of the giant monster at the end of this episode which leaves me to think might get a new opening soon! I mean after they defeat that giant blue demon.
Virtual Epic Meal Time with Asuna
Foshizzel // After successfully killing of a random lizard man while on an adventure Kirito found a super rare ingredient in the woods (aka a rare rabbit in Sword Art Online) and what do players do with something like that? You cook it of course. Now I have some experience dealing with MMORPG cooking! Which meant killing several monsters for hours just for a chance at their meat or it usually involved doing lots of cooking themed daily quests for those rare ingredients. So you are probably asking yourself what does cooking give you as a player anyway, with most games cooking stuff rewards you with some type of amazing buff for like increased hit points, spell power or boosts some other stat for a few hours. So what does it do in Sword Art Online? I can only assume at this point it just keeps your body going in the game, but I wonder if eating in the game tricks your mind into thinking you are actually eating or maybe it grants buffs? I would love to find out how eating the game food affects your body in the game and real world.
Overcooled // I feel like this week’s episode harps on about a lot of the same themes from last week’s episode. One of them is the idea of players maxing out skills for their own personal enjoyment. Asuna has the highest possible level of culinary expertise because…well…why not? If Lizbeth can spend her time smithing items (like a sword powerful enough to break Kuradeel’s! Ohohoho, she did a mighty fine job on that steel masterpiece!) then Asuna can make delicious meals in her spare time. The big re-occurring message here seems to be that SAO is becoming a replacement fr the real world. More and more people have accepted it as their new place to live, and have given up on returning to the real world. In fact, SAO is the real world now for many people.
I feel like I keep repeating this every week, but I can’t help talking about SAO slowly turning into a new world in of itself! I’ve written about player immersion before here at Meta, and I think it’s a very important aspect for video games. Getting the player to relate to the avatar they’re using to interact with the world to the point where they feel like they’re actually a part of the game world is essential for the gaming experience. It’s important to keep the player feeling like what happens in the game world really matters to them. It’s all about emotional investment. You’re hooked once you start to care if your player dies or a party member leaves you. Maybe the aim of SAO was to reach a higher plane of player immersion to the point where the game actually becomes your new life. You are not just a character in a game…you live in the game!
Good to know I’m not the only women who threatens people with cooking utensils on a regular basis
As more and more games try to get gamers addicted to the point where they abandon real life to stay cooped up inside hammering away at keyboards or controllers, SAO has transcended all that by building you an entirely new life. A lot of people play games as a form of escapism, and SAO satisfies that wish like no other game ever could. Now people can leave the real world where maybe they’re bullied, shy or not-so-talented and become this incredible player with the ability to slay dragons. Just look at Accel World. It’s about a fat boy who is a loser in real life, but turns to the world of Burst Linkers to become popular and powerful. Even in real life people lose themselves in video games to become different people, and we don’t even have NerveGears! The allure of dabbling in another world where you are in control is just too tempting for some, and I like the idea of games in the future being so dangerously addictive and that players actually get stuck in the game world without any way out.
Guild World Problems
Foshizzel // This week we finally got some details about Asuna’s guild growing thanks to the news about their recent success so far. I liked how they revealed that tiny bit of information on the Knights of the Blood, but in the end they left me wanting more; however they did show off a new character named Kuradeel aka Asuna’s in game bodyguard, but I honestly think he takes his job way too serious because she just thinks of him as a stalker later on in the episode. So does she really require all that protection every time she decides to go out? I think she could take on any player killers without breaking a sweat! Then again she is quite famous and she holds the title of vice captain of a very powerful guild or does it come down to the fact that she is a girl? I can see that being one of many reasons why the guild decides to protect her. Do you think she really needs a personal body guard or should they just swap Kuradeel for someone else? I think if they got another girl to watch out for her she might be more comfortable with the whole guard situation, but we all know Kirito probably takes over as her “extra special” body guard if you know what I mean…
Although not a lot happens this week, I found myself oddly soothed by watching Asuna cook. As a big cooking hobbyist myself, I love that Asuna took the time to sharpen her culinary talents in SAO just for the sake of having hearty meals all the time. Aincrad is a living breathing world that everyone can learn to love and blah blah blah I GET IT. I feel like SAO keeps repeating the same theme over and over, getting increasingly more blunt as time goes on. Okay, stop now. The tone has been set. Let’s move on now, shall we? Anyways, despite SAO continuing to be rather average, I like where things are going with Asuna’s characterization. She’s a woman who has girly interests such as cooking and can still kick ass in a fight. She doesn’t need Kirito’s protection at all, but she enjoys his company and uses a mix of feminine wiles and threatening him with pointy objects to get him to tag along. She’s not at either extreme, and she keeps Kirito on his toes. There’s still the occasional eye-roller moment where she hits him and calls him a pervert, but for the most part I think she’s breaking away from the tsundere mold. As of now, she might be more interesting than Kirito, who has fallen into the “inexplicably perfect and cool” male lead category. He’s getting kind of stale. :/ Well, at least the man can fight.
This was a strange episode because the overall tone felt more like a slice of life episode especially that scene with Asuna cooking that special meal for Kirito! Thankfully they made it interesting with the guild drama, but I would love to see them explore more the Knights of Blood a bit more and what about Kuradeel’s role in the story? I mean she did order him to back down. I can’t help feeling that he will turn a villain later on, but I bet he will try to seek revenge against Kirito for humiliating him during their short duel! What else happened? Nothing really stands out other than Kuradeel turning evil and I am waiting for Kirito to eventually join the Knights of Blood! COME ON MAN DO IT ALREADY and I am excited to see the two of them take down that giant monster next time.
Asuna: teleporting to groping hands near you. Seeya next week!