Chapter 248 – Shocked
Logging back into Conviction, Nie Yan checked the changelog for the Buried History expansion. Just like in the previous timeline, the experience required to level up had been significantly reduced. If the top players were over Level 100 when this expansion was implemented, those at the bottom of the ladder could slowly close the gap but would never be able to truly catch up. However, the game was still in its early stages and everyone’s levels were still low. With the lowered experience requirements, the level leaderboards were sure to see drastic reshuffling.
In addition to easier levelling, a change in the game mechanics was implemented. Previously, the player’s damage was limited with most hits being registered as misses by the system when fighting enemies over six levels above them. This was the level suppression effect. But with the new expansion, this same effect would now only occur if there was more than a ten-level difference between the combatants.
The main classes also saw adjustments to their skills. The most notable change was a buff to the Warrior’s Guard Stance skill. With a big boost to its defensive capabilities, players could now tank higher levelled bosses. At the same time, a portion of the named Lord-class bosses received buffs to compensate for the power creep.
Furthermore, quite a few dungeons received a bit of balancing with their Expert and Specialist difficulties retuned to be more challenging. The drop rates for certain equipment sets were also lowered, while the properties of some equipment received buffs by varying degrees.
Nie Yan headed to the Asskickers United headquarters to rearrange their short-term strategies. The most pressing matter at hand was to assemble a batch of players somewhere ideal for a mass levelling session. Later in the afternoon, they would be helping Sleepy Fox seize the small stronghold. As he ruminated over this matter, he realized Asskickers United was at the point where they would have to start capturing strongholds as well!
The difficulty of capturing strongholds in the wilderness was extremely high, so the first thing Nie Yan wanted to do was bolster the strength of his guild members.
After finishing all his preparations related to guild, Nie Yan contacted Zhai Hao by adding Mad Warframe to his friends list.
“Say, Zhai Hao, do you think Nie Yan stood us up? How come he still hasn’t shown up?” asked a female classmate.
“No, I don’t think he’s that kind of person. He seems like someone who keeps his promises,” Zhai Hao said, though he wasn’t too sure himself. They had been waiting for quite a while now, and still no word from Nie Yan. Worst of all, there was no way of making contact because he didn’t know Nie Yan’s character name!
“Why else would he keep his IGN secret?”
The nine of them were already gathered, including Xia Ling, so Zhai Hao began to feel somewhat irritated. Did Nie Yan really bail on them?
“How about we just go off by ourselves if we still don’t hear from him in 5 minutes? We have 5 Mages, 2 Warriors, a Paladin, a Priest, and a Thief, so levelling should be pretty fast,” Xia Ling proposed, rescuing Zhai Hao from his predicament.
“I suppose that’s all we can do.” Zhai Hao nodded. He couldn’t help but feel grateful toward Xia Ling for being considerate.
Just as everyone agreed to this, Zhai Hao received a new notification. He was given a big shock when he glanced at it.
Nirvana Flame has sent you a friend request.
“Holy shit!” Zhai Hao cried out in alarm. Who wasn’t familiar with the name Nirvana Flame? Back in Kiln Fire Woods, this person had single-handedly wiped out over 20,000 players from Victorious Return. The guild leader of Asskickers United, a legendary existence in Conviction!
Just how many players steeled their will in an attempt to worm their way into the ranks of Asskickers United, all for the sake of a few words of advice from Nirvana Flame? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? He and his friends were among the many who applied for membership but were flat-out rejected. They could only join one of the branch guilds like Warriors United, becoming the most ordinary of members.
Who was Nirvana Flame? He was the boss of their boss! The Big Kahuna!
If any of them saw Nirvana Flame on the street, they could only gaze at him from afar while sighing in admiration. He was a deity in the eyes of the player base!
And such a godly figure sent him a friend request! How could he not be astonished?
Zhai Hao rubbed his eyes before looking again. No doubt, the friend request really did read Nirvana Flame! It was unmistakable! A mythical-like existence really sent him a friend request. He looked at the notification again and again, but it still felt like a dream.
“Nie Yan, Nie Yan (Nirvana Flame), Nie Yan…” Zhai Hao muttered repeatedly. His body trembled. Oh, fuck! It really is him!
“Hey, Zhai Hao, did you lose your head? Why do you keep repeating Nie Yan’s name?” asked a female classmate
“Do you guys know who Nie Yan is?” Zhao Hao asked, sounding clearly flustered.
“What do you mean? He’s the new transfer student in our class…” that female classmate replied in a puzzled tone.
Xia Ling also gave Zhai Hao an odd look. She was very bewildered.
“You’ll find out in just a moment,” Zhai Hao said, trying to hold back his excitement, before checking the name on his friends list again for the umpteenth time.
「Where are you guys right now?」Nie Yan asked.
「We’re at Link Town,」Zhai Hao replied. They had just transferred there, and were about to set off to level.「Nie Yan, you’ve really kept us waiting…」
「I’m sorry. I had to take care of a few things first,」Nie Yan said apologetically but didn’t offer up any further explanation. He arrived at the Calore transfer area and teleported to Link Town.
Nie Yan checked the coordinates Zhai Hao provided him, then headed over to meet up with them.
“Nie Yan’s here!” Zhai Hao exclaimed. He felt somewhat nervous at the prospect of meeting one of his heroes. Who wouldn’t be excited?
As several others echoed these words, everyone noticed a familiar figure approaching them, as though they had seen him somewhere before. The group racked their brains trying to figure this out before someone finally remembered.
“Woah! It’s the ‘Mad Rogue’ Nirvana Flame!”
A feeling of immense shock overtook the group. Nie Yan’s fame was too much for them. As they watched Nie Yan walk over, they couldn’t help but shiver as the terrifying scene of him holding his dagger with a merciless grin on his lips in Kiln Fire Woods flashed past their eyes.
“Is Nie Yan really Nirvana Flame…?” someone asked in disbelief. Even though the reality was right in front of them, they still found this hard to believe.
Only Xia Ling remained relatively calm. She was best friends with Xie Yao, so they would often discuss some private matters. She had long since known there was a person Xie Yao deeply admired inside the game, and that was Nirvana Flame!
Xia Ling had once teased Xie Yao, joking that she was living in a fairy tale. Who was Nirvana Flame? He was a mythical figure that led Asskickers United into a new era, carving out a space for them in the history books of the game. He was an untouchable existence for millions of players. However, meeting such a person was only possible in the virtual world. It would be impossible to encounter someone like him in the real world, so any fantasies she had of getting together with him were doomed from the start.
When Xie Yao had called Xia Ling up in the afternoon to talk about her suspicions of Nie Yan, she actually laughed at Xie Yao for her silly delusions. Although she knew Xie Yao had a favourable impression of Nie Yan, was there really a need to speculate he was Nirvana Flame?
But Xie Yao was extremely serious, imploring her to confirm whether or not her suspicions were true.
Even though Xia Ling had her doubts, she still took on the task entrusted to her by Xie Yao. Who would’ve known that this best friend of hers had hit the nail on the head. The corners of her mouth curved into a mischievous smile. Just how would Xie Yao react when she learned she was right all along?
Nie Yan eyed the nine people in front of him. Zhai Hao was there of course, as well as six others with whom he was acquainted with, especially Li Rui and Liu Xuchen. They were his diehard brothers in the past life. Although they were in different homerooms, they often hung out together. The entire group was composed of people with pretty good personalities. As the saying went, birds of a feather flocked together. A person could be judged based on the people close to them.
“Shit! I didn’t expect the new classmate Zhai Hao wanted to introduce us to was the guild leader of Asskickers United, Nirvana Flame. Am I really not dreaming? Li Rui, pinch me!” Li Xuchen cried out, finding it all way too incredible.
“I don’t think we’re dreaming…” Li Rui replied in a daze. Nirvana Flame, Heaven Breaker, and Sleepy Fox were famous names that only appeared in stories. They were often the topics of everyone’s discussions. He couldn’t even imagine himself meeting one of these distinguished players, let alone chat with them.
Zhai Hao and his friends wanted to join Asskickers United. But they were rejected because they failed to meet the bar. In their eyes, every single member from that guild was an apex existence they could never hope of approaching, to say nothing of the one who led them all!
But now, this person was standing before them.
This was equivalent to someone who burnt incense to Buddha every day in hopes of a miracle suddenly blessed with a face-to-face meeting.
The unimaginable shock!
“Bro, I didn’t expect you to be so famous!” Zhai Hao was about to lightly punch Nie Yan on the shoulder, but he suddenly recalled the large disparity in their status and withdrew his fist in embarrassment.
“I’m sorry. There were too many things I had to attend to in the guild, so I ended up being late. Let’s go, I’ll take you guys levelling with me! We’re all classmates, there’s no need to be so reserved,” Nie Yan said with a bright smile which was as pleasant as a spring breeze. He didn’t want to alienate these good brothers from his past life because of the difference in their status.
Nie Yan’s wide smile broke the ice and set the group at ease.
“I didn’t expect the Mad Rogue to be Zhai Hao’s classmate! This is incredible!”
“Yeah, it’s unbelievable!”
Discovering that Nie Yan was pretty easy-going, Li Rui and the others circled around and began chatting with him animatedly.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you guys in advance. The fewer people who know my true identity, the better. I hope you guys can keep this a secret for me.”
“For sure! We’ll definitely keep this under wraps for you.” A few of them even patted their chests in assurance. Suddenly, they felt even closer to this hero.
Nie Yan felt a sense of warmth in his heart as he looked at all these familiar faces. These people had accompanied him through the darkest times in his past life. Even those things happened in another reality, the friendship between them could be slowly rebuilt from the ground up.
The two female classmates also approached closer.
“I didn’t think you were Nirvana Flame! This is too amazing!”
“Hey, do you have a girlfriend?” the more brazen of the two boldly asked.
“Not right now, but I’m hoping to get with Xie Yao,” Nie Yan answered directly.
“Wow! She’s our class goddess, you know? But I think you’re definitely her match!” If even Nie Yan wasn’t good enough, who was?
“Yeah, Xie Yao is the lucky one. I’m so jealous!” the other girl sighed. If there were someone like Nie Yan pursuing her, she would date him in a heartbeat.
Nie Yan smiled meaningfully at Xia Ling. He knew she was going to inform Xie Yao of his words.
Xia Ling evaluated Nie Yan from the viewpoint of Xie Yao’s best friend and judged his character to be pretty good. Even though he was an extraordinary individual, he was laid-back, humble, and possessed an otherworldly sort of self-confidence rarely seen in others. More importantly, however, Xie Yao already liked Nie Yan. Taking all of this into consideration, the two were practically a match made in heaven. She sent a whisper to Xie Yao.