It’s December 31st and our offices are empty for the end of the year. We’re kind of slacking off, so let me link to something out intrepid and gelatinous news reporter linked before. It’s a really great longform article from PC Gamer and is worth a look if you didn’t see it then.
For a long long while, there have been ultrarare mounts in World of Warcraft. Most items, a 1% drop rate is as rare as they go, but a few mounts are generated much more rarely than that. People have spent years grinding for a specific mount and never gotten it. It was dropped by a world boss called “The Sha of Anger.” (Hey, I didn’t name it.)
One such ultrarare item is The Reins of the Heavenly Onyx Cloud Serpent, which allows the very lucky acquirer to summon a nifty glowing black-and-white flying dragon to ride. So popular, and rare, are these items that when they go up on auction they regularly go for the maximum supported price: 9,999,999 Gold.
Players had long rued the immensely high odds of acquiring this item, and others, but had put up with it because Blizzard was the kind of company to just rule things like that to happen, and what you gonna do? Go to City of Heroes?
Early in the item’s existence, however, players noticed that the item wasn’t just generating hardly ever, but in fact, entirely never. A bug in the game meant no one had gotten it. It was just so rare that everyone assumed they just hadn’t seen it yet. Oops!
Much more recently, however, due to another bug, the item became much more common to players of a certain race. The players who had discovered this faced conundrum: be responsible and report the bug to Blizzard, or hoard the knowledge to prevent Blizzard from knowing about it, keeping it off of forums as long as they could, which resulted in the greater player base not realizing it was possible, in order to allow the precious loophole to persist for as long as possible.
If this kind of thing is fascinating to you, and if it isn’t then I wonder why you’re reading this blog, it’s one of the best pieces of game reporting I’ve seen lately.