Friday, September 23, 2005

Virtual Weapon of Mass Destruction

Strange story on BBC today. Online gaming may not be everyone's cup of tea, the real world being enough of a challenge for most of us, but for many they provide a new challenge that normal computer games cannot since the other characters are real players. Apparently someone figured out how to spread a disease in the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft and has unleashed a virtual plague.

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.


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.

I've never played World of Warcraft, but it is interesting to see how a virtual game, when it gets large enough, can evolve in ways the developers did not expect, and in ways that mirror the fears of the real world.

No comments: