The «Color Cursor» (カラー・カーソル, Karā Kāsoru?) in Sword Art Online, ALfheim Online and Gun Gale Online is part of the visual display of a player. It appears over the heads of players, NPCs and monsters whenever the player focuses their gaze on the said players or NPCs, or if the said monsters are within the player's detection range, which can be increased by leveling the «Searching» skill. For monsters, the cursor shows the threat of level of an entity towards the player.
Color Cursors do not appear inside of a building, as, for example, in restaurants it would be impossible to eat if the cursor kept appearing whenever a player focuses their gaze on another person.
Known Cursor Colors in SAO
Players that have not directly committed an infraction receive a green cursor. Most players in Sword Art Online have green cursors. Non-Player Characters (NPCs) in Sword Art Online also have green cursors and also have an «NPC» tag under the hit point (HP) bar.
Dangerous characters can still have green cursors by getting around the system. Monster PKing or Sleep PKing will not turn a player's cursor from green to orange. Attacking an enemy in a safe zone deals no damage and will not change cursor color.
In Sword Art Online, players that have committed a crime receive an orange cursor. An infraction is initiated typically by the first act of attacking a green player outside the safe zone, as the Area effect in towns negates both the possibility of injuring other players and the possibility of stealing items, thus thieves usually earn their orange cursor via attacking players to harass them for items, rather than stealing items directly. Alternatively, a player's cursor may change to orange if they attack a neutral NPC or steal items from an NPC.
Players who have orange cursors are usually referred to as orange players, a term that has become a synonym for "criminal", by other players. The Army is known for attacking orange players without question, stripping them of their equipment and imprisoning them within the dungeons of the Black Iron Palace. Guilds created by orange players are referred to as orange guilds, though in some cases, several members keep their cursor green to be able to infiltrate other parties and lead them to ambush points.
It is possible to remove an orange cursor and return to green status by undergoing an annoying alignment recovery quest. This quest is offered to players with orange cursors by NPC travellers or wanderers in the wilderness that the players may occasionally encounter. The difficulty and length of the quest changes depending on the orange player's crime: stealing cheap items from an NPC only requires short quests, while attacking or killing another player require a significantly more difficult quest. Committing more crimes after a player reverts their orange cursor results in an increased alignment recovery quests difficulty for the player. A player who has killed about five players will find it essentially impossible to restore their colour cursor to green.
Players with orange cursors are unable to enter villages or streets that have the «Area» effect on. If they try to get into these areas, they will be attacked by NPC guards until they leave the affected area. In order for an orange player to move between floors, they must either walk from floor to floor or use teleportation or corridor crystals.
Player Killers are colloquially referred to as "Red" players due to their interference with clearing the game, though their cursors are not actually red.
All active monsters have a red cursor of various shades. The shade of red can be used as a reference to the monster's power when compared to the player's level. The cursor of monsters that need to be killed for a quest appear with a narrow yellow border surrounding the cursor.
Monsters that are considerably weaker than the player and reward little to no experience points have light pink, close to white, cursors.
Monsters that are equal in level to the player have a pure red cursor.
Active monsters that are of a higher level than the level range of a player receive purple cursors.
Monsters that are even more powerful than those with a dark crimson cursor.
Known Cursor Colors in GGO
Blue is the normal color of a player's color cursor.
Red is the colour of a monster's cursor.
- In Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, blue cursors were implemented in Sword Art: Origin as a penalty for assaulting or killing NPCs. In addition to the penalties normally suffered for orange cursors, players with blue cursors would be targeted and attacked on sight by any nearby monsters and NPCs, even passive or friendly ones.
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