Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

MMORPG Used to Model Real World Disease

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the zul-gurub-still-seeing-some-use-after-bc dept.

Role Playing (Games) 105

Oxygen99 writes "The Times is reporting on a paper by researchers in the US who argue that the spread of 'corrupted blood' in World of Warcraft might provide clues to the way a real world population would cope with the prospect of a global pandemic. In the study, to be published in The Lancet next month, Professor Lofgren of Rutgers University and Professor Fefferman of Tufts University, suggest that: 'If, God forbid, a disease broke out in London, you could see what would happen if people were told immediately of the risk. Would there be panic and chaos, or would it allow them to psychologically accept the danger and act accordingly? What would happen if we made people feel too reassured? These are all things that have a great impact on the number of people who would be affected. They are also things we just don't know, so [virtual games] could be of great value in helping us understand what their true emotional responses would be.'"

cancel ×

105 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

My reaction.... (1, Funny)

MarkovianChained (1143957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304357)

"You could see what would happen if people were told immediately of the risk." Drink heal pots and hearth?

Re:My reaction.... (0, Troll)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304383)

Take the no-loss-of-durability death cause you aren't losing XP in WoW anyways?

Well, considering the demographic.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304371)

sure isn't used to model the spread of herpes!

I kid because I am one of you!

I remember that (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304395)

I remember when that shit was going on in WoW...it was insane people were dropping like flies. Very much like the scene in 28 weeks later when everyone is locked in a room and they are slowly overtaken by infection.

You could literally stand on top of the bank in Org and watch the disease spread. It was actually a bit terrifying.

Re:I remember that (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304579)

Except they lost nothing of value, as deaths in WoW have little impact.

Now, a virus infecting your flight control systems in EVE, _that_ would be terrifying.

Re:I remember that (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304645)

Yeah, but you also have to look at the demographic that WoW was/is trying to reach compared to who Eve is trying to reach. WoW was designed so that yes, you have to put in many MANY hours to get to the endgame, but you still feel like you accomplished SOMETHING even if you logged in for only an hour.

Eve, as amazing of a game as it is (and it really is an amazing game) requires at least a few hours per sitting to really feel worth it (similar to everquest) It's designed with a different type of gamer in mind (whereas WoW serves to try to suck in both gamers and non-gamers alike, hence it's "dumbed-down" gameplay)

Re:I remember that (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305123)

It depends very much on your style of play.

Eve was the first MMORPG I found that had the kind of "pick up and play" where you could literally jump into some action for a few minutes, accomplish something, and be done with it. Doing a mission doesn't take more than an hour usually; camping a gate, mining for ore, shooting at NPCs can fill half an hour; checking market listings or changing skill training (which is done realtime, no grinding necessary to advance) can be done in minutes.

There are large scale fleet ops, just like there are guild raids in other MMOs that take up hours or days, but these aren't for the casual player either. With Eve you decide how you want to play, and you can do so at your own leisure. I'd say that the two minutes it takes to set a skill to train up while you go off to watch a movie gives a greater accomplishment-per-minute feeling than grinding away on WoW for an hour to earn the XP for 1/100th of a level.

Re:I remember that (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305173)

I'd say that the two minutes it takes to set a skill to train up while you go off to watch a movie


Beh, this was one of the major problems I had with Star Wars Galaxies...set up a macro to mine shit and just walk away...blech.

I don't like the idea of a game that I can play without actually being there to play it. I understand that with games that have that mechanism built-in, it's almost required in order to really get a good foothold on things...but still, I really don't like that. In my mind, it kinda defeats the purpose of playing a game.

Re:I remember that (2, Interesting)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305429)

disclaimer: i've played EVE on and off for years

In my mind, *the* most important aspect of EVE's skill training system is that it pretty much destroys the ability of a 13 year old with no responsibilities in real life to powerlevel to the top of the game in a few days.

Make no mistake, macroing your way to resource acquisition ("macro mining" for example) is discouraged (and not-infrequently those engaged in the practice can be harassed and profited *from* -- by stealing their ill-gotten gains, for example -- if you understand the in-game mechanics well enough), but I much prefer the skill training system in EVE to the "make a bunch of skill level 30, then 45, then 60" items in games such as WoW, which is a pain, and really doesn't add to the gameplay.

Re:I remember that (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305687)

Agreed. I'll probably get back in if a game comes out that doesn't rely on d20 style mechanics.

Re:I remember that (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 7 years ago | (#20313609)

I'm glad you brought this up.

I play both Eve & WoW - one thing I've noticed in Eve is that the younger players are so unfocused that they do some of the most retarded shit I've ever seen in a game. I rolled a new character about 3 weeks ago and it has more focused combat skills than a 13 year old player in my corp who's been playing for 3 months. He has 151 skills vs my 50, he has 2m SP vs my 1.5m.

To me, comparing WoW & Eve is just not possible - the games are so vastly different that even the mention of "in Eve XX happens, in WoW YY happens" just doesn't gel with me. WoW is more like a "general population" game where there's the whole range of different levels of society. In Eve, you're hard pressed to find a casual gamer who actually plays the game rather than just SPing up.

Re:I remember that (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20307393)

Except that the game grinds experience for you, automagically, no hax needed.

Money is a different story. That you still have to *earn*

Re:I remember that (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 7 years ago | (#20307923)

> Beh, this was one of the major problems I had with Star Wars Galaxies...set
> up a macro to mine shit and just walk away...blech. ...because it ain't Star Wars unless you're sitting there with a hammer chisling away at a rock for half an hour, rather than having a purchased droid do it.

The only interesting thing about that game was the dancer class. I was also a second-rate pistoleer, but I had my sliced Naboobian pew-pew, so I was happy.

Then the reboot left me with no way to use that pistol anymore, since you were one class and that was it.

Which reminds me -- how the heck is a dancer supposed to fight? Or do they just use lame level 1 weapons when their group doesn't need the dancing services? Ahh, I don't care.

I'VE LEFT THE FREAKIN' GAME BECAUSE OF IT! Congrats, George.

Re:I remember that (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#20306365)

which is done realtime, no grinding necessary to advance
Eve has the worst grinding of any MMO I have tried to date. I had to grind asteroids and missions for a month before I could even afford anything interesting. Then I went and lost my new-fangled cruiser the very next week to some griefer. At least you don't lose levels or gear in WoW...

But I guess that's what makes Eve unique. You can always be certain that your victim in PvP just lost weeks/months of progress, and I'm sure that appeals to hardcore gamers (and masochists? ;).

Re:I remember that (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 7 years ago | (#20308041)

Sounds more like Ultima Online, where the developers are more interested in catering to the 12 year old packs of PvP predators than to any kind of roleplayer or RTS or adventure lover.

As long as a steady stream of unwary newcomers comes in to keep up the interest of the long-term gankers, their business model is satisfied. End of story. Good day.

Re:I remember that (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20307217)

EvE would actually be a better simulation of the world compared to WoW.

First: Larger world. WoW is, at best, the equivalent of Japan in terms of size. Given the "islandy" nature of either, I think the comparison fits.

Second: No instant travel. Ok, jumpclones kinda make that possible now, but it's still a far call from the near instant travel and very short traveling distances in WoW. How many people do NOT have IF as their recall point?

But I'd really, really dread something like that in EvE. I can see people using that as a weapon, without even thinking twice.

Re:I remember that (1)

sanjacguy (908392) | more than 7 years ago | (#20307991)

How many people do NOT have IF as their recall point?

I dunno mon, da las' time I was in Ironforgey, all dem damn stunties kept tryin' ta kill me! An' when I got to da innkeepah, he tried ta kill me too!

In answer to your rhetorical question, I'm guessing most of the horde doesn't have their Hearthstones set to Ironforge. Shattrath? That's another thing entirely.

Re:I remember that (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20308131)

Ok, ok... Sorry, I only played for like 3 months before it got boring. But I'm sure the Hordies have something like IF, too.

Re:I remember that (4, Interesting)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304601)

You could literally stand on top of the bank in Org and watch the disease spread. It was actually a bit terrifying.
Indeed. It occurs to me that perhaps Blizzard might take what was essentially an oversight and turn it into a world event. A properly designed disease, spread at a reasonable rate and requiring a cure that would confer immunity after that, might be an interesting community event. A slow, constant loss of hp when online might result in healers becoming almost doctors while other classes searched for a cure. Bandages, alchemy, herbs, and so on could have a role to play. Obviously some deeper thought would be required on this, but I thought it an interesting idea.

cheers.

Hah (2, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304817)

Your idea is rejected because it's too cool. Please try again with something that would require more grinding.

Seriously, I've always wanted more stuff like this. I mean, 99% of the content never changes. Would it be too much to have more events that require significant numbers of players to actually dedicate their time to fixing the problem, pushing back the enemy, etc? Even the seasonal content in WoW is pretty static, and you don't have to participate.

Re:Hah (2, Funny)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305267)

Your idea is rejected because it's too cool. Please try again with something that would require more grinding.
Fair enough. Hmmm...okay, the cure will only be effective on those who have exalted status with the goblin HMO Booty Bay?

Re:Hah (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 7 years ago | (#20309357)

Would it be too much to have more events that require significant numbers of players to actually dedicate their time to fixing the problem,
Dude, last time someone suggested something like that, we got the Ahn'Qiraj war effort. Never again!

Re:I remember that (3, Interesting)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 7 years ago | (#20307133)

I love this idea if it could be worked out. My first character was a priest because I wanted to be one of the characters restoring order to the world. There were only two quests I recall that really gave the impression you were helping put things back together:

1) Priest epic staff quest -- involves healing dozens of NPCs while defending them from harm
2) First Aid artisan quest -- involves performing triage on injured NPCs

It seems like 99% of the other quests in the game involve destroying things.

Re:I remember that (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 7 years ago | (#20309397)

The problem with "fixing" quests is that there are only a handful of classes who can actually heal - any healing-oriented quest automatically excludes maybe half the population, and some non-trivial fraction of the healing capable classes will probably give out about it too.

In a game where most skillsets are based around smashing people's faces in, it's hard to do meaningful helping quests, alas.

Re:I remember that (1)

dan828 (753380) | more than 7 years ago | (#20310671)

Except that the first aid artisan quest was open to everyone, and was required to level your first aid skill past a certain point. Healing classes don't particularly need to do it because they can heal themselves without the need for bandages that the other classes have.

Re:I remember that (2, Informative)

rangband (1102595) | more than 7 years ago | (#20308483)

Yea that is a pretty sweet idea, Everquest 2 had a world event like this in summer of 2005, if i remember correctly. There was a very long drawn out quest that culminated with a raid which when finished provided a permanent cure. I stayed out of the city for a week or more avoiding the plague until some punk ran by on his horse in Zek and infected me. All the stuff that wow players wish blizzard would do SOE is doing with Eq2.

Re:I remember that (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314951)

I guess you don't play a healing class. We get enough "Healplz!!!" while in PUGs, none of us would go to capital cities until it was over.

Re:I remember that (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304737)

Yea, it was pretty cool. I don't know how it would ever model anything because it's got a few flaws over a real world model.

First, there is no incubation period. There is no "unwitting carrier". If you have it, you know it, and you spread it either intentionally, or because you're an idiot. I carried it a few times for giggles (I nuked Org once by zerging the AH while infected), but for the most part, if I got it, I'd go hang out in a corner 'till I died.

Second, the transportation methods are completely unrealistic. You get it in IF, you hearth to SW, and poof, you've infected two population centers in a matter of moments. A mage could get all three, easily, without much danger of dying before people were infected.

Finally, a substantial subset of the population actually wants to get the disease, so people are actively seeking it out for themselves so they can spread it.

Re:I remember that (3, Funny)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304997)

"a substantial subset of the population actually wants to get the disease, so people are actively seeking it out for themselves so they can spread it."

Such people are called bug chasers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bug_chaser [wikipedia.org]

Re:I remember that (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305127)

...I'm getting overwhelming images of William S. Burroughs in my head...

Re:I remember that (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305239)

Meh. That's more of an external expression of self-loathing.

This was a lot more like ebola than HIV, and you don't see anyone chasing ebola.

The best real-world analog would be terrorists who intentionally infect themselves with communicable diseases and then rushing to spread them as a kind of bioterrorism...The problem is, either the disease isn't communicable enough to be spread effectively (e.g. HIV), the disease isn't bad enough to be worth spreading (e.g the regular human Flu), or the disease is so bad that it can't be spread effectively (e.g Ebola).

This disease was excellent; it spread like wildfire, it didn't kill quick enough to burn itself out and yet it was still massively fatal. It's the sort of thing that would be a massive challenge in a raid because you'd have to quarantine the infected extremely quickly or they'd infect everyone, and that would be a near-insurmountable problem. Outside of a raid environment, however, it would be obscene.

In a real world situation, this would be more ebola-like. People would hide in their houses for a few days, and the disease would run its course. Infected people just don't live long enough to keep it going. In the game there were several ways to keep the plague going...The first people discovered it because they'd die and then they'd re-summon their pet, and the pet would still have the disease...without that reservoir of disease, the outbreak will burn out.

Re:I remember that (2, Insightful)

eht (8912) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305431)

Unrealistic transportation methods? A good part of the populated North America could be infected in less than a day by a single patient zero carrier, Europe is the same way. And infectious diseases chain from one person to another, you wouldn't even have to leave the airport, just let other people from the airport fly away and infect others for you. In less than a week a single patient zero could easily infect the world, yes it isn't the same as World of Warcraft, but people don't die in minutes from infectious diseases either, otherwise they'd have a hard time being transmitted.

Re:I remember that (0, Redundant)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20309399)

Not with a virus that spreads and kills as quickly as this one. The WoW equivalent of air travel would see anyone dead before they could get to another population center if they had that virus.

Re:I remember that (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#20306183)

Just like in real life!

Re:I remember that (2, Funny)

Dmala (752610) | more than 7 years ago | (#20306625)

I nuked Org once by zerging the AH while infected

You get it in IF, you hearth to SW, and poof, you've infected two population centers in a matter of moments

Good grief, is this English? I've always avoided MMORPGs, at this point I think I'd need a translator to get started.

Re:I remember that (1)

Achoi77 (669484) | more than 7 years ago | (#20308233)

I know this was meant to be funny, but I'll respond because I'm a dork

IF = Ironforge, the dwarven capital

SW = Stormwind, the human capital

"to hearth" is slang for "to use a hearthstone" (not the bottom of a fireplace) - an item everybody has that is used to teleport from wherever they are in the world to wherever they decide to call home. Most people bind themselves to one of the two capitals.

Re:I remember that (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20309531)

I nuked Org once by zerging the AH while infected

English translation: "While infected with the virus, I made a suicidal dash into the middle of the market district of the Horde capitol city of Orgrimmar, causing untold havok and massive infections."

"Zerging" is from Starcraft, and is often used to describe an attack whose sole goal is damage, destruction, and mayhem, where the health of yourself or your soldiers is completely unimportant.

AH, IF, SW, etc are all common abbreviations. "Auction House." "IronForge." "StormWind."

"Hearth" as the sibling post pointed out correctly, is short for "Hearth Stone" which is a method of instantaneous travel from your current location to a previously defined location commonly verbed into the word "Hearthed." Generally in WoW (World of Warcraft) people set up their Hearth Stone to take them to a capitol city to give them easy access to trainers, banks, auction houses, and various vendors.

Re:I remember that (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 7 years ago | (#20312627)

If you read the article (yeah yeah I know - slashdot...) they took all this into account - ever after all that its one of the only real world examples where they have been able to monitor how people behave with pandemic diseases.

Activism! (4, Funny)

fulgan (116418) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304405)

Stop medical experiment on night elves!

Re:Activism! (2, Insightful)

Y2KDragon (525979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305851)

Besides, medical experimentation on Gnomes is much funnier.

Re:Activism! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20306421)

Hey, why are the cutes ones always the victims? lol dwarves could be the target of the medical experiments, but no-one would notice.

Re:Activism! (1)

arbarbonif (307596) | more than 7 years ago | (#20308645)

Do you really want to figure out how to make the Alliance live LONGER? They already breed like rabbits.

No way.... (1)

PadRacerExtreme (1006033) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304461)

Does anyone act online like they do in real life? That is like trying to compare how car crashes react by looking at kids on big wheels....

Re:No way.... (2, Informative)

Oxygen99 (634999) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304511)

In weird ways they do. Check out this study [nmc.org] from Stanford University.

Essentially it shows that concepts of personal space survive in online games, so the idea that WOW might be a useful insight into real world behaviour is valid.

Re:No way.... (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304797)

So what's the real-world analog of "WTF? This sucks, I'm canceling my subscription."

Re:No way.... (4, Funny)

spikedvodka (188722) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304841)

Don't Jump!!!! There are so many better options... I know a great shrink. ...

Awww Man... now I've got to call the cops, the coroner, and do you know how many forms I have to fill out?

Re:No way.... (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305403)

People may have similar online personalities to their real life personalities, but that doesn't mean they are going to act the same to avoid a real disease that is painful/fatal/paralyzing compared to a virtual disease that causes about thirty seconds of inconvenience.

Also the infrastructures that exist in real-life that aren't in WoW that makes things more complicated, like water systems and sewer systems. Aside from instances (which don't exist in real life), there are no buildings that people can lock themselves in. I just don't see how anyone is going to get useful data from a bug in a MMO.

I doubt that it's that simple (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#20307881)

I doubt that it's that simple. I can see how some of the reflex stuff, like the eye contact or distance from each other might count, so I'm not dismissing their research. But I'm saying you should know when to stop extrapolating from what they actually studied, to stuff that you just imagine _should_ work the same way.

1. Other stuff is more like built on logical decisions, and (consciously or subconsciously) min-maxing rewards vs risks within the rules of the game, not within the rules of RL. The solution picked in the game might be _very_ dissimilar to the one picked IRL.

E.g., rogues are popular in WoW because they're all-out-offense and get XP fast, and people are willing to take a few extra deaths if in the long term they level up faster. It's an option not many will take IRL. If someone told you you'll likely get a promotion faster if you run on foot across the highway daily, chances are you wouldn't take that risk. Or I don't think russian roulette is very popular a passtime IRL, as another example.

Or if you want another IRL comparison, take fencing, the original life-and-death kind. It was primarily defense oriented. The very name comes from "defence" via "defencing". The priority was defense, and harming the opponent was only left for when the oportunity presents itself. Both touching each other was _not_ an option, because then both would be dead. Then it was turned into a harmless sport based on points, and it went all aggressive instead of defensive, because that's what gets more point. Olympic fencing nowadays would look outright _absurd_ to a gentleman with a rapier from the days of yore. That's how much a behaviour can differ even when you simulate an activity IRL with RL props.

Essentially people are more willing to accept virtual "death" in a game (whether WoW or competition fencing) than IRL. That should already give you a hint that their reaction to having a deadly plague might not be exactly the same in WoW as IRL.

2. The study you linked is about Second Life, a primarily role-playing environment. I mean, it's not like there's even an actual game in there.

Role-playing is somewhat different from playing for xp, loot and honour points. Role-playing is primarily about acting, and making your character and reactions _believable_ to the other. I.e., the whole idea is to act like a RL human, or close enough. (Even if you RP a dwarf or elf or klingon, RP racial cultures are essentially just slightly exagerated human cultures and personalities.) So it makes sense that you'd pay attention to such details as whether your character would make eye contact, how close he'd stay to another guy, and that he'd react believably to the news of having a deadly plague. It's the whole point of RP, it's _expected_ that you do, and if you don't meet that expectation, you'll find less and less people want to RP with you.

In games like WoW, that assumption just doesn't exist any more. In WoW what's expected of you is that you make the most of the rules, and ignore stuff that doesn't directly impact your character's progress. What would be a realistic reaction suddenly doesn't really matter any more, unless you found yourself a group of die-hard roleplayers. Stuff that in a RP session would count as good RP (e.g., stopping to huff and pant when running uphill, or "omg, I'm gonna die" scenes when infected), here count at most of "lol, dude, you're funny" or even "yeah, yeah, cut it out with whining about realism already" if you overdo it.

And then there are some people who even make a point of acting as shocking or unconventional as possible, or even being as annoying as possible. E.g., I can assure you that in the WoW plague event a lot didn't think "omg, I'm so depressed that I'm gonna die", but quite the contrary, "bwahahaha, it's so cool that I can infect and kill non-PvP newbies." I.e., far from ruining their day as would happen IRL, it was the happiest day of their online life. Some even went and deliberately got infected just to that end.

So basically, just as some friendly advice, don't extrapolate that insight into RL behaviour too much. Sometimes there is some relationship to RL behaviour, sometimes there is none, sometimes the online behaviour is the exact polar opposite of the RL one. The trick is to know which is which. And even more importantly, to keep a skeptical frame of mind and exercise critical thinking. Sometimes things aren't what they seem, and it doesn't hurt to be on guard.

Re:No way.... (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304753)

Some portion of the people likely don't act online as they would in real life. But there would be real life asshats to make up for it.

For example, if I were told I had TB and that I had best not travel, I probably wouldn't, regardless of whether it was to protect themselves or not. There'd be that little voice saying TB is contagious, and I probably shouldn't run the risk...

Re:No way.... (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305185)

Well, in Second Life I'd say I'm pretty much my RL self. Only blue and with a tail :-)

For example, just like in RL, it feels uncomfortable to stand too close to somebody. I talk about the same things, and behave nearly the same, with a few inhibitions.

Re:No way.... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315431)

Sure they do!
Whenever I get a decease in real-life I always go running out on the street trying to infect everyone then dropping dead and starting a new life with my alt.

The results of the research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304463)

Apparently, when the next black death hits we'll all log out and go complain on the forums.

Yeah, but... (3, Funny)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304469)

MMORPG IS a real world disease.

In real life you can't run back from the graveyard (4, Informative)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304487)

I've seen people deliberately trying to spread the disease in the game. In order to obtain the disease, you need to meet the final boss of the Zul'gurub raid instance, named Hakkar. When Hakkar infects you with the disease, you will then have to hearth back to Orgrimmar or Ironforge to spread the disease before it kills you. Would people do this in real life?

Or can we expect to see suicidal terrorists deliberately infecting themselves and moving into a population...

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (2, Informative)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304593)

The disease in question was rather hurriedly made impossible to spread a week or so after this happened. In other words, TWO YEARS AGO.

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (2, Insightful)

LiNKz (257629) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304677)

Some people believe it isn't fair they contract certain diseases or viruses, and are willing to continue their lifestyle regardless of what it may cause ("It wasn't fair, so I'll just ignore it and keep going"). While this can pertain to HSV or HIV, I don't think it would be possible to relate it to this. If you were dying very quickly would you really urge to run out and infect a bunch of people? Not really.

Your 'terrorist' idea though, that is one scary idea. While I think the term has been beaten to death by Bush and the media, that would definitely cause it. Lets hope they realize in the end it would still spread to their people, too. Hopefully they have some sense of survival and self-preservation.

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305289)

Your 'terrorist' idea though, that is one scary idea. While I think the term has been beaten to death by Bush and the media, that would definitely cause it. Lets hope
they realize in the end it would still spread to their people, too. Hopefully they have some sense of survival and self-preservation.


I don't think this is terribly likely, as if the disease was bad enough to cause an epidemic, it would have had already, even without the terrorists. An epidemic probably needs the right disease: something with the right set of incubation time, lethality, symptoms, etc which make it spread very widely. Something that kills very fast wouldn't spread for example.

But supposing such a thing appeared, it'd probably spread just fine without terrorists, as there are plenty stupid people who will ignore any attempt to quarantine it.

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305491)

There's a good book called 'War of Shadows' I read as a kid like that, worth the read, esp since it does a pretty good job of explaining what the government would be like under such a threat (although not how they'd be AFTER it....)

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305423)

But allah will protect them! :/

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304707)

Furthermore, in real life if someone said "Hey everyone is dying in the cities, it is crazy", people wouldn't then flock to the city to check it out.

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304767)

Actually, it went even farther.

People with pets would get infected, and keep the disease going, especially high level characters who were effectively immune to the disease. These would be voluntary carriers of the disease.

Then, on our server, the best line was "Hey folks, gather around...huddle in closer".

Still, it was one of the most interesting "World Events" to have ever hit WoW.

Dutch story about deliberate aids infection (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305021)

It involved a group of homo-sexuals who would drug other homo-sexuals at gay parties and then inject them with blood, apparently blood known to be contaminated with the aids virus.

Neither is it first time but it was one of the most direct (blood injection is far sure then unprotected sex), deliberate and massive. But it is nothing new.

Aids has also been used as a threat before as in, "if you (don't) do X I will bite/scratch you".

Offcourse aids is nothing like the WoW disease, but the idea of people deliberatly spreading a disease is not to be dismissed.

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305337)

There are strange yet apparently true reports of HIV positive gay men deliberately infecting as many other gay men as possible.

Of course, as you touched on, the possibility of deliberately infecting yourself with some terrible disease (SARSbolaidsvian flu) and going someplace highly populated (the typical example is an airport, due to the extreme spread vectors) has been considered a nightmare scenario for quite some time.

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (1)

CodyRazor (1108681) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305343)

you will then have to hearth back to Orgrimmar or Ironforge to spread the disease before it kills you. Would people do this in real life?

No, i dont think i would hearth back to orgrimmar or ironforge to spread a disease in real life.

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (2, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305873)

In the real world, back several hundred year during the time of the Plague, the first response of villagers who encountered someone who had the plague (an infected messsenger who arrived on the edge of the village), was to gather everyone together in the market place, inform them, then send out more villagers to warn their neighbours. Depending on the mode of transport (walking, horse, cart, coach), this would enable the infection to spread (fleas on animals or clothes).

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20306037)

You can't do it anymore. They changed how the disease works a long time ago.

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 7 years ago | (#20306231)

As with most adolescent games, WoW is about dominance and control (along with a fair share of hoarding wealth...to show dominance and control). It's a nice gig to do research showing patterns that don't exist for people more ignorant than the average teenager. Must be a government funded study. Next in the news, the MMORPG diseases never kill anyone for very long making it a kind of minigame to infect as many people as possible. Didn't even need a grant for me to know that, just common sense.

Re:In real life you can't run back from the gravey (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#20307213)

What, you never heard of Typhoid Mary [wikipedia.org] ?

Been There, Done That (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304531)

A Tale In The Desert (atitd.com) did more or less the same thing, programming in a communicable disease with no permanent cure (at first). The result was a predictable combonation of initial protectionism and paranoia, followed by the banding together of communities to prevent and cure the disease. There was a smattering of deliberate antisocial behaviour, as one might expect in a real situation, too. More or less unsurprising results.

captcha: crockery

used to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304545)

Well, if it used to do that, what's it doing now?

Virtual games... (1)

Mr Abstracto (226219) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304557)

... as opposed to 'real' games?

Re:Virtual games... (1)

l3mr (1070918) | more than 7 years ago | (#20310335)

Yes. Real games, played without computers. Tabletop games, Pen + Paper RPGs or so.

Re:Virtual games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20311319)

Yes 'Real' games. You know... Sorry, Uno, Life ( Of course I'm referring to the board game life, not the other game "Life" involving bills, a wife, and three kids.) ;)

Real World Simulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304587)

Yeah, people crowding together in the auction house trying to get the most simultaneous deaths...

That's like totally what would happen in real life.

Isn't this whole story a dupe from last year?

News flash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304595)

Okay, so let me get this straight. Using a bug in WoW that caused a status effect to spread between characters even after leaving the area its supposed to affect causes scientists to realize there could be a panic should a highly contagious disease spread among the populace in real life? Okay, so now that we've determined the various documented plagues in history were not just random junk thrown on paper, can we be unimpressed now?

What I really don't get is how they can compare it to real life considering the effect of the "corrupted blood" had no real effect on anybody beyond an annoyance and the fact that its a freaking game so there would be no actual kind of enforced quarentine even if someone had wanted to try to implement such a policy. Not to mention you can have characters jump all the way across the world in seconds through World of Warcraft, I'd like to see that kind of transportation in real life.

Re:News flash? (2, Interesting)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304715)

Not to mention you can have characters jump all the way across the world in seconds through World of Warcraft, I'd like to see that kind of transportation in real life.
On the time-scale of a RL disease, flying from the U.S. to Europe is virtually instantaneous transmission across the world. A virulent disease that is highly communicable but has an incubation period in which there is little or no outward sign of infection would go global pretty quickly with such a fast vector as air travel.

cheers.

Re:News flash? (2, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305871)

In addition, being in the tightly enclosed space with recirculated air that is the aircraft, there's a good chance it won't be only yourself who is the vector on the other side. Hit the restroom early in the flight and increase those chances! This is probably even more effective than trying to cough on random people on the other side.

I know what I would do... (1)

Zero Degrez (1039938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304619)

researchers in the US who argue that the spread of 'corrupted blood' in World of Warcraft might provide clues to the way a real world population would cope with the prospect of a global pandemic.
I would just log off.

Oh wait...

RL Response? (1)

Tyrsenus (858934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304659)

"[virtual games] could be of great value in helping us understand what their true emotional responses would be."

Yes, I'm sure that typical responses to a real life crisis would be along the lines of "LOL," "ROFLCOPTERS," or even "LULZ EVERY1 HAS AIDZ"

Just hope you're soulstoned.

But honey, (2, Funny)

kcurtis (311610) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304725)

I'm not just raiding. I'm helping prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Do you really want our children to die of the plague?

BBC ran this a few days ago (3, Informative)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304741)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6951918.stm [bbc.co.uk]

The opinion seems to be while its just a video game it might provide a little insight into how people react to these situations which could be usefull for future modeling.

Morons with PhDs... (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304799)

The Times is reporting on a paper by researchers in the US who argue that the spread of 'corrupted blood' in World of Warcraft might provide clues to the way a real world population would cope with the prospect of a global pandemic. In the study, to be published in The Lancet next month, Professor Lofgren of Rutgers University and Professor Fefferman of Tufts University, suggest that: 'If, God forbid, a disease broke out in London, you could see what would happen if people were told immediately of the risk. Would there be panic and chaos, or would it allow them to psychologically accept the danger and act accordingly?


Well, WoW is really just a silly game. So...if there was an in-game disease, I'd probably either stash my character for a few days and check out the offline boards to figure out what to do or go a-questing to be a disease-staving-off hero. If my character got toasted, I'd probably just say "f*** it," cancel my account and then go see how DnD Online is doing these days.

In real life, I have a wife, children, parents and other family to think about. My reaction to a rapidly spreading pandemic would be much, much different.

In other words, this study sounds like junk. Coming from Tufts and Rutgers, I'm not surprised...

Re:Morons with PhDs... (1)

Zuato (1024033) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305449)

Curiosity has me here.

If you found out about it, you admitted you would avoid it by stashing your character which could be equated to avoiding the area where the disease is. Isn't that a behavior that could relate to a real life outbreak?

The thought of it affecting your avatar was enough for you to react to it. That's what they are looking for - reactions, and most importantly how people would react.

A small percentage will be tards and want to spread it to watch the chaos go down. Most will try to avoid it like the plague (bad pun, I know).

Perhaps some that could cure disease poison may go see if they can do anything about it (think doctors and pharmaceuticals here).

The point is to see how people react. Sure it is a virtual world, but it can give some insight as to how people may react to an epidemic.

The answer (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#20306077)

If you found out about it, you admitted you would avoid it by stashing your character which could be equated to avoiding the area where the disease is. Isn't that a behavior that could relate to a real life outbreak?


Not really. An in-game pandemic's "location" could be "anywhere in the game", so I wouldn't play the game until it blew over. In real life, a pandemic's "location" would also be "anywhere in the world", but I don't have the option of shutting down my bio functions until it blows over, so I'd have to make a different decision.

The point is to see how people react. Sure it is a virtual world, but it can give some insight as to how people may react to an epidemic.


I still doubt it. A smarter thing to do would probably be to study actual epidemics and other disasters and then see what people actually did in those situations.

Statisticians could also tear the "WoW as a model for life" thing easily apart for other reasons, one of which that the average WoW demographic is more/less intelligent/informed/mobile/infirm/family-oriented than the general population, and would thus make decisions differently.

Re:The answer (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 7 years ago | (#20312685)

I still doubt it. A smarter thing to do would probably be to study actual epidemics and other disasters and then see what people actually did in those situations.

When was the last pandemic since we (as a people) started creating scientific records that we can study?

I read a summary of the study and I found it fascinating - they were able to cross reference what happened in the game to what we do know about real world events (like bubonic plague).

Re:Morons with PhDs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305621)

Logging off for a few days would be similar to staying at home and doing your best to avoid contact with potential bearer's of the disease. Going to "offline" boards would be just like logging into news sites and watching the news for information about the spread of the disease and how to potentially avoid infection.

    Your stated activities if such a thing were to happen in game would be exactly the kind of behavior that the researchers would be interested in.

You mean like what happened to WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305139)

... when everyone had AIDS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJo698YSLOY [youtube.com]

Y

Entertainment (1)

sorias (981118) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305427)

The Corrupted blood epidemic was fantastic fun....more things like this in the game would make WoW a whole lot more fun.

Type with gloves. (1)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305629)

The only safe MMORPG is abstinence.

Re:Type with gloves. (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 7 years ago | (#20314981)

I thought the MMORPG caused abstinence... (j/k)

Resident Evil (1)

FooMasterZero (515781) | more than 7 years ago | (#20306143)

Same idea I suppose about a super virus; though all of the characters are not controlled by real people. I think the story generally portrays some insight to the idea of what would you do? As most characters in the game if memory serves me right go through serious denial and the emotional factor of the non-infected characters would believe it; creating that foreshadowing moment of when the virus finally takes over and ones benevolence cost them their life.

Personally I hope the story line of any of the resident evil games never comes to pass.

Who knows maybe these researchers should get together make an Resident Evil MMO pick your side diseased or not and see what go down.

WoW is no good way to tell (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20307445)

When you look at WoW, something like this would be HORRIBLE if it happened to the world. Though, WoW has a few key features that do help the spread of such a disease, but are not at all reflected in reality.

First: WoW is small compared to the world. Tiny, actually. At best, WoW is the equivalent of a rather small country, certainly no planet.

Second: High population density. Even Tokyo isn't as cramped as IF. Even the most remote corners of WoW are filled with people.

Third: Mandatory congregation points. While there are spots on the planet where people do gather, in WoW it is more or less mandatory that you do. There is no way to do something "meaningful" without running into people constantly. This is partly due to point 2, but is all by itself a factor that helps any kind of disease. Everyone is in IF sooner or later. Everyone gathers at meeting points outside of instances.

Fourth: Deliberate spreading, coupled with no "real" death. People get infected deliberately only to spread the disease. Yes, they will die, they accept that as a price to fu.. with other players. In the real world, such people would be labeled terrorists and they would at least stop after doing it once.

Fifth: Instant/short travel times. It's possible for everyone to travel near instantly to his binding location (which is IF for most people). It is no problem to travel anywhere within less than an hour. This is by no means reflected in the real world.

In short: If you get your panties in a knot over a "pandemic" because of the events in an MMORPG, you might want to check if your world is still in sync with reality.

Re:WoW is no good way to tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20310807)

Second: High population density. Even Tokyo isn't as cramped as IF. Even the most remote corners of WoW are filled with people.

Not sure which server you're on, but many places in Asia make IF look like Wyoming.

stop it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20307575)

please stop comparing the real world to a virtual one, especially WoW.

Not quite the same... (3, Interesting)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 7 years ago | (#20307979)

The MMORG A Tale In The Desert [atitd.com] also had a disease event [atitd.net] . Due to game mechanics, there were a few differences.
In WoW...
  • The WoW disease killed. WoW has an "easy resurrection" system, so it didn't cost players more than a few minutes of inconvenience.
  • The cause was immediately known, and the cure (death) while inconvenient, was also immediately known
  • Detecting a carrier was easy.
  • Being cured of the disease (dying) took little play time.
In ATITD...
  • The disease debilitated, eventually forcing a disconnect for a period of time (a coma, as it were).
  • The cause had to be discovered by the player community. And even after theories were proven, there were still some cases that could not easily be explained.
  • Much like real life, carriers often didn't know they had it until signs manifested... too late for those around them
  • Discovering a cure was a separate (community) event, requiring much player time and involvement. Actually getting cured took a non-trivial amount of time and resources on the part of the "sick" player. ... and the character could get reinfected a short period after taking the cure. (A permanent cure was eventually discovered, which took MORE resources...)
Also unlike WoW, ATITD is very much a social game. Introduce, then, something that produces highly negative consequences to social interaction, and you get ... a lot of people leaving a game that is no longer fun.

On the other hand, I expect the reactions by the people who didn't leave were perhaps even closer to those in the real world than in WoW, because of its social aspects.

And for those of you who haven't heard of the game before, I should point out that the nature of the game (no combat) and the social ecology tends to select for cooperative behavior. ... and long attention spans...

Anyone here remember the Locust Plague (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20309441)

Has anyone here played the mmo GUNZ? About a year and a half ago some black hats released an exploit called the Locust Plague on that game to force the developers to fix holes in the server technology. This exploit permanently deleted thousands of players' characters from the game server. It spread from character to character and would infect all players in any chat or game that you joined. Luckily I didn't log on during that time. This article just brought up memories, anyone else remember Locust Plague?

Virtual is Not good unless... (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 7 years ago | (#20309539)

Virtual environment is not good unless you don't actually include the fact that real people are playing a game. In the case of WoW, people intentionally brought the plague back to the various cities. Why? Because it's absolutely hilarious to watch everyone in a city die almost instantly.

This would be why one server dragged Kazzak all the way to Stormwind. Just to see what would happen and to kill everyone.

The virtual world that they speak of would have to have the players NOT know that there was a plague being carried by them. If they did, players would kill people off for fun. It's just that simple.

On a side note, that plague in WoW, was loads of fun. Made many laugh for a while.

Ig Nobel Prize. (2, Interesting)

SYSS Mouse (694626) | more than 7 years ago | (#20309595)

I think someone should nominate Blizzard and the scientists for the Ig Nobel Prize.

Useless Test (1)

smackenzie (912024) | more than 7 years ago | (#20310597)

Unfortunately -- though a really neat idea! -- you will not conjure up "real world" reaction scenarios from an MMORPG disease. Remember, you are dealing with entities that fearlessly shoot fireballs at dragon whelps, ride hippogriffins hundreds of feet above the ground and jump off dwarven damns just to see how far down you can fall.

The "death" penalty in WoW is gentle -- that's part of the game's attraction, but detrimental to this type of experimentation. You can slightly increase the effectiveness of a "mass outbreak" trial by establishing real world consequences; for example, if you are infected, you are immediately charged $20.00 and your monthly subscription is tripled until you become cured. That would cause more of a legit "fear" reaction, but probably piss off a lot of users. Then again, life isn't fair. Neither is a viral outbreak.

Aids? (1)

GodsBlood (1143061) | more than 7 years ago | (#20315091)

Pedro Zamora. anybody? no? bad joke? I kid!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?