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In Ready Player One, the main character Wade often describes how little money he has and how he lives in poverty.

However, why doesn’t he play OASIS game tournaments or PvP for money?

His friend Aech hosts the Basement and the book says “Hosting a chat room this large wasn’t cheap, but Aech could afford it. He made quite a bit of dough competing in televised PvP arena games after school and on the weekends.”

And Wade says “Aside from yours truly, Aech was the best all-around gamer I’d ever encountered.”

Also...Wade describes Aech as someone who has a lot of money and who is famous. And Wade says Aech is his best friend who he’s known for 3 years.

So why does Wade have literally like 3 items and noobie gear? Does his best friend not give him a single nice gift or voucher, even on holidays?

I just don’t understand how Wade is a nobody characters at the start of the book if he’s got amazing gaming skills that can make you tournament money and a wealthy famous best friend.

Note: I’m still reading through the book.

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    Well... any answer I could give you comes from later in the book. The no-gifts things is a sort of code of honor later described in the book. And the no-tournaments things ever mentioned, but the implication was that (like with everything else) he didn't have the means to start. – amflare Feb 28 '18 at 5:35
  • — I’ve gottrn to the part where they mention the honor code now i.e. solo gunters don’t give or accept help to other solo gunters. Makes sense. Thanks for mentioning it. – Tsuki107 Feb 28 '18 at 6:16
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    There has to be a tournament structure to play in tournaments. Wade's skill is in 1980s computer games, at least that's always what I assumed he meant by all-round gamer. Everything Wade did was in relation to The Hunt. So while there is a PvP tournament for H to compete in, there might not be one for Street Fighter 2. – Jontia Feb 28 '18 at 11:32
  • @Tsuki107 - Also, consider that Wade stayed away from PvP zones because of risk, so to enter a PvP tournament? – JohnP Feb 28 '18 at 14:43
  • @JohnP - PvP zones would be different than PvP tournaments and I would expect PvP tournaments to operate similar to PvP today. Just because you die in the tournament does not mean that your avatar is killed. In addition, I would also expect it to level cap and have other restrictions to level the playing field for all the players. I bet in tournament play, assuming you use your avatar and not some other persona, it creates a sort of copy to play with. – Odin1806 Mar 8 '18 at 17:41
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It takes money to make money.

Aech was raised by a loving single parent with a good job and, up until leaving the household around the age of 18, was presumably supported and given the pocket money necessary to level their character up, PvP game for fun, then enter tournaments, then become successful at PvP tournaments. So Aech's tournament income is self-funding now, but took seed money.

Wade, on the other hand, never had seed money. His parents are dead. He lives with relatives who do not love him and treat him as a resource, and actively work against him by taking away anything he acquires. He only got the gear to go into OASIS as a result of being accepted into an OASIS-based high school. And he is careful, for whatever reasons, not to beg or borrow from Aech.

Without the resources to level up enough, Wade could never compete in PvP tournaments.

It's not Wade's priority

Aech is the only character we see into PvP gaming. And Wade never really expresses that he wishes he had the opportunity to do the same. Wade is focused on being a Gunter, and PvP would be a distraction from that. Noticeably, when Wade does reach the point where he can leverage his resources to earn money, he promptly accepts all offers which do not require time or involvement on his part. He'll sell his name or his image, sure, but he's not signing up to spend a day at a Convention here or there.

There's no indication he'd be particularly good at it.

Once he got funds, the leveling up process doesn't necessarily involve PvP. And the few times we see Wade in PvP, there's no indication of particular skill, but many indications that having 'made the climb to 99' he can afford and carry top-of-the-line gear and use it indiscriminately. PvP tournaments are much more level around equipment, and emphasize skill instead.

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    Exactly. I always assumed that to participate in anything inside the Oasis you have to get your avatar there. Wade has no Oasis credits to get anywhere and is stuck on Ludus (in the beginning). I assume if there were "arcade style" tournaments he could have participated in from Ludus, he would have done so. – knightscharge Mar 2 '18 at 20:46
  • +1! Exactly, Wade was very poor and he couldn't even afford to buy a ticket to the better hunting grounds nor compete with the better equipped players. – djm May 1 '19 at 14:32

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