This actually puts me in mind of the post I made when I first joined the forums, about the players having the ability to say no.
To wit: I don’t actually have a problem with how this story sets its plot in motion. Not only do you have the option to say no when Rylan initially attempts to rope you in, you in fact have the option to just attack them without bothering to let them speak, and then refuse to hear them out after the fact, such that they have no other choice but to rope A(rden, in my case) into the plan instead. And then, when Arden tells you the plan the next day, you can voice several very valid objections to said plan, ultimately forcing her to cite workplace ethic at you to make you go along with it (“I am your partner, partners don’t work alone, I’m going along with this whether you like it or not, and you’re coming with me”).
At that point, for my overtly hostile MC, his character evolves from stubbornly saying no to begrudgingly going along with the plan, because he ultimately realizes that the situation is bigger than his own feeling on it and he has too much respect for Caine to be picking this particular hill to die on - but with the caveat that, whenever a chance presents itself, he will constantly remind Arden that she’s dragged him into things under duress, and likely will not be forgiven.
As for B(lane) and N(oelle) joining the investigation, what they say on the matter is argument enough for them: Caine’s their boss too, they have a vested interest in getting him back to IOAS alive and well.
As much as I dislike K(aia), there’s even a valid reason for their involvement, that being that they’re the only Warlock with the power needed to do the big Caine-finding spell in the first place, so it really is them or bust. And at the end of the most recent update, they’re revealed to have a, not friendly, but tolerant relationship with the head honcho of the vampires, so them coming along to speed up the inevitable swimming through supernatural red tape could be invaluable to finding Caine.
So, the cast of characters my character is stuck working with are definitely not an issue, in and of themselves, and the plot is perfectly fine for me. It really is just that the ROs’ respective character nuances feel relatively static, in ways that don’t really mesh with me: Blane will always hate your guts over a statistic, Noelle will always play peacemaker between everybody, Arden will always be the one who’s the most invested in the plan (even though she proclaimed to hate Rylan worse than my character, initially), Rylan will always be a thorn in the ass, and Kaia will always disdain everyone and everything. It makes it really seem like everybody’s a bit up their own back ends when my character responds accordingly to their personalities thus far (hates Blane, hates Noelle by association, never really got along well with Arden to begin with and is pissed off at her now, DESPISES Rylan, dislikes and distrusts Kaia), and everybody suddenly acts like it’s this new, offensive thing that he’s doing that had never been provoked before by any of them.
Rylan acts like a pain in the ass for the umpteenth time, then gets miffed when, shocker, my character - who has never liked her and has seen very minimal change in that regard - shoots her down hard? Come on, Rylan.
Blane gets offended that my character, pragmatic to a fault and who clearly has no use for her in the first place, and who she already thinks lowly of, herself, would “cheat” his way to victory in a sparring match where no hard ground rules were set prior to the match starting? Blane, what evidence did you ever have to suggest that he wouldn’t do exactly that? He’s the kind of guy who holds hard and fast to the rule of, “nobody gives a shit about honor in a fight.”
Kaia looking down her nose at everyone from the word go, then getting pissy when my character shoots down Rylan’s offer to be their friend later? The vibe I catch from that is, “I hate you, but how dare you not love me,” which I have to admit does little to endear Kaia’s character to me any.
Honestly, Arden being very awkward and quiet around my character now and Noelle finally getting fed up and telling my character to stop being a dick are the only two responses that have made sense to me so far, because yeah, Noelle is justified in getting her hackles up for being mistreated over literally nothing, and yeah, Arden is justified in being severely cowed by just how hard her partner is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder over her forcing him to join a plan that he objected against, several times, as being a bad idea.
It’s nothing that completely shatters my immersion or makes me not want to continue reading, mind. The story, itself, is great so far, and I’ve been genuinely enjoying what I’ve read. I just feel like the characters’ personalities are somehow equally full-bodied, but not robust enough, is all.