Skip to comments.Deadly plague hits Warcraft world
Posted on 09/23/2005 5:50:14 PM PDT by Rodney King
A deadly virtual plague has broken out in the online game World of Warcraft. Although limited to only a few of the game's servers the numbers of characters that have fallen victim is thought to be in the thousands.
Originally it was thought that the deadly digital disease was the result of a programming bug in a location only recently added to the Warcraft game.
However, it now appears that players kicked off the plague and then kept it spreading after the first outbreak.
Since its launch in November 2004, World of Warcraft (Wow) has become the most widely played massively multiplayer online (MMO) game in the world.
Its creator, Blizzard, claims that now more than four million people are regular players.
Wow is an online game that gives players the chance to adventure in the fantasy world of Azeroth that is populated by the usual mixture of humans, elves, orcs and other fantastic beasts.
As players explore the world, the characters they control become more powerful as they complete quests, kill monsters and find magical items and artefacts that boost abilities.
The Warcraft world is a familiar fantasy setting To give these powerful characters more of a challenge, Blizzard regularly introduces new places to explore in the online world.
In the last week, it added the Zul'Gurub dungeon which gave players a chance to confront and kill the fearsome Hakkar - the god of Blood.
In his death throes Hakkar hits foes with a "corrupted blood" infection that can instantly kill weaker characters.
The infection was only supposed to affect those in the immediate vicinity of Hakkar's corpse but some players found a way to transfer it to other areas of the game by infecting an in-game virtual pet with it.
This pet was then unleashed in the orc capital city of Ogrimmar and proved hugely effective as the Corrupted Blood plague spread from player to player.
Although computer controlled characters did not contract the plague, they are said to have acted as "carriers" and infected player-controlled characters they encountered.
The first server, or "realm" as Blizzard calls them, affected by the plague was Archimonde; but it is known to have spread to at least two others.
The spread of the disease could have been limited by the fact that Hakkar is difficult to kill, so some realms may not yet have got round to killing him and unleashing his parting shot. In World of Warcraft players can be orcs, humans or other fantastic creatures
The digital disease instantly killed lower level characters and did not take much longer to kill even powerful characters.
Many online discussion sites were buzzing with reports from the disaster zones with some describing seeing "hundreds" of bodies lying in the virtual streets of the online towns and cities.
"The debate amongst players now is if it really was intentional although due to the effects of the problem it seems unlikely," Paul Younger, an editor on the unofficial worldofwar.net site, told the BBC News website.
"It's giving players something to talk about and could possibly be considered the first proper 'world event'", he said.
Luckily the death of a character in World of Warcraft is not final so all those killed were soon resurrected.
Blizzard tried to control the plague by staging rolling re-starts of all the servers supporting the Warcraft realms and applying quick fixes.
However, there are reports that this has not solved all the problems and that isolated pockets of plague are breaking out again.
The "Corrupted Blood" plague is not the first virtual disease to break out in online worlds. In May 2000 many players of The Sims were outraged when their game characters died because of an infection contracted from a dirty virtual guinea pig.
A virtual plague for virtual lives.
I've seen this plague on my primary server Tichondrius.
Its funny as hell.
Uh, hold it - I just remembered I make part of my living designing CPUs for videogames..... WE MUST FIND A CURE TO THIS DREADED VIRTUAL BLOOD VIRUS!!!!
I've never played WOW, but I know a number of people who live and swear by it. This is simply amazing .....beautiful even. And no, I don't mean the destruction of the characters by the plague. What is amazing is how a virtual plague, a disease that is being transmitted from one character to another, plus disease vectors, has arisen in a cyber-world. Basically an online form of syphillis, passing from character to character, and possessing all the symptoms and spread-behaviors of a real-world epidemic. This is a first, and a major step in evolution.
And this is not a mimic of disease, as computer virii are. Unlike a computer virus, which mimics a disease as it jumps from computer to computer, the plague of blood phenomena in WOW is, in essence, a true disease. The only difference from actual pathogens is that it is totally in the cyberworld.
Not necessarily, the game treats pets as a player character.
Its how its written.
My theory: Virtual Clinton showed up.
Yep - seen the results of this plague. Tons of dead bodies lying around the Auction House (in-game version of eBay) in Ironforge on the Silvermoon server on at least a couple occasions. If you see this, RUN! If you get far enough away fast enough, you won't die.
BTW, I know I sound like a major nerd (I'm in my 40's), but I'm actually a responsible adult with a good paying job, wife, and 3 teen/20ish kids, and this game really does rock. I've been playing various video games off & on since the early 80's, when time permits, and this is the best that's come along so far. Highly entertaining, extremely realistic, HUGE in scale/complexity & versatile in the kinds of things you can do. Something for everyone, unless you're one of those holier-than-thou types that turns their noses up at computer games and makes fun of others who find them entertaining.
I find this intensly interesting, the first digital plague killing online gamers, LOL! The lines between life and cyberspace reality have just come closer. Thanks for the post.
If you do /pvp in Ironforge when the plague hits, you won't get infected.
I guess neither my Paladin or Priest will save me from this. I do play this game with my son. We have all our computers in the living room. My wife is in the same room deep in study for her BS RadTech. It gives us something to do together without interrupting her. For those who have teenagers one way to keep em out of the porn is a new GeForce videocard and computers in sight of the whole family. Of course the Church is a big part of our family. Maybe it won't work for you but it has for me. How do I know this? Its called a keystroke logger.
Same here. No doubt it keeps my 14 year old son out of a lot of trouble he could be getting into. Could be hanging out on street corners, "running with the pack" etc., but instead he spends time with his friends, often at the same location (they bring computers to each other's houses and plug them into each other's cable routers/switches). Quite a social event.
Unfortunately, it's contagious, and I don't mean this cyber-plague. Not only am I now hooked on this game, but so is my wife. Arguably more so. She gets into maintaining a family of characters that practice different in-game professions, scouring the world for various ingredients so that her Tailors and Blacksmiths can make the latest "matching outfits" for her bevy of characters, spending time making money by selling rare acquired items and "drops" for profit at the auction houses (also an avid real-world eBay seller), etc. It's really kind of endearing. Not my particular in-game interest, but endearing nonetheless.
Interesting how times and roles change and evolve. My 19 & 20 year old daughters think we're all nuts. ("You're playing that stupid game again?")
Thx - didn't know that. Thank goodness there aren't usually any Horde around the Alliance capital cities, or I wouldn't fancy doing this 8^).
I have a couple characters on a PVP server as well, and really get tired of getting murdered (by Alliance in that case) in contested territories all the time when I'm in the middle of trying to mind my own business and do a quest. My son thinks the PVP servers are great, probably because he has a nasty L60 Undead Rogue that most players don't challenge, but I've come to find the PVP servers to be a PITA. Personal preference. Fighting other characters all the time is not my cup of tea.
Seriously, I'm not trying to put your hobby down, but we Amercians - due to our economic success - have very sedintary work lives. We are also taking up quite sedintary hobbies, and the combination of the two is bad news for everyone's health.
If it helps sell the idea, explain to your kids that real-world sports is like an ATI X800XT videocard, but with real blood!
its Bush's fault
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