The Starting City (はじまりの街, Hajimari no Machi?), also known as "Town of Beginnings", is the main settlement on the 1st floor of «Aincrad», the beginning point of all players and also the largest town in Aincrad. It is also where a majority of the non-players in «Sword Art Online» reside.
The Starting City takes up 20% of the 1st Floor's surface, large enough to hold a Tokyo district, thus it is capable of housing over six thousand people. It has large stone paved roads, surrounded by street-lights.
There is a central circular plaza in the city. The north side of the plaza leads to the Black Iron Palace, a large black palace that is the biggest structure within the city and it is the first building seen in the game by new players and the place where the players gathered themselves when the game started.
- Black Iron Palace - Home Base of the Aincrad Liberation Force
- Monument of Life (Official SAO)
- Room of Resurrection (SAO Closed Beta)
- Monument of Swordsmen (ALO)
- Black Iron Castle Dungeon
The city is first seen when Kirito and all players enter the game. After several hours since the game's start, Kayaba Akihiko, force teleports all players, including Kirito and his new friend Klein, back to the Starting City and announces that SAO would become a mortal game. As he finished, Kirito chooses to leave the place, advancing towards Horunka Village. He tried to offer Klein to come with him for more efficient leveling, but Klein refused, as some of his friends were still in the plaza. He chooses to go back, after wishing Kirito good luck.
Kirito, Asuna and Agil come to the city to visit the Monument of Life to check whether Grimlock is alive before searching for him. They also find out that a player called Kains really did die due to continuous piercing DoT, but this later turns out to be another player with no ties to the murder mystery.
When the game is cleared, Kirito and Asuna watch as the «Starting City» and Aincrad crumble into the clouds along with the other floors.
- Although the city has a lot of facilities essential for adventuring with generally low prices and all sorts of inns, thus in terms of efficiency, it is the best town to be used as a home base, none of the higher level players have stayed in this city till the end. One of the reasons for this is the oppression from «The Army», but the main reason is that while standing at the central plaza, most people recall the events of the first day in the SAO official service.
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