Is being watched in an MMO by Spooks OK?

By now most gamers have head about the NSA watching games like WoW and SecondLife for dangerous individuals. If you’re also watching out for potential impacts from the NSA’s activities exposed recently, you’re probably now saturated with odd and scary stories.

A meandering thought or two is below.

Frankly the entire concept reads like fiction to me, and is scary enough that I’m seriously considering changing a huge amount of what tools I use and what I do online.

By way of really dreadful example – please consider these revelations about what is plausible for surveillance. It is an video explanation of the methods recently exposed. Actual hardware hacks, device exploits, and all other manner of “hacks and hijacks”.

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I suggest you do not trust Perfect World

PW-nope

I wrote a post recently about disliking Perfect World’s spammy emails, but then credited them with with a single click unsubscribe. Well that feature is not working, so they really they fail on all counts. I wrote:

The best feature that Perfect World offered in that email was a “one click remove” link which removed me from all future offers.

Love that! A darn good feature right there. They got that dead right and kudos for them for doing it. I respect a company which lets folks opt out.

Well I was grumbly then, but they’ve sent the same junk, so now it is actually spam filter time for them. Then I do some digging through their policies, and while they claim to respect and protect as normal good companies do, they follow it with this junk:

No guarantees

While this Policy states our intended policies and practices for the collection, use and handling of personal information and we endeavor to follow such policies and practices, we are not in a position to guarantee these standards. There may be factors beyond our control that may result in disclosure of personal information or in the handling of personal information in a manner other than as stated in this Policy. As a consequence, we disclaim any warranties or representations relating to maintenance or nondisclosure of any personal information collected from visitors and users.

What utter fail. And lastly:

If you object to your personal information being transferred or used as described in this Policy, please do not use this Website.

Well we agree on that.

I had started toying in Neverwinter but cannot see that happening again now until my boredom rises past Warcraft, through SWToR, and back through Diablo 3. If a company cannot handle a simple opt out, I cannot trust they’ll do much else correctly, especially when they’ve written a part of their policy to disclaim any responsibility without consideration to the cause. It would be fine to disclaim events beyond their control, but they’ve written that they disclaim everything.

I suggest you do not trust Perfect World.

Pre-weekend Round-up

The Re-remeber Theramore CampaignA quick round-up before I slide into a flat-out weekend of social activity and non-nerd related stuff. The last week was a bonanza of cool activity all based upon completing aspects of Cataclysm at the last minute, but my stuff will make it into another post.

This is just some odd news.

Privacy for BattleNet

We get a privacy option in battleNet games soon, which lets us go into a hidden mode while online. Good. This extends to the friends list as well as battleNetID mates.

I wonder if that will have an illusory affect on the apparent server populations?

In the coming months, we’re planning an update to Battle.net that will give you more control over your online presence when playing Blizzard games. Soon, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III players will be able to select “Appear Offline” as one of their Battle.net social-status options (along with Available, Busy, and Away) for those times when they want to wander Azeroth by their lonesome, dominate the galaxy in radio silence, or slay demons in solitude. When you choose this option as your status, all of your Real ID friends, BattleTag friends, and character-level friends will see you as “Offline” in their friends list whenever you’re logged into a game. (source)

Reminders to Buy – We get an email reminding us to pre-purchase Mists to the account which has already pre-purchased Mists of Pandaria. And another to my old account which I don’t play, and another to the test account I had to muck about on. Two of those were valid to get, the message sent to my account which should already be upgrade is likely to push the Collector’s Edition opportunity rather than the standard digital version.

Promotions and Vids for Mists – Wow Insider has a summary of Everything that Awaits in Mists. Blizzard have committed to making this release the best ever…

With this expansion, we’re using a new bit of tech that will unlock the expansion content, make the intro quest magically pop up in your quest log, and allow you to begin playing the expansion immediately without the need to log out and back in. If everything goes as planned this will be a smooth transition to the adventures that await you in the new continent (source).

Public Forums using Real IDs

This is a very bad idea. I’m wearing a tin foil hat as I type, but this does have very far reaching implications.

I cannot see the value to players, and frankly cannot see why it would benefit the community either.

Maybe the younger generation are more open to this? But maybe those very same young people are not life-skilled enough to realise what the risks are.

This has massive potential for abuse and issues, and this is so bad that I think nothing short of hundreds of pages of posts will make any impact. So post now, and often. I think we need to deafen Blizzard with the bad feedback. It will hopefully be overturned by somebody with half a brain at Blizzard.

For those who said Real ID was a slippery slope; which was opening pandora’s box – you were right.

I don’t think we are at the end of that slope yet either.

Conspiracy Theory: They make a suggestion so stupid, that the community implodes; then they retract it. Next they make a smaller change, and can cite the earlier as an example of listening to teh client base and also making the 2nd action seem small by comparison.