The makers of "World of Warcraft," the online game with more than 11 million players worldwide, on Tuesday ended to a virtual plague that has infected hundreds of thousands of players, causing uproar among many fans who said it was spoiling the game.
Blizzard, the software company that runs the game, deliberately introduced the virulent disease into its virtual world last week.
The "undead plague" was designed to be highly contagious and, if left untreated, would turn players into flesh-eating zombies.
The game's creators faced a torrent of criticism as the disease spread quickly through the game's lands of Azeroth, with some fans arguing that the plague might turn off beginners who would not be able to find a cure.
"World of Warcraft" players usually enjoy a fantasy life of quests, treasure-collecting and monster-killing.
But during the plague, players could be infected by contact with a zombie and, unless they could find a cure within minutes, they too would turn into zombies and continue to spread the disease.
Players could avoid joining the legion of the undead by killing and reviving their characters but they could, and often would, become infected again.
In 2005, a similar disease, the "Corrupted Blood" plague, accidentally spread through the game. killing thousands of characters.
The zombie plague was planned to whet appetites for the Nov. 13 release of the upcoming "Warcraft" expansion pack, "Wrath of the Lich King."