Apex Legends hacked to protest Titanfall server hacks

Broad reports from players across social media outlined a hacking attack on Apex Legends servers that left the game unplayable, instead of replacing server playlists with a message about Titanfall, Respawn’s previous game series. “SAVETITANFALL.COM, TF1 is being attacked so is Apex,” said the message. Players also received an “Important Message” popup after matches reading “Visit and repost savetitanfall.com”. 

The “savetitanfall.com” website has a message indicating that the site, and the Discord servers listed on it, are “in no way associated with the recent Apex Legends hack.”

Players who saw the hack were unable to queue for any game mode but the one hacked to display the message. PC Gamer was able to find examples of the hack in both PC and PS4 lobbies.

The savetitanfall.com website, which has been up for a few months now, is designed to draw attention to Titanfall, a game that has been generally unplayable for years now due to a plague of hackers who take down the servers and spam those lobbies that do start with bots. As Titanfall is a multiplayer-only game, this leaves the game—which is still widely on sale—generally unplayable. A few weeks of uptime have popped up every once in a while over the past few months, most notably following a promise by Respawn that “help is coming.”

Despite that promise, the servers have still dropped in and out regularly. Game servers have been dropping out regularly since 2018, according to members of the Titanfall Remnant Fleet community, leaving the game unplayable for weeks at a time. The outages started long before Titanfall made its way to Steam late last year, though the Steam forums are flooded with posts saying the game is unplayable.

Following this story’s initial publication, Respawn tweeted that it was investigating the issue and then put out a server update that it says has fixed the problem. Respawn also stated that “this attack—while disruptive—has not put players’ personal information or accounts at risk.”

Image Credit: theverge.com

This isn’t the first hacking problem to hit Apex Legends. Earlier this year, Respawn pledged to take steps to address those hacking and DDoS attack problems as well. 

In May, Respawn Entertainment’s communications director Ryan K. Rigney tweeted about the frustrations of dealing with these hackers. Rigney said that “weeks of work” are required to address each new exploit.

Respawn Entertainment’s battle royale shooter Apex Legends has proven to be a hit, with over 100 million unique players, and counted over 300,000 people playing on Steam at one time in May. But an issue bubbling over from its earlier Titanfall games is now having an impact on Apex, as reports across social media show players running into messages from people hacking the game with a “Save Titanfall” message.

Respawn acknowledged the issues on Twitter, saying “We are aware of and actively investigating issues impacting @PlayApex playlists that are preventing players from getting into matches.” In a follow-up tweet at 7 PM, the developer said these attacks don’t put the personal information of players at risk, and that the team is testing a fix. As of 10:15 PM, the developer appeared confident that problems for Apex Legends are resolved

The issue went on for hours, and when players were affected, they couldn’t queue for new games. All of this happened at the same time that Apex is hosting special event drawing players back to the original versions of its first two maps (including divisive areas like Skulltown, pictured above). As PC Gamer and Kotaku report, the messages have been appearing for players on PC, Xbox One and PS4. I joined a game on PC and when the match was over, I was greeted with the following message pointing to a “Save Titanfall” website. After Respawn indicated the problems were over, I managed to play a few matches without any odd messages or matchmaking problems beyond the usual ones, like not getting paired with enough/any teammates.

apex legends
Image Credit: ea.com

It appears that whoever is behind this attack is doing it because of similar issues that have affected the Titanfall games going back years. A problem attributed to a single person kicked players out of Titanfall 1 sessions on PC and inundated them with racist messages, making the multiplayer-only title largely unplayable, in an issue dating back to 2019.

In recent months Respawn has tweeted that “help is coming ASAP” and “the team is investigating” problems like DDOS attacks on the Titanfall series, but the issues continue. With hacking becoming a game-stopping problem for a franchise that EA is counting on to provide over $750 million in net bookings during its 2022 financial year, solutions can’t wait much longer.

Apex Legends is one of the most successful games in the market today. We now have more than 100 million unique players in the game on console and PC, with player engagement growing globally at incredible levels throughout the last year — and we are forecasting continued growth…We are forecasting close to 20% year-over-year growth to $750 million in net bookings for Apex Legends in FY22, with significant potential for upside this year and beyond as we launch the mobile game. — Andrew Wilson, EA CEO 

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