KAMYK NAD VLTAVOU, Czech Republic (Reuters) - Czech World of Warcraft fans donned costumes on Saturday to bring the massively popular online game to life, pushing ahead with a scaled-back festival after the coronavirus pandemic postponed the annual event earlier this year.
Dressed as shamans, elves and knights, the gaming fans took part in games and competitions in a forest in Kamyk nad Vltavou, south of Prague, but the usual live-action battle was scrapped due to a low turnout.
The annual spring festival usually draws up to 200 fans but organisers said turnout was only about 60 this year after the delay caused by coronavirus lockdowns in Europe.
“We are just happy that this year (the festival) is happening,” said Eliska Pabl Kaplanova, one of the organisers. “So this year it’s a smaller stage.”
The online role-playing game has become a cultural phenomenon since launching in 2004, with millions of players worldwide.
Jaroslav Racek, a policeman by day, said he was making his seventh visit to the Czech event and that for him it was a chance to be immersed in something different.
“There is a great group of people here,” he said, dressed as a “Burning Legion” demon. “A person can enjoy himself in this world and not just sit at a computer.”
Reporting by David Cerny, writing by Jason Hovet, editing by Ros Russell
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