"Sword Art Online" started off as a light novel which then later spawned a manga and anime adaptation. The story begins in 2022 when a new virtual reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game (VRMMORPG) called "Sword Art Online" gets released. The game requires players to use a special helmet called NerveGear, which stimulates the user's five senses via their brain. This function allows players to control their in-game characters with their minds. Ten thousand players log into "Sword Art Online" for the first time on November 6th and quickly find out that the game lacks a log-out feature. They get told by Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of "Sword Art Online" and NerveGear, that to leave the action game, they must reach the 100th floor of the game's castle, Aincard, and defeat the final boss. If the NerveGear gets removed forcibly, it sends out a powerful microwave that kills the user. If the player dies in-game, the same thing occurs.
This feature suddenly makes "Sword Art Online" a death match, and as a story can adequately analyze the effects our virtual personas have on our actual personality as well as explain whether or not the friendships and relationships we cultivate in a game are real. The story follows a player named Kirito, one of the thousand beta testers from the game’s previous closed beta. He has an upper hand when it comes to surviving in Aincard, and soon he and the other beta testers are viewed as cheaters and selfish people, spawning the derogatory term “beater”, a mix of the words “beta” and “cheater”. After online a month in the game, two thousand players have died, some by suicide and others from murder. After two years of living in "Sword Art Online," many players seemingly give up on escaping the game, instead focusing their days on simply enjoying themselves. Kirito marries a fellow player, Asuna, and falls into the same lull, until they both realize that their bodies are slowly rotting away in the real world. Determined to stay together, Kirito and Asuna aim to track discover the identity of Kayaba’s in game character and kill him.
Kirito was chosen to be one of the one thousand beta testers for the closed beta of Sword Art Online, the first ever VRMMORPG for the NerveGear, and later joined the official version of the game. He thus became one of the 10,000 players who were trapped in Sword Art Online, where he remained a solo player for the majority of the game, willingly taking on the role of a Beater to reduce discrimination against other former beta testers, as well as actively taking part in Boss battles as one of the Clearers.
Yuuki Asuna known as Asuna is the main heroine of the Sword Art Online series and the deuteragonist of the Aincrad Arc. She is the daughter of the former CEO of RECT Inc.. Asuna was one of the 10,000 players trapped in Sword Art Online, where she was the sub-leader of the Knights of the Blood guild.
Yui is a supporting character throughout the Sword Art Online series. She is a top-down Artificial Intelligence (AI) program that was originally developed by Argus to address player mental health concerns in Sword Art Online. However, when Kayaba Akihiko turned Sword Art Online into a death game, Yui was forbidden from interfering with players whatsoever by the Cardinal System, which led to her not being able to fulfil her duties. Found by Asuna and Kirito in the forest, she was mistaken for a lost child player and adopted by the couple.
Sword Art Online was the first ever VRMMORPG produced by Argus for the NerveGear, with Kayaba Akihiko as the development director. The online game takes place on a hundred-floor floating castle called Aincrad. Prior to official launch, Sword Art Online Closed Beta was available to 1,000 beta testers for a one month period from August to September 2022. Starting November, the game officially started server service and obtained infamy when the creator succeeded in trapping 10,000 people in the game, and making it so that death in-game would mean actual death for the player.
SAO uses a level-based system to determine the strength of a player. Once the player gains enough EXP, their avatar glows a golden hue, and their current level is raised by one. A player can gain EXP by participating in monster battles, party battles, pvp combat, hunting, and quests. To unlock and move up a level in Aincrad, a player / a team of players must defeat the level's final boss.
ALfheim Online is a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) that was released a year after the beginning of the Sword Art Online» incident. The game features nine races of fairies, whose goal is to reach the top of the giant World Tree in order to meet the Fairy King Oberon.