Losing characters to bastard gold sellers

8th December 2009 – 5.38 pm

Hot on the heels of my EVE Online client corrupting game files, my World of Warcraft account is compromised. I reactivate the account to join the Baconeers for more adventures in Northrend. On my first day back, we successfully defeat the Halls of Lightning instance on heroic difficulty, defeating final boss Loken in a thrilling confrontation, and even getting the 'Shatter Resistant' achievement earlier. The next day I get an e-mail informing me that my password has been changed, an act I did not do. The e-mail looks nothing like the normal phishing attempts I get regularly, and when I am able to check, I can indeed no longer log in. I go to my account management page and request a password reset, fearing what has happened to my characters.

Of course, it is not my World of Warcraft account that has been compromised, but my Battlenet account. Blizzard recently mandated all World of Warcraft accounts be merged in to a Battlenet account. As the change is compulsory I oblige, although even the temptation of a new in-game pet would not have been near enough to convince me had the change been optional. Although security through obscurity doesn't work, I don't see the sense in requiring players to register their e-mail addresses to be their usernames. Registering an e-mail address as a username probably reduces the number of accounts traded, helping Blizzard, but I fail to see the benefit to the customer. When I can choose a username, it is another step someone has to take to crack my account. When the username is my e-mail address, the first step becomes easier to guess, almost trivial. And when Blizzard want all games the customer plays to be linked to the same e-mail address, it means only one account needs to be compromised in order to compromise them all.

Having my US and EU World of Warcraft accounts linked, to comply with the mandate of registering my games to an e-mail address, I am concerned that all my characters will be stripped of all they possess, and everything sold or transferred. I log in to my EU account and am relieved to see that my characters aren't wearing default or no clothing, and everything seems normal. It occurs to me later that being in possession of the account details is not enough, an EU installation of the game being required in order to access anything, as it is not possible to cross server boundaries. But this just means that what comes next will be painful. I log in to my US account, and it's a disastrous mess.

Apart from two lowbie alts of no concern, only my death knight remains, and she has been stripped of anything that can be sold and robbed of all gold. My other characters, including the warrior who tanked heroic Halls of Lightning the previous night, are deleted. They may be virtual characters wearing virtual items, but to me the characters represent memories of good times and promises of more. It is quite upsetting to think of them as irretrievably missing. I understand that Blizzard are generally active in reinstating characters and items lost from compromised accounts, so I have hope. For now, I must wait. I have logged the incident and retaken control of my account.

I don't believe accounts would be compromised and have items sold and gold transferred if it weren't for illegitimate gold sellers. Whilst there are methods for generating gold, none are quite so quick as stripping high-level characters of everything they own and sending it all on to a mule. And there would be no need to get in-game gold this way if it weren't for the laziness and cupidity of those who buy illegitimate gold. I don't dispute that some games unfavourably restrict content based on those who have more time than others, and may agree that being able to trade money for time could be reasonable in some circumstances, but anyone who pays illegitimately is an inconsiderate arsehole who either doesn't understand the implications of their actions or is even more hateful for not caring. Giving custom to illegitimate gold sellers will only continue to frustrate and upset ordinary people who suffer the consequences.

As a final poetic act, the complete bastards who delete my World of Warcrat characters also restore all my settings to the defaults, including all keymapping. Apparently, they found it too difficult to walk between the bank and mailbox with my slightly modified settings. I have not been looking forwards to restoring my EVE Online settings, and now I have to do the same for World of Warcraft. I am furious right now. It looks like I'll be taking less time playing and more time to catch up with my writing, if only to calm down.

  1. 6 Responses to “Losing characters to bastard gold sellers”

  2. Gah, bastards.

    Hope you get it restored, make sure you're persistent about it, it seems to be the case that the squeaky wheel gets the grease with these incidents.

    By Stabs on Dec 8, 2009

  3. No whammy! No whammy! No whammy!




    By Squizz Caphinator on Dec 8, 2009

  4. Damn, even though I dislike WoW currently. I must admit I did love it when I played it (Joined the rest of the Eve community and it's anti-WoW ways). I also had some account problems with them way back, but unfortunately never suffered the fate that you did. Like stabs said, be persistent, Blizzard has always come through for me when I needed them, and I'm sure they'll do the same for you.

    Anywho, love the blog and glad I 'stumbled' upon it by finally installing the Eve Bloggers OPML file. I'll defiantly be a consistent reader.

    By TheJaguar on Dec 8, 2009

  5. It should be possible to restore my characters, but I'm not sure I am at the stage where I can be persistent just yet. I have filed a report and it has been logged, but I have no separate contact yet.

    My main concern at the moment, beyond the retrieval of my characters, is keeping the names.

    Thanks for stopping by, TheJaguar, I'm glad you like what I write. I may try to avoid you in New Eden, though.

    By pjharvey on Dec 9, 2009

  6. My pleasure, it's actually a very refreshing blog to read, so, "thank you" for writing it.

    And there's no need to fear from me in high security systems, but that's about it. Hehe.

    By TheJaguar on Dec 9, 2009

  7. Meanwhile, I still live in fear.

    Fear is my middle name. Well, "Fear Of Penny", but Fear for short.

    It's just scary seeing the Bad Penny coming after you. If Blizzard has any questions, I recommend just sending them over to https://www.tigerears.org/ and they'll get the message.

    By Kename Fin on Dec 9, 2009

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