Seven years ago, a debuff spell in World of Warcraft resulted in a plague wiping out vast amounts of player characters. It was the result of a glitch that was introduced via a new dungeon, where an end boss called Hakkar would cast a hit point draining debuff called “Corrupted Blood”. It was supposed to be confined to the dungeon, but it didn’t end up that way.

The result was the Corrupted Blood Plague of September 2005 – an online phenomenon that has since been studied by real world epidemiologists (people who study patterns and the effects of disease in populations).

Corrupted Blood was fixed over a series of patches and world resets, but the unintended event has gone down in the WoW history books as one of the most memorable phenomena in the game’s history. It’s not going to be the only one however, as a new plague has hit Azeroth that has decimated player characters.

This new plague has been dubbed the Death Knight Plague, as it was perpetuated by Death Knight players in the game. It allowed them to cast Blood Plague and Frost Fever on friendly targets. Obviously, when you give a select group of players the abililty to upend the status quo online, they’re going to use it. Consequently, Death Knight players decided it was their time to live up to their names, and so they went about systematically eradicating all life in Azeroth.

The Death Knight plague has since been patched up and “cured”, which means that if you were hoping to jump online to spread your sickness then you’re out of luck. Sorry Death Knights, no more spreading of plagues for you.

It’s kind of neat that this new plague hit Azeroth one day after the seventh anniversary of the Corrupted Blood Plague. Whereas Corrupted Blood spread on its own like an airborne virus, the Death Knight Plague had to be cast on other friendlies. Expect this online event to be used as a case study for the whole argument on whether or not power does actually corrupt.

Source: Joystiq (WoW Insider)

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