[GAME MASTER]Instance Dungeons in World of WarcraftHere I am at Iron Forge, a huge capital of the dwarves located inside a mountain, and in the main square hundreds of players are milling around the auction room and bank. On the stone bridge that spans a river of molten iron, New Moonlight, a tall night elf with long pointed ears, shouts, “Moonlight 16-slot Bag for 35 Gold!” Next to her, Thief Swindler, though bogged down with heavy leather armor, is thrusting his pelvis back and forth in a dance that is pseudo-Michael Jackson. Next to him, busy concocting a potion, is Tajo Sister, a short gnome with pigtails and a pink robe that would serve as a neckerchief for an elf but falls just short of the floor on her small body.
This scene is a common one that I’ve seen over the weeks, whether it’s at noon or at midnight. The square is always crowded with all sorts of races doing all sorts of weird things, and, like any offline square, it is where social life begins.
Iron Forge is a city in the cyber world of World of Warcraft, an online game made by Blizzard, the developer of Starcraft.
We reviewed World of Warcraft when the game was newly launched in Korea. Several months have passed, however, and now most of the people playing the game have already reached the highest level they can achieve with their character, which is 60. In some sense, there’s nothing more to do. Most of the quests have been played, and no matter what you do, your level will not go up.
So why are millions of players still paying almost 25,000 won ($25) a month to play?
For players like Dossie, an elven priest, it’s because of the Instance Dungeons. These are dungeons or castles that contain powerful monsters. One must form a party to enter such a zone, which is called an instance zone because the only people who can play there are members of the same party. In the case of the lair of the Onyx Dragon, even a party of 60 is weak, but most instance zones can be played with five to 10 players.
Players go to instance dungeons, or “induns,” because killing monsters in these areas produces better items such as weapons, armor and healing potions. Each article of clothing and weapon has a specific function that enhances certain skills such as knowledge, physical power or agility. Since different professions require different skills, players are intent on finding better items that suit their skills.
Since rare items come up in induns, tension among players is high, and there are certain unspoken rules. For instance, an extremely rare item can only be picked up after discussion among the players; if more than one person wants it, dice are rolled. Also, one must be careful to stick with the group and not attract any other monsters, or the team may be completely wiped out.
As a Druid, with strong healing skills, I’m usually in the back of the party, healing the wounds of warriors and hunters, who are usually up front doing the fighting. Playing in induns requires a lot of trust. If you’re a warrior and your health is failing, you shouldn’t panic but trust the healers to cure you. Healers also have to rely on warriors to do the fighting since they are physically weaker.
Due to the high level of confidence and coordination that is required in induns, friendships sprout, which is another reason why players such as NPGhost and Lovely Miss Kim are unable to give up the game.
by Wohn Dong-hee