Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Account Security- What Can Developers Do?

Recently I've read a lot about WoW accounts getting hacked into. The once thought impenetrable authenticators have been hacked, and used against players. Today BBB had an interesting post, A Call to End Prohibition – Sell Gold Now! Which got me thinking about MMO account issues in general. It's not just the buying and selling of gold, it's accounts too. There will always be people buying and selling accounts.What could gaming companies do to step in and avoid these problems?

First off lets talk gold.. plat.. money. Stop making massive money sinks!
Gold/Plat sinks. Take them out of the game. I am not saying make everything free, but the cost needs to be cut to stop having players resort to gold buying. Game companies could sell gold, or they could just up the rate of gold that is rewarded from quest etc. That would alleviate a lot of the need/want to buy gold from gold sellers. Blizzard lowered the cost of epic ground mounts and training. It was insanely more when I first started, why not do the same for flying mounts also? If designers would stop making gold and plat sinks it would really help players not want to resort to these measures. We could say people just need to quit buying it- that's not the answer. People will do what they will, no matter what you or I think. 

I really could care less who buys gold. However it's a problem when it comes to account security. It causes an avalanche of problems in the long run for games. Accounts stolen just to bot money, to steal from guild banks, characters, the list goes on. My Paladin was a gold seller bot at one point. I quit and realized the information was stolen. I had the loot 20k gold achievement... that's how I knew. I also had cloth out the wazoo in my banks, I suppose a perk for the trouble heh.

Most players may not be aware just how many accounts get bought and sold. This causes several problems. The first problem is trying to sell an account and getting scammed. Another problem is people regret then recall accounts. People then just end up in most cases telling the company, I got hacked! I don't  know how. And.. it works. Trust me, it works.

SOE has a few games such as EQ2 (Specific Server) and Free Realms where you can sell your accounts with a company they go through: Live Gamer. You can even sell items for real money. I am not sure exactly how it works but I am sure there are records preventing players from trying to recall.

Putting trust in a little authenticator and slouching off on preventive security isn't working for Blizzard. They are swamped with account security problems. So what could they do? If they are interested in taking extreme measures they could stop making silly things like mobile armory mobile auction house applications and think of a fix for account security. Sell your account through Blizzard. Not just Blizzard, many other gaming companies. I just mention Blizzard because they are one of the largest, getting the most problems out of this issue.

Power Leveling is another I see, especially in Everquest. Buy a PL session, get 1000 aa's for x amount of money. Raid gear, we can get you raid sets! We can get you access to Void A, B and so on.. What can be done for these? This is a major safety hazard for accounts. First off, stop making access required. Blizzard got smart in this area. Making better gear more accessible to everyone. This was a huge step in the right direction. Unfortunately I don't know the answer to the power leveling problem. Stop being stupid and not wanting to play your character, that's all I've got. If you have to pay for a level, you don't need to play. The problem I have with this is- you are handing over account information to a stranger.

Where the problem lies...
But I don't want to play with eBayers! Chances are, you already do, you just don't know it. There are tons of websites dedicated to the buying and selling of accounts and game currency. It is a huge problem and it will not stop until developers take drastic measures to prevent it.

These companies and hackers will continue to find ways to steal accounts, breach security and in general make account security a massive problem. If enough measures are taken to prevent the market for them, these problems will shrink. Will we ever see them go away? I doubt it in the MMO scene we play today, developers have the power to get preventive, it just depends if they are willing to make changes.

Stay safe!

No comments:

Post a Comment



Blog Archive