Messages placed directly in or around games is a common hack technique. It can be used for trolling, phishing, scams, or anything else the message-placer can think of. Messages can also be placed in games for the purposes of advertising but that’s a tale for a different day.

Recently, players of Apex Legends have found themselves blocked from playing the game, thanks to said message placement. The multiplayer title had server playlists switched out for commentary on the state of Titanfall. This is an older game made by the same developers, Respawn Entertainment.

Levelling up a pyrrhic victory

Fans have complained for a while now that Titanfall has become unplayable due to hacks and cheaters. As such, this message – “Save Titanfall, TF1 is being attacked so is Apex” gave the same treatment to Apex Legends that Titanfall has been plagued by. Can’t play one game? Sorry, then you can’t play this game over here either. A sort of mutually assured destruction played out in games over screens.

Game developers Respawn have come out all digital guns blazing, claiming the attacks “achieved nothing of value”. This is because the messages referenced a campaign to “save” Titanfall which they were already aware of. Besides the extra work for the devs and a ruined weekend, the biggest reputation hit belongs to the Save Titanfall campaign. They’ve had to place a message at the top of their site which reads

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: This website, nor the Discord servers listed below, are in no way associated with the recent Apex Legends hack.

Plugging the DDoS gap in gaming

Ouch. DDoS attacks in video game land have been around forever. As the Respawn dev points out, solving such problems in gaming environments isn’t easy. Being locked out of multiplayer only games isn’t something the players can fix, so all eyes will be on the dev team to see what they can do about the current, occasional lack of a state of play.

It’s possible more antics will take place in Apex land until such time as Titanfall is back to full health, so gamers should be on their guard.