Blizzard Canceled My World Of Warcraft Account Because It Was Hacked

Reader A was minding his own business, raiding orcs and hording alliances or whatever it is World of Warcraft players do, when he says a hacker started selling in-game items for real cash, spurring Blizzard to cancel his account. A says Blizzard is aware that the nefarious activity wasn’t his fault, but stopped him cold anyway, bringing out his wrath of the Lich King.

Here is the email he wrote to Blizzard:

Even though this helps me close an account that I wasn’t using much anymore but the circumstances in which this was arbitrarily handled without ANY input from me, the user, shows astronomically bad customer service. What makes it worse is that this is not a new account. I have had this for over six years now working on all of my different characters. And all of this shut down within hours of being hacked? What’s hilarious here is that you detected the strange activity and emailed me!! Punishing your paid users for faults in your authentication mechanism makes so much sense, doesn’t it?

I’m intentionally using my work signature here to lend credibility to my assertion that a lackadaisical approach to customer service will not serve you well by isolating payers that have played for a long time. I was hoping to come back to the game with Catacylsm but you adeptly took care of that because there is no way I can develop a character the way I had done on my Trifectum account.

I am seriously hoping for a human response this time explaining your actions and hopefully a resolution that returns my account to me for whenever I want to get back in the game. I know your business model for handling customer requests is horrible so I’ll give you a few days to get this squared away. After that these emails will be forwarded to all of my friends’ blogs, consumer protection web sites, and FTC so they can be warned about this kind of treatment. Hiding behind a EULA does not protect you against bad publicity highlighting your refusal to communicate with your users.

World of Warcraft vets, what would you do in A’s situation?

Comments

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  1. temporaryscars says:

    Try for a sex life with a real human girl?

    • freelunch says:

      that wasn’t called for.

      • temporaryscars says:

        Yeah, but it wasn’t exactly uncalled for either.

        • ieatcatastrophe says:

          no, it was exactly uncalled for.

          • temporaryscars says:

            Whatever, virgin.

          • NarcolepticGirl says:

            i think it was called for. I’ve dated WOW guys and lemme just say… there’s no getting laid – no matter how much they say they like real life sex.

            • Random_Tangent says:

              Maybe it’s you.

              • NarcolepticGirl says:

                Well, I thought that – but then I started dating guys that don’t play video games. haven’t had a problem since.

                • freelunch says:

                  Video games don’t cause social dysfunction, though individuals with social disorders often find video games a more comfortable venue for human interaction.

                  There is no need to confuse the two and be hateful towards someone because they enjoy something as harmless as a video game.

            • dbldwnon12 says:

              I’m a “WoW” guy and I definitely prefer getting out of the house or getting physical with my gf. So I don’t think the stereotype is working so well. The difference is really between hardcore gamers and non. I used to do the hardcore gaming thing and now I don’t, so I have time for my gf and what not.

              It all boils down to time management and prioritizing. That or the women trying to get these guys off their computers and into the sack may just be boring in bed (not pointing fingers, just generalizing) There are few gamer guys I’ve met that would choose pixels over a real girl.

            • DorsalRootGanglion says:

              Have you considered that you’re such a hideous beast that even a WoW player wouldn’t to put his Fel Staff of the Whale anywhere near your Toxic Orifice of Smiting?

            • Nisun says:

              Judging from your crappy attitude no wonder why you cant get a nerd in the sack… I wish you would quit spouting your hate over EVERY SINGLE POST!

    • Griking says:

      Wow, you must be pretty cool to be able to insult a Warcraft player.

    • odarkshineo says:

      nice name, bitter much? your boyfriend dump you for a video game?

    • JoeDawson says:

      Despite your inane babbling about blatant stereotypes, i think in general the stereotype is false. I am a super geek, 5 screens on my desk, 2 more at various places… i have a girlfriend/future wife…

      • temporaryscars says:

        It’s so easy. It’s just so easy.

        • Jeff-er-ee says:

          So…rather than play a social video game, you troll forums to post random, inane insults.

          Nice.

          • temporaryscars says:

            It was a joke. It’s only trolling to those who are the butt of the jokes and are too busy being offended knee-jerk ninnies to actually get it.

            • Jeff-er-ee says:

              Potato…potahto…

              You insult someone (especially an entire class of people) as a “joke” and you don’t expect defensive replies? Your defensiveness here tells me that you knew exactly what to expect, notwithstanding your “it’s so easy” comment. Not going to tie your behavior here to your ability to get laid (but I’ll insinuate it to HELL!!)

            • Jerkface says:

              The very definition of trollng.

            • Genuineduck says:

              http://i611.photobucket.com/albums/tt192/djeumdewq/what-trolls-want-you-to-believe.png

              People like temporaryscars are why I dislike the term troll. They can say the dumbest and most offensive things imaginable then simply try to backpedal out of it under the guise of “LOL I JUST TROLLIN U”

              Yeah, you’re not a troll. Just an idiot.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        lol

        You gamerzzz are so serious all the time.

    • smo0 says:

      I’m a girl, I play WoW, I have an active social/sex life… I have a 9 to 5’er job and I work 40 hours a week…. so… exactly…. what IS your issue?

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        the other 90% of WOW players

        • smo0 says:

          I still don’t see it… I come across few sex-starved-nerds…. many of my guildies are married or have s/o’s…. I’ve been in a few guilds – much of the same… some of them are even couples that play….

          • temporaryscars says:

            Did you ever stop to consider that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t being serious?

            • smo0 says:

              Oh, so I actually have driven the point home? for once!
              If you weren’t serious… then what’s with all of the “backed up” responses in the thread chain? Hrrmmmmmm?

              Either way, some other chick hijacked your comment thread…. glwt.

              • temporaryscars says:

                Because I just love hearing that whoosh! noise going over the heads of angry nerds.

                • smo0 says:

                  It was a general “you’re a geek” insult… if you started complaing about all red heads- you’d get a few people responding…

                  bat the beehive sir, you’re gonna get stung…

                • freelunch says:

                  because you are trolling…

          • NarcolepticGirl says:

            Yeah, I had a couple of relationships with a few WOW/HALO/UNREAL guys – and I never got laid – and they never wanted to go out of the house.
            In fact, my best friend and his girlfriend don’t leave the house anymore and they’ve broken up a few times over one wanting to “quit” W.O.W. and the other not wanting to.

            Just ridiculous.

            • Jeff-er-ee says:

              Hate to say it, but doesn’t that say something about you as well?

              • freelunch says:

                certainly seems interesting that she is using sex as a metric for evaluating the quality of the relationship…
                If the guys never went outside, how did she meet them? nerd hunting?

                • smo0 says:

                  Some people only date guys they meet on the internet… not judging – just the facts… when that occurs, you tend to have the majority of your options from the deep end of the nerd pool.

    • brianisthegreatest says:

      nice post history.

    • odarkshineo says:

      I thought it was flaming at first, but I think we have uncovered a far more interesting issue of how jealous people get that video games are more interesting to their significant other then they are. discuss.

      • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

        Hmmm. When you play WoW you can avoid:
        1. The sensationalist news
        2. Mind numbing television
        3. Your significant other’s rants

        I have played WoW through several relationships and I was more than willing to step away from the computer for real-life activities outside of the house. I was not willing to step away from the computer to watch television, however.

        As someone who enjoys relationships but enjoys solitude even more, it allows me to be “alone” even when I’m in the same room with my partner…. who has a much more annoying addiction to a facebook game.

        If you enjoy doing something and a partner thinks it’s stupid because it takes time away from them (and they are not willing to participate in it with you) then they are co-dependent and you need a new partner.

        I may be a little defensive about this but not everyone wants a relationship where you’re attached at the hip. In fact, I think this image of relationships portrayed in magazines and on television is unhealthy. If you feel you must spend every moment away from work with your partner, there is something seriously wrong with you.

        Like smo0, I work, and go to school. I spend time with my girlfriend, we cuddle, I give her back rubs and foot rubs. We go out. I go out with my friends without her. I have an active sex life only inhibited by the presence of a roommate. There are very few instances where WoW would get in the way of advance from my girlfriend, and I give her fair warning, days in advance when I’ll be in a raid and unavailable for other things.

        Hmmm. Maybe defensive isn’t strong enough a word.

        • smo0 says:

          Hahaha! Hello fellow normie.

          Yeah I don’t watch TV – any shows I like, I get from the internet – COMMERCIAL FREE!

          It’s all about time management…. also the time of the year… when people “quit” for the summer, I play my most – it’s 110 degrees outside, give me something better to do?

          It’s cheap entertainment. It’s social, I have a lot of friends (solely in game AND out) that I talk with in game, the Real ID has made that much much easier as it allows me to communicate with friends on other servers.

          I guess I could be playing farmville and inviting a host of ads and malware into my pc…..

          Hrmmmm SUCH TOUGH CHOICES!

          The rest of you are haters… You may not play WoW, but you definitely focus your time on SOMETHING.

        • tsukiotoshi says:

          Thank you! I have tried to explain this to every guy I’ve dated and they do not get it. The fact I want personal space is normal and does not mean I want to break up with them or don’t like them. It just means I want to do something by myself for a while, like read a book or shoot terrorists in the head on my Xbox.

        • wheeldawg says:

          “There are very few instances where WoW would get in the way…”

          I see what you did there.

    • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

      Everyone, remember, we’re here to help consumers, not to mock them. Video game consumers are included in this. Please be kind, or at least respectful, when you post. Thanks.

      • Draygonia says:

        Yes, because getting unbanned is not a pleasent experience. Perhaps A should try to ask Blizzard to check the IP addresses of whomever was connecting to his account? I am positive they have logs for that stuff.

    • DorsalRootGanglion says:

      Why is it that this is the first and last refuge for trolls? The sex life of the average player. Really? Most of the players I know are at least non-virgins, if not dating, married, or even married with children. But the only thing you can think of about is the sexual prowess of someone whose hobbies you find disagreeable. That’s a bit depressing.

      I wonder how many women the average internet troll has slept with. I’m betting fewer than the average gamer.

      (You go on to say that it was just a joke to get all the nerds in a tizzy but, you know, you’re not trolling. )

    • Pandrogas says:

      1990 called and wants it’s stereotype back.

    • f0nd004u says:

      I’m not a WoW player, but I am a linux nerd – which I suppose is even worse.

      I am a male, 21, with glasses, slightly overweight, with the occasional pimple.

      And I have an excellent sex life. Hell, being a linux nerd has actually gotten me laid before.

    • Dre' says:

      More women than men play online games, jerkass.

    • Admiral_John says:

      I’ve been with my wife for almost 21 years and we both play.

      And my sex life is fine and dandy, thank you.

  2. smo0 says:

    Uh… this is nothing new. They often cancel/freeze/lock accounts when they have been hacked and then used for… hm what’s the term… economy something something…

    Also… authenticator.

    As for the non- human interaction… pretty typical!

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      Agreed. Four year WoW veteran here. I’ve never had my account hacked because, well, I am the first and last line of defense against malware, keyloggers, etc. We had two of our guild members hacked by clicking a url sent to them in their in game mail. The sender had used names that looked similar to other characters in our guild so that at a glance, it looked like mail from a trusted friend. It installed a keylogger program. Not only were their WoW accounts hacked (their items and gold were mailed to other players and what couldn’t be sold was destroyed, putting their in game accounts at a deficit) but all of their passwords for myspace, facebook, etc, etc, were compromised as well.

      Their accounts were restored eventually, but if they had been frozen before the damage was done, it would have been preferable. Sending off an erroneous email full of disdain is not going to help. Blizzard has been pretty good about restoring accounts that have been hacked. The OP probably needs a break from “chasing the dragon” anyway.

      • goodpete says:

        Agreed. The only people that get their accounts compromised are people who don’t take their account security seriously. They give their passwords to other guild members, friends, or phishing sites. Sometimes they install keyloggers or other spyware in attempts to cheat or obtain pirated software.

        The fact is that these so-called “hackers” (a deplorable use of the term) aren’t breaking into any servers or databases. If they had access to Blizzard’s database, they’d have no need to steal items from other players.

        Players are, and will forever be, the weakest link in account security. Learn to stay safe, don’t be greedy, and you have nothing to worry about.

    • Skwidspawn says:

      If I had to guess I would say that this is nit the first time this gentleman has been hacked. Being hacked does not just affect the person who was hacked. It affects their guild in a significant way. Losing all your gear (hackers generally sell all your stuff to a vendor and then take the gold) means all the effort your guild out into getting you that gear is lost. Not to mention the time required to get it for you again at the possible expense of your other guildies. Hackers often try to steal as many items out of the guild bank as possible. Permanently banning people with a history of poor security makes the game a better place for everyone. Except hackers of course.

      • nodaybuttoday says:

        Agreed, this is pretty typical and I am guessing from his e-mail that has account hasn’t been very active. I believe in their agreement they state they can shut your account down for any reason, at anytime. I know plenty of people who have lost their account and all characters, having to start off from scratch. It’s just the risk you take when you play an MMORPG.

        Also, can’t tell from the e-mail, did he have the authentication key?

  3. benson304 says:

    Beware…he used his WORK signature.

    • Daverson says:

      Yes, his WORK SIGNATURE, which uses his Nerd Name instead of his cool WoW name.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        …WTF is that supposed to mean anyway? Like, you’re someone different at work than you are at home? Or, you’re totally trustworthy at work but a douche at home?

    • Putts says:

      I have a job, therefore that makes me dangerous!

    • jsl4980 says:

      Everyone knows that equipping your work signature gives you +5 to credibility and +3.33% chance to be a douche.

    • ovalseven says:

      I’ll have to start remembering these for the next time I write a complaint letter.

      “You know I’m telling the truth because I’m a firefighter, have 3 letters after my name, and I used my work address”!

    • XTC46 says:

      Perhaps his work signature includes “Vice President of Customer Service. Blizzard Inc.”

      guy sounds like a d-bag but I agree with his point.

  4. digital0verdose says:

    He isn’t telling the whole story. If his account was permanently locked following being hacked it was either due to him making illegal transactions or the account had been hacked multiple times.

    Blizzard will even tell you on the phone that if your account is flagged too many times for being hacked, they will permanently lock it and if you want to avoid this you either need to buy one of their authenticators ($7) or download one for either Android or iPhone which are free.

    My guess is he knows he effed up and is hoping his personal Consumerist army will mobilize and get his account back for him.

    • jpmoney says:

      This. The quote doesn’t say whether or not they have permanently banned him or simply locked the account while they investigate the theft and recover his pixels. It is also vague as to whether or not he has actually called Blizzard support to talk about his options, etc. So far I can only be sure that he got an email letting him know that he cannot login to his account right now.

      More details are needed and if he hasn’t already, call Blizzard and actually work with them. I’d advise against the tone of this email and throwing another tantrum.

      Finally, get an authenticator!

      • Nisun says:

        Agreed, waiting the 72 minutes to talk to a blizzard employee would go a long way to sorting this out (In my case I only had to wait on hold 41 minutes). I understand why the guy is so mad, but seriously, chill out, I’m sure blizzard wants your money just as bad as you want to give it to them.

    • Moosehawk says:

      Blizzard typically locks your account for 1 or more days depending on the magnitude of the breach. If his account was permanently canceled (which I doubt it was), then he had been hacked before.

    • Jeff-er-ee says:

      Not quite true in my experience. A friend of mine was hacked via a keylogger. He admitted that he screwed up in accidentally clicking a banner ad and not having anti-virus software installed. His account was locked within hours. He contacted Blizzard and the account was reinstated. After a few weeks, all of his gear was returned.

      I know of another player who decided to try a “levelling service”. Guess what happened…somehow the “service” never got his login info, but his characters were stripped naked and all of his cash gone.

      The OP wasn’t randomly hacked. He screwed up somehow…no AV software, handed his account info off to someone, or something similar. This is SOP for Blizzard. It’s a simple matter to get your account back online as long as you know the CC number and other personal info. They’ll even return stuff that was stolen from your account.

      • digital0verdose says:

        WRONG!

        I have dealt with this first hand and not through a friend and talked to, at a good length, to a rep about this when my account was hacked late last year which is where my OP comes from.

        Notice I mentioned that your account had to be hacked multiple times before it would become permanently locked, not just once.

        • Jeff-er-ee says:

          Well, actually, not wrong, but I’ll try not to be so rude about it. I know first hand because I helped my friend through the process of getting his account and his gear back. He had not ever had an account issue up to that point, but his account was indeed locked. When he spoke with Blizz they told him that it was SOP to lock accounts that exhibited obvious hacking activity (such as characters named xsdvnnvlslsd sending messages about cheap WoW gold).

          Maybe your situation was different, and the message that you got from Blizz was different. Really no reason to jump on my head like that though, is it?

        • erinpac says:

          “Ban” is not permanent lock. They pretty much always ban. What you may have heard is that they MAY refuse to unban you, which they usually do, unless you can show you’ve done something to take care of the problem if you constantly get hacked months in a row.

    • tchann says:

      “What’s hilarious here is that you detected the strange activity and emailed me!”

      Sounds like a phishing attempt to me.

  5. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    This is how Blizzard has handled account compromises for a long time. This is not new or exciting. There are multiple forum stickies, posts, and read-mes regarding account compromises and what to do in the event of one. Just follow the steps outlined in your emails and your account will be restored. Wait no.. don’t read anything or do anything to actually get your account back, just go post on Consumerist!

  6. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    Just because you use your work signature doesn’t give you permission to behave like a child throwing a tantrum. While it is bothersome that this happened, he can simply go through the normal channels first, and find a way to escalate it down the road.

    And seriously, how is using one’s work signature for this sort of thing a good idea?

  7. kcvaliant says:

    Wow the OP needs to be denutted for being this dumb.. All you had to do was call support, give your account answer and they restore you entire account before to the time before your dumb ass got keylogged. The email was sent to let you know that YOUR account was selling stuff and being turned off until YOU fix it or confirm it is YOUR account.

    And lets be honest here, you were selling gold and downloaded a keylogger.

  8. Martha Chang says:

    Considering how shit World of Warcraft is, I’d say that’s a good thing.

  9. Etoiles says:

    I had the same thing happen, actually. Or similar, anyway. I played WoW for about a month, then canceled the subscription (but when you do so, you keep the account). About 9 or 10 months after I canceled my sub, I got notification from Blizzard that I’d been banned for “inappropriate activity.”

    I got the account re-instated after dealing with their customer service, just in case I ever wanted to catch up with my friends in there again, but my friends have since left WoW for other games again anyway so it’s all good.

    • WeirdJedi says:

      Same for me too. I haven’t played World of Warcraft for about 9 months. My cousin got a notification regarding Starcraft beta, so I decided to log into my Battle.net account to see if I got one too. Sure enough, I was able to get into Starcraft beta. Before I know it, I can’t log into my Battle.net account because someone used an authenticator on my own account. Then it was suspended for suspicious economy behavior.

      One email later, I was able to get everything back. Still unsure how it happened. I have a brand new hard drive. I guess it doesn’t matter. I’ve decided to quit World of Warcraft for good. I’m just hoping that I can get a new Battle.net account for Starcraft II.

  10. iParadox{InLove} says:

    As a WoW player myself, this guy gets absolutely no sympathy from me. It is up to the user to keep viruses and keyloggers off their system. I’ve had my account since early 2005 and I have had absolutely no problem with getting banned, hacked, etc.

    Also: Get an Authenticator.

    • maubs says:

      I was recently hacked, without any malware present on my system. There are a rash of hacked accounts without this vector, which leaves brute force attacks or a data breach. My money would be on a data breach, as it seems to be the dormant accounts that are hacked this way.

      • katsuyakaiba says:

        My boyfriend last year took his usual summer break from the game when he was hacked. Just out of the blue, he didn’t log in all summer so it wasn’t a keylogger. To top it off, in order to use his account, the hackers paid for a month of the game ha!

    • dizzy says:

      I’ve been playing for about 3 years and the only time I ever had a problem it was a jackass ex-boyfriend logging in as me to troll and got me banned for inappropriate behavior. (I still have no CLUE how he got my password, as it isn’t something I give out.) Even though Blizzard was at no fault there, they still worked with me and got my stuff sorted. It is definitely up to the person to contact someone and get situations like that figured out.

    • kujospam says:

      The only thing I do blame wow for is forcing you to use your email account as your ID. Now I get spammed all the time. If I knew they were going to do that, i would of changed my ID while I had the chance. Sigh, 2 big stupid things that blizzard has done. Atleast I always remember what my username is. lol

  11. foofish says:

    Why was his work e-mail sig redacted? :(

  12. attackgypsy says:

    My account was hacked a year ago. I got everything back within 3 days.

    One of my guild member’s account has hacked 2 weeks ago. She got everything back in 3 days.

    There is something the poster isn’t telling us. Does he have a discipline record with Blizzard. Has he ever had a suspension?

    Blizzard doesn’t ban accounts because they got hacked once. Something else is going on here.

    • Breve says:

      Yeah. I’m a former Warcrack addict and I had my account banned 2 times in a week which was due to a rather frustrating accident.

      I had an authenticator on my account, but got the infamous “your account suspended for exploitation of ingame economy, password changed, blah blah blah” and freaked out since I thought someone had hacked through my account somehow. Nothing on my account was touched and my PC was clean as a whistle, so I just chalked it up to some error (I used to buy and sell large amounts on the AH and thought maybe some trigger-happy GM mistook me for a farmer).

      But then the same thing happened a week later getting banned for the same reason and I wrote off a nastygram on the support forums. Turns out what triggered it was some settings I made to my router’s QoS where my pings were prioritized higher than my WoW traffic, which led them to think I was using a bot because my ping latency was drastically lower than my game traffic latency when my router got overloaded. Quick fix to put them in the same traffic class and no more problems.

      Sure Blizzard could’ve been more specific from the get go as to why my account was getting banned from the very first time, but we figured it out and Blizzard was just doing it’s best to stop cheaters and farmers with bots. Breathe, talk to the support forums, and enjoy your few day vacation from the game.

      • smo0 says:

        That’s what it is!

        “your account suspended for exploitation of ingame economy”

        Friend of mine got that message when he was hacked….

  13. Papa Midnight says:

    This is one of many line-items on a laundry list of reasons I absolutely refuse to pay to play anything online.

  14. Daverson says:

    O NOES!!! NOT ALL YUOR FRIENDS BLOGS!!!

    Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a dweeb with a cancelled WoW account.

    • smo0 says:

      I chalk it up to the “reformed alcoholic” or “born again christian” quick to judge those who were on the same pay they were before “seeing the light.”

    • DorsalRootGanglion says:

      Or, you know, you. Or a sports fan whose team just lost…

  15. spazztastic says:

    His own failure to secure his account; Blizzard usually fixes things like this in a few days. And they have better security on their accounts than my bank, especially with the optional authenticator.

  16. CFinWV says:

    If you want a human response then pick up the phone and call them. The queues can be annoying but a human will eventually answer, and I have to say they have some of the nicest people working in their call centers.

  17. warf0x0r says:

    get a new account and re-roll. Seriously though consider this a calling to quit, and do things that are more meaningful.

  18. bhr says:

    What a jerk! I would instantly hit “delete” when that letter came in. Insulting, threatening, and condescending.

    I played some WOW during a recent layoff, and 2-3 years ago, its well known that they shut down hacked accounts, and to get them reinstated you need to call/email/post on the CS forum. They do so to keep your items from being sold for cash.

  19. htowninsomniac says:

    How did it get hacked? Were Blizzard’s servers compromised, or was your password weak?

    • kcvaliant says:

      It was not hacked.. Dumb shits say that when they click a link they do not know or buy gold and then get a keylogger installed on their machine.

    • DorsalRootGanglion says:

      “Hacked” is the WoW-noob term for “I did something that caused my user name and password to fall into the wrong hands, allowing the Bad People to access my account unfettered.” As far as we can tell, there has never been a true “hacking” of any part of the Blizzard servers, which would mean a server-side destruction or corruption of data rather than unauthorized access.

  20. Cantras says:

    This is Blizzard’s standard MO. Call billing, say you were hacked, they look at it and say “yep, looks like it”. They keep it closed another day or two to follow the hacker’s trail, then they give it back for you to play while they finish cleaning up any mess on it.

    Try calling billing (which will have been suggested in the email you received) before bitching to the internets. Jesus.

    • katsuyakaiba says:

      This right here. E-Mails will not do a lick of good, you need to call Billing and you’ll probably need to fax them some identification in order to get your account back.

  21. dbeahn says:

    This is pretty standard in any online situation. If your email account is hacked and being used to send out spam, the communications company I work for will shut it down, no questions asked, rather than allow spam to continue to spew forth from the account.

    If the account is still being used by the customer, they call us pretty fast, and we get their account secured and their computer cleaned (if it was a virus that caused the problem) and get them back up and running.

    Was Blizzard just supposed to leave his account open to be used by the hackers until they got around to contacting him? I don’t know what his “work signature” is, but it should include the title “Manager in charge of Not Thinking Things Through”

  22. smo0 says:

    Let me be clear at how important an authenticator is…. one of my guildies had a technical issue with the game…. to resolve this (I forget why) – he removed the authenticator tied in with his account for 1 DAY! Let me type that out… O N E D A Y.

    He logged back in to find his account hacked – things deleted, sold off, etc etc.

    Regardless of keyloggers (which yes, the user needs to fix that shit asap) you NEED to have an authenticator tied to your account.

    • Jeff-er-ee says:

      /agree

      There’s also an Android (and probably an iPhone) application that does the same thing, without the fob. It’s a free DL from the Market. Only issue there is that if you lose your phone, you’re sorta screwed.

    • KenJason says:

      While I agree that with a free authenticator available, there is no excuse not to have one. But to say that all it took was one day without the authenticator to get “hacked” is misleading. Your guildie was already “hacked” (and let’s face it, it isn’t a hack. they just trick you into loading a keylogger, or they trick you into giving them your password.) He just didn’t know until the one thing that prevented them from using the account was removed.

      Like was said already, it isn’t random that an account gets compromised. You click a link, or you go to a site to get your “free gold” (which everyone on WoW should know is fake.) Probably more common is that someone downloads an add-on and doesn’t understand that what it is really doing or where it came from. They just what to be able to use coordinates on their map, or have an auto-reply to people that whisper you in the middle of a raid.

  23. odarkshineo says:

    I’ve heard of accounts being hacked, and disabled because whoever hacks sells all of the gold. It takes time to get resolved. 3 weeks is the least amount of time I’ve ever heard of it taking to resolve this kind of this issue.

  24. Slave For Turtles says:

    Obvious troll is obvious. Don’t feed it.

    • Slave For Turtles says:

      This was a reply to the 1st comment here. FTL /sigh

    • Raekwon says:

      I miss the days when people had to work for an account here and there were almost no troll posters. It is slowly becoming like every other site that allows comments. Soon we’ll get all those spam nike, purses, air jordan’s shopping posts.

  25. Hobz says:

    They did the OP a favor.

  26. brianisthegreatest says:

    My account was actually compromised on Sunday. Still waiting for a restoration. This has been a smooth experience for everyone I know who had their account stolen. Upon review of the account, a terms of use violation was probably brought to their attention.

    I’m not sure that they would suspend his account based on activity of the user who was logging into the compromised account. It’s not hard to tell who’s connecting from where and what time, so if he reported it properly, he shouldn’t be experiencing any problems.

    I know it is bothersome to have your accounts hacked, and it has been bothersome for myself. However, it is the responsibility of the user to accept the consequences of having their account compromised.

    If you leave the keys to your car outside, and someone takes it, you don’t call Nissan. Blizzard offers account restoration as a convenience for their users. It is no secret or ever misunderstood, the mass amount of users. You’re probably not their favorite.

  27. Skellbasher says:

    “Punishing your paid users for faults in your authentication mechanism makes so much sense, doesn’t it?”

    They have no more faults in their authentication system than any other password based service. In fact, they offer an additional layer of security with hardware and software authenticators, more than some banks even offer.

    Instead of whining to the Consumerist for Blizzard taking actions against compromised accounts, which they’re within their rights to do, contact them and go through their standard account restoration procedures.

    And get an authenticator.

  28. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I also have to call shenanigans. I don’t buy his little rant, and I think he’s just having a temper tantrum to try to get the Consumerist to publish his little whine-fest.

    As an enthusiastic WoW player, I can say that he’s not telling the whole story and frankly doing a lot more whining than doing anything constructive. I have known people to get their accounts hacked, totally emptied, and within a few days Blizz had them back to their previous state.

    Grow the hell up and shut the hell up.

  29. superml says:

    …nothing wrong here.

    They always do that, to prevent whatever the hacker is doing from continuing.
    If your account is compromised, the hacker is in there selling his gold in trade chat and selling all your stuff. It keeps the hacker out, and gives you time to fix it.

  30. Liam Kinkaid says:

    I bet this is what really happened.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MshxDYp5Yd4

  31. MarkSweat says:

    The official forums have a number of posts from Blizzard moderators with the steps necessary to get a hacked account re-opened. Start by reading there. The e-mail you received from them should have a link to the posts in question.

    There are a few important things to keep in mind…

    1) Stay calm. (Maybe too late on this one). Angry posts won’t help get a Blizzard response any sooner.
    2) Be patient. Blizzard’s reps are very helpful, but they are WAY overworked with all of the people who fail to keep keyloggers off of their machines. And since you self-noted that you are not using the account much, you may be a bit back in queue behind consistent players. It may take up to a week or two to get everything cleared up. But, if you are patient and understanding, you can get credited for the down time
    3) Setup an authenticator with your account. (Either the iPhone/Droid version, or a physical authenticator.) This will prevent most possible hacks on an account. And, being willing to attach an authenticator might help clear up any misunderstandings from previous correspondence.
    4) Protect yourself by changing the password on your account and getting a good malware/anti-virus app on your machine. No, the one the Geek Squad installed doesn’t count. If you have been hacked, it is likely due to either a keylogger or an easy-to-guess password. If your WoW account is hacked by a keylogger, you might lose your level 72 druid. If your bank account is hacked by the same keylogger…

  32. gparlett says:

    “I’m intentionally using my work signature here to lend credibility to my assertion that a lackadaisical approach to customer service will not serve you well by isolating payers that have played for a long time.”

    Just stringing together big words into run-on sentences does not ‘lend credibility to your assertions’….

  33. ehrgeiz says:

    Moron was buying gold or clicking things they should not have been without computer security and someone got his ID and password there is no “hacking” that happens, hell I bet he fell for a beta phishing e-mail. That said tell them its not you and you get your stuff back period it happens all the times because of people like the OP.

    • smo0 says:

      Most of the virii I can think of come from an add-on client: Curse… and some other “less regulated” clients.

      There are few addons that let you actually CLICK a link posted in wow… in trade for example.

      For copy/paste/links I use something called Prat, in which you click the link, a box comes up for you to ctrl+c then click ACCEPT to make the screen go away – then you paste the link in your browser….

      if he did something similar… he was shopping for gold – and he got what he deserved… buying gold is pretty much contributing to all of the hacking since that’s how they get the gold in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle.

  34. whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

    “Faults in your authentication system”? What faults?

    Blizzard has deep and troublesome user communications problems, sure. But that part makes it sound like there’s either more to the story, or the OP is thinks it’s Blizzard’s fault that his password got gonorrhea after he stuck it somewhere he shouldn’t have without using protection. (In this metaphor, the condom represents a WoW authenticator.) Or both.

  35. MercuryPDX says:

    I’d cast magic missle at the darkness…

    [Sidenote: We need a new go to WOW image in the Consumerist Flickr Pool. I’ve seen this one too many times.]

  36. tchann says:

    Kinda disappointed Consumerist published this – it’s definitely not noteworthy, even among WoW players.

    • smo0 says:

      It’s good to stress the importance of Authenticators, however…. even if the OP’s story was a heaping pile of bullshit.

      • tchann says:

        See, as much as I swear by my authenticator, I am a little disappointed that hacking has become such a huge deal as to make the authenticators practically required. I’d almost rather Blizz just start packing them into the game boxes and hike the price by $6, really. =

        • smo0 says:

          I’ve thought that as well, TBH – I have two authenticators… they were free from blizzcon 2008 and 2009. I know plenty of people who got theirs for free… not to mention the apps.

          It really isn’t blizzards fault – hacking, malware, spyware exist.. – it’s up to the user to keep guard – it just so happens that this is one of… no.. this is the biggest thing outside of the internet itself to connect the amount of users it does – it’s a huge money maker – therefore, people will try to bank in on that greed – the high demand of buying gold to keep up with the games inflated economy FROM the availability of buying gold keeps the circle going.

          It’s a victim of it’s own popularity. Technically – they shouldn’t have to provide an authenticator because it’s the user’s fault for letting their accounts get hacked… BUT – with as much money as people put in to this cash cow, yes – it should be provided.

  37. guroth says:

    Use this as an opportunity to get out while you can, and start spending your time in real life again.

  38. SharkBreath says:

    I had the same issue with Guild Wars. My account was hacked, all my items and gold were stolen. ANET blocked me. They admitted it was “probably a Chinese hacker” but they still blocked me. I lost 4 years of gaming fun in one swoop. Never again.

  39. Kate of Lokys says:

    The OP: “I have had this for over six years now working on all of my different characters.”

    The World of Warcraft entry on Wikipedia: “The game was released on November 23, 2004.”

    Well gosh, apparently he’s been working on those characters for longer than the game has been released! Now *there’s* a true fan. (It’s remotely possible that he was in the beta, but even if he was, those characters wouldn’t have transferred, so he wouldn’t have been working on them continuously anyway).

    When I hear or read a complaint in which the complainer outright lies about something in an attempt to make themselves sound more important than they are, I find myself completely unable to care about the rest of their grievance, even if it *is* legitimate. Whether it’s a WoW player who claims to have been a hardcore subscriber for longer than the game has been out, or my unemployed neighbour standing at the returns desk at Home Depot waving a pair of cheap pliers while shouting “I spend fifty thousand dollars every year in this store!”, they’re just making themselves look worse by lying.

  40. Juravial says:

    Unfortunately, this is the way for almost all “MMO” style games. I play ffxi and if someone hacks your account, they just close it right down and toss a banhammer your way.

    Here’s a question for Blizzard and Square-Enix and all other similar MMOs: Why can’t you just employ a click-to-login based login screen? Yes, it is a pain to mouse click over your password every time you log in, but its incredibly hard (eg not worth it) to keylog that type of login system instead of hitting players up for *more* money for stupid authenticators (WoW ones cost 7 bucks, ffxi ones cost 10)?

    Also, yep, your damn straight I play an MMO, and I don’t have to prove that I have any sort of marital affiliation, or a lucrative career. Why is it so essential to have to justify my video game playing with some sort of other “real life” tasks?

    Its enough that I do play, and I play because I enjoy the game, no other reason, and while his complaint letter was a bit abrasive, its about the anxiety of all that hard work just getting deleted for no real reason and the response of Blizzard just saying “call us if you want us to take your money again” instead of flagging obvious hacks and simply restoring lost items/gold and deleting where the gold was sent to.

    • erinpac says:

      A couple of the smaller mmo’s have those click passwords. They’re ANNOYING and yes, still hackable – hackers run amok in some of them.

  41. arb says:

    What would I do in this situation? Well I wouldn’t write a churlish email and fire it off to Blizzard straight away. I would actually read (and possibly re-read) the email Blizzard sent and then follow the simple instructions contained therein. It is important that when you email account admin about this issue that you use the email address associated with the account, as this will be the first of several steps taken to identify that you are the rightful owner of the account. A (polite) phone call to Blizzard can help clear this up if you wish to speak to a live person, but whichever method you use you must remain patient. Blizzard’s support staff are invariably polite and friendly and work very hard to help resolve customer issues. I have never ceased to be surprised at how friendly and helpful they are when I have had to call them.

    I would then run a complete virus and malware scan on my system, change my passwords and re-asses my security. Adding an authenticator to a WoW account is an absolute must. There are plenty of very useful tips on Blizzards support site and in the Customer Service forum which can help you clean and secure your system. In fact, the email you received should have directed you to some of these resources.

    Whether you acknowledge it or not, Blizzard has done you a favour by insta-banning your account. With luck, some of your toons may still have all their gear and gold and hopefully Blizzard caught the activity early enough that the hackers haven’t stripped your bank(s) and guild bank(s). Believe it or not, Blizzard doesn’t have a personal vendetta against you. In fact, I am sure they would like to keep getting $15 a month from you.

    • Juravial says:

      This guy has the right idea, much better explained than my previous post. I still stand behind my “point and click” password solution though.

  42. Wolfbird says:

    If I were in Reader A’s shoes the first thing I’d do is STFU, get that damned Authenticator already and let Blizzard do its thing while waiting patiently for a few days. As many have said before, Blizzard will ban an account if they catch someone playing silly buggers, but they still want to be friends provided you contact them to say it wasn’t you. It probably also helps if you’re not being a prick about it, too. There is an established procedure for dealing with hackers, and you can’t just make up your own rules about it and get mad when people don’t cooperate.

  43. Daniellethm says:

    My husband and I play WoW, I introduced him to it almost two years ago, and my first experience with getting my account compromised (It’s NOT hacking, people) was this past May. My husband woke me and to tell me my DK was running around Icecrown, and I bolted out of bed as if he told me the house was on fire. I made a trial account, logged in and opened an in game ticket.

    It took about 4 hours for them to answer the ticket, and I calmly told the GM that my main was running around, and whoever got ahold of my account info had added an authenticator, locking me completely out. Within two minutes of verifying who I was he had my account locked down, booted whoever compromised me, and suggested paths for remedy. I changed my email to one only for WoW, changed my passwords, and purchased an authenticator, after finding the compromise, of course.

    As it turns out, my computer was vulnerable for 8 hours, two months before the incident with my WoW account. I’m not sure where the keylogger came from (I don’t do gold sites, any phishy links/emails, or give out my account info, hell my husband doesn’t even know my password!) but my antivirus picked it out and quarantined it the same night. It never occurred to me that my WoW account was what they were going for, I was more worried about my banking info, amongst other sensitive material on my computer.

    TL;DR: You can get your account compromised in as little as 8 hours, Bliizard got me all my stuff back in 3 days, they only give permabans if you screwed up, or there is evidence you (Or possibly the gold farmer on your account) screwed up. Call customer service, don’t get off the phone until they give you your account back, and order an authenticator, you won’t regret it.

  44. erinpac says:

    They do this to almost every hacked account. When an account is hacked, it often has a fake CC on it, it also often hacks in game, spams, breaks rules, etc. They want them OUT OF GAME until the owner can fix that.
    All they need to do is contact account admin after the account is re-secured. It may take a little bit but they wipe that record and it’s back in game.

    If they are sure you are hacked, they may put it in a 24 hour lock while they try to reach you, but usually they just get em out of there.

  45. erinpac says:

    Oh, and OP – if you calm down and actually want any more info (after reading the email Blizz sent)…

    ** Account Hacked? Security Issue? Look Here!**
    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=24702231244&sid=1

    ** Account Compromise Info Center **
    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=14318909866&sid=1

    ** Computer Security Recommendations **
    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=1778038509&sid=1

    ** Battle.net Account Security **
    http://us.battle.net/security/

    **What To Do If Your Account Is Compromised**
    http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?locale=en_US&articleId=30796

    Everything but coming to your house to do it for you…

  46. davidc says:

    They don’t close your account for first time / one time hacked. They close it cause it’s habitually hacked, or if they find out you bought gold while investigating or something along those lines.

    They *lock* your account immediately so that nothing else happens, but they don’t ban it for something as basic as being hacked.

    Been playing WoW since it launched …

  47. Jubes says:

    Yup, I waited about an hour a week or so ago because my email was getting flooded with spam from “blizzard”, I just called to triple check that everything was good even though my accounts been untouched for about a year now.

  48. mattlohkamp says:

    If I were A, I would stop bitching – all you need to do is get in touch with support and reclaim your account. They disable it so nothing else happens to it. You don’t lose anything. Chances are incredibly high that it’s A’s own fault that the account was hacked in the first place – use a unique strong password, add an authenticator to your account, stop whining.

  49. g051051 says:

    Well, I’m sure your attitude is part of the problem. I had my account haced a while back. I got a notice from Blizzard saying it was suspended. After I sent an explanation to Blizzard that it wasn’t me, that my account was hacked, they immediately reactivated it for me. I hadn’t been playing uch, but when I logged back in, I found dozens of 1st level toons across the realms, all created to send gold spam. I think Blizzard did the right thing in banning my account, and showd great customer service with contacting me and helping me get my account back under my control.

  50. NephilimNexus says:

    A few years back a friend tried to get me into WoW with one of their two week free trials. After about three days I concluded that it was the worst game I’ve ever played, uninstalled it off my computer and sent them notice that I would not be signing up for a paid subscription & to just cancel my trial account.

    Fast forward to the present and I can not go 24 hours without getting a notification from Blizzard that my account has been hacked, it’s being used for illegal things and that they’re going to ban it. No really, they mean it this time! I’ve gotten at least twenty of those so far. I’ve even replied to a few of them with messages, sliding down over time from polite to insulting, to go ahead and ban the account. By all means, please ban the account. Another day goes by and I get another ban-threat from Blizzard, along with about six spam from WoW phishing sites, of course – which I then forward to “spam@uce.gov,” who in turn also do absolutely nothing.

    So I am finding it rather ironic that an actual WoW player – someone who wants to be playing the game – gets his account banned by Blizzard because of hackers, whereas I, someone who wants nothing to do with WoW ever again, can’t get Blizzard to ban a zombified free-trial account that I’ve been trying to delete for over three years.

  51. snarkyboy says:

    I actually had this happen to an account that was dormant for about three years. Some gold farmer or something got into my account (weak password), and they shut down the account. I simply replied to their email and explained the situation, and within a couple days they had re-activated my account and gave me a 7-day free period to clean up the account and play a bit of the game again.

    Blizzard, at least in my experience, is rarely unreasonable, although they may be quick to throw down a banhammer to keep people from exploiting the system.

  52. DashTheHand says:

    The thing is that there are authenticators to prevent your account from being “hacked.” If you own a smartphone they’re free, if you don’t they’re like 4 bucks and free shipping.

    Although, I never had my account hacked even prior to that because I picked a suitably long password for my account and never told anyone my login info. I also have an internet anti-virus/anti-phish active.

    You see, I don’t really feel bad for the people that get hacked that don’t take any precautions.

  53. Alex says:

    Authenticator

  54. MrD90 says:

    How have you had an account for over 6 years for a game that’s only been out for 5 years and 8 months?

  55. kujospam says:

    This is the OP fault. I don’t feel sorry for him/her at all. I to had my account hacked, now twice. Last time, I wasn’t even paying for wow and the hacker paid for a month subscription to hack it. Took everything, even from my guild. I finally got my account back, now I just need items or gold. It took them 2 weeks to catch it though. It is your responsibility to protect your account. I highly doubt they also shut down your account within hours of your account being hacked, either it was hacked for days and you didn’t notice it yet, or you are just plain lieing. (It could be a miracle though if they did catch it in an hour) If you don’t want it to get hacked, use an authenticator.

  56. Gman says:

    Horrid letter if he truly hoped for resolution. Starts off saying how little the account means to him, uses an inaccurate, hyperbolic time scale to show how loyal of a customer he is (WoW was released November 2004 and new account creation was required even for those in alpha/beta, so a six year old account is impossible), and goes into threats against a company who simply took the initial sane steps based on an account performing improper activities.

    Not to defend Blizzard in general or say that going through the proper channels would have resolved his specific concern, but immature internet rants are just as pointless as in person internet rants.

    My daughter throws tantrums like this sometimes too. I usually just give her a time out to think things over. Hopefully in three years, when she turns six, things will be a bit easier.