|VRMMORPG||Sword Art Online|
|Base of Operations||Various inns|
In the formative months of the game «Brightscale» was not a clearing guild but rather what Kenji described as a "middle-of-the-road" guild. At this time their modus operandi was the targeting of dungeons and quests, such as the «Dead Woods Mausoleum» and the «Elf War», which where non-essential to the clearing of a floor in order to avoid instances with the front-runners.
They didn't officially join the ranks of the front-runners until after the tragedy on the 25th Floor.
The initial idea of forming a guild was twofold: Kenji meeting Airi Natsume and having her party up with Kusaka, and he, and Kusaka successfully tracking down his cousin Sojiro and extending an invitation to him. By accident during a mission to gauge the player mood after the 2nd Floor was opened Kenji also stumbled upon twins Momoko and Akiye, and his heroism in their defence earned him their loyalty and trust.
Sojiro's friend, Yoshiro Kazuki, was extended the same invitation as Sojiro, and Kenji and Kusaka outfitted him with superior equipment as a goodwill gesture. In just little under a week, and fresh from their victory over «Zagan the Exile», Kenji and Kusaka had the first proper talk about forming a guild. It was this conversation that resulted in Kenji being name guild leader and Kusaka becoming raid leader. It was during this time that the financially-savvy Ino Choyo joined Kenji and company, becoming a founding member.
The first non-founding member to join the guild was Fujimaru Nakamura. His recruitment occurred on the 2nd of January 2023, though he had been working with Momoko and Akiye since December 19th 2022.
The recruitment of Ino Choyo, who had a knack for business and managing money, served to organize «Brightscale» to a higher-level than some guilds contemporaries. She came up with a number of novel ideas to fill the guilds coffers and advance her guild-mates in the game-of-death, with some of them even benefiting the players attempting to catch-up to the front-runners.
A number of her schemes included:
Low-cost Repairs & Upgrades
An enterprise carried out in conjunction with Momoko and Akiye on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Floors whilst Kenji, Kusaka, Airi, Yoshiro and Sojiro quested elsewhere. This special service was carried out between the 8th and 19th of December.
Ino's venture was designed to drum-up a customer base for Momoko and Akiye to eventually pave the way for custom orders similar to the various pieces of equipment the twins made for their guild-mates using materials from «Zagan the Exile». By the 19th of December 2022, Momoko and Akiye were selling unique player-made armour and weapons superior to most treasure loot and monster drops available at the time.
Even though they stopped calling it a "special" the twins continued to offer repairs at a price below that of NPC vendors regardless of the current front-line Floor, and even offered a bartering service for upgrade materials to help less well-off players.
It was a long-time goal of Ino's to offer the non-combative players a service allowing them to experience the various sights and sounds of Aincrad outside the safety of towns. With this in-mind she chose the abbreviation «BS» -- based on the British Standards Institute -- alongside the Kitemark to highlight her seriousness in regard to safety. By the end of 2022 she had the basic model implemented and tours of the 4th Floor underway.
On the 4th Floor of Aincrad, which featured several waterways and canals and beautiful scenery, Ino launched a touring service using the two gondolas created by «Brightscale». The most popular of these tours included a leisurely cruise of Caldera Lake. The number of gondola's they had increased to three when Fujimaru joined «Brightscale», as he had his own gondola called «Highwind».
Given the danger involved the price was high and security was taken very seriously -- to such a degree that the abbreviation of «Brightscale», listed as «BS», meant "British Standard". Ino took advantage of the New Year festivities at the end of 2022 and dragged Kusaka, Sojiro and Yoshiro along for security to anyone wanting to spend time taking in the sights.
On the 5th Floor, which featured relics, Ino launched yet another enterprise. Relics were perhaps the safest way for tourists to accumulate cor, because relics could be gathered in the ruins connected to the main towns safe-zone. Momoko and Akiye took advantage of the relic craze -- with help from the then unaffiliated Fujimaru -- to quickly gather cor in a safe and timely fashion.
In the early days of SAO the members of «Brightscale» based themselves in various inns, usually on a floor below the current frontier of player progress. This policy wasn't always observed however: Kenji, Kusaka and Airi stayed on the 2nd Floor the moment it was unlocked, and moved to the 3rd Floor to participate in the «Elf War» campaign quest.
The first inn used collectively by the group was on the 2nd Floor, known as «Moo Moo Milk». This inn was known to provide a dessert item that provided a 24-hour increased percentile chance to inflict an effect's damage-over-time attribute. This remained their base for several days.
The second inn used by the group was on the 3rd Floor, in the town of Zumfut, called the «Lofty Perch». The rooms the guild rented where noted to be roughly 70-feet from the ground, which was roughly a third of the way up one of the large baobab trees.
Their most used base however was a small inn on the 4th Floor in Rovia, dubbed «The Unsinkable Lady», which was located just off the teleport plaza.
Kenji gifted Momoko and Akiye a «Vendor's Carpet» apiece as an early Christmas present on the 18th of December 2022, and encouraged the twins to make good use of them. In a short period of time, and with initial help from Ino, the girls established a loyal customer-base amongst the low-and-mid-level players. This would eventually culminate in the organization of the «Brightscale Eatery» and «Brightscale Smithy» respectively.
| Kenji Hiroshi|
Online name: «Kishi»
| Guild Leader|
|One-handed Curved Sword|| Leader of Team A|
Party role: DPS
| Kusaka Kori|
Online name: «Arashi»
|Two-handed Sword|| Leader of Team B|
Party role: Tank
| Airi Natsume|
Online name: «Asuka»
|Member||Claws|| Member of Team A|
Party role: CC
| Yoshiro Kazuki|
Online name: «Shirozuki»
|Member|| One-handed Longsword|
| Member of Team A|
Party role: Tank
| Ino Choyo|
Online name: «Ryne»
| Blade Throwing (1st Floor)|
Chakram (2nd Floor onwards)
| Member of Team B|
Party role: CC
| Sojiro Kori|
Online name: «Jiro»
|Member||Two-handed Assault Spear|| Member of Team B|
Party role: DPS
Online name: «Elise»
| Non-combative role|
Online name: «Sheila»
| Non-combative role|
| Fujimaru Nakamura|
Online name: «Raixas»
|Member||One-handed curved sword|| Material gatherer|
Occasional member of Team A
Party role: DPS
As their adventures continued the members of «Brightscale» inevitably made lasting relations with a number of people who didn't necessarily join the guild. Most of these were quest or campaign related NPC's, but some were other players.
|«Imra»||Elite-level Dark Elven Scout|| Dagger|
| Saved by Fujimaru Nakamura in the opening sequence of the «Jade Key» quest.|
Eventually met and quested with the other members of «Brightscale» on the Dark Elf route.
When questing solo «Brightscale» operated in two teams. This dynamic arose on the 3rd Floor in response to the divergent paths of the «Elf War» campaign quest. Kenji and Team A tackled the «Dark Elf» side whilst Kusaka and Team B tackled the «Forest Elf» side. When operating as part of the front-line group they operated as a single six-person party.
Internally there was a small grouping of players who played absolutely no combat role, whose sole task was to maintain their guild-mates equipment and fashion new gear for them. The 12-year-old twins Momoko and Akiye where two such examples. The 13 year-old Fujimaru became a member of the support team in early 2023, having already partied with the twins to help gather materials, but unlike them he occasionally served as an additional DPS on Kenji's Team A.
Team A consists of Kenji, Airi and Yoshiro; Kenji is primary DPS, Yoshiro is the Tank who keeps aggro and soaks up damage, whilst Airi is the main CC of the group. Team dynamics were quite relaxed compared to the tighter ship ran by Kusaka. Despite this Team A managed to hold a slight edge in level over Team B which, according to Airi, boiled down to atmosphere and regular rest. Fujimaru sometimes joined them as an additional DPS.
Team B consists of Kusaka, Ino and Sojiro; Kusaka is the Tank, Ino is the main CC of the group, whilst Sojiro is the primary DPS. Group dynamics were more serious compared to the relaxed atmosphere favoured by Kenji's Team A and, according to Airi, this led to less efficient levelling.
The dynamics of the Raid Team was clear-cut and effective: Kusaka and Yoshiro held the aggro of whatever group or target they were assigned with frequent trade-offs for potion rotation, whilst Kenji and Sojiro dished out the damage whenever possible. It was up to Airi and Ino to debuff the mobs and provide general crowd-control duties. During boss battles overall command shifted from Kenji to Kusaka.
Unlike other guilds «Brightscale» did not impose a battlefield uniform. Instead they had a casual uniform for when the members weren't questing or advancing the front-line. This uniform consisted of a comfortable black-coloured kimono, white shitagi, black hakama, optional tabi, and plain waraji. The only compulsory additive was an armband.
Behind the scenes
- The name «Brightscale» is derived from Kenji's online alias of Kishi (輝士), which translates to bright samurai.
- Pictures from various Bleach Lieutenants where used to provide a similar physical aesthetic. This also directly influenced their casual uniform.
References & notes
- ↑ SAOK: Unexpected Meetings
- ↑ SAOK: The Karma Scales
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 SAOK: The Business of Grinding
- ↑ SAOK: The Eventful Taurus
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 SAOK: The Moneymaking Crusade
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 SAOK Timeline
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 SAOK: New Year Resolutions
- ↑ SAOK: Inbetweeners III
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 SAOK: Braving the Depths
- ↑ SAOK: Pushing the Frontier
- ↑ Brightscale Eatery
- ↑ Brightscale Smithy