Anyone who has ever dabbled in an MMORPG knows there are different kinds of players. It’s something that just happens, as everyone has their own desires and motivations that drives them to play. This shapes their behavior and personalities online. Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ understands and nails this. All of its major characters fall into familiar archetypes and that helps make this otome feel authentic.
Let’s start with Kazuha. She’s a very obvious beginner. She has never played Arcadia before and is completely confused when Period: Cube begins. She does what Hiroya tells her to when making a character, because she doesn’t know any better. In many routes, she comes across as incredibly flustered. Though, in the Radius storyline Kazuha does a rather good job of figuring out how to survive on her own. She needs to have things explained to her and takes her time learning things; this allows her to act as a good gateway character for the player since we’re also new.
Hiroya is your typical Arcadia player. He’s aware of some secrets and knows how to play the game, but isn’t some sort of legend like Radius or Astrum. His friends know him, but people in general don’t. He’s like that friend who has been playing World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV for a year and is established, but doesn’t spend some time playing through the game every day.
While Kazuha and Hiroya represent the most common kinds of players, it’s Period: Cube’s other heroes that prove more interesting. Let’s look at Libera. This is the character who loves the idea of the game and acquiring all kinds of cool items, but doesn’t actually want to work for it. They want to look amazing and do what it takes to get the rarities they crave. In the case of Libera, that involves scamming. It’s an all too common kind of player. This person puts on a persona and attempts to be as alluring as possible to get things from his fans. This means pretending to be an adorable heroine in-game, complete with scantily clad attire, and using his charms. When we finally see why he does the things he does, it helps us understand one reason why someone might behave that way in a game.
Radius is the lone wolf. He’s the person who’s learned to accomplish incredible things and, more importantly, does it all on his own. While Radius has his reasons for doing so in-game, and these motivations are based upon some rather tragic circumstances, the real life players do for very different reasons. Still, the end result and mentality is the same. Both Radius and this sort of player would be determined to take on challenges on their own, will have found incredibly rare equipment that others would envy, and develops a reputation. They can be stand-off-ish and cold, but only isolate themselves because they know they can handle it. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll team up with the right people.
Then there’s Astrum. Astrum is the role player. They love MMORPGs, because the games present them with an opportunity to be someone very different from who they are in real life. In Arcadia, Astrum gets to be a leader and a hero. He’s admired. He can be a gallant knight in shining armor to Kazuha, something that wouldn’t be possible outside of the game. This leads to some incredibly melodramatic and nearly unbelievable moments, but then you have to remember the guilds some people found and roles they stick to in actual MMOs and understand that someone behaving like Astrum isn’t unlikely.
Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ works because its major players do a good job of mimicking the ones you might come across while playing an actual MMORPG. Its most important people all have roles and traits that resemble ones that appear in actual virtual worlds. This helps with the visual novel’s immersion, as the story rings true when characterizations are spot-on.