1) The Assassination of Lord British – Ultima Online – August 8, 1997
Lord British was killed during an in-game appearance on Ultima Online’s beta test on August 8, 1997. A royal visit was conducted as a part of server population stress test. A player character known as Rainz cast a spell called “fire field” on Lord British that, surprisingly, killed him. According to Starr Long, the whole thing was just a human error: Lord British’s character, like others, had been made invulnerable, but by design the invulnerability did not persist over several game sessions. Shortly before the incident, the server had crashed, and Richard Garriott had forgotten to set his invulnerability flag on when logging on again. Shortly afterwards, Rainz’s account was banned from the beta test for previously exploiting bugs rather than reporting them (infamously used by his character Aquaman to kill many player characters, a purported griefing incident). According to Origin, he was not banned for the assassination but rather for previous complaints against his account that were brought to light as a result of this attention. The massive amount of lag, caused by the stress test, was a factor in Lord British’s death, as well as the guards being deactivated in the area, which allowed Rainz to steal, avoiding immediate death. 99% of the players were at Lord British’s castle. Only the few at Lord Blackthorn’s castle were the lucky witnesses to this historic event. Those known to have been present besides Lords British and Blackthorn were their jesters Chuckles and Heckles and the following players; Rainz, Dr.Pepper, Mental, DemonSoth, Haaaaaach, Helios, Phobos, Gildoreal, Wind Lord and Kylan.
2) LEEEEROY JENKINS! – World of Warcraft
I don’t know any MMORPG player that hasn’t seen this, hell even my friends that have never played a MMORPG know about this.
3) The Epic Heist – EVE Online – November 2005″
This was published in September’s 2005 issue of PC Gamer UK. It is a detailed account of what has to be one of most beautifully executed in-game scams in a MMORPG ever pulled. It breaks all previous world records for ‘virtual crime’.
The game in question is Eve Online, where corporate espionage and political intrigue have become an integral part of the game.
The perpetrator of the heist was the Guiding Hand Social Club (GHSC) corporation (a corporation being similar to a clan in Eve); a freelance mercenary outfit that offers their services (which usually involves corp infiltration, theft and assassination) to the highest bidder. Over a year in planning, the GHSC infilitrated their target’s corp with their own members and gained their trust, as well as access to the corp hangers, with time. It all concluded in a perfectly timed climax, with a massive theft in multiple corp hangars synchronized with the in-game killing of the corporation’s CEO, the primary target of the contract.
What’s most interesting and impressive about this operation is that it was entirely ‘legal’ and within the game’s own rules, and the mastermind and his agents pulled it off together flawlessly, all the while staying in character. The estimated real-life value of the items stolen is, according to PC Gamer, $16,500 US. The in-game value of course is much, much higher as the things stolen would take years and years to aquire.
4) Plague Outbreak – World of Warcraft – September 2005
The Corrupted Blood plague incident was one of the first events to affect entire World of Warcraft servers. Patch 1.7 saw the opening of Zul’Gurub, the game’s first 20-player raid dungeon where players faced off against an ancient tribe of jungle trolls under the sway of the ancient Blood God, Hakkar the Soulflayer. Upon engaging Hakkar, players were stricken by a debuff (a spell that negatively affects a player) called “Corrupted Blood” which would periodically sap their life. The disease would also be passed on to other players who were simply standing in close proximity to an infected person. Originally this malady was confined within the Zul’Gurub instance but made its way into the outside world by way of hunter or warlock pets that contracted the disease.
Within hours Corrupted Blood had infected entire cities such as Ironforge and Orgrimmar because of their high player concentrations. Low-level players were killed in seconds by the high-damage disease. Eventually Blizzard fixed the issue so that the plague could not exist outside of Zul’Gurub.
5) Death of the Sleeper – EverQuest – November 15-17, 2003
The guild Blood of the Spider on The Rathe server was the first guild system-wide to kill Ventani (the fourth warder) on July 28, 2001, and therefore wake the sleeper. The event caused a stir on the server when Kerafyrm went into multiple zones, including Skyshrine, killing everyone and everything in his path.
On November 15, 2003, on the Rallos Zek PvP server, the three top guilds (Ascending Dawn, Wudan, and Magus Imperialis Magicus) assembled over 180 players with the intent to wake and kill The Sleeper. This was in response to an attempt to wake The Sleeper by an Iksar monk named Stynkfyst, who partnered with the largest random-pk guild of the time. Having been a former member of uber-guild Ascending Dawn, he had the knowledge the random pk guild needed to wake The Sleeper. The top guilds did not assemble their forces until word of Stynkfyst’s intentions had spread, and it became clear that he intended to wake The Sleeper, forever preventing future guilds from farming the old loot table. Until this point, waking The Sleeper had not been seriously considered by any guilds, as it was believed that waking The Sleeper would make the offending guild’s players kill-on-sight to the other guilds of the server. After 3 hours and 15 minutes, at 26% health, Kerafyrm disappeared (despawned). The players talked with the EverQuest Game Masters, and there was a general consensus that a bug had caused the problem, although some suggested (backed by statements from one GM) that higher-ups at SOE had purposely despawned Kerafyrm, because it was not intended to be part of the story.
The following day, the players logged in to find that Kerafyrm was back in his “sleeping” state, ready to be triggered again. There was also an apology on the official EverQuest forums from SOE, explaining that they had stopped the encounter because they feared the players were engaging the boss in an unintended manner. Although annoyed (the players pointed out that the reasons SOE gave could not have occurred, and felt lied to), they attempted to battle Kerafyrm once again.
On November 17, 2003, after a nearly 3-hour battle, Kerafyrm was defeated. He had between 100 million and 400 million hit points, likely around 250 million (most EverQuest bosses have 2 million at most), was immune to all spells except wizard’s manaburn spell and Shadow Knight’s Harm Touch, possessed two death touch abilities (abilities that automatically killed players), and attacked players for 6999 damage per swing. By using the cleric’s epic weapon and other resurrection spells, the players were able to bring their dead characters back into the battle faster than Kerafyrm could kill them all.
Very descriptive article, I liked that bit.
Will there be a part 2?
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It was an amazing event for several reasons. First of all, simply getting in the zone that kyrafyrm was in was not trivial. It took months and a very strong guild to obtain the rare parts for the key to sleepers tomb. The key parts only dropped off (iirc) two mobs (sontalak and zalandicar.. not sure if I spelled them correctly but I can’t believe I remember that from over 10 years ago.. anyway). Each of these only spawned once a week and there was serious competition for those two creatures because the drops in sleepers tomb were unmatched. Many of the top guilds wanted to make other guilds as uncompetitive as possible so they would make sure other guilds never even got access to this zone by killing the key mobs as often as possible and destroying the key pieces.
Second, if more than one guild did have access, most servers agreed not to kill the 4th warden because then no one would have access to the incredible items that were found there. If the 4th warden was killed (say, after everyone in the guild had everything they wanted from the zone) there were always a few guilds who were REALLY pissed off at whoever killed the 4th warden so teamwork after that probably wouldn’t happen on most servers.
Thirdly, kyrafyrm was believed to be unkillable. Not only did kyrafyrm have what seemed to be an unlimited amount of HP, but as already stated he had two instakill abilities and his hits were practically instakills as well at that stage of velious.
Lastly, lag. I remember my computer back in those days could barely survive normal 50-60 person raids, 180 people all fighting one creature in that small space would not only be almost unplayable, but similar events crashed zones back then.
It was just incredible that they were able to key 180 people, ON A PVP SERVER, damage it enough that it wouldn’t regenerate its health, ressurect people faster than kyrafyrm could kill, and keep doing this for 3 HOURS (I thought it was longer). Most fights were over in less than 10 minutes back then. The only thing to even come close to how awesome this was is the eve event, which was carried out by a handful of people. This event took three groups of 60 people that probably all hated each other and did something the creators of the game thought was impossible.
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This is a great post and I actually agree with all of these memorable events, especially the death of Lord British. Speaking of that, I included it in my latest video on Death and Revival in Ultima Online https://youtu.be/FGIclNF11m0
Even though the game is almost 2 decades old, video tutorials are hard to come by and hope mine helps folks out. See… even LB dies! It’s ok!
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I played on rathe.
Death of the sleeper tops all mmorpg events ever.
And I wasn’t even a part of that guild.
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Runescape had some pretty great ones as well. Good times.