The Penguin Hide and Seek glitch was a glitch that occurred on 28 January 2009 involving the Distractions and Diversions Penguin Hide and Seek. Players discovered the glitch when they found out they could spy on the same penguin over and over again. As a result, players could gain 50 points in a short amount of time, visit Larry, trade them in for experience, and then return to the penguin to earn more points. On World 60, the closest penguin to Larry was located north of the Ardougne Zoo in the church, and eventually moved south of the Legends' Guild, so a majority of the players who abused the bug abused it there for maximum efficiency.
News of this glitch spread through the RuneScape Forums, private messages, and friends chats (called clan chats at the time); and soon hundreds of players of all combat levels abused the glitch. Hundreds of players also went to the location to watch the events unfold, as well as to report people who abuse the glitch. Many players also realised that their Summoning familiars could stand on top of them, blocking them and making it harder to be seen spying a penguin, and so they used that to their advantage. Hundreds of thousands of experience points were obtained due to the glitch and many legitimate players lost a highscore ranking.
Honest players attempted to report the abusing players, but the bug abusers outnumbered them. Some players resorted to taking videos of the glitch in an attempt to catch those who abused the glitch. When news of the glitch got to Jagex Moderators and appeared on the Forums, Jagex disabled the Penguin Hide and Seek feature until the glitch was fixed. Players could still cash in penguin points if they had any.
Jagex assured people on the official forums that the players who abused this glitch would not get away with it. According to Mod Poppy, Jagex has a program that can trace this type of data, and that it will take time until all the users who abused the glitch are punished.
Action against players
As you may be aware, there was a recent bug whereby some players were able, unfairly, to gain unusually-large rewards from penguin spotting.
We have taken action against a number of players who gained more rewards than normal as a result of this bug.
All offences committed, and actions taken by Jagex as a result, are private matters between Jagex and the account holder. They are not suitable for discussion in a publicly-visible forum, either by the player concerned or by another player posting on their behalf. The correct course of action for the affected player to take is to use the Appeal Bans & Mutes system from the Help menu.
We are not going to 'name and shame' players, nor will we disclose what action has been taken against any specific account.
However, we would like to clarify several points:
1) Offences were all applied manually. This was not an automated mass-ban.
We don't release details about exactly how we catch people cheating, as these could help would-be cheaters avoid detection. However, we can say that every single player who has had action taken against them as a result of this incident was dealt with manually.
2) No-one has had action taken against them just because they happened to be in the area while other players were exploiting the bug.
We do not punish players just for being present while bug abuse is taking place.
3) All players affected by this have received an inbox message to explain what has happened.
If you are one of these players and you have not yet checked your inbox on the account in question, please do so.
4) Offences will be reviewed manually.
We will manually review every single account against which we have taken action today.
5) All offences should be considered temporary until the review has taken place.
Following the review, it is possible that some players may be permanently banned for this. It is likely that some of the players currently banned may be allowed back into the game with no further action.
Finally, we would just like to remind you once again that discussing this issue on the forums is not permitted because it concerns private account details. Threads about this issue may be locked with no warning.
Mod Jon HJagex Community Management
Mod Jon H, RuneScape Forums
Penguin banning resolution
We have now assessed the players who have been banned for abusing a bug involving being able to spot a penguin infinitely rather than the usual once. For the next few hours we will be in the process of taking the appropriate action for each account.
They fall into three categories.
In the first category, 159 players have been permanently banned. These are players who have spotted a penguin at least 250 times and cashed in their points. Most had spotted significantly more than 250. Many had spotted several thousand penguins.
When you bear in mind that you can only spot 50 penguins at once. This means the players had to click on a penguin 50 times go to Larry for lots of rewards, then go back to the penguin and click 50 times go to Larry etc etc. That’s not something you can possibly do by accident.
All these people got enough penguin points to gain hundreds of thousands of xp points in hard to level skills. For several players it was millions of xp gained.
This is an extremely flagrant abuse of rule 4.
We are very aware that we have a lot of customers who play this game mostly to compete in the hiscore tables. Using bugs to gain this much xp is not fair for all the many honest players who compete for places in the hiscore table by putting in a lot of effort to get up their experience by playing legitimately.
In the second category there are a number of players who also knowingly abused the bug and deliberately gained extra rewards from it. The numbers of penguins caught and the number of times they cashed in their points at Larry is quite clearly more than an accident, but the advantaged gained was not obscene.
These players received temporary bans for breaking rule 4.
In the third category there are a number of accounts which we felt banning them was a little too harsh. They had all spotted several more penguins than normal. Contrary to what some people have claimed we didn’t ban anyone who spotted very small numbers extra, but we feel we should have set the number even higher as on further review there are a number of users banned who we don’t think were deliberately trying to break the rules.
Nearly all of the those accounts were unbanned on Friday night, which is only two or three hours after they were initially banned, so hopefully it didn’t inconvenience to many people. We apologise to any of these people who did lose playtime as a result. We are giving some free membership credit to those users.
A number of people have suggested a roll back of XP. While we can certainly see the merits of this idea, it’s unfortunately not technically possible at this time.
I would remind all players that making use of bugs to gain an advantage in the game is against the rules and not fair on other players. For Jagex’s part we should try as hard as we can not to let these issues arise in the first place, and we have learned from this, but when we have a game as in depth and as complicated as Runescape, even with many people testing changes, it’s unfortunately impossible to guarantee that the game will be completely bug free.
Thanks for everyone that has brought this bug to our attention and thanks to everyone who withstood the temptation to abuse this bug – you are the kind of player that makes the RuneScape community so special :)