Children's MMO beset by trolling server announcements was victim of outside intrusion

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In-game message in Wizard101 reading "BRADLEY COME DOWN TO THE OFFICE THIS INSTANT -the ceo"
(Image credit: KingsIsle, User Disco_Potato_Go on Reddit)

Correction: The initial framing of this article stated that the offensive messages' were written by an employee of KingsIsle. KingsIsle has since clarified that an outside actor unaffiliated with the company gained access to the Wizard101 broadcast system and sent the messages. We've updated the story to reflect this new information.

Numerous users on the subreddit of the 2008 youth-oriented MMO Wizard101 (opens in new tab) shared screenshots of official server messages pushed to players that contained jokes, profanity, and complaints of poor pay at developer KingsIsle. While the messages were written from the perspective of a disgruntled employee, KingsIsle announced (opens in new tab) via the game's forums that it believes "an external party initiated the messages through a non-traditional method of accessing the Broadcast System."

According to an official support account from the developer on Twitter (opens in new tab), the game's servers were taken offline Friday night before coming back on early Saturday morning. The messages are of a shocking character, very NSFW, and readers of delicate sensibilities may wish to look away.

Wizard101 server message reading simply "dick and balls"

Someone fetch my fainting couch. (Image credit: KingsIsle, user yellowvitt on Reddit)

Wow, harrowing stuff. That one comes courtesy of user yellowvitt (opens in new tab) on r/Wizard101. Several of the other messages are similarly brief and direct. "This game is shit (opens in new tab)," another message shared by user jakeofsteel reads.

Others characterize a theoretical employee's deeply compromised relationship with KingsIsle management. User scumfolry (opens in new tab) shared a collection of server messages complaining of the pay and working environment at KingsIsle. My favorite is, "The next world is my boss's asshole." Incredible poetry to that one. "BRADLEY COME DOWN TO THE OFFICE THIS INSTANT -the ceo" from Disco_Potato_Go (opens in new tab) is also quite good.

Some of the messages are relatively nonsensical trolling. A fan favorite of the subreddit seems to be a snippet of dialogue from Walter White in Breaking Bad shared by lidikgurl (opens in new tab). Another one advises players of a nonexistent payout of ingame currency.

Wizard101 server message reading "The next world is my boss's asshole"

Write this in gasoline and blood outside the Whirling-In-Rags cafeteria and light it on fire. (Image credit: KingsIsle, user scumfoldry on Reddit)

After the servers' temporary shutdown, KingsIsle issued a statement (opens in new tab) on its forums clarifying the offending messages' origin and asserting that no other systems were accessed by the hacker. As recompense to affected players, the developer has enabled paid, premium membership bonuses for all Wizard101 accounts for the rest of the month.

I definitely feel for the KingsIsle employees dealing with this massive headache, but the messages themselves are still a delight to me. There's something particularly desolate about seeing them in Wizard101's house font, Comic Sans. Hating on the infamous font is a bit gauche in the year of our Lord 2022, but it still really adds to the effect here for me.

The forceful simplicity of "dick and balls" would be my favorite of the lot, were it not for the haunting despair of "The next world is my boss's asshole." That one feels like graffiti from Disco Elysium. All's well that ends well, I suppose, and I'll see you all in the next world.

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.

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