Plague in the World of Warcraft!

World of Warcraft, the online multiplayer game, is in serious problems.

Last week they put in a new quest for the game involving a big baddie who could cast a very nasty spell on your character that gave them a disease. This spell would instantly kill most characters, but not quite all. Survivors of the spell finished the quest or escaped and have now gone out into the general world and are (probably non-intentionally) infecting other characters controlled by players all over the world. For anyone who isn’t strong enough this means near-instant death, and the survivors then become contagious.

It’s all pretty nasty stuff. Some people spend a very long time building their characters, and now it’s like an outbreak of air-transmitted Ebola has hit the game, decimating the population.

It was once observed about computers that the more intelligent and complex they were made, the less possible it became to predict precisely how they would react to all circumstances. The World of Warcraft game has become sufficiently complex that disease has spontaneously found a way to escape the predictions of its programmers with devastating consequences. It’s just another case where our technology has escaped from our own control.

All this, coming to a Michael Crichton plot near you soon… (US link UK link)

More info here.

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