WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?
Almost exactly five years ago today, WoW Insider broke the news about one of the craziest stories in WoW's history. Some called it a "scandal," but I disagree with the term. Everyone involved, I believe, acted without malice. The entire affair was a matter of one colossal blunder, followed by a series of unfortunate assumptions and, ultimately, heavy-handed repercussions.
The real victims here, after all, were the bosses.
But the event is a fascinating and unique one: one player, given the kind of unlimited power that only a game master or developer was meant to wield. How did it all go down? Read on to find out!
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.
This weekend marked the end of an era, my friends. A champion (cheater) of the people (Gnomes) has fallen from grace (the thumbnails at the top of our site). The people (you guys) have shouted to the rooftops (our comments), "Down with oppression (martial arts techniques)! Down with corruption (GM lewts)!"
So it is done. JustSaying asked... "Can someone please change those 4 pictures near the top of WoW.com's page? I'm tired of seeing that stupid gnome head every time I come to this site."
Since you asked so nicely, Karatechop has been replaced.
"I've been leveling an alt (Troll Hunter) recently and decided to go mining/engineering, mostly for the bow/gun enchants and the like. I just leveled engineering to 200 and decided to go grab my Goblin Engineering membership. While doing the quest for membership I realized that the Alliance have Gnomes as a playable class, but how come the Horde doesn't have Goblins? In fact, Alliance has two "small people" races (Gnomes and Dwarves). Any chance the Horde will ever get Goblins or anything smaller than the Forsaken? I think Goblins would be cool, or dare I say, Murlocs as playable races."
In reading the commentary on the site concerning the brouhaha surrounding Martin Fury and The Marvel Family's steamrolling of raid content, there were a lot of assertions made that left an impression on me, but the overwhelming feeling I had coming away from it was the players were treating it as a TOS issue when ultimately it's not. For obvious reasons, Blizzard doesn't spend a lot of time creating specific rules for what happens when players get ahold of items that are not officially supposed to exist. I do, however, believe it to be a moral issue. Was Karatechop wrong to use the shirt, or just wrong past a certain point?
Someone made of stricter stuff than myself would probably say that it was wrong to use the shirt at all, but I have to admit -- I don't have it in me to condemn Karatechop's initial impulse to try it out. GM items don't officially exist for players; we know about them only because they've been data-mined, and you'd have to be a fairly frequent habitué of Warcraft fan sites to have any inkling that they're in the game at all. If I'd been in Karatechop's position, like many players I would've believed that Martin Fury was a joke when I first saw it. Who honestly expects to run across an item like that, let alone one that was mailed to a guildie's level 13 Warlock? I don't believe Karatechop was wrong to try the shirt when he had no reason to believe it was anything other than a joke or some bizarre glitch.
Here's our podcast from last week -- Lesley Smith joined Turpster, Patrick Beja of How I WoW and I to chat about the Martin Fury controversy, how Children's Week and Noblegarden are going on the live realms, and what we've been up to lately in the World of Warcraft. And as usual we answered your email, including sharing ideas for our upcoming video show (we're planning on doing it on May 23rd, so stay tuned for that), how to transfer away from a guild if you happen to be a guildleader, and both why Blizzard canceled WWI, and when BlizzCon tickets might go on sale.
We also talked about the ongoing Children's Week Charity Auction -- bidding has slowed down a bit over the weekend, so if you're interested in helping out kids in hospitals by donating some money to buy them videogames, go on over to the auction page and find something to bid on. All the money raised goes directly to Child's Play, so get your bids in now while you can.
And as we mentioned on the show, here's the schedule for the next few weeks: we'll have a show as usual next Saturday the 9th, and then we'll have a special midweek show on the 13th of May. And then on the 23rd, we'll be live on camera for the video show. Should be really interesting -- we'll see you then!
Get the podcast: [iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes. [RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator. [MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Reader comments – ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.
The [1.Local] PuG was in rare form this week, postulating theories and pontificating on issues ranging from the Martin Fury scandal to whether or not Ulduar difficulty and loot is on target. We highlight not one but two in-depth posts on the lore behind the Horde/Alliance relationship, each with extensive reader reaction.
This edition of [1.Local] also spotlights fresh reaction from Karatechop, the player at the epicenter of the Martin Fury brouhaha. What does he think about all the hullabaloo over his banning in the wake of his use of a GM-only item that came into the hands of a guildmate? Karatechop responds to the pages of comments on our exclusive interview with him about the incident. All this and more, after the break.
Everyone is in a furor over the Martin Fury/Karatechop controversy -- and we've had a few requests already to poll you guys on exactly what you think about it, so here you go. The story, as we've ascertained, is that Karatechop got the item by way of a low-level guildie (who'd been receiving items after he'd had his account hacked), "didn't even contemplate a ticket," and had the guildie bring the item into normal Ulduar with him. They downed Ignis with it, and after that proceeded out of the instance, flipped it to Heroic, and used the item thirteen more times, completing even some world first hard modes with it.
So the question is: what would you have done? Lots of players say they wouldn't have touched it, and that it was clearly an item they shouldn't have had. Others say that Karatechop and his guild did what anyone would have done -- it was Blizzard's mistake and they were just taking advantage of it. We'd like to know, so here's a poll: what would you have done if Martin Fury showed up in your mailbox?
What would you have done with Martin Fury?
Not touched it at all, it's not my item
Played around with it a bit, maybe killing mobs a few times in the overworld
Saved it for future use, in Icecrown or elsewhere
Headed straight for PvP and rocked Wintergrasp
What Karatechop did: rolled through progression content
Of course, Karatechop eventually got banned for what he did, but answer that question under the premise that he didn't necessarily know that at the time. And there's another question here: lots of players say that they are surprised Karatechop and his guild didn't open a GM ticket right away -- clearly Blizzard didn't mean to send him the item, and he should have contacted them to get it back. But others aren't so sure. The second question is: no matter what you did with the item, would you have told the GMs about it?
Would you have opened a ticket when you saw the item?
Over the last week the Martin Fury scandal has rocked the world ... of Warcraft. I got the chance to sit down with Karatechop, the player at the centre of the scandal, to hear his side of the story.
WoW Insider: Who are you? Karatechop: I'm Karatechop, the Guild Leader of The Marvel Family on Vek'nilash-US.
There are postings on the net where someone purporting to be Karatechop says they work for Blizzard. I'm assuming this is not the case? I'm not an employee of Blizzard. I'm not a hacker, I'm just a person who had a pretty tight regular group of people who liked playing WoW.
How did this whole thing start? One of my guild members, Leroyspeltz, had his account hacked back in December. He was an Officer at the time and whoever hacked his account ravaged the guild bank, which happens. Once Blizzard was able to rescue his account, he noticed several of his toons were gone.
We'll have the full interview up for you soon (later today hopefully, or tomorrow at the latest), however one thing we learned from the interview is that his account has been closed, permanently. While we cannot verify this with Blizzard directly, as there are privacy concerns that forbid them from talking about other people's accounts, we can verify that the account administrator who dealt with the closure is real, and that the template used in disseminating the account closure information is legitimate.
The account closure email was forwarded to us from Karatechop during the interview, and we are confident in its authenticity. You can see the full email after the break. We have his express permission to reproduce and report on the actions taken against his account.
The other thing to note is that despite claims on other websites, he is not an employee of Blizzard. There is no evidence to support such claims, and he made a point of telling us today that he is in no way affiliated with Blizzard Entertainment, which we believe.
The full account closure email, sans personally identifiable information, after the break!
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.