When it comes to World of WarcraftA long sought after “classic” server, understandably, gamers want an experience that is identical to the MMO experience they remember years ago. At least one player has taken the concept to the extreme this week, using years of exploits to hit the level 80 cap on Blizzard Wrath of the Lich King Classic (known as Classic anger) servers just a few hours after their launch.
Serpentine Naou and his countrymen St. Echo Guild announced their achievement at level 80 on Twitter early Tuesday morning. As Naowh explains in the accompanying video, leveling up quickly uses a bugged Ice Crown boss that continually spawns undead zombie mobs. The player can “mark” these zombies with a single attack and then gain full experience for defeating all zombies when the next mob appears.
Naowh said he practiced the method in a live retail version World of Warcraft before commissioning Classic anger servers Monday. “It’s still the same in retail,” said Naowh. “I’m surprised nobody noticed.”
Naowh has combined this exploit with another one that uses four first-level dead characters in his group. Since these low-level players cannot receive experience from the high-level mafia, all group combat experience goes to Naowh. Together, these exploits allowed Naowh to gain XP at an astonishing rate of 1.8 million XP per hour, allowing him to run from 71 to 80 in a usually grueling run in less than nine hours.
The more things change …
Naowh’s exploit-based approach to level 80 brings to mind similar methods used when Wrath of the Lich King was released in 2008. Back then, a popular player named Athene was banned from the game after hitting level 79 during a 13-hour post-launch marathon session.
Athene’s strategy was not exactly the same as Naowh’s, but it used a similar mob tagging bug that allowed players to earn full solo experience points for mobs that were actually destroyed by the entire high-powered group. Athene has loudly claimed that the mob tagging method they were using was not a mistake, saying that its use “has been confirmed by Blizzard GM Aegeoth as perfectly legal in the game.”
Hours after the Athene ban, a player named Nymh became the first fully confirmed player to hit level 80, an achievement we wrote about on Ars Technica at the time. This led to extensive discussion in the community about whether the Athene ban was justified and whether mob tagging abuses really counted as exploits.
For its part, Blizzard appears to have recently implemented a “makeshift fix” to prevent Athene-style mob tagging Classic anger. Perhaps recognizing the story a bit, Naowh recognized the possibility that Blizzard could undo his record and reset his character for using other feats to a power level.
“People do all kinds of crazy mob-tagging … and shit, and they let it,” said Naowh. “If they want to lead by example and pull me back because I did something sneaky, I won’t be angry about it… It really pushes the boundaries. If Blizzard thinks it’s too much, I’ll take it. … It’s up to them. ”
For now, though, Naowh can delight in having a level 80 first character on Classic anger servers while countless other players are still patiently queuing to log in. And if an achievement reset occurs, Naowh says he’ll just see it as another achievement. “Imagine we get the world’s first [level] 80 withdrawal, ”he said. “Then we would get the world’s first two in one day!”