Your audiobook is waiting…

Video Game Plotline Tester

Dark Herbalist Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer
Length: 11 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,121 ratings)
Regular price: $26.59
$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Would you be prepared to work for free? How would you like to bust your hump for a large corporation 60-plus hours a week without a wage or a single day off for the vague promise of some mysterious perks in the distant future?

You'd refuse point blank, wouldn't you? But what if the job in question was playing a state-of-the-art fantasy MMORPG game? And what if this was the only thing you're really good at? Especially considering that your in-game partner is someone really special to you - and this person already lives a virtual life?

Knowing all this, would you consider the mysterious future bonus worth your while?

©2017 M. Atamanov; English translation copyright 2017 by Andrew Schmitt (P)2017 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,508
  • 4 Stars
    475
  • 3 Stars
    98
  • 2 Stars
    32
  • 1 Stars
    8

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,551
  • 4 Stars
    381
  • 3 Stars
    69
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    5

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,403
  • 4 Stars
    450
  • 3 Stars
    120
  • 2 Stars
    30
  • 1 Stars
    11
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Different and Good LitRPG

First, I thought the title, “Video Game Plotline Tester,” sucked, in fact I almost didn’t buy the book because the Title seemed too institutional and sterile, which is the exact opposite of the story, which I found creative and refreshing with a different perspective on the LitRPG genre. It does describe perfectly, however, how the main character, Timothy, begins the story as a “Dark Herbalist,” for a video game plotline test.
With so many LitRPG coming out all of the time now it seems a challenge for writers to be different and still fulfill all of the needs that make a great LitRPG. In most of these we follow the main character while he/she quickly levels and eventually becomes the hero of the realm. What I like about “Video game plotline tester,” is it doesn’t go by the usual script. Timothy, by design, has to play a low- life character that, by design, has difficulties leveling up.
I’ve listened to the three “Audio,” books that have come out, so far, and I have to say this series tells a good tale inside the digital world and out in the real world of the story, with twists and turns that has me wondering how Michael Atamanov is going to continue in the next book; but I can’t wait, this is very entertaining.


11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well done! Top 10 of litRPG.

This series has some real potential! It balances well the “technical” growth of stats with action and adventure. Love the use of an unconventional character. I have listened to the first two books and I am hooked! Definitely worth the credit. Don’t get turned off by the silly and cartoonish cover.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely loved it.

I read this book and it makes me wish I could have that job. The world is very interesting and the PC and NPCs are very well thought out and mysterious. leaves you with a hunger for more.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Solid litRPG

What happens when you are put into the worse class with the worst stats and your job depends on making it fun? You think better...

Great story with a blend of R/L and RPG mixed in and an engaging storyline of a guy doing his best in a bad situation. Great for those MMO players who are not your standard golden triangle types and want a person who succeeds by his wits (along with some helpful misfits) Looking forward to the ongoing series very much!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fun read!

This is a very fun book that really puts the screws to its MC. The aforementioned protagonist takes a job as a video game tester, but lies so that he can get into the program. He tells them that he has never played the game before, which he did, but only briefly. His short lived stint was mad even more problematic when he is killed by a vampire. He get put into a competition with other gamers for slot at the full time gig, and has no say in what kind of a character he gets. Naturally, he ends up being a scruddly little goblin. . . .who just happens to be afflicted by vampirism from his first go round in the game. Not only is he a feeble gobbling he is also afflicted with being a vampire.

So, I decided that I was going to review this since I had already done one of the Reality Bender series, and this was out first. What is fun about this book, and what makes it a little bit better than Reality Benders, is that this game actually has an air of authenticity to it. The game is skill based, and looks to want players to be cooperative with one another. Timothy has his house bound sister join him in the game, and she is very clearly the brains of the operation. What I really liked about the story is that Timothy is rewarded for not doing run of the mill stuff like grinding, and making items. He looks at the paradigm and sees ways around it. He also gets a little extra for finding glitches, so he is on the look out for some glitchy goodness.

One thing I really enjoy are little easter eggs, and I think that when Timothy said her was naming his character Amra I nearly had a geek spasm. Conan the barbarian has an alias that he went by when he was a pirate in Belit, and I really hope that this is a nod to Conan, since Amra seems to be the muscles of the operation. Although I also say that his sister is the brains that really isn’t a fair assessment as Timothy often comes up with some off the wall way of doing things that actually advance him in some manner. Also, as a vampire he has different abilities, and I think my favorite was the Taste Tester power in which he gets 1% bonus for each new blood he puts in his palette. Additionally, I loved the way that stats were used to demonstrate capabilities in the game, for example, the first time that Timothy tries to speak as Amra most of what he says is gibberish or childish gobbledygook. The story is basically about how he is trying to keep his job as a tester, not get discovered to be a vampire, do average game things like leveling up and getting stronger. I thought it was a nice touch to give him a home base that was “haunted”, and give it a mystery of what was doing the haunting and I had a few snickers when he was showing the tribe his powers. If you want to know some of the bad, there are plot holes that do crop up, such as Amra having or using items you had no idea he was carrying, and to me the story really felt like it was just him wandering around trying to figure things out. Personally, I prefer a book to have three solid acts, set up, building of tension, and climax. This was a sort of let’s see where things will take me kind of approach. It was a bit lackadaisical for me.


Eric Michael Summerer, whom you may recognize from the work he’s done on dodge tank, really elevates this book. I have enjoyed him since I first heard him do some Forgotten Realms books back in 2013 or thereabouts, and if you really want to hear him do some amazing stuff (aside from the Dark herbalist or Dodge Tank) go find those and give them a listen. I do think he has grown better, as his Dodge tank work is impeccable, here he carries the story quite nicely.

Final score 7.8 stars. It was good but I found that it was nearly aimless in its execution and there were some plot holes that just popped up that could have very easily been fixed. Plus, it seems like Amra lucks his way out of stuff more than he should have, either way I liked this book and I am sure that you will too.


This is a very fun book that really puts the screws to its MC. The aforementioned protagonist takes a job as a video game tester, but lies so that he can get into the program. He tells them that he has never played the game before, which he did, but only briefly. His short lived stint was mad even more problematic when he is killed by a vampire. He get put into a competition with other gamers for slot at the full time gig, and has no say in what kind of a character he gets. Naturally, he ends up being a scruddly little goblin. . . .who just happens to be afflicted by vampirism from his first go round in the game. Not only is he a feeble gobbling he is also afflicted with being a vampire.

So, I decided that I was going to review this since I had already done one of the Reality Bender series, and this was out first. What is fun about this book, and what makes it a little bit better than Reality Benders, is that this game actually has an air of authenticity to it. The game is skill based, and looks to want players to be cooperative with one another. Timothy has his house bound sister join him in the game, and she is very clearly the brains of the operation. What I really liked about the story is that Timothy is rewarded for not doing run of the mill stuff like grinding, and making items. He looks at the paradigm and sees ways around it. He also gets a little extra for finding glitches, so he is on the look out for some glitchy goodness.

One thing I really enjoy are little easter eggs, and I think that when Timothy said her was naming his character Amra I nearly had a geek spasm. Conan the barbarian has an alias that he went by when he was a pirate in Belit, and I really hope that this is a nod to Conan, since Amra seems to be the muscles of the operation. Although I also say that his sister is the brains that really isn’t a fair assessment as Timothy often comes up with some off the wall way of doing things that actually advance him in some manner. Also, as a vampire he has different abilities, and I think my favorite was the Taste Tester power in which he gets 1% bonus for each new blood he puts in his palette. Additionally, I loved the way that stats were used to demonstrate capabilities in the game, for example, the first time that Timothy tries to speak as Amra most of what he says is gibberish or childish gobbledygook. The story is basically about how he is trying to keep his job as a tester, not get discovered to be a vampire, do average game things like leveling up and getting stronger. I thought it was a nice touch to give him a home base that was “haunted”, and give it a mystery of what was doing the haunting and I had a few snickers when he was showing the tribe his powers. If you want to know some of the bad, there are plot holes that do crop up, such as Amra having or using items you had no idea he was carrying, and to me the story really felt like it was just him wandering around trying to figure things out. Personally, I prefer a book to have three solid acts, set up, building of tension, and climax. This was a sort of let’s see where things will take me kind of approach. It was a bit lackadaisical for me.


Eric Michael Summerer, whom you may recognize from the work he’s done on dodge tank, really elevates this book. I have enjoyed him since I first heard him do some Forgotten Realms books back in 2013 or thereabouts, and if you really want to hear him do some amazing stuff (aside from the Dark herbalist or Dodge Tank) go find those and give them a listen. I do think he has grown better, as his Dodge tank work is impeccable, here he carries the story quite nicely.

Final score 7.8 stars. It was good but I found that it was nearly aimless in its execution and there were some plot holes that just popped up that could have very easily been fixed. Plus, it seems like Amra lucks his way out of stuff more than he should have, either way I liked this book and I am sure that you will too.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Definitely worth a listen

Engaging characters, interesting conflicts and a very cool world. I think that last point was the biggest draw for me, though in general it was a fun and relatively stress-free romp. The ending did fall a little flat, but I'm certainly eager for the sequel.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Ready Player One, but less AND more epic

The sub-genre of sci-fi/fantasy that is developing around videogames is fascinating. I've read a few books because of that fascination. This book. Well, it has elements that made Readu Player One great, but it doesn't have the flaws that made that book hard to read. The title is anti-climatic, but the content made me want to stay up late to listen. This is worth your time. Especially if you've enjoyed books like Reafy Player One. It relies significantly less on reference and nostalgia, and stands firmly on its own as a good story.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

highly amused

What did you love best about Video Game Plotline Tester?

I like how big ears has an unusual character and seems to succeed at it which is what you figure will happen when you follow a character around.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Video Game Plotline Tester?

There were a lot of memorable moments. I found it interesting they get in capsules to physically be in the game. I liked him meeting up with his sister in game and she is disabled and can't walk in real life but in the game she can and she feels whole in the game. I caught myself smiling through some events and chanting in the background for other events. LOL

What does Eric Michael Summerer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I like the way he did the voices of characters and the inflection he used while reading. I had a hard time pushing pause to go to sleep or answer the phone at work.

Any additional comments?

I hope there is a book 2 to continue where we left off. We aren't even lv 30 yet so there is a lot of room to make a 2nd book. I almost didn't get this book because the title was a little ambiguous and it seemed like a book for kids, I'm glad I took a chance on it though because in my mid 30's I really enjoyed this audio book! I loved that it was a longer audio book, I really had no idea the book was originally in another language and translated to English. It was really well done!

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly good if you MMORPG

I was a little anxious about this title given the rather cheesy cover and the fact that it was translated from the original language (Russian I think).

My fears were unfounded though and it was a fun book - I immediately downloaded the second in the series after finishing this. An original plot line and a very good reader. Fascinating treatment of the gaming world.

If you are not a MMORPG player however I don’t think you will enjoy this - simply too many game stats.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sexist but good

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes and no - I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I hope to see many more in the series; I'd just like to see the author temper his sexism - it doesn't add anything to the plot. The obvious excuse is that the author is from Chechnia and I'm guessing they haven't caught up to the western world's train of thought on the matter. I considered giving the book 3 or 4* and penalizing the author for it but then I thought better of it - it is a fun and exciting story and book after all. So 5*s and a here's to hoping some of the sexism will be tapered.

Which scene was your favorite?

It's a relatively new genre (RPGLit) which straddles Fantasy & Cyberpunk. Ready Player One is perhaps the best known book - but this book (and others) go deeper in the RPG piece and you are literally 'reading' the damage given and taken, options when leveling up, some of the grinding tasks etc - it's awesome if you like RPGs!

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Non O. Ya
  • 02-27-18

Not a good LitRPG. Author should play more games.

A bland attempt at a story by an author who seems to have only ever heard of the topic of videogames in passing - from some radio show or vague recollection he must have picked-up sometime on holiday a few years ago.

Packed with glaring plot holes and a frankly bland attempt at world crafting, the story starts to smell generic by the 3rd or 4th chapter (when the MC realizes he's been granted abilities that were mentioned to have been removed from the game, just as an example.)

From the author's glaring lack of understanding of basic game design and general mechanics to the atrocious dialogue from some of the characters (a 14 y/o girl who seems to have the speech pattern of a sage old man from time-to-time) the entire story seems aimed to remove any sense of immersion for the poor soul listening.

For those poor aficionados of the LitRPG genre: avoid this book. You will be physically cringing at some points.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-19-18

good

great book. interesting take being a game tester using in game currency as wages. worth a reread I think

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-15-17

great book

this is a great book with an interesting concept can wait until the next one comes out

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lee Redwood. Gorin
  • 05-10-17

hope for more

Kinda relaxing get the feeling big plot stuff will happen in next book (if there is one) but as to what it is?
really enjoying to slow build up to this though. hope for more