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What's up basement dwellers; I'm Geoff Thew, professional shit bag.

This is my mother's basement, and I am feeling really excited today

because I finally got approved for my lootcrate sponsorship,

which is basically like your license to be an actual YouTuber

and let me tell you, I feel like a real big-time YouTuber when I tell you

that you can go to lootcrate.com/basement

and use the promo code "basement" for 10% off your lootcrate order

or if you're a Crunchyroll member and you're interested in lootanime,

you can use your Crunchyroll premium subscription

to get an even bigger discount on the lootanime box,

and if you don't have a Crunchyroll premium membership,

you can sign up for one for free for 30 days,

which will still get you this discount at crunchyroll.com/basement.

And yes, what you just saw there is the legendary double-shill technique

which has been passed down through my family line for generations.

In the case of lootanime, what you're getting

are official anime and manga collectibles sent straight from Japan,

including unique items like this Berserk letter opener,

cool apparel like these Bleach lounge pants,

and even official anime and manga releases such as...

[Kill Bill Theme]

Wheh!

Werh!

Wheh!

Werh!

Wheh!

Werrr...

We're doing another Sword Art Online video.

That's what this is.

[Music continues]

Over the course of two very comprehensive videos,

I have proven definitively that Sword Art Online is a complete dumpster fire,

yet somehow people are still enjoying it. I don't get that.

Somehow the show has been approved for a third season,

and there's a live-action North American TV show in the works, which makes no sense to me

and months after I solved SAO fandom online forever,

I still keep getting messages such as

"actually, I think the show is pretty good. I respectfully disagree with your opinion,"

and "kill yourself."

Still probably not gonna do it guys,

but what I am gonna do is blow your minds with a revolutionary new idea

that has never before been heard in the realm of anime criticism;

Sword Art Online is terrible.

I'm talking about Sword Art Online,

the game within the show... not Sword Art Online, the show itself.

Obviously many people have already said that

Sword Art Online, the show itself, is terrible...

probably could have worded that better.

S.A.O. (the show) has tons of problems with

pacing,

character development,

plot structure,

dialogue,

direction,

cinematography,

editing,

animation,

fight choreography,

basic storytelling techniques,

and sexual assault.

But, for me, as someone who has been known to enjoy

a good video game from time to time, S.A.O.'s biggest problem is that

its writer, Reki Kawahara, has no goddamn idea what a good video game even is.

PROLOGUE

Reki Kawahara Doesn't Do His Fucking Research

Lots of SAO fans watch the show because the fantasy of a VR MMO is super appealing.

But if you take more than two seconds to look at how Sword Art Online is designed,

it becomes apparent that it would be the least fun thing to play ever,

and that's without it trying to kill you!

It's abundantly clear that Reki Kawahara doesn't play video games at all,

despite having written two light novel series about them,

and I mean, you don't need to play games to write stories about them

any more than Andy Weir needed to be an astronaut to write the Martian,

but if you don't, you do need to do basic research

and Reki Kawahara can't even be fucking bothered to do that!

Now there are two big clues to this, and the first is a bit more arguable;

his protagonists.

When you look at Kawahara's two big series, SAO and Accel World,

there's one common thread that links their heroes;

speed.

These guys are such great gamers

entirely because they have the fastest reflexes, like... ever.

But that's not how competitive video games work.

That's how writers on shitty daytime TV shows think competitive video games work.

Any pro gamer will tell you that while reflexes do matter,

the determining factors in winning any game are systems knowledge,

and your ability to read your opponent.

In a shooter, knowing where everything is on the map,

and figuring out where your enemy will go next is the key to victory,

not improving your headshot accuracy.

In a fighting game, where things move way too fast to react to anyway,

the key to winning is figuring out what option your opponent will take next,

and moving to counter it before it happens.

This is true of most real sports as well;

There's a physical limit to how fast the human mind can respond to stimuli,

and how fast the human body can move and...

most athletes are already operating at (or around) that limit.

Watch any sports anime and you'll see time and again

that victory comes down to concocting a strategy

to exploit the opposing team or player's weaknesses.

But someone stupid could argue that this much is artistic license

rather than blatantly lazy, ignorant, and unresearched writing.

The second clue is much harder to dismiss

because it's a matter of raw numbers, and Kawahara's numbers just don't add up.

In the show, we hear time and again that 10,000 players are trapped in SAO

and it's this big tragedy that 4,000 of them die.

But an arguably equivalent tragedy is the fact that

with these launch numbers, Sword Art Online would instantly be

the biggest commercial failure in the history of video games,

and would probably sink all future VR MMOs forever.

and, again, it would do that without having to kill people.

10,000 (or 50,000 in the original web novel) is a good sales number... for a book,

but in video game terms it's an abject almost unparalleled failure.

These days, if AAA video games don't score sales in the tens of millions,

they're considered to be flops.

And though MMO install bases can be smaller

due to subscription fees and microtransactions,

and their sales tend to be closely guarded secrets,

even the flops like URU Online, APB, and vanilla Final Fantasy XIV

are estimated to have sales in the hundreds of thousands.

At only 10,000 launch players, SAO is the worst selling

big-budget MMO of all time by an immense margin,

and maybe the worst selling video game of all time period relative to its budget,

and I know what some of you are going to say,

"the game had an intentionally limited initial printing."

But that's complete fucking nonsense for two reasons.

Firstly, any game released in 2022 is going to be distributed digitally,

and secondly, there's no fucking way that any of the game's financial backers

would sign off on that, for the simple reason that they would never

EVER make their money back!

World of Warcraft had an estimated budget at launch of 63 million dollars.

Now, SAO would probably cost ten times that much to develop

because the graphics are exponentially more detailed than WOW's,

the physics engine is a lot more complicated,

it has two years worth of content at launch,

and on top of regular game development costs,

we also have to account for the cost of creating

sensory data for every possible interaction in the game.

But let's be ultra-conservative and use WOW as a baseline.

If developing SAO costs $63 million dollars, then each of those 10,000 players

would have to pay $6300 dollars for the game to break even.

Even if every player was

one of those kids who renders their parents bankrupt playing Angry Birds,

the prospect of pulling in those numbers is dicey at the very best.

"But Jeff," you say, "that was only the launch window..."

"They limited the release to build up hype!"

"They plan to give the game a wider release, and make their money back over time!"

And yes, that's the logic in the story, but it's still complete bullshit.

For starters, AAA companies rely on their launch window

to make most of their money back; that's a commonly known fact.

but even if SAO eventually made it into the hands of every single person

who owned a NerveGear, at the time of SAO's beta test

that was only somewhere in the ballpark of 200,000.

How do I know this and not how to drive...

and even if we assume that NerveGear sales doubled to 40K

between August and the game's release in November,

they'd still need to make $150 off of every single user just to break even. And, again,

considering that MMOs like Warhammer Online have budgets in the hundreds of millions,

as do single-player games like GTA5, I am being extremely generous with those numbers.

And then to put the hardware numbers in perspective, the PlayStation VR

is projected to hit around 700,000 units

by the end of the year, just three months after its launch.

while the more expensive HTC Vive and Oculus Rift

are expected to hit about 800K combined sales by year's end.

about the same 7 month timeframe between the launch of the NerveGear

and the launch of SAO. Assuming that NerveGear sales stay consistent

and don't drop off at all, which they inevitably would,

it would move about 600,000 units in that year, almost 200,000 less

than the Virtual Boy pulled in the 6 months before it was discontinued.

Stretch that out over 3 years to when this thing would probably be discontinued,

and it would have sold 200,000 less than the 3D-fucking-O,

and about 8,000,000 less than the Dreamcast and Wii U.

So even before Kayaba Akihiko started using it to murder people,

the NerveGear was the consumer electronics equivalent of the Titanic.

SAO probably had more investors jumping off of ledges than players,

in fact I wouldn't be surprised if Akihiko did the whole death game thing

to serve as a diversion from his plummeting stock prices.

So the game would never make money, the hardware would never make money,

and no investor would ever touch full-dive VR with a ten-foot pole ever again.

A pretty far cry from the VR-enabled future Reki Kawahara predicts in Accel World,

but then he's a really shitty writer.

But we shouldn't forget that he's also a really shitty game designer,

But we shouldn't forget that he's also a re-heally shitty game designer,

But we shouldn't forget that he's also a re-he-HEALLY shitty game designer,

which probably explains those awful awful sales to some degree.

SAO, GGO, and especially ALO, if they existed in the real world,

would all rank among the absolute shittiest MMOs

of the free-to-play asian market budget scene right off the bat.

Here's why.

PART 1

The User Interface Is Terrible

SAO is routinely praised for its graphic design, and you know what? It genuinely deserves it.

The menus and graphics in the show look great, and are easy to read.

If there's nothing else that you can say for SAO (and there isn't),

at least the menus are good...

except if you really look at how they function, they really aren't.

In terms of actual usability, SAO's menus and graphics are pretty awful.

A maze of dropdowns,

nested within dropdowns,

nested within dropdowns.

Yes, it's minimalistic and elegant and nice to look at,

but there's a reason that games like WOW have such cluttered screens;

because you actually need access to all of that information at once!

In WOW, if you need something like a potion for battle,

you can have it loaded up on your on-screen item box,

or even tied to a hotkey for easy access.

In SAO, to use a potion, you have to open your menu,

click on the player icon,

click on items in the dropdown menu,

then scroll through the dropdown list of items (which you can only read five at a time)

in order to find the potion,

and in the time it takes you to sort through all those menus,

you're probably already dead,

or maybe your party member is-- not that you'd know,

because their life bar is scrolled away over in the top-left corner of your vision.

And even if you notice that a party member is dying,

you can't actually see which one it is,

unless you turn your eyes (not your head)

all the way to the periphery to read their name.

And even when you do that (as SAO Progressive demonstrates),

the name can be obscured by your hair.

This. is. fucking. awful.

Even outside of the urgency of combat,

interacting with the game is needlessly complicated.

In order to equip new gear,

you first need to unequip everything you're wearing, right down to the underwear.

Now I realize this is just an excuse to show some more fanservice,

but think of how fucking awful it would be to have to take that extra step

every time you get new equipment in an MMO--

and you know what the worst part of this is?

None of it is even fucking necessary!

You're hooked up to a computer that can directly read your goddamn mind!

why do you even need a gesture-based interface in the first place?

having the menu be thought-controlled would be infinitely more straightforward,

AND easier to program!

It's like they didn't even think about how they were designing the game!

PART 2

They Didn't Even Think About How They Were Designing The Game

Almost since their inception, one of the design pillars of MMOs

has been the 'Holy Trinity' of class roles;

Tank, Healer, and DPS (or Damage Per Second).

Tanks absorb the bulk of enemy damage

DPS characters deal the bulk of damage for your party,

and Healers make sure that everyone else stays alive.

This is important for a few reasons;

it forces cooperation on the part of players,

it adds variety to combat encounters,

allowing players to roll multiple characters and play through the story mode multiple times,

and it gives different kinds of players satisfying roles to play

that minimize the time that they spend worrying about things that they don't find fun.

That last point is the vital part of the equation, and the one that SAO missed;

you don't absolutely need to have Tanks, DPS, and Healers in every single MMO,

that would get awfully monotonous pretty fast...

but you do absolutely need to have distinct

and viable roles for players who want to be aggressive,

players who want to engage in threat management,

and players who want to support others from the back lines.

Anyone who has ever played an MMO knows this--

hell, anyone who's seen one episode of Log Horizon does.

Yet Reki Kawahara couldn't be asked to do even that much.

SAO has one player role; close-range DPS.

It has characters that it calls tanks,

but the only difference between them and attackers is that

they block enemy attacks instead of dodging them.

So healers don't exist, and tanks don't do any of the aggro management that they're supposed to.

But even DPS players get the shaft with this system;

having no supports means that every player has to constantly worry about their own life bar

(which they can't even see half the time),

chugging potion after potion just to stay alive,

which would get boring fast for anyone who wants to take an aggressive DPS role in combat.

It's antithetical to how they want to play, nevermind what this does to encounter design;

with no ranged weapons or magic available, and only one role for every single player to fill,

every battle needs to revolve around constant attacking.

It limits the strategies that both bosses and players can employ,

which is...

again...

boooring!

Dele-ete.

Now obviously the threat of real death makes things a little more exciting for everyone playing,

if not necessarily fun,

but remember that only Kayaba Akihiko knew that players would be trapped in this game

every other designer thought that they were making a regular MMO, and they failed utterly.

If this game went to market in this state, it would be dead inside a month.

Having no way to engage in battle, support players would quit first,

likely removing most of the crafters and player vendors from the game

which would in-turn fuck the whole in-game trading economy up the ass,

and when a game's economy gets fucked,

everyone bails.

The counter-argument to this is that SAO is an entirely new type of game,

that VR changes things to the point that old design paradigms no longer work.

This game isn't based around player levels or group composition;

it's a test of raw skill and reflex.

You can't judge it by conventional standards, Jeff!

This is fiction! Stop being such a nerd! Kill yourself!

So, did I guess what you were gonna write?

The thing is, we do have a standard by which we can judge games like that;

Dark Souls and (to some extent) Monster Hunter.

And SAO holds up even worse in comparison to those games.

A lot of the variety in games like that comes from different weapon types.

And SAO is very limited in that regard,

but it gets much, much worse.

PART 3

It Gets Much...

Much Worse.

So, SAO is an immersive twitch-based game,

and some of you in the comments are going to argue that, that would negate the need for varied classes.

Fine.

TERA Online basically proves you wrong already, but...

Fine.

That being the case,

everything about how leveling and stats works in SAO is completely fucking busted.

See, in a normal MMO, PvP sets every player to a base level so that everyone's on equal footing,

but SAO doesn't have instances.

All PvP is world PvP,

which means that everyone goes into a fight at whatever their current level is.

From what I can tell, there's no level cap in the game,

players are meant to be grinding for levels straight up through the endgame content

(which is terrible enough on its own),

so hypothetically, a level 1000 player could run around the starting area

ganking noobs with no repercussions.

But you know what's even worse than that?

The skill system, which allows SAO players to assign and level up different skills for combat and other purposes,

independent of their main experience level, all the way up to level 1000.

The way that skills are leveled up is pretty awful in itself; they gain levels as they're used,

meaning that if you use one attack a lot (which would get really fucking boring again) it'll get more powerful,

and if you take a lot of damage you'll heal faster.

This is exactly how leveling stats works in Final Fantasy II, and it is the fucking worst.

In FFII, the only way to grind for more health is to go out into the wilderness and take free hits from weak enemy monsters for hours on end.

It fucking sucks, nobody likes doing it,

and it's a big part of why Final Fantasy II is considered by many to be the worst game in the entire series.

So right off the bat, we know that grinding in SAO would be the absolute worst of any MMO out there,

because it's based on the absolute worst of any RPG out there,

and players would be forced to do it too, because you basically can't compete without it.

Kirito's battle healing skill (which, by the way, he had to level up by keeping his health in the red for hours on-end which would fucking suck)

is so fucking ridiculously overpowered that in Episode 4,

just four months into the game, he can heal faster than five mid-level players can hurt him.

And on top of that, you have unique skills, powers that only one player can have ever.

It's kind of obvious how these would completely break PvP beyond repair,

because one player would have abilities that no one had ever heard of,

but they're supposed to be a sort of badge of honor and they wouldn't even work as that.

Because you see, there's supposed to be infinite possible abilities in SAO,

which means that they would have to be procedurally generated.

And if you've seen anything about, say, No Man's Sky in the last few months,

you know that procedural generation leads to boring samey bullshit,

so most of these unique abilities would be boring samey bullshit.

And they wouldn't be used by the people who get them anyway.

Any player skilled enough to earn a unique skill would just sell their character to the highest bidder;

look how much that fat guy was willing to pay Kirito for just the cosmetic appearance of his rare avatar in GGO!

Imagine if that had any kind of actual gameplay benefit.

With an almost unlimited number of skills, balancing this system is basically impossible,

and that means anyone hoping to play SAO competitively would abandon it almost as quickly as the support players.

And so would everyone with even a passing interest in the shitty dungeons.

PART 4

The Shitty Dungeons

In a similar fashion to what they do with PvP arenas,

most good MMO dungeons are instanced as well.

This means that they take place separately from the main persistent game world,

and player levels are changed to a base level so that the dungeon is always challenging.

In SAO, you can just wander into a dungeon at any level, run up, and fight a boss.

This means that effectively every boss encounter in SAO is like a world boss encounter in another MMO.

And while world bosses can be fun to take on,

the fact that you can roll up with as many players as you can fit into an area

means that they're not very challenging at all.

Earning bragging rights from a challenge is the single biggest motivating factor for most raid guilds and players,

which is why server firsts are such a big deal in MMOs,

but without a solid limit on player group size or level,

every boss would be easy to cheese.

Without any kind of real challenge, the hardcore raid players would drop the game too,

especially considering how boring all of them are.

Every dungeon in the game is the same monotonous web of stone corridors,

and every boss arena is the same empty boring featureless room.

In Dark Souls terms, they're already hamstringing themselves

by trying to design 100+ unique bosses instead of just 20,

and they can't even use unique environments to liven things up.

Plus, grinding these raids for loot would be functionally impossible

since, instead of creating a new instance,

you would have to wait for the boss to respawn every single time you want to fight it,

all while other player groups are trying to do the same thing.

And don't even get me started on the last hit system for getting the best drops.

By rewarding players for getting the last hit, the game explicitly discourages cooperation,

not that it doesn't do that in other worse ways.

At the very beginning of the story, Kirito tells Asuna that it's safer and easier to play in a group,

but if you look at how quickly he levels up relative to everyone else, you can see that that's total hogwash.

Not only does playing solo mean that Kirito can futz around

grinding for skill levels however he wants without bothering anyone,

it also seems to give him a boost in EXP--

or rather, it seems like EXP rewards are divided between players in a group,

and by playing solo, Kirito gets it all for himself.

If this is the case,

the only thing preventing people from soloing the whole game is the threat of death.

Again, if SAO was released IRL with none of the murder nonsense,

it would have one of the most insular online communities ever created.

So much of the experience is predicated on the fact that it kills you,

which raises the question;

how did nobody on the dev team figure out that the game is supposed to kill people?

I mean, you can poison food.

There's no function for that mechanic if the game is operating normally;

it only makes sense in some sort of long-term survival scenario,

where players need to eat and are actively trading food with each other.

Otherwise, they'd just cook whatever gives them the buffs that they need themselves, and...

not worry about the taste because they can eat real food in the real world.

and then there are the anti-crystal zones...

god damn, are those things ever bullshit.

PART 5

The Anti-Crystal Zones Are Bullshit

SAO doesn't have magic, but it does have magic crystals,

consumable items that you can use to sort of cast spells.

These things are the only way to heal other players at a distance

without force feeding them potions or throwing them at their mouths,

and even though they're super limited to begin with,

the game doesn't even let you use them half the time.

Throughout the boring, samey dungeons players can encounter Anti-Crystal Zones that negate the use of crystals entirely.

In these areas, it's impossible to escape the dungeon or even heal your fellow players.

It's in one of these that Kirito's guild, the Blackcats, gets accidentally murderized.

Now, I know that it must be hard to think of that moment without crying

because of how powerful and emotional it is...

but detach yourself from the gripping drama for a moment,

and think of what it would be like to actually play that!

You're wandering around a shitty bland dungeon with no personality and no apparent backstory.

You wander into what seems like a normal treasure room with zero signposting as to potential danger,

and as a punishment for doing what basically any player would do in that situation,

your whole party is wiped and you have to start the entire fucking dungeon over.

And the way that it's wiped is the most frustrating part;

not only are you ambushed, you're caught in a trap that both prevents you from escaping,

and shuts down about half of your strategic options.

I HATE it when games do this.

Boss fights are meant to be tests of your game knowledge,

not the degree to which you're willing to grind.

If you're going to totally shut down abilities that are otherwise viable,

like how SMT games routinely make bosses immune to all status effects,

then you may as well make players fight the boss in a totally different battle system

for all the relevance it has to what they've been doing up to this point.

It's not a fun experience, especially not if it takes you by surprise.

From that trap room onward, you likely don't even bother with treasure chests at all,

and then when you reach the 75th floor and realize that every boss from here on out will be in an Anti-Crystal room,

you probably rage quit the game forever.

Hell, under the compounded weight of these different game design sins,

you probably swear off VR MMOs forever.

A good life choice, since it means you skip Alfheim Online.

PART 6

Nine Way Racial PvP Is The Stupidest Thing Since Yui

Okay look, there's a lot wrong with ALO,

but since it's fundamentally the same video game as Sword Art Online,

most of that is shit that I've already covered.

And it actually improves on SAO in a few small ways by adding magic and ranged weapons,

not to mention the ability to fly.

And one big way in that it has support classes...

finally.

Unfortunately along with all of these changes,

it adds something that makes it quite possibly the worst multiplayer game ever conceived.

ALO operates on a PvP faction system like many other MMOs.

Every faction has their own territory and all are working toward the goal of being the first to reach the top of the World Tree.

Whichever faction makes it to the top of the tree first will supposedly be given unlimited flying power.

Now, a lot's been made of how stupid this incentive is;

it renders every other faction effectively unplayable once the conflict Is resolved,

and ensures that no new player will ever pick a starting faction aside from that winner,

but it's also a lie on the part of the developers so I'll let it slide.

This obvious problem serves to distract from a much bigger more fundamental problem with how the faction system in ALO works--

namely that it doesn't.

Where most other faction-based MMOs have two or three factions at most,

ALO has NINE.

This would be crazy and untenable enough on its own--

having up to nine teams in one battle is way too much to keep track of, and build a meaningful strategy around, and...

at that point, you may as well be playing a free-for-all deathmatch--

but the problem is compounded by the nature of these factions.

See, ALOs factions are divided up by race,

and your choice of race isn't just a cosmetic decision.

Every race has unique traits that are specialized to the point that they may as well be classes in their own right.

And these unique traits are not balanced at all;

Cait Sith, for example, are the beast tamer race and have improved eyesight.

Compare that to Salamanders, who have the highest attack of any race in the game, and can use fire magic.

Or Leprechauns, who are described as the Blacksmith race.

Consider the implications of that.

Imagine if only the Horde in WoW had access to crafted weapons and gear.

Do you have any idea how fucking BROKEN that would be?

Well, that's par for the course in ALO.

The Undine and Pooka races have it worst of all,

since they're both geared entirely towards support skills.

They're stuck playing healers and buffers fighting against classes that are explicitly built for DPS.

Being an Undine is like being forced to play Overwatch as Mercy and only Mercy forever,

and only being able to form teams with other Mercys.

SAO's skill system would be an immense challenge to fix,

but it's ACTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to balance ALO's faction system the way that it's designed.

And yes, they do change how things work at the end of the first season,

but we're supposed to believe that this unplayably broken game has survived and thrived in this state

for over a year prior to Kirito picking it up.

I call bullshit; nobody would still be playing this game after all that time,

in fact I doubt that anybody would be playing after one month...

especially not with how character creation works.

Your appearance is randomly generated when you start,

and you have to pay real money to change it--

yet, somehow of course, Kirito gets a character who looks exactly like himself,

as does Asuna and Leafa, and a lot of the other characters get really appealing characters,

and it doesn't make any fucking sense-- but that's a rant for another day.

In a customisation-focused game like an MMO, that absolutely would not fly.

But it could be worse;

you could be playing GunGale Online.

PART 7

Nobody Would Ever Play GunGale Online

I've made no secret of my disdain for Sword Art Online II,

but most of my complaints thus far have been about the awful OP,

a dumpster fire nested within a dumpster fire nested within an ass crack,

but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

There's so much more that's wrong with this season, from the shit writing to the shit waifus,

and I can probably ring at least one scene analysis out of it,

But for now, let's focus on why GunGale Online would be the worst competitive shooter ever made,

because boy oh boy would it ever suck.

In his Your Anime Sucks series on SAO,

DigiBro harped quite a lot on the opening monologue from that douche in the Oakley's,

XeXeeD, who claims that strength characters are the future and agility characters are dead.

I suggest giving that whole video a watch, because it's pretty goddamn funny,

but one point he makes that's particularly relevant to this argument

is that this kind of shift in the meta would likely lead to everyone quitting the game,

and on this point, I think Digi is wrong.

Now considering that it takes eight months to bring one new character up to a competitive level,

effectively making it impossible to grind up alts while still acquiring new gear to keep your main account competitive,

I can definitely see a lot of people ragequitting over this,

but only if there were any people playing in the first place.

Looking at how stats actually function in GGO,

I can't see anyone bothering to pick it up;

the game has six stats, but only three of them appear to do anything of substance.

Seriously, just look at the GunGale Online wiki;

only four of the six stats even have descriptions.

Dexterity's main function-- shrinking your aiming reticule-- overlaps with agility,

which also reduces recoil, boosts your evasive ability, and makes you run faster.

Unless you're as into traps as Fred...

'Traps Illustrated'?

Freddy!

I, uh...

I read it for the articles.

There's no reason to put even a single point into dexterity

or any other stat for that matter since vitality only boosts your health

and strength only affects your carrying capacity and equipment choices to a small degree.

The show tells us that strength is better,

but a high weight weapon would need to be completely fucking broken

to negate the inherent tactical advantage of being able to run faster

and Aim more Accurately than other players.

And the two stats without descriptions are just plain ridiculous; Luck is the filler stat to end all filler stats,

the thing that people put in when they can't think of anything else.

especially in a game that's meant to be skill-based, and therefore have no probability mechanics,

and sensibility...

Sensibility!?

What the fuck does that even mean!?

Every stat aside from agility is a noob trap,

and because you can never ever re-spec your character,

anyone who starts the game without a leveling guide can basically get fucked or start over

But even that ignores the fundamental problem that this game shouldn't have stats in the first place.

Competitive shooters by their very nature need to put players on even ground.

There are competitive shooters with progression systems, but all of the ones that people actually play

focus on giving you new equipment options that are more or less balanced against the starting gear.

it would be stupid to create a huge gap in basic functionality between new and veteran players,

because it would discourage new players from ever trying to learn the game in the first place.

And customizable stats create even more problems at high levels.

There are two possible scenarios here;

either one stat is so obviously overpowered that nothing else even matters and everyone has the same build,

or all of the stats are roughly equal and balanced

and it becomes impossible to tell at a glance what an enemy will be capable of.

Imagine a version of Overwatch where Soldier 76 could be as fast as Lucio

or have as much health as Roadhog and every different build looks exactly the same,

or a version of TF2 where spies and heavies have the same character model.

It would be a disaster!

The entire competitive balance of these games is predicated on the idea

that you can tell at a glance how many bullets you need to kill an enemy

and how hard it'll be to hit them in the first place.

Even Destiny-- which isn't all that well-balanced to begin with--

has the sense to lock most possible stat variations down to armour and class,

so that you can tell by looking what any given player is capable of.

Even in the best-case scenario, GGO's leveling system would turn it into the worst competitive shooter ever.

and I'm saying that without even looking at the bullet prediction system,

which gives sniper rifles an immensely unfair advantage along with Melee weapons.

In a game where you know where almost every attack is coming from in-advance,

being able to score sneak attacks is a total gamechanger.

Yet somehow these are the least-used weapons in the game,

because in addition to not grasping how video games work or how players play them,

Reki Kawahara doesn't even understand the system that he designed.

How is it that nobody until Kirito thought to test if laser swords could deflect bullets?

How is it that Sinon is basically the only sniper in the whole game?

The only explanation given by Kawahara is that these weapons are harder to use,

but that makes it MORE LIKELY that hardcore players would gravitate toward them!

Winning with a weapon that has a high skill floor is a huge mark of prestige,

and pro gamers are always looking for ways to increase their advantages over opponents in even tiny ways--

which, again, is something that Reki Kawahara would know

if he spent more than two goddamn minutes doing research on any of this.

Kawahara fails to understand video games and gamers on a fundamental level.

The clowns who wrote the Second Life hoverboard chase into CSI New York

have a better grasp on the subject matter than he does.

You couldn't pay me to play any of the games that Kawahara has created,

and GGO actually does try to pay you to play it,

which opens up a whole new range of questions as to how it could be economically viable or even legal,

but that's a discussion for another day.

For now, I'm pretty satisfied with how many nails I've jammed into SAO's coffin already,

so I'll give it a rest for now.

At least, until the new season starts.

If you or the friends that you share this with want to see how I saved anime from SAO forever,

check out my previous videos dissecting the very worst parts of the series--

WELL, most of them...

I'll get to the face licking eventually.

or if you want to see what life would be like in a bizarre alternate universe where Sword Art Online doesn't suck,

you might enjoy watching SAO Abridged from my good friends at Something Witty Entertainment,

who've basically taken it upon themselves to rewrite the show's terrible story,

and make it better-- not to mention a lot more hilarious.

I'll put links to those in the doobly-doo, as well as on the screen if you want to click them.

and if for some reason you still like anime after hearing me lay into it for the last thirty minutes,

then you may want to check lootcrate's lootanime service out at lootcrate.com/basement.

This month's theme was "blades", hence the SAO, Berserk, and Bleach stuff,

whereas the next crates theme is "galaxy", and it will come with loot from Sailor Moon,

RoboTech, Space Patrol Luluco,

and Cowboy Bebop.

and Cowboy motherfuckin Bebop.

If you love any of these series even half as much as I love Bebop and Luluco,

then you owe it to yourself to get this crate before the deadline on December 27th.

And remember to either sign up for Crunchyroll Premium at crunchyroll.com/basement,

or use the promo code "basement" for 10% off your order.

You can also use that code for any other crate that might interest you

if you're into gaming or just general geek swag.

Special thanks, as always, go to the generous patrons who support me

and make it possible for me to create videos like this for a living.

This video in particular would not exist without the help of my brilliant editor Flip Anime,

whose services were paid for with your help.

Everything that you've seen in this video is thanks to Flip's hard work,

and he makes some excellent videos of his own on his own channel.

So be sure to check those out, I'll put a link to those in the doobly-doo too.

Also, I want to thank my friend Tyler Marshall

who lent me his lootcrate box so that I could film this before flying to Japan.

Thankfully, the one that I was supposed to get from lootcrate did arrive in time,

but I would have been completely screwed if Tyler hadn't done that,

so thank you very much... you... saved my ass.

And of course, thank you to you, the viewer, for watching.

I'm Geoff Thew, professional shitbag, signing out from my Mother's Basement.

The Description of Why SAO is a Terrible Game, Too