Category Archives: Guild Wars

MMO Gaming Security

Over the past couple of days we’ve started hearing about a lot of account hacks, phishing scams, and attempted password resets coming from Guild Wars 2 players. This kind of thing isn’t new – any time a new major (and sometimes not-so-major) MMO comes out, you’ll see the gold-sellers start trying to get into accounts to claim their piece of the pie. Of course, some MMOs like WoW and Rift have implemented authentication systems, (and that’s a very good thing!) but at the same time I think we’ve gotten a bit spoiled by the authenticators. You don’t want to be in a position where your only defense against a hacker is an authenticator.

How do gold sellers try to hack your account? Easy: they scrape fansites, guild websites, forums, social media, and in some cases have databases full of known MMO account emails and passwords. Fansites, guild websites, and forums don’t always have the best security – they’re not your bank or your workplace, so the likelihood that your email address and password is encrypted is usually fairly low. I’m not accusing those websites of being corrupted, but they can be easy targets. So if you’re using the same email and password for your game account as you use on game-related websites, Twitter, or Facebook, you’re setting yourself up to be compromised – in fact, you very possibly already are compromised.

Say your email address is and your password is 123456. You use that email account for your regular email, but you also have used it to sign up for your guild website and accounts on a few popular gaming sites. You also use this email for your WoW account, your Rift account, and your GW2 account.

It’s not difficult for a hacker to get your email address from one of the gaming websites, or a compromised game database, or from your blog. Then, all they have to do is start sending official-looking emails to your email account telling you that somebody is trying to change your password – and you need to click this link to verify your correct password! Needless to say, all this will do is give or verify your password to the hacker and they are in.

Don’t despair though! There are a few things you can do to strengthen the security on your accounts, courtesy of Mr. Moxie, a cyber-security engineer and ethical hacker:

1. Have a unique, fresh email address for every major game. Do not use these accounts anywhere else.

Quick anecdote: I have one email address I use for regular email, one email address I use for all gaming forums, guild websites, and other website junk, and then a unique email address for each major MMO that I’ve played. The passwords are all different (though I have a system so that I can easily remember them). I have never received a phishing email on the actual game email addresses. I have received plenty of phishing emails on the email address that I use for gaming sites and forums. Sneaky little bastards!

I can’t emphasize this enough – use different emails. Don’t use your game emails for anything else – ever.

2. Pick better passwords.

Some folks will tell you to pick a phrase like “Charlie Went To The Grocery Store For Pickled Herring 2 Go” and then use “CWTTGSFPH2G” for your password. That’s always confusing to me. The absolute best password you can have is at least 14 characters long, the longer the better. You can even use a combination of 4 or more words, such as “sunshinehairslowbrain”, which would take 4 trillion years for a desktop PC to crack. Adding numbers and symbols would be even better. If you want to test your password to see how secure it is, take a look at
It’s a great resource that Mr. Moxie passed along to me a while back. Just make sure that you don’t pick words that would be easily guessed, like your kid’s names or your pet’s names!

3. If you get emails about your account status, never assume they are real.

Never click a link from an email to sign in to your game account. Always go straight to the game’s website and sign in that way. If you get emails saying that somebody is trying to change your password, don’t panic. Change the email address on the account.

4. Be careful about what gaming websites you visit and sign up for.

There’s a lot of sketchy gaming websites out there. Use Adblock Plus or other adblocking software in your browser. Don’t click advertisements, even if they seem innocuous. Don’t download mods or add-ons unless they come from a trusted and verified source.

5. Get an authenticator.

In the case of Guild Wars 2, we’re still waiting for the authenticator. While you can use the steps above to greatly minimize your chances of being hacked, authenticators ultimately are the best protection you can have. As soon as they are released, get one ASAP.

GW2 Collectors Edition Regrets – or No?

A while back I posted about the Guild Wars 2 Collectors Edition and how I didn’t think it was worth the price that was being charged. Of course, value for a CE is subjective – lots of people ordered the GW2 CEs and are absolutely loving them. My husband and I both have CEs for classic WoW plus all the expansions, Warhammer Online, Rift, and he has a SWTOR CE, so needless to say we normally are all about these special boxed versions. In this case, we weren’t so psyched about the figurine or the in-game perks, so we skipped it and went for the $60 standard digital versions instead.

However, to support ArenaNet (who has absolutely blown our minds not just with an amazing game but with an outstanding connection to the community) we made our own “Collectors Edition” using the cash we saved by not buying the CEs.

GW2 Digital Download x2: $120

GW2 Full Soundtrack: $30

GW2 Limited Edition Strategy Guide and Map Stand: $30

Extra Character Slots: $40

Gems: $80

Total: $300, the same price as two GW2 CEs, and we’ll certainly get a lot more use out of the gems, slots, soundtrack, and guide than we would the figurine or the in-game items. I still don’t regret not buying the actual Collectors Edition, but we’re more than happy to support ArenaNet for the great experience and service they’ve provided so far.

By the way, that Limited Edition Strategy Guide and Map Stand just arrived today, and they are beautiful! Lots of color, high-quality, and fantastic artwork. Here’s a couple of (admittedly fuzzy) shots I snapped with my phone just a couple of minutes ago.





Meet the Ladies of Tyria!

Time for the obligatory new character post!

Most folks know that going into GW2 I was completely torn on what characters to play. There are so many great classes and since I took care not to play too much in the BWEs, I didn’t have a specific class that really grabbed me the way that some games in the past have done. However, after a few days of playing and experimenting with different races & classes, I finally settled on my first three characters.

The Main: Bette Starke, Norn Engineer

Y’all, I have never, ever had a desire to play any sort of engineer-ish class in an MMO, much less an engineer as my main. I primarily picked the engineer because they use both rifles and pistols, but as I’ve been leveling her up I’ve fallen in love with the kits. The flamethrower is my absolute favorite thing right now, and the grenades are the bomb-diggety. There’s nothing like wading into a DE while blasting fire, throwing AoE napalm, pelting the mobs with AoE grenades and explosions, and then detonating some turrets. So much fun. She’s currently level 15ish (told you I wasn’t in a hurry) and rocking through Wayfarer Foothills.

Alt #1: Moxie, Asura Elementalist

I originally planned on rolling an Asura Necro and Thief much, much later, but I decided to just go Elementalist instead. I think she’s the cutest little Asura ever, and I adore her animations.

Alt #2: Riley Mcghee, Human Ranger

During my short stint in GW1 I played a human ranger named Riley Mcghee, so this character is her spiritual successor. I’m hoping to get her a pink flamingo pet at some point.

So far I’m totally enthralled with GW2. My favorite thing to do at the moment is running gathering routes around the various zones, which is really, really, strange, but is also nice because I typically jump into whatever dynamic events are going on for added XP and loot. I’m also finding a lot of fun in answering questions in the beginner zones – it seems like the main thing I keep hearing is “How do I level?”. The hearts and dynamic events aren’t exactly the most intuitive system starting out, but once you get used to it, you’re golden.

Memorial Event for Roger “Oldroar” Rall


AUGUST 27TH 2012 – The Gaiscioch Family would cordially like to invite everyone who knew, loved, shared a memory with, or was touched by his story to join us in celebration of Roger “Oldroar” Rall’s life and achievements.

The memorial will be staged in Guild Wars 2 at Shaemoor Garrison in Queensdale on Sanctum of Rall and on any shard that wishes to participate and honor this fallen hero. Proceedings will take place on September 5th 2012 at 6PM PST. All are encouraged to join us on RaidCall to listen in on this event. All are welcome to join.

Please plan to be there early as Queensdale will fill up quickly. In the event of overflows please gather at Shaemoor Garrison on whatever destination you land on and welcome everyone from that server to join in the festivities as well. Our RaidCall is open to everyone for the duration of this event – even those who do not play Guild Wars 2.

There will be a short video launched after the memorial recapping the events for those who are unable to attend recapping all that transpired.

Join us on RaidCall on September 5th at 6PM PST:

  1. Download Raidcall at:
  2. Create an Account
  3. Search for group: 4995970
  4. After joining right click on your name in the channel and “Edit Membership Name” to include your [GUILDTAG] Character Name.

RaidCall supports up to 10,000 users so you shouldn’t have a problem being able to attend.

We look forward to sharing this moment in Guild Wars 2 history with you!

For more information, please visit the Gaiscioch website.

About Roger “Oldroar” Rall:

Roger was a key player in the Gaiscioch Social Gaming Community both as a event leader and as a father figure. His devotion towards helping people impacted thousands and after his passing, ArenaNet not only named a server in his honor but they also put an NPC in game that tells the story of Rall Oldroar, a Charr hero. Roger’s passing came suddenly and without warning and sent a shockwave through the MMO community. He was known for his leadership in the Battle for Badlands Public Community Events in Warhammer Online and through those who he came in contact with. His voice was unforgettable.

ArenaNet Just Keeps On Making Me Smile…

… and sometimes tear up a bit. This time, with no advance notice, we heard @ElixabethClaire mention that a NPC called Historian Goshkia had been spotted in the Imperators Core in the Black Citadel. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Gaiscioch, we always tell folks that it’s pronounced “gosh-kia”, so this was a bit of an eyebrow raiser for us. When yesterday’s one-hour stress test was announced, I knew immediately that I wanted to go find this Historian and see if it was true.

Folks, he’s there. And he tells the grand tale of Rall Oldroar, a great Charr hero and mentor.

The real Oldroar wanted to play a Charr, and now his voice, his leadership abilities, and his love for teaching others has been immortalized in-game. This, along with the Sanctum of Rall server name, and now Syp’s daughter being given an NPC in the game just goes to show how much heart and passion that ArenaNet has for their community. Thank you ArenaNet for everything that you have done for us fans throughout the development of Guild Wars 2. We are wishing you a FANTASTIC headstart and launch, and much success afterwards. You totally deserve it!

It’s Not Unusual…

… to see norn dancing!

Thanks to my new dancing pal Tyr Fidulgen [BRLY] for showing me how to sync the dancing up! The command is /dance * for anybody that wants to experiment with synced dancing.

Also, Tyr, sorry for cutting out so soon after we stopped – I had a computer crash. 🙂

10 Days to Go…

Ten more days… can we get any more excited??

Between the final server lists coming out, an utterly beautiful clip of a voiced musical piece from the soundtrack, and the stress tests that have been going on for a couple of weeks now, I’m totally stoked for he Guild Wars 2 launch. Is the hype machine out of control? Yes, it is. Undoubtedly. It’s not going to be a game for everyone, especially if you enjoy the traditional raiding end-game and/or gear progression. I doubt that it’ll be the MMO-Saviour that some folks seem to think, and it’s unfair to place it on a pedestal that no game will ever be able to live up to.

But for me, I already know that it’s going to be my go-to MMO for a long, long while. I feel it in my bones.

Guild Wars 2, even from the first time I played it in BWE3, immediately brought back those feelings that I had in classic WoW back in 2004, in a way that no other MMO since has been able to do. The feeling of wonder, of a huge world with all kinds of nooks and crannies and secrets and things to do and places to discover and ledges to jump off of and oceans to swim under – it’s all there, and it feels magical. The game has a ton of established lore and a great story to follow along with. The combat is surprisingly fun, fluid, and responsive, and the dynamic events are a blast. World bosses that show up periodically in the zones are a win, as are the instances with both story and explorable modes. The crafting – I love the crafting, with it’s discovery system and the ways that they’ve made inventory management easier. WvWvW isn’t my thing personally, but I have a ton of friends that are totally into it, and I’m sure I’ll put in some time there occasionally. The game is polished, the graphics are absolutely gorgeous, and everything about it just screams quality and depth.

And the lack of raiding/gear-progression? To be honest, it’s icing on the cake for me. I haven’t done the gear grind in any game since The Burning Crusade/Wrath of the Lich King. I’m so over that mode of gameplay – I much prefer the philosophy of being able to scale your level up or down as needed to play with your friends & do the content you want to do at the correct level. No longer do I *have* to run multiple instances every night to keep up with the pack, or else worry about getting behind. I don’t *have* to play the same game every night, running the same content night after night. I absolutely love this – I can take breaks to spend time with my family or play other games without feeling guilty.

So yeah, I’m a bit hyped. Forgive me, and just know that I’m not proclaiming it to be the end-all be-all MMO for everyone. It’s just an incredibly remarkable game for me personally, and it gives me those warm fuzzy MMO feelings that I’ve missed for so, so long.

But I haven’t been staying idle during the wait. I’ve been playing Rift in the meantime, though my subscription *just* ran out, and I’ll likely wait until 2-3 weeks after the GW2 launch to re-sub. They just announced that with a year’s sub you get a free copy of Storm Legion along with a mount, so I’ll almost certainly be taking them up on that deal – my WoW annual pass will end in September, and since I’m not planning on playing Mists of Pandaria, I’m more than happy to give Trion that subscription money. Trion is also experimenting with PvP normalization and breaking down the barriers to playing with the opposite faction, which is fantastic in so many ways I don’t know where to begin. It’s great news for my guild, which up to this point has had a guild on both factions – now we can just bring everyone together under one roof.

Also, I’ve really jumped back into Wurm with gusto over the past few weeks. We’ve been working on a few projects in our region – a new & improved clay resource, lighting up more of the area, helping a couple of new neighbors get their deeds set up & going, and improving our road infrastructure. I’ve been breeding (and selling!) horses like crazy in the meantime, and it’s getting to the point where I can pay for my deed just from horse and item sales in-game, so I’m very happy with this.

So right now my MMO line-up for fall is primarily GW2 and Wurm, along with a good dose of Rift when Storm Legion comes out. It works out nicely… one free sub game, one low sub game, and one sub game, all with very different styles of gameplay so that I don’t get bored. This fall/winter is going to be an amazing gaming season.

The Big Ol’ GW2 Beta Post

Last night was the end of the Guild Wars 2 BWE3, and now we’re all wondering what’s next and what to do with ourselves until August 25. A few suggestions:

  • Upgrade your computer! (Most expensive things first)
  • Fluff & Re-upholster your computer chair. Alternately, duct tape it for durability.
  • Clean off your computer desk. Sanitize everything.
  • Blow the cheeto crumbs out of your keyboard.
  • Print out and make maps of the capital cities and WvWvW areas for quick reference.
  • Spend time with family, friends, and loved ones.
  • Prepare a shopping list of food & drink items that will get you through launch.

Ok, ok, I’m joking (except for maybe the cleaning part).

This was the first GW2 beta weekend for my husband and I, and we went into it knowing next to nothing about the game. We’ve stayed far, far away from GW2 blogs, video guides, news sources, and other hype, so we didn’t have any set expectations or pre-conceived notions about what we’d find; we were complete newbs. What we found was an absolutely breathtaking game that wiggled it’s way into our hearts, set up camp, and started making us S’mores.

Yeah, we liked it. A lot. A few things that we love:

Cities: Finally, a game that has cities that feel like cities. Divinity’s Reach is hands down the absolute best capital city I’ve ever seen, no contest. It makes Stormwind City look like an outpost. It was huge and had so many little details that we loved – the carnival and the setups for mini-games, the individual quarters that all had their own unique architecture, the banners for each deity hanging from the high roads, a plethora of interesting NPCs that you can interact with. There were somber mausoleums, beautiful multi-tiered fountains, a huge walk-through aquarium dome, palace gardens, and secret alleyways galore. The inns – oh the inns. I got lost in the inns more than once. The doors to the rooms actually close, and the rooms are decorated with gorgeous oriental rugs, lovely beds, paintings, maps, libraries; every room is different. ArenaNet has done a wonderful job at designing their cities for roleplay – bars with plenty of room for player barkeeps, a multi-tier senate chamber with plenty of room for players to hold trials and hearings, stages and open areas for player events, I could go on and on. We spent 3 hours in Divinity’s Reach just exploring, and we still didn’t get to everything.

The other wonderful thing about the cities, and this includes Divinity’s Reach, Lions Arch, Hoelbreck, and the others… is the sense of scale and depth. Standing in the bottom of Divinity’s Reach and looking up, you see huge bridges overhead, & hundreds of buildings and homes with lights glittering in the twilight. In front of Lion’s Arch, pan your camera up to the ginormous ship on top of the front gate, with masts stretching towards the sky. It’s a cliche, but it’s true in this case: the cities are truly epic.

Weapons & Abilities: I love that different weapons give you different abilities, and that you can only have a few at a time. Gone are the days of having 48+ buttons scattered all over your UI – it’s streamlined and more player-friendly. The UI in itself is fabulous – when you go underwater and come back up, you get blue water splashes all around the ability bars. Completely aesthetic, but very slick. Every class has healing abilities, eliminating the traditional healer role in groups and making soloing easier.

Crafting: I didn’t get to play with crafting as much as I wanted to, but the husband did, and it was very cool to watch. When refining raw materials in bulk, the timer bar would go faster and faster with each item refined, until it was bang-bang-bang quick. Crafting materials can be added to a crafting bank from anywhere in the world with the click of a button, making bag organization much easier. Not only that, but there are a ton of crafting recipes that have to be discovered, rather than just learning all the recipes from the trainer. Love this. The crafting areas & stations are absolutely beautiful – again, so much detail in the art and design.

Dyes: Piggy-backing off the crafting, the dye system is fantastic. Instead of buying dye bottles for each particular piece of clothing, you obtain one bottle of dye and “learn” the color, which then adds that color to your palette and allows you to add that color to any of your clothing at will. There’s 390 different dyes – gotta collect them all!

Mini-Games: I played in the Keg Brawl this weekend and it was quite fun. It’s basically basketball, except that you’re trying to get kegs back to your tavernkeeper and bashing the opposing players over the head with the kegs in the process. Crazy viking fun I tell ya, and a nice little way to blow off steam. There are hints that there will be lots of other mini-games in GW2, so I’m super-excited to see what else they come up with.

Exploration: The world feels so vast and huge, and even though there are points of interest on your map, there are lots of interesting things to find once you get off the beaten path. If you see water, there’s likely an interesting underwater area to explore. Caves & Catacombs? Not to mention the Vistas, platform-like jumping puzzles that get you up to a high spot to check out the view.

No Gear Grind: We’ve done the gear-grind for 7+ years. We’re tired of the excessive raid/dungeon for gear so that we can do content to get more gear to do more content to get more gear. In GW2, if we want to do content, we can just go do it, and the only reason that we’d need to repeatedly run content is if we want to see the multiple explorable options in the dungeons, or if we want the cosmetic gear that goes with each dungeon. No pressure whatsoever, and no worries of being left behind if we don’t get it done ASAP after content releases. Best of all, if we hit level 80 and want to go back & do content because it was fun, our level will get adjusted and we can go do it at the same difficulty as before. This means that at 80, no content is “too low” or obsolete, and if more content is added, it doesn’t replace the old stuff. Brilliant.

Now, lest you think that I’m fangirling (and yes, I admit that I’m an ArenaNet fangirl these days), I do have a couple concerns:

Dynamic Events: Are these really going to be enough for those of us that normally love questing in other MMOs? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them, but I’m thinking they may get grindy as the game wears on. I’m also wondering how well the storyline of GW2 will be told if they don’t have as many traditional quests. I love me some story in my games, and while we have the personal storyline, I wonder if that will be enough.

Mesmers: Beta is beta and hopefully they’re going to give the mesmer some more love before launch, but I was really disappointed in the way they played. The clones only last a few seconds, the shatters felt like they weren’t doing much of anything, and it took forever for me to defeat things on the Mesmer compared to my Engineer/Ranger/Elementalist. I was really looking forward to playing that profession, but somehow, it still just doesn’t feel quite right, it doesn’t seem as fun as it should be. I’m undecided on which profession to play first at this point – it depends on if we hear anything about pre-launch changes to the Mesmer.

All in all though, August 25 can’t come soon enough. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some WvWvW maps to make.

Norn Pick-up Lines

I sifted through the different race/class options for a while, and finally found a combo that is slightly ridiculous but I think I might love: a sparkly, starry Norn Mesmer.

Later, at the bar…

Mmhmm. Somebody is on the hunt.