Wade’s avatar appears on the command center of Falco, the private asteroid he’s bought—the “cheapest planetoid” available. Falco is the only place in the OASIS where Wade feels safe. Now that he is 18, he can vote in the OASIS elections, and he votes to reelect the current president and vice-president, who are gunter favorites because they protect user rights. GSS has recently added a feature called personal OASIS vidfeed (POV). It allows users to pay to stream their own TV network, and many choose to livestream their own lives. On Wade’s channel, Parzival-TV, he streams 1980s movies, TV, ads, and music videos. The channel receives millions of views every day.
This passage further reveals the extent to which the OASIS was designed as an accessible, fair, and democratic space. It might seem odd that a videogame has a government and elections, but consider how much time people spend within the OASIS and how much activity is conducted there. Considering that in the world of the novel “the OASIS” and “the internet” are synonymous, it in fact makes sense that the simulation should have a democratically elected government.
Art3mis also has a popular POV channel, Art3mivision. She has also started her own fashion line. She has blocked all contact with Wade since Morrow’s party eight weeks ago, and she no longer posts to her blog. Even though Wade is now on the highest level, the 99th, he still completes quests to keep himself busy and distracted from his own loneliness. Having neglected his friendship with Aech because of his relationship with Art3mis, Wade and Aech have grown apart. Wade laments that “in less than six months, I’d managed to wreck both of my closest friendships.”
Wade attempted to convince himself that his life’s only purpose was completing the hunt. However, here it is clear that he has now come to value his relationship with Art3mis even more than the hunt. Indeed, his obsession with Art3mis has negatively impacted the rest of Wade’s life, taking away the few other things that gave it meaning.
On the other hand, Wade did find a chance to reach out to Daito and Shoto when he discovered a Japanese-language quest on the planet Tokusatsu. He asked for Daito and Shoto’s help with the quest, and the three of them spent a week completing it together. They not only received thousands of XPs and credits in return, but also a rare artifact called Hayata’s Beta Capsule that allows an avatar to transform into Ultraman for three minutes at a time. Wade insisted that the brothers keep the artifact because it belongs “in Japanese hands.” From then on, the three became friends.
Wade’s newfound friendship with Daito and Shoto is the only silver lining at this point in his life. It demonstrates that, despite Wade’s increasing isolation, he is still able to see the value in altruism and alliance. Although Wade is in the midst of a dark moment in his life, he still remains the same person who is good at heart.
Wade’s expenses are high, and he supports himself through a part-time job doing OASIS technical support. He was able to secure the job through having Bryce Lynch’s credentials and resume. Wade describes the OASIS helpdesk as “my own private virtual hell.” He works 10-hour shifts, which go by painfully slowly. One day, after his shift ends, he finds thousands of new emails in his inbox. He immediately realizes that Art3mis has found the Jade Key.
While Wade is stuck in a rut, Art3mis has progressed to the next stage of the hunt. This makes the fact that she broke up with him even more bitter. Art3mis remains in the utopian dimension of the OASIS, embarking on new adventures and achievements, whereas Wade finds himself trapped in a boring, lonely, and repetitive dystopian side of the simulation.