World of Warcraft has helped scientists prepare for real-world epidemics

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As part of the Serious Games Summit, Rutgers University epedemiologist Nina H. Fefferman has explained how the Corrupted Blood plague that savaged World of WarCraft in 2005 helped scientists study and plan for real-word epidemic situations. Read on for the details.

The Corrupted Blood attack was inserted into the game by Blizzard in 2005 as a spell cast by Hakkar; the end boss of the Zul’Gurub dungeon. When attacked, Hallar cast a hit-point depleting spell which was supposed to last for just ten seconds and only apply within Zul’Gurub. However, players soon realised that if they teleported out of the dungeon and into player-filled areas, the spells effects could be passed on to others. “People were infected,” said Fefferman, “and instead of killing Hakkar or dying themselves, they went back to the cities and infected others.” And so started the plague; an epidemic that contaminated city after city within Azeroth.




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