Ancient Tribes of Earth was far beyond anything I had previously seen in a video game, much less an MMO. The story was extremely immersive with just enough detail to get me hooked without bogging me down with endless backstory. There were also voice activated dialogue options that allowed me to influence the world with immediate gratification, such as when I flirted with a barmaid only to have her attempt to dump a drink on me. I was able to dodge the drink as she poured, bumping into a fellow patron who then tried attacking me. Jarod’s character was just walking down the street when he saw the tavern brawl break out. To make matters even more impressive, voice actors responded to all of my actions and speech with very convincing performances. The in-game voice chat varied in volume depending on the distance from each person and environmental effects, so talking during the bar fight was difficult, despite being mere feet apart in reality. If you wanted to talk with someone over long distances, there was a telepathy spell players could learn through a simple quest. The graphics were better than anything I had seen as well, probably due in part to Mila’s insanely fast processing speeds. When I checked the settings, I found that everything was running at maximum. For a brief time, I was able to forget that magic and fighting in real life were far more complicated; I was my character, Ignus Ashenwake.
I traveled along with my four companions in our quest to prove ourselves by thwarting the growing influence of evil dragons in the world. Without being bound by classes or other roles, Brandon, Brenna, and I all were trying our hands at everything we came across. Ignus was currently carrying a sword, mace, longbow, crossbow, and three daggers. He also had a number of fire spells. Having to aim and dodge attacks made things more complicated than the average MMO I had tried, especially with how the stronger enemies would switch tactics shortly after I did. Emma was completely focused on the magical aspect of the game, attempting to figure out the best combinations of spells available and to create her own. Aaliyah was, well, Aaliyah. Her character, The Cool Little Princess, looked identical to her real life self, save for the clothing, which was odd. She wore a red, cylindrical hat and a bowtie while carrying a wand with a glowing green tip, which she claimed had “sonic power”. When we went into combat, the rest of us desperately fought to stay alive. The Cool Little Princess just talked to the enemies until they handed over their stuff and ran away. There obviously were perks to creating the game, but none of us complained at all when she shared the loot.
“I think they’re ignoring us, Mai.” stated Ai as she walked over to the snack table. “I sure didn’t get invited to come play,” said Mai, who came to stand in front of me. Then in unison they exclaimed “James! How could you pick a video game over us? Don’t you care about us at all anymore? Why weren’t we invited?’ I kept trying to respond, but they interrupted and talked over me with each attempt. Whether tired of the interruption or just wanting to help me, Aaliyah came over and started tugging on their hands until they let her pull them over to a chair. Much to my surprise, they even pretended to wince in her tiny grip. While the rest of us hung around the virtual town, trying not to get in too much trouble, Aaliyah stood by the twins, tapping her foot and glaring at them with arms crossed. I was impressed that they were playing along, even though they continued to complain about how pointless video games were. “Are you two liking the tutorial” asked Brandon, who was probably bored after waiting so long. His character, Elf Hottie, was dancing seductively on top of a barrel by the tavern. We were standing outside instead of getting temporary stat boosts from the drinks they served, since I wasn’t allowed inside until I paid for “repairs”. Looking at their screens, the twins were still playing with the customization options, obviously attempting to make themselves as Aaliyah had done.
Ai said, “One of the redheads is talking, Mai. I think he’s impatient. Are you finished with your character yet?” To which Mai replied, “No. I’m trying to get my hair right. How is yours?” Ai then told her “I’m working on the eyebrows. If the little brat learned to share more, this software would be great in the fashion industry. Did you see the makeup options?” Aaliyah was still standing there, tapping her foot as she continued glaring at them in the most adorable way. Emma and I were devouring the fruits, and I only felt a little bad about destroying the fancy displays they made. “Aren’t you glad you hired such a great gardener, man-slave? Fresh fruit and vegetables are the best!” stated Emma. I laughed and took another bite in agreement. No one could beat a “gardener” who could make plants grow however she wanted, and I only knew of one Emma. “So James… are those two always so feisty, or do they just not like redheads?” asked Brenna as she got some more punch. The twins leaned toward one another, and Ai said, “Sister, why does the redhead think we don’t like her?” Mai replied “This confuses me as well, since we cooked them pancakes.” Ai then told her “You don’t think they want us to use names, do you?” Mai shrugged and stated “I can’t see why when we do them great honor by pointing out their splendid distinction.” Turning toward Brenna, they smiled and said in unison, “Oh, the soulless.”
I quickly turned my head to see how Brenna took the last comment, hoping she wasn’t offended by redhead jokes. To my relief, she looked quite amused. Brandon leaned over the back of his chair and said, “Hey, sis. Looks like your secret’s out!” When I looked back at Brenna, her hair was pitch black and her light freckles were gone completely. “What do you mean,” she asked, “I only see one soulless here.” He smiled and told her as he nodded toward the twins “Then as the only ginger, I suppose I’ll be the only spice in their life.” The twins groaned, but Emma and I were laughing. “Seriously, you two. You can’t laugh at my brother’s jokes. They’re just not funny!” exclaimed Brenna. Mai then asked, “If he’s to be our Ginger Spice, will he wear a dress and sing for us?” Ai told her “If his pitch is as off as his jokes, we can always set him on the piano to help him get on key.” Brenna sighed and went back to her seat. After another ten-ish minutes of conversation, the twins were finally ready to play. Jarod walked into the room before I even managed to sit down again. “Hey, guys. Mila told me there was an important business meeting going on, but this is WAY better!” he announced as he looked around. I smiled and told him “Welcome, valued employee, to the first ever Ancient Tribes of Earth training session!” Best Friend For Hire was a very unique business, but that was what I loved about it.