Virtual World: Close Combat Mage

Chapter 99

Chapter 99 - Spell Mastery

Royal God Call was currently feeling immense regret.

He used to think that his skill as a Mage had reached the point where he could be considered as peerless. Thinking that being a Mage once more in other MMOs would be unfair to others, he had not chosen the job class in Parallel World. He even ignored the fact that being a Mage in this fully immersive game would be a whole new experience. Afterward, he had somewhat regretted his decision, but his remorse was never as intense as right now.

At present, he was about to help Gu Fei enter an uncharted territory of the Mage job class. A myriad of characteristics, control, and skills of the Mage job class flashed through his mind as he tried to come up with new combat styles for it. Royal God Call’s interest for the job class was rekindled, burning stronger and brighter as it formed the word ‘melancholy’.

“My role as a Mage is not over yet!” Royal God Call shouted his throat raw.

The Mages who had heard him looked on in confusion, “Why is that Archer shouting about his role as a Mage?”

“Do you have to be so overly dramatic?” Gu Fei felt embarrassed when he heard the Mages’ comments in the surrounding area. Just like how others could not understand his fascination with kung fu, he could also not comprehend the players’ mentality regarding games. First it was Sword Demon; now, it was Royal God Call.

“Alright! Let’s get down to business!” Royal God Call appeared to be more excited than Gu Fei.

Gu Fei nodded his head in agreement.

Royal God Call began to share his hypothesis, “The current level 30 Mage’s skill tree has level 0 Fireball, level 6 Ring of Fire, level 12 Spell Mastery, level 18 Twin Incineration, level 24 Descending Wheel of Flames, and level 30 Repeating Fireball. Spell Mastery is a passive skill, so there’s no need to mind it. The other five are offensive spells.”

Gu Fei nodded his head. His Midnight Spirit Robe had the ‘Spell Mastery +1’ trait. Not knowing its purpose, he had tried asking Fleeting Smile about it before. Unfortunately, the latter was busy and could not explain it to him. Later on, he visited the Mage Academy in Yueye City to learn all the available spells he could and somewhat understood Spell Mastery’s function after reading its description.

The passive skill, Spell Mastery, had two effects: It increased a character’s Spell Aptitude and it boosted Spell Damage by a certain percentage.

This passive skill had its own leveling system. It improved Spell Aptitude and Spell Damage by 6% when a player was at level 1. A player could attain the next level of Spell Mastery if he or she reached the required character level for it. Since Gu Fei learned Spell Mastery at level 31, his passive spell was already at level 3 and added 18% to his Spell Aptitude and Spell Damage.

Gu Fei reckoned that his Midnight Spirit Robe’s ‘Spell Mastery +1’ trait had also increased the level of his passive skill by one, allowing him to deal monstrous magic damage. With Moonlit Nightfalls’ high Spell Damage, Gu Fei’s Descending Wheel of Flames could insta-kill those Past Deeds’ Warriors under the King’s Command’s buffs despite him having 0 spell proficiency.

Passive skill was not something only Mages had. Thieves had Dagger Mastery, Archers had Bow Mastery, and so on. Each job class had its version of a passive skill depending on its specialization. While every job class had no requisite weapon, each still had its forte.

This was something any average player already knew. Only someone like Gu Fei who had just learned the available spells or had no understanding of the game mechanics would be clueless about it.

Royal God Call continued explaining, “Ring of Fire is considered as a defensive spell. With how Mages usually try to maintain distance with their opponents in a fight, this spell has little to no value. But if it’s used in close combat, the spell’s worth increases. Although its damage isn’t high, the spell’s effect has a long duration. If you can stick close to an opponent like how you did to me with that sword of yours just now, the spell can perhaps deplete that player’s HP to zero. As for how high the damage you can inflict on your opponent, I’ll need more time to figure that out. What’s your proficiency right now?”

“Zero…” Gu Fei answered sheepishly.

“F*ck!” Royal God Call exclaimed, “You won’t even be able to burn a player to death with such a low proficiency, as it means that the damage your spell deals is low as well. Try to use it more often. There ain’t shortcuts to improving your skills.”

Gu Fei nodded his head in acknowledgement.

“Burning your opponents with this spell without them slaying you first; that’s the hurdle in this,” Royal God Call mulled over this problem.

“Increase Agility for my movement to become nimbler,” Gu Fei answered.

Royal God Call was speechless for a moment. Since the system of other MMOs calculated the players’ evasion rate to determine whether attacks were a hit or a miss, the players just added stat points or equipped certain equipment to solve the issue. In Parallel World, however, evading attacks and skills required the players to perform necessary movements. Whether attacks would be a miss or a hit was entirely dependent on the players’ reaction. Even when the players reacted quickly, sufficient points to Agility were still needed for them to complete their evasive maneuver. This became one of the uses of stat points. In fact, characters in Parallel World did not have Hit and Evasion stats as – in the words of that disgusting slogan used in the game’s commercial – “the decision lay entirely in the players’ hands.”

While it sounded simple theoretically, it would actually take a long time for players to adjust to this type of gaming environment. By the time the players got the hang of the game, they would have long been expert combatants and skillful weapon wielders.

Of course, these talks were reserved for the later stages of the game. Currently, a majority of the players were still in the adapting-to-everything stage. Gu Fei saying “increase Agility for my movement to become nimbler” was merely empty talk that sounded theoretically plausible for Royal God Call.

Upon seeing Royal God Call’s disdainful eyes, Gu Fei limbered up his body and said, “Here. Let me show you.”

“Eh?”

Gu Fei rushed toward a monster while shouting, “Ring of Fire. Appear!”

Since Ring of Fire was an instant-cast spell, it immediately enveloped Gu Fei’s body once it was casted. The monster cried shrilly as it got exposed to the spell enveloping Gu Fei before collapsing by his feet.

Royal God Call paled visibly, “Your Spell Damage is very high... Just this defensive spell insta-killed your enemy! What’s going on? Didn’t you say your proficiency at it is zero? How did you deal such a high damage, then?”

Gu Fei handed Moonlit Nightfalls to Royal God Call for inspection. 

Royal God Call took the sword, nonplussed. Upon seeing its traits, he had the sudden urge to log off and never interact with Gu Fei ever again. He shrieked, “Where did you get this?!”

“It’s a chain quest reward,” Gu Fei calmly answered.

“Chain quest reward? Are these rewards so OP by nature? No wonder your Spell Damage is monstrously high. The heck! This weapon’s Physical Damage is very high as well. I’ll get insta-killed if this sword is plunged into my chest. This… This...” Royal God Call was at a loss for words.

“I don’t think you’ll get insta-killed. My Sword Aptitude isn’t high enough,” Gu Fei refuted.

“Aptitude… What’s that?” Royal God Call asked.

“Oh, it’s like this!” Gu Fei regurgitated Fleeting Smile’s explanation to him. He was worried at first that his explanation was not clear enough. But who was Royal God Call? He was of course a gaming expert. Naturally, his understanding of online games was comparable to Gu Fei’s understanding of kung fu. After listening to Gu Fei’s explanation, Royal God Call immediately got what he meant, repeatedly crying out, “I see!”

Although Royal God Call was a gaming expert, no current equipment, besides Gu Fei’s, had Aptitude requirement in Parallel World. And despite the Bow Mastery skill having Bow Aptitude +18%, there was no explanation detailing what it was for. Researching about its usage was impossible as well, since information concerning this trait had yet to be released in public.

“Based on your explanation, any equipment with Aptitude requirement is considered as high grade,” Royal God Call gazed intently at Gu Fei’s sword, “If we estimate using the Spell Damage of the general magic staves right now, this sword should be a level 50 to 60 weapon. This means that a level 50 to 60 character with the correct stat point allocation can attain its Aptitude requirement. Otherwise, this Aptitude design will be meaningless.”

“What’re you insinuating?” Gu Fei asked.

“That having adequate Spell Aptitude that will allow you to unleash this sword’s full potential with your current level 30 and full-Agility build is impossible. But if that’s the case, why is your 0 spell proficiency able to deal immense damage? What’s going on here? Where did that Spell Aptitude come from?” Royal God Call wondered.

“Spell Mastery at level 3; that’s only 18%. I have a robe that grants me Spell Mastery +1, bringing the passive skill up to 24%. Plus, Mages have innate Aptitude toward spells,” Gu Fei explained.

“This sword has a Spell Aptitude requirement of 170%... The innate Aptitude bonus from the Mage job class won’t be sufficient for you to unleash this level 50 or higher weapon’s full potential. The stat that affects Spell Aptitude most likely is Intelligence, even if we consider Spirit. My point is that it won’t depend on Agility. Since you only added points to Agility, how much Spell Aptitude can you have with the default stat boost of 30 points for Intelligence and Spirit at level 30? It’s absolutely impossible!” Royal God Call calculated aloud. Suddenly, he thought of something, “Wait a minute. Did you just say your robe has ‘Spell Mastery +1’ trait? What robe is that?”

Gu Fei took off Midnight Spirit Robe and handed it over to Royal God Call for inspection as well.

“F*ck me. Where did you get this? This robe must be at level 60 or 70!” Royal God Call was stunned once more.

“It’s also a chain quest reward.”

“A robe that adds 20 points to Intelligence… isn’t enough still. Spell Mastery +1... By the looks of things, this ‘+1’ doesn’t increase your Spell Mastery passive skill by one level,” Royal God Call said.

“What does it do, then?”

“Uhhh... Aptitude is displayed as percentage. Does this ‘+1’ actually mean ‘+100%’? If that’s the case, then this robe adds 100% to your Spell Aptitude, achieving your sword’s Spell Aptitude requirement. With that, it’s possible for you to wield this weapon to its full potential,” Royal God Call’s eyes brimmed with excitement, his expression probably resembling Christopher Columbus’ when he had found the New World.

“Quick! Try it out!” Royal God Call held Midnight Spirit Robe and returned Moonlit Nightfalls to Gu Fei. He pointed toward a monster and said, “GO!”

Gu Fei followed his orders. He flicked out Moonlit Nightfalls as he rushed toward the indicated monster with his bare torso, instantly casting Ring of Fire.

It was exactly like what Royal God Call had deduced; the monster screamed as it got scorched by the spinning Ring of Fire, but it did not fall down this time. Clearly, Gu Fei’s Spell Damage had dropped by a huge margin.

“Wa ha ha ha ha! I’m indeed a first-rate expert among Mages. Actually solving the mystery of your Spell Damage so quickly,” Royal God Call cackled arrogantly.

The surrounding players observed the rare animal before them once more, This Archer is calling himself a Mage? What a lunatic!

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