If you are a gamer, then you really don't want to see your avatar fall over dead. This weekend, entire virtual cities with thousands of World of Warcraft players suddenly keeled over.
One WoW player shouted, "Spare us God" as bodies slumped all around him, but it wasn't the rapture or a plague. As GameSpy was wise to differentiate, the attackers that mass-murdered virtual players were griefers. "According to the rumor mill, the griefers first used the exploit to instantly take out monsters, and once Blizzard caught their scent, they went out with a bang, using the exploit to zap entire cities."
Blizzard called it an in-game exploit and issued a hotfix "so it should not be repeatable."
When reporting about "entire cities" dead in various realms, Joystiq said it involved everyone in Stormwind, Orgrimmar, Tarren Mill, Ragnaros, Draenor, Twisting Nether and other servers. WoW Insider posted this image of the mass deaths.
WoW gamers in Europe were affected and several YouTube videos and screenshots have surfaced to show everyone in cities dropping dead. The video below came with this explanation.
One of the hackers who went across different servers with a level 1 char, flying around and insta-killing everyone. Happened over several hours, filling Stormwind with death. Initial reports of the Rapture were found to be incorrect.
For all those asking - the combat log said "You died." without any damage source. The hacker was the level 1 priest (if that isn't immediately clear) that's flying around.
An example of the WoW hack itself is also on YouTube:
The hacker claiming responsibility is named Jadd and explained on Ownedcore Forums:
We didn't do any permanent damage. Some people liked it for a new topic of conversation and a funny stream to watch (sodapoppin), 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).
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.
When some of the forum users ripped into the script kiddie, Jadd added, "We had to. The first account ban for using the kill hack was issued around 30 minutes before we started nuking cities. We did so because we knew it was going to be fixed."
BBC added, "More than 10 million subscribers play World of Warcraft (WoW)." There seems to be a split among those who find this hilarious and those gamers who are royally ticked.
As you might imagine, not at all happy when gameplay in Azeroth was disrupted, Blizzard Entertainment added, "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."
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Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. Smith has a diverse background in information technology, programming, web development, IT consulting, and information security. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.
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