Meridian 59 is a game with a pirate problem. A while back, the server source code leaked onto the internet and seedy players began hosting their own servers without subscription fees. Pirate servers are a problem for many MMOs, but because of M59's comparatively small scale, it has a lot more to lose to the trend.

Amidst these troubles, some M59 players can be quite loyal. Case in point: the blog of game developer Patrick Rogers tells the story of two former M59 players hacking into a pirate server and mass-killing all its residents with powerful admin commands. The vigilantes hoped to make life (and death) on the pirate servers as unpleasant as possible so as to encourage the residents to migrate to the legitimate servers hosted by Near Death Studios. That's not the most amazing bit, though.

The vigilantes had been banned from the official servers for taking advantage of an item duping bug. Even though they're no longer welcome in the legit M59 community, they're still going out of their way to preserve it. They weren't the only ones banned, either; the admins running the server had also been banned.

Massively asked Near Death Studios co-founder Brian Green about M59's pirate server problem. "I wish people would take that drive and creativity and create new games instead of stealing old ones," he said. "But in general, this does show that some people are very passionate about the game." When asked about the banned players, he said: "Meridian 59 is a PvP-focused game, and cheating harms PvP for everyone."

One of the two vigilantes went by the name Revenant, and had been a well-known (and somewhat reviled) player killer in the Meridian 59 community. He claimed that the bannable offense on his account had not been performed by him, but by someone with whom he had shared the account. He sought reinstation, but was denied. On why the accounts were not reinstated, Green said: "Unfortunately, people do share accounts against the Terms of Service, but the actions of the account are the responsibility of the owners."

According to Green, Near Death Studios was forced to ban about 5% of its user-base as a result of the exploit -- a painful blow, as the game is only marginally in the black.

[Via Raph Koster]

[EDIT: As a result of a miscommunication, we mistakenly reported that Revenant was one of the vigilantes. In fact, he is one of the operators of the pirate server. We apologize for the error.]

This article was originally published on Massively.
No, you can't has AoC buddy key. Yet.