Virus kills off Borderlands 2 video game characters

Xbox 360 players of Borderlands 2, the video game created by Gearbox Studios, face new obstacle as players report numerous bizarre character deaths.

Apparently, “modders,” third party people who modify the content to perform functions outside of the designers’ original intentions, are to blame for the virus.

Gearbox Studios community manager Chris Faylor acknowledged the attacks last Friday via user forum post.

“Recently a few users have begun violating the Xbox Live Code of Conduct by using an external application to maliciously disrupt the experience and sabotage characters of legitimate Borderlands 2 players on Xbox 360. Fortunately it’s easy to avoid this scenario,” he said.

While the issue has not been reported from PC or PlayStation 3 players, Faylor filed the Xbox 360 issue with Microsoft and it will be corrected soon.

The “modding” originates from hidden options within the game that gives users the ability to essentially create super-characters that reach extraordinary skill levels (beyond what the game technically allows) as well as superior weaponry.

The so-called “badass mode” or “hardcore mode” causes the Borderlands 2 characters unto whom the function has been performed to be deleted upon death. Even worse, any character who plays alongside a character in this mode will automatically inherit it as well.

“It’s like an STD…Even if you never joined a modder, if someone you played with has or someone they played with…you still get the setting saved in your data unfortunately,” commented user Ryz866 on the game forum.

According to other messages in Gearbox forums, resulting problems include character data deletion and characters getting totally killed off, rather than “respawning” as the game is intended to work.

The gaming console allows users to publically compete online against real players, which is exciting, but also poses the issue of increased hacking on gaming platforms. Until the issue is fixed, Faylor suggests gamers play online in private sessions.

Further, to circumvent the issue, the developer advised that “before ceasing play, users always select ‘Save and Quit’ from within the pause menu while their character is alive. If after the death of their character players find themselves at the main menu of Borderlands 2 instead of respawning in-game, be sure to immediately select “Continue” to resume playing as that character.”

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