Virtual Disease in a Virtual World

Posted on September 18th, 2005 @ 19:45
Filed Under Virtual Worlds | Leave a Comment

Even though I haven’t found many sources yet to confirm this, it looks like World of Warcraft now has to deal with a disease spreading to other players’ characters, and bearing the charming name of “Corrupted Blood”. Here’s what pigz at Shacknews has to say about it:

Blizzard adds in a new instance, Zul’Gurub. Inside is the god of blood, Hakkar. Well, when you fight him he has a debuff called Corrputed Blood. It does like 250-350 damage to palyers and affects nearby players. The amazing thing is SOME PLAYERS have brought this disease (and it is a disease) back to the towns, outside of the instance. It starts spreading amongst the genral population including npcs, who can out generate the damage. Some servers have gotten so bad that you can’t go into the major cities without getting the plague (and anyone less than like level 50 nearly immediately die). GM’s even tried quarantining players in certain areas, but the players kept escaping the quarentine and infect other players. 

As a person who’ve dabbled in MMORPGs for a few years, although I’ve never played WoW, I find this quite fascinating. Is this an intended feature that’s working too well, or a serious coding bug, if there’s ever any difference between the two, in this case? We’ve all heard of viruses that spread from computer to computer through the internet, and of course of biological viruses, but this is a premiere to me; I don’t think that any online game has seen such collateral damage occur, and while it can sure be fascinating from a purely roleplaying point of view, it also has the potential to be a serious bother to players.

I now wonder how Blizzard will handle the matter, yet above all, I wonder how this could happen. What piece of code was needed for the Corrupted Blood to become so virulent? How come that such an event could occur in what’s supposed to be a completely human-controlled environment? Somehow, I can’t prevent but thinking that this is a perfect example of chaos in motion. It’s so similar to real life that it’s almost frightening.

(Link found through Clickable Culture)

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