Old School Runescape briefly taken offline as players abuse game-crashing exploit

Jeremy Gan
Runescape gameplay image

Old School Runescape was temporarily taken offline after players abused an exploit that crashed the game for others in the lobby. 

On July 19, Old School Runescape received an update with some relatively small changes to bugs and a handful of backend adjustments to smooth things over.

However, just hours after this patch went live, players discovered a new game-crashing exploit that could ruin the experience for other players in their lobby. If a player saw rainbow text through the in-game chat, their application would crash. 

This affected anyone and everyone who could see the message, leaving players to mass-crash entire lobbies. And because of this, the game was swiftly taken offline. 

“We’ll be taking Old School [Runescape] offline imminently to address a serious player-affecting issue,” OSRS’s Twitter account said before the servers went down on July 19.

The devs initially address the matter on their Game Statues Information Centre, stating that there was a “report of one player being disconnected due to a crash during the Zebak fight,” however, the crashing problems extended to anyone using the Java OSRS client. 

For a few hours, players could not access the game as the devs rushed in to fix the problem. Fortunately though, it didn’t take all too long to get back on track. When servers went back online later that day, the devs confirmed that it was an issue with the chat which caused the crashing bug.

“We’ve fixed an issue with chat that was causing some players to crash on Java clients,” the devs wrote of the bug. 

Surprisingly, this was not the first time there was a game-crashing exploit that was caused by the chat. On February 25, 2009, an infamous bug named “µ” would crash the game for anyone who saw it typed in the chat – including the sender – which made the devs lock off PvP areas and advise players to turn off their public chat.