Old School Runescape player goes on an emotional roller coaster after hackers strip his account of items worth 4.8 billion in gold

Imagine what it would be like to spend hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours amassing an unparalleled fortune in a game you love, only to have it all taken away. Heartbreaking is a big word, but I would definitely be fighting back tears (as I uninstalled). 

Pretty much that exact tragic tale has come to a surprisingly happy conclusion for self-described "giant Runescape fanatic" and content creator Darth Microtransaction: After losing every item he'd earned in Old School Runescape to hackers—which, thanks a Herculean effort and help from followers, was virtually every item in the game—he's now got everything back.

As DM explained in the video embedded above from last week, the story actually began years ago. After grinding to build up a maxed-out bank account and acquiring everything he wanted in the game, he decided to do the next logical thing and started gambling in the Duel Arena—and lost it all on 17 bad coin flips in a row. 

But when Jagex removed the Duel Arena in 2022, DM decided to start over.

"Duel Arena is cancer, and has since been cut out of the community—you actually can't do it anymore," he said. "So when I realized, hey, my terrible gambling issue of wanting to stake my gold is gone, I'm gonna rebuild my Runescape account. And this time, surely, everything is fine.

"Even if I wanted to be stupid, I couldn't. I'll have every item in the game, I'll rebuild it, and everything will be—I'll be back to Runescape."

And so he began the process of starting over, with the goal of acquiring every single item (or as close as he could possibly come) in the game. In time, it came to pass: After spending over $1,000 plus $500 in Steam currency, and with in-game gold donations from fans of his channels, he amassed a fortune of 4.8 billion in gold, and "bought everything."

"I had a maxed-out account in the one game I love, finally, after years of wanting to get to that point. And I was excited ... it was the most legitimate excitement I think I've ever felt in a game."

But then cruel fate intervened in the form of hackers, who just one week after the big accomplishment were able to get into his account and clear it out. DM admitted that he did not have the mobile authentication app enabled, and said he believes he was hacked by a viewer who was able to put together enough pieces of information to use the Old School Runescape account recovery option to take it over.

(Image credit: Darth Microtransaction (Twitter))

It wasn't just the high-priced items that were taken—it was everything. "The dude didn't even have the decency to leave the placeholders for my bank so that in case I wanted to rebuild my bank it would be really easy to reorganize everything," DM said. "He fucked up all the organization that took me days to do in the bank. He cleaned out all of the items that were there just to level my character to the max level, all my buyables basically, stuff to actually finish my 99s on the account, the shit that I actually care about, and not just the expensive items.

"The long and the short of it, if you're not a Runescape person, I have a 21-year-old Runescape account that just got completely GG-ed."

You could really feel the weight of the loss as DM described how much his Old School Runescape meant to him—especially since so many of his viewers had helped make the dream happen.

"There's nothing else that I own that I would rather not get stolen," he said. "Like, steal my motorcycle, steal any of my collectibles, take my pianos, any of my guitars. There's not a single thing I own—and you can say it sounds sad or pathetic all you want, sure it does, I agree okay—but literally, my Runescape account was my number one prized possession in my life. Which is—maybe that's the lesson I should take out of this, not the security issue. But it is what it is for me, so I'm kind of gutted today."

(Image credit: Darth Microtransaction (Twitter))

DM was able to recover the account itself and attached all the available security options to it, but of course that was small consolation given that there was virtually nothing left of it. He apologized to everyone who had donated to his quest and for the "salty" livestreams that followed the hack, and headed off potential accusations that he'd taken donations from people and then sold all the stuff himself by explaining that the math just doesn't add up: After all they money he'd spent on the items, he'd still be hundreds of dollars in the hole if he sold them. 

He also offered a very pointed PSA for his audience. 

"Learn from me this lesson: If you have anything you actually give a fuck about, and you have all this stupid goddamn merch and you have four accounts and you played it forever and you've got tens of thousands of hours into it, secure your account," he said. "Please."

It's hardly the first time a dedicated Old School Runescape player has fallen victim to a hacker. Earlier this year, for instance, a player with more than 20,000 hours on a single "skiller account"—essentially a pacifist run in which players try to max out their skills while keeping their combat skill at the lowest level possible—had their character hacked, stolen, and destroyed. But Darth Microtransaction's rueful resignation about the whole thing really conveyed a sense of genuine loss, and that was reflected in the comments on the video, as viewers expressed sympathy for his plight and admiration for his "graceful composure," as one put it, in the face of such a nasty hosejob.

But unlike so many sad stories on the internet, this one has a happy ending. In a video posted today, Darth Microtransaction said he received "the best news" in the form of an email from Runescape publisher Jagex saying that they'd seen his video, watched a subsequent livestream, and asked him to submit a lost item claim.

"I did that, fully expecting literally nothing to come of it," he said. "If you've been by the livestreams at all, you'll know when people are asking me, 'Is there any chance of being recovered, what about customer support,' I have been saying there's zero percent chance. There's absolutely no chance at all that I get any of my stuff back. Because I played the game 20 years, long enough to know that this type of stuff that just happened for me, which I'm about to explain, doesn't happen."

In this case, though, it did happen. After fully securing his account, Jagex completely restored it, along with all the items that were stolen. "I got my account back, I have better safety now, I got all my items back," Darth Microtransaction said, clearly elated. "The viewers didn't have to do anything again because you guys already did, you already backpacked me. So it's a huge W. I'm exceptionally happy this morning."

Darth Microtransaction's joy was shared by his viewers, who expressed their happiness with the outcome in replies to the video. The mood is a little different on Old School Runescape subreddits, though, as numerous redditors are complaining that his account was only restored because he's a streamer with a relatively high profile. In a reply to one of the complaints, Darth Microtransaction acknowledged that "streamer privilege" was undeniably a factor, but added, "I love this game and if someone tells me they can restore my account, I'm going to say 'yes please, thank you'."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.