Redditors troll an AI content farm into covering a fake 'WoW' feature

The Glorbo ruse secured coverage on a garbo website.

Blizzard Entertainment

Some redditors seem very excited about a new World of Warcraft feature called Glorbo, which some believe will "make a huge impact on the game." Their palpable enthusiasm for Glorbo caught the attention of a blog named The Portal, which publishes "gaming content powered by Z League," an app that aims to bring gamers together.

Just one problem: Glorbo isn't real. The Portal appears to be using AI to scrape Reddit posts and turn them into content.

Redditor u/kaefer_kriegerin noticed that The Portal was seemingly turning discussions from some gaming subreddits into blog posts. They decided to try and trick the content farm into covering a fake WoW feature. The ruse was a success. Other redditors played along, as did some Blizzard developers, as WoW Head notes.

The Portal's now-deleted blog post even quoted u/kaefer_kriegerin as stating, "Honestly, this new feature makes me so happy! I just really want some major bot operated news websites to publish an article about this." You almost couldn't make this up. An archived version of the post is still available.

There appears to be at least some level of human input on The Portal. The site added "(Satire)" to the headline of the post before eventually deleting it entirely. It also published an article based on another Reddit troll post about WoW taking away players' keys (which is not a thing that's happening). That blog post is also gone from The Portal.

Engadget has contacted Blizzard to find out whether it will address the hype for Glorbo and actually bring the feature to WoW. As it happens, Blizzard is reportedly using AI to help create character outfits and concept art. We've also asked Z League for comment, and we'll let you know if it sends us a (presumably AI-generated) statement.

Given the rise of generative AI in recent months, we're likely to see a tidal wave of AI-generated guff appearing on websites, even including mainstream publications. Earlier this year, CNET had to correct dozens of AI-generated finance posts after errors were found. The site's staff has pushed back against CNET's plans to keep using AI amid efforts to unionize. Gizmodo publisher G/O Media is also forging ahead with AI-generated blog posts, despite one that was widely mocked for getting a chronological list of Star Wars movies and TV shows very wrong. That and other AI-generated articles that appeared across the G/O network this month infuriated the company's human writers and editors.

Mistakes happen. Human writers can't get everything right all of the time. But any journalist worth their salt will strive to make sure their work is as accurate and fair as possible. Generative AI isn't exactly there yet. There have been many instances of AI chatbots surfacing misinformation. However, some believe AI can help to actually combat misinformation by, for instance, assisting newsrooms with fact checking.

Meanwhile, Google appears to be working on an AI tool that can whip up news articles and automate certain tasks to help out journalists. Some critics who have seen the tool in action have suggested that it takes the work of producing accurate and digestible news stories for granted.