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Breakfast Topic: Hacked off by hackers


This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

Hacked! It is not fun, and it happens more than anyone would like to admit. Gear, gold and pride, all pilfered by some stranger.

It starts with a simple email from Blizzard. Hmmm, it's my first-ever email from Blizzard that causes immediate concern. It says that my account has been "banned and deleted" for buying or selling in-game gold for profit. I am stare at it in shock for a minute ... Is this a joke? My heart starts racing. I run back to my office computer to figure out what to do, and my head starts spinning in confusion. My immediate emotional response catches me off guard ... My head starts to pound. All that work, all that time, all the friends ... just gone ...

And then the high-level anger sets in, as logic begins to prevail. Wait, I never bought gold. I never even considered it! What is going on? I jump online and write an appeal with blazing speed, fueled by my troll rage. In retrospect, this was not exactly the smartest move and probably served to delay my account restoration. I recall that it read something like this ...

"This ban is insane! Never in my life have I bought gold; the practice disgusts me. Are you people insane or incompetent? I was hacked, obviously. What, is there no system to protect me, your customer? What is going on? Call me."

Like Blizzard is going to call little old me because my account was hacked ... I imagine my email was passed around as the joke of the day. Looking back at it, it read somewhere between an incoherent call to an ex-girlfriend and a corporate memo gone bad.

It took about a month to get my account back, and it gave me time to process what happened. I missed the game sorely, but it was my fault. I should have changed my password more often. I should have had an authenticator. Yet I just could not shake this deep feeling of being violated.

No matter what kind of player you are, you spend a lot of time with your characters and the other people you play with. The things you acquire in game may just be pixels, but they're valuable to you. That first crafted item with your character's name on it, a tabard earned with honor points, a cool fishing hat ... It took me a long while to get over the feeling and start playing again, even after the account was restored. A few members of my guild were hacked at about the same time; we believe our website was hacked, which started the whole thing. Some of our guildies just never came back. They said they just felt too exposed and could not bring themselves to play anymore. Honestly? Being hacked still plays in the back of my mind every time I log on.

Have you been hacked or know a friend who was hacked and had trouble getting back into the game? Has being hacked left you completely unsettled?

Have you ever wanted to write for Your chance may be right around the corner. Watch for our next call for submissions, and be sure to sign up for Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to The next byline you see here may be yours!

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