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Player receives Developer item in the mail, one-shots Ulduar

Update April 30th, 2009: Karatechop's account has been closed. Read the fully story here.

We first received a tip on a mysterious guild that was blowing through Ulduar's hardest achievements one after the other, all in one day, about a day or two ago. Their gear and raid experience stated very well that they were in no position to do any of those achievements, but we sort of shrugged and let it pass by. It was odd that these players were barely in Naxxramas gear, and their first recorded Kel'thuzad kill was only two weeks prior to their explosion of Ulduar achievements, but we initially ignored these reports because surely, nobody could be hacking the game. On top of that, the forum threads submitted to us all had so many posts deleted from them that they were completely incomprehensible. There was nothing solid about any of it.

Tips on it are still flooding our mailboxes today and a bit more information has surfaced, so let's look into it a little, shall we? The guild is The Marvel Family of US-Vek'nilash. The character Karatechop is the one that has attracted the most attention, and you'll see why in just a moment. If you look over his gear, it's not that bad, really. Epic tank gear, a lot of it from Naxxramas, so it's feasible that he could make some progress through Ulduar. It gets weird when you go to his Statistics and/or Achievements panels. Let's go to his statistics first.

If you can't make out the numbers there, his largest recorded hit is 353,892,967 damage. That's just shy of 354 million damage. There are a lot of solo quests in the world that let you put out insane damage (The Battle for the Undercity for example) but there are none that cause you to do damage in the hundreds of millions. However, there is something in the game that gives this number some significance. It's the total health pool of Flame Leviathan's hardest hard mode, leaving all four preceeding towers standing. Let's go take a look at his achievements...

Yep, there she is! Orbit-uary, leaving all four towers up on Flame Leviathan. Even more absurdly suspiscious is that they apparently did Shutout at the same time. How were they able to do both? Well, they didn't. Not legitimately. Somehow, Karatechop managed to 1-shot Flame Leviathan.

Flame Leviathan isn't the only thing that Karatechop massacred, either. His achievement list is highly suspect, to say the least. I'd bet that the list will disappear from his Armory within a day or two, so go ahead and look at them via GuildOx instead. For the bosses he's recorded as having killed, he has all of the "Beat X boss in under Y minutes" achievements. Why? He one-shotted everything. It's hard to stay in combat over that amount of time when you can hit things for their full health pool.

There has to be an exploit or something here, right? Surely Blizzard can't be hacked, right? Well, no. I wouldn't call what they're doing an 'exploit' in the traditional gaming sense, nor have they hacked Blizzard's servers. What we're seeing here is the result of an 'oops' by a GM (or developer?) hopefully. The possibility of malicious intent exists, but I have serious doubts anybody would risk their job over this.

What am I talking about, you ask? Let's look closer at Karatechop's equipment.

Hey, that's weird. He has something in his shirt slot, but it's not displaying properly. Error loading tooltip, huh? Well, alright. That's fine. This is the internet, our resources are endless. Let's just look it up elsewhere. You can see the item ID in the bottom left, and I've put the red box around it so you can't possibly miss it. Item #17, how curious.

Cheater, indeed. Martin Fury is one of those mysterious, fascinating GM/Developer items that were never meant for player hands. Items you only saw on Wowhead, WoWDB, or Thottbot. The only way to even have a glimpse of them was via datamining. Karatechop, however, woke up one day to one sitting in his mailbox.

Such is temptation. With infinite power at your fingertips, could you resist using it? Karatechop couldn't, apparently. As the saying goes, power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. That can certainly be applied to Karatechop here, but what of the person who awarded it to him? If this is an accident, it's on the list of most unlikely accidents ever.

If you look at item IDs on most any other item in WoW, a two digit item ID is an amazingly rare thing. Those items just aren't in the game itself whatsoever. Even items that drop in the earliest content of the game have at least four digits in their item ID. Almost every item after that has at least five digits. This has two. Either this was completely intentional, or a GM's keyboard stopped working in the middle of typing in an item ID and they sent item #17 to someone instead of, for example, item #17604. And they sent the item off anyway. The chances of this actually being an accident and not deliberate: Very, very low.

No matter how this happened, you can bet a pretty massive internal investigation is happening (or has happened) to find out how it all went down. A member of The Marvel Family posted on his blog about this event, stating that the entire guild has received bans over this even if they weren't present at any of Karatechop's miracle raids. How long these bans will last, we don't know. We can't ask, either. This event essentially brought the entire population of WoW down on this guy's blog like a nuke. It's down for the count.

The whole thing is essentially wrapped up now, the accounts are banned, the item is gone, but it's certainly a memorable event. It's not often someone gets their hands on one of those.

Alternate title: Player gifted with Death Note, vows to fix all that is wrong in Azeroth.
The Martin Fury scandal didn't end here, no sir. We saw a copy of Karatechop's suspension notice and we spoke with him ourselves. If drama like this is your thing, you might find more of it each week on Guildwatch.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Bugs, Blizzard

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