Corrupted Blood Incident

Corrupted Blood Incident

Part of a series on World of Warcraft. [View Related Entries]

Updated Sep 15, 2019 at 04:53AM EDT by andcallmeshirley.

Added Sep 13, 2016 at 04:42PM EDT by Don.

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Overview

The Corrupted Blood Incident refers to a virtual plague that occurred in the MMORPG World of Warcraft in mid September 2005, when players spread a contagious debuff spell named "Corrupted Blood" throughout the virtual world for an entire week before it was contained.

Background

On September 13th, 2005, World of Warcraft unveiled the raid dungeon Zul'Gurub in patch 1.7, which included the monster Hakkar the Soulflayer as the final boss. During the encounter, Hakkar would cast a health-draining spell named "Corrupted Blood" on nearby players, which would then spread to other players in the immediate vicinity. While only intended to function within Zul'Gurub, some players teleported to densely-populated cities where the spell quickly spread to others throughout the world, killing low level players with small health pools. To transport the virus, hunter class characters would banish their pet after it received the debuff, then summon the infected animal outside of the dungeon zone. For an entire week, developers attempted to contain the spread of the spell with a voluntary quarantine, but were only able to control the epidemic with software patches and server resets.



Developments

Zombie Plague Event

In October 2008, Blizzard held a week-long event to promote the Wrath of the Lich King expansion in World of Warcraft, which featured a zombie plague infection that could be spread from player-to-player (shown below).



Online Discussions

On April 14th, 2014, YouTuber Planet Dolan GAMING included the Corrupted Blood Incident in a video titled "10 Biggest Glitches in World of Warcraft" (shown below). Within three years, the video received more than 1.34 million views and 1,800 comments.



On December 31st, 2015, Redditor metamorphosis47 posted an article about the virtual plague to /r/todayilearned,[3] where it garnered upwards of 2,100 votes (90% upvoted) and 90 comments prior to being archived. On September 13th, 2016, Redditor Prawnjoe posted the Corrupted Blood Incident Wikipedia article to /r/gaming[4] in honor of its 11th anniversary, gaining over 8,000 votes (85% upvoted) and 1,800 comments within 12 hours.

Epidemiological Research

On May 20th, 2008, the video game news blog Gamasutra[1] published an article titled "The Real Life Lessons Of WoW's Corrupted Blood," reporting that epidemiologist Nina Fefferman believed the incident could be useful in examining how to control the spread of disease in the real world. On May 27th, 2009, Reuters[2] published an article about the incident, reporting that it had been widely studied by epidemiologists as a virtual model for the spread of disease. On February 26th, 2011, YouTuber Christiaan008 posted a video titled "Modelling Infectious Diseases in Virtual Realities", which discussed the Corrupted Blood Incident from an epidemiological perspective (shown below).



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