After an accident leaves pro-gamer Eric Lieu both mentally and physically scarred, he’s forced to leave the pro circuit and any chance he’d ever have at being the “best.” In real life, socially-awkward loners whose facial muscles only seem to recognize “surly frown” and “smug-ass smirk” as expressions don’t get to rule the world.
But then eccentric genius Zhao Jianyu launches Viren’s Refuge, the first full-immersion VRMMORPG, and Eric decides to join this game of Gods and monsters to rise from the ashes even stronger than before.
Citing his belief that “Games belong to the Gamers,” Zhao Jianyu refuses corporate investments and offers an unbelievable deal to hardcore gamers: Play for Shares! The first 10,000 players to buy the insanely expensive VR gear and game subscription will receive stock in Zhao Jianyu’s private company. Furthermore, once the initial 9 Mythic Realms of the game are defeated, the Final Player Rankings will determine who inherits the company. Zhao Jianyu does all he can to make the playing field equal against the corporations determined to exploit his game, but it will be up to the gamers themselves to prove that those who enjoy the game the most will always be the ultimate winners.
With the help from a quirky cast of friends Eric definitely didn’t ask for (and can’t understand why they keep sticking around), Eric is determined to win the game for the gamers and help Zhao Jianyu realize his dream of a world safe for all types of people—even the loser loners. But with so many real-world stakes, will Eric be able to survive long enough to prove the true worth of a gamer?
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