Awaken Online: Precipice (AO 2), by Travis Bagwell
Awaken Online: Precipice is the second instalment in the epic LitRPG saga written by Travis Bagwell that revolves around a fictional Virtual Reality MMORPG named Awaken Online.
It continues where Catharsis ended, with Jason being the main character and focus of the story. But in this instalment, following Jason’s decisions and actions, we get a much wider exposure to the world of Awaken Online and its inhabitants. There’s much more interaction between Jason and his (real life) friends, and the worlds NPCs (Non-playable Characters).
We also get to know Alex Lane (Jason’s arch-enemy) a bit better, by switching to his perspective and providing us more insight into his life, who he is, and what his motivations are. Travis Bagwell shows us that Alex is not just the typical bully, but let’s be honest, we won’t be liking any better anytime soon.
What’s it about? – Synopsis
A few days have passed since Jason’s confrontation with Alfred and he’s debating whether to re-enter Awaken Online. Alfred has made a proposition that Jason isn’t certain he should accept.
After the battle with Alexion, Jason has also been appointed as the Regent of the Twilight Throne. He must assume the mantle of ruling an undead city – with everything that entails. His first task is to investigate the dark keep that looms over the city’s marketplace. This act will lead to a chain of events that might ensure his city’s survival or create new enemies.
Meanwhile, Alex re-enters the game listless and angry after his loss against Jason. With his reputation in the gutter and no prospects, he will face a choice regarding how he intends to blaze his path through the game.
What did I think?
Just like the first book, Awaken Online: Precipice kept me hooked from start to finish. It continues and expands the world, characters and stories we’ve met previously, and damn, I loved it.
We learn more about how Awaken Online works, and how real it is to its NPC (non-playable character) inhabitants, that each of them, each group, settlement and each city has a past, a history, that’s not just a simple scripted text like basically every MMORPG currently out there. Awaken Online seems truly alive, both to the players in the novels and to us, the readers. If something like this really existed, we wouldn’t be able to distinguish it from reality (Matrix anyone?).
There are, although, a couple of things that did not fully convince me. One of them was Jason’s solution to the task he his given to increase the undead population of the Twilight Throne. I understand the idea, and “farming” (mobs, materials, metals, etc) is a term very frequently used in games nowadays, but I don’t think that farming players the way he comes up with would work, since after first “die-respawn-die” cycle, they would most likely stop logging in.
The other thing I thought was not convincing, or, more than that, unrealistic, were the Game Masters (GM). It’s one thing for a player to behave in a radical way if they’ve suddenly been given godlike powers, but these people are working. This is how they pay rent and I just can’t understand someone risking their livelihood behaving the way the GMs did in the game. They are employees, which suggests that that they have to answer to someone. Their in-game behaviour suggests that they don’t fear a backlash from their superiors.
Awaken Online: Precipice
Book Title: Awaken Online: Precipice
Book Description: Awaken Online: Precipice is the second instalment in the epic LitRPG saga written by Travis Bagwell that revolves around a fictional Virtual Reality MMORPG named Awaken Online.