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Shin Megami Tensei en Línea: IMAGINAR

 Page 2: How you’ll be spending your time and money…

Getting started: The game experience and IMAGINE community you’ll interact with will depend on the client, that is the application you will play, which you download. Playing is as easy as registering with the official website where you downloaded your client - fulfilling registration requirements - and seeing that your personal computer meets the minimum hardware specs made available on each respective website. The hardware requirements are thankfully fairly flexible and overall shouldn’t put a dent in your pocketbook - just make sure your graphics card supports the Microsoft DirectX Pixel Shader 2.0 specifications. Likewise it is possible to play IMAGINE successfully with the lowest grade of broadband internet access, however to a large extent “lag” and “ping time” can benefit from faster connections, especially if connecting to overseas or overburdened servers. Alternatively at times boxed versions of IMAGINE have been made available to offline consumers, along with certain promotional coupons promising the chance to win exclusive one time only in-game items. These coupons are exchanged via promotional codes entered from within the game. Buying a boxset does not guarantee a rare one-of-a-time prize, but even consolation prizes will be of certain value. A boxset might also gift back a certain amount of CP, which is an in-game currency which may be purchased via domestic currency, that is “real world” money, from your client’s official website.

After you’ve registered and downloaded a client, it’s time to login and setup your initial in-game character. Future characters can be bought with CP but are non-refundable upon deletion. The most important decision to consider when creating a character is which “server” - or world - you will play in as this character. Each world is named after a certain Devil unique to each client, and choosing the wrong world will mean you might be unable to interact with a friend or even your own characters in much the same way players on different clients cannot interact - on the other hand alternative worlds might offer smoother connections and a wider array of unused names, for your new character. The worlds themselves to some extent also dictate the current state of the in-game economy and fashions available to players, otherwise at this time there is no distinguishing difference between worlds - events are staged simultaneously and rarely if ever cross the boundaries of worlds.

IMAGINE is a Material World

Once you’ve chosen your world and satisfied the character creation dialog you will be thrust into the universe of IMAGINE. Unlike previous Megaten offerings, IMAGINE promises a social experience and the opportunity to express yourself via character customization. Though some items can be obtained in the overworld or dungeons, the vast majority of IMAGINE finery requires a certain familiarity with the in-game virtual marketplace. A number of items can be purchased directly with CP, still yet a much greater variety are obtainable only via the Fortune Card lottery, or Bazaar System which allows players to setup autonomous kiosks to sell their wares at going rates. And if that were not enough, adhoc trading lists also enable players to post “haves & wants” for all online to see throughout the in-game world. The lotteries themselves function very similarly to the aforementioned boxset promotional prize giveaways, however instead players purchase Fortune Cards from the various in-game “NPC” vendors with CP. The vendor-specific prizes available change from update to update generally one vendor at a time, but sometimes more. Like a convenience store lottery, the Fortune Cards are exchanged on spot for your prize. Generally even the least valuable prizes are of considerable in-game value, though it is arguable whether or not they’re worth the real CP cost of the Fortune cards themselves, which normally range from 30 to 60CP. In this way new fashions are distributed throughout the worlds as players opt to keep, sell, or trade their winnings.

Because it is not possible to trade CP in-game - though it might be possible to gift CP to other accounts registered with the same website as your own - CP items must be sold for macca, the traditional Megaten currency. Fortunately the Bazaar System runs entirely on macca. Accounts are limited to one active Bazaar kiosk apiece, which is shared by characters on the same account. The amount of items a Bazaar may display is normally about five, but sometimes this number rises considerably during different events and could change in the future. Players can purchase items from a kiosk with their macca on-hand, the maximum amount a player may carry being 2.5 million minus the one inventory slot which must hold the purchased item - so the maximum an item can sell on the Bazaar is no more than this, though items can be priced at higher amounts. Alternatively larger trades can be made directly with the Bazaar owner or via the trading list. For more than a year players could not hope to manage more macca than this at a time, but now special 50 thousand macca notes may be purchased from the many Yagi shops which dot the IMAGINE landscape. These notes “stack”, and may be traded, but are still not compatible with the Bazaar system. On the plus side, players need no longer leave money in their Bazaar holdings as a makeshift bank account. Bazaar kiosk time and location can be purchased within the confines of in-game towns, cost varying with the profitability of each limited spot. Once a player buys your item you can normally expect to receive 5/6ths of the transaction, where the remaining 1/6th goes only YHVH knows.

For more than a year or so, macca was not overly easy to come by. However an eventual update introduced a game-play element called Plasma. As designed players play a mini game locating balls of Plasma on the overworld fields, which spawn not unlike free roaming Devils - and a timed clicking feat is required of the player in exchange for otherwise useless items which may be sold to NPC vendors or converted into Elements which are utilized by certain more advanced skill-sets. The “useless” items fetch a fairly lucrative price from NPCs and the easily obtained elements sell even better to players who need them. So it is - now any player inclined to monotonous and relatively thoughtless feats of endurance may in short order rack up a fairly vast store of macca compared to alternative means of supporting oneself. Whether or not “farming” Plasma in this way is a sustainable prospect for IMAGINE is yet to be tested, however the introduction of Plasma was followed by a steep macca inflation further limiting the long-term viability of the Bazaar system - due to it’s ever devalued maximum price tag cap.

Finally, as a convenience players may store items away in their Terminal locker, which may be accessed from any of the Terminals found about the various towns regularly spaced throughout the terrain of IMAGINE. Each storage allotment is identical to each character’s inventory. Additional such allotments might be temporarily obtained with the aid of CP in the form of item storage tickets, which can then be exchanged for approximately one month storage, after which items may be removed but not replaced. Incidentally characters occupying the same account share this storage space so that it is never overly difficult to transfer items from character to character. Similarly one such allotment may be purchased for storing Devils at a slightly greater cost, 60CP to be exact, only that you’re able to store as many Devils as your inventory can hold items, which is several times more than can be carried into battle or managed at any one time. Though too numerous to enumerate, many advanced skills exist from which industrious players may generate considerable profits, some of which utilizing Devils themselves - nevertheless these month-to-month storage opportunities are priced dollar-for-dollar as a monthly subscription plan might be if only IMAGINE offered one.

Don’t miss page 3 of this extended article . . . .

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