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Officers' Quarters: A moral dilemma

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes
Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Every once in a while I get an e-mail where I think, "This person has to be pulling my leg." At first, I thought the e-mail below was one of them. As I read on, however, the author's heartfelt anguish over the decision she has had to make convinced me that there really is a guild leader out there doing this. Judge for yourself:

Hello there,

I'd love your opinion along with your readers opinions on an issue going on in my current guild. I'm an officer of a Horde guild that is still relatively young (3 months) but very dedicated. We transferred from other servers in order to form an off-hours raiding guild. Things were going very well until several weeks ago when I looked at our guild forum and was shocked to find the GM posting character accounts for sale and urging other guild members to buy them! And if that wasn't bad enough a week or so later he decided to buy a current guild member's account for himself and his girlfriend (another officer and the purchased account's owner supposedly wanted to stop playing those characters).

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Filed under: Guilds, Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Beware of scam e-mails!

I've heard of plenty of reports of scammers trying to get your account information with e-mails claiming to be from Blizzard, but after having one land in my Around Azeroth mailbox, I thought I'd share it with you. And while we're at it, we can talk about how you can tell that an e-mail came from Blizzard or not.

First off -- this didn't come to my primary e-mail address. Blizzard doesn't know me as "" so any mail going there has to be bogus. And secondly, it's coming from Blizzard Europe, while I don't have a European account. However, if this had landed in my primary mailbox, and substituted US contact information for EU contact information, I'd have to take it seriously -- after all, it appears to have been sent from and it sounds awfully ominous. They suspect me of trying to sell my account and they're going to suspend it unless I verify it! Yikes!

However, here's the big catch: after going through all of their ominous threats, they tell me to give them my account name and password. Nope, sorry. A Blizzard representative will never ask for your account name and password -- so don't give it out to anyone claiming to be with Blizzard, because that's all the information they need to take over your account. And if you get a mail like this that you're just not sure about -- don't give them any information, but confirm its authenticity with Blizzard, first. Get in touch with their billing support team by phone or e-mail!

For those of you curious as to what one of these scams looks like, the full text of the e-mail is after the jump.

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Would you cancel your account if....

I've never canceled my World of Warcraft account, so I can't give you any first-hand experience of the process. However, I do know that Blizzard never deletes characters, so if I were going to go on vacation for a month to someplace without internet access (ha!), I could cancel my account and pick up again later without any real consequences.

But what if Blizzard deleted characters when you canceled? Over at Curmudgeon Gamer, they note that the cancellation screen seems to change depending on the reason you choose for canceling. When choosing an option for needing more time for school, family, etc, our curmudgeony friends were given the following message:

We are proud that we were able to make a sucessful [sic], enjoyable game. And as much as we'd like you to keep playing, we understand that there are certain cirumcstances [sic] which may prevent continuous game play. Currently, we have no plans to delete World of Warcraft accounts regardless of their activity history. Provided that the characters do not get deleted by the account holder, we will retain all character information on our servers indefinitely.

So you're safe for now -- but next time you try to cancel, who knows! It seems like it would be a PR disaster for Blizzard to start deleting character accounts at this point, if you cancel, they still hold the threat over you.

All they're asking for is your blood.

Donate bloodI'm not sure whether we should file this under "I'm glad Blizzard doesn't do this" or "I wish Blizzard would do this!" but Chinese gaming company Moliyo (who run the MMO Cabal Online) is offering banned players an interesting method by which to reactivate their accounts. What do you have to do? Simple! Donate blood, and they'll unlock your banned account within three days. And if you're an active player, you can receive a special game account for participating.

This is, to my knowledge, a completely unique way of going about reinstating banned players -- while supporting a good cause. And asking players to donate blood is no more time-consuming than Blizzard's usual procedure for restoring stolen accounts, which requires notarized documentation proving your identity. (And will still likely take several weeks for Blizzard to investigate and restore any missing property, which doesn't always happen.) Perhaps Moliyo's way is easier in the long run -- though, being a needle-phobic, I'll stick to the usual customer service queues.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard

Over a hundred thousand accounts closed

During the month of November, another 105,000 World of Warcraft accounts were closed world-wide for violation of the terms of use. These closures have resulted in 12 million gold being removed from the game's economy. Many of these closures are the direct result in the investigation of reports made by legitimate players -- so keep reporting, all reports are investigated thoroughly, though rarely immediately. So happy holidays, everyone -- and may your new year be festively bot-free!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

59,000 More Accounts Closed

In their continued effort to rid Azeroth of hackers and gold farmers, Eyonix announced this evening that 59,000 accounts were closed during the month of June for terms of use violations. Have you seen anyone behaving suspiciously on your server? An account that's being controlled by a bot isn't too difficult to spot if you spend a bit of time paying attention - and Blizzard investigates all reports. So if you suspect such behavior, report it to a GM, and help the community be rid of the annoyance of hackers and bot farmers.

Filed under: Cheats, News items, Economy

Blizzard Closes Another Round of Accounts

In their never-ending war against the evil gold farmers of the planet, Blizzard has announced that during the month of May, over 30,000 accounts have been suspended, removing over 30 million in gold from the economy across all servers. Now, just look at those numbers for a moment: 30 thousand accounts closed. That's a number of subscribers that many small game companies would love to claim as their entire playerbase, and those are not only just the cheaters in WoW, but only the ones who got caught! And 30 million gold out of the economy...that's...well, I'm actually not sure what the hell that means, because I'm not an economist. i'm sure Ben Stien could tell you.

In any case, the bottom line is, don't cheat, or Blizzard will get you. If they're lucky. You can read the full announcement at the official homepage right here.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard Suspends Thousands of Accounts

Gold farmers beware: Blizzard has been cracking down hard on TOS violations since the 1.10 patch, and according to the official website, they have cancelled over 5,000 accounts & suspended another 10,000 for using third-party programs & other cheats in order to secure gold or items in the game.

I, for one, applaud Blizzard's stance & tenacity on this subject...but I also think they're fully aware that those 15,000 or so people will just be plunking down another $50 for the game again soon, so it's win/win for the boys in blue. I still like the crucifixion idea, myself...

Filed under: Patches, Cheats, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

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