Ten years ago on June 6, 2006, the most infamous glitch of all time in RuneScape occurred. The Falador Massacre is remembered by players and JMods as the day no one was safe, anywhere. It is the kind of event that begins to take on a life of its own and morphs into legend. Now, after ten years of being extremely tight lipped about the whole incident, Jagex has decided to commemorate the Falador Massacre on its 10th anniversary. I’ll go in to more details to what they are doing later, but if you just had an uneasy feeling at the thought of celebrating bug abuse you’re not alone. First, let’s look at the actual events of that day and clear up some common misconceptions.
The Construction skill had just been released and Cursed You was racing to become the first person to 99. He decided to have a house party to celebrate his achievement. Everything was going according to plan, he reached 99 during the party. Then that’s when things went wrong. He decided to turn on the PVP mode in the throne room enabling PVP in his dungeon. Contrary to popular belief, however, the combat room was not the source of the infamous glitch. The glitch actually happened in the portal room which was located in the dungeon where the PVP effect was active. In the portal room the little fountain in the middle is called a Scrying pool. When you click on the Scrying pool it essentially teleports you to whatever portal location you choose. If you click anywhere while Scrying, it automatically takes you back to the portal room in the POH. On that day Durial 321 and some others were Scrying in the portal room in the dungeon with the PVP on. While they were Scrying, Cursed You had expelled the guests from the house. POH’s are instanced so when they clicked to go back to the portal room there was no house to go back to. This left them teleported to the house portal but outside with the PVP mode still on them. That’s when the Falador Massacre began. Durial321 is the most well-known for it, but there were others. There was nothing players could do they simply died in droves as Durial321 went on a terror in Falador. Many players died as they tried to bank their items and all PMods could do was mute Durial321 and tell others to bank.
The Falador Massacre stands out as the worse bug abuse of all time for a few reasons. First, people were in what was supposed to be a safe area. They didn’t expect a fight and when they were attacked they couldn’t fight back. Think about that the next time you want to show off in your party hat and third age dyed armor. How would you have felt if it had been you? Never had there been a bug that took away people’s security like that and it’s why it has remained in the collective RuneScape psyche. On top of the loss of security think about the wealth that was lost that day. I can’t say for sure if Jagex tried to replace the items lost because I’ve never seen evidence one way or another but I seriously doubt it. I can remember when I started playing in 2008, which was two years after the incident, and I had heard about within a month or so of starting. That’s the kind of effect it had on the player base. The question for Jagex this year was would they commemorate this event and if so, how?
The answer to that question was yes, they would commemorate it. The decided to do a couple things for the 10th anniversary of the Falador Massacre. First off they have made a safe PVP area in Falador where the ghost of Durial321 can possess a player allowing them to attack other players. It’s only on world 111 which is the world the original massacre took place. Once again this is safe PVP you won’t lose any items unlike the original Falador massacre. In addition to that a giant Durial321 spawns every so often and you can try to take him down or help him kill other players. The event lasts from June 6 to June 13 and at the end of it there will be a memorial added to the Falador Garden. I’ll let that sink in for a minute before I rain on everyone’s parade and bring up some serious issues.
It’s important to remember Jagex has been on a nostalgia trip this year. They are celebrating fifteen years and that is an amazing accomplishment. As they reflected the Falador Massacre is one of those things that stands out. They have been pretty quiet about it until now. It’s understandable to recognize such an important event, however it could have been done in a more constructive way. At the end of the day it was bug abuse – a cardinal sin in RuneScape. Everyone involved was permanently banned. This was an opportunity to drive home the significance of what can happen when players exploit glitches. Making Durial321 a prominent part of the anniversary was the wrong choice. They could have done a safe PVP type event in Falador and it would have been the same. I don’t like the glorification of a player that committed the worse bug abuse of all time. Seriously, what statement does that make to younger players? If you’re going to bug abuse make sure you do it bigger and badder than anyone else and you’ll be immortalized as an NPC. Meanwhile Curse You was permanently banned and by all accounts I’ve seen, never abused the bug. Granted Jagex may know more than we do but it doesn’t seem right to immortalize the biggest offender while Cursed You, who appears to be collateral damage, is forgotten. When it’s all said and done I think Jagex should have come out stronger about bug abuse and used this as an opportunity to show players what can happen when Jagex makes a mistake and players act irresponsibly.
There are many ways to look at this event. The question of memorializing vs. celebrating is something that comes up in real life all the time. Jagex’s choices are a mixed bag. The memorial in the Falador Garden is absolutely the right thing to do. A safe PVP event just for fun is fine and I must say pretty enjoyable. The problem for me is using Durial321 likeness. It was the wrong choice. The Falador Massacre was a legendary event in RuneScape and as we take part in the events around its 10th anniversary remember that for a lot of players it wasn’t fun. They lost wealth and a sense of security and it’s up to us to remember it in the right way. Until next time, Happy RuneScaping.