Hazard ReBurst, shortened to HRB or HB, is an Augmented Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (ARMMORPG) that was developed and released by Nexus Theory as a successor to Entity Burst Online after it was hijacked by a group of hackers and its subsequent shutdown.
Operating off a new AR Nexus Core with a new level of security, Hazard ReBurst makes use of the Nexus-Drive AR terminal to project the game textures onto one surroundings. While it is an Augmented Reality game, Hazard ReBurst makes use of the Full-Dive technology seen in prior VRMMOs. With this system, Hazard ReBurst sends its players into a world augmented by computer data stored within the game servers, effectively creating a Virtual and Augmented Reality game. To do so, the Nexus-Drives read players' brainwaves and transmits their actions to the VR avatar within the AR space. In short, the game is a hybrid of Virtual and Augmented Reality, using VR-generated Avatars to interact with the AR-generated surfaces. The Hazard ReBurst servers are spread throughout all of Japan to provide the optimal gameplay experience without any lag from a slow server, with back-up servers and Game Masters stationed around the primary server.
The Nexus-Drive is a small, headset-like device that resembles and functions similarly to the Augma before it, though its design is symmetrical and has an over-ear headphone piece on both ears to protect from the cold and provide an advanced audio experience. An integrated Bluetooth microphone allows players to communicate as without interference from the headphones. In addition, a pair of Bluetooth-synchronized smart bracelets that transmit data from the user's hands to assist in recreating weapons in a player's hand for gameplay. Not only that, the bracelets can project holograms for players to scroll through their inventories or the system menus when needed.
Taking place in the distant future of Entity Burst Online's conclusion, the world has fallen into ruin. The once-proud cities are abandoned and ruined. Forests have overtaken some cities, creating urban jungles. Monsters have overrun settlements. Humanity has been severely crippled, lowering the population from the billions of people to a few million. As a result of the great battle that caused Entity Burst Online's shutdown, a mysterious palace appeared, bringing with it a series of walls that divided and protected all of Japan from the rampaging monsters that became more aggressive from the after-effects of the final battle in EBO. The pre-existing factions in the world have merged into three distinct factions with their own goals and agendas. They are as follows: the western region derived from the majority of the Organized Trade and Monster Hunter factions named Shuryou; the north-eastern region consisting of members of the Military Police, Organized Trade and Technical Development factions known as Kigyou; and the south-eastern region entitled Chouwa taken from a combination of all 5 factions with the Civil Government faction taking more prominence amongst them. Each region focuses on a variety of problems as a result of their land's current state, in addition to electing its own Prime Minister to represent its Region and ideals. Monthly meetings between each region's Prime Ministers are held to discuss matters within their borders, as well as coordinate the distribution of resources among each other. While each faction works to maintain stability, they also work independently from one another to gather and develop military forces for when the time comes to storm the unknown palace suddenly appeared. How well will the players survive as they work together to unravel what lies at the center of this post-apocalyptic world?
The factions have been previously summarized above. They consist of:
- Shuryou (狩猟, lit. hunting) - It is comprised of the islands of Shikoku, Kyushu, and western Honshu, with a focus on food gathering due to their land having become a breeding ground for monsters as well as plenty of fertile farming land. Thus, they relocated to rural villages and relying on whatever they had within their borders for food, often providing their surpluses to the other two factions if requested. Since they have a focus on hunting and farming, their military forces have been known to rely more on close-quarters combat and brute force rather than using long-range attacks. The general designs for their E3's in terms of armor and additional physical enhancements reflect this, as they typically have denser armor and stronger punching/kicking force.
- Kigyou (企業, lit. business) - Made up of Hokkaido and Northern Honshu, Shuryou focuses on maintaining economic stability and social welfare as a result of their farmland being ravaged by monsters. Their source of money comes from providing new equipment and blueprints to the other factions in order to keep them prepared for the moment when they will storm the mysterious palace at the center of the walls that divide them. As Kigyou's income relies on producing new equipment and selling the blueprints, their military forces make use of this high-end equipment to provide their troops with mid-range and long-range combat capacity. With this, the E3's are designed with the following traits in mind: increased armor, aiming assistance, and various additional features for specialization in certain combat fields (i.e. advanced camouflage systems for stealth missions).
- Chouwa (調和, lit. harmony) - Existing solely in eastern Honshu, Chouwa is the most balanced among the three factions. Their economy and food supplies aren't struggling, they have a decent handle on monster population control, and they can produce technology at a stable rate. Chouwa seems to the faction most at peace, and instead focuses on supporting its two sister factions in their endeavors as best as they can. As a balanced faction, Chouwa has the most advanced of the military forces, amassing enough soldiers to put into roles that specialize in long-range, close-range, or mid-range combat. They also developed the beginnings of the E3's, an augmentation to one's skeleton that allows for armor to be summoned after a compatible Entity is selected for use within the harness. Wanting to maintain balance, Chouwa distributed the plans for the E3 surgery to the other factions and let them build off that technology as they saw fit.
Appearance, Ability Parameters, and Classes
Players are spawned into the world in their real-life appearance. After completing the tutorial and becoming accustomed to the gameplay, full cosmetic modifications for one's avatar is unlocked. Physical build, facial structure, and general appearance can be modified, but to a limited degree. Before first spawning in the world, the player is augmented with the Entity Endoskeletal Enhancement (E3) surgery to equip their armors. The E3 Surgery augments one's entire skeleton and nervous system, given to each player within the game prior to their first log-in as part of the lore of the game. The first quest a Player is given is to find their Resonance Catalyst, a weapon infused with the power of one of this games Entities that allows them to generate and equip an armor.
Due to the nature of the Virtual/Augmented Reality hybrid featured, real-life physical ability is factored into one's avatar data. While one can move at supernatural speeds, the stamina expended to move at such speeds is consumed at a similar rate to the player's real-life stamina rate. To compensate, the game will suggested an Entity that compliments the player's build to form a contract with. Avatars generate armor from the E3 augmentations which feature five specific statistics, much like how EBO rated Entity units with five general stats and assigned roles based on such. In Hazard ReBurst, they are:
- Punching Force - This statistic measures the maximum punching power of the Avatar's armor. With all Avatars, they are given a base-line/average punching power that is augmented by an additional parameter to determine the maximum punching power. For example, the system would give a player an average punching power of 1.83 kilo-Newtons (kN), which is then augmented by a +10 kN of force; this +10 kN of force is multiplied by the player's current Hazard Level then added to the average force to determine the maximum force emitted. If, for example, the player in question is at Hazard Level 3 with the aforementioned average, their maximum punching power would equal 31.83 kN of force. Generally, punching power is weaker than kicking force by two or three Kilo-newtons, as bodily physics would dictate; however, some avatars are born with higher punching power than kicking power, usually from their users' desire to focus on a punching-oriented combat style rather than using kicks.
- Kicking Force - This statistic is essentially the same as Punching Power, but applies to the force of players' kicks instead. Since they share the same calculations for determining maximum kicking power, it would be redundant to provide another example. Generally speaking, kicking power is usually two or three more Kilo-newtons stronger than punching power, as kicks are generally stronger than punches due to bodily physics; this is reflected in most avatars, though some avatars are created with the intent on specialization on kicking.
- Running Speed - One of the two statistics carried over from its prequel, Running Speed in Hazard ReBurst is determined by standard measures of speed such as miles per hour or kilometers per hour. If an avatar has heavier armor, their maximum running speed is lower; the inverse is also true, with lighter-armored avatars having higher maximum running speeds.
- Armor Durability - The other statistic shared with EBO, Armor Durability combines the same stat from its predecessor with the Defensive Capacity stat. With this, Armor Durability measures how strong one's armor is as well as how long the armored form will last against sustained damage without repair items. This stat is measured by an alphabetical grade, with A being among the highest while anything within the E-range is considered the lowest.
- Equip Strain - This statistic works in reverse: the higher one's Equip Strain is, the more intense pain one feels as a result of equipping the armor. Unlike the rest, this stat is rated on a scale of 10, with a 10 resulting in the player being almost incapable of equipping their armor and a 1 meaning the player can freely equip it with little to no strain. When players start, they begin at Hazard Level 0, with an Equip Strain of 0. However, this is just a means of allowing the player to get used to the game's mechanics during the tutorial, and they will be forced into a high Equip Strain, usually within the range of 8-10. As players use their armor for longer periods of time while allowing their bodies to get natural rest (meaning they can't use artificial, in-game items to heal the strain), the Equip Strain will gradually lessen. Increasing one's Hazard Level also significantly reduces Equip Strain, as the increase raises their base-line limits to a higher level and grants a much better tolerance to what one is used to. Players with the Valvrave Entity System do not have this stat, and do not have to worry about this.
Classes aren't specifically defined, and loose classifications akin to RPG classes are used when identifying a player's combat style; i.e. a player who focuses on firearms is known as a gunslinger, or a sword-wielding player identified as a Swordsman or Knight. A player is allowed to change their given Entity affiliation, though doing so results in a penalty. By defeating a wild entity, collecting the essence in an Tainted Resonance Catalyst, and purifying the Catalyst into an item that can augment one's attacks. Any medium can be used, such as Entity Burst's Cards, Pendants, and Cartridges. Most players in Hazard ReBurst have taken to using weapons and miscellaneous wearable trinkets for convenience. Armor upgrades are possible, and can be used by augmenting one's given entity through leveling up, spending currency to augment it directly, or recreating the entity and creating a direct upgrade to use from there. There are also rare items that boost one's armor significantly, though those have yet to be used by any player.
Unlike its predecessor, players are required to harness the power of a select council of Gods that represent various elements and concepts that humanity has given rise to. While they can harness other miscellaneous entities, these Entity Councils are the primary source of a player's power. Three councils exists within Hazard ReBurst, and are categorized as the Terrestrial Council, the Council of Sin, the Council of Virtue, and the Celestial Council. More information can be found here.
Much like its prequel, Hazard ReBurst does allow players to change their entity, though they are restricted by how many Resonance Catalysts they can carry. A player is allowed to change allegiances from one council entity to another, but they are never able to use multiple council entity powers as their primary power source. There are penalties for constantly changing entities, as the benefits that players gain from remaining with one Entity are decreased slowly. The more a player switches allegiances, the fewer benefits one reaps from their new alignment, exponentially decreasing but never reaching zero. Despite the E3 surgery being an endoskeletal augmentation, it remains inactive until external stimulus is provided. This comes in the form of Resonance Catalysts akin to the Drivers of EBO. However, Resonance Catalysts can take the form of anything, be it a firearm, sword, or shield; there is an option to use belts as Resonance Catalysts, though it is an unpopular option. So long as the item in question can accept an Entity and harness its power, it can become a Resonance Catalyst.
Most players have taken to prefacing their transformations with the keyword "Override." Despite being wholly unnecessary, players speak this single word or incorporate this word into their pre-fight catchphrase (if applicable) most likely just for the coolness factor. Multiple Resonance Catalysts can be used in tandem with one another to allow for the use of additional Entity essences, augmenting pre-existing armor with additional equipment or temporary ability boosters. When one transforms into their armored form, they may optionally display a detailed transformation sequence that will be shown around them. Some players value a practical, quick transformation animation that will simply generate the armor after energy envelops their body. Others prefer a flashier, more intricate transformation involving whatever their imaginations can conjure; some players have a series of pneumatic tubes form their armor around them before it encloses on them to seal the armor on, or use a series of watch displays to transform.
The World of Valvraves
A select few players will have access to the Valvrave Combat System (VCS), a prototype system that doesn't draw upon the power of this game's Entities. Instead, it calls upon an alternative energy source and man-made armors designed around 6 different Valvrave archetypes. These VCS Players are generally the same as regular players, using external Drivers to activate their VES and fight against other players. They operate on the same basic principles, though they lack Equip Strains and their Level Ups are slightly different. More info can be found here.
Valvrave Players generally remain unaffiliated with the majority of ReBurst Players, instead fighting within their own cliques. The two most prominent Valvrave Organizations, Nebula Oscillation and Reionics Mercenary Operations, are highly competitive with one another. They are well known in the Valvrave community, especially for their extremely vigorous acceptance conditions.
An overlooked and severely underrated feature of avatar creation is the ability for players to port their avatar from another VR or AR game and tailor it to suit the game's parameters. When an avatar is created from outside data transferred to Hazard ReBurst, the Avatar born is given abilities that are derived from the data. For example, if a player created their avatar using data from ALfheim Online, having used a Cait Sith Sniper build, the resulting ReBurst Avatar would have traits that reflect this. Most likely, the ReBurst Avatar would have cat ears to represent the Cait Sith race, as well as acute senses, especially sight, and the player would have higher proficiency wielding a bow or rifle as a result of the sniper build. While this avatar, minus the cat ears, can be created without the need to use the Avatar Data port, it would not have these benefits available to the player right away; instead, the player would have to train themselves from scratch and invest their in-game income into this build. In addition, the resulting ReBurst avatar would factor in the player's physical prowess as with all Hazard ReBurst avatars. Despite all of these benefits, very few players have made use of this system. In one instance of this avatar transfer, the resulting avatar was given the ability to Resonate with multiple Council Entities instead of being locked to only one.
In Entity Burst, the Level System was a means of rating the grade of one's equipment and the Esteem system acted as the experience-point system that most players would equate to a true level system. In Hazard ReBurst, the term given to the Level system is known as the "Hazard Level," which rates the grade of one's equipment and dictates their combat potential. In-game, there are two Hazard Levels: the Permanent Hazard Level (PHL) and the Combat Hazard Level (CHL). While a Hazard Level does indicate how powerful one may be, players can defeat other players with higher Hazard Levels than their own. By raising one's Combat Hazard Level by fighting, one can expand their combat options and potential, as well as temporarily increase their statistics. The Permanent Hazard Level is what determines an Avatar's stat baseline, which is further augmented by the Combat Hazard Level via fighting. However, CHL stat increases only last for the duration of the fight, with all changes being temporary boosts brought through the will of the Player. Once combat ends, these CHL boosts will then transmute into Hazard Potential/Credits, the currency of Hazard ReBurst.
By default, every player starts with a Permanent Hazard Level of 0; in contrast to its predecessor, Hazard ReBurst does not have any special power to Level 0. Here, it acts as a weakened, transitory state that is immediately left behind after the tutorial fight is completed. Unlike in most RPGs, experience points do not raise one's Hazard Level. Instead, the game's currency, known as Hazard Potential when dealing with one's level or Hazard Credits concerning coinage, serves to increase one's Permanent Hazard Level as well as money to use for purchasing or selling items. To increase one's Permanent Hazard Level, one must save up until they reach the required amount of Hazard Potential. From there, a notification to Level Up will appear, and the player may choose to accept or decline. Accepting the Level Up will drain the required Hazard Potential and increase the Permanent Hazard Level by 1, as well as providing a variety of level-up bonuses; level-up bonuses can come in the form of a new skill, a new weapon, new equipment, or a blueprint that requires materials to build the item in the blueprint. However, increasing one's Hazard Level does provide a significant boost in combat potential to make up for this Level Cap. The Level Cap of the game is set to 10, but if one uses a certain, ultra-rare item, they can exceed this Level Cap in order to face off against terrifyingly powerful monsters hidden deep in the labyrinths of the world.
Weapons and Damage Types
Weapons usually come provided with a Player and their E3 Augmentations. Generally, a starting weapon is simple, ranging from a melee weapon such as a sword or mace to a firearm of either ballistic, energy, or elemental damage. If one raises their Hazard Level, more advanced weapons can be accessed. Among the most advanced weapons in the game are weapons with a transforming frame; these weapons are capable of transforming between one form to another, and can incorporate firearms into melee weapons to provide a balance between long-range and melee combat. Any firearm and melee weapon can be combined; i.e. a scythe and sniper rifle or shotgun and greatsword. Plasma Blades exist in this game, and greatly resemble the iconic Lightsabers from Star Wars. Varying hilt designs and blade colors can be mixed and matched according to a player's personal preferences. In addition, a player can craft weapons based off of blueprints obtained through various means, whether through a level-up bonus or as an item purchased from a store or obtained from a monster/enemy player. Resonating with one's Catalyst long enough allows them to supercharge their attacks for a finishing strike, similar to the Burst Strikes of Entity Burst Online.
The Elemental damage types and effects from Entity Burst Online are carried over and fine-tuned to better fit the augmented reality gameplay mechanic; i.e. Fire damage will cause a player to ignite and they will feel the sensations of being on fire. In that circumstance, putting out the fire would be the obvious priority lest they burn to a crisp. Elemental damage varies in potency, from a simple sting caused by a low-power electricity attack to an absolutely agonizing pain dealt to one by Fire damage to temporary loss of vision from a Blinded debuff. Energy weapons usually operate off the Dynamis damage type, which can be further customized with as many additional damage types as the weapon can offer. Void damage and Rotational damage return in weapons meeting specific criteria that allow a weapon to utilize the respective damage type; Void damage cannot be combined with any damage type, while Rotational damage follows the same parameters as Dynamis damage concerning additional damage types. New damage types have been added to reflect the new roster of Entities. As such, the following list contains the Elemental damage types and their effects within Hazard ReBurst:
- Fire - Obviously, this damage type relates to fire and causes opponents to feel an intense burn when struck, with said burn continuing to persist and slowly increase in pain until negated via recovery items.
- Ice - This damage type causes a painfully cold sting wherever the attack made contact, with more intense cryogenic attacks being described as feeling like frostbite, as well as a gradual decrease in body heat.
- Shock - Shock damage can range in effects, from a minor shock to non-lethal incapacitation to electric-chair levels of damage. Its damage output is determined by the player's equipment and how much they wish to use.
- Stone - Stone provides higher impact damage, more augmenting a weapon's base damage with its power rather than forcing its power through a target.
- Light - By producing and channeling intense light, players with this damage type can blind targets or create photon lasers, or creating hard light projections to wield in combat.
- Shadow - Darkness is manipulated from one's surroundings and infused into attacks, leaving behind the darkness that was channeled as a smoky substance. This is mainly used as a prelude to more powerful techniques concerning the darkness, as it has limited viability in inflicting damage via infusion alone.
- Dynamis - Pure energy condensed into a damage type. As noted by some players, this damage type can be equated to "death by overloading." The highly-condensed energy is released upon contact and will direct itself into the target to deal damage.
- Void - Void rips open a hole in the fabric of the game and deletes what was hit in that instant. Unlike those who use the power to Negate, Void is a separate entity that eviscerates one's surroundings and completely destroys it to the point where even Negation cannot be used to counter it.
- Rotation - Though not necessarily an elemental effect, it's considered a type of elemental damage. To access this damage type, a player or the player's weapons must emulate the Golden Rectangle in order to access the Golden Spiral and harness the infinite energy through the perfect rotation, From there, the energy can be imbued into attacks of any kind. Projectiles and hand-to-hand techniques are used for the most part. Though it's rare for melee weapons to use this, it is entirely possible. This damage type's infinite energy cannot be combined with anything else.
- Temporal - Damage inflicted by those who use the power of Time. Temporal damage is nasty, as it cannot be healed by conventional means. Unless another Temporal attack meant to counter the first is applied, or the attack itself is negate, Temporal damage will continue to wither away a player's life, gradually accelerating until the player ages to death.
- Rave - Damage inflicted by VES Players is classified as Rave Damage. Rave Damage stack the damage of one's attack for a type of multi-hit damage. This is due to the VES creating armor with a unique type of durability that requires Rave Damage to deal effective damage to it, though other damage types can still hurt it. Weapons with Rave Damage can be created and sold in case people want to use it.
Battle and Miscellaneous Mechanics
In Hazard ReBurst, player death is perfectly acceptable, much like its predecessor prior to the hacking incident. Pre-programmed skills and combat maneuvers do not exist as a result of the game using Augmented Reality technology. Just like in Entity Burst, players are to create their own fighting styles and use/design weapons that compliment that style. For the most part, Hazard ReBurst translates the battle mechanics into an AR platform, with the only modifications being to the Esteem system, which is now replaced with Hazard Potential/Credits, and the lack of a tournament system. Factions are significantly different, and occupy all of Japan. Generally speaking, wherever one lives in reality is which faction they're assigned to in Hazard ReBurst. There are some players who would prefer to have no allegiance to any of the factions or allegiance to the military/police forces of the faction they reside in. Whichever the case, transport between regions belonging to any of the factions will be done in accordance to real-life transport; i.e. via trains, cars, or motorcycle. Any vehicles envisioned in Hazard ReBurst will be textured accordingly; players can also customize their personal vehicles in-game to have whatever appearance they desire.
Criminal Activity will be dealt with via each faction's police force. If a criminal act is detected within the game's system, NPC forces will be dispatched to apprehend the criminal while any players employed under their respective faction's police force within the vicinity of the suspect will be alerted of the crime and given orders to apprehend. In addition, mature establishments such as exotic clubs or bars prohibit players under the age of 18 from accessing them. Such is the Ethics code of Hazard ReBurst, which has been fundamentally rewritten so that it better aligns with Japanese law. When an underage player does attempt to enter one such establishment, the game automatically shuts down and contacts local authorities.If a player at or above the age of 18 attempts to access a bar, they will be required to show identification before access is granted. Intercourse and similar material is also restricted from underage players as a part of the Ethics code, and any underage attempt at intercourse, whether or not the players in question are of the age of consent, will be reported to local authorities.
In Hazard ReBurst, Guilds are known as Organizations, and function the exact same as they do in ALO or GGO, save for the guild member tax. Instead, a donation pool for Organization Funding exists, where members are encouraged to donate to enhance the Organization as needed. Players gain access to a unique, member-only storage system that is shared among fellow Organization Operatives; an inter-Organization communication network accepting text, video, or voice messages; a unique Organization Badge to display wherever the player pleases; and Operative tracking for the higher-ranking Organization members.
An Organization is simply set up through a terminal in the Governor's office. Of course, which Governor's office will depend on the Organization's anticipated headquarters location and/or the Founder's personal choice. It simply asks players to name their Organization, list their headquarter's address, the Founder's name, and whether the guild will openly accept all or TBA
- Hazard ReBurst is influenced by the following:
- Since Hazard ReBurst takes significant influence from Accel World, HRB was modified to resemble Brain Burst more. While Brain Burst claims to accelerate brainwaves in order to place its players into the game, Hazard ReBurst opts for a slightly more plausible and realistic method of transporting its players into the game and provide them supernatural abilities like dashing at blinding speeds.
- Hazard ReBurst is more of a hybrid between Augmented and Virtual Reality. While its generated terrain and most of the world itself is made with AR, the player avatars and their abilities are more akin to VR avatars; this allows players to remain superhuman in terms of combat prowess, while owing up to the AR nature of the game.
- ReBurst comes from its predecessor's name, Entity Burst Online, with the re- prefix used to denote the fact that Hazard ReBurst is a sequel.
- Beta Testers under Nexus Theory's employment were used to test the Alpha and Beta builds, granting them special in-game rewards of their preference.
- The "Hazard Level" comes from Kamen Rider Build specifically, with the term being (potentially) derived from the real-life terms biological hazard and bio-safety level.