Because of Fang Zhao words, many people were no longer in the mood to continue watching the awards presentation. After all, the teams following him were always the usual ones. Every year, it was always the same few names, the same few familiar faces. There was no longer a sense of novelty. Other than fans of those teams, everyone else was already discussing the next day's exchange matches.
Fiery Bird's annual conference did not solely consist of the conference. On the second day, there were exchange matches where e-sports athletes and fans got to interact. There were also matches between e-sports athletes and teams. The ones that would be officially broadcasted were those that had been arranged earlier, such as the opening match where Fang Zhao would take on ten challengers.
For team exchange matches, SilverLight did not have an arranged opponent, but they could arrange for a battle in private.
At 7 p.m., after the prize presentation ended, the audience moved to the adjacent building where a sumptuous dinner awaited.
Due to his identity being revealed, Fang Zhao's social status within the gaming circles had increased. He had only just sat down and not yet finished a bun when he was approached by three investment firms regarding endorsement deals. These investment firms collaborated with Fiery Bird and belonged to the gaming peripherals industry, and now they had set their eyes on Fang Zhao. After all, he was the year's No. 1 individual player and had attracted lots of attention. Just taking a look at today's entertainment headlines was more than enough—every single one was occupied by news regarding Fang Zhao, AKA AliveAfter500Years.
Wayne was worried about Fang Zhao's mental state. He still had an exchange match that would be broadcast to the world tomorrow morning and needed to rest well. Huangzhou and Yanzhou had a time difference, and not everyone was able to adapt to it well. Wayne advised Fang Zhao to return to the hotel and rest first. Parties that wanted to collaborate with Fang Zhao would continue to keep in touch after the annual conference had ended.
Fang Zhao did not think anything special needed to be done, but if he continued to stay here, more people would approach him and he would not be able to eat in peace. Thus he agreed to Wayne's suggestion and picked out some food to be delivered to him as he headed back to the hotel.
When he had been in the conference hall, Fang Zhao had received lots of text messages from relatives, friends, and classmates. Even Xue Jing had sent him a few, astonished at how a composer like him played games and could become so famous from playing.
It had not been convenient for Fang Zhao to answer calls in the conference hall, so Fang Zhao had only been able to send text replies. When he got back to his hotel room, he returned a few calls to some important people.
When everything was done, it was already 9 p.m.
Fang Zhao had given his speech in the conference hall around 5 p.m. The three hours for applications was up, so Fiery Bird might have already filtered out the 10 challengers.
Browsing online, the 10 selected game IDs were already published on Fiery Bird's public website. Four were professional e-sports players and four were amateur players. These were filtered out by Fiery Bird staff and randomly selected. These eight were placed near the front of their respective continent's leaderboards but lacked the qualifications to take part in this year's annual conference. The remaining two spots had been picked by a completely random draw by the system and gone to two ordinary players.
The accounts of the two ordinary players had already been bought for large sums of money. There was no concrete amount, but figures online were estimated at no less than 2 million dollars.
The first reaction people in the gaming circles had when seeing this figure for the first time was disbelief.
"It's just a game. Is it worth it? Surely the prices were jacked up!"
"This isn't even considered buying an account, just borrowing the account to play for a bit, and they threw so much money at it? Are those buyers fools?
There were also people indifferent to it. They had seen this often and gotten used to it. "It's normal, gaming circles have always been crazy. Extravagant spending is common. The figures spent by nouveau riche gamers on equipment is something you cannot imagine. We can't just use rational thinking to compare."
Nobody knew who had purchased those two accounts, but for the other eight, they had already begun to make their presence felt on the internet. These challengers were slightly famous within their own continents and would not sell away this chance for a measly one or two million. They really wanted to do battle with the legendary AliveAfter500Years and, at the same time, use the chance to publicize themselves.
So what if they lost? At least they get to show their faces to gaming fans all over the world.
The ones that had already been selected posted recorded videos on their own social platforms, with the general idea being: "Delighted to be selected, eagerly anticipating the chance to do battle with AliveAfter500Years-god."
And in the comments section of their latest status updates, there were online users from every continent. Some were just spectating, some left congratulatory messages, and others offered money to purchase the accounts, making the section lively.
Fang Zhao searched for and watched some of the past videos of the eight challengers and did a simple analysis. Even if he trusted his own ability, he wouldn't be so arrogant to think that he was omnipotent. His past experiences had taught him to not think lightly of any opponent. Watching some of their in-game footage, he could understand his opponents' habits and combat styles and make a list in his heart.
After watching, Fang Zhao browsed some Yanzhou entertainment news.
As expected, Yanzhou's entertainment media outlets were all fired up. Today's breaking news had caught many people unprepared, but for Yanzhou's entertainment media, after the unexpected news came delight, and all of them livened up. Previously, they had not known where to start, but once the news was made known, they dug up all information regarding Fang Zhao. Even his old address on the black street was unearthed.
Yue Qing had sent a text message informing Fang Zhao that entertainment reporters had come over. They wanted to take a look at Fang Zhao's old residence and had offered cash rather easily. Although the place had already been bought by Yue Qing and converted into a storehouse, Yue Qing still informed him.
Fang Zhao expressed indifference. After all, the place now belonged to Yue Qing, and he could make the decision for himself. Fang Zhao did not think his own history in the black street was anything to hide, and nobody but himself knew the real stuff that could not be made public.
This time around, Yue Qing rode on the coattails of Fang Zhao's fame and earned a small fortune, much to the envy of many black street residents.
After that, Fang Zhao did not continue browsing information online. A few of Fiery Bird's staff contacted Fang Zhao and informed him of the next day's arrangements with his exchange match as the opening fixture. They were worried too much pressure had been placed on Fang Zhao, but after speaking with Fang Zhao, they knew they had been worried for nothing.
The next morning.
Tang Can brought a Fiery Bird team and a 10th-generation console over to the hotel's 62nd floor. A video camera recorded the process to prove that there was no substitution of the player.
Actually, when Tang Can had found out the amount of challenge applications yesterday, for a time, he had actually wanted to increase the number of challengers from 10 to 20. He had also asked Fang Zhao, who had not opposed.
Tang Can had also seen the trending video of Fang Zhao riding a motorcycle and going on a monster-killing frenzy. Perhaps whether it was 10 or 20 challengers would not make much of a difference to Fang Zhao.
However, Tang Can had finally dismissed the idea of increasing the number of challengers. This was not a serious competition, it was just an annual opportunity for e-sports athletes and fans to interact, with the focus on entertainment. If they were to suddenly change the plan and increase the challengers, it might result in some trouble arising, and those that had already bought or sold accounts might get furious.
At the moment, on the large screen, the conditions of the other challengers were displayed.
All of them were ready, and some had even gone ahead to lie in ambush.
One of the challengers had specifically sent a voice message to Fang Zhao before entering: "Please do not show us mercy! Everyone wishes to see your true strength, so please do not play around as if it were a normal game."
When experts sparred, they hoped the other party would take it seriously. Only this could be considered showing respect to one's opponents. Regardless of whether the users behind these challenger's ID's were the real owners, at this moment, all they wanted was to see how strong Fang Zhao was. Only then could they determine whether Fang Zhao was really AliveAfter500Years.
Furthermore, they thought of themselves as experts. There was no need to show mercy on experts!
Fang Zhao replied, "All right."
"Ha..." Schwarzer was about to laugh heartily when he realized a camera was pointed in his direction. Realizing the negative impression that would result from laughing, he stifled his laugh into a sneeze.
Back when the eight of them had challenged Fang Zhao, the kick Schwarzer suffered had left a deep impression. He had felt that, for this sort of exchange match, Fang Zhao would go easy, but who knew that the challengers themselves would ask Fang Zhao to not show any mercy.
The SilverLight team members exchanged knowing looks at each other before watching the large screen.
"Mr. Fang, are you ready?" inquired Fiery Bird's headquarter's engineers. They were not worried about the game console malfunctioning, but they were actually using this chance to conduct a study, using the collected information to add to their database, which would help facilitate designing new console models.
Tang Can had approached Fang Zhao for the first exchange match not just to attract viewership and satisfy fans. At the same time, the match was also for Fiery Bird matters.
As of now, among the 100 users of the 10th-generation console, Fang Zhao was the one with the highest adaptability value. The latest figures showed that his adaptability value had already stabilized at 98 and had reached 99 a number of times.
After the 10th-generation console had been released, there were some people who continuously questioned this sort of new console model. They felt that it was impossible for players to completely adapt to this model. Generally speaking, if the adaptability value exceeded 98, it could be considered fully adapted. Fang Zhao's adaptability value had never been publicized. Using this exchange match as an excuse, Fiery Bird could let the doubters of the 10th-generation console know that there were people who could fully adapt, proving that Fiery Bird's decision had been right.
Fang Zhao had already put on the console. "I'm ready."
The group of engineers stared at the screen displaying the data. They totally did not bother about the in-game battle situation; only the data and charts made them excited.
"Having a different machine, different geographic location, and different surroundings could result in not achieving the normal adaptability value. At the start, it's estimated to be 96, possibly 95. For it to rise, the time needed might be slightly longer—" Before that engineer could finish his sentence, the adaptability value had already shot up to 96, then risen to 97, and was continuing to rise to 98. He stared blankly at the screen for a second then put on a serious face. "Pretend I didn't say anything."