I haven’t done a ton with Mass Effect 2 lately… it’s not one of those games I can just start and stop when I want. I get hooked in the story and don’t want to stop playing. I’ve had too much homework to take any real-time to dedicate to it. Hoping one of the next few weekends prove to be more viable for a bit of time spent progressing through it.
I still haven’t finished Assassin’s Creed or started AC2. I’m debating if I’ll ever finish it, I might just start the second and skip out on the last bit of the first. I’d rather not though, but with school and starting up World of Warcraft again, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the desire to finish Assassin’s Creed.
Speaking of WoW…. my brothers started playing again a week or so ago. They refused to start on another server or transfer, and my friends and I were already set on Staghelm and we didn’t plan on moving.
I guess it’s a good thing I never transferred my Paladin [Texhnolyze] to Staghelm. Even though I don’t play him anymore. I’ve fallen in love with the Death Knight and Mage, I’ve spent all my time playing on one of those two.
I’m also messing around with a new Rogue a little bit; my brothers, one of my nephews, and I all started new characters together. We’re staying relatively the same level so we can group up for quests and instances together.
I have gotten stuck server hopping so I can play with my best friends and my brothers before. I hate server hopping, I’m bad enough with alts on a single server…
But as it stands now, it looks like all my real-life friends that I play WoW with are leaving the game “for good.” If they do stop playing though, I will be going back to playing on Silvermoon “full-time” [as much as I can without screwing up school and work], which will be nice: no more server hopping. Also, if they stop playing, I *will* be transferring my Mage [Stasís] over to Silvermoon. I wonder if I can convince them to toss me any extra gold & spare mats before they stop playing [haha, doubtful]!
I’m also debating swapping Authenticators for WoW. I have one of the key-chain ones, but I also have the HTC Hero that runs the Android OS. Now there is the Authenticator application available for download on the Android Market. I always have my phone on me, I don’t always have the key-chain Authenticator with me.
I really wish I could go to PAX East this year, really I want to go to any PAX. I’ve never been to a gaming convention. Unfortunately due to obligations, finances, school, & work… actually getting to go is not gonna happen, again.
*Copied and pasted the following post from here*
We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog for a Public Service Announcement. This is a post I put up on my guild forums a while back, but with the recent report of a supposed account hack to an authenticator-enabled account, I figured I’d repost here for mass consumption. In regards to the above link, I’m calling BS until I see more about it, and this post should explain why I feel that way. I’m far more likely to believe that the account was compromised by some manner of social engineering (be it a Blizzard look-alike phishing site, an irl “friend” theft, a shared account, or some other manner – any and all of which involve user error) than I am to believe that one of the most widely-considered secure systems in the world, used by banks, casinos, credit bureaus, government agencies, and high-profile data security firms has been circumvented by Chinese wow hackers to be used for in-game gold theft rather than, say, nearly any other possible use of such technology/cracking ability. I just don’t buy it. Read on, and be informed.
How the Blizzard Authenticator works, and why it improves security.
The Blizzard Authenticators are once again in stock!
On 26/06/08, Blizzard announced the Blizzard Authenticator, a device that provides your WoW account with an extra layer of security. They sell this device in their Blizzard Store for $6.50. You may consider buying it, but is the extra security really worth the money? How much more secure does it make your account? This post will explain how this device works, and exactly why it makes your account more secure.
===How the authenticator works===
The Blizzard Authenticator is a token that you can put for example on your keychain. It has a little display that, once your press the button will generate a 6-digit number that changes every minute.
This number is used as a 1-time password. This means the password is only valid once. When you use it to log in, the code becomes invalid and any hacker trying to access your account later with the same number won’t be able to log in.
A hacker wanting to access your account will now, in addition to keylogging your username and password, have to physically break into your house and steal the authenticator to see what number it displays. But hackers are clever people. Isn’t there any way for them to know which number the authenticator is going to display? The answer is no, and here’s why.
Every authenticator has a little built-in clock. This clock keeps track of the number of seconds since, for example the WoW release date, Tigole’s birthday or whenever. Each authenticator also has a unique key, which it uses to encrypt this number of seconds into what looks like a completely random number. There is no way, without knowing the encryption key, to guess what number is going to be displayed at any point in time. Even if the hacker has all the numbers you entered before, he can’t extrapolate that into what number will be showing next.
The hacker also can’t hack into the device itself to find out it’s key, because it doesn’t connect to the computer in any way. Even if the hacker were the mailman who delivered the authenticator to your house, he would have to open it up and extract the hardware that contained the key. These devices are generally tamper-resistant and will purge themselves when opened.
So, if the hacker can’t know your 1-time password, how is Blizzard going to know? The difference is, Blizzard has the key for every authenticator they made. When you log in, blizzard looks up which authenticator is associated with your account, and finds the matching key. They then use this key to decrypt the number you entered into the number of seconds the authenticator has been counting. They then verify that this number matches the current time.
Even if the time on your authenticator doesn’t exactly match the time on blizzard’s server, they still allow you to log in within a minute or so of the defined time, just in case the clock in your authenticator is running a little slower or faster than normal. This still does not allow hackers to use the number from a minute ago, because when you log in successfully, that number is then disabled and prevented from being used again.
If you still think someone may eventually find a way around it, this security measure is used by businesses and government agencies around the world to provide security, and they have a lot more sensitive information to guard than the login information to a WoW account. One of my good friends, who is a VIP services lead at Mohegan Sun, saw me log in once and went “wow, *I* use one of those to get into secure areas at work.” This is a tested method that has proven itself to be secure.
===Is existing security not already enough?===
While the authenticator provides an extra security layer strong enough to make your account virtually unhacklable, you can already secure your computer a lot. Is the authenticator really needed?
If you’re running Firefox with Noscript, Flashblock, adblockers, 5 different virus and spyware scanners, a NAT router with it’s ports strictly regulated, using Linux/MacOS X or another operating system, and other security measures I can’t think of at the moment, you are probably really secure. The danger is hackers finding a new way to enter your system that isn’t being guarded yet. Until the vulnerability is patched, or instructions to disable the exploited software are issued, you could potentially get infected with a virus or other malicious software during that short time. The more security measures you take, the lower the chance you will be vulnerable. But security is an ever-changing thing. You have to keep things up-to-date constantly in order to stay secure.
Using an authenticator is completely optional, but it does solve the problem by taking another approach. Instead of preventing keyloggers from getting onto your system, it makes you virtually immune to them. They can try, but with a login code that is always changing logging your keystrokes won’t be any good.
If you wish to better secure your system without buying an authenticator, instructions are given in stickies on the WoW forums, links to which are provided at the end of this post.
Then there is the issue of cost. Blizzard is offering these for $6.50, but should they? It would be a lot better if they provided them for free right? Well, I doubt Blizzard is making money on these. The manufacturing and distribution of these tokens costs them money, and $6.50 is actually pretty cheap. Market prices for these devices can be around $50.
I myself have been playing for over five years, so that’s roughly $900 this game has cost me already, and I’m not even counting the money I payed for the original game and the expansions (or my second account, or name changes, or transfers). I’m not going to mind another $6.50, especially since it provides me the peace of mind of never risking account theft. I purchased one the day I took Guild Leader, because the security and safety of my guild is far, far more important to me than $6.50 or the three seconds extra it takes me to log in every day.
As an aside, there are to date no known account hacks1 to an authenticator-enabled account. There’s really no reason not to have one.
If you wish to learn more about this authentication technology, most of the information for this post was obtained from the Security Now podcast. All episodes are freely available for download on http://www.grc.com/securitynow.htm. Transcripts are also available. The particular episode that deals with the authenticator technology is #90: Multifactor Authentication, the part which covers some of the information above starting 20 minutes into the episode.
More information about the Blizzard Authenticator:
Support page: http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?locale=en_US&articleId=24986]http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?locale=en_US&articleId=24986
FAQ page: http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?locale=en_US&articleId=24660]http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?locale=en_US&articleId=24660
Activating your authenticator: http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?locale=en_US&articleId=24987]http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?locale=en_US&articleId=24987
Links for securing your system against keyloggers (no authenticator required):
Protect your PC guide: http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=273198555]http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=273198555
Avoid getting hacked: http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=102690401]http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=102690401
Account security: http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=35983697]http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=35983697
How to recover a compromised account: http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=17191745]http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=17191745
*this post shamelessly stolen/paraphrased from Ysgarth. (I’d link directly, but I honestly lost the original)
Not only does having an authenticator save you trouble, it saves your guild leader trouble. You see, every time a member gets hacked, each of their toons steals items/money/whatever they can get from the gbank. When the hacked accountholder goes through their restoration process, GMs only help with THEIR account. The gbank is considered to be an extension of the Guild Leader’s account/responsibility, and as a result, *they* have to put in a ticket, too. This makes GLs like me die the little death every time. Don’t make us pay for your negligence!
1Again, a unsubstantiated report arises now and then, as I mention above. Until I see an official report from Blizzard or some tech industry standard saying keyfobs aren’t as secure as we thought, I don’t buy it – the science just isn’t there. Most importantly, though, it is still important to remember that although authenticators do, to the best of our knowledge, make your account hack-proof, they do not, in fact, make them doing dumb stuff-proof. In order to have your authenticated account compromised, you have to fall for a phishing/fake site; you have to give your account info/keyfob/unused current number out to someone; you have to be gullible enough to do exactly what Blizzard has said to never do – NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR INFO. Never! Don’t enter your account info into a linked site, ever. Go to what you know to be the real login site, always. Don’t tell anyone your account name, your password, your keyfob serial number, anything.
I’ll repeat – never trust another player, and never trust a link. Ever.
And get an authenticator.
Classes are burning a lot more time than I originally thought they would. I’m sure after I get into the swing of being back in school, things will even out and I’ll be able to game a bit more.
I haven’t gotten to play a ton of Mass Effect 2 yet [only two, maybe three hours]… but from what I have played, wow. Especially that beginning sequence.
There are still some issues with bump map loading that existed in the first, but it’s nowhere near as frequent.
They tweaked the combat system slightly. I think the changes they made are a nice improvement, it’s a lot more fluid.
I’ve renewed my World of Warcraft account again. I’m not playing on Silvermoon anymore, at least not as my main server. I started playing on Staghelm again, up and running with some real life friends.
Stasís is now 80, and has full Tier 9 gear, and epics from random heroics. She still has two blues equipped [cloak & a trinket], but that’s only because I haven’t found replacement gear yet [or gotten enough badges to exchange for upgrades].
Played a bit last night, decided to tank a few instances on my Death Knight [Iscariott, 61] just so I could avoid the fifteen minute [or more] queue as DPS. According to every group I got into, I’m really good at tanking compared to most other “low level” DKs. I stuck with a few people from the first group and did chain instances.
After a few runs, a Balance Druid that was three levels higher than me joined the group, almost immediately he complained that it was “another shitty DK tank.” Both the healer one of the DPS that was with us told him to shut-up because I was good compared to most DKs. He didn’t believe them at first, but after a few pulls, he admitted… “wow, a DK at this level that can hold agro, that never happens!”
I’m debating if I want to transfer my Paladin [Texhnolyze] over to Staghelm, or if I want to just leave him on Silvermoon. I might transfer him eventually, when I have more time and money.
I haven’t really been doing a ton of gaming the past few weeks, with being sick & the holidays. I still haven’t even gotten to start Assassin’s Creed 2.
l’ve thought about re-upping my WoW account, I’m not sure though. I’m going back to school, so I don’t want to pay for an account I might not even use [or slack off in my classes because I’m distracted by WoW]. Some of my co-workers are starting to play, which i kinda pushing me more toward re-upping…
Did some interesting Sudoku puzzles at work.
We’ll see I guess. I’ve gotten really good at keeping on task when I could be gaming, so I might give it a shot.
My other brother and nephew are now both playing Modern Warfare 2 as well. I know a lot of time is gonna be burned in MW2 for a while.
And Mass Effect 2 comes out later this month, I want to play that too.
Too many games, to little time!
Hmm, I think I finished Fable II… I can’t quite recall at the moment now. Of course, if not, the reason being… better games. Also, Batman: Arkham Asylum is still sitting in the que to be finished, I’m picking at it on occasion. There are just so many games that catch my attention. I really need to work on completing a game before I start another.
I have spent a lot of time playing Borderlands, although, I stopped playing Mordecai [the “Hunter”]. I started playing Lilith [the “Siren”]. When I started Lilith, I started playing online. I thought it was good before, it’s even better online, especially with friends! I don’t know why I even thought about playing that game solo. The only downside to playing online is people talk & it gets hard to hear what NPCs are saying in game.. you miss a bit of the story.
From what I’ve heard, there is another downside for playing online… but I have yet to experience it. The loot drops on the ground, anyone can grab it and leave the game for no reason. I’ve only ever played with friends, so I have yet to see that. My friends and I chose the drops based on what character we are playing and who it would benefit most.
When you distribute skill points properly, Lilith becomes vicious. I managed to get her to level 50 on her before I got Mordacai past 25. She becomes even more dangerous once you get her some nice weapons. I managed to get some pretty beastly weapons for her. She rips almost anything apart, even in 4 player games. There are a few areas that I need to find a weapon specific to the mobs in those areas.
I know I complained a little about the inventory system in my last post. It was annoying at first, but now that I’ve expanded it to 45 slots, it’s not as bad. And there’s a chance that it can expand even further, I just have to do all the quests in the second play-through: on the second play though, there’s only a chance you’ll get extra inventory space, so far out of 4 quests I’ve received 1 upgrade.
Alas… Borderlands has been pushed to the back burner a bit. Modern Warfare 2 came out. *glee* I have been waiting for this game since the first Modern Warfare came out [not really, but you get the idea]. I borrowed my friend’s MW2 for Xbox 360 for a few days while he was at work, & I waited for it to be released on PC. For some reason, Steam didn’t release it for a few days after it was sold in stores. I played through the campaign on the 360 on Normal, and did a little bit of the Spec Ops missions, but I only did a few, and solo.
I’ve since installed MW2 on my PC and played through the campaign [yes, again] on Hardened. My brother and I are playing Multiplayer pretty much any time we are both on the PCs. We have yet to hit up any Spec Ops, probably sometime this weekend.
One thing that is slightly disappointing is how quickly people are hacking & cheating in the MW2 multiplayer. I’ve run into a few different forms of cheating that’s quite annoying. One of which any time I looked at an enemy [they were near the middle of my sight] my view would spaz out like I was having a seizure just in my arm and swinging the mouse all over [character would look around very fast in random directions until I was killed].
Then on top of that, there’s lag. Now, I know there’s bound to be issues with this due to playing online. But it pisses me off when I’m behind someone and toss a grenade at their feet, then unload a full clip into them because they didn’t die [grenade and every shot registers as a hit], only to have them turn around, sprint tot me, and knife me dead. Then when I watch the kill cam, from their view, stand there like a complete idiot staring at them. That’s just stupid.
One thing I’ve determined… I need to get a new mouse. My gaming mouse broke about a month ago, I’ve been using some shitty Microsoft mouse for the past while. I also need to find some sort of desk-like surface for my keyboard & mouse. My PC is hooked up to my TV, I don’t have a monitor, I sit on my futon when playing games, it’s quite a hassle when trying to play fast paced games, such as MW2. Sitting with the keyboard on my lap & mouse on the futon next to me sucks. Haha, my own fault I guess. I decided to ditch the monitor & desk for the TV setup.
I let my World of Warcraft account expire again. I’ll return eventually.. I’m sure. I just don’t see the point in paying for WoW when I’m not really playing it. I logged for a few hours a day or two before it expired and managed to get Deathengine to level 71. I’d like to be able to hit up some gaming with my other brother, but with the lack of desire to play WoW it kinda makes that difficult… he’s not going to be getting MW2 until sometime after the holidays.
The past month or two my computer has been out of commission. Rather than fixing my PC right away, I decided I needed to take a small step a way from games (mainly World of Warcraft) and get out with my friends more. It’s difficult since I work in the morning/early-afternoon and most of them work in the mid-afternoon/evening, but it’s a lot easier since I stopped working overnights. Even with staying up “late” to hang with friends, I’ve been getting more sleep then when I was on overnights.
I dusted off my 360 to play some games that I left untouched, since I have some free time when everyone else is working. It’s a lot easier to pull away from games that don’t require more time (WoW- raids, endless grinding to level, etc).
Finally finished up Mass Effect [the last 2-3 hours I skipped out on *sigh*], I think it had great story & excellent game play. My only concerns are the load screens/time, and some bump-mapping issues. Quite often it takes a second or more for the textures to load during scene changes [conversation sequences, doors opening, amongst others], and right after load screens. The inventory system could have use a bit of work as well… it felt a bit jumbled at times. Despite all the load screens & bump-mapping issues, Mass Effect is worth it. I plan on picking up the sequels.
I’m still not too impressed with Fable II. I don’t find the story line very interesting, there are many load screens, & if you get a lot of NPCs in one area the game bogs down and gets jumpy, there are also bump-mapping issues at times as well. What really kept me playing the game was the achievements that would add points to my gamer-score, and the fact that I could just go around murdering whole villages or saving the entire countryside on a whim. I’m not sure if I’m gonna pick up Fable 3, we’ll see though… I’m hoping for improvements.
I’m a big Batman fan, so Batman : Arkham Asylum was a natural choice. It’s pretty good, I still need to play more of the story, I got distracted doing the challenges (specifically the Scarecrow one that was downloadable). The story, graphics, and game play are all excellent from what I’ve seen. There are Challenges given by the Riddler throughout the game that you can solve for extra achievements & game completion if you enjoy that kind of thing, I know I do. That’s probably a big reason I haven’t beaten the game yet, I spend a lot of time “treasure” hunting.
I’ve beaten Halo 3: ODST, the story line was interesting with the way they hopped between each of the squad’s stories. I was slightly disappointed in the difficulty of the Legendary mode, it seemed a lot easier than Halo 3. Since you’re not playing as Master Chief, I would think it should be more difficult without the over-shield and not being genetically enhanced.
Firefight is amazing. Although it has no random grouping functionality (like Halo 3 matchmaking). There have only been a few times I’ve actually had enough friends on at the same time to play and it be worth-while (and even then it’s only been 2… maybe 3 out of the [almost necessary] 4 possible). I would love to play it more, but in order to get far enough to make it worth while, my friends and I are going to have to make some sort of schedule for it.
Borderlands… ah, Borderlands. Probably the best description I’ve heard about it is, “it’s like the Diablo games and the FPS had a baby.” I chose to start with Mordecai, the sniper. I’ve reached level 19 on him, it’s a lot of fun. Now my newest sniper rifle has enough power to completely blow enemies heads off, and lower level mobs can be blown to pieces with said rifle. One thing that gets me is the fact that some non-sniper weapons have a zoom scope almost as good as my sniper scope, I don’t think I need that good of a scope (or any) on a shotgun, but some I’ve seen do have absurd scopes on them.
The inventory system is alright, only 12 slots to place things when you first start, but it’s expandable… right now I’m sitting at 18 slots. The lack of space can get annoying at times, since any extra guns, shields, or first aid kits all take up space. If you want to carry a first aid kit or two to be safe, be ready to give up precious inventory space. If you get hurt bad enough, you can chose to fight for your life or respawn back at the last save spot you walked by in what is essentially a clone body… this costs money though (currently $600-ish per spawn). I should probably start carrying a first aid kit, just in case I need it, but I would rather be able to carry that one extra gun that will add to my arsenal, or my wallet if I sell it. You also start with the ability to carry a main weapon and secondary weapon, as you progress you unlock the ability to hold up to 4 weapons, all choseable by cycling through them or hitting a hotkey.
I still have a few other games to work on that didn’t impress me too much for one reason or another: Blue Dragon (RPG, might just need to get further into the story), Assassin’s Creed (while pretty, it is very repetitive), & Grand Theft Auto IV (I’ve always taken my time with the GTAs, so this one will take a while) just to name a few.
Obviously I’ve since fixed my computer. And yes, I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again, but nowhere near as much. I still enjoy the game, but I know I need a break from playing it as much as I used to, so I’ve been limiting myself. When I do play, I’m hopping between my Death Knight [Deathengine] on a server with my brothers and my Mage [Stasís] on a server with some friends. I hit 70 on my DK today, and did a few of the Headless Horseman quests for the Hallow’s End event. I’m debating if I want to power level to 75 so I can complete the quest to kill Headless Horseman, the event ends next Saturday.