Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Land of the Morning Calm: Korea in WoW


On Wednesdays I submit an article for your consideration about WoW and the world around us. This week starts a two-part series on Korea—in game and out. It’s no secret that Koreans are big-time gamers, and often put the rest of the planet to shame with world-first kills. While Startcraft is jokingly considered their national sport, Koreans have lots of love for other Blizzard titles, and the relationship seems reciprocal. Korea-based servers, (Australia doesn’t even have that!) Korean offices, and Korean events are one thing, but how about immortalization in the world’s largest MMO?

Certainly other cultures are represented in WoW; Worgen accents are supposed to be Cockney English, humans say things only an American would, Trolls are definitely Jamaican. I’m here to state for the record that Night Elves are Korean. Seriously. The evidence is overwhelming: food, clothing and architecture are all slightly kimchi-flavored. I’ll start my argument with their capital city.

Darnassus is the height of Night Elf culture and society, and is home to Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage (congratulations newlyweds!) The rows of peaceful pagodas house every convenience a leveling character needs. If you arrive on foot, you must cross under the main gate, or Nadaemun as some bloggers like to call it. Judge for yourselves.


A stretch? I think not. But if your imagination isn’t working today, I’ll provide solid epicurean evidence. Every sub-60 zone featuring Night Elves sells food straight from Han-guk (Korea). Steamed mandu, cabbage kimchi, radish kimchi, wild ricecake and Darnassus Kimchi pie (gross) can be found in Teldrassil, Winterspring, Ashenvale, Feralas and Moonglade.

If you are leveling your cooking skill, you will make K-dishes yourself. Four of the five Darnassus cooking quests has your character running around making and distributing Korean specialties. The Secret to Perfect Kimchi involves digging up clay pots of the aforementioned staple. I found a great blog post that outlines the exact similarities between in-game and real life. “The jars that kimchi are stored in are called onggi (which can also store other condiments). They are also not quite as small as in the quest. They are actually quite large.” The other quests involve collecting and pounding out rice cakes (duk) and distributing pork ribs (galbi) to sentinels.

It seems that when Night Elves, like Koreans, have a special occasion, they go the hanbok maker. You can pick up white, green or red hanbok in Undercity or Stormwind, but the real treat is whenever Geenia Sunshadow of Moonglade has the Formal Dangui on hand. Sure, she can always dole out the Royal one, but the Formal Dangui is one of the rarest vendor spawns in the game. It is rumored to show up in her shop every two months or so. If you are the lucky one that nabs this dress, you might get up to 10,000 gold for it… on an RP server.


Just as Korean culture influences other countries (kimchi quesadillas anyone?) These flavors can be found in other parts of Azeroth and are not solely the intellectual property of Nelfs. The most exciting example may be among the Night Elves’ druid brethren, the Tauren. They can often be seen gathered around a galbi table. Here is a photo I took when I snuck over to the Horde side of the Argent Tournament grounds. Take note of the yummy ribs, the in-table barbecue and the crucial green bottle of soju.

Next week we will take a look at Koreans themselves and the different ways they enjoy our favorite game. In the meantime, Friday brings another weekly recap. Feel free to send in your own screen shots for Monday Mischief.

See you on Friday,
*Sal

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