Hackers took advantage of an exploit and began killing players and NPCs in many populated realms.
It's almost like the opening to an epic fantasy-horror movie.
A lone adventurer wanders into a city, looking for supplies, a place to sleep. The streets are many and long, lined with stone buildings highlighted by the yellow light of lanterns hanging from their posts in each direction.
As he moves deeper into the city, he notices an increasing number of dead bodies scattered across the stone foundation. Locals and visitors alike begin to suddenly drop; bodies fall from the sky like a rain of dead.
Only one ghostly figure stands unaffected by the sudden death, laughing, approaching with an evil, purple energy.
This is what happened in World of Warcraft over the weekend. Cities became washed with a sea of virtual dead bodies – both player-controlled and NPCs. It didn't happen in just one random location either like some twisted planned event by Blizzard: death came to Stormwind, Orgrimmar, Tarren Mill, Ragnaros, Draenor, Twisting Nether and other servers.
It was a World of Warcraft massacre.... for about four hours.
Videos and personal accounts blamed the virtual apocalypse on hackers. Level 1 characters were reportedly executing a script that invoked a spell called Aura of Gold. This spell had enough punch to kill anyone with one hit no matter their level or armor class.
Blizzard confirmed that this sudden carnage was caused by a hack, reporting that 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," Blizzard added. "It's safe to continue playing and adventuring in major cities and elsewhere in Azeroth."
Blizzard said it's taking this insta-kill action seriously and is conducting a thorough investigation. Anyone with information leading to the hackers behind the virtual massacre should contact the company here.
But Blizzard may not have to look far. Someone named "Jadd" is claiming responsibility for the hack over on the Ownedcore forum. "We didn't do any permanent damage," he writes. "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," Jadd adds. "That's my justification."
Thousands of characters were reportedly slain in the virtual massacre of 2012.