Archive for the ‘Role Play’ Category

In 2005 the ever popular World or Warcraft MMO introduced a new raid to the game, it was Zul’Gurub (now a dungeon instance) that has been cited as a model for real world epidemic study. The games mechanics introduced a damaging effect called ‘Corrupted Blood’ from the last ‘boss’, Hakkar, that came off the players when they either died or the boss was killed. It could however be on the pets that players brought along and when they left the instance it continued to stay on the pets.

Consequently some players inadvertently spread this to others as it leapt from the pets to the players, this incident primarily occurred in Ironforge, the Dwarven City. Some players indeed found this quite amusing and deliberately brought it to the city as well.

Discussion forums at the time discussed the sight of bodies in the streets of the city, and it seems that at least three of the multiple servers were affected. The towns and major cities were abandoned by those not affected as they went into the countryside. The urban areas were then graveyards with the white bones of the dead.

It was interesting to see that players that had an ability to help did so, they directed the lower level characters away from the area and where they could remove the disease from others they did but other players deliberately brought the contagion to others.

Blizzard then attempted quarantine, the idea being that those affected would stay in a contained area but vindictive players (or those not taking it seriously as it was a game) brought that to those areas, praying on the weak and the fact it was a confined area. Some players ensured that the pets that caught it were then ‘un-summoned’ to remove the issue but ultimately Blizzard had to hard reset all the servers and reprogram the glitch.

After the outbreak the next even in 2008 was intentional. Blizzard released a zombie plague week in order to promote the new release of the expansion ‘Wrath of the Lich King’. This one was seemed more true-to-life as it was a small risk of transmission and encountering a lone zombie was not as dangerous as a large number of the infected. It was met with both praise and criticism, and from my side, mostly praise as it was an interesting adaptation to the game for a short period of time.

The epidemic of the Corrupted Blood was compared to real life breakouts, the CDC did ask for information about the statistics but Blizzard found they could not provide them as it was a computer glitch. It was also fascinating to see that it was carried from a remote area into a larger one, that people and animals could contract it, much like Avian Flu, and that people in larger areas were more at risk.

However there were differences from the real world too that negate parts of the study, such as it did not affect the non-playable characters because they did not transmit it. Alongside this there were no visible signs of the disease, such as pustules or other effects, but there was one thing that made it feel realistic – the rush of journalists wanting to cover the story and then get back out of it.

There was a discussion about using the platform for further study with the players however it never really came to fruition. It was felt that it was not really going to be indicative of a real world situation. There was not enough realistic data because players regenerate and with that meant there was little threat on the infection if all the player precautions could be set up, it would really be more for entertainment…

It was also discussed that WOW could be used in terms of how terrorists form collaborations and cells, this again would only be used for entertainment as a model could not be formed from the game. It did however give interesting light when someone pointed out that people quickly got smart in the game about how to do the biggest damage to the most amount of people and how. And lets not forget that it is a game and the very worst that can happen, unlike real life, is you can re-spawn and get back to doing what you like, so it really does not mirror real life.

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World of Warcraft is one of those games that can suck you in, if you love stories as well as the MMO environment it can be easy to see why this game remains so popular. But why am I posting about gaming? Oh it’s just the ghosts don’t mind me!

An island called Darkmoon Faire is a great in game visit, once a month for some quests, creepy music,  half-built rides that might one day open in a future patch and legends about the conspiracies surrounding the old creepshow, murder cover-ups and when I heard “ghosts” I had to go and take a more indepth look.

To take a look around for the ghosts you need to be deceased yourself, I took my poor druid along and drowned her off the frighteningly high cliffs leading into the sea with dangerous wrecks and monstrous crabs. It seemed like a more romantic plunge than just trying to drown my character off the beach at least.

Off I went ghost hunting, I have some screenshots I have taken below of the ones that I found (I did find others but forgot) and there are seven in total I believe. It can take some patience to spot them all but if you are looking for hints of their location take a wander whilst still alive. You can spot tell-tale signs in the forms of a strange glittery mist on the ground.

Each ghost says something different and so it’s worth stopping them on their repeated walk around to see what they say. Poor residual ghosts, they just walk the same path and say the same old things… and if you do to hunt for them I hope you have fun. Of course I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the faire for the times it’s not open to the patrons of the World of Warcraft and indeed how creepy that once the portal closes they are left trapped without visitors for another month… great place!

A link to a lovely story and in-depth background for the Faire is located HERE.

 

 

 

I’m a big fan of H P Lovecraft, and I am sure I don’t do that good a job of hiding it. It is because of the work he created and inspired, and more importantly, he continues to do so after his death.

Lovecraft is probably more famous for his ‘Cthulhu’ mythos than anything else. He was avid about sharing his creation, his world and the outer gods/strange beings that came with it. Thanks to Lovecraft we have role play games, computer games, shared horror stories, music, films and so many other inspirations.

His youth was marred by his mothers death, and at fourteen his grandfather died. His grandfather appeared to have the money in the family, he loved his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, and despite never furnishing high school is a literary classic.

He married an older woman named Sonia Green, and due to her success in work he moved to New York. From letters and reflections in his stories it was evident he did not like it. His stories often reflect a writer who felt quite xenophobic and was happy to remain in his home town. His racism seemed to quell in later ages but perhaps he was more a man who felt out of place and time. He would have liked to have been a European a few centuries before his time?

His stories do not portray happy endings, often the reader in given tales of warning about delving too far for knowledge. The author of the tale might end up a victim of Arkham Asylum; or killing themselves, if they themselves had not been killed by a bizarre creature or situation unknown. His stories depict insanity, sickness, lack of control, fear and other scenario’s close to man’s fears and mortality.

His mother was an affectionate woman and his father went insane before his death. It is possible his father was suffering from syphilis, was this and her inspiration to his work?

I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful town of Providence, we even ventured down streets he most likely walked himself. We also ventured into Swan Point Cemetery, this was a fascinating place. The whole problem we faced was it was so big! We were there an hour before dark and so didn’t locate his grave. A wonderful place it’s worth a drive if you can get there, or a detour on a visit if you are nearby.

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It’s no secret I love to play games, I also love some of the little bits come along with it, and one of those little gems is the Children of Goldshire. Goldshire is the fictional settlement outside of the human city of Stormwind. The game is World of Warcraft and it’s a massive multi-player game.

There is one house with some particularly creepy children, at 7am server time they wander out around the Elwynn Forest and stop in pentagram formation. They despawn at 8pm server time and then come back again the following day.

They are also labelled Creepy Children or Demon Children of Goldshire, there are six of them and never go past where the river meets Mirror Lake. Their names are Cameron, John, Jose, Lisa, Dana and Aaron. Once they finish their little tour and stand in the bedroom a random sound will then be heard.

The sounds that can be heard are –

a banshee screaming, a ghoul’s call or C’thun (a god on the world based on the H P Lovecraft mythos) saying “You… will… die” or “Death is Close.” They all sound pretty creepy!

If you stand in the middle of the kids in the house and check your add-on with a quest helper add-on it will tell you that you are 666 points from the Stormwind border.

Below is one of my video’s of the event before the latest expansion but you can still go there now and see them, a screenshot is below of the children as I found them. Creepy!

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Okay here goes! This one is pretty famous to those of us that like to watch horror at the very least. As the setting for the Session 9 Film (the cast of CSI in a horror?) it has a very interesting history let alone the ghost stories… so hold on to your coffee/tea and get ready for a blog that could be rather lengthy. The State Lunatic Hospital was a psychiatric hospital located in Danvers, Massachusetts. Built in 1874 and opened in 1878 it was a self-contained hospital built according to the Kirkbride Plan. One of the rumours boasts it as a birthplace of pre-frontal lobotomy (lush!).

It was originally two main centre buildings which had the administration and had four radiating wings. There were kitchens, laundry, a chapel, dormitories, boiler  house and other detailed rooms from the plans and records that exist. The water came from Middleton Pond. Over the years they added other buildings and most of the buildings on the campus were connected by a series of confusing underground tunnels. Part of this underground myriad of tunnels was a hub for maintenance; this was nicknamed “The Wagon Wheel”. The older tunnels were used in the Session 9 film. With the original plan being to house 500 patients it’s no surprise that with over 2000 by the late 40’s overcrowding was a major issue. People were held in the basements of the Kirkbride and of course this will add to the stories of  ghosts, tales of horror and anguish.

The asylum was established for residential treatment and care for the mentally ill, in the 1890’s Dr Charles Page, superintendent, declared the use of mechanical  restraint as unnecessary and harmful in some cases. There was more then one account of the way in which people that been treat, the idea of inhumane shock therapies, lobotomies, drugs to control the patients and the time honoured tradition of the straight-jackets. June 24th 1992 the hospital closed, the buildings were left to rot and it was not until many years later it was demolished.

The property was sold to Avalon Bay Development in December 2005 and they demolished most of the buildings, despite an outcry about the matter. June 2006  spelt  the last of the demolition, including the Kirkbride, only the Danvers Reservoir and original block shell remain, buildings are worked around it, Avalon Bay predicted they would have properties ready by Fall 2007.

A spanner in the works came up April 7th, 2007 when four of the complex buildings and four of their construction trailers burnt down. The fire was visible 17 miles away in Boston and investigation began. Avalon Bay provided a live webcam of the construction at the old hospital site however they cut out around 2:03am; it could be due to the damage from the fire. The underground tunnel to the power plant still exists though it is blocked off, and now the only thing left of the asylum are the cemeteries, blocked off tunnels and the brick shell of the Admin, D and G Wings.

So what of the ghosts? Now converted into apartments there have been reports of flickering lights, of full body apparitions, footsteps and audible sounds, and the doors that like to open and close seemingly of their own accord. Here goes:

2001 horror Session 9 is filmed around here, I thought it was a pretty good film.

In Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz teenagers break in to investigate the haunted asylum.

In Mage: The Awakening (Role play game) the hospital in the World of Darkness was administered by vampires who fed on the patients.

It is also believed to be a widely used source of inspiration for H P Lovecraft’s Arkham Sanatorium, alongside the Asylum that shares the name in Batman. It is referenced by name in H P Lovecraft’s Pickman’s Model.