Hackers have used an exploit in World of Warcraft to commit large-scale massacres across the game's major cities.
Corpses litter the streets of Orgrimmar.
(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
If you were hanging out in a major city in WoW over the weekend, you may have been afflicted with a case of the sudden, inexplicable death. Everyone was massacred, player characters and NPCs alike — by a kill hack that allowed level 1 characters to spread death like a plague, without doing anything at all.
The reason? Lulz. "We didn't do any permanent damage," one of the hackers told Eurogamer. "Some people liked it for a new topic of conversation and a funny stream to watch, and some people didn't. The people who didn't should be blaming Blizzard for not fixing it faster (four hours of obvious use is sad)."
He went on to vilify gold sellers to justify the disruption. "It's not like I added 20,000,000 gold to everyone's inventory and broke the economy, but look at the big Chinese gold seller companies who are doing this every day. Now ask yourself: who is really ruining the game? It's not us."
Blizzard acted quickly to apply a fix, telling players on the Battle.net forums that the exploit had been patched and would not be repeated.
Blizzard Entertainment employee Stefanie "Xordiah" Gwinner told players, "As with any exploit, we are taking this disruptive action very seriously and conducting a thorough investigation. "
The accounts that employed the hack have been banned, but not before running the End Time dungeon in three minutes, Eurogamer reported.
This isn't the first time an exploit has led to mass player destruction in World of Warcraft. In 2005, when the Zul-Gurub dungeon was introduced to the game, players discovered that a communicable debuff, called "Corrupted Blood", could be teleported out of the dungeon, leading to a plague that killed players en masse across the entire game world.
Later dubbed the Corrupted Blood Incident, the event was examined by epidemiologists for its potential as a case study for how the population would react to a real-world epidemic.
We don't think there's any such thing to be learned from yesterday's incident, but it certainly looks striking — as you can see for yourselves in the videos below, which show the effects of the exploit in Orgrimmar and Stormwind.