In 2005, World of Warcraft experienced an unintended pandemic, known as a “debuff,” that originated with Hakkar the Soulflayer.
World of Warcraft was a game truly ahead of its time. So much so, that its players already witnessed the effects of a pandemic more than a decade ago. Now, that pandemic may prove useful to scientists studying covid-19.On September 13, 2005, Blizzard’s incredibly popular massive multiplayer online role playing game World of Warcraft (WoW) experienced an unintended event that mimicked the spread of a viral infection throughout its playerbase. A damaging effect, called Corrupted Blood, ravaged thousands of players, and left lower-leveled characters in an unavoidable death-loop. The effect, known as a debuff, was a temporary condition, but one that could spread to other players if they stood close enough to each other, just like a real virus.A week after the outbreak, it forced Blizzard to restart every WoW server to stop it from spreading out of control.The infection originated from Hakkar the Soulflayer — the boss of the very first 20-player raid Blizzard released. Hakkar would cast Corrupted Blood on players and it would damage them for about 10 seconds. Players would spread the effect to others if they got too close to those infected. After the 10 seconds were done, or players finished the boss battle, the