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The COVID-19 Cataclysm, or Preparing for Crises through Games

When I imagine world-shattering events, I think of 2010. I’m not talking about a natural disaster or pandemic. I mean World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, when a giant dragon named Deathwing swept over the game, breaking the world we had come to love pixel-by-pixel. For the non-WoW players out there, you missed out on how eerie it was to explore a game world you had been playing for six years transformed in a full-on Armageddon. A broken Earth. But this is not the way our cataclysm has gone. The landscape has changed, not in dragonfire, but in a sneeze and cough. Now I hear echoes of a different WoW expansion, The Burning Crusade. There, the heroes of Azeroth were told in a much less-long-winded way by the big bad of that expansion, Illidan Stormrage, “You are not prepared.”

Games for Change

About the Author

Elizabeth Newbury

Elizabeth Newbury

Director of the Serious Games Initiative
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Serious Games Initiative

The Serious Games Initiative communicates science and policy complexities through the world’s most dynamic medium: gaming.  Read more

Science and Technology Innovation Program

The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) brings foresight to the frontier. Our experts explore emerging technologies through vital conversations, making science policy accessible to everyone.  Read more