Sunday, May 30, 2010

Of Gold Sellers and Hackers


Sigh. So, I've mentioned before that I play WoW. Well, today I checked my e-mail to see that I had recieved the following.

"***Notice of Account Closure***

Account Name: ***

Reason for Closure: Terms of Use Violation -- Exploitative Activity: Abuse of the Economy

This account was closed because one or more characters were identified exchanging, or contributing to the exchange of, in-game property (items or gold) for "real-world" currency. This exchange process negatively impacts the World of Warcraft game environment by detracting from the value of the in-game economy.

Even if this behavior is the result of a third party accessing the account instead of the registered user (for example, a friend, family member, or leveling service) then the account can still be held responsible for the penalty because of the impact it had on the game environment.

We've found the above behavior is many times directly related to groups responsible for compromising World of Warcraft accounts; we take these issues very seriously. To better understand our position against exploitative activity and the risks involved, please review this article:

The exploitative activity that took place on this account violates the World of Warcraft Terms of Use. We ask you take a moment to review these terms at Any recurring subscriptions on this account have been suspended to prevent further monetary charges.

For any disputes of this action, please visit the Exploitative Activity FAQ and Contact page here:


Blizzard Entertainment"

I figured this was some sort of scam at first, so before I clicked on the links, I tried logging in.

"Please enter your authenticator key."

Crap. I don't have an authenticator.

So, first thing I did was MSN a good friend of mine through the game and let him know I had been hacked so he could demote my characters in our guild and keep my doppelganger from stealing from not only me, but my guild bank.

After that, I had a lovely time calling Blizzard's Billing and Support. Actually, it was pretty darn good service. I explained what had happened, and he asked me a few questions to make sure I was... Well... Me. (When were you last online, what's your main character's name/class, what's your "secret question" for password recovery.) As soon as he did that, he looked up my account, and he told me he saw that I had been banned for suspicious activity. "I" had traded 34,000 gold in the span of five hours, across five realms. In other words, I had been selling gold.

For those who don't know, gold selling is a fairly common, but highly despicable practice in WoW. You pay real money for virtual money. The stereotype is that there are Chinese guys work around the clock for $0.10 an hour to get gold, but the truth is the money comes from hacked account like mine. They take whatever they can find on the characters, sell everything they can, and then give the money away. In other words, I expect when I log back in in about a week to have NOTHING. Luckily in most cases anything really valuable can be restored after another week or so by a GM (Game Master).

The worst part is that I hate gold sellers. They're scum. To think that my account was used to help them? It's salt in the wound. I guess I've learned my lesson, I'm buying an authenticator as soon as I can. Plus I get a cute in-game pet, so that's a plus.

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