Top 5 Most Memorable Events in MMORPG History

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.


  1. Pretty good article. Concerning Everquest, I was on The Rathe server, which was the server BOTS (Blood of the Spider, originally Brotherhood of the Spider) was on. I remember BOTS being the guild to do almost all of the “firsts” on our server. Along with BOTS were other great guilds like Tindi Losi, and one guild which I was one of the original ten of, Spirit of Tunare. EQ sucked almost five years out of my life. Sorry for my babbling… good article.

  2. the auction house bombing should definately replace the zul gurub bombing because it was when people could teleport to org with barron geddon’s bomb. This was all far before ZG was even created.

  3. God, I remember most of these, though the killing of Kerafyrm was the most memorable for me. That was insane when it happened.

  4. I would think that, thought early, the invasion of England in WWII Online would warrant some mention.

    While everyone was focused on the european mainland, nobody ever thought, and for a while you could not reach it, that London could actually be attacked. But some enterprising german troopers jumped into some of the boats that were not landlocked and sailed across the channel and took over several portions of England.

    I’m not finding record of it online, but it is out there somewhere.

  5. O….M…G
    someone killed Lord British, hats off to this Rianz guy, first time i’ve heard of the kill.

    i feel avenged after my deaths from Lord British during the Ulima 3(?) days.

    lord british was like a slap to my face in Ultima, F U Origin Systems, i’m glad he’s dead.

    Cheers Rainz, im forever in your debt.

  6. Pre-Patch UO was the best, absolute best, time period of any MMO ever. Anyone who was a PK, or PKK back in those days knows, and anyone who didn’t play will sadly never know :( one love

  7. Note that ) Death of the Sleeper – EverQuest – November 15-17, 2007 should read ) Death of the Sleeper – EverQuest – November 15-17, 2003

  8. Hahahha…i was there when Rainz killed LB….it was funny as hell, but Rainz has always been a tool anyhow.

  9. #5 is pretty limp. Oh wow, bunch of guys kill big boss guy. I’m sure that’s never happened before, or since.

  10. What about Asheron’s Call Shard of the Herald?
    If you haven’t heard the story, google it. Server Divergence!

  11. Ahh good times, good times. I only directly particpated in the Tainted Blood event but all of them brought a smile to my face.

  12. This should be retitled “The 5 Most Memorable Carebear Events…”.

    Hands down the top PVP most memorable event was the war over Kara in Asheron’s Call between Blood and Black Rose.

  13. Great Article. It’s odd to see the beginning of MMO history and to know you’re personally a witness. While I wasn’t there for the assassination of Lord British, or the death of the sleeper. I was playing EVE when the great heist occurred and couldn’t get away from seeing “Leeroy” or catching the plague. Good times.

  14. It looks like the Lord British and Death of the Sleeper sections are pulled verbatim from their respective Wikipedia articles. You should add credits, unless it turns out MMOCrunch writers authored those articles themselves.

  15. Great article and brings back many memories.

    I was in stynkfyst’s guild, Spirit of the Bamboo, when this all went down.

    The repercussions of the stynk’s actions forced Spirit of the Bamboo to disband or be perma-hunted by Wudan, AD, and MiM, making the game unplayable for its members.

    Stynkfyst was forced to leave the server or face the same fate.

    The members of Spirit of the Bamboo were forced to reform the guild as The Black Swordsmen.

    This type of server politics are what is missing from this generation of fantasy MMO, prevented by the lack of free-for-all pvp. Allowing a player regulated game world like this creates a gaming community like no other.

    Thanks for the memories.

  16. What about the Death of that lady that was an avid player of WOW. Upon her clan giving her a proper in game burial where one of her clan members logged her character in. After the burial a rival clan came and attacked them during the funeral. It was total chaos.

  17. Typo on the last one. the date in the title says 2007, when the paragraph says 2003. I remember reading about this. SOE reset the creature, they say, because they thought a glych had occurred. Instead of setting it to be immortal, they simply gave it really high HP.

  18. Good article however Leeory Jenkins?? Its well known and funny but its clear it was a staged video. I don’t think it should qualify. If it does then you might as well as add “The Internet is for Porn” video.

  19. Very cool. It was fun to be a part of 2 of the 5 most memorable events. For me the Sleeper kill will always be number one, but it was very cool to read about the heist in Eve and the assassination of Lord British.

  20. What about Lord Kazzak terrorizing Stormwind? That was an incredible moment in mmo history, and it’s definitely better than Leroy Jenkins.

  21. They should of removed the WoW plague, that was weak and played out. That little gnome that saved the bomb effect from on her pet from Baron Geddon and blew up like 100 asshat alliance in the AH was more memorable and funny then that.

    Should of listed when that sorry ass game Shadowbane was hacked and the hackers raised the water level and drowned all the noobs on the noob island. Now that was funny tho they was later caught IRL and arrested apparently haha.

    I would defiantly rank the Lord British one first one tho because it was classic and original.

  22. I’m not sure if its required that it must be in-game events, but MMO history of itself should also include the travesty of Star Wars Galaxies abrupt change of game play style; changing from the popular skill based system to the traditional class system, then further porting the RPG style play to a more FPSRPG style. The majority of the subscriber base left the game. This event is even mentioned in business textbooks as an example of what not to do!

  23. Word of advice to all whom have read this article.

    Keep watching WoW…

    #6 is about to be added to the list…

  24. NEVERWINTER NIGHTS had way more epic moments than all that. Few examples :-

    1) Spread of realms wide vulnarabilities due to spell patch, causing many to run in fear from previously wimpy foes

    2) Discovery and use of inifinity feats by a minority of the community, rendering them superhuman though mortal in guise

    3) Awesome heroes in PVP whose names and reps travelled across servers

    so many it is hard to recount them all..

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