Murder in the Streets of Stormwind


A mass slaughter of World of Warcraft players has devastated the popular online roleplaying game.

Hackers were somehow able to gain control of the game and kill characters at will.

Normally players of WoW are unable to kill each other unless they each agree to a dual, but the hackers worked out how to override those protections.

The slaughter saw entire cities wiped out across Azeroth – the world of, well, Warcraft. The populations of Stormwind, Orgrimmar, Tarren Mill, Ragnaros, Draenor and Twisting Nether were put to the hackers’ sword.

Here is the video, via MMO-Champion:

Pretty funny. I liked it better when people just found exploits and kited world bosses into the city. Hacking the code has so much less panache.

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63 replies
  1. 1
    piratedan says:

    sounds like someone just finished watching the anime movie Summer Wars

  2. 2
    Comrade Mary says:

    Tunch doesn’t have an avatar, does he?

  3. 3
    The Other Chuck says:

    Normally players of WoW are unable to kill each other unless they each agree to a dual

    Duel. And you can’t die in a duel. I’ll leave out the finer points of PvP vs non and dueling in the city, but does Huffpo employ anyone who, uh, plays the game?

  4. 4
    Geoduck says:

    It is my understanding Huffpo doesn’t “employ” anybody.

  5. 5
    me says:

    I don’t play WoW but the Corrupted blood incident is really interesting as far as how people might behave in a pandemic.

  6. 6
    Pooh says:

    @The Other Chuck: of course not, since as we’ve recently learned, WoW is disqualifying for any job.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    I like the name “Twisting Nether.”

    There’s something very naughty about that as a place name.

    I’m not a gamer but I’m game-curious. Can’t wait till my kid is old enough to play so he can teach me.

  8. 8
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    It’s like that South Park episode come to life!

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    I’ll recommend it again as it’s been a while, but for anyone who was alive in the 80s, visited arcades, and likes to read actual books, please get your hands on Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline.

    Total fun and smart read. You can thank me later.

  10. 10
    piratedan says:

    @BGinCHI: agreed, that was a fun read, not very filling, but still, you need something like that once in a while, it’s like a reset button.

  11. 11
    Gravenstone says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: Exactly. Where was Cartman?

  12. 12
    danah gaz says:


    die WoW nerds…die.

  13. 13
    blingee says:

    Cole finally found something he is capable of writing about. An imaginary reality. Not unlike most right wingers.

  14. 14
    El Cid says:

    The horror. The horror.

  15. 15
    redshirt says:

    South Park did it.

  16. 16
    PNW_WarriorWoman says:

    Sort of like Reamde by Neal Stephenson: a plot comes to life! In this book, a small group of ingenious Asian hackers has just unleashed Reamde—a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom—which has unwittingly triggered a war that’s creating chaos not only in the virtual universe but in the real one as well.

  17. 17
    Rick Taylor says:

    This is eerily like that South Park episode Make Love not Warcraft (worth watching by the way).

  18. 18
    Arclite says:

    The only way the killers can be stopped is by using…


  19. 19
    MobiusKlein says:

    So speaking of insane zombie plagues, is everybody else tired of the Sullivan-freakout?

    Visit the site, and man, don’t even know what to say

  20. 20
    Culture of Truth says:

    Romney is holding a press conference at midnight to attack Obama for sympathizing with the hackers.

  21. 21
    Soonergrunt says:

    So bad things come in threes. The water line from the meter to my house broke. I have no water right now.
    Seriously, what the fuck did I do?

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Culture of Truth says:

    I feel bad for the players but I assumed it is called World of Warcraft for a reason.

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    An honest error of confusion, but I take it they meant to say populations of entire realms were wiped out as there are no cities named Ragnaros, Draenor or Twisting Nether, and Tarren Mill is a village.

    All the names in the snippet, however, are names of realms (servers).

  25. 25
    El Cid says:


    is everybody else tired of the Sullivan-freakout?

    No, because having encountered (unwillingly) Sullivan for years, I try to pay no attention to him. Thankfully sites like these monitor him for me.

  26. 26
    Maude says:

    I don’t know, but don’t do it again.
    I’ve had phases like that. It seems like a curse has been cast.
    Get rest, drink fluids and be careful.

  27. 27
    piratedan says:

    @Soonergrunt: obviously you’re guilty of sane cognizant political thought while being Oklahoman…. understand its a hanging offense in some counties.

  28. 28
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    The lengths some people will go to just to piss in someone else’s lemonade.

  29. 29
    NotMax says:


    First thing, do not call Keystone to install a new pipeline.

    Seriously though, you have my empathy.

  30. 30
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Okay is this the point where the news shifted to being about tragic events happening to entirely virtual populations and most of the world just sort of shrugged even though you know this is a news story about the mass slaughter of entirely fictitious beings, sort of like the Washington Post covering something happening in a Tolkien novel?

    Culture of Truth, good job on This Week by the way. I particularly liked:

    Krugman: that’s completely untrue

    Matalin: who cares!

    It’s funny because it’s true.

  31. 31
    Culture of Truth says:

    Romney supports World of Warcraft but spends his time online as a Mormon missionary in Sim City.

  32. 32
    PanurgeATL says:


    1. “Neptune” from The Planets just doesn’t strike me as Mass Carnage Music. Is that part of the soundtrack?

    2. J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote that while a traveler is in Faërie, “it is dangerous for him to ask too many questions, lest the gates should be shut and the keys be lost.” I look at all the graphs and charts on the screen and I wonder if anyone even looks at the experience that way any more. Playing a game like this doesn’t really seem like Wandering in Faërie. What ever happened to Myst?

  33. 33
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Soonergrunt: Drill a well. Jeez, do we have to figure out everything for you?

  34. 34
    Culture of Truth says:

    I’m not a real person. I’m actually a highly evolved cat.

  35. 35
    handy says:

    That game needs to die.

  36. 36
    max says:

    Hacking the code has so much less panache.

    It kind of makes me wish someone would introduce a zombie plague or the black death or something, just to see what would happen. This just looks like an attack by space alien ghosts or something.

    Rebooted XCOM is out tomorrow. (Or in 15 minutes, maybe.) If you get bored.

    [‘So you can battle space aliens directly.’]

  37. 37
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Thanks!

  38. 38
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:


    Get rest, drink fluids and be careful.

    Lots of fluids. Not water, though, eh?

  39. 39
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Culture of Truth: Sorry I edited that part out of my post so what you’re referring to is gone now. Didn’t mean to leave you dangling.

    You could edit yours now though if you still have time left.

    I once thought that would be a fun game, write comments, get responses, and then edit the initial comment so the response makes no sense, and then edit the response if there’s time… and whoever’s left making no sense loses.

    Well you had to be there maybe.

    Edit: You’re very welcome.

  40. 40
    NotMax says:


    introduce a zombie plague or the black death or something, just to see what would happen.

    Been done.

    And the metrics of the spread are a source of study buy those who deal with such real-world scenarios.

  41. 41
    Silver says:

    @MobiusKlein: Sullivan has always been a 14-year-old teenage girl. At least if he’s freaking about about Obama he’s not slathering Paul Ryan’s knob.

  42. 42
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    The subject of Andrew Sullivan is like herpes at this site.

    Something everybody hates, everyone complains about, but no matter what happens it won’t ever go away.

  43. 43
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Soonergrunt: At earliest possible moment (if not already done) call the water supply people to report the pipe break; then, tomorrow (or tonight if possible) go to a store and buy some drinking water. Tomorrow night, rent a hotel room where you can relax and sleep away from the craziness at home.

    ETA: When the vibration problem was at its height and I had an important doctor’s appointment I went to a motel to sleep so I would be able to sleep. The plan worked. Granted I can’t do that too often but it helped that day.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I’m still playing the original via DOSBox. I’ll wait for a demo of the new one. Creating a game that’s better than, or even equal to, the 1994 XCOM: UFO Defense is a tall order.

  46. 46
    Davo says:

    So Im confused. These people have been building these characters for years possibly and now they’re gone? They have to either start over or quit? Is that right?

    If so, that is terrible. People make fun of these hardcore gamers but with this world we live in?, an escape from reality like this seems perfectly reasonable to this guy.

  47. 47
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    By Grabthar’s Hammer, etc.

  48. 48
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Davo: not only time, but you put a lot of money into long-term games like that. I was only a Sim addict (still am to a lesser extent), and I know I spent hundreds of dollars on expansions, new versions, and “stuff” from subscription sites, not to mention hundreds more in hardware and software updates to make the game play better on my computer.

  49. 49
    Rome Again says:

    I’m amazed nobody has made the connection between a mass-killing of a society (imaginary, but still, a society) and being reborn. It’s like Jesus has made his return, to WoW!

  50. 50
    Davo says:

    @YellowJournalism: so their characters are gone forever?? Or can they get them back?

  51. 51
    Arachnae says:

    @46 – no, as I understand it, it was simple ‘in-game death’; ie they had to fly their spirit from the nearest graveyard back to their bodies and revive there, at half-health etc. From the video, it seems that those that did return to life were immediately mowed down again. I wonder what would have happened if they’d chosen graveyard revival (without having to return to the place their body was) and take the ten-minute revival-debuff. That is, were the ‘killers’ staked out in the cities? Or where they somehow everywhere at once. (Spooooky.)

  52. 52
    ruemara says:

    I can’t believe this made the news.

  53. 53
    Bethanyanne says:

    @Arachnae: Yeps. Death in WoW is mostly an inconvenience. It always costs you time, and usually costs you a bit of in game money as well.

    Oh, and from what I understand, the hack had coded the two main cities as dead zones. So, the players could have accepted the graveyard rez, but the normal run back to your corpse didn’t work. Rez there, and die again immediately.

  54. 54
    Thlayli says:


  55. 55
    UncommonSense says:

    @Bubblegum Tate:

    Yes! That’s the first thing that came to mind when I read this. :-)

  56. 56
    hep kitty says:

    I hate gaming but I love that

  57. 57
    Scott says:

    @Davo: Exactly. I am a gamer. I don’t play WoW, or any other MMO, but I understand their feelings.
    Also, too, some of the same people making fun of the WoW players were the ones hollering the loudest when the servers here crapped out last Wednesday night. Not so funny when it’s YOUR addiction that gets fucked up, huh?

  58. 58
    Pinacacci says:

    I got killed 3 times by some asshole using this exploit. My first Alliance toon, too! WHO gets killed by their own faction IN THE BANK?? *sigh* people are assholes.

  59. 59
    nemesis says:

    I feel old.

  60. 60
    electricgrendel says:

    That may be the absolute best blog post title ever. Well done, sir. Well done.

  61. 61
    nastybrutishntall says:

    “How do you kill…that which has no life?”

  62. 62
    different-church-lady says:

    Comedy is when you lose your entire imaginary world to hackers. Tragedy is when my to-do list gets deleted due to one mis-click.

  63. 63
    mattH says:

    @Culture of Truth: Points for the Accelerando reference. Would have been better if you had space lobster references.

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