Virtual Plague Unleashed In 'World Of Warcraft' To Teach Prevention Of COVID-19
Like many games, World of Warcraft is a great way to escape the pressures and stresses of everyday life. That's especially true right now with the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the recent 100% experience buff may have tempted you back to Azeroth. However, if you happen to play on the private server, Elysium, you'll have found yourself dealing with an in-game pandemic over the weekend.
The admins of the unofficial server dropped a surprise event on unsuspecting players in an effort to show people just how quickly any virus can spread. According to Kotaku, the "virus" had been placed on an in-game object and within 15 hours, it had infected over 2,000 players. That number increased to 7,000 within a day and ended up hitting 88 percent of active players. The virtual virus lowered stats and gave a movement speed debuff.
Elysium has a total of 3.5 million accounts and anywhere from 10,000-15,000 players logging in each week. Rain, one of Elysium's admins, spoke to Kotaku about the reasons for hosting such an event. "I know that we have a lot of players who are young or don't have access to the information I do - or at least the same amount of information. I felt like I had an ability to inform people and help out in this time."
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"I was very conscientious of the fact that people have died from this, and it's affecting people in pretty negative ways. It was always a little risky to do this. I'm sure that's why a lot of legitimate gaming companies aren't doing anything, because it's so sensitive. I wanted to make sure that whatever we did was 100 percent about education and providing information and not anything to do with making us money or to be in any way poorly perceived by the people we were trying to inform."
Once it was clear how quickly the virus had spread throughout the server, it was removed and players were given items such as "hand soap" and themed quests to help drive the lesson home. The event was largely well-received, despite its sensitive nature and if nothing else, helped to demonstrate just how quickly a virus can spread if left unchecked.
"If I could help even one person be informed, I think it's worth it," says Rain. "We can all feel a little uncomfortable for a couple days if it can help people who aren't in our situation."
Featured Image Credit: Blizzard