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Corrupted Blood Incident Is Helping Researchers With The Fight on Coronavirus
14/3/2020 em 09:49
For long-time WoW players, the recent Coronavirus pandemic is not the first time they have been dealing with a global-scale disease. In September of 2005, with the original release of the
raid, a virtual plague broke out of the raid and proceeded to kill off entire servers for an entire week. Although the so-called Corrupted Blood incident did not cause any real-life deaths, the virtual pandemic did captivate scientists who played WoW.
In 2007, a research paper was written, mentioning how WoW's original disease spread could be used as a tool to model future epidemics in the real world, and now, more than a decade later, the same paper is being used to help scientists research a cure for the Coronavirus. In an interview with
, researchers mention how the Corrupted Blood incident is helping the fight on the most recent pandemic.
Click Here for the full PC Gamer article!
The Corrupted Blood Incident
The Corrupted Blood incident was a virtual pandemic that began in September 13, 2005, with the release of the
raid. On the
fight, one of the main mechanics was
- This ability would deal Physical damage for a few seconds. Corrupted Blood's DOT could spread out to nearby players, and to deal with it, players would need to spread out and wait for the DOT to fall off.
However, due to a programming oversight, players were able to spread Corrupted Blood to Hunter and Warlock pets, and upon dismissing them, the DOT could be brought outside of Zul'Gurub. Upon resummoning the pet in a crowded area (such as
), the pet would start spreading out Corrupted Blood to nearby players, quickly killing off low-level players and continuing the spread. To make things worse, the DOT could also spread out to NPCs, which would usually not die to it due to their higher health pools, and this continued the spread of the DOT to player characters. This would leave crowded areas with hundreds and hundreds of skeletons on the floor, as players attempted to resurrect and leave the infected areas, only to quickly die again.
Some players did what they could to avoid major cities and the infection, while other players would intentionally contract the DOT and spread it to as many players as they could. Those who avoided the DOT at all costs would treat it as if it was a real risk to their well being. Despite some measures such as enforced quarantines by Blizzard GMs, the plague continued spreading on, eventually forcing Blizzard to hard reset servers to stop the plague entirely. Corrupted Blood was finally fixed to no longer apply to pets on October 8, 2005.
Corrupted Blood As a Way to Help With Future Epidemics
In September of 2007, Eric Lofgren wrote a paper on the Corrupted Blood incident and how observing its accidental inclusion led to the perfect opportunity to observe a pandemic in a safe environment. Using examples such as comparing lower-level players to more susceptible portions of the population (as the damage of Corrupted Blood could be whiffed off by level 60 characters, but easily kill low-level players), comparing NPCs to asymptomatic carriers (organisms that have been infected with a pathogen but show no symptoms of it), and how the constantly resurrecting of players led to a continuous re-spreading of the disease, it is very easy to understand how an epidemic starts and spreads.
Click Here to read Eric Lofgren's paper:
"The untapped potential of virtual game worlds to shed light on real world epidemics"
Corrupted Blood and the Fight on Coronavirus
In the PC Gamer interview with now Dr. Eric Lofgren, he mentioned how his time researching and playing WoW has helped his work on COVID-19, mentioning parallels between Corrupted Blood and the Coronavirus. One of the most interesting parallels drawn by the researcher is how players were able to grief in-game by aiding on the spread of the disease - While people aren't intentionally getting others sick in real life, ignoring the disease's potential spread can be sort of considered a real-life version of griefing.
"To pull it back to a Corrupted Blood analogy, and something I've been thinking about—one of the critiques we got from a lot of people, both gamers and scientists, was over this idea of griefing," Dr. Lofgren says. "How griefing isn't really analogous to anything that takes place in the real world. People aren't intentionally getting people sick. And they might not be
getting people sick, but wilfully ignoring your potential to get people sick is pretty close to that. You start to see people like 'oh this isn't a big deal, I'm not going to change my behavior. I'm going to the concert and then going to see my elderly grandma anyway.' Maybe don't do that. That's a big takeaway. Epidemics are a social problem... Minimizing the seriousness of something is sort of real-world griefing."
Although the Corrupted Blood incident came from an unexpected oversight, the Coronavirus, as well as other diseases, are not usually unexpected - As Dr. Lofgren says, nature is really good at getting people sick. The best thing that can be done to help prevent the spread of the virus is to not underestimate the severity of the occasion - Minimize your trips outside your house, don't touch your face, and
wash. your. hands.
And why not stay at home and play some WoW? Funny enough,
Zul'Gurub is scheduled to be released in Classic WoW in April!
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