There’s nothing like studying virtual terrorism to give one a handle on the real thing. And World of Warcraft is the best place to do it. At least according to an article over on wired.

That’s no joke. Apparently the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies believes that certain goings-on in WoW could be useful as indicators for possible real-world terrorist acts. The game has had a couple of instances of virtual terrorism.

The article mentions a guild of “suicide bombers” who teleport into heavily-populated (by other players) areas and blow themselves and everyone else into bits.

There was also the “Corrupted Blood” plague, that was deliberately started and spread by others. I suppose that those who play long enough become bored and look for ways to liven things up a bit.

And the best way, of course, is to act against other players in the game. This seems to me more mischief than real terrorism. No one, after all, dies “for real” in WoW or any other MMOG.

Maybe the Center is taking all this a bit too seriously. While virtual reality and the “real world” may be moving together, what happens in an online game is pretty far removed from what people would do outside it.

We’re all familiar with those who like to “play evil”; that doesn’t mean they’re like that outside of the game. And if a guild of “suicide bombers” forms in WoW, does that really have any relevance to the real world?

No doubt, it looks good on paper. But we know all too well, that too often what looks good on paper doesn’t work out in actuality. What bothers me, though, is that if the media get hold of this idea, they’ll make another anti-game circus out of it.

In any case, read the article and see if you agree that this is a good way to study real-world terrorism.

WoW Terrorist Study on wired