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I walked on towards the town center and approach one of public terminals located there. I entered my name into a player versus player instance. Although it was a sandbox game, open PvP is not allowed in LoW. Anyone who want to test their skills against another player could only do so in a PvP instance called an Arena. In other games, players could just access such instance with a tab but DH Corporation thought that this would break the immersion of their game and only allow players to sign up for PvP instances through public terminals. At least that was the official line from the company. Personally I think they did this just to make sure players go towards the town center. There’s the reason why all the public access terminals were located only in the towns and cities centers.

As I waited for the instance to pop, I looked around the crowded town center. LoW was a well-known tourist game world which means that most of the players around me were tourists like me. We buy a pass for a week or a month to join in the action and then leave for other game worlds. Then I heard a loud explosion above me. Everyone looked up and I saw numerous players flying in the air attacking the large airship. Cheers erupted around me and I asked one of the nearby players what was going on.

He told me it was a public raid and the large airship was the public raid boss. One of the regular players even ‘helpfully’ mentioned that the attackers were probably doing the main game world quest line which was about a group of small rebel groups taking down a conspiracy to rule over the world. As I was hearing the explanation, two players in the town center took to the air to join in the fun. One was wearing a steam jetpack and armed with a steam-powered rifle while the other was riding a metal horse with thrusters on its’ hoofs. The flying horseman was dressed like a colonial officer with sword and pistol. I wasn’t optimistic about their chances of survival as the airship was fighting back. Machine guns on the airship began firing and small explosive-laden clockwork drones flew out of the airship to harass the attackers. Several players in steam-powered gliders and rotors backpacks immediately swerved to meet the mobs while the heavy hitters in their steam-powered fighter planes and clockwork birds continued their attacks on the airship. I quickly reconsidered my opinion as bullets, steam bombs and even lasers flew through the air. Some of the players were even armed with ray guns! I knew there were a numbers of hardcore lovers of the game of course but I always thought these are mostly historical actors and cosplayers. It was as if the players above me were determined to prove me wrong.

It was one of those moments when being wrong was a good thing as I cheered along with everyone in the town center when a massive explosion erupted on the airship. More players in the town center flew up to join the fight. More explosions erupted on the airship and then the airship began to change. Even without the commentary from the regular LoW players, I knew that the boss must have changed to its second form.

More drones were released but these were flying rotors and they were clearly quicker than the earlier explosive drones. The airship also began shooting steam-powered cannonballs that had some sort of limited heat-seeking sensors on them. In a show of how prepared the raid party was, some of the players began releasing fireworks to mess with the cannonballs and the sky began to light up with colors. It was like watching the annual fireworks display of SEAL Foundation Day. As beautiful as it was to watch, the action above me was getting serious. The players were still doing damage but now it wasn’t a one-sided fight as several players were being shot down and the airship began releasing even more rotor drones to defend itself.

I stood there riveted to the battle for five whole minutes when the PvP instance popped. The see-saw battle above me was still going on and as much as I wanted to see the end of the raid, work comes before play. Taking a last look at the battle above, I accepted the instance and everything went black.

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Ghostman

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