字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント It's the crack of dawn, and you've just turned up at the headquarters of the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. On any other day, you'd still be in bed right now, but this isn't any other day. An urgent meeting has been called to discuss a mysterious pandemic sweeping the world, and it's down to people like you to stop it in its tracks. You were tossing and turning all of last night trying to think of a solution, but you've got nothing. The situation feels absolutely hopeless. You walk into a meeting room and there's a sea of worried faces. These are some of the most intelligent and hardworking professionals you know, but they all have bags under their eyes and disheveled hair. You probably look ten times worse. As the Director begins his address, everyone sits in silence, transfixed on his every word. He talks about how the outbreak most likely traces back to a diseased animal transmitting to a human: a simple accident with overwhelming consequences. It originated in a faraway nation but spread like wildfire after officials failed to quarantine those in the affected city quick enough, with many contaminated people fleeing to other cities or nations. Now, it's finally arrived here. It's weird. Failed quarantines, rapid spreading, origins in animals… it's all sounding strangely familiar, yet you can't put your finger on why. It's like you've lived through this before, but you can't have. Sure, there have been a few outbreaks of diseases in your lifetime, but that's not what you're thinking of. That's when it hits you – you almost jump up in the meeting with excitement. You have lived through this before – only, not in the real world. In World of Warcraft. Back in your awkward teenage years, when you still had the time to devote to something other than working for the CDC, you'd spend endless hours on that game. And you'd never forget the scenes that went down when an unexpected plague broke out… A new raid for highly-skilled players had been launched, and you're not embarrassed to admit you were one of the first players to give it a go. It was only for users of a certain caliber, but of course that included you. And so, along with 19 other players, you headed off to a dungeon called Zul'Gurub. You ventured into the deepest realms of the jungle, fighting off various trolls along the way. But you knew you were yet to meet your greatest enemy. After heading deeper and deeper, you finally found the dungeon and your adversary: a giant winged serpent called Hakkar the Soulflayer, an ancient Blood God Now, it was just between him and all of you. Eyes on the prize, you were ready to give everything you had into defeating this monster. But as soon as you launched your attack against you, you were struck by a spell that immediately resulted in 300 points of damage. A few seconds later, you lost another 300 hit points, and you noticed the same thing happening to the other players. This was more than just a spell – Hakkar was spreading a plague called Corrupted Blood, and it was one of the most virulent you'd encountered. To defeat Hakkar, speed was of the essence. Although your total level was just over 4000 hit points, you'd be sure to die in just a few minutes if the plague continued to sap your points at this speed. But as soon as you killed him, it would destroy the plague and cure you all. Even though it was just a game, you were determined to win, and you barely blinked away from the screen as you engaged in combat. This was game on! Yet you couldn't help but notice something strange happening. Some of your fellow teammates were summoning their pets. Why? Pets weren't going to help win this fight. It made no sense, and it was annoying they weren't trying as hard as you, but whatever. Head in the game. After just a minute or two of fighting, all the players in your raid were losing their hit points rapidly. Everyone had caught the plague, either directly from Hakkar or from each other. You watched hopelessly from your swivel chair as your character on-screen began to gush blood. But Hakkar was losing his strength too. If only you could carry on for a few seconds longer. Finally, the serpent fell to the ground, and you breathed a sigh of relief. Hakkar was dead, and like magic, the Plague had vanished. You were still extremely weak and down to your last few hundred hit points, but at least now you could heal. You began to make your way out of the dungeon. Another quest done. That was that! At least, that's what you thought… You arrived in a nearby city expecting to find life going on as normal, but instead there was complete mayhem. Throngs and throngs of players on screen were bleeding and dropping to the floor, dying before your eyes. Skeletons were scattered all around . Straight away, you suspected this was the Corrupted Blood plague. You had no idea how it had entered the city, but you knew you didn't want to run the risk of catching it again, so you teleported away without a second thought. What was going on? In 2005, the games developer Blizzard didn't think they were doing anything revolutionary when they introduced a new dungeon raid into the popular World of Warcraft game. All they wanted to do was create a challenge for high-level players, so they created a plague – something that would aggressively tear down the health of the players until they defeated the character transmitting the plague. Because the opponent had to be defeated so quickly, it added an extra layer of difficulty. The spell should have resulted in one of two possible outcomes: the players dying of the plague or Hakkar being killed. Simple, right? Except it wasn't. Blizzard had missed one essential detail that allowed the disease to spread outside of the dungeon, creating the first virtual pandemic known to man… As well as the technical glitch, Blizzard made another fatal error. They assumed players wouldn't want to spread the disease. A logical assumption – there was no rational reason to spread the disease. The problem is that humans aren't always rational. The company had unwittingly created the perfect environment to safely study a pandemic: a complex virtual environment with millions of real people making decisions. The more you thought about it, the more similar it seemed to what's happening in the real world, although now slightly more was at stake. Maybe you could apply some of the lessons learned… You successfully escaped from the big city into the countryside without contracting the disease, and now you had some time to think. If everyone really was dying from the Corrupted Blood plague, how had it escaped from the dungeon? You messaged a few of your in-game friends, knowing a few of them had also completed the quest. One of them replied immediately, explaining that some of the people in his raid had been purposely getting their pets out during the fight until they caught the plague, and then summoning them to the cities and joking about it. A few minutes later, another friend admitted he'd tried the same trick himself, out of curiosity for what would happen. It turned out that pets could contract the disease, and users had managed to spread it because the effect of the plague went on pause whilst the pet was dismissed, then returned once it was summoned elsewhere. Well, that explained why some of the players on your quest were fiddling around with their pets instead of focusing on defeating Hakkar. But why had it even crossed their mind to try and spread a disease around on purpose? To be honest, it was pretty annoying – all you wanted to do was get on with the game like normal, but some utter pricks had tried to be clever and ruined things for everyone else. Now, the same guy who had purposely spread the disease from the dungeons into the city was saying he wanted to go the center of the mayhem to see what was going on for himself. This guy had at least twice the number of hit points you did, so he wasn't too scared of the plague and thought he might be able to heal himself. While he went ahead, your other friends teleported to the countryside where you were, a safe space from all the craziness. A few minutes later, Blizzard sent a message to all users announcing that a quarantine was now taking place in the most infected cities. To prevent the disease spreading further, nobody should leave those areas until they were able to fix the problem. Incredible – even the game developers were struggling. Surely they'd fix this soon. Next thing you knew, your friend had appeared in the countryside out of nowhere, saying Blizzard hadn't actually banned teleportation out of the infected cities. And a few seconds later, you started to lose hit points. Oh, great. So your so-called friend had now infected you all just for a joke, and there was probably no way to get rid of the plague now. Unsure of what to do, you logged out and hoped for the best. By allowing pets to get infected, Blizzard had committed a fatal error. There was no sensible reason for players to summon their pets to different destinations whilst they were in the quest, but like we've already established, people aren't always rational. Lots of the players were just looking for a bit of mischief. Once these pets arrived in the big cities, they infected low-level players, who died instantly from the plague due to their low number of hit points. Non-player-controlled players were infected too – and because they couldn't die themselves, it allowed them to spread to even more users. There was no cure for this horrible plague that had swept across the virtual land. Although many Healers had rushed to the aid of dying players, the Corrupted Blood plague was a typeless debuff, meaning it was almost impossible to heal. And by keeping those who were infected alive for longer, the healers ended up doing more harm than good. Other players realized they could make themselves immune by flagging themselves as being on PvP mode. But this was only a temporary solution, as those who wished to spread the disease eventually cottoned on and flagged themselves too, so they could continue spreading. The pandemic showed some interesting results about the psychological reactions of humans. Some people rushed to infect as many people as possible, whilst others tried to help. Many people chose to ignore the quarantine that was imposed, thinking of themselves and not the wider societal implications. Maybe behavioral science is just as important as the biological science and epidemiology. You should probably mention that in the meeting. But anyway, what became of the disease? After searching through a few forums, you finally accepted there was nothing you could do to stop yourself from dying of that stupid Corrupted Blood plague. Your friend was also doomed to die of course, but he didn't seem to care. You turned up in a graveyard as a ghost and had to look for your dead body to resurrect yourself. This was why you hated dying. By the time you'd resurrected yourself, a few hours had passed, but the pandemic was still spreading around like wildfire. Feeling you couldn't trust anyone, you looked for another remote corner and decided to wait it out without alerting anyone about your whereabouts. After browsing a few forums, you saw other users posting screenshots of some of the towns that had been quarantined, where the pavements were white from the vast number of skeletons. It seemed like everyone was still ignoring the quarantines, too. What was going to happen? The Corrupted Blood incident affected around four million players. The main reason the disease had spread so quickly was the reaction of the users. Many people who had been in the big cities at the time of the outbreak chose to ignore the official advice and escape to safer areas, but this had spread the disease further. One tiny accident had snowballed beyond belief, and it had done so extremely quickly. The root cause of the plague had been animals, but it had spread further because of humans. That sounds very familiar, too… Of course, the stakes are higher in real life. Hopefully, not many people would try to spread a disease on purpose just for a laugh – but it only takes one crazy person to cause a world of damage. And almost as dangerous are those who ignore official warnings and spread the disease unwittingly. Come to think of it, the teleports in World of Warcraft serve a pretty similar purpose to real-life airplanes. Eventually, Blizzard fixed the problem using a simple solution: resetting the computers. Maybe all those hours spent playing World of Warcraft weren't such a waste of time after all. People might have laughed at you once, but now you're one step ahead of them – you've lived through this before. Now, you've just got to figure out how to switch off the computers… Now for more about plagues check out why the Spanish flu killed so many people or what made the Black Death so deadly. Click one now, before the global pandemic gets us all!