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A giant sea of corpses; what a fitting image for the Halloween season. But for a large number of World of Warcraft players, the sudden demise of throngs of characters was less than amusing. According to Blizzard, someone discovered an exploit which allowed insta-deaths in some of the game's biggest cities for a period of time.
According to Blizzard community manager Nethaera, the exploit allowed the perpetrator -- or perpetrators -- to immediately drop all the player and non-player characters in an area to the ground.
YouTube user JaddMMOwned claims to have originally found the exploit with two other users, posting an initial video that shows major World of Warcraft bosses being defeated with ease. But Blizzard banned the first account using the hack a mere 30 minutes after its first use. Eventually, the secret was passed along to other players, and -- well, you can figure out what happened next.
Apparently, the online slaughter went on for a number of hours, with skeletons covering the ground in major in-game cities before Blizzard finally stopped what some players were referring to as "The Rapture." Joystiq noted reports of the insta-deaths trickling in over the weekend.
Beyond the obvious annoyance of seeing your character drop dead, the exploit didn't hold any type of permanence. Affected players only had to re-spawn their character. In fact, some members of the community even found the affair to be humorous.
"Bravo. It was funny for a second, but I'm glad it's been fixed," said one commenter.
Posting on the Ownedcore forums, Jadd claimed the mass-killing wasn't that big of a deal, stating, "It's not like I added 2000000 gold to everyone's inventory, and broke the economy."
As you might imagine, Blizzard doesn't find the situation quite as amusing. The company has asked the community for information about the incident.
"As with any exploit, we are taking this disruptive action very seriously and conducting a thorough investigation," said a Blizzard rep. "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."
Blizzard has since fixed the exploit.
Follow this article's author, Matt Clark on Twitter.