Monday, October 8, 2012

Virtual RPG massacre


Depiction of "primitive virtual life." 


If it had happened in meatspace, it would have been one of the most horrific wholesale murders in history.

Hackers broke into the online game World of Warcraft and massacred all the characters in a few of the virtual world's major cities.  As you can see from clicking the link, the BBC ran the story accompanied by a pic of the in-world carnage captioned, "the virtual dead of Orgrimmar."

"  Olivia Grace, contributing editor of website WoW Insider, said: "It was a significant hack.
"They discovered a method to roll a level-one [beginner] character, which ran to the major cities.
"We don't know exactly what they did, but somehow they were able to kill every single player's character in that city and every single computer controlled character - and they were doing this repeatedly."  "

 Though this in-world issue has already been hot-fixed, this is not the first time such an affliction has struck Warcraft.  Back in 2005, in what has come to be known as the "Corrupted Blood Incident" amongst WoW devotees, a virtual plague that spread amongst in-world characters.  Again, Orgrimmar was struck.  Is Orgrimmar the Detroit of WoW?  The city that just can't catch a break?  Regardless, the plague incident was even studied by epidemiologists as a virtual case of how people might respond to pandemics.

The implications of all of this are fascinating to me.  Just imagining such afflictions running through a virtual world in a similar manner as they would in the "real" world...it's like a Philip K. Dick novel.  It also justifiably brings up many philosophical questions such as those addressed by Plato's allegory of the cave and questions such as "what is real?" and others that might only be answered or defined through apohasis.

Not to go too Matrix on you, but these musings do eventually lead me back around to pondering, "is our universe really a virtual reality simulation?"  Could actual incidents of mass murder such as those that unfolded in Origrimmar be an experiment?  A "test for response" that is then studied in much the same way that the "Corrupted Blood Incident" was evaluated as a model for biological attack?  Or perhaps worse yet, such tragedies are the result of a "glitch" in the source code?  In The Matrix, humans were harnessed for their electrical output.  Could our suffering be generating energy for someone else somehow?  It's a far out hypothesis, so I recognize that I am merely free-associating (or free-basing as a few might no doubt allege.) When we search for the cure for a disease, are we really looking for a code "patch" or "fix" as happened with Warcraft?  Could the administrators of this simulation we call "life" be treating us with the same cold, callous regard of a say...a Grey alien?

That's a direction I'd rather not go towards.  As is the "God" question.  Would it not make sense for the gods of both Eastern and Western religions to be in-world representations of the nebulous overlords that run the simulation and observe us?  Sure does suck when your established paradigms are ripped asunder.

Keep in mind this just me thinking aloud.  The idea of computer-generated, simulated "worlds" fascinates me.  The idea that our same societal ills and strife might follow us into these worlds only makes it more intriguing to me. 

Something to think about as you kill your next orc in World of Warcraft.


 My e-novella, Hound of Winter is available for only 99 cents

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

No comments:

Post a Comment