by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 21st 2007 8:04am
There are all sorts of questions about how the government would respond in the event of a serious outbreak of a dangerous virus or a plague. Certainly, various gov't agencies have plans and procedures in place, but it's difficult to account for all the different possibilities and how something might spread. However, some researchers have an idea for how they might get a better idea and perhaps get some training in at the same time: use online video games like "World of Warcraft" and see what happens when some players are infected with a contagious plague. The researchers note that "World of Warcraft" had its own plague a few years ago, which gave them the original idea to approach Blizzard to work out some sort of deal to do this kind of research. They hope that by seeing how real people react, with virtual characters whom they've invested a lot of time in, they'll get a better idea of how people react to certain situations such as quarantines. Whether or not it actually will work, it certainly seems like a creative solution to get a better understanding of some potential scenarios, prior to an actual emergency situation.
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