The beast resembles a giant eyeball.
It massacres its enemies by shooting them with deadly beams.
Forty people and creatures gather in the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj in Azeroth to destroy the beast, known as “C’Thun.” Jibus stands among the crowd as he prepares to be a savior in a time of dire need. Jibus is a priest. He will offer healing aid anytime during the battle. His role is essential and he takes great pride in it.
The raid party lines up against a wall just outside the temple chamber where the beast-nemesis dwells. The group has been mobilized from the far corners of the globe and consists of humans, night elves, dwarves and gnomes, all of whom belong to a larger body of raiders who call themselves “Delusions of Grandeur.” In the last few minutes of preparation, the raiders stand tight against the wall. Then, little by little they filter into the room.
The group battles evil on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.. That’s real world time.
But they exist in a virtual world--the World of Warcraft.
And their existence is dependent on the large population of computer gamers who are prepared to sacrifice sleep, school work and even sometimes bathroom breaks to make these characters stronger and better competitors in Azeroth.
Jibus’s vessel is Calvin Wei, a 24-year-old ASU student. Calvin is, by his own admission, a World of Warcraft addict. He has allowed the game to interfere with his life. But he enjoys the game too much to give up playing entirely.
* * * * * * *
Calvin Wei is one of 7 million people who plays World of Warcraft. The wildly popular computer game is part of a genre of games known to players as an MMORPG, or a massively multi-player online role-playing game. Such games allow a large population of players from all over the world to play in the same online gaming setting. Although they might live in faraway corners of the earth, many gamers communicate with each other via a program called Ventrilo and the use of a headset or mic and speakers. The main focus of these discussions “over Vent,” a nickname for the program, is to discuss strategies for defeating the guild’s enemies.
Every character in World of Warcraft belongs to one of two factions, called the Horde Faction and the Alliance Faction. The factions are enemies. (Calvin’s character, Jibus is a member of the Alliance Faction.) The faction orientation will affect what type of race the player can choose. The race of a character determines homeland, historical background and other characteristics that serve to enhance particular abilities. On the Horde side, a person can choose from Orc, Troll, Undead, or Tauren races. On the Alliance side, a person can choose from Night Elf, Human, Gnome or Dwarf races.
And right along with race, class is essential in character development. Players choose classes that determine skill, power and roles. Players choose from these classes: Druids, Hunters, Mages, Paladins, Priests, Rogues, Shamans, Warlocks and Warriors. Classes determine whether a character will be skilled in dealing damage, taking damage or healing self and players. Then there are hybrid classes that inhibit a combination of the three roles of healing, damage-dealing and damage-taking.
A player also has power to name his/her character and change the skin and hair colors and other facial characteristics.
Take Jibus for example, who Calvin named after a Simpsons episode involving Homer Simpson confusing Jeebus for Jesus.
“I tried to create my character to look like Jesus, which I later realized that I did a poor job of,” Calvin says.
Each player can attain a skill level up to 60. Leveling is largely dependent on gaining experience in the game. In order to achieve higher levels, a player may complete quests, kill creatures of the same or higher level or discover new areas of Azeroth, the virtual world in which the game exists. Once a character gets to level 60, the game does not end. Some agree that that is when it really starts. There are “instances” that require a large group of high level and well-equipped players to accomplish difficult tasks. The Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, for example, is one instance that requires Jibus, a level 60 human priest, to battle skillfully against the evil eyeball beast. ”Delusions of Grandeur” has yet to complete their mission to destroy C’thun. Calvin says that the guild has currently abandoned their fight in Ahn’Qiraj to focus on another raid instance, Naxxramas. (Continued on page 2.)