I think a recap of the game is in order right now because I see some people becoming bewildered as the story advances.
This is MY take on the game and as some of you might know, everything I know about gaming, I learned from Spyro the Dragon twenty years ago.
This is long but stay with me, okay? 🙂
1. Jinwoo’s purported goal in leveling up was to acquire a gun. He arranged for a secret space in an abandoned school where he could level up to finally get a gun to kill off HyunSuk without a sword duel. He achieved his goal when he reached Level 50.
JW to Park: (You say that) I’m not right in my head and he’s only an illusion, but I gained points by killing him per the game’s rules. That is why I came to Seoul. Only leveling up would keep me safe. I needed the gun, you see. Physically, I can’t run. The sword just wasn’t going to cut it (pun alert!).
Park then asked him, “So you’ve been leveling up in the game this whole time?”
JW answered, “I’m not as scared of him now that I have a gun. It’s just annoying to have to kill him every day. Like I said, even the crazy people have their own logic. I may seem pathetic to you, but I haven’t given up on my life yet.
Now, this is answer to why Jinwoo’s account wasn’t deleted.
To JW’s knowledge, deleting or disabling his account would have NO effect to his being REMOTELY logged back in the game. EVEN when he didn’t want to play the game and when he had no AR lenses on, he was still sucked into the game and hounded by NPC HS.
His continued involvement and participation in the game is something he couldn’t comprehend or avoid. Thus, for him, leveling UP was the best option to ensure his SURVIVAL.
He already discovered in Granada that sleeping was one way he could stop seeing NPC HS. He resorted to medication and alcohol to put himself to sleep. However, sleeping and running away the hallucination were no longer tolerable to him so he decided to take active, not passive, role in his resolving his computer problem.
Again, as I said, the AR game itself does NOT evolve. It’s static. That’s why NPC HS keeps on using the sword. But JW’s brain, like any human brain, does evolve. He finally figured out that killing NPC HS with a gun was a faster method than a sword fight.
Jinwoo was just copying Indiana Jones in this famous scene.
Besides, can you imagine what would happen if he created a new account and encountered the same problem? He would duel not one, but two NPC HS going after him simultaneously. lol.
2. However, after he reached level 50, his goal changed.
He next professed to working his way — or killing his way — up to level 90 to understand the problem of the game.
As Park explained to Prof Cha in Episode 8, “He thinks there’s a problem with the game. He also thinks the two game developers went missing in the process of playing the game just like him.”
He said he wanted to catch up to their level. The colleague Programmer (whatever his name was) identified the level he needed to reach: the 90s. Although Master and Marco hadn’t logged into the game for over a year already, they were in the 90s already.
No. 1 is master, No. 2 is Marco and No. 3 is Jinwoo. Park assumed that Master was Sejoo.
Park informed Prof Cha of JW’s goal. “He’s trying to reach the level that the developers had reach before they disappeared. He wants to know what happened in the beginning.”
Prof Cha deduced, “So according to Jinwoo’s logic, my son was killed by the game. It wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t because of an illness, and it wasn’t because of him, right? Isn’t that what he means?
Park replied, “Jinwoo hadn’t been sure at the beginning but I think he’s slowly becoming convinced. Something weird did happen though. JeongHun (Sec Seo) said the same thing.”
Remember, Sec Seo had told him during drinks, “I also thought that Mr Yoo was out of his mind but not anymore. Mr Yoo is normal. He hasn’t changed.”
Moreover, according to Park, Jinwoo wanted to delay the launch of the game and to cancel the showcase. When Park confronted him and asked for proof that there was something wrong with the game to convince him, Jinwoo rejected that idea as dangerous. He predicted that Park could only last a few days in the game with HyunSuk going after him.
JinWoo further said that he didn’t inform him of his hallucinations with HyunSuk to convince him. He was giving him an order as the CEO but he wanted him to understand his orders. “Nobody could understand this unless they experienced it themselves. I didn’t tell you this to help you understand me, but to help you understand my order. I’m not trying to prove that the hallucination exists in the game. Just do as I instructed.”
I must stress this: Jinwoo cared for his friend Park.
That’s the reason he didn’t want him to join the game. He thought that it was too dangerous for him and that his decision was for his own good.
3. His objective changed again once he reached level 90.
He suddenly found a special item, tThe Citadel’s Hawk, something only players from Level 90 and up could. The game said, “If you are qualified, reach out your arm.” Once the hawk landed on his glove, he declared, “It took me one year to prove this delusion.”
What’s the delusion he’s talking about?
Back in Episode 9, he said that the absence of SeJoo’s dead body meant that Marco didn’t kill him in a duel and that he was alive somewhere in the game.
To him, the message from the master proved his delusional theory correct. The game explicit said that “A messenger from master has arrived.”
To me this had been his real OBJECTIVE all along: to find SeJoo alive in Granada.
He removed the rolled-up message and the game said, “Master has sent you a secret quest from Granada. You can only open the quest in Granada. You must fulfill the quest the moment you check it. Your chance will disappear in you exceed the time limit. Citadel’s hawk will store the quest.” And then there was the time limit: 48 hours or two days.
Now, as far as I understand this game, this Hawk’s mystery quest was only a “side” quest, meaning it wasn’t necessary to complete the mission in order to move up to the next level. It was an optional mission that Jinwoo could play or skip had he been in a hurry to finish the game. But of course, since he wanted to find SeJoo aka the master, he chose to play this side quest.
Once he reached Granada (without Sec Seo) the game reminded him that he had 4 hours left.
He entered the washroom to open the hawk’s parchment. The game said, “You cannot retry a secret quest. Would you like to check your secret quest?” Meaning, this quest allowed no second chances.
There was a holographic image of a padlock and a barcode on the scroll. And a picture of the Alhambra appeared with the message “Rescue Master!”
The quest was accessible for level 90 and above. The difficult rating was “highest”. Recommended number of users was 4. Curiously enough, the reward was a question mark or undetermined. lol. I don’t know about you, but I would go on any quest if the reward was uncertain.
The layout of Alhambra was seen from another perspective. I’m not a map reader, but that area didn’t look like the dungeon to me. (shrugs)
The game reminded him, “Go to the Alhambra. Your quest begins now, hurry!” Note: the Alhambra is an extensive place and JinWoo had only four hours left to explore the place.
His colleague The Programmer was the one who told him to search the dungeon as it’s the logical place to find the master. “There’s a place in the Alhambra that used to be an underground prison. Maybe that’s the entrance to the dungeon. That’s the only place where someone could be locked up in.”
Now, had that been me, I would have verified this bit of information with the NPC Emma. Prisoners could be locked up in dungeons or towers.
Once he got there, the game said, “This is the entrance to the dungeon. You cannot reenter if you fail the quest.” The time left in the quest is about 2 hours.
Jinwoo naturally assumed that the dungeon was the right place to locate the master. However, the game itself didn’t SAY that the master was in the dungeon.
The game only said that if he failed his quest (that is, to “rescue the master”) then he couldn’t enter the dungeon again. The game itself didn’t SAY that the master was in the dungeon. The game only said that if Jinwoo failed to “rescue the master” then he couldn’t enter the dungeon again.
Did you see it?
The game was warning him that failure to accomplish the quest meant no access to the dungeon in the future.
Fortunately, he had absolutely NO need to enter the dungeon ever again. What on earth for?? He already knew that SeJoo wasn’t there and he already retrieved the special item hidden there: the Gold Key that he’ll need when he reaches Level 100. “You’ve collected Master’s special item. The gold key was only for users above Level 100.”
To me, Jinwoo’s biggest mistake in this special quest is that he didn’t talk to NPC Emma in the Alcazaba Cafe before going to Alhambra.
He didn’t ask the NPC Emma random questions about the Alhambra, like is there a Tower of the Captive in Alhambra? (yes, there is) Or is there a special place where you would play the “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” inside Alhambra? Or is there a place in the Alhambra to hide prisoners?
But he has the real HeeJoo beside him now so many he’ll get the answer.
So that’s MY recap.
Since we’re now all on the same page (mine, lol), I can quickly answer questions from a poster from Dramabeans. His/her questions are in blue italics. My answers are in black.
1. why was the key for users above level 100 only? JW was level 91, he had no use of that key yet (assuming the key is to help unlock SJ that is somewhere in that dungeon, even Master can’t use that key since he is level 94.)
Why not? 😀 The game creator or developer set it for level 100 because he can do that.
Note: we all assume that the developer of the program is also the game tester called “master” who is named SeJoo in real life. But we can keep an open-mind that the developer, the “master” and SeJoo might not be referring to the same persons at all. 🙂
SeJoo created the program but he was also testing it for glitches by actually going through the levels. He was at Level 94 when he was interrupted from his game-testing and last logged out. But the game he developed could have more levels after Level 100.
2. The original dungeon quest was to rescue Master. But JW left the dungeon on his own accord when those guards found him. It was not because the server was down and the game stopped. He was still fighting NPCs while walking outside.
Playing in the “quest” is different from playing in level 90. Just think of the “quest” as a subset or a side activity or extra-curricular activity in level 90. If JW had chosen not to play the quest, he would still be playing in level 90. That’s why he was still fighting NPCs when he walked outside the Alhambra. He was playing his level.
However, I’m sure that if he hadn’t “suspended” the quest and if he had found the missing master instead of the gold key, then he would have leveled up to level 91 quickly than killing 5,000,000 Nasrid and Aragon warriors.
3. He says he just haven’t found SJ. Okay, he hasn’t. But where did he plan to find SJ when he left that dungeon? The quest was to go to Alhambra and rescue Master. So JW needs to find master in the dungeon or at least in Alhambra palace. Imo JW walking away from the dungeon and Alhambra Palace was already forfeiting the quest.
The point here is that SeJoo wasn’t in the dungeon.
Jinwoo assumed he was in the dungeon because the Programmer said it was the only place to keep the prisoner in the Alhambra. (lol. There’s actually a tower called Tower of the Captive. and there are 1001 other places in the Alhambra to hide a person… ) But now Jinwoo only has less than 30 minutes to accomplish this mission. He should have asked for DIRECTIONS from NPC Emma because HeeJoo worked as a tour guide!
And no, he didn’t forfeit the quest. In fact, it was a good thing that his duel with the zombies ended right already because he was just wasting his time with them in the dungeon. Once he discovered that the dungeon was literally a “dead end” and he retrieved the master’s key, the time he spent in the dungeon became WASTED time.
But the key was an excellent find. In case he failed this quest to rescue master, he can still unlock whatever that needs to be unlocked when he levels up in the future.
4. I have no idea why he walked towards a hospital after going out of the dungeon
He walked towards the hospital because Sec Seo’s body would be in the morgue there. Of course, he would visit his friend the first thing he got out of the dungeons. He would be heartless if he didn’t do this much for his faithful friend.
5. The hospital and the dungeon were so far away that for sure 30 minutes has already lapsed when he was on his way to the hospital
The distance, just like the time, didn’t matter anymore. The quest was already suspended. And it will remain suspended until he returns to Alhambra.
But now that he’s in Seoul, he can level up again by killing all the NPCs he wants. Seoul presents a “home court” advantage for him. He can level up to Level 100 here and THEN return to Alhambra, finish the “rescue master” in 30 minutes and open whatever he needs to open with the gold key.
Hope this helps.