The Problem With Gold

Well, honestly, it isn’t gold.  This week’s shared topic over on Blog Azeroth was raised by Tarinae of A Healadin’s Tear.  I’ve been keeping my big gumpy shut and my poor stubby fingers silent so far, because the intention is good. Let’s prevent those nasty gold-sellers from ransacking our hard-won gold and items!  Protect account security–don’t buy gold.

The question then becomes: Do gold sellers sell gold taken from stolen character accounts?

Well, as a business model, it seems rather… far-fetched.  Gold-sellers make money by accumulating in-game gold and selling it to other players.  What are the fastest, most reliable, and easiest ways to get your hands on WoW gold?

  1. Farming
  2. Auction House selling
  3. Farming… seriously
  4. Likely some scenario that I’m not even aware
  5. Theft

Chances are, a company promoting the sale of in-game gold is not likely to be the primary source of account hacking.  More likely culprits are individuals seeking to sell your character’s gold to a third party, or frankly, hackers who get a thrill from screwing over any “security” system.  Third party gold selling does not alleviate the transgressions, but blaming the company seems a little out there.  Despite the hype gold-selling does not equal account hacking… poor security does.

There are things that you can do (and should be doing as a WoW player, or merely as an individual with files that you wish to protect):

  1. Have a firewall
  2. Run security software such as AVG and Malwarebyte’s Anti-Malware
  3. Avoid sites with poor reputations–I love Web of Trust for Firefox and Google Chrome
  4. If you have a browser with the capability, pick up a script blocker plug-in
  5. Get an authenticator
  6. Keep a separate e-mail account for WoW log-in.  I prefer Gmail or a subscribed e-mail service, such as the one that comes with your service provider.  Hotmail should be avoided for account sensitive information (just a personal opinion, but I’ve seen a lot of hacked e-mail accounts).
  7. Change your password every so often!
  8. NEVER SHARE YOUR ACCOUNT INFORMATION.

While it definitely feels nice to have a “bad guy” to blame for the loss of your toon’s pixels, chances are, it is not some massive corporate effort to ransack your character, but an individual seeking to have a thrill.  Gold is a negligible resource for many players–easily come by, and just as easily dispensed on goods and services every day.  Personally, I wouldn’t have a single problem if Warcraft offered gold for sale.  Gold does not allow you to buy gear beyond the level of content that you can PuG and receive gear, and is generally used by players at end-game to pay for “perk” items or to avoid an annoying part of game-play–the grind.

My only issue with gold-sellers and buyers is their blatant disregard for Blizzard’s Terms of Service.  World of Warcraft, despite our enjoyment of the game, is not our playpen–it is Blizzard’s.  To play in their world, we agree to abide by their rules, and I am very much a staunch proponent of being a goody two shoes when it comes to following rules.  You want to compromise your integrity by buying gold–feel free, but don’t expect me to wave it off as negligible or not important.  I am not upset that you have more gold by whatever means, but it does tell me that, in some form or fashion, you think you are above the rules of the playpen–and that makes you as disreputable as a person who hacks the database to strengthen their character beyond the limits of the game.

Until gold is legitimately offered by World of Warcraft for use in-game, I just won’t support buyers or sellers, but I won’t be railing at the gold-sellers if my account gets hacked–I’ll be questioning my security measures and internet usage instead.

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9 thoughts on “The Problem With Gold

  1. Spot. On.

    Well said, Wind.

    The authenticator is the safest step you can take initially. Even the one "flaw" of it that we have seen so far was not a flaw in the device by any means, it was a flaw in your security that allowed someone to install a program on your computer.

    Step 1: Make your account safe with an Authenticator

    Step 2: Make your computer safe with everything Wind just mentioned.

    • Everyone should be following such security measures who has an internet connection, but we're WoW oriented over here 😛

  2. Kinda funny to read Wind's security after I already wrote my post — lots of similarities.

    I /boggle at the players that refuse to use an authenticator. For me, it's the simplest thing you can do to reduce the amateur hour hackers using an open source brute force cracker.

    Enjoyed your opinions and insights, Windsoar!

    • There's really not much new to say in regards to internet security. Authenticators are SO cheap, however, that I find them an important investment if you care about your toon's things. Having guild bank access, I consider it a priority, not just to safeguard my own characters, but to protect the hard work of my fellow guild members by keeping my computer as safe as possible.

  3. In my experience it's definitely farmed gold. I stopped playing WoW last spring, then tried to restart over Christmas. Someone had gained control of my inert account (possibly during the Battle.net fiasco). I came back to find that my lvl 60 hunter was leveled to 80 and was being used to farm Eternal fires and Relics of Ulduar – there were about 2000 of each in my inventory. When I logged onto a 56 DK I had started to check them out, there was about 900g incoming in the mailbox from sales as well. So someone "hacked" my account with the purpose of using it to farm gold to sell, until it got caught and banned. Then they just move on to the next hacked account. They also used a stolen credit card to pay for the account while active. Nice, huh?

    • Farming is the most lucrative form of gold collection available. People who sell accounts often do so to gold-sellers–it cuts down the time cost in leveling characters to gain the greatest benefit. I didn't mean to imply that absolutely zero accounts are hacked by people hoping to sell gold, but in my experience, the largest number of hacked accounts are done so by individuals. Tarinae's personal story is a great example: someone hacked her account, and stayed on it so long taunting her friends and guild members over the fact, that he was caught and his ISP tracked by Blizzard. This doesn't make him a gold seller or buyer, but merely an individual looking to test his skills OR make a quick buck wiping out characters.

      I suspect (but in no way know) that your battle.net information was hacked in the e-mail authentication portion of the battle.net turnover. I know lots of players who ran into issues with their e-mail provider's security resulting in losing their account information. And not that you need it, but you have a perfect case of definite seller/farmer so I understand any aggrievement you have over the gold selling industry 😛 Mine's an ethical concern, but I also haven't had my characters hacked! I hope you were able to get your characters restored to some form of order, although I would feel really upset over having my character leveled for me 😦

      • Yes I was able to get my account back. There were pros and cons: I got a fully geared level 80 char and about 6000 gold (in gold and items). On the other hand, that all but killed any interest I have in playing that char, since it doesn't feel like "mine" anymore (I do bust him out to farm stuff with tho, he's excellent at that). And I got my account cut off momentarily, requiring another hour hold on the phone to correct, when the charge on the stolen credit card was disputed, and Blizzard had their money charged-back (or whatever they call it) – even though it should have been clear to them in their records that my account was stolen at the time and shouldn't have any bearing on me paying and playing now.

        I've since changed my email account password, got an Authenticator, and use a different password for forums and casual browsing.

  4. Thank you for the recommendation of WOT! Have been wondering if Chrome had anything similar to NoScript for Firefox 🙂

  5. @Spitt
    Your comment was deleted due to our non-commercial linking policy. You are welcome to leave your information again (and thank you for a different pov) but I will not promote a site that promotes gold selling 🙂 Thanks!

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