Jun 11 – Updated.
Don’t grief Asmongold in WoW Classic Hardcore. That appears to be the message from Blizzard after seemingly lengthy bans hit griefers – although the warning presumably extends beyond the biggest World of Warcraft streamers. The viral fan-created mode has breathed new life into one of the biggest MMORPGs, but it leaves players, especially those streaming their adventures live, vulnerable to potential troublemakers.
If you haven’t been following the trend, WoW Classic Hardcore is an opt-in challenge created by the community that has been steadily growing in popularity over the past months. Essentially, it boils down to one thing: die even once, and your character is deleted. There’s not yet an official implementation – instead players use an add-on to notify other players when one dies, and those taking on the challenge accept the responsibility of manually deleting their character should they fail.
The mode’s popularity hasn’t escaped Blizzard’s notice, with two major WoW Classic servers – Bloodsail Buccaneers in North America and Hydraxian Waterlords in Europe – being unofficially treated as “hardcore” servers by Classic players and both seeing large population boosts as a result.
As you might expect, however, the extreme nature of this playstyle only exacerbates trolls and griefers. Many streamers playing Hardcore have had to deal with people attempting to end their runs, but the biggest among them have suffered the worst. Twitch streamer Zack ‘Asmongold’ is a name that almost every WoW player will have heard, so of course his recent attempt to finally give WoW Classic Hardcore a shot was met with all manner of trouble.
Asmon was already contemplating giving up on the mode when his travels were accompanied by dozens of players following him around, attempting to snipe enemy mobs to steal his experience, or generally trying to put themselves on his stream – in many cases using names designed to draw attention with tasteless jokes or jibes at Asmongold directly. This lasted until he reached level 8, where a player brought over a mob that was able to kill his character with a single hit.
Asmongold remains remarkably calm about the endeavour, saying he has no desire to encourage the trolls with an angry outburst. Instead, his initial response was to criticise Blizzard’s moderation; admitting that he himself used to be a frequent griefer, he remarks that he only did it because he knew there were no consequences. “Immediately after I started getting in trouble for it in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, I stopped doing it.”
During his first day playing Final Fantasy XIV in 2021, Square Enix’s moderators almost immediately hit the crowd of players disrupting Asmon’s adventure with several-day suspensions. It didn’t take long for him to be able to roam the world of Eorzea without disruption. “The reason why [it happens in WoW] is because Blizzard doesn’t care,” he states in a video talking about his Classic Hardcore experience. “In Final Fantasy, you’re done. In Lost Ark, you’re done. In New World, you’re done. In Blizzard games… you’re not.”
That appears to be changing, however. As seen in the video clip above, popular WoW streamer ‘Savix’ explains that he sent the clips of Asmongold to “probably my favourite guy at Blizzard,” who told Savix that the players responsible were “gonna get blasted.” It appears they did; Savix then shares screenshots taken from a Discord conversation showing players reporting bans.
It’s over guys,” remarks one player, listing off the accounts hit with bans. “[Blizzard] ****in’ permabanned me, character is gone,” responds one of the players in question. “Wow, all of his accounts,” Asmongold chuckles as he watches the clip. “Well, maybe we should give Blizzard another chance then,” he continues, “If the griefers are gonna get banned, then maybe I should keep playing.”
Update – May 9: In a further twist to the tale, Asmongold has later shared additional screenshots suggesting that the bans may not have happened, and that the Blizzard reports were falsified by the players in question. Commenters laugh, noting that the reports prevented griefers from taking further action anyway – suggesting that the stunt may have actually helped put a stop to trolls regardless.
Update – May 11: An additional update video from Savix reports that not only did the players in question get banned, at least for some period of time, but also that some of the most egregious offenders hassling WoW Classic Hardcore streamers have also been hit with bans on Twitch. It also shares a voice recording of some of the people behind the griefing (note: this features some rather stark language, as you might expect from a person immature enough to pursue such activities).
We have reached out to Blizzard for comment on this policy, and will update the story with any further details. Until then, if you’re considering being an awful person and ruining other peoples’ fun online, maybe just don’t.
Take a look through our guide to WoW Classic races if you aren’t sure which to pick, and make sure you’re rocking the best WoW addons in 2023 to have the best experience possible. Those of you who prefer retail will want to check in with WoW Dragonflight patch 10.1 to see what’s new in Embers of Neltharion.