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Posts with tag banning

The day Fox's account got hacked -- and how you can learn from his mistakes

The day Fox's account got hacked  and how you can learn from his mistakes
Ladies and gentlemen, hello. My name is Fox Van Allen. I've been playing World of Warcraft for nearly four years. And despite all I know and all my warnings I've given you, the reader, it still happened. Last week, I, Fox Van Allen, had my account hacked.

The first question I'm inevitably asked is, "You? What excuse do you have to not have an authenticator?" Well, truth is, I do have an authenticator. I use my iPhone. But one day a few weeks ago, that ever-changing number display just somehow fell out of sync with what WoW was expecting me to enter. Trying to re-sync did nothing. To get back into my account, I had to have the folks at Blizzard take my authenticator off the account.

And that's how it happened. I foolishly forgot to reattach it right away -- I really haven't played a heck of a lot of World of Warcraft on account of my move to Los Angeles. It just wasn't on my mental list of things to do. And wouldn't you know it, barely a week after I had my authenticator disconnected from my account, I started getting emails from Blizzard. Not the usual spam, but legit receipts. Receipts for $105 worth of server transfers and faction changes that I didn't authorize.

That's when the pit of my stomach gave way. I knew immediately the emails were legit. And if the emails were legit, then I had to have been hacked. It's one of the worst feelings in the world.

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Filed under: News items, Account Security

Blizzard responds to Swifty ban incident

As you might have heard, Razer WoW gamer Swifty, along with numerous other players, were banned due to server disruption violations during one of Swifty's live streams that crashed a server. While Swifty acknowledged that he never intended to crash the server, Bashiok responded to the bans by stating that even if no one intended to crash servers or disrupt gameplay, the emote spamming and influx of players brought down many servers.

Swifty livestreams events with his guild on occasion and even hosts parts of the stream himself. Being the WoW gamer celebrity that he is, his stream attracts a good number of viewers. His own YouTube video response to his ban acknowledges between 4,000 and 5,000 people were watching his livestream. People flocked to the server, and the disruptions began. A number of players, including Swifty, were banned. Over the course of the day, Blizzard reviewed the information and decided to unban Swifty.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Death Grip wormhole is a bad, bad thing


As much as we enjoyed watching what is arguably the most phenomenally fun bug ever, it should come as no surprise to anyone that exploiting it is a very bad thing. In particular, GMs have been alerted to the bug and are on a keen watch for players who attempt to do it. After Elizabeth Harper's experimentation -- all done in the name of journalistic investigation, we promise -- resident killer Rogue Chase Christian attempted it, too. He was very swiftly messaged by a Game Master informing him that he would be banned if he ever did it again.

The boys over at DeathKnight.info confirm the same thing, not only because it is under close watch by GMs, but because it has serious repercussions for players who are 'pulled' into the wormhole. Players with the temerity to try it out have reported getting stuck in limbo and had to submit tickets to get their characters unstuck. No doubt a deluge of tickets describing suspiciously similar circumstances was more than enough to raise alarms over at Blizzard. So while we enjoyed showing that video of the Death Grip bug, we hope you didn't follow such bad examples. I mean, you didn't, right? Of course not. Good boys and girls.

Filed under: Bugs, Humor, Death Knight

Banned for no reason at all

GuamPDN.com ("Guam's complete source!") has an article up by Duane George, who tells his story of woe: he got banned from the game for suspected Arena win trading, and had to deal with 72 hours without the game. Blizzard, obviously, doesn't provide any information on how many players get banned from the game, and it would be even harder to determine the number of false positives out there like Duane: people who didn't do anything wrong but end up getting banned anyway. We've heard stories here of course, but this is a tough area to investigate by its very nature.

For Duane's part, he does say that he plans to stay out of Arenas and stick to battlegrounds, so you'd think that if there were a ton of false positives like him who were turned off from the Arena experience because it wrongly got them in trouble, Arenas wouldn't be nearly as popular as they are. But of course we don't know -- there's no oversight on Blizzard's part (and you could argue that there shouldn't be anyway, since it's their game), not to mention that they've got the right, according to the Terms of Use, to ban anyone at any time for any reason without notice anyway. If they were really going overboard, you'd expect them to be losing customers, and that's not the case yet.

Fortunately, this wasn't a permanent ban, and while he did apparently lose some Arena rating and the gear that came with it, his character wasn't too much the worse for wear. A 72-hour ban isn't too big a deal, so Blizzard probably hands those out with much less consideration than a permanent ban anyway. But we're sure Duane isn't the only case out there -- as small as the number may be, there's almost definitely other players like him, banned for doing nothing wrong at all.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Arena

Mass bannings strike Glider users

We've gotten more tips on this than any other topic in recent memory: apparently many users of the popular WoW botting program Glider have been hit with the ban hammer, including some of our very own readers. You may recall Glider as the company with whom Blizzard is currently embroiled in a lawsuit (does the word "embroil" have any use other than lawsuits?). The Glider forums are abuzz with comments and complaints, to which I can only reply "QQ." Botting is clearly against the EULA, the spirit of the game, and the best interests of the other players. Yes, I would be sad if I got banned, but honestly, anyone who was botting had it coming.

There are various objections to be made to this stance. Most of the people who wrote in claim to have been botting in order to bypass the tedious leveling process. I agree that it can be boring to level 1–70 multiple times, even with the new, faster 20–60 process. However, that doesn't make it OK to cheat. Others claim that with fewer bots in the system, the supply of primals will be reduced and therefore the price will go up; I'm not much of a WoW economist, so I'll leave that to others. But to this blogger, banning botters can only be interpreted as a good thing: some cheaters got what they deserved. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to sound off in the comments. And if you are a botter yourself, and haven't gotten banned yet, I'd advise you to stop -- they're clearly getting serious about this.

Filed under: Cheats, News items

Blizzard cracks down on arena win trading

We already know that Blizzard is tweaking arena rules to make it much tougher to artificially inflate your rating by win trading or buying high ranked teams in Season 4, but it looks like they're starting to take it one step further, by cracking down on people who indulge in it.

Reports are coming in from the official forums and from other spots around the web of people getting bans or suspensions (generally 72 hours in length) and having their Season 3 arena gear stripped. The bans are even permanent in some cases, such as that of Sinther of Stormscale, whose account was permanently banned when his friend used it to do some win-trading, with the win trading given as the specific reason for his banning. You can read many of these stories and reports in this forum thread.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Alts, Arena

Are gold sellers the key to WoW's continued success?

On Monday, Blizzard banned several thousand accounts found using third party programs to fully automate killing and looting, aka botting. These programs are largely used by gold selling companies employing farmers to speed up the rate at which they can supply gold to the many buyers out there. But a columnist at the Lightspeed Ventures site has a different take: he proposes that gold sellers are actually the independent application developers that are integral to the success of any online venture.

No matter where you fall on the gold farmer debate ("they ruin the game" vs "they fill a need the developers refuse to acknowledge"), you have to stop and think about this particular premise. Lightspeed, a venture capital company that funds technology companies, asserts that any platform needs three critical elements to succeed.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Economy

Blizzard banning players in game for forum stupidity?

You may have missed the ruckus on the General forums this weekend-- and if you did, consider yourself lucky. Some idiot (at least we're pretty sure it was just one guy on his many alts) posted a lot of junk on Saturday about a story right here at WoW Insider. We won't bore you with everything they said, but the gist of it is exactly the kind of harassment that Ezra's father was trying to avoid-- players complaining that they weren't cool enough (even with a house that hadn't burnt down, and, you know, their health) to get the epic mount that Ezra did. Yes, it seems Penny Arcade's theory came into effect yet again.

Fortunately, it's gone now-- the fever pitch hit on Saturday morning, and it wasn't till early Saturday afternoon that a CM finally showed up on the boards and deleted that junk. We can only suppose that if they had hired someone to take Tseric's place yet, it might have been taken care of sooner.

But here's the best part-- while this weekend's incident was far from the first shameful occurrence on the official forums, it might be the first in which a player got penalized not just with a forums ban, but with the loss of an in game account. Iroc says his brother jumped in to make an Ezra troll post this weekend and found his account in game disconnected.

Frankly, if anyone deserves it, these losers on Saturday did. But given the way that Blizzard's rep replies in the thread, it doesn't seem likely that they're banning in game for idiocy on the forums just yet-- more likely that Iroc's brother had an unrelated technical problem. Considering the way the forums are, however, it just might be a possibility worth considering.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

When it's not nice to share

We're all taught from an early age that it's nice to share. But not when it comes to your WoW account info. And I don't just mean e-mail scammers posing as Blizzard employees asking for your password. What I'm referring to is something that is something much more rampant and just as damaging to your WoW account's continued existence: willingly sharing your account information with a brother/roommate/guild mate/girlfriend, etc.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, allow me to spell it out:

If you're caught sharing your account, Blizzard will ban that account.

You'd think this fact of WoW life would be well known, and I believe it is, but many players are choosing to ignore this rule at their own peril. Why? A few rationalizations seem to be popping up over and over.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

CNET talks to Blizzard about banned players

I've tended to stay away from reporting about players angry at being banned, for reasons I'll get into in a second. But we periodically receive notices from players who think they've been unfairly banned, and there's lots of forum complaining on the same subject. The complaints have been loud enough, it seems, for CNET to take a look at the allegations, and get a nice quote from Blizzard about it.

Most of the angry players (if you are one, feel free to leave a comment below with your own story) say they try to log into their account one day and are simply banned for no reason at all. Some of them say they've even had their accounts hacked, and are then finding them banned afterwards. Most of them, in my experience, sound just like Zak, a 14-year-old interviewed in the article. He says he was banned because "I was leveling excessively and very fast, which is what power levelers do." One day he had an email in his inbox that said he was kicked out of WoW.

CNET then does what all of these players haven't seemingly been able to do, which is get a response from Blizzard about the whole thing. "We conduct a very thorough investigation before the actual ban takes place," says the Blizz spokesman. He says all bans are carried out only once Blizzard has decidedly determined that there has been action that goes against the Terms of Service and/or the End User License Agreement (that's the long text which pops up after you install every patch).

And the reason I don't have a lot of pity for the people who say they're unfairly banned is that I, for one, tend to believe him.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Economy

Blizzard threatens players who plan "Gnome March" for Warriors

I always thought Blizzard was pretty easygoing about ingame player-driven events. I've myself participated in quite a few naked races around Azeroth, players continually line up and run raids on the major cities, and Blizzard even sorta condones twinking in the lower level BGs. That's why I was so surprised to see their attitude on this one.

Myxilydian on Burning Blade-H is a Warrior who, like many, is concerned about changes to his class in the Burning Crusade. So, in a more creative form of whining about nerfs, he's posted in the Forums organizing a "Gnome March"-- he's asking Warriors unhappy with their class changes to create a level 1 Gnome warrior on Thunderlord, and at 4pm tomorrow (12/6), march from Ironforge to the gates of Stormwind in solidarity (he's inviting Shammies, too-- he says they should make a Dwarf Paladin for the march). I think it's a great idea, and a funny, creative way to voice his concerns.

Blizzard disagrees, however. Drokthul has closed the thread and posted that "anyone caught participating in this event or any event with the sole purpose of disrupting the game play for others will be punished." Wow. If you ask me, that's extremely harsh for a group of players planning to create 1st level Gnomes and run around together for a while. Guilds do that all the time-- is Blue planning on banning all of them too? Already, Myx (I believe it's Myx-- might be another Warrior supporting the cause) has been banned from the forums.

Now, comments in the Forum thread indicate that Myx may have posted this a few (100?) times before, and maybe in the wrong forums. I'm not going to defend that kind of behavior-- the Forums are crazy enough without spamming, even of stuff like this. But I don't think a level 1 Gnome ingame raid is the kind of play that "disrupts" anything-- it's a creative form of expression within the community (especially when the stated goal is not play disruption). And Blizzard is way wrong, in my (usually) humble opinion, to squelch it so draconically. As I said, usually they've landed on the side of player-driven events. Why they've changed their tune on this one, I'm not sure, but it's definitely not a change I agree with.

Update: A commenter rightfully points out that I jumped the gun on saying "ban"-- Blue says "punish" not ban, and there are other punishments besides banning. Still, I think it's wrong to "punish" your community for doing creative things with your virtual world.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, News items, Expansions

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