Saturday, June 6, 2009

Revealing My Identity

One of my readers, Joe, commented a while back under my Why Play an MMO Solo? article that he would like to say hello to me in game if he knew which server I played on. Once again, thanks Joe and I really appreciate this. Unfortunately I will never reveal my in-game identity to the public. Neither the servers I'm playing on, nor the names of my characters. If someone can discover the identity of my characters, kudos to them but I will never admit it :)

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not doing this because I disrespect my readers or because I shun people. I have several reasons...

I will re-iterate what I replied under Joe's comment: I prefer to stay anonymous because I'm a very discrete person, both in real life and in game. I don't speak when I don't have anything to say and I don't like to attract any undue attention. In short, I like minding my own business.

I am also not a celebrity by any means. Although this blog has attracted more readers than I hoped for, I am just a regular guy, same as you, my readers. Just like some of you, I decided to painstakingly lay some on my thoughts regarding WoW on this blog. I don't seek any celebrity status by doing this and I would probably feel embarrassed if I were approached by a reader in game.

Another reason is that I don't want people to think that some of the tips I'm giving here apply strictly to my server(s). True, some of them do. For example, prices are certainly different from server to server, but the money making tips that I give should be taken with a grain of salt and tailored specifically to your own server.

However, one of the most compelling reasons why I don't think any WoW blogger with a successful gold income should reveal their identity is identity theft. If you haven't read these 2 articles on, you should:
Beware of Blood Elves selling mounts
An interview with a scammer

The bottom line is that our online identities are very important to us. The fact that World of Warcraft is just a game doesn't make your WoW account less important. Especially to people who have played WoW for years, have several high level characters with nice gear and have accumulated a wealth of gold, mats and other items, the loss of an account due to hacking can be very painful indeed.

It is certainly plausible that some hackers will read gold making blogs and start targeting those wealthy characters owned by the blogger. Why not? If you read the second article, the hacker claims he made 70K gold in a week by stealing other people's accounts. If he managed to infiltrate a single wealthy player's account, he would probably make that whole amount or even a lot more in a matter of hours.

Do I sound paranoid? Perhaps. In truth, I'm not losing any sleep over having my account hacked. There's a very low chance of that happening. As a long-time internet user and web programmer, I am situated above the crowd in regards to internet security. I am no guru by any means but I know the fundamentals of WoW security intimately.

It's better however not to tempt thieves. Flaunting your wealth in WoW is as bad as doing it in real life. Thieves will eventually figure new ways of breaking into people's lives and accounts and I don't want to make their lives any easier.

In conclusion, if your WoW account means a lot to you, if you have invested a lot of time in it, consider not giving out all your characters' details. Then again, you might be the open type and there's nothing wrong with that. However, always make sure to observe at least the most basic of security procedures:
  • don't click on links you receive in your emails; instead type in the name of the site directly and only if you trust the site
  • don't give your account details to anyone, including purported Blizzard employees. Remember, they will never ask you for your password.
  • don't trust in-game strangers offering too-good deals
  • use a "safe" browser (debatable though) such as Firefox with addons that block javascript (NoScript) and Flash (Flash Blocker)
  • use an antivirus with current updates; scan your computer regularly
  • use a firewall
  • use a spyware scanner; scan your computer regularly
  • finally, use an Authenticator! This is the single most important item that can make the difference between a safe account and one emptied of everything of value. $7 is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING compared to the pain and suffering from the loss of an account.
I hope no one has to go through the experience of being hacked. In the comments to those 2 articles a lot of people were of the opinion that those who get hacked deserve it. Nobody deserves this. Sometimes it can happen even if you're extra careful but not tempting the thief is the first measure you can take to prevent being robbed.


Tal said...

"$7 is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING compared to the pain and suffering from the loss of an account."
True, but in some countries the shipping is gonna kill ya... Still, they now have the mobile authenticator for iPhone/iPod Touch and I think other phones as well, and it's free.

Darth Solo said...

Unfortunately that is true :(
Not all countries have access to the Authenticator. I really hope Blizzard gets their asses in gear and open this up to everyone. At least the iPhone is available in some of these countries.

Joe said...

It was well worth the 5 odd pounds i spent on it! Like you Darth, i am clued up on IT, since its my job to be so, that all said, i almost fell foul to an account hijack! It suprised me most that the game client caught it before i did! I treat my PC well, and honestly think the most dangerous thing on it right now is some tracker cookies, but having had nod32 for a year and doing regular scans, along with spybot and registry cleaning, i was seriously surprised when the wow game client refused to let me log on because "it" caught a trojan before i did!

Morale of the story, you can be as safe as you can, but when dealing with the internet, anything can get in, be sure to have a backup like authenticator!

On another note, i can't say i've been reading this blog since the begining, but ever since i have, i've learnt SO much! And i think you Darth have every right not to disclose your actual details, just for the very reasons you've put. I came across this blog for the very reason you gave me before, solo player and discrete person in general. So it stands to reason that it should remain that way :D

I think this blog is probably the most "publicly" outspoken i've been in a while.

Interesting articles from btw! keep up the good work!

Bloodshrike said...

Hey Darth,
Glad to hear that you're making money. :)
You wouldn't be cutting into my action on Demon Soul, Daggerspine, Darrowmere, or Lightbringer, would you? I've noticed the Tasty Spider recipe and the Moongraze recipe have shot up in price there, on the Ally AH.

Have you tried posting 1 on the neutral AH and 1 on the Ally AH at the same time? I try to limit my exposure of the recipes, so people won't realize I'm farming them, and will just think that I gave up learning that recipe on a toon that I'm actually going to use.

Good reasoning on remaining anonymous. I probably give away too much info on my blog, but I HAVE to mention my toon's names, otherwise I'd never keep them straight in my head. I have at least 3 of every class (4 hunters, and only 1 DK being the exceptions), and I tend to use my nom de guerre of Bloodshrike a bit too much.

Bloodshrike said...

psst, could you also give me pointers on how to link shortcuts from wowhead so they popup from the link?

Thank you :)

Shawn said...

Dude, this is the internet. It's like the Wild West, but with more scary porn. I sure as hell don't blame you for wanting to cover your ass.
Unless of course you're like one of seven people who are writing this blog, a la Ferraro. Then that's just weird.

Darth Solo said...

@Joe thanks again! Hah, if you think that what I'm writing here is outspoken, you haven't seen what's inside my head. In fact I had a notion once of starting a blog with all the hardcore, controversial stuff that's going on through my head but I'm afraid it would be really dangerous. Online, I'm hoping to keep the same character that I have in real life. If someone says "dude, you're ugly" I will step back, look in the mirror and agree with him if I feel they are right.

@Bloodshrike who said "casuals" can't be hardcore? :)

As for the wowhead shortcuts, you need to insert their little Javascript plugin. To do this, login to your blog and go to Layout > Edit HTML.

Right underneath the "head" tag, insert wowhead's code found here:

From what I see on your blog, you've already linked the shortcuts to the wowhead page. I looked at the sourcecode for your page and you are currently missing that plugin.

@Shawn I'm just 1 guy and I don't even have enough time to post everything I'd like. That Ferraro thing was a real fiasco wasn't it? I was already a bit skeptical that a hot chick was so involved in all this WoW business but the conclusion to this story took the cake.

Darth Solo said...

@Bloodshrike about the recipe... don't worry, I'm not competing against you. At any rate, I'm posting 1 at a time. Since there's no deposit on it this is 1 exception where I post it for 48 hours.

I haven't tried the neutral AH. Can't be bothered to send a toon there though I should. Sometimes I'm too lazy for my own good :P

Joe said...

i almost want you to be more than one person, that would explain how lucky you are with your drops as of late :p

My "blog" (if u could call it that) isn't really a blog but a collection of random guff in my life as of late, i think its that and this site and maybe my guilds site where i am truely outspoken, though i find it easier to say things to people i dont know, mainly because thre is a lot less kick back - theoreticeally...

p.s. ur not ugly, sure go check in the mirror, i think u'll agree. That or u wont agree, and i've just got a therapist somewhere a new client!

hehe :D

Darth Solo said...

I'll tell you the secret why stuff has been dropping for me recently (though I haven't had a good drop in a few weeks). I immediately cancel my account as soon as I subscribe to WoW, effectively going month-by-month. I'm sure that Blizzard is throwing all these drops at me just to keep me as a customer. Well, that's my theory at least.

One piece of luck that keeps avoiding me like the plague is the croc buckets from the Shattrath fishing dailies. I've completed dozens of those quests and not a single one of the 4 crocs has dropped.

Of course I'm not ugly :) However, I'll be the first to admit the countless things that are wrong with me.

You're right about the fact that the internet makes us more outspoken. I'm rather shy in real life and don't usually mix with people unless they share some of my interests. This blog is a convenient outlet for me, especially since English isn't my first language and my spoken English is worse than my written.

Joe said...

you surprise me sir! Heres me thinking your english is better than mine and I AM ENGLISH :p

I agree its a great outlet! Your theory though might have some merit, since i pay for 3 monthly subscriptions then take a break often, when i come back i get something drop, like the sewer rat on the 4th fish or the key for the chest in dalaran on the 7th fish.

Maybe i should cancel and come back again :p

Darth Solo said...

Thank you kind sir.

You know, maybe we're completely wrong about this but there might be more to canceling your account than meets the eye. A while back I stopped playing WoW for over a year. When I got back, on the first day I went to Azshara on my high level hunter on some errand and I decided to kill a few of those elite giants. Sure enough, one of them dropped a world epic.

I gotta say, that would be mighty nice of Blizzard if they had some secret code in there which "rewarded" returning customers :))

Joe said...

I'll cancel after the weekend methinks, its a profitable time for me :D

p.s. zomg at the new patch rumors of mount changes! A Blizard forum Blue chap has announced it, but i would love to see it happen!

Darth Solo said...

Incoming post with comments on the mount changes!

Anonymous said...

I love the site. I just wanted to point out that as i type this, there is a gold seller ad at the bottom of the page. :(

Darth Solo said...

@Anonymous thanks! I'm sorry if the gold ads offend you. Unfortunately there isn't much I can do to control them since they are generated automatically by Google. However, I do try to blacklist those sites but I can't possibly ban them all and eventually another one will pop up.