Back to WoW
I have been a World of Warcraft player since it’s launch in November 2004. I have put the game on pause at various points in those six years when life took its toll with evolving job opportunities, new relationships and relocating across continents. WoW has also, on occasion, taken a back seat to other MMOs as they continue to (over)saturate the market; the worst of which was foregoing the WoW subscription for Champions Online, given my experiences with the game.
Yet somehow, I always end up coming back to WoW for one reason or another. Maybe its because I have not been able to forge friendships in any other MMO the way I did in WoW. Maybe it is because on a subconscious level I understand that almost every other MMO out there is trying to either blatantly rip off Blizzard’s tried and tested methodologies, or implementing botched and poorly executed versions of otherwise novel and innovative concepts. Or perhaps the fact of the matter is that no matter how much I try to hate WoW, it is the only MMO that I can thoroughly enjoy for any considerable length of time.
This time however, the situation was a little different. Three months ago, I was contacted by an old WoW friend and guildie, Milamber.
Milamber: “Dude, why are you in Crystalsong Forest all day? And how come you never respond to my tells?”
Bronte: “Excuse me?”
Milamber: “I messaged you a few times, as did some of the other guys, but we you never respond, and the strange thing is that you are on almost all the time.”
Bronte: “Uh, you realize I haven’t played WoW in about 3 months now?”
Bronte: “I haven’t played WoW in three months man, what are you on about?!”
Milamber: “Soooo you don’t even have an active subscription to WoW?”
Bronte: “I am afraid not. Are you sure its one of my characters?”
Milamber: “Am I sure? Let’s see, its Bronte, and its a Paladin on our server. No I don’t think I am confused about this!”
And then it hit me. My account had been hacked!
Further investigation led us to Bronte’s Armory page, which showed my Paladin in blue/green DPS gear, with a retribution build, wielding a green two-handed axe. Allow me to paint you a picture here. Bronte has always been a healer, from the initial shaky steps in Upper Blackrock Spire to determinedly exterminating the Twin Emperors in Ahn-Qiraj to downing Illidan Stormrage in the Outlands and beyond, Bronte has always been (and always will be) a healer. In fact, I have even leveled Bronte as a healer during the leveling rush of both The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. To imagine him then, dressed in retribution gear – shoddy retribution gear at that – with a retribution build, farming fucking fire elements in Crystalsong Forest, to say the least, boiled my blood!
I tried logging into my Battle Net account, but the system didn’t accept my password. Fortunately even after hacking the account and changing my password, the bastard could not change the email the account was tied to because the passwords for all of my online logins are different. So I went through the retrieve password option, reset the password through my gmail account. The hacker had also set up a monthly subscription to the game with his own credit card, which, due to the built in security with Battle Net, I unfortunately did not have access to. At any rate, the account was secure again, and the hacker had lost almost a full month of game time. Not bad for a day’s work. The ‘hacked’ Bronte was never seen online again.
Fallout, Aftermath, Repercussions – Part I
Recently I decided to return to the game. Upon logging in to Battle Net to set up a subscription, I found out that the account had been “banned, suspended or otherwise frozen”. I was advised to email Blizzard account support to resolve the issue. So I emailed Blizzard. I received a response stating that the account was $14.99 in debt. The email stated the following:
Access to the World of Warcraft account *************, has been temporarily disabled due to a dispute filed against the account’s past payments. This dispute was filed by the bank, credit card provider, or financial institution associated with the payment on the account. As a result of this dispute, funds paid on the account were withdrawn from Blizzard Entertainment. This is known as a “chargeback”.
The total withdrawn by this chargeback was: $14.99.
Not only did the hacker abuse my account, he also claimed his money by filing a dispute. What a dick! I emailed Blizzard again, and explained the situation to see if it could get rectified. Three days later, I received the following:
After a thorough review of World of Warcraft account *************, we have determined that the registered user does not appear to have been in control of the account at the time of the charge that was contested by the financial institution; as a result we will waive the chargeback(s) that you were previously notified of. The fees in the amount of $14.99 have been addressed, and you will not be required to repay us for those funds.
Salvation at last! I was finally in control of my account! Little did I realize that the repercussions of a hacked account reached much farther and wider than the predicaments I had already faced.
Fallout, Aftermath, Repercussions – Part II
For one thing, I realized that although Bronte was fully geared in Retribution gear, all his other gear, gear that had been painstakingly acquired over months of raiding and hard work, was gone. The gear had either been disenchanted or sold to a vendor to make the extra gold for the hacker/gold farmer. He had even liquidated all of my supplies, potions, elixirs, flasks and consumables. In fact, all that was left on Bronte, in both bank and inventory, was a hearthstone, and several stacks of food and water for recovering after intense farming sessions.
But that’s not all. I have always been addicted to crafting the perfect UI for myself, and so as I set about tweaking the UI with various mods, I went out into the world to do some combat to check the functionality of a few of these addons. As I tried to skin a fallen foe, I was greeted with a message across my screen: “You require a skinning knife for this action.” That asshole has even sold my skinning knife!
And the worst was yet to come. The hacker sold my Runed Adamantite Rod. That sounds like a fairly simple affair, for its just one item, and surely an enchanter could create a new one. Allow me to walk you through what it takes for one to recover his Runed Adamantite Rod:
- Combine Copper Rod with 1 x Lesser Magic Essence, 1 x Strange Dust to create a Runed Copper Rod.
- Combine Runed Copper Rod with 1 x Silver Rod, 3 x Greater Magic Essence, 6 x Strange Dust to create a Runed Silver Rod.
- Combine Runed Silver Rod with 1 x Golden Rod, 1 x Iridescent Pearl, 2 x Greater Astral Essence, 2 x Soul Dust to create a Runed Golden Rod.
- Combine Runed Golden Rod with 1 x Truesilver Rod, 1 x Black Pearl, 2 x Greater Mystic Essence, 2 x Vision Dust to create a Runed Truesilver Rod.
- Combine Runed Truesilver Rod with 1 x Arcanite Rod, 1 x Golden Pearl, 10 x Illusion Dust, 4 x Greater Eternal Essence, 2 x Large Brilliant Shard to create a Runed Arcanite Rod.
- Combine Runed Arcanite Rod with 1 x Fel Iron Rod, 4 x Greater Eternal Essence, 6 x Large Brilliant Shard to create Runed Fel Iron Rod.
- Combine Runed Fel Iron Rod with 1 x Adamantite Rod, 8 x Greater Planar Essence, 8 x Large Prismatic Shard , 1 x Primal Might to create a Runed Adamantite Rod.
To say that I am upset, would be sort of like saying ‘Elvis sang a little’. *sigh*
Anyone else got any horror stories about people who got their accounts hacked?
Via Kotaku, here is a pretty decent shaky-cam footage of the premiere CGI trailer for Crysis 2, which, unless you are a shooter fan who has lived under a rock most of the last two years, is set in New York City. Crytek had tweeted about this yesterday, I guess this is what they had in mind. However, the website, S.O.S. New York, still has a clock ticking down to zero. At the time of writing this article, 2 days and 11 hours were left in the timer.
Times Square. Alien Invasion. Post-apocalyptic setting. A suit that makes your ass stick out more prominently than an albino at the space launch.
What more could one possibly want?