Level Orange-ish (Not a Family-Friendly Post)

I'm guessing the rating for today's post is not going to be PG-13. Today finds me at bit peevish. Oh, nevermind. I'm not going to beat around the bush… I'm pissed. Big-time. Once again my faith in human nature has taken a hit and I'm frustrated, saddened, and really really pissed off. 

I've been robbed. No, not my home, business, or person… but in the cyber world. Still? I can relate a bit to the feelings a person has when they have had things stolen in their real life as the shock was very vivid and I have to keep reminding myself "this is only a game".

I have spoken before about how I play "World of Warcraft" with some of my kids. I actually have two accounts as I took over my daughter-in-law's account when she decided not to play any longer. You are only allowed a certain number of characters in what they called a "realm" and with two accounts I was able to exceed that character number. I love making new characters and since I play so slowly I it takes me a long time to get to a very high level. (I apologize to those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about.) Right now the game has a high level of 70. After playing for almost 3 years my highest character is only level 41 – and that is on my main account.

In November after loading a weekly update patch (they do this practically every week), I found I was unable to log into my main account. Because I was busy, in pain with my neck and back, and swamped with work and holiday stuff coming up I didn't think much about it and thought I had just made a typo in entering my sign-on information. I had changed my email address a couple of times and wasn't sure which email address I had on file so was not able to use their automated password recovery to try and figure out what I was doing wrong. I didn't try to log on again until January and was still unable to. Thinking (wrongly) that if anyone wanted to steal my account and my characters, as what happened to my son-in-law several months ago, they would go for my main level 41 character – the others being level 30 or below. The couple of times I logged in with my other account I could see that my main character was right where I left her, so hadn't gone into panic mode. In retrospect, I was an idiot… and have been kicking myself. A lot.

A few weeks ago I tried to get in again – this time more seriously. No luck. I sent an e-mail to Blizzard, the parent company, and got the reply that I would have to contact the Accounts department by phone. I did so a couple of days ago and explained my whole situation to a very pleasant support person who informed me that just a couple of weeks ago Blizzard had frozen my account and had sent emails to my old email account. He looked them up and said I would need to contact the account administration people and tell them exactly what I had told him. I did and they responded yesterday by giving me access to my account again and saying they could see there apparently had been unauthorized activity on the account.

No shit.

I logged in and my stomach went into dying fish mode… you know, flipping and flopping. I was sick. Instead of logging into my main realm and seeing 8 characters, there was only one… my main… and she had been stripped, literally. She had no money, no bags, no 'stuff', not even clothing. They had taken everything except her horse (which can't be sold). I personally think the only reason she wasn't gone was because she was the guild manager of our small family guild and couldn't be deleted without handing over guild management to someone else.

Every single one of my characters (yes, even the one I created that looked like my husband and I loved to play to tease my daughters) was totally gone as though they'd never been there. All my three years of work to get to where they were… all the money I'd acrued… all the weapons and spells and bags and armor… all I had to show for three years worth of play was gone.

In their place, on 32 different realms were 32 different characters. All had the same name "Sbld" (whatever the hell THAT means)… all were level 1 and throughout most of them was scattered my money. Trust me, a level one doesn't end up with 500-some gold unless something or someone is behind them.

I'm going to have to rebuild my characters. I'm going to have to try and go from nothing to something and take another who-knows-how-long to get there. I can look at the bright side and say "at least I still have my level 41 character" which is true… but right now she's naked without a cent to her name. I've written to Blizzard again, hoping there is some way of recovering my funds from these shady characters that I'm sure are just being used as "banks". I'm not holding out much hope since they are on different realms. (If they were on the same realm as my character, it would be an easy mail transfer – but across realms I just don't know what can be done.) I am crushed by the fact that someone, somehow, got into my account and did this to me. I'm not a level 70… or even 60…  I play slowly and carefully and as far as I know, try not to piss anyone off. I try to be a friendly, helpful player. I have made sure to have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and not to ever give out my password to anyone. Ever.

I know this is "just a game"… but it still has impacted me at the cruelty and cold calculating nastiness that some people will go to – even in a virtual world!  I just want to walk away, but don't want to give them the satisfaction. If Blizzard won't give me my money I'm not sure what I'll do next. It certainly will make it a hardship to start over with nothing.

Is it so much to ask that a game… a place where you go to relax and enjoy your friends and family and chat and run around …that it could just be that? Fun? Do the bad people have to ruin everything? Fuckers.