“World of Warcraft” has suffered a cataclysm. And we’re not talking about “Cataclysm,” the expansion to the hugely popular online fantasy game. We’re talking about a massive epidemic of virtual deaths brought on by a plague … of hackers.
On Sunday, thousands of players of the game suddenly found their characters dropping dead for what seemed to be no reason. Virtual corpses piled up in the cities of Stormwind and Orgrimmar as well as Tarren Mill, Ragnaros and others.
According to Blizzard, the game’s publisher, it was hackers that caused the mass die off. Hackers discovered an exploit in the game and went to work spreading instant-deaths across the land, Blizzard community manager Nethaera explained in the forums:
Earlier today, certain realms were affected by an in-game exploit, resulting in the deaths of player characters and non-player characters in some of the major cities. This exploit has already been hotfixed, so it should not be repeatable. It’s safe to continue playing and adventuring in major cities and elsewhere in Azeroth.
As with any exploit, we are taking this disruptive action very seriously and conducting a thorough investigation. If you have information relating to this incident, please email email@example.com. We apologize for the inconvenience some of you experienced as a result of this and appreciate your understanding.
Meanwhile, a person going by the name Jadd on YouTube and in the forums at “WoW” hack and exploit site Ownedcore has claimed responsibility for the virtual apocalypse.
“We didn’t do any permanent damage,” Jadd writes. “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 (4 hours of obvious use is sad).”
And the hacker adds, “It’s not like I added 20000000 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. That’s my justification.”
“We hope you find it as funny as we do! ,” Jadd writes on this YouTube video showing off the instant-kill hack.