World of Warcraft hit by hacking massacre

The game, which features an elaborate world made up of mystical creatures, magical abilities and a complex set of settings, including cities and towns, is one of the largest online gaming communities in the world. More than 10 million subscribers play World of Warcraft (WoW) online, with half of those residing in China. Hackers were able to massacre swaths of virtual characters via a virtual plague (or possibly a homicidal Level 1 character—an investigation is ongoing) in two of the main cities in the world, Stormwind and Orgrimmar, eliminating thousands of players. 

The players can resurrect, but it caused a serious disruption nonetheless.

"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,” wrote Nethaera, community manager for game creator Blizzard Activision, in the game’s online forum. "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," "

Nethaera added, “We apologize for the inconvenience some of you experienced as a result of this and appreciate your understanding…This exploit has already been hot-fixed, so it should not be repeatable."

Even though the exploit was fixed, some users complained that the hackers responsible have been attacking the game in various ways for quite some time, and urged action from Blizzard.

Debris, a 62 Night Elf Druid, had this to say: “Well... The people who were responsible for this attack are the same people who crashed the servers a few weeks ago and have been messing around with the game for quite some time now. I wouldn't be surprised if they were the ones who stole all the account information a while back. I really wish you would do something about them...”

Some pointed out that tracking down the perpetrators is far from difficult. “This exploit, along with crashing the servers, the DoT being cast on friendlies bug, and a couple of others have seen the same people be involved in them, if you're so serious about it maybe it's time to start handing down permanent bans?” said Shalanas in the forum. “I see the same people who I know are responsible still running around in org. It's ridiculous.”

And some users alerted Blizzard to the existence of YouTube videos spotlighting what appears to be in-game progression of the hack. “There is a video on YouTube of a guy that isn't affected by the hack, is laughing with someone else while he runs around, and they laugh harder as each person dies,” noted Vasparian. “You should check into YouTube videos.”


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