February 19, 2009 at 6:02 pm 14 comments

No, not me.  My Mom.  😦

All of my friends think it’s awesome that my mom plays WoW.  It’s certainly led to some epic moments … like the time in Gruul’s Lair that a certain cat druid decided to violate my corpse and forgot that my Mom was watching.  (You’ll never live that one done, eh, Keaton?)

My little sister and I got her into the game over a year ago, and she’s just as addicted now as we are.  Granted, her goals are very different from ours.  Whereas we raid and PvP (or, rather, I raid and my sister PvP’s), Mom enjoys the leveling game.

She plays WoW in single-player mode, questing her way from zone to zone, maxing her professions and nurturing the occasional stray she manages to pick up along the way.  (And when I say stray, I mean players, not mini-pets: a surprising number of latch-key WoW kids call her “Mom” — or “Mum,” in the case of the little English rogue she adopted somewhere between Winterspring and Hellfire Peninsula.)

To Mom, the ultimate goal of the game is level cap.  She ding’d 80 on her Death Knight last week, and has three up-and-coming alts between 71 and 76: a druid, a mage and her original main (in the family tradition), a warlock.

She’s raided a few times with my guild, or with friends of my sister, but she doesn’t particularly enjoy it; it’s too much pressure.  Players tend to be less forgiving than quest givers of the Death Knight decked out in spellpower plate or the warlock who somehow managed to equip bullets in her wand’s ammunition slot.  (I didn’t even know that was possible until I inspected her one day.)

After cycling her characters through all of her children’s guilds (Did I mention that my brother also plays?), and being equally unhappy in all of them, she struck out on her own and finally found a niche as the GM and official “Guild Mum” of the Squishy Marshmallows.  All of her guildies are young, and most are first-timers to WoW; she protects them from the same kind of ridicule she herself has experienced with all the ferocity of a mama bear.

Anyway, Mom logged onto e-mail this morning to find not one but two messages from Blizzard, confirming her recent password change.  Alarmed, she immediately tried to log onto her account, to no avail.  Attempting to reset her password on the official site led to more frustration, in the form of a glaring red error message: “This account’s password has been reset too many times today.  Please contact customer support at 1-800…”  (Or something along those lines.)

Unfortunately, it was only 6 AM in California and Blizzard wouldn’t open for another two hours.

Frustrated to the verge of tears (and, I suspect, in tears), Mom logged onto my little brother’s account and ticketed a GM.  While she was waiting for a response, she noticed two things.  First, her Death Knight was not only online, but moving around Northrend: from Borean Tundra to Wintergrasp, and back again.  Mining?

Her increasingly frantic — and angry — whispers went unanswered.

Second, a level 1 Orc named Addshine was selling off what appeared to be the contents of her bags in /trade chat.

Testing a theory, she whispered her main: “Your friend Addshine says hi.”

Her Death Knight immediately logged off.

Eventually, 8 AM rolled around and Mom was able to get in touch with customer service and reclaim control of her account.  Predictably, most of her gear was gone — vendored, presumably — along with all of her gold, the entire contents of her guild bank and even her bags.

I’ve reassured her — and Blizzard has reassured her — that most of what was taken will be restored.  She’s especially concerned about her warlock’s raid gear, and understandably so: for someone as trepidatious about raiding as she is, that five piece T4 was hard-earned, and Fang of the Leviathan utterly irreplaceable.

Mom is not a worldly person, but she felt personally violated by the theft — and I don’t blame her.  I know all too well how emotionally attached we can become to our characters; how even little things can take on sentimental value.  I still have all of the gear I ended The Burning Crusade with, along with the Vodoo Skull I picked up in our final bear run, a lost pendant it took eight solid months to find, and a whole host of odds and ends you wouldn’t believe: from the tasty cupcake my priest officer sent me for my birthday last year to every boquet of Beautiful Wildflowers my boyfriend has ever given me (one a day, every day, for the first six months of our relationship).

It absolutely infuriates me that someone could do this to another person — for what?  50 gold from a guild bank and a few stacks of saronite ore?  In the grand scheme of things, hacking someone’s WoW account and stealing their pixels is a relatively small crime, but it certainly isn’t a victimless one.

My Mom has never been a good player, by Elitest Jerks’ standards, but she has always — always — been a happy one; one of those rare people who take such joy in the game that she makes Azeroth a better place simply by being in it.  Unfortunately, that joy is something that no GM can restore.


Entry filed under: WoW. Tags: , .

It’s official. I’m a shaman. Locking it up in an Eye of Eternity PuG

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jazz  |  February 19, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Hi. I just started reading your blog. I thought I’d stop by and say I’m so sorry this happened to your mom. She sounds like an amazing person and I wish my mom played WoW. From the sounds of it your mom isn’t just a good player but a great one, not in the terms we might think but others. If it wasn’t for the kind people you happen to randomly find in this game it probably wouldn’t mean so much to so many people. Hopefully your mom won’t stop playing because of this. WoW needs more people like her.

  • 2. Elleiras  |  February 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Thanks, Jazz. 🙂 I’m going to share your comment with my Mom. I’m sure it will make her feel a little better about a bad situation; it certainly touched me.

  • 3. Karthis  |  February 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I ❤ my Blizzard account authenticator. Dirt cheap – good birthday present for a Mom if it’s anytime soon 😉

  • 4. Elleiras  |  February 19, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    That’s a really good idea, Karthis. Especially since her birthday happens to be next month! I’ll order one for her tonight.

  • 5. Hulan  |  February 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    That stinks 😦 I hope that she gets everything sorted soon and that she doesn’t let this spoil her enjoyment of WoW. I second Karthis, the authenticator is a brilliant little gizmo and gives total peace of mind – although as both my kids have characters on my account I’m always terrified that one of them is going to break or lose it! 😉

  • 6. Crucifer  |  February 19, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    I’ve noticed a larger number of people being hacked this last month. 3 of our casuals have been hacked and then withdrawn their full amount of stacks from the guild bank.

    I generally joke to my friends that if someone hacked my account, they would most likely charitably donate to me rather than steal as I have very little to take, but the truth of the matter is that any hacker would steal absolutely anything that wasn’t nailed down.

    It’s horrible and contemptible, and I sincerely feel for your mum and hope she doesn’t let this incident get between her and her ‘Squishy Marshmellows’.

  • 7. Myri  |  February 20, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Oh, man. I’m so sorry this happened to your mom. Someone in my guild was hacked a while back, and I think we all felt some of that same sense of violation and anger, even though Blizz restored pretty much everything that had been stolen, so I really feel for her.

    I hope she doesn’t let this one event—difficult though it was—put her off playing WoW, because the game needs more people like her.

  • 8. *vlad*  |  February 20, 2009 at 6:19 am

    Next time you see gold sellers spamming, just remember where that money might have come from, people.

    I’m sure it will all get sorted ok, but the feelings that go with the crime might take longer to recede.

  • 9. Melissa  |  February 20, 2009 at 6:25 am

    My first time visiting your blog and this is what I see. This happened to my boyfriend exactly one week ago so I understand how you feel. It is a feeling of violation somehow and while you try to tell yourself “it’s only a game and none of it is real”, it still doesn’t remove the feeling.

    My bf actually caught the hacker in the act as well, but was luckily able to change his password. They had deleted half of his toons and sold all items in his bags. He got most of his stuff back within 12 hours, but still receives the occasional blizz in-game mail with recovered items.

    I’ve heard some say to purchase an authenticator via Blizz, but I’ve heard mixed reviews of their usefulness and stability.

  • 10. Shadan  |  February 20, 2009 at 8:01 am

    That’s a horrible thing to happen. I hope she gets over it soon and continues with her adventures in Azeroth.
    People like you Mom make this game so much fun and refreshing to play. No pressure over raiding, Min-Maxing and getting loot. Just having fun leveling, and most importantly, helping others along the way. I wish I was in “Guild Mum” when I started playing this game.

  • 11. kavika  |  February 20, 2009 at 8:34 am

    There seems to be a new rash of hacking going on lately….we had two people in our guild, including one GM, get hacked a few nights ago. The hackers did just as you mentioned (all items, guild bank items/gold, etc..). I wonder what’s going on because it seemed for a while that you didn’t hear about accounts being hacked nearly as often as you used to, but now suddenly we’re hearing about it more. Honestly I’m somewhat suspicous of blizzard because it’s quite likely that if there is a huge rash of them all of a sudden, it might have been a security breach or even a disgruntled employee that might have been laid off recently. Yes, I’m a conspiracy theorist…

  • 12. kyrilean  |  February 20, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I had this happen to a friend and finally let loose on the hacker. My friend did get all his gear back, most of his items excepting a lot of farmed type items that you can get anywhere.

    It’s hard to get over, but it made him sick to his stomache for about a week. Sorry to hear this has happened to your mom.

    You’re making the right decision about the authenticator. Money well spent. She’ll be extremely pleased with it. 🙂

  • 13. Pixelated Executioner  |  February 20, 2009 at 10:25 am

    I’m sorry to hear that this has happened. We’ve had a few hackings in our guild as well, and it’s never easy to recover from.

    *vlad* brings up an excellent point, though, and that is that most gold sold through gold-selling sites is STOLEN. Anyone who buys from these sites is only adding to the hacker problem, and it’s not right.

    In the end, the people who get hurt most are the ones like Mom. It’s not right, and it’s not fair; to think that someone like this, who represents everything that people should be: kind, compassionate, genuine, and protective of others… that someone like this could be made to feel insecure, angry, violated…

    *sighs angrily and goes back to work on the Web-Puncher 8000, mumbling “Just you wait, you inconsiderate @#%#ers.”*

  • 14. Tessy  |  February 23, 2009 at 4:52 am

    Gear isn’t everything, the important thing is to have fun and be happy while playing, and it seems your MoM has really found her way – I hope things have worked out for her because Jazz is right, WoW would be a crappy game indeed without kind and caring people like her in it – hugs to her!


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