Mix quick transit with a highly contagious disease and what do you get? Massive death. I’m not talking a simulation but an actual virtual plague that has broken out on some World of Warcraft servers. I haven’t logged in lately so am unsure if it has occurred on my realm but the dynamics are interesting.

There’s a new high end instance that has mobs that can infect you with Corrupted Blood. This is a somewhat shortlived disease that is contagious to those around you. A interesting edition to an instance that would normally make things more difficult. The problem arises because players can teleport to major city’s while still infected. The disease then spreads like wildfire and can easily kill lower level players.

This would be the end of the story except that NPC (non-player characters) can also be infected. They are also likely to survive it. It can also spread to pets, etc. An epidemic in the making. Supposedly GameMasters tried to quarantine infected players to no avail.

It’ll be really interesting to see if any epidemiologists do a study on this. UPDATE: There’s a story at NPR about the possibility of studying the responses of players to epidemics online. While the disease may not behave like a real one, the humans involved may act similar to real life.

Here’s some links for more info: