Log Horizon Episode 14 Notes

January 4th, 2014.

The Game’s System Performance as Reality

I’m betting we’re going to meet visitors, players, from other servers. Now that we have Akiba united, it’s time to talk about uniting the people of all the servers, I guess. Let’s see if Crusty and the princess get any more air-time.

Shorter Asides:

  • “Precursors” is an interesting word, because they’re precursors to something. But it also could mean “Forerunners” in the sense of “vanguard”, the knights who lead the charge. Against the demi-humans, perhaps.
  • Rundel Haus, you’re so easy to manipulate :3

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Systems Excite Me – Seeing “Rules” Transform (into) Reality:

  1. Interesting, this reminds me of the magic system in Burning Wheel, or rather, the magic-system creation system for Burning Wheel, as opposed to the Dungeons and Dragons magic system. You can divide magic any way you want, and for those who deal with effects (ergo, players), who it affects and how is usually the number one priority. But when you design the system, and assign difficulty numbers/costs, as game designers must, you look at it from a different perspective, from which “Fireball” and “Iceball” are essentially identical spells.
  2. See, this is exactly what I came to this show for – seeing how the “rules” of the game aimed at players transform when the world is real – “Respawn” means that if you live in the world, you can never truly defeat monsters, you can never clear an area of them, unless there’s a special quest line that changes the world.

2) The Only Place that Matters, It’s Here:

Log Horizon episode 14 anime

  1. Yes, that world map is our world. Then again, we’ve always known “Elder Tale” is modeled after our world, and thus the players each play in a zone located in the equivalent to where they live.
  2. For a moment I was, “WOW, Elder Tale had been around for 20 years!”, but if you look at a game like Everquest, which had its latest expansion in October 2013, it’s been first released in 1999, and development began in 1996, so it’s not that far-fetched at all.
  3. Shiroe counts 20 years from when the beta had been out, which had been in 1998, so it’s 2018 within the anime. Furthermore, beta started 240 in-world years ago, or 20 real-world years ago, but the first World Fraction had been 350 years ago, meaning 29 years ago, or 1989. Are we talking about introduction of internet, or MUDs here? Hm.
    Unless of course before beta, during development, time flowed differently. Not 12 times as quickly, but 120, making it less than a year, say, which is possible.

3) Body-Mind Duality, Imperfect Copies, The Soul:

Log Horizon episode 14 anime

  1. Resurrection is making an imperfect copy, degradation of information, thus XP loss. Great.
  2. Hm, the body-mind duality part here is important, because we’re splitting not just the body and the mind, but two aspects that are usually referred to as “psyche” in common parlance – consciousness and emotions as separate from memories, rather than being tied to one another completely. BUT, it could also be an answer to why the players don’t recall how they ended in Elder Tale – the new bodies lack memories, but then again, they do have their memories from the old world, and the game-time. Degradation? Perhaps they all died and had been resurrected within the game? As the mage said, their psyche, their souls carried and reincarnated them within the game ;-)
  3. And now we have something real to worry about, death might have real consequences, not just losing experience. So people who PK others are doing more than bullying, and taking wild risks is well, a risk.
  4. Man, Shiroe explaining the player as the mind and the character as the body. I think I took some notes on the issue of body-mind separation with regards to World of Warcraft back in ~2008. I wonder if I could find them, because it’s only a dim memory in my mind, heh. That’s why I write down stuff, because you forget it otherwise. I think it might be in a physical notebook I used to jot down ideas, hm.

Post Episode Thoughts:

On the plot level, of which events occurred, next to nothing happened, we mostly got a whole bunch of exposition. BUT, this was my favourite episode in a long time, in the show.

First, yes, I’ll admit it, I love “systems”, I love magic systems, I love reading and understanding how they’re designed. Setting-driven or setting-heavy novels really do attract me, and an exposition by someone from within the world is a good way to give me a lot of what I like in one fell swoop.

But it’s not just that, this episode gave me what I really liked about Log Horizon on its onset, and what I’ve always found most interesting in Anthropology classes, how the knowledge is actually applied, how this is a new world, but with a known “system”, how the system the players are familiar with, the rules, how it translates to in-fiction. I mean, even in Dungeons and Dragons, after a certain point, players just shrug at death and get resurrected, but to most people in the setting, resurrection is far too expensive, and more than that, no one really explores the ramifications of resurrection on a society, on a world where death isn’t finite, and where assassins can’t just kill someone and be done, but have to hide/mutilate the corpse to truly deny resurrection.

Taking these things which “just exist” and showing us their ramifications, their effects on society, is exactly what I’ve loved in the early episodes of Log Horizon, and exactly what shows us it’s the same author as the one behind Maoyu, one which shows an ability to look at societies, and systems.

Return to the Log Horizon Episodic Notes page.

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