Well, it has finally happened to me too; My World of Warcraft-account has been compromised!
Woke up this morning to several messages on my cellphone from friends asking if I was currently playing on my WoW-account. Seems I had been seen botting in Storm Peaks for several hours without responding – not only weird because of the botting-part (which I would never had done), but also because the most I have played in the last month is to log in once or twice just to check up on some people.
I immediately went to eu.battle.net and changed my password, then started the usual process of scanning for viruses and/or malicious programs lurking in my process list – with no results – system appears to be clean as a whistle. I never share my account-details with anyone, haven’t logged in at anyone else’s computer, found no virus and/or trojans – so I’m pretty much clueless to how my account got hacked.
Anyway, I eventually logged in to my account, and found that my higher-level alts had been cleared out of all sell-able gear and items, both on character and in bank. My main character – a druid – retained most of the feral gear (to be used for botting, apparently!), while all the sell-able parts of the resto gear were gone with the wind, along with my cash. They’d also cleared out the gold from my alts as well as the gold from the guild-bank (a defunct guild with very little cash in the bank, but still – principle of the thing).
I’ve opened a GM ticket, and I’m now waiting (“Wait time currently unavailable”) to see how the rest of this story will unfold.
Teleportation: The ability to instantly transfer matter from one location to another without actually ever moving in the space between those two locations. Scientists have been chasing this dream for decades, and Science-Fiction writers and/or movie directors have been using it as a plot-device and/or a generic method of transportation for even longer.
In the context of MMORPGs, it is more and more often used as a way of letting players quickly “return to base” after having done some random quest in a far-off area of the game, instead of forcing them to spend what is seen as unnecessary time and effort fighting their way back the way they came. Usually it comes disguised as some sort of “fast-travel ability”, but whether it’s described as a map you use to find your way quickly (LotRO), as a special traveling ability using your knowledge of the “hidden paths between here and there” (AoC) or as magical spell that instantly transports you (World of Warcraft), the effect is exactly the same – you instantly teleport from one location in the game-world to another.
Another common feature comes in the form of fast-travel to specific parts of the game-world by the use of “space shuttles” (SWG), “wagoneers” (AoC) or just plain ol’ magic portals (UO, WoW).
In some games, you can also summon teammates to your location by magical spells, or to the entrance of a dungeon by the use of magical “meeting stones”, or open magical portals of your own which other players can step through to travel half way across the world. And as added in the most recent World of Warcraft-patch, the ability for members in a group to instantly teleport to the entrance of any specific dungeon, and when leaving said dungeon later on, being teleported directly back to one’s original location.
All of this is very handy, of course; it makes content instantly accessible to the players, makes it less of a hassle to team up with random players for a dungeon-rump, and ensures that you can meet up with your friends and guild-mates at short notice.
Continue reading “Teleportation in MMORPGs – or – How Instant Gratification Killed the Dream of Virtual Worlds”
Out of pure self-interest, I’m going to blatantly promote Age of Conan by mentioning the press release just released (duh, obviously) that announces the offer of a free, everlasting Age of Conan trial (aka “Unlimited Free Trial”).
Basically, if you sign up for a trial account, download and install the game and then log in at least once before January 1st 2010, the trial account will never end and you can keep on hanging around in Tortage (level 1-20 area) for as long as you want.
Some limitations apply to the trial accounts (out of necessity due to the potential abuse by spammers/gold sellers), though; no trade with other players, no use of in-game mail, no public chat channels, no forum-posting access.
Anyway, that’s this year’s Age of Conan (Available in a retail store/webshop/Steam near you!) promotion (Buy now! Don’t hesitate!) from me (Buy your friends a copy too! And your mom!). Now going back to my regular schedule of updating this blog at random intervals.
Note #0: It’s been a while since I posted anything at all on this blog. Just to let you know, I haven’t completely given up on it just yet, I have just been busy(TM) with other stuff.
In April 2000 a revolutionary methodology for reviewing video-games saw the light of day at the Old Man Murray-website; the Crate Review System. The basis for this new reviewing-system was very simple; since virtually all games contain crates, all games could be judged empirically on those crates. The longer you could play a game without seeing any crates (wooden or otherwise), the better the game. Or to put it in completely different terms: The shorter the time (in seconds) from the start of the game until the first crate is found, the worse the game. This unit of measurement was dubbed “Start to Crate” (StC for short).
I had forgotten about the above until recently, when I came across (through another blog, but unfortunately I can’t remember which!) an old Gamasutra-article by Ernest W. Adams (also listed on his “No Twinkie Database“-page). The article was not only an interesting read (along with everything else in the No Twinkie Database), it also contained a link to the Crate Review System at Old Man Murray.
While I was reading the old crate reviews there, I started thinking about how well this system of reviewing games would apply to MMORPGs, which are a very special breed of games indeed. With only one way to find out, I put on my research hat and started downloading numerous free trials, as well as re-activating some of my old MMORPG-subscriptions, determined to check the StC-times in an ungodly amount (Thirty-one in total) of MMORPGs.
Note #1: The original system didn’t differentiate between crates and their cousins, the circular crates also known as “barrels”. I check for both separately, and thus ended up with StC and StB values for each game.
Note #2: Some of the games I tried had multiple starting locations. In those cases I visited all the available starting locations and timed the StCs and StBs for those one by one. Unless I didn’t like the game, or I was distracted by food/TV/all the walls that keep staring at me. In those cases I only did one starting location.
Read on for the results of my research.
Continue reading “Start to Crate-times in MMORPGs”