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Corrupted Blood incident
The Corrupted Blood incident was a widely reported virtual plague outbreak and video game glitch found in the Blizzard Entertainment computer game World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game in the Warcraft series. The plague began on September 13, 2005, when an area was introduced in a new update. One boss could cast a spell called Corrupted Blood, which would deal a certain amount of damage over a period of time, and which could be transferred from character to character. It was intended to be exclusive to this area, but players discovered ways to take it out, causing an epidemic across several servers. During the epidemic, some players would help combat the disease by volunteering healing services, while select others would maliciously spread the disease. These people have been compared to real-world disease spreaders, including early AIDS patient Gaëtan Dugas and Typhoid patient Mary Mallon. Blizzard attempted to fix the problem with voluntary quarantines, but most did not take it seriously, forcing Blizzard to do a hard reset of all of its servers for the game.
The glitch received mixed reactions. Complaints from players arose quickly after it became widespread and their characters died from this disease. However, some players found the situation fascinating. It has also been described as the first "real world" event in the game. World of Warcraft game designer Jeffrey Kaplan commented that the event caused them to consider similar real events in the game for the future. The resemblance to real-life disease epidemics drew international attention. Epidemiologist Ran D. Balicer published an article in the journal Epidemiology comparing it to SARS and avian influenza outbreaks. He suggested that role-playing games could be used as an advanced platform as a model for the dissemination of infectious diseases. Tufts University assistant research professor of public health and family medicine Nina Fefferman called for research on the incident. She spoke at the Games for Health conference in Baltimore, Maryland, commenting that massively multiplayer online games could solve the problems found in traditional models of epidemics, and that she would like to see a simulated epidemic done in World of Warcraft or another similar game that she could study. The actions of some players was described as terrorism by some, including Charles Blair, deputy director of the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies, who felt that World of Warcraft could provide a new way to study how terrorist cells form and operate.Nov 03, 2009 07:43 by fstopblues365