AI-written news site tricked into publishing made-up World of Warcraft story

AI - World of Warcraft image saying 'Glorbo is coming'

A website that trawls Reddit and turns posts into news stories using AI has been caught out with a carefully laid trap.


Reddit users were gleeful to discover that a ‘gaming news’ website had published their made-up story about World of Warcraft. The website in question, which is run by the tournament-creation app Z League, seemingly scrapes Reddit using an AI bot to generate ‘news’ stories.

After becoming aware of this nonsense, Reddit user kaefer_kriegerin laid a trap. They created a Reddit post called ‘I’m so excited they finally introduced Glorbo!!!’, which detailed a completely made-up addition to World of Warcraft. The post continued:

Honestly, this new feature makes me so happy! I just really want some major bot operated news websites to publish an article about this.

I have to say, since they started hinting at it in Hearthstone in 1994, it was obvious that they would introduce Glorbo to World of Warcraft sooner or later. I feel like Dragonflight has been win after win so far, like when they brought back Chen Stormstout as the end boss of the new Karazhan? Absolutely amazing!

Other users quickly joined in with comments underneath the post, introducing more and more made-up World of Warcraft lore. “This is by far the best change since they made Klaxxi a neutral playable race as a part of the epic quest to depose Quackion, the Aspect of Ducks,” said malsomnus. “I’m so excited that Stormsong Valley is rumored to be the new location of the Halfhill Market and farming sim mini-game!” added onuskah.

Trap set, they waited to see whether the AI bot took the bait. And it did. The Portal published a news story entitled ‘World of Warcraft (WoW) Players Excited for Glorbo’s Introduction’ on 20 July, packed with complete rubbish, such as:

World of Warcraft (WoW) players have been buzzing with excitement ever since the announcement of Glorbo’s introduction. The highly anticipated new feature has sparked a wave of positive sentiment among players, who are eagerly awaiting its impact on the game.

The AI-generated article goes on in all seriousness to mention other made-up features such as the ‘Mandatory Item Controversy’ surrounding the introduction of ‘Klikclac’, which has apparently sparked a debate which “highlights the divide between players who appreciate the power boost Klikclac offers and those who feel it unfairly disadvantages casual players”.

The AI article was later taken down by the website, but thankfully its nonsense has been archived for posterity. The post was ascribed to one ‘Lucy Reed’, who is apparently a very fast writer, since they managed to produce well over 80 articles yesterday.

The Glorbo trap first came to our attention via a Twitter post by Giuseppe Navarria, but the World of Warcraft website Wowhead also got in on the story, and pointed out that another bait article had also been picked up. Kyle Hartline, senior game producer on World of Warcraft, got in on the joke, tweeting: “Feels soooooo good to be able to talk about Glorbo finally, I remember my first day at Blizzard we were just starting to work on implementation, and that was almost 15 years ago! Excellent reporting to track this down“.

But although the Glorbo story is pretty funny, it’s also slightly alarming that we’re seeing AI-generated stories out in the wild, potentially spreading misinformation, and flooding the internet with poorly written, unsubstantiated, utterly worthless ‘content’. Just last month, the media company Gamurs Group, which owns Destructoid and Siliconera, advertised for an AI editor who would be in charge of generating 200-250 articles per week.

In the age of AI-generated stories, it seems it will become harder and harder to discern the truth.

Read more: Should we care whether AI is writing for games websites?

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