Worried about the Swine Flu?‚  Seems the whole country is caught up in the media blitz of coverage, and while we don’t plan to exacerbate any fears of yours, when the medical world looks to video games for answers, well that’s worthy of your attention.

Canada.com reports that researchers have looked to the massively multiplayer World of Warcraft for answers regarding the ways in which pandemics spread.

Why World of Warcraft? In 2005 the “Corrupted Blood” outbreak took place on the servers of WoW resulting in the “deaths” of 4 of the 6 million active players.‚  The in-game pandemic is described as such:

“Blizzard Entertainment decided that some players’ characters had become too powerful, so they created a virus – called “Corrupted Blood” …The virus quickly infected any nearby character, regardless of its relative strength.

The programmers imposed a mass quarantine, and expected players to take it seriously because “death” can cause their characters to lose items, strength, weapons and armor they had accumulated over many hours of play.

Yet many players ignored the quarantine, spreading the virus. Eventually, more than four million of the game’s six million players worldwide were infected, and millions “died.”

Clearly, the killing off of two-thirds of the massive WoW population caught Rutgers University Professor Nina Fefferman’s eye as she hopes to use the Corrupted Blood pandemic as a model of how to approach the very real Swine Flu issue:

“Suddenly, there did exist [in WoW] an experimental framework to watch how people would behave during an epidemic. That’s exactly what we worry about in real-world epidemics – the little behaviours that we don’t tell people to do or not to do, because we have never seen this happen before.

I’m not afraid just yet, although my nose is a little sniffly….

via GamePolitics

About The Author

Eddie Makuch is a Blast staff writer. Reach him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch.

3 Responses

  1. wow accounts

    Uhm okay… this makes a lot of sense since in the real world, sick people don’t stay in bed and just run around in the center of town trying to infect other people with their sickness. I think that the only thing the “researchers” would learn from studying this so-called pandemic in World of Warcraft is that players don’t really die and that corpse runs are a huge waste of time.

  2. Sean

    Wow check your facts, this article is completely wrong, the ingame disease was brought back from a raid and was spread through that way, it wasnt planted because “some characters were too strong.”


Leave a Reply