Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Monday, January 25, 2010

YAY!! Toons restored!!

Blizz restored my WoW characters. It took a week, but everything (currency and equipment) seems to have been restored.

Good job, Bristocleis, Specialist Game Master of Blizzard Entertainment. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back to Stories! A Tale from the Gallows End Tavern

This story starts in the time after the departure of the Death Knight Arthas from Lordaeron, but before the reopening of the Dark Portal to Outland.

Ivy sat near the bar of the Gallows End Tavern, drinking the grog that passed for refreshment among the Forsaken denizens of Brill. She had been in the sleepy (some would say creepy) little town for a few weeks, taking odd jobs and assignments that warranted her particular talents. The Forsaken were trying to increase their foothold in the Glades, pushing back both the Scourge and the Scarlet Crusaders in the area. Ivy had contributed to that effort, slaying human and mindless Undead alike.

She had not been at this long. Her recuperation from the influence of the Lich King had taken longer than most Forsaken, perhaps because she was also among the youngest of the willful Unliving. Then again, that she was Forsaken at all was probably due to her inherent willfulness. Ivy had always been an obstinate child. Her mother had been unable to control the young Ivy, especially after the death of her beloved husband in battle against the Orcs. Lily had quickly withdrawn into her grief, becoming an empty shell of a woman and virtually abandoning her daughter to fend for herself. Ivy’s years in Stratholme before the Culling and Scourge had been filled with delinquency and disrespect for authority. The turf wars with other young gangs had certainly prepared her for the current struggles of the Forsaken.

But struggling was not on the agenda tonight. Ivy watched the comings and goings of the local townsfolk. She thought it strange that, after the strife of the Undead Civil War, some could go back to a semblance of their former Lives: shopkeepers, stable hands, blacksmiths. Though just as well they did, she supposed. Every society, including the Forsaken, functioned on the drudgery of daily chores of the common folk. As for Ivy herself, much as she despised her condition, it provided a means for adventure she had never dreamed of during her youth in Stratholme.

Her musings were interrupted by the appearance of a very large figure, filling the entrance to the pub. From her vantage near the bar, Ivy estimated the hulking being to be at least nine feet tall. He was extremely broad at the shoulders and looked, for lack of better words, just like a cow walking on two legs. A bull, to be more precise.

The bull-man surveyed the room, his eyes settling on the bar. As he moved through the tables with a lumbering grace, a wave of whispers rushed in behind him. He greeted the bartender in halting Orcish, and Ivy nearly spit out her grog when he ordered an ice-cold glass of milk. Frowning, he glanced around at the sound, but Ivy was able to stifle her snicker so that he didn’t focus on her. After all, what else would a walking cow drink?

A Week? Really?

Still no word from Blizzard on the progress of their investigation, though I discovered yesterday that they had suspended/closed my secondary account on Wednesday because it had been involved in Real World trafficking of In-Game goods and currencies. Well duh guys, it got hacked, being part of the same Battle.net account that Blizard insisted all WoW players should use, based on email logins instead of (theoretically) unrelated account logins. You know, I never got phishing attacks in my email before the changeover that Blizzard pushed. Luckily my email service blocks the scams as spam. Some of them are very sophisticated.

Unfortunately, the reason I didn't find out for four days that my second account was closed for crimes against Azeroth was that my spam filter caught the legit notification from Blizzard. Such that I wasn't sure at first whether it real, until I tried to log into that account and found that indeed it was closed. Upon informing/complaining to Blizzard account admins that this was part of a compromised Battle.net account, they reset my password FOR THE THIRD TIME THIS WEEK!!! Wow. Brilliant.

Is there even a record kept of customer interaction with the company representatives? I worked for a brief time for AOL in the 90's and GTEL California before that. And there was a record of every interaction between customer service/billing and the customers in both cases. Why can't the employees of Blizzard see that their own colleagues have already taken the action they themselves are contemplating?

Also, why are Technical Support and Billing the only departments with phone numbers? Neither of these department can help me. I have sent several emails to various departments that have no live interaction and so far only received form letters back. A single phone call would have helped tremendously, as they could easily verify my identity through my knowledge of the payment method, etc. And we could have gotten to the bottom of the problem within a day or so.

I'd heard Blizzard as a company had the customer service skills of a llama, but I've never been caught up in it like this. EPIC FAIL

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sliding from Furious to Resigned

So it finally happened, after over three and a half years of playing WoW. My account got hacked. On Monday morning. I don't how: I keep my password secure; I ran a virus/malware scan on my computer, and it came back clean. None of my other online accounts/logins have been affected.

They stole all my gold on at least two realms, and deleted all my characters off one of the realms including my two level-80 toons. I promptly reset my password and put in a ticket to Blizzard GMs both in-game and out. They reset my password (again), but still (as of Thursday) have not restored my characters, much less their stuff. I'm withholding judgment to see if they restore the characters with their epic, heirloom items, etc. to my satisfaction, but this may be the end of my relationship with Blizzard.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rowanblaze's Background

Rowan Davenport was born with her twin sister, Holly, on a farm east of Lakeshire, in the Redridge Mountains. Their father, Jonathon Davenport, fought bravely to defend Lakeshire during the second war against the Horde, but died in battle. Their mother and younger sister were also killed when the family farm was overrun by the Blackrock clans of Orcs, though the twins escaped to Lakeshire. As were many other orphans of the Kingdom of Azeroth, Rowan and her sister were sent to the newly rebuilt capital city of Stormwind.

Growing up in the shadow of the great Cathedral of the Light inspired Rowan to pursue a course of studies at Northshire Abbey to become a priest. It was at Northshire Abbey that Rowan received the nickname "Blaze" for her enthusiasm as an acolyte of the Holy Light.

Her experiences in the World since leaving the Abbey, especially facing the undead Scourge in Duskwood, convinced Rowan to develop her talents in Shadow magic, in order to "fight fire with fire." This decision has caused a rift with her twin, Holly, who became a Paladin, and who believes that the Holy Light is the only thing that can stem the invasion of the Scourge and the Burning Legion.

Investigating the strange mage tower known as Kharazan with her guildmates led Rowan to rediscover the virtues of the Holy Light, as she had the support of her companions and was able to serve a support role herself. She spent several months studying in the Hall of Mysteries in Ironforge, and at the Temple of the Moon in Darnassas. Rowan learned the spells of protection that enable her to minimize the damage suffered by herself and her companions, even as she heals. The resurgence of the Scourge enabled Rowan to find new adventures in the valleys and peaks of Northrend, as she and her guildmates work to unravel the secrets of Icecrown Citadel and defeat the Lich King.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Droog

Droog looked up from his “work.” Sunspring Post was in a shambles. Droog and his fellow Murkblood had shown those filthy orcs what happens to those who cross the Draenai. Broken though he may be, and cut off from the Light, he wasn’t going to let the beasts get away with the genocide of his people. Their cries of innocence had fallen on deaf ears. Who cared that they had not drunk the blood of Mannoroth? They were still filthy orcs, and the Murkblood intended to take back this land, the only part of Draenor relatively untouched by Ner’zul’s insanity.

And then this traitorous Kurenai had come with his war party. They had tried to stop the Murkblood, but Droog’s comrades had been victorious. And now this scum was the only one left. Droog pummeled him again as his partner, Achma, held the Kurenai with his arms pinned painfully behind him. This interrogation was going well, Droog thought.

Suddenly Achma cried out in apparent pain and dropped the prisoner. He looked wildly around and then ran toward what at first looked to Droog like a vague shadow. Droog’s comrade had his cudgel out and was swinging at the apparition. Droog ran to assist Achma. As he came closer, the shadow clarified into a form. For some reason Droog found it difficult to discern the personage when looking directly at it. When he looked out of the corner of his eye, however, he could make out the strange being. He had seen some from a distance some time before, the “hew-mons.” This one appeared to be female.

As Droog ran toward the scuffle, a voice entered his mind, screaming a thousand Words in a thousand languages. They all meant one thing: Pain. Droog stumbled but pushed on; his comrade was in dire straits. He came within striking distance and swung his axe at the shadow. The axe seemed to make contact with something somewhat solid, he felt the impact travel along the weapon handle, at any rate. But now he was beginning to feel somewhat nauseated. The feeling intensified along with the echoes of Pain. He felt like something was devouring him from the inside out.

His blows seemed to connect with flesh, but were muted. Then, suddenly, the air around the being began to glow, though the being herself remained but a shadow. Out of desperation, Droog quickened his swings, but the woman appeared unaffected now. In fact, she seemed to be strengthening. Achma finally collapsed, and the woman turned her full attention to Droog. She was obviously incanting something, but her glowing shield was beginning to weaken and Droog redoubled his efforts to break through it, seeking vengeance for his fallen comrade. How dare this hew-mon interfere with the Murkblood!! Suddenly the incantation was done and Droog staggered, as his very mind seemed to explode. He became enraged, losing all sense of martial training, hacking almost blindly at the woman. The woman seemed to scream, but it only sounded in Droog’s head and he ran, terrified. Unfortunately, his legs didn’t seem to want to move fast enough to get away, like she was dragging him back toward her. He scanned the area for more Murkblood nearby that might help him, but all he saw were corpses. He recovered his senses and turned back toward the shadowy figure. The nagging pain seemed to renew itself and he could tell she was casting another spell. He had to reach her before she finished it. He managed to kick her and stopped her incantation but he was feeling particularly weak now, unsure of how much longer he could last. The figure said then said a Word, which Droog heard in a thousand languages in his head. This time, however—mercifully—the Word was Death.
***
Rowan looked down at the crumpled form at her feet. She sank to her knees . . . and wept.

OK Here We Go

I've had a blog on various sites, like MySpace and Facebook, but have never dedicated myself to blogging. We'll see how this goes. My goal here is to publish my thoughts about various subjects, but especially World of Warcraft. I may reference other sites that are far more dedicated than I to the game and offer my opinions on any given development. I have also written and will continue to write vignettes and stories related to my WoW characters, which I will be publishing here as time permits. I don't promise to stay on topic. I have no overarching plan for this project. Much like playing with my Legos as a child, I will just put stuff together and see how it looks.

I don't know what the legal issues are publishing stories based on World of Warcraft places and characters. Since I am not doing this for profit, I hope Blizzard's lawyers understand it is a labor of love.

If you stumble across this, I hope you enjoy it.