Ryou comes from a modern-day Earth set in the year 2017. Technology is slightly more advanced, such as the popularity of VR headsets for both gaming and general computer use, more and more things becoming fully automated or done online, plans for the world's first space colony, and so on. Nearly all computers also use the same OS (ALTIMIT) due to a severe network crisis that happened in 2005, crashing all computers except those running ALTIMIT and causing global chaos. But besides all of that, it's roughly the same as our current Earth.At the core of .hack's story is a VR game imaginatively named The World. The World was the first MMO to be released after the network crisis in 2005, so it immediately gained popularity. It was a fantasy game with magic, medieval weaponry, monsters, all that generic fantasy stuff that you'd expect, and it was generally very well received. However, The World wasn't just a game. Its true purpose was to create the ultimate AI, named Aura, using data gathered from players within the game to give it the capacity for human responses and emotion. The World was also meant to test the boundary between reality and virtual reality, pushing the limits of the technology to create a world that was truly alive. This whole plan backfired catastrophically when Morganna, the AI created to "birth" the ultimate AI, became self-aware and realized that it would lose its purpose if the ultimate AI was born. It trapped its creator inside the game's programming and began work on a long and elaborate plan to corrupt the ultimate AI and basically make sure it never stopped having a reason to exist. An anime and four games later, Morganna's plan was foiled and the ultimate AI was fully realized.Aura ascended to an almost goddess-like state within the world's networks, watching over The World but also throwing the Internet at large into chaos whenever her existence was threatened. Every part of the series after the first anime/quartet of games is basically the results of some fucking idiot decided to prod the Almighty Goddess of the Internet with a stick or something, or just fucking around with her game world which isn't much better.The World itself has gone through a recent revision after a fire damaged the servers (which was the start of the most recent goddess-prodding incident, but I'm not going to ramble on about the entire plot of G.U. here), but the heart of the game's strange existence remains the same. Most people are aware of rumours surrounding the game and its involvement in another network crisis back in 2010, but few people believe the stories. It seems impossible that a VR game could put someone into a real-life coma, and it doesn't happen normally. Only when those supernatural elements of the game world rear their heads do player's lives get put a risk.
Haseo is, first and foremost, a huge antisocial jerk. He's brash, rude, and selfish, always working to become stronger and taking down anyone who gets in his way. He prefers to play solo, rejecting and pushing away others when help is offered, and quick to complain whenever he's forced into playing as part of a team anyway. Despite his abrasive attitude, however, Haseo is actually a pretty decent guy all around (even if he gets super embarrassed when he's caught being nice to anyone). For all his complaining he's never the type to ignore a person in need, and he always shows up to help when asked. He's extremely protective of his friends and despises people who look down on others. He started his career as a PKK to obtain information on Tri-Edge, but protecting the weaker players of The World was also part of his motivation. Children are another soft spot for him, and he tends to act like slightly less of a jerk when talking to kids.It takes a long time for him to open up to anyone, but when he does he's a very honest person. Haseo is incredibly blunt and to-the-point, and though his criticisms are usually harsh he's always looking out for the best interests of others. He is also extremely emotional oh my god this kid cries so much it's unreal. In a way, his jerkish selfish attitude is just a sad attempt to cover up how much of a delicate crybaby he is. He is so tsundere it's probably unhealthy. He might act tough and uncaring when beating people up in video games, but that act shatters into a million goddamn pieces the second someone is in real, actual danger—hell, when someone might be in real, actual danger, considering how badly he flips the fuck out when Shino gets killed by Tri-Edge, long before Haseo should have any idea what's actually going on there. Apparently, seeing someone's online avatar explode is grounds for spamming their voicemail and bawling all over your computer while screaming their name dramatically. Yeah. Haseo doesn't deal well with people getting hurt.He is also super-competitive, and very easy to rile up. When Haseo sets a goal for himself he doesn't stop until he succeeds, often reaching a point of unhealthy obsession. Whether it's gaining more power, rescuing his comatose friend, or grinding for days to reach the top PvP rankings just so he can beat up some jerk who told him off, once you get Haseo going he's guaranteed to keep at it until he succeeds. He's very hard working, never the type to cheat his way to victory or lie about his accomplishments.Haseo also tends to repeat things. A lot. He likes to remind himself of things out loud so he doesn't forget. He usually does this in his head but sometimes it creeps into his speech. It's kind of annoying.There is also the small matter of Skeith. Skeith is an AI connected to Haseo within The World (who is also actually himself through shenanigans, .hack is confusing). Being an AI programmed only to destroy and invoke fear in others, Skeith encourages Haseo to act more genuinely assholish and violent, and also causes him to be more emotionally volatile when under its influence. It tends only attempt to take control when its host is in extreme distress or under highly negative emotional states, although Haseo is also capable of resisting those attempts if needed.Skeith is intelligent, but very shortsighted. It will do whatever it takes to preserve its own existence, so its unlikely to be drawn out unless Haseo is met with something that he can't handle on his own and his life is at risk. Otherwise, Skeith is perfectly fine with remaining a backseat observer and pushing its negative influence on Haseo's mind.
Lots and lots of video game bullshit, basically.Since he's inhabiting the body of his MMO character, he is actually very fit physically despite being a lazy teenager IRL. He also has a bit of muscle memory for combat. If you handed him a scythe/broadsword/twinswords, he could give a pretty decent impression of having any idea what he's doing without actually having any idea what he's doing.Sadly, his skills would fall apart completely in any real combat scenario. A more experienced fighter should easily be able to tell he's inexperienced, though they might at least be convinced he's had some form of training.Superhuman strength and speed. He's seen doing such feats such as jumping several stories high and wielding a weapon larger than his own body, all while maintaining a thin, lean body. Basically, he's an anime character who can do ridiculous anime things on occasion.As an MMO character, he has access to an inventory system and an internal messaging system ("flash mail"), as well as a variety of other menus. These menus are only visible to him and are mostly useless, besides the inventory. Flash mail can only be used to exchange short messages with compatible users, ie. he can use video game telepathy with other characters from MMO worlds probably.The inventory allows him to freely store and summon any object that would fit in his pocket. He can also summon his weapons and Steam Bike in this manner, but these are the only larger objects that can be stored. They're special.The Steam Bike! This is a large motorcycle-like vehicle that Haseo can summon at will, provided he's not "in combat". It supposedly runs on steam, which looks like magic blue orbs produced by tiny animals, but actually it doesn't seem to run on anything at all. It just runs. Somehow.An array of basic elemental spells that are as mildly impressive as they are incredibly weak. Haseo is a not a magic-based class. He can perform the most basic fire, water, earth, wind, dark, and light spells, but they're very weak and use a large amount of SP compared to his tiny SP pool. Not even worth it.On the slightly more useful side of the scale, he also has access to the most basic healing and resurrection spells. Again, though, he does not have a very big SP pool, so he's not very good as a healer. Small injuries wouldn't be any problem, but something larger or more life threatening would require a lot of recasting and waiting for his SP to recover, if he could even manage enough casts before the injuries worsened.For the sake of balance and the fact that this isn't a video game world, the resurrection spell would only work on someone who's just died, or about to die, and it would only restore their injuries to the point where they could potentially survive. They would still need proper medical treatment immediately to avoid dying.THE BIG ONE: Skeith, The Terror of Death. Skeith is a powerful AI bonded to Haseo's character data, acting as a link between Ryou's mind and his character's body within The World.The simplest way to put it is that Skeith is a large summonable monster (around 15 feet tall) that exists on another plane known as Avatar Space. Haseo can control it directly using their mental link and his own body's movements, kind of like a puppet. Since Skeith exists on a different "plane" of the game, it can only be seen by others who have access to that plane. However, Skeith and other Avatars can still affect things in the regular plane, such as attacking human players. Skeith is the smallest of the phases, but its also quick and powerful. Skeith wields a large scythe and can shoot energy bullets, but its true power comes from Data Drain, which allows it to remove and rewrite data in other entities (more on that in a bit). Skeith also gives Haseo a natural immunity and defence against other virtual entities of a similar type, such as other Avatars or AIDA.To translate this into the world of Hex, Skeith takes on a similar nature to that of a ghost. When summoned by Haseo, Skeith's form only exists in a plane similar to Twilight and cannot be perceived by non-player characters. It can still affect the physical world, but when "manifesting" in this way it can be physically interacted with by those who can see it, and thus it can be stopped or attacked. Affecting the physical world in this way also takes a great deal of energy, and he would need a 9~10 memory score to even consider using Skeith in this way. Anything less than that and they'd both exhaust themselves just trying to rustle a curtain.Data Drain is the ability to rewrite data, and coming from a world composed entirely of data that means altering the fabric of reality. Its primary uses are extracting harmful viruses or infections from users or destroying the data of a harmful entity such as AIDA. It also has its own methods of breaking through computer security systems and opening virtual back doors.In a living, breathing world, it's a bit more complicated. Data Drain is too simple of a method to work on something as complex as the real world, so at best it can only scramble the "data" of whatever it touches. On anything living, this would probably be fatal. On the bright side, living entities also have a natural resistance to the effects of Data Drain, so it'll only have the full effect against a target that's been heavily weakened and injured. Against a healthy target, getting hit by Data Drain can have any number of effects ranging from nothing happening at all to making them violently ill.Data Drain requires Skeith's Avatar form, though. Much like summoning Skeith, this ability is only available at a 9~10 memory score and degrades very rapidly with the loss of memory.Supernatural abilities aside, Skeith is still connected to Haseo even without a semi-physical presence. It doesn't try to interfere with Haseo's actions beyond implanted thoughts here and there, but if its host is in extreme distress then it won't hesitate to try and hijack control of the body to save him. Haseo has gotten better as controlling his emotions and resisting this mind control, and generally he would prefer not to give Skeith free reign like that, but it's an option that's available for the most dire of situations. If he managed to convince it to cooperate with him, he could also potentially use Skeith's knowledge or skills without giving up full control of his body (good luck with that one, though).As for what Skeith could actually do that Haseo can't on his own... Skeith is an advanced AI, so it has a very strong understanding of programming and computers, particularly sneaking past security systems and destroying systems. It's not held back by things like fear or morals. Skeith's influence isn't inherently a bad thing, since it can also be used to push Haseo forward even if he's on the verge of a breakdown. Skeith can fight a hell of a lot better than Haseo and prefers scythes and staves, though its also been known to straight up claw the shit out of people. It has a very wild, barbaric fighting style.The amazing ability to speak in emoticons.
Sample 1 (Network)Sample 2 (Log)Sample 3 (TDM which I super dropped the ball on, but hey it's something recent to show I can still write good so why not)