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A virtual epidemic was created on a WoW server

Administrators of one of the so-called private servers of World of Warcraft - Elysium - decided to create an event aimed at educating players on issues such as the spread of infectious diseases and ways to fight epidemics. The idea came in connection with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The administrators of a private WoW server decided to provide players with information on how to fight the plague.

the administrators of a private WoW server created a virtual epidemic on the server;
The goal was to educate players on the spread of infectious diseases and ways to limit the threat.
As reported by Kotaku, the administrators of a private server for World of Warcraft called Elysium decided to conduct an interesting experiment. They created a virtual epidemic, which in a few days infected several thousand heroes of the game. All this to teach players the importance of isolation and prevention during a global pandemic.

The source of the virtual plague was a single object, with which came into contact the so-called "patient zero". The virus then spread directly between subsequent characters and objects. Affected characters had 5% lower stats and moved 10% slower. However, you could try to avoid infection by... washing your hands using a special item that was made available (soap).

Within fifteen hours, 2276 players were infected, while after the first day the number of people affected reached 7 thousand. At the peak moment, 88% of the server population was affected by the virus. It's worth noting that only after some time - when the outbreak had already managed to develop a bit - administrators informed the players that they're dealing with a planned event.

Then, the second phase of the event began - the virus was reset and users could perform special tasks thematically related to the disease (it was about killing a certain number of animals, staying away from other people, or wearing masks), in order to reduce the rate of its spread. The main goal of the whole project was education - administrators wanted to provide their players with information that in the current situation may be useful in real life.

I know we have many players who are young or don't have the access to information that I have. I felt like I had an opportunity to inform people about certain things and help out at the time," Rain, an Elysium admin, told Kotaku reporters.

Corrupted Blood Incident

The event described in this text is not the first time World of Warcraft players have dealt with an epidemic. In September 2005, an epidemic occurred on the game's official servers. The cause was a bug related to the fight with Zul'Gurub's last raid boss - Hakkar. During the fight the enemy infected players with the plague, which quickly led to their death. Normally the disease should occur only in the mentioned location, but as a result of oversight, creatures summoned by users (so-called pets) carried it to the rest of the world. As a result, there was a huge pandemic in Azeroth, which killed 4 million player characters. Interestingly, in the following years, this event was analyzed by epidemiologists and bioterrorism specialists, who found it to be a great model for research.

The originator of the initiative was worried that his project would be interpreted as a mockery of a threat that cost the lives of a large number of people in the real world. In his opinion, this is the reason why many developers who could create similar events in their titles choose not to do so.

It was a bit of a risk. I'm sure a lot of real game companies don't do anything like that precisely because the topic is so sensitive. I wanted to make sure that what we were doing was 100% focused on educating, providing information. So that there's no suspicion that it's something related to making money and so that the idea can't be misconstrued in any way by the people we were trying to inform," added the Kotaku interviewee.