Last month, saw the emergence of a damaging new hack that let attackers literally steal the clothes off other players’ backs. Now, Bethesda is making affected players whole (and clothed) again via a roundabout method that involves clones of their past selves.
The inventory theft hack, which targeted the PC version of the game, was widely popularized in a December 22 video showing a player stealing gear from dozens of fellow players, who go from fully clothed to standing in their underwear in the blink of an eye.
Players quickly threw up warnings and evidence of the hack’s spread on Reddit and looked for answers from the game’s developer.
By December 23, Bethesda had acknowledged the hack and said it “may have resulted in a few players losing items that their characters had equipped,” in a Reddit post. A patch soon followed to prevent further in-game thievery, but players that had their items stolen were still left without even the shirt on their virtual backs.
“We would like to apologize to those of you who were impacted by this exploit,” a Bethesda spokesperson said in December. “We want to make this right, and we are currently looking into ways we may be able to compensate you.”
A month later, word of Bethesda’s compensation method is starting to trickle out. Emails from Bethesda, shared by players who were victims of the hack, note that the company has restored “a clone of your character (with a modified name)” to the affected players’ accounts.
That clone has “the entire inventory of items, gear, and scrap… that it possessed on December 20, 2019,” as well as 8,250 additional atoms of in-game currency (worth about $66 at the best available prices). Affected players are also able to make a “secure trade” from the clone to their original character via a private server, and Bethesda is providing customer support agents to assist with this process.
It’s nice to see Bethesda taking the time and effort to restore the players hurt by their game’s online security issues and to compensate those somewhat for the inconvenience caused. But given ‘s history with other major hacks and glitches, we have to wonder when the next serious breach will occur.