WoW Classic hardcore player feigns death for so long they actually die

The Grim Reaper looms out of a laptop.
(Image credit: D-Keine via Getty Images)

WoW Classic recently got its own hardcore mode, which for most of us means one thing: people dying and losing enormous amounts of progress in amusing ways (and maniacs hitting max level in a few days). Hardcore modes are increasingly popular across all games, and take various forms, but the common element is permadeath and, in MMOs especially, that can mean hundreds of hours of playtime disappearing in the blink of an eye. Or in this case, when one unfortunate soul shut their eyes for too long.

One of the basic Hunter spells in WoW is 'feign death', which allows players to escape enemy attention by keeling over, before popping back up and dishing out the pain. The spell can be channelled for up to six minutes, though typically is used for much shorter durations, and feigning death for the full time limit turns out to have a consequence in Classic that's long since disappeared from vanilla WoW.

WoW Classic hardcore player Walldewd discovered this because they fancied a cup of tea (spotted by GamesRadar+). After a good hunting session they went to Stormwind's Auction House and, for reasons best known to themselves, set their character to feign death while they went off to put the kettle on. Returning with a brew, they found their level 31 hardcore Hunter had shuffled off this mortal coil in the meantime, with the feign death spell ultimately killing them and wiping lord knows how many hours of progress.

This was the case in WoW at launch, but was clearly an unintended feature because Blizzard noticed and, in 2007 shortly before the launch of the Burning Crusade expansion, patched this out. You can feign death all you like in vanilla WoW and your character won't actually die. Confusingly enough, WoW Classic is well past the Burning Crusade era now and into the Lich King era, so you would expect the same to have happened here.

Apparently if you feign death the full 6 minutes it actually kills you. I just died at 31 in the stupidest way possible. In disbelief from r/classicwow

"Feigned infront of auction house in Stormwind and went to make tea," said Walldewd. "Came back to this. Idk man this doesn't feel right." Walldewd's clan… well, they could have been more sympathetic. After Walldewd expressed disbelief in the chat Miso said "if that ain't a RIPbozo idk what is." Invisible had a little more empathy, saying "how does it make sense to die while feigning death" to which Crankerjack pointed out, not unreasonably, that "you hold your breath for six minutes" (this is WoW headcanon: the Hunter holds their breath while feigning death).

Other reactions are more sympathetic, while most are other WoW players surprised that this is even a thing: and arguing over whether it's right or wrong for the mechanic to work that way. Seems to me Blizzard made a call on that a long time ago, but clearly the Classic dev team didn't get the memo. There are worse ways to go I suppose, like a troll suddenly revealing themselves in the middle of a boss fight and wiping a whole team of hardcore raiders. But not many deaths are as embarrassing as this.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."