Update: Shortly after our story was published, developer Jagex announced that Old School RuneScape was back online for most players. The solution was the first, and so far only, complete roll-back of the game world in its history.
“The intention of the team was to attempt to roll back players’ saved games to the approximate time of the game update,” Jagex said in a blog post. “Finally we’d like to reiterate that we’ve never done anything like this before. It’s possible some issues may still persist, but we assure you that we’ll continue monitoring the situation to ensure that normal service is resumed.”
A small number of players’ accounts will require a manual fix to allow them to log in again. Jagex asked for patience as they work through these one at a time. Players should read the entire post for a breakdown of what happened, and to see if they are still impacted by the error.
Original story: You know how it is. You’ve been playing the same massively multiplayer online game — perhaps one like Old School RuneScape, a reimplementation of the original 2007 massively multiplayer online game — for over a decade. Tonight, you’re out wandering the world with your friends, taking on some good, old-fashioned player-versus-player action.
It’s not about the loot, you tell yourself. It’s about the competition. The camaraderie.
Then something utterly strange happens.
“Strange” like the game dropping 2,147,483,647 units of in-game currency.
It happened to Twitch streamer Purpp live on air today as he streamed Old School RuneScape. The resulting, near-instantaneous freak-out has been watched over 120,000 times and will no doubt end up a proper meme before the day is out.
Here’s the thing, though: It’s been happening to everyone. A bug in the game’s code has been causing PvP loot drops to convert items into money. The amount of money created is the maximum amount possible for the game to mathematically generate in one place, at one time.
Ironically, Old School RuneScape is largely free to play. Developer Jagex earns an income by selling access to high-level content for real money. But, like Eve Online, players can also use in-game currency to purchase that same content.
Guess what people did after the bug?
A recent post on Twitter from the developers says that servers have been turned off “for a while whilst we investigate a potential issue.” No word yet on when servers will be back online.