MMO pulled offline after players start crashing everyone's game with a 14-year-old tradition

Old School Runescape
(Image credit: Jagex)

Old School Runescape went offline for several hours earlier today, after players discovered an issue that let them crash the game via a 14-year-old tradition.

Earlier today, OSRS got an update with some relatively small technical changes. Shortly after the update went live, players began to realize that sending rainbow text through the in-game chat would crash the game - not just for themselves, but for anybody in range to see that text. That's something that could pretty easily be exploited by unscrupulous players looking to get others killed.

Developer Jagex initially described a "report of one player being disconnected due to a crash during the Zebak fight," but it quickly became clear that this was a much wider potential exploit affecting anyone using the Java OSRS client. Within a few hours, the devs had taken the entire game offline to fix the issue, and while everything's back to normal now, players spent the intervening time dragging OSRS's propensity for introducing game-breaking problems with new updates. 

Time to bust this out again! from r/2007scape
Pretty much sums it up from r/2007scape

While 'entering particular things into text chat in order to crash the game for yourself and others' might sound like something far too specific to have happened more than once in an MMO's lifetime, there's actually a similar 14-year-old incident so infamous that it has its own page on the Runescape Wiki. Back on February 25, 2009, players started crashing the game by typing the 'µ' character into text chat. Old bugs die hard, it seems.

At least nobody is pouring "hot coffee on his butthole" in this particular OSRS incident. 

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.