The Day Ironforge Died

From economics to epidemiology… (What, you thought Video Game Week was going to be straightforward? Ha!)

This story has it all: bio-terrorism, failed quarantines, the dead lying piled in the streets, and people fleeing the cities for the desolate countryside, in an attempt to avoid the pandemic. And, oh yeah, it happened in an MMO.

Back in 2005, the World of Warcraft saw an outbreak of a pandemic, the “Corrupted Blood Plague”. A disease, part of a high-level boss challenge, escaped the dungeon and laid waste to Azeroth:

The major towns and cities were abandoned by the population as panic set in and players rushed to evacuate to the relative safety of the countryside, leaving urban areas “filled to the brim with corpses”, and the “city streets literally white with the bones of the dead”.

The pandemic was big enough news to get covered by Reuters, the BBC, and The Sunday Times of London. I did some re-reading of the several articles on the subject, and the Wikipedia article covers the incident the best.

Accidental economic collapse… accidental pandemic release… human beings can’t even control our imagined worlds. What makes us think we can control the real one?

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