One limitation of corpus-based research into the epicentre hypothesis is that it only provides information on structural similarity/difference of varieties but not on the role that attitudes may play in the choice of variants in a pluricentric language. In our case study on verb complementation patterns, we use simulation as a complementary methodology. We build an agent-based model for two speaker communities with English as a second language (ESL) which allows for attitudes towards American and British English to affect the choice of verb complementation. This approach enables us to gauge the likely effect that attitudes towards potential epicentres might have on the choice of variants and to predict patterns of variation we should see in language use. We provide preliminary data from the News On the Web corpus to test whether the predictions are, in fact, borne out.