The spread of Corrupted Blood has not posted anything yet
World of Warcraft has been a game ahead of its time. So much so, that its players already witnessed the effects of a pandemic more than a decade past.
On September 13, 2005, Blizzard's incredibly popular massive multiplayer online role playing game World of Warcraft (WoW) experienced an event that mimicked that the spread of a viral disease throughout its playerbase. A damaging effect, called Corrupted Blood, devoting tens of thousands of gamers, and left lower-leveled characters in an inevitable death-loop. The effect, called a debuff, was a temporary condition, but one which could spread to other gamers when they stood close enough to each other, exactly like a true virus.
A week following the outbreak, it compelled Blizzard to restart every WoW machine to prevent it from spreading out of control.
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The infection originated from Hakkar the Soulflayer -- the boss of the very first 20-player raid Blizzard released. Hakkar would cast Corrupted Blood on players and it might damage them for approximately ten seconds. Players would spread the impact to others when they got too close to those infected. Following the 10 seconds were done, or players completed the boss battle, the harmful impact was supposed to finish. Only it didn't.
A programming supervision allowed the debuff to spread beyond the website of this Hakkar boss struggle and to the world at large. Much like rats fueled the Bubonic Plague, characters' trained animals spurred the Corrupted Blood outbreak. Hunter characters may summon and discount pets to fight at their side at will. Once ignored, all the effects on the pets have been paused until it is called back out again. In effect, the critters would contract Corrupted Blood during the boss fight, vanish then display the symptoms elsewhere in the world map when they were again summoned. There it would spread to other players and pets which came in contact with them.
Cities such as the dwarven town Ironforge and orc town Orgrimmar were overrun in hours. Non-playable characters, who could not die as a result of particular coding, would also catch the effect, meaning any participant who passed by them may get Corrupted Blood.
After word got out, players hunted frantically for information about what was going on.
"The world chat would explode any time a town fell," says Nadia Heller, an ex-World of Warcraft player whose character lived through the incident. "We kept a close attention not just on our guild conversation but on earth chat as well to see where not to go. We did not want to catch it."
The spread of Corrupted Blood, and also the player's behavioral changes to it, caught the interest of epidemiologist Dr. Nina Fefferman, who was a World of Warcraft player at the time of the incident. Fefferman achieved to her colleague Dr. Eric Lofgren. In 2007, both published a paper that detailed their findings, including complex models of individual behaviour in a pandemic. Fefferman claims the episode has helped inform her current research into predictive modeling about covid-19.
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