MMO for kids shutters after hacker fills it with nasty swear words

MMO for kids shutters after hacker fills it with nasty swear words

A screenshot of the MMO with censored text overlaid on top of it.

Picture: KingsIsle / Steam / Kotaku

Child-friendly PC MMO Wizard 101 was released back in 2008, and for the past 14 years it has trudged on and stayed afloat while many other games have shut down. But recently, this old MMO was thrown into the limelight after a series of bizarre and gimmicky in-game messages started popping up for players. And fans believe an angry developer is to blame.

Wizard 101 is a free-to-play MMO on PC that is primarily aimed at children and is presented as family-friendly. It’s a game you may have seen commercials for back today. It’s also one of those games you’ve probably completely forgotten about until now, and are both shocked to remember and more shocked that it’s still a thing in the year of our lord 2022. But things haven’t been so family-friendly recently in the enchanted world of … (looks up quickly Wizard 101 wiki) The Spiral.

As discovered by PC playerlast week Wizard 101 players logged in and found a series of angry, nasty messages stuffed into the game. Some of the messages complained about low pay or bad bosses, while others just, ahem, criticized the game. Some were just a little vulgar, like a pop-up message that simply said, “dick and balls.” Meanwhile, a very popular message among players said “The next world is the boss’s shit.” That seems like a… dirty level. (Don’t throw things at me, please.)

In the end, this caused the game to shut down a bit on September 16 while the developers presumably fixed things and got rid of all the shitholes, dicks and balls.

Players took screenshots of these messages and shared them on Reddit while also theorizing that “Server Dude” (their nickname for the hacker) was a disgruntled employee. This seemed plausible at firstbut the theory seems to have been crushed by Wizard 101 developed by KingsIsle Entertainment.

Posted earlier today, a new statement from the studio apologizes for the “inappropriate” messages. It also alleges that the in-game “broadcasting system” was “illegally accessed” and used to post messages “as if written by a KingsIsle employee.” The rest of the statement does not say who may have been responsible for the hacked messages, but the studio confirms that no other systems were hacked and that they have added more security to the broadcast system in an effort to prevent this type of thing from happening again.

Kotaku has contacted KingsIsle for more information about the situation and who was behind the hack.

It really seems that no one in the video game industry in 2022 is safe from hackers. We saw recently GTA VI leaked thanks to a hacker. And now Wizard 101 has been hit by (probably) another hacker. I imagine a bunch of different video game studios and publishers are having meetings right now about security and how to better protect against future hackers.

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