In a nutshell: Amazon's first attempt at an MMO game, New World, has been plagued with tons of strange bugs. The latest involves the chat system that allows a variety of exploits using "packet manipulation." By sending HTML messages to other players by whisper or direct message, trolls can cause display issues or game crashes. Another exploit generates infinite amounts of gold.
This past weekend, New World players discovered a glitch that opened up several game-breaking exploits. One of them allows players to generate infinite gold, so Amazon decided to shut all wealth transactions down until it could fix the bug. YouTuber Callum Upton demonstrated and explained the exploits in a recent video (below).
It all started when someone discovered that the game would execute specifically crafted HTML code. So trolls started spamming players with huge pictures in their chat window and taking up large portions of the screen. It was more annoying than harmful, but that was not the only thing the bug allowed.
As players continued experimenting, they found they could send a message that could boot another player from the game. The way it works is that the attacker sends a message that tells the game to search for an item that does not exist. The game looks for the requested data locally, and when it cannot find it, the process enters an endless loop, ultimately crashing the game.
Although Upton did not get into specifics for any of these exploits, he pointed out how users could use the same HTML bug to generate infinite amounts of gold. It works by crafting the code so that when the cursor hovers over an item in the sent message, the game registers a quest completion and awards 50 gold. Repeatedly moving over the tigger in the chat box, players can accumulate as much gold as they wish.
These are pretty serious game-breaking exploits, so it's no surprise that Amazon was quick to act. On Monday, the New World community manager notified players that they were shutting down New World's economy controls.
"We are aware of a possible gold duplication exploit that has been circling and we are temporarily disabling all forms of wealth transfer between players (ie. sending currency, guild treasury, trading post, player to player trading)," the manager wrote. "Once the gold duplication exploit has been investigated and we are ready to turn on wealth transfer again, we will update this post."
Understandably, Amazon wanted to shut down the exploit, but it's odd that it only mentioned the gold glitch and not the others. It's also strange that it promised to punish anyone who had used it.
"Any player that has engaged in the use of this exploit will be actioned against," the notice vaguely threatened.
Taken at its word, "any player" would include those who found or reported the bug. Amazon later updated the post, saying that it would just remove any gold or items generated by the exploit, and those maliciously using the glitch would be banned.
As of Tuesday evening, the developers had not fixed the exploits, but Amazon said that it was "zeroing in" on the problem and would have a patch soon.