Tragedy has befallen humanity on many occasions. Vesuvius buried Pompeii in 79 AD. Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune," according to Plato. Terrorists have struck around the world. But what of the great World of Warcraft server hack of 2012?
Stormwind (pictured, top), jewel of Azeroth. Orgrimmar, the point of Kalimdor's spear. Both iconic World of Warcraft cities were struck by a mysterious plague that killed off hundreds if not thousands of players. You can imagine that the streets ran red with blood (you'll have to, as there is no blood in WoW). Skeletons (the unmoving kind) were stacked high in the streets and buildings. The dead ruled World of Warcraft that day.
Blizzard instantly formed a crack strike team to investigate what was now called the "WoW apocalypse," or the "WoW mass murder hack." The obvious conclusion? Hackers. Griefers of the worst order.
"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," Nethaera, a Blizzard community manager, wrote. "We apologize for the inconvenience some of you experienced as a result of this and appreciate your understanding."
The outrage began immediately, with players taking to the Blizzard forums en masse. JUSTICE, cried some, using all caps indiscriminately. Some were struck nearly mad with outrage and grief.
"They really should face legal action if Blizzard can track them down by home address," Dreamlifter added. "This amount of disruption really is beyond just a minor thing or 2. Doesn't matter is it is a bunch of kids or not, breaking the law is breaking the law. Think it is funny now, but when the police come in it won't be so funny anymore. "
And then, something truly magical happened. Yes, players resurrected themselves and went on with their business. But it was more than that. The healing began. No, not from a Priest, either. Spiritual healing.
"It is a risk all games have to deal with unfortunately," Lingmai posted. "For some people their only joy is ruining the fun for others. They serve the darkness not the light. They are apparently not able to feel joy for a fun game, or the wonderful joy that comes from helping others. Instead they must destroy all that gives joy to others. While this is sad and pitable [sic], they do and will continue to exist."
No truer words, never.