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Video Game Fixes That Only Made Things Worse

In the modern age of gaming, patches and updates have become extremely commonplace. Whether they add more content, balance various items and abilities, or fix game-breaking and enjoyment-hindering bugs, patches are pretty much a given at this point. However, despite all the best intentions, there are aspects of the update system that have become a sore spot for many gamers. Generally, players have become jaded, or else worried that companies will default to releasing unfinished or sloppy games with the intention of fixing them with updates down the line. 

Sometimes a steady flow of updates can turn a game around, as in the case of "Cyberpunk 2077." However, one aspect of updates that fans rarely talk about is the potential they have to unintentionally ruin the games they're meant to fix. While updates typically make games better, developers aren't perfect individuals. Whether they introduce a new game-breaking bug, horribly ruin the balance of PvP, or make fan-favorite playstyles obsolete, sometimes "fixing" a game is actually the best way to mess it up. Even removing something that is considered a bug may blemish the experience for devoted fans in the long run. Here are some examples of video game fixes that only ended up making things worse.

Palworld accidentally fixed a fan-favorite glitch

Although the initial hype of "Palworld" has died out, many devoted fans are still keeping up with the game. Due to this, these players were quick to lash out at the "Palworld" creators when Pocketpair patched out a fan-favorite glitch that allowed players to capture Tower Bosses. To perform this glitch, players needed to achieve a wanted level and enter the boss arena by fast-traveling. After doing this, the entire game would enter a glitched state, freezing the boss and allowing it to be captured with a normal Pal Sphere.

While fans were disappointed to see that "Palworld" fixed the glitch, it turns out that fixing the glitch was actually an unintended consequence of patching out some of the game's other bugs. By smoothing out a glitch involving the game's wanted levels, the capture of Tower Boss Pals was no longer possible. Instead of doubling down on the decision to fix the glitch, developer Pocketpair posted, "a bug that allowed players to capture the tower boss was unintentionally fixed. We apologize for inadvertently fixing a bug." Fans of the game were generally happy with this response, with some theorizing that a mechanic may eventually be added to the game that mimics the old glitch.

Marvel's Avengers leaked players' IP addresses

Here's a wild example of a patch that not only broke the game it was trying to improve, but actually put players in potential danger. While Crystal Dynamic's "Marvel's Avengers" wasn't the most beloved game in existence, the game still had a dedicated fanbase that stuck around as long as possible, which warranted frequent patching. These patches ranged from simple gameplay fixes to completely new characters and maps. For PS5 players, the 1.8.0 patch added an unexpected feature that fans were definitely unhappy to see. This patch introduced a bug to the game that leaked players' IP addresses during gameplay. This meant that any content creator trying to stream the game would have their IP address exposed to anyone who viewed their stream on Twitch or other platforms.

Players were rightfully upset about this bug, especially since the official response from the team behind the game was less than stellar. The game's official account on X (formerly Twitter) posted, "We're aware of the issue where a floating string of text appears on the screen and are investigating." However, fans thought that this was severely underselling the issue, with one responding, "Floating string of text. You are joking yeah? It's people's IP addresses. Come on." In the end, while this issue was quickly fixed, the gaffe left a sour taste in players' mouths.

Gwent's Midwinter Patch

A patch can unintentionally ruin a game in many ways. For "Palworld," the patch removed a fun aspect of the game that players enjoyed. On the other hand, "Marvel's Avengers" accidentally introduced a security risk. However, there is another way a patch can mess up a game: By throwing off the balance of a competitive experience. In this way, the "Witcher" card game spinoff "Gwent" saw one of the most infamous patches for a game of its type. Balancing a card game can already be a very difficult thing to get right, and the Midwinter patch was not only buggy, but it also introduced many misguided RNG (random number generation) mechanics that were supposed to make the game more fun.

As many fans of other TCGs may know, RNG mechanics — depending on how prevalent they are — can make for unfair matches that replace skill and strategy with luck. The unreliability and power of these cards make them more frustrating for everyone involved in the match. Even worse, the new RNG-driven cards in "Gwent" were extremely powerful, forcing players to run the cards in order to be successful. Players complained of feeling like the overall strategy of the game was dumbed-down in the wake of this patch, leading to a number of players giving up on "Gwent" altogether.

Cuphead removed speedrunning glitches

In a similar case to the "Palworld" controversy, sometimes game glitches can benefit the game's speedrunning community. A classic example of this the BLJ in "Super Mario 64," a glitch that allows Mario to gain large amounts of speed by jumping backwards on sloped surfaces. If done correctly, Mario could eventually gain enough momentum to fly past doors that are normally locked. Although casual players would never imagine using the technique, a speedrunner could use the BLJ to skip large portions of the game. "Cuphead" has similarly been a favorite among speedrunning communities. To make the game go by faster, runners discovered a wide variety of glitches that could kill difficult bosses in no time flat. However, not too long after the game's release, the community was dismayed to see many of their favorite exploits removed, including a rapid-weapon-swap damage glitch and the ability to create a literal Mugman army.

One fan remarked that the glitch runs were "fun while [they] lasted." Thankfully, a mod for the speedrunning board revealed that de-patching the game was possible and would be an option for original speedruns of the game. The removed glitches weren't bad news for every fan, with some taking the update as an opportunity to start speedrunning "Cuphead," without needing to learn a laundry list of difficult and complex glitches. This goes to show that even if a patch ruins the game for some players, there will still be those who welcome these fixes.

The Culling

While introducing RNG to a game can absolutely destroy the balance of competitive game modes, removing RNG can do the same thing. This was especially true for "The Culling." This title was very similar to battle royale juggernauts like "Fortnite" and "Apex Legends," yet it failed to find its footing in the extremely competitive market. Developer Xaviant attempted to save the game with a patch that aimed to fix the many issues that players were having. However, one thing that many players didn't ask for was the removal of RNG-based loot. Now, instead of finding loot randomly around the map, like in a typical battle royale, players were able to purchase whatever weapon they wanted.

While this may seem like a good choice to some, RNG is an element that makes the battle royale genre unique. Finding sub-optimal loot is part of the challenge, helping to keep things fresh and exciting. This patch marked the final downfall for "The Culling," and the game faded into obscurity not long after the release of the patch. One fan points to this as one of the game's main theories for the dwindling player base, stating, "[The developers] dramatically changed [the game's] core vision from battle-royale to one of pre-selected airdrops and visible content in crates before you opened them." In the end, the game changed too quickly and too drastically for its audience to keep up, and the mystery was just gone.

Halo 2 (Master Chief Collection)

Yet another game that alienated its speedrunning community with a patch is "Halo 2," specifically the version from the "Master Chief Collection." Speedrunners were dismayed when a number of fun physics-based speed techniques were removed only a few years ago. Given the fact that "Halo 2" is nearly two decades old, fans thought that its longtime glitches were safe from harm. However, during the Season 8 update of the "Master Chief Collection," 343 Industries fixed high-speed collision issues and removed the slide jump tech, a move that allowed players to gain extra height and speed on a jump after sliding down a sloped surface. With these changes alone, reaching certain world record times is now impossible without attempting to de-patch the game.

Overall, although it seems like 343 industries solved many of the game's issues here, there are actually more pressing bugs that players wish the company had fixed instead. Players noted that it was bizarre that many other bits of broken physics were left in the game, including swordflys, a glitch that increases the range of the Energy Sword's dash attack. Other fans noted that some cutscenes are still bugged to the point of breaking the game, yet these haven't been fixed. While fixing these bugs hasn't impacted every player personally, it seems many fans believe that 343 Industries' resources could have been put to better use somewhere else.

Hitman 3

Back when it was first released, "Hitman 3" had a truly bizarre glitch that gave players a huge advantage: a muffin that defied physics. While not very useful on its own, speedrunning scientists quickly learned that players could steal the muffin and stand on top of it, gaining just a little bit of height. This allowed them to pull off an intricate shot that would otherwise be impossible, finishing the game's hardest mission in record time and with little resistance. However, while performing standard patches and bug fixes involving the game's physics, IO Interactive accidentally patched out this muffin glitch, severely hindering any future "Hitman 3" speedrunners that downloaded the patch.

Fans were quick to petition for IO Interactive to add the glitch back in the game both for the sake of speedrunners, as well as for those who wanted an easier time on one of the game's tougher missions. Similar to "Palworld," the company was quick to respond to fan outcry with a statement explaining that the removal of the muffin glitch was actually a mistake. "Thing is, we did not intend to fix this, as we liked the content that it came with," IO Interactive stated. "Therefore – we will introduce the muffin trick again in a later patch this year." Fans were very appreciative of this decision, as IO clearly understood why the glitch was fun.

Star Wars Galaxies: New Game Enhancement

"Star Wars: Galaxies" was an MMORPG meant to accurately allow players to live out virtual lives in the "Star Wars" universe, with in-depth and complicated professions ranging from Bounty Hunter to Entertainer. Sadly, the game was all but ruined when the developers added New Game Enhancements, which severely limited the complexity and depth of the game. Before, players could make complex and in-depth builds by leveling through unique skill trees, leading to almost endless possibilities for character customization. Although it can seem daunting at first, the original concept of the game made it stand out from other MMOs and "Star Wars" media. However, after the patch, many felt as if "Star Wars: Galaxies" became a generic "World of Warcraft" clone. Skill trees were removed and classes were simplified and condensed into more broad archetypes.

While it's always good to strike a balance between complex systems and accessibility for new players, particularly for a huge IP tie-in like "Star Wars," fans of the game seemed to universally agree that dumbing things down was not the right move for "Star Wars: Galaxies." One fan on Reddit even goes as far as to say, "It didn't only ruin the game but changed the course of MMORPGs for years to come." Some have argued that the failure of "Star Wars: Galaxies" so close to the release of "WoW" that more players flocked to the up-and-coming MMO, cementing it as the dominant formula for the genre. Whether this is true or not, one thing is still certain: the NGE update led to a mass exodus of players from an inventive and unique "Star Wars" MMO.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

Ending on a truly bizarre note, we have a glitch that was patched into "Read Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare" long after the game's initial release. Although "Red Dead Redemption" has always been a popular game on its own, many players fondly remember the "Undead Nightmare" DLC as a fantastic addition to an already great experience. In this mode, rather than the usual western endeavor, John Marston is thrust into a world of zombies where he must help survivors and search for a cure. Due to how popular the original game and its DLC are, Rockstar Games made sure to keep an eye on the franchise, hotfixing and updating various issues from time to time. However, a patch was added in 2014 (four years after the initial launch), which added a game-breaking bug to the "Undead Nightmare" DLC. A series of glitches began to corrupt the game, causing NPCs to grow more and more distorted, use guns, or cause a wide variety of other bizarre phenomena. Enemies became invisible, cougars constantly respawned and couldn't be killed — it was a mess.

In the end, fans were disappointed that Rockstar seemingly broke and then abandoned "Undead Nightmare," completely ruining the game for anyone who downloaded the newest patch. Even as recently as 2024, players are still wondering if the glitch has been fixed or not. While it may be too late for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of "Undead Nightmare," players have been relieved to see that the Switch port is in much better shape.

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