Archive for September, 2006

‘World of Warcraft’ battles server problems

Posted by Stropp on September 29, 2006 Now that I've got your attention. The headline above is the headline used in a CNet article about the server problems that currently face many of us WoW devotees. I have to admit that when I first read it, I thought it fit quite nicely into the "Well, Duh!" category. I know Blizzard faces an uphill battle attempting to keep their servers stable with a high uptime, but I thought this quote from the article was quite telling.
"Being a system administrator myself, I have some understanding of what goes on in a corporate data center," said Evgeny Krevets, a sometimes-frustrated WoW player. "I don't know Blizzard's system setup. What I do know is that if I kept performing 'urgent maintenance' and taking the service down without warning for eight-hour periods, I would be out of a job."
I enjoy WoW and spending time with the people in my guild enough to put up with the problems, so I won't be leaving anytime soon. But, people only really have so much patience. I'd hate to see the problems with the servers resolved simply by having the playerbase quit and leave low population servers behind them.

You know you are playing too much World of Warcraft when – part 1

Posted by Stropp on September 29, 2006 Have you ever had one of those real life moments where World of Warcraft superimposes itself over the Real World? (Whatever that is.) This little collection is dedicated to those slightly surreal moments of life. You know you are playing too much WoW when: 1. You look for BBQ Buzzard Wings in the freezer section of your local supermarket. 2. You wonder if Frost Nova will keep your children still long enough to get them dressed. 3. You see your Boss walking down the corridor and you wonder if you could solo him. 4. You wonder if your Boss would drop any phat loot. 5. You are trying to find the keys to your mount. 6. You go to your mailbox and wonder if you will get lag. 7. The Alarm goes off in the morning and you are stuck in the loading screen for 15 minutes. Additional contributions are welcome.

Keylogger Scam

Posted by Stropp on September 27, 2006 The other day I wrote about Account Security because a few members of the Ministry of Offence were having problems that seemed to indicate that their accounts had been hacked. This got me thinking about account security in general and how it applies to World of Warcraft in particular. This evening I was doing a bit of blog surfing and I came across an entry written by Tobold a few days ago. It appears that:
...There has been a recent spate of trojan keylogger activity directed against players of World of Warcraft. Trojans have been hidden in World of Warcraft related files and websites, for examples in the file of a raid addon named KHT Threatmeter on the Curse Gaming addon website. With the help of the trojan keylogger the hackers gained access to WoW account names and passwords. Then they stripped the characters of all valuables, disenchanted the epics into Nexus crystals, sent everything to another account from where the goods were sold and ultimately converted into real dollars, and left the original owner of the account standing naked...
This activity has come up quite strongly on Blizzards radar. They are warning people to be careful. So am I.

Transfers to new Oceanic realm extended

Posted by Stropp on September 27, 2006 Blizzard have announced that they are extending the transfers from Aman'Thul, Barthilas, Frostmourne, Jubei'Thos, and Khaz'goroth to the new oceanic realm until until Friday, September 29 ending at 3:00 PM PDT. See this post for more info. Let's hope that this takes some pressure off the oceanic servers and reduces those log in queues.

Druid Talents and Spells Preview

Posted by Stropp on September 26, 2006 The preview of the Druid Talents and Spells that will be available in The Burning Crusade expansion pack are now up on the World of Warcraft website. This is the latest of the class previews for the expansion, and is not guaranteed to the final version. See this post for more info. Source:

The easiest 30K XP you will ever get

Posted by Stropp on September 26, 2006 There's a Horde quest in Azshara that will give you 30,000XP in one hour. It's the easiest you will ever get. At least before level 60. When you arrive in Azshara, travel to Valormok and, if you haven't already, get the Flight Point. Valormok is at approximately 22,50 on the map. After you get the FP, talk to Jediga. She will ask you to find several tablets located about the Ruins of Eldarath. Once you have the quest, head to the road and then down into the ruins. By the way, the ruins are swarming with level 48 Naga so you will need to take care of a few. There are two types of Naga here, a warrior class and a screamer. The screamers will try and silence you, which can be dangerous for spellcasters. Look around for the tablets, they are scattered around the ruins, but are easily seen because they are brightly colored. It doesn't take long to do this quest. You will need to avoid most of the Naga if you want to do this quickly, and you'll have to kill the ones guarding the tablets, but it shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes to gather them up. You will now have the Tablets of Markri, Sael'hai, Jin'yael, and Beth'Amara. Take them back to Jediga. You should get about 5100 XP. Jediga will now ask you to deliver the tablets to various individuals. You will need to take them to Xylem at the mage tower in Azshara, Magatha in Thunder Bluff, Jes'rimon in Orgrimmar, and Andron in the Undercity. Each of these deliveries will get you 2550 XP. You'll also get a note to return to Jedriga. When you return to her and give her the notes, you will earn 3800 XP for each. Oh, and as a bonus, you'll get paid for these quests as well. All up you should come out with around 4 gold. Not bad for an hours work.

Something themes complete

Posted by Stropp on September 24, 2006 I put in a bit of effort today getting the new theme together. I hope you like it. I know I'm pretty happy with it. I used The Gimp to put together the main banner and selected the Slined Theme from the list of themes that are provided at the Wordpress web site. Boy, does Wordpress make it easy to adjust themes. I'm somewhat of a CSS noob, but it didn't take long for me to figure out how to make the necessary changes. There's still a few little things left. I'd like to get some Digg buttons on each post, as well as getting a subscription form up for RSS feeds. I also want to get some addins in that will let people vote on posts and the like, but those aren't big things and can be done at my leisure. Hmmm... leisure... what's that again? So I hope you like the new look. Let me know what you think.

Writing competition

Posted by Stropp on September 20, 2006 I was surfing some of the blogging sites this morning and I came across a writing competition on Problogger. Darren, the owner of the blog has put up some nice prizes, including a one week stay in a beach front apartment in Spain. Very cool. So I entered the piece I wrote last night on Account Security. Let's see how I go, eh?

Going Nuts with Themes

Posted by Stropp on September 19, 2006 Just a little note to let you know that I am playing with the site themes. So if you notice the look and feel of the site change don't worry, you aren't going nuts, I am. With themes. I'll be doing this until I come up with something that I like.

Account Security

Posted by Stropp on September 19, 2006 Never, never, never give anyone your password Did I say never? That's right. The biggest mistake you can make is to give someone, especially someone you don't know personally, your password. That's the key to the vault. If you give that away, you can be robbed blind. Do not ever respond to an email asking you for your password. Even if it looks like it has come from Blizzard, rest assured it hasn't. Bliz has repeatedly stated that they will never ask anyone for their password. This type of scam is known as phishing and traps a lot of people into giving up personal information. Very often the email or request look very official using graphics and text that resembles the real thing, sometimes even the real email address is spoofed. Always download Add-ins from a reputable source Make sure that you download any add-ins that you use from a reputable source. Read any reviews about it. Even then check the add-in to make sure that it is koche. If you know how to program, check the Lua code. Even though it is hard for a hacker to compromise you by using Lua, it's worth having a check. Computer security is an ever changing field, and while Blizzard might think they have covered all the bases in securing the client, it's possible a disreputable someone has discovered they really haven't. Another thing to check for is the presence of .exe files (on a Windows system) in your add-in. Not only could these carry a virus or worm, they could be doing something that Blizzard doesn't like. This is usually interfering with the data being sent between the WoW client and the servers. But it also against Blizz's terms of service to interface WoW with external applications. Simply put, having an addin that uses an external executable could get you banned. Regularly run Virus and Spyware checkers Run the latest versions of Virus and Spyware checkers on your computer. Apart from the fact that Virii and Spyware is really, really annoying, it is also a way for someone to compromise your computer. Spyware can be used to steal your WoW password. A keylogger can be installed on your system in such a way that you will never know of its existence. While some spyware is just annoying (evil but annoying) and just intercepts your browsing habit to serve ads, some of it is pure evil and exists to steal your entire identity. This means bank account details, personal information, and your WoW password. A regular scan can save you weeks of misery and despair. Here are a couple of links to check out. Adaware Spybot - Search and Destroy Both of these products have been around for years and have built up a decent reputation. Adaware scans your system for adware but it also sometimes catches other forms of malware. Spybot - Search and Destroy looks for spyware. I've found in the past that both of these programs used together and used regularly, will catch most of the nasties on my system. Make sure you are firewalled Make sure that you have a firewall installed. A firewall puts up a shield between your computer and the internet preventing an attacker from penetrating your computer. For the purposes of this discussion, there are two types of firewall that are available. The first is a software or personal firewall. This is an application that is installed on your computer that stops an intruder from entering your system. All the modern operating systems now include a firewall as part of the operating system. Linux and Apple OSX have a built in firewall, while Microsoft introduced a limited firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 2. Third party firewall applications can also be downloaded and installed. The second type of firewall is a hardware firewall. In actuality they really are software firewalls, but they run on dedicated hardware devices such as routers and network switches. A good example of this is the Linksys router family that use a cut down Linux as the software component. These devices will, if enabled, hide your home network from the outside world providing reasonable security precautions are taken. Regardless of the type of firewall you use, it is important that you get to know how it works. This is even more important when dealing with World of Warcraft. WoW uses a number of network ports to communicate with the game servers, and to download the patches. When you turn on your firewall, you'll need to tell it the ports that WoW needs. Commonsense is the key Being aware of risk and using a little commonsense is the key to avoiding a lot of serious mistakes and it is no different when it comes to securing your World of Warcraft account. Unfortunately, there are a lot of malicous people out there in internetland, and they are after your information either to profit from it, or simply to ruin your day. Taking sensible steps is a good way to ruin their days. Remember the following:
  • Never, never, never give anyone your password
  • Regularly run Virus and Spyware checkers
  • Always download Add-ins from a reputable source
  • Make sure you are firewalled
These four steps will go a long way to securing your system.