The Daily Grind: What’s the most painful bug you’ve ever encountered in an MMORPG?

I’ve been playing a bit of Ultima Online lately, and the other night as I was working on my skills, I remembered a horrible bug that afflicted the entire game for weeks way back in the very beginning. UO back then had an interesting system whereby you could actually learn skills by watching other people doing them — if somebody swung a sword or strummed a lute or cast a spell within a certain distance from you, there was a small chance you’d get a skill-up yourself, assuming you had room left in your template, which was capped at the time at 700 skill points. It was neat!

The problem came about when a bug allowed skilling-by-watching to actively subtract points from skills you didn’t want to drop. That, combined with the fact that low-level skills raised very quickly, meant that griefers could run around banks spamming skills people were unlikely to have or want, thereby causing everybody to lose skills they’d spent months working up to the cap. My best friend and I lost dozens of points in our favorite skills before realizing what was going on and logging out for our own safety, and nope, EA didn’t restore anyone affected. How we ever kept playing after that, I’ll never understand. If something like that happened to me in an MMO today and the studio did nothing, I’d probably walk away.

What’s the most painful bug you’ve ever encountered in an MMORPG?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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43 Comments on "The Daily Grind: What’s the most painful bug you’ve ever encountered in an MMORPG?"

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Robert Mann

There was this one bug where characters literally weren’t able to be used as they were left falling forever in ESO. They fixed it, and there were a few work-arounds that could help… but it was very painful at times.

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Chris Brown-DeMoreno

This was in FFXI. It was against some mob that only spawned like once every 3 days or some insane shit like that. I only fought it once so this wasn’t as big a deal to me but there were people that camped this thing religiously for the weapon it dropped. Turned out that the drop was totally bugged and it wouldn’t drop the thing AT ALL.

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steve

Pathing bugs in EQ could range from amusing to “OMG camp a cleric!”. Z-axis aggro was the worst in that game.

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Michael18

Did not experience this one myself (unfortunately), but in WoW a hot candidate for the trophy surely must be:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrupted_Blood_incident

Though it’s unclear if it’s the most painful bug or the best open world event that WoW ever had.

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Bryan Correll

I like to think of that one as an unexpected feature rather than a bug.

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adri

smaller bugs like being stuck in a wall or falling through the floor are annoying. Especially when you can’t escape out of it.
For people whos mother tongue isn’t english translation or dumb dubbing errors are annoying as well. One of the reasons I play games in english.
Some other annoying things are invisible weapons after a fast travel or boss NPCs with some crazy skills or abilities after a patch (“Sorry wasn’t intended we patch it back to normal” situations).
I’ve never encountered a really painful bugs. Some special occasions ended up with “yeah this is intended to be like this” and I wasted time and /or ingame money on it ..
Some games have content you can no longer play or achievements you can no longer achieve because the area in which those things are into is dead and you are supposed to do it with a group of people. It’s not a bug by itself but it’s hard to play an MMO with no-one around. The only thing you can do is to gather your friends and guildies … at 2am in the morning on a tuesday because you have a day off but nobody else …

the worst bugs are bugs you encountered and report them and ..nothing happens for years .. :( I still have at least a minimal amount of trust in devs and the CM’s but it’ll fade eventually.

ill_logical
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ill_logical

Mine wasn’t huge, game-breaking, or anything like that. In the grand scheme of things, it was rather minimal. But, at the time and for a good while after, it was flat-out Infuriating.

In WoW, early on as a Holy Priest you mainly had the choices of gearing for Int or Spirit. And you lived by meticulously maximizing your time-outside-of-6-seconds. But then, a few interesting items started showing up, mainly “trash greens”, with a new stat. MP/5. You could start working on gearing towards a build that was effective inside the 6 second timeframe. And right at the beginning, it was laughed off by most priests and embraced by a small number of us. Mainly, those of us who weren’t favoured raid leader loot-sponges, the folks who typically got put onto long grueling healing duties where we had to be flexible and constantly active. For us, it was amazing.

However, Blizzard had pretty bad Quest ID sanity-checking. And this is where for me and a small percentage of others, things fell apart.

See, I played an Undead priest. I don’t know if the game still has them, but early on you’d get race/class-specific low-level quests that primarily were “teach you how to do your job” basics. And, being a good little Undead Priest, I did them along the way, and thought nothing of it, even long after they were changed/removed as Blizz made little tweaks here and there.

However, fast-forward to the MP/5 gear starting to filter in. Outside of getting a lucky drop (I think in the then-new DM?), which I was never going to get because RNG hates me, there was one MP/5 weapon you could definitely get. It came from a questline, and was called the Lorespinner.

And I could not get the quest. Just wasn’t there.

See, after a bunch of digging on the forums, talking with other old/new/different-race Priests, we determined by comparing that those very few of us that had the same issue compared to everybody else were the launch-day or soon-after Undead Priests. And only the ones who had done those original starter undead zone priest quests…

Blizzard apparently recycled the QuestID in their database, leading to our characters showing as having completed that quest, and thus it was never on offer to us. And despite petitioning GMs/Support, there was no help to be had. Simply a “Sorry, but you’ve completed that quest, the system must be right”.

More MP/5 Priest-usable weapons did trickle in over time, but that one still sticks with me to this day as it was so clearly delineated as to who it would/wouldn’t affect. And of course, for Blizzard support’s responses.

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MesaSage

It’s fun to read these. I’ve encountered plenty of bugs, but none that I’d consider painful. One of the more annoying, yet funniest was when the Lotro Loremaster pets were bugged. If you were attacked by any mob while riding, even if the aggro had passed and you were miles away, when you dismounted your pet ran back to kill the mob. Funny as hell, but yes, annoying.

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mcsleaz

FFXI did a big patch once, it cause xbox 360 uses to endlessy crash upon trying to leave certain zones. Had to give my account info to a friend who played on PS2 and have him move my character out of Jeuno for me, was extremely frustrating.

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squidgod2000

EQ1 death loops come to mind. Less of an issue now that you can just wait in corpse mode after you’re killed, but you used to get kicked back to your bind spot quickly/immediately. If there was a mob there, it just kept killing you over and over.

Also Ultima Online black holes. Players could fill a bunch of containers with 125 items (the limit), stack those containers on top of each other and then use an axe to destroy them, dropping the contents on the ground. This created single tiles with thousands of items on them that the client simply couldn’t handle and you’d crash whenever you got close to one and be unable to log back in to that character. People would make them in houses built close to cities/moongates/etc to crash as many people as possible—and since they were in houses, the items never decayed.

Oh, and rollbacks. Remember rollbacks? Ultima Online had daily rollbacks—a period of time between the last save of the day and when servers would drop for daily maintenance. People who knew about them had some fun—they’d break out their invuln armor, reflect items and vanq weapons and head to Brit GY for what was known as Server Wars (basically a no-consequences PvPfest)—but new players would just lose whatever progress they had made during that time.

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Michael18

nice list!

oh and the EQ1 bug… considering the death penalty that one must’ve been fun, lol.

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Danny Smith

WoW phasing leading to finishing a quest, a whole new quest hub supposed to show up and you not transitioning to that phase and being told “just check later” was pretty bad.

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Nordavind

Ingress soft bans.

Technically not a bug, supposed to stop spoofers and such, but sometimes while travelling by train or plane you can be flagged as GPS spoofing by the game just because you’ve travelled a long distance in a short time. Most often this results in a soft ban for a short time. But there are instances where people have been permanently banned, and Niantic has a very strict “no second chance” policy.

This is extra annoying when you travel by plane to another land or continent (often because there are an event hosted by Niantic going on) and the server goes “Nope! You’re misbehaving!”

Estranged
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Estranged

Every WoW expansion, I lose abilities. Customer service says they can’t help me with the bug. Pain.

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Tobasco da Gama

Draigoch.

I was actually pretty lucky, I only saw his bug a handful of times, but the fact that he only ever bugged out in the final fricking phase made it particularly frustrating.

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A Dad Supreme

The Division.

Grenade bug from NPCs. They shoot a grenade at you, the ground turns red and you are “kicked” to a standing pose out of your covered position.

The problem is the “kickout” effectively locks your character for about a second, and in that time instead of being able to roll away/dodge the blast, you are blown to instant death. If the blast doesn’t kill you, the NPCs with 100% accuracy shoot you to death while you are stun-locked.

This has been a Day One bug which Massive says they will fix in the next patch, but we’ll see.

This is literally the most “painful” bug I’ve seen, since you’re getting grenaded to death.

Bug can be seen 30 seconds into the video.

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Schmidt.Capela

During WoW’s Zombie Invasion event two different bugs interacted in a quite damaging way:
– If you used skill bar addons the zombie skills would simply not appear, rendering the player unable to do anything if transformed into a zombie.
– You were unable to log out while a Zombie (which made the previous bug even more painful, as you could neither log out to disable the addon nor use the suicide button to stop being a zombie), and if you tried to exit the game in some other way while a zombie (for example, by pressing alt-F4) it would lock you out of your character until customer support could get around to rescuing it.

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Boom
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Modrain

Stuck in the wall bugs are the most painful to me. Not because they’re especially damaging, game-breaking or anything like that. Just because they’re so common in so many games.

I have a habit of trying to explore maps out of their normal boundaries, to push games as far as possible, often without any major issue, and yet I still regularly find me stuck on the middle of maps because I tried to jump over a rock, ran a few meters or logged in.

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James

What game is this, ,Neverwinter?

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imayb1

It’s Aion… which is choc full of stuck-in-the-wall bugs.

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ogged451

The JEPP reload bug in Anarchy Online. “Oh, you want to shoot again ? Please spend 30 minutes hunting for buffs and changing things around so you can re-equip that weapon.”

Sarigar
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Sarigar

Death beetles in Unrest.

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Shawn Fink

In Ultima Online near the beginning, there was a bug that ruined the game for me. There was a bug involving the teleport spell, a stack of chests, and a player owned house. If you arranged the chests in a specific way, you could eventually teleport your way into a locked home. Then you could loot everything from the place. People stored everything the had accumulated; in 30 seconds months of work were decimated.

Edit for grammar.

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squidgod2000

Yep. Some objects, when dropped on the ground, would raise your character slightly on the Z-axis. This allowed players to build stairs/towers/etc., that would lift them above castle walls to the point where they had a line-of-sight into the courtyard and could teleport in.

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thirtymil

Most painful? The druid flight form lag in WoW, where the game thinks you’re inside but you’re outside. And you leap off the side of Stormwind’s mage tower in elf form, showboating to all and sundry, hit flight form, intending to zoom upwards from certain death over their heads…and don’t.

The bug’s still there. As is the impact mark.

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Bryan Correll

That sounds more like a good way to handle elf overpopulation than a bug.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

If they ever do a funnest bug, I’d have to nominate the ship travel to Rutheran Village from Menethil I think.

As a member of Horde, the only faction you should play, it wasn’t easy to get to Rutheran without being killed but you could jump in the water and float just in front of the ship without being attacked.

When the ship left, it would push you along but eventually bug out and let you pass through to inside the ship and let you travel in comfort the rest of the way to rutheran. Where you would promptly get killed but at least you had a chance to pick up all the explore locations.

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BalsBigBrother

Funny you should mention bugs and also have a Rift article up too. I logged into Rift to grab the promo thing promptly fell through the world and was stuck underneath so I logged out again /sigh

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Paragon Lost

I had that same experience a few months ago. It finally resolved but man was it pain.

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Melissa McDonald

The NGE in star wars galaxies.

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Pandalulz

Well as a WoW Warrior main, there’s been a Charge bug that would desync you from the server until you logged out for pretty much as long as I’ve played the game (since Vanilla Beta). It seems to be much less common now, but still finds a way to pop back up every so often when I least expect it. There’s nothing as fun as dying to an enemy you can’t see because the server thinks your character is somewhere else completely or more often tells you that you can’t attack the enemy you see directly in front of you, because you’re not actually there.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Way back when, when WOW was just getting going. Wasn’t even THE powerhouse MMO yet, there was a bug that upon turning in a completed quest, I got kicked from the game and usually had my internet drop. Could play for hours but the first time I turned in a quest, game dropped and so did my internet. Never could figure it out and caused me to leave WOW for a while.

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thalendor

Oh, I remember running into that one with disturbing frequency. I also remember a more fun variation on that bug where, after a time, it would sometimes resync my toon and he would charge from where ever he was all the way back to wherever the target originally was. One time I ran all the way from the middle of Blasted Lands and got to somewhere in Duskwood before the resync happened, and my character charged over and through mountains and other obstacles back to where I was originally fighting stuff.

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Stephen Donohue

A bug in the raid for LOTRO’s Mirkwood expansion drove my guild to quit the game. There was a gauntlet section at the start that we’d taken a few raid nights to finally get through, and when we finally reached the end, the gate bugged and we couldn’t progress. After an interaction with a very rude GM, who basically said “too bad, try again after the raid resets in a few days” most of the players in the guild decided to leave the game that night. Still makes me sad since that one bug started a chain of events that eventually destroyed the guild.

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Utakata

Where do I begin? :(

“I think Ms. Bree means ‘bug”, Uta…not PuG.”

Oh! Err…yeah, anytime my characters slip through the world. And on the odd occasion, get trapped there. /sad panda

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TheDonDude

Positron’s task force bugging out near the end. Positron just stopped giving the next mission and his dialog was nothing but an error. It was a grueling task force, and to hit a brick wall right at the end sucked.

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Hirku

It was definitely the current bug in SWTOR where your companions would glitch out and constantly fall a mile behind you, which made them useless in fights and their commentary a tiny distant voice you could barely hear.

No, wait…it was the bug in SWTOR where every nonessential NPC was wiped out of the game, taking away their moments of dialog and making planet-wide cities look desolate.

No, wait…it was absolutely the bug in SWTOR when all the NPCs came back but had training swords strapped to their backs, including children and strippers.

No no no no, wait a minute…it had to be the SWTOR bug where characters in cutscenes were either absent or doubled up, completely spoiling dramatic story moments.

No, wait…

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Bryan Correll

I would go with the SWTOR bug where NPC/Mob corpses wouldn’t despawn, filling the landscape with corpses and inducing horrific lag.

Or the one where Aric Jorgan would appear in a cut scene clad only in his underpants. Oh, and if you did hit that bug he wouldn’t show up later in a mission making it impossible to finish and requiring you to restart the whole chapter.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I sense a trend.

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Hirku

Can you feeeeeeeel my anger?

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Paragon Lost

The force is strong within you.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

In RIFT. Artifact collection was a small glowing dot on the ground or placed somewhere you could get to with effort. It was random what you got so it could be a rare collection item or a normal one.

It did seem that the longer an item sat around the more likely it would yield a rare.

There was a spot in the Stonelands up on a mountain side and the edge of the map that spawned a glowing artifact… just past the boundary of the invisible wall.

No way to get to it and I mean it was JUST out of reach.

And since it had been sitting there since the last server reboot… it was sure to be a rare.

Now I know how Tantalus felt.

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