Virtual Worlds, Real Science

Epidemiologists, social scientists flock to online world

By Brian Vastag, 15:57 PM April 15, 2008

Skeletons paved the cobblestone streets. Thousands had succumbed to the blood plague quickly, but others lingered—only to infect everyone they met. No one was safe. Warriors, mages, and healers all fell. Word spread, urging everyone to flee, but still the plague ripped through the world, creating a holocaust.

A hulking, serpentine blood god, Hakkar the Soulflayer, had sparked the epidemic. Attacked in his dungeon, the monster unleashed his final defense—a curse called corrupted blood. The cur...

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