After meeting Old Walker, Rhode did not leave the Mercenary Association immediately. After all, their mercenary group still lacked a main tank and damage dealers. If he could hire a warrior or any defensive class, then Rhode's next quest would be a lot easier. Unfortunately, this time, he could not find the mercenaries he desired. Those classes that usually stand in the front line were rare. Usually, only soldiers would choose that class, because, after all, who fancied getting constantly hit? Moreover, the majority of the tankers were also taken by larger groups. Thus, it was challenging to locate them, let alone hire them. Rhode and Lize had circled the hall for a while and chatted with a few swordsman. However, they did not meet Rhode's requirements and naturally all of them were eliminated.
Rhode gave up for today. He began to shift his focus to think about how to increase their power. Deep Stone City didn't have much to offer left. Moreover, Rhode didn't have much money. And even if he had, he had to consider how the mercenaries would feel about joining a declining group. Some might even take advantage of their status and act bossy. Thus, he simply threw the idea of recruitment aside for now, because in front of him there were more important things to do,
First was his mercenary group points.
Lize was right. The most important thing right now was to increase their points to avoid the disbandment in winter. That should be the highest priority ——— and is certainly something that Rhode must pay most attention to. At least... they should not get another zero.
Completing missions was one way to acquire mercenary group points. So far, there are two categories of missions:
Missions issued by clients, where the client would give the rewards upon completion, and missions managed by the Mercenary Association based on the client specification.
The Mercenary Association would give rewards based on the difficulty level of the mission. Missions that were managed by the Association would also provide mercenary group points.
In the Mercenary Association, mission level is divided into six levels. Regular missions and 1-5 Star-Ranked missions. The '1-5' refers to the difficulty rating system. Rewards also may differ among missions, and challenging missions usually had a stricter time limit.
Small mercenary groups were only allowed to take on Regular missions, or perhaps even 1 to 2 Star-Ranked missions. Completing Regular missions would net them 1 point when completed, 1 Star-Ranked mission would be 2 points, and 2 Star-Ranked missions were worth 3 points so on and so forth. While the small mercenary groups were limited to Regular missions and 1 to 2 Star-Ranked missions, medium-sized mercenary groups could take on 2 to 4 Star-Ranked missions. However, that didn't mean that medium-sized groups were restricted to 2 to 4 Star-Ranked tasks, but even if they cleared lower ranked missions, they wouldn't receive any points anyway. It was the same for mercenary guilds. They could only obtain rewards from 3 to 5 Star-Ranked missions.
The Mercenary Association created these rules, and mercenaries were prohibited from breaking them. This means that even if a small or medium mercenary group somehow manages to complete a 5 Star-Ranked mission, they would not be given points. But the possibility of that happening was almost zero since 5 Star-Ranked missions were all extremely dangerous, even for mercenary guilds.
With such a condition, many mercenary groups also had their methods of farming points. Groups such as the Blue Collar Mercenary Group diligently completed the lowest level missions, ensuring that their points were enough to avoid disbandment. Other mercenary groups and guilds had a choice as well, whether to play it big, or play it safe, was totally up to them.
Rhode chose to play it big. After all, his member count was way too low right now. Even if he were to diligently completed low-level tasks, the points would increase too slowly. As they say, three fists are no match for four hands. No matter what, their numerical disadvantage was not something that could be denied. Since they have no way to secure the stability, then he could only complete high-level missions to get as many points as possible.
When Rhode handed over the 'Pavel Cemetery' mission to Uncle Hank, the old man's face paled as he stared at him as though he saw a ghost.
"Are you sure you're going to take this mission young man?"
Old Hank rubbed his glasses, then seriously looked at Rhode.
"This is a four-star mission. Even large, well-geared mercenary groups can't say that they would return safely."
Then, the old man frowned and knocked his knuckles on the table.
"It's not like this old man is trying to scare you lad, but before you, the Blue Valley and Black Lion Mercenary Group had accepted this mission. All of them were veteran mercenaries, but what was the result? They received very heavy casualties. And even the leader almost lost his life. Those people had sent dozens of people but still failed in the end, and you guys..." the old man put his elbow on the table and pinched his brows, continuing, "...you guys want to complete it with TWO people? Being young and brave is a good thing, but..."
"I think there is nothing that I should reconsider."
Rhode didn't mind Old Hank's skepticism. The standard of 'strong' among NPCs and 'strong' amongst players were totally different, literally 'worlds apart' if one would add. Thus, it was useless to compare between the two. The reason why Rhode chose this mission was that of its high points and rewards.
A necromancer named Pavel lived in an abandoned cemetery which was situated in the northern part of the mountain. The mission was to kill that necromancer and his minions. As long as he could bring Pavel's head, the mission would be complete.
Of course, Rhode had his own plans of completing this mission. Besides the level and points, it was also because the card deck he had right now. Frankly, based on his current strength, he could only defeat undead creatures at best. As for fighting bandits, it would just be more troublesome. But the thing was, that necromancer called Pavel was holding onto a skill book.
Rumors said that this necromancer Pavel was once a respected bishop, later, because of some worldly affairs, he had fallen as a necromancer. He held a holy book called 'Book of Holiness,' and it was Rhode's primary goal. Because what written there was a Spirit Master skill.
Now, it is necessary to explain the level upgrade difference between the players' and the NPCs in Dragon Soul Continent.
The player advantage was obvious from all aspects. Because of skill points, they could upgrade their skill level whenever they wanted. When Rhode was at level 10, he could already possess a level 34 NPC skill. But NPCs couldn't do that. Other than geniuses and royalty, most of the NPCs used their skills that they acquired from leveling. If a comparison was made based on this, it was clear who was superior.
On the other hand, the advantage NPCs had was that their talent classification was different from the player. Many NPC classes had their talent tree integrated with one another, and they were free to choose. This made a lot of players quite envious because the player's talent tree was separated and because of the skill limitation, they could not choose what they wanted, unlike NPCs. Moreover, many talents were exclusive to NPCs only.
Other than that, the gap between the player and NPC was too big. Players could easily upgrade their levels through experience, as for NPCs, level upgrading was like a nightmare. If they wanted to level up, there were only two ways. The first one was: if the player and NPC had a high intimacy level, then the NPC would issue a quest which must be completed by the player in order to upgrade that NPC's level. Another way was to give the NPC a skill book; there was no restriction, and they did not need to reach a particular level to learn it. Thus, even a level 5 NPC could learn a level 10 skill which would immediately bring their level to 10.
But of course, that would take some time.
If he could obtain that book, then there should be nothing to worry about Lize reaching level 40. Moreover, the 'Book of Holiness' also taught many damage spells, these could make up for her weak offensive skills and become a full-fledged clergy that could fight on the front lines. Moreover, in the face of the inevitable war with Country of Darkness, teaching his mercenary group members to fight against undead creatures was a plus.
If it wasn't because of that, why would Rhode want to hang around the undead all day long? He was a living person that had no interest in the dead. In fact, if he could hire a mage, even a mage apprentice would also be useful. But unfortunately, mages were even rarer than Spirit Masters. Most of them never ventured far out from their house, let alone becoming a mercenary.
"I have decided, Uncle Hank. Please rest assured that we will complete the task."
Seeing that he was unable to persuade Rhode, Uncle Hank sighed helplessly and shook his head. He wrote something on the paper on his table and nodded to Rhode.
"Well, Mr. Rhode, your mission has been registered. When you've completed the mission, just bring the token back as requested, once identified and confirmed we will give you the reward."
Rhode nodded and walked away. When his figure disappeared into the crowd, Uncle Hank shook his head in disappointment.
"That youngster is too reckless. Does he even know how difficult this mission is? Sigh... I don't really know what to say anymore. Such a pity... He looked so young... but...."
While speaking to himself, Hank picked up the jug beside him sluggishly.
Then suddenly from behind, a clear bright voice rang out.
"What was stupid? Mr. Hank?"
"Ah, young miss!"
Upon hearing this voice, Hank's body jolted up. He put down the jug on his hand embarrassingly and turned around to look at the person behind him while showing a trace of a bitter smile.
"Young miss, how do you have time visit me... I thought..."
"I'm the one asking you! What about the thing that I told you to do?"
Facing this demanding young miss, Old Hank's forehead drenched in sweat. He took out his handkerchief and wiped his face as he tried to make an excuse. "This... I am currently trying. You also saw it yourself, miss. These guys are mostly average. So far I have not found the right one yet, so..."
"So that's why." A beautiful voice sounded like the birds chirping in the early morning. She paused for a while and continued, "Then what happened just now?"
"Oh, that kid."
Old Hank's expression immediately changed and began to sigh.
"That guy was overestimating himself. Miss, you've got to hear this...."
As though he finally found something else to complain about, Old Hank quickly shifted the discussion to Rhode who had recently registered a 4 Star-Ranked mission. Of course, he exaggerated the story of how Rhode presented himself. But as a member of the Mercenary Association, he could not explicitly declare that they would certainly perish as the mercenaries were very sensitive to this kind of words. Since it was their job scope to deal with dangerous tasks, if he said things such as cursing him to die, then he truly had no conscience.
"Is that so."
After listening to Old Hank's complaint, she smiled.
"That is interesting... A mercenary group with only two people dared to take on a 4 Star-Ranked mission. It really is odd, isn't it?"
"Yes, and I heard that Sereck was really fond of this guy. I really do not know which part that Sereck would fancy about him..."
Old Hank was suddenly interrupted halfway by the girl.
"I have something that I hope you can help, but I don't know whether you were willing?"
"Yes, as long as it's within my ability, there's certainly no problem."
But after he heard that girl's demand, Old Hank's face turned green.