This World of Warcraft Bug Eluded Blizzard For 15 Years

This World of Warcraft Bug Eluded Blizzard For 15 Years

If you ever suspected that your version of the legendary weapon, Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings, could trigger shields that would absorb more damage than seemed normal, Blizzard’s QA department might have just proved you right. As it turns out, Val’anyr’s stats contained an extra zero. Whoops! What’s more, this bug had gone completely unnoticed for the nearly 15 years it’s been since Wrath of the Lich King first launched.

Since 2019, WoW Classic has aspired to be the antidote for nostalgia-sick fans longing for the earlier days of the long-running MMO by offering a version of the game as it existed before various expansions had altered its mechanics and introduced new features. In 2021, WoW Classic was joined by the return of 2007’s Burning Crusade expansion. And last year, Wrath of the Lich King returned, hoping to hew as closely to the original release as possible. It’s been 15 years since its inception, so you’d expect all the bugs and oddities to be thoroughly documented and ironed out by now.

The return of Wrath of the Lich King, however, has allowed some fresh eyes to pour over the code. As it turns out, Val’anyr’s stats weren’t exactly what they were supposed to be. A valuable weapon for healers, Val’anyr’s “proc” (short for procedure and refers to an item’s ability to potentially trigger something on a hit or on use) could see an eight-second damage shield spawn on a successful heal. This shield, as stated in the official explanation of the proc, could potentially absorb as much as 20,000 damage. At least, it should have. That stat, for years now, has had an extra zero at the end, causing it to potentially absorb 200,000 damage instead.

As highlighted by Blizzard senior test analyst Morgan Kirkpatrick on Twitter, the March 27 hotfix fixed an issue that allowed the item to absorb as much as 200,000 damage.

Though now fixed, the patch notes, as highlighted by Kirk Patrick, state that no one had figured this out before.

Developers’ note: The absorb shield from Val’anyr was always intended to have a cap of 20,000 health, but there was a typo in the spell script in original Wrath of the Lich King version 3.3.5. The script was set the absorb amount to 200,000! This was never noticed by players in original Wrath.

Sometimes bugs are obvious; others, however, are rare enough to not warrant much attention. While you’d expect a bug that juiced an item’s stats as much as 10 times would’ve been spotted and documented by someone at some point, Val’anyr’s legend is a tale that reminds us just how complicated games can be and how easy it is to overlook typos and other accidents. So if you secretly knew that you could absorb 200,000 points of damage instead of the intended 20,000, and never told anyone, well the party’s over; it’s now been fixed.

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