Cover Me, I’m Going In (Again …)

Browsing Youtube the other night, I stumbled upon a commercial for the new World of Warcraft expansion, Legion, due at the end of this month. Blizzard does amazing cinematic animation, in case you’ve never seen any of their work. Many argue that the World of Warcraft movie should have been done by  Blizzard and made an animated feature instead of live action. But anyways, The commercial is posted below.

Beautiful, but by no means their best work, believe it or not. Either way, another video in the sidebar to this one was a recut of the commercial with a song added in during the underwater scene. Very slow rendition of Dust in the Wind, by Kansas. Very well done.

The commercial got me to thinking about what the old world of Azeroth was up to these days. It had been a little over a year since I have played the full game. Once in a while I’d load up the free starter edition that allows you to play up to level 20 with a few restrictions. But it had definitely been over a whole year since I’d delved into the full game and just enjoyed the simple questing. So, I renewed my subscription for a month. I know, I know. Here I sit with a Xbox One that I never have time to sit down and play, but I’m re-upping my membership for a mmo that is a major time stealer. I will probably not play Legion for some time, but I figure one month of WoW is enough to fill that mmo void that Neverwinter (on the Xbox One) and some of the other free mmo’s just aren’t satisfying enough to fill.

So if you’re online and playing World of Warcraft, I’m on the Stormrage server and my main toon’s name is Shavelle. Come look me up and maybe we can run a few quests together.

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Kicked in the Teeth

February 2013 has been a nightmare. Not saying it couldn’t get worse – cause God knows it can always get worse, but February has made a profession of kicking me in the teeth. Repeatedly. Hard. With steel-toed boots on. I guess what I’m trying to get at is, it’s been a pretty crappy month. Things are starting to (and I’ll probably regret even saying this) look up and a little brighter.

Aside from minor storm damage, dealing with insurance adjusters, roofing contractors, this crazy weather, flat tires, car maintenance, unexpected bills, etc. Not to mention, because of all the previous items, just down and out depressed all around, ya know? I’ve had little time for anything else, be it playing a relaxing game, watching television or a movie with my family, or anything just to unwind. In fact, up until yesterday, I hadn’t had much free time at all.

Then things start to look a little brighter. The sun shown a beam down through the clouds and rainfall. Hopefully it wasn’t just a tease.

Then again, I guess I am being a little too dreary about how the month has been treating me. I have accomplished a few little things. Nothing earth shattering, but a few little things here and there. For example, I finally – after three months – finished Stephen King’s The Drawing of the Three, the second book in The Dark Tower series of books. Good story. I tried to read it many years ago as a much younger fellow, but I couldn’t get through the first chapter. Picking it back up and decided to read all the way through the series, though, I’ve been finding more enjoyment within the pages.

I also “dinged” level 90 on my Draenei hunter, Shavelle. The toon is my main character in the World of Warcraft MMO and the last two levels seemed like they would take forever. F o r e v e r. I was so proud of the achievement, I posted a screen cap on my Facebook page so all my nonWoW friends and family could just stare at it and think about what a loser I am 🙂 In fact, I’ll share with you, too.

WoWScrnShot_021813_003604

So, I finished a book, leveled a character to max level, am experiencing a tiny bit of a turn around in my luck. Oh, and I picked up season 2 of HBO’s A Game of Thrones blu ray boxed set. There again, though, February tried to ruin my fun by not including the slip that has the codes for the digital download version of the episodes. My package wasn’t the only one to have this issue, but finding information about it online is near impossible. Seems to be only packages from a particular distribution center and not focused on any particular retailer. Customers from Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon, etc (online and brick n’ mortar) have all experienced the same problem. But I won’t let that little bit drag me away from the good things. Not now, now with this godforsaken month nearly over with 🙂

I have also been keeping up with the second half of season 3 for The Walking Dead. Good episodes this season, will discuss more about them later.

How’s your February been going?

To Resub or Not To Resub

November 30th of this year will mark one whole year of me not having been a subscribing player to World of Warcraft. But, still a month or two off, and I’m thinking about resubscribing and opening my account back up.

I know, I know, I’m weak! I can’t help it.

It all started with Blizzard allowing us to actually create Pandarans in the free trial version of the popular MMO. This is something they’ve never done before – allowing you to play through a brand new race/class without buying the game first. But here we are, and I currently have a level 12 Pandaran hunter.

Let me go ahead and say, while I enjoyed leveling this character and experiencing the new starting zone, it wasn’t anything ground breaking or terribly new play-wise. It was just familiar territory with a new coat of paint. My thinking is that I have a lonely level 85 hunter sitting somewhere waiting for me, and it’d be a crime not to go wake them up and level them those 5 new levels, reset their talents based on the revamped talent system. Maybe get some new gear and explore the new lands. And who knows, maybe participate in the new end game dungeons and battlegrounds!

So a year of being WoW free, not giving The Man my $15 a month. Do I really want to end that? Coming home from a long night at work and plopping down in front of the computer to play a never-ending MMO instead of reading a book or catching up on a television show? Hmm … perhaps I should rethink this. Then again, I could set limits on the gameplay. Only on weekends after everyone else has gone to sleep or if I happen to be home alone. Yeah, that might be the ticket.

We will see. When the decision is made, I’ll make sure I blab about my adventures here and share some hilarious screen shots!

Thanks for letting me share. Have a good day, sir and/or madam!

Blizzard Security Breach Reported

Logo of Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard released a statement Thursday afternoon/evening letting users know that they had discovered illegal access to their servers. They advise everyone change their passwords associated with their Battle.net account and games and update your authenticators. Their statement follows:

http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/securityupdate.html

Players and Friends,

Even when you are in the business of fun, not every week ends up being fun. This week, our security team found an unauthorized and illegal access into our internal network here at Blizzard. We quickly took steps to close off this access and began working with law enforcement and security experts to investigate what happened.

At this time, we’ve found no evidence that financial information such as credit cards, billing addresses, or real names were compromised. Our investigation is ongoing, but so far nothing suggests that these pieces of information have been accessed.

Some data was illegally accessed, including a list of email addresses for global Battle.net users, outside of China. For players on North American servers (which generally includes players from North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia) the answer to the personal security question, and information relating to Mobile and Dial-In Authenticators were also accessed. Based on what we currently know, this information alone is NOT enough for anyone to gain access to Battle.net accounts.

We also know that cryptographically scrambled versions of Battle.net passwords (not actual passwords) for players on North American servers were taken. We use Secure Remote Password protocol (SRP) to protect these passwords, which is designed to make it extremely difficult to extract the actual password, and also means that each password would have to be deciphered individually. As a precaution, however, we recommend that players on North American servers change their password. Please click this link to change your password. Moreover, if you have used the same or similar passwords for other purposes, you may want to consider changing those passwords as well.

In the coming days, we’ll be prompting players on North American servers to change their secret questions and answers through an automated process. Additionally, we’ll prompt mobile authenticator users to update their authenticator software. As a reminder, phishing emails will ask you for password or login information. Blizzard Entertainment emails will never ask for your password. We deeply regret the inconvenience to all of you and understand you may have questions. Please find additional information here.

We take the security of your personal information very seriously, and we are truly sorry that this has happened.

Sincerely,
Mike Morhaime